Find out what's happening in your neighborhood, then get involved.
Yesterday, I bought 15 clipboards and 60 pens for about $27 at Staples. Today, I am going to set them up with signs that say "Register to Vote" and voter registration forms so we'll be ready for upcoming voter reg events.
Higher gas prices and tighter budgets appear to be having several interesting effects on garage sales.
no statistics are available for garage sales, it appears that more
folks are staging them to put extra change in their pockets, but fewer
are actually attending them, garage sale regulars say.
And in related news, more people are looking for work, but there are fewer jobs.
Penny Arcade is a site run by two gamers who write reviews of games (video and other), draw a webcomic in which their alter egos are the main characters, and, most recently, created their own video game. You'd have to start from the first comic (almost 10 years ago) to get the full flavor. I'm sure it would not appeal to everyone, but if you're even an eensy bit geeky, it might. I think it's hysterical.
Kaine was born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Mary Kathleen Burns and Albert A. Kaine, an engineer and small business owner. Kaine grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from Rockhurst High School there.
Kaine graduated from the University of Missouri–Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1979. He attended Harvard Law School, taking a year-long break during law school to work with the Jesuit order as a Catholic missionary in Honduras. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1983, and was admitted to the Virginia Bar.
Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability. He was recognized by local, state and national organizations for his fair housing advocacy. He also taught legal ethics for six years at the University of Richmond Law School.
Over ten years into his legal career, in 1994, he was elected to the city council of the independent city of Richmond from the portion of the city in which he resided under Richmond's system of nine wards. He would later be elected mayor of Richmond by the city council (which until 2004 chose the mayor from among its membership). He spent a total of seven years on the city council, including his time as mayor. The City of Richmond had been long notorious for having one of the highest murder rates in the United States. The trend had worsened greatly in the 1980s, and had continued into the 1990s. As mayor, Kaine was credited with helping to create and implement the gun law known as Project Exile. The controversial program was the predecessor of the statewide Virginia Exile program.
Kaine served as Lieutenant Governor from 2002-2006, when he became Governor. He was one of the first politicians outside of Illinois to endorse Obama, in January, 2007. From a strategic view, the fact that Kaine is not a Washington politician complements the Obama campaign's theme of bringing fresh ideas to the White House. Kaine is popular in Virginia and his presence on the ticket would mean McCain would have to fight hard to win there.
After the Virginia Tech massacre, Kaine proposed background checks for purchases at gun shows and advocated for the inclusion of people who have been adjudged mentally ill in the background check database.
Kaine, however, is also anti-abortion. He is a member of Democrats for Life of America, which only endorses candidates in favor of increased legal restrictions on abortion, making it unlikely to endorse Obama. Kaine has said:
"A lot of Democrats, if you try to get them to say, 'I want there to be
fewer abortions,' their mouths just won't move," said Kaine. "The fact
is, that is what most Americans want."
Kaine actively supports banning "partial-birth abortion", a term he uses. Recently, the Fourth Circuit struck down
as unconstitutional a Virginia law which would have essentially banned
all second-trimester abortions. That law was passed before Kaine became
governor, and as far as I can tell, he made no comment on the ruling. However, while he was
running for governor, he said:
"Because of my long-standing opposition to partial-birth
abortion, in 2002, I proposed an amendment that would have made this
ban constitutional. Unfortunately, partisan politics got in the way,
and the amendment was rejected by the General Assembly."
Picking Kaine would infuriate pro-choice Democrats and further alienate Democratic women from Obama.
On the other hand, in 2007 Kaine cut all funding for abstinence-only sex education after it was shown to be ineffective. In 2008, Kaine approved a plan to vaccinate all sixth-grade girls against HPV, with the caveat that parents could opt out.
In addition to actively talking about their own faith, Kaine says,
Democrats need to temper their comments about other peoples' faith.
"The second thing that Democrats have to do better on is not
attacking the 'religious right,'" he said. "I think that has been a
standard bogeyman that Democrats have often used in campaigns,
including campaigns in Virginia. If somebody advances an idea or
position that's wrong, then attack them for having a bad idea. But they
are not wrong because they are religious.
"When Democrats kind of cavalierly attack the religious right or go
after Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, our candidates have sent the
signal to a lot of religious people, 'Well, I guess they are not
interested in me.' And I think this includes a lot of people who would
fit very naturally within the Democratic Party."
While having a theoretical objection to the death penalty as part of his pro-life beliefs, Kaine has signed four death warrants and does not support any additional restrictions on capital punishment, saying it is the law of the land.
It's my personal opinion that Obama should be inclined to pick a white man rather than a woman or Hispanic, and a governor rather than a Senator, because electing two people with no executive branch experience may be too much for some voters. (I think a similar argument is true for McCain.) Obama in recent days has said he's looking for a "working" Vice President:
“I think the most important thing, from my perspective, is somebody who can help me govern,” Obama said. “I want somebody who I’m compatible with, who I can work with, who has a shared vision, who certainly complements me, in the sense that they provide a knowledge base or an area of expertise that can be useful. Because we’re going to have a lot of problems and a lot of work to do."
“I’m not interested in a vice president who I just send off to go to funerals,” he continued. “I want somebody who’s going to be able to roll up their sleeves and really do some work.”
Part of the political calculation I think Obama is making here is that an experienced governor (a) helps offset the sense that he himself lacks sufficient seasoning to run the government and (b) allays the very real fear among some people that Obama will be assassinated and someone capable will be required to take over in the emergency.
So, overall, Kaine's anti-choice policies are extremely troubling, but I see why he'd be on Obama's short list. If he's the V.P. pick, there would be an enormous uproar about how Obama is abandoning abortion rights. It would be interesting to see how they'd handle that.
”Now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster,” McCain said
about Romney, at a stop in Fort Myers. Then McCain added, “If we
surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and
withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos,
genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be
[A]sked why he thought Mr. Maliki had called 16 months a potentially suitable timetable, Mr. McCain gave his enigmatic answer.
said it’s a pretty good timetable based on conditions on the ground,”
Mr. McCain said. “I think it’s a pretty good timetable, as we should —
or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on
the ground. This success is very fragile. It’s incredibly impressive,
but very fragile. So we know, those of us who have been involved in it
for many years, know that if we reverse this, by setting a date for
withdrawal, all of the hard-won victory can be reversed.”
exulted, sending transcripts of the statement to reporters to suggest
that Mr. McCain was coming around to Mr. Obama’s way of thinking. The
McCain campaign did not explain the remark, but said Mr. McCain’s
position continued to be that he wanted the troops to withdraw based on
conditions on the ground.
What else could he do? The people we are supposedly protecting, the Iraqi government, wants us gone.
I like this link dump stuff. It looks like I have something to say when, in fact, it's just meaningless garbage strung together. I could have been doing this for the past five years with no impact on the quality of the finished product. Think of the time savings.
For the past month, [state representative Daryl] Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, has been the subject of an anonymous letter-writing campaign that appears to be run by a white supremacist group called the White Christian Nation.
In June, the group announced that it planned to give Metcalfe its White Christian Soldier Award. He declined the award and denounced the group which already had used his name in publicity postcards for a rally on Aug. 10 in Adams Township Community Park. ...
The situation apparently stems from remarks Metcalfe made on the House floor last month.
Metcalfe is a Christian and social conservative and has been outspoken about his religious beliefs.
Metcalfe held up voting on a routine House proclamation honoring the
60th annual convention in Harrisburg of a Muslim group, saying he
wouldn't vote for the measure because Muslims "do not recognize Jesus
Christ as God."
A former lobbyist and close friend of former representative Curt Weldon
pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to trying to destroy
evidence in the federal investigation of the Pennsylvania Republican.
Cecelia Grimes, 43, admitted that she threw out documents sought by
FBI agents shortly after they visited her home in Parkesburg, Pa., in
2006 to question her. The agents served her with a grand jury subpoena
demanding records connected to her clients, her travel, Weldon and his
campaigns. FBI agents later recovered the documents in trash bags in
front of Grimes' home, according to charging papers.
According to a police affidavit, the defendants and three
17-year-olds encountered [Luis] Ramirez, 25, and a teenage girl in a park the
night of July 12.
The youths goaded Ramirez and the girl, saying, "You should get out
of this neighborhood" and "Get your Mexican boyfriend out of here,"
documents said. After Ramirez and the girl began walking away, someone
yelled an ethnic slur at him, court documents said. He responded,
"What's your problem?"
A fight ensued, during which police said [Colin J.] Walsh punched Ramirez in
the face. The victim fell and hit his head on the street, leaving him
unconscious, after which [Brandon J.] Piekarsky kicked him in the head, police said.
All three suspects used ethnic slurs during the fight, which ended
with Ramirez in convulsions and foaming at the mouth, authorities said.
The attackers fled the scene; Ramirez underwent surgery but died July
14 of head injuries.
The defendants will be tried together, and are expected to be declared heroes by the jury, which will completely confuse the judge until he remembers he has to run for re-election someday. In completely unrelated news, immigrant-basher Lou Barletta of Hazleton, a couple of towns over from Shenandoah, has been named Pennsylvania's Mayor of the Year.
And in La-la Liberal Land, meaning my neighborhood, one of the cretins who lives near me walked by my house (with the Obama poster that says Hope in my window) the other day and said to the female cretin, "Hope? I hope he takes a machine-gun burst to the chest." He didn't have the balls to say it to me, of course, but I heard.
The [food] industry pressured the Bush administration years ago to limit the
paperwork companies would have to keep to help U.S. health
investigators quickly trace produce that sickens consumers ....
The apparent but unintended consequences of the lobbying success: a
paper record-keeping system that has slowed investigators, with
estimated business losses of $250 million. So far, nearly 1,300 people
in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada have been sickened by salmonella since April.
Opposing safety legislation only results in more stringent burdens after a crisis kills people.
Aimai at If I Ran the Zoo thinks it's funny that a British court ruled a newspaper's hidden-camera investigation violated privacy law:
The presiding judge, Mr Justice Eady, ruled that [Max] Mosley had a
"reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to sexual activities,
albeit unconventional, carried on between consenting adults in private
property" and that there was no public interest involved in the News of the World's revelations.
"There was bondage, beating and domination, which seem to be typical of S&M behaviour," he said.
I just find it refreshing that it's possible for a judge to think clearly about minority sexual practices, unlike in the United States, where courts regularly deprive people of custody of their children for engaging in much less extreme behavior.
Hispanic registered voters support Democrat Barack Obama for president
over Republican John McCain by 66% to 23%, according to a nationwide
survey of 2,015 Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center ....
Obama is rated favorably by 76% of Latino registered
voters, making him much more popular among that voting group than
McCain (44% favorable) and President Bush (27% favorable). Hillary
Clinton's ratings among Latino registered voters are 73% favorable and
24% unfavorable; Obama's are 76% favorable and 17% unfavorable.
Also, more than three-quarters of Latinos who reported
that they voted for Clinton in the primaries now say they are inclined
to vote for Obama in the fall election, while just 8% say they are
inclined to vote for McCain. That means that Obama is doing better
among Hispanics who supported Clinton than he is among non-Hispanic
white Clinton supporters, 70% of whom now say they have transferred
their allegiance to Obama while 18% say they plan to vote for McCain ....
A 53-year-old wife and mother fatally shot herself shortly after faxing
a letter to her mortgage company saying that by the time they
foreclosed on her house that day, she would be dead.
Police said that Carlene Balderrama used her husband's high-powered
rifle to kill herself Tuesday afternoon, shortly after faxing the
letter at 2:30 p.m. ... The auction was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and interested buyers arrived at the property in Taunton, about 35 miles south of Boston, while Balderrama's body was still inside ....
[A] suicide note found next to Balderrama told her husband, John, and
24-year-old son to "take the (life) insurance money and pay for the
I think it's 50/50 that the insurance company refuses to pay off and 100% the mortgage company will proceed with the foreclosure if it doesn't.
If you need repairs or maintenance on your roof in the Philadelphia area, I'd highly recommend Brad Zacharia of Zacharia Roofing, 215-969-5757. His reputation is a guy who knows how to get it done right at the lowest cost, and my experience bears that out. Also, he shows up when he says he will and returns calls.
When it comes to copyright law, not knowing the rules can get you in a
lot of hot water, but figuring out the rules can be just as
frustrating. Luckily, the American Library Association has created a
simple tool that tells you whether or not you need to hunt down a
rights owner to use a book, movie, song, or other work in a project.
2. Clinton's Debt Reveals Flaws in Campaign Finance Laws: An interesting analysis of an issue that I have wondered about. If Hillary Clinton can't pay off her massive campaign debt by the deadline (the convention), then what? The way it is handled undermines the purposes behind legal limits on campaign contributions.
3. The American Constitution Society has Aaron Zisser blogging the military trial of Salim Hamdan at Gitmo, here, here and here so far.
4. Mistress Matisse on how a mainstream magazine uses a cover photo of a cartoon dominatrix to sell itself:
As usual, while the mainstream media (and the psychology community) is
far from totally enlightened and accepting of my life, they have no
objection whatsoever to using our imagery to sell magazines. Thank you ever so, Psychology Today. ...
Reality check: I cannot recall the last time I saw someone wearing a
little Zorro mask like that at a kink event. It might be, oh, never. If I did, I would probably snicker, frankly.
5. VoteGopher.com: A one-stop shopping site for all information on the policies positions of Obama and McCain. Put together by college students and recent grads, so pretty usable. The constant gopher imagery is a little weird.
6. Over-educated internet users as a class don't do manual labor and are fat. So invent an exercise routine that mimics actual work: Shovelglove. I have a better idea: Buy a run-down house with your friends, and fix it up. You'll get muscles quick and have something to show for it at the end.
A summer blockbuster apparently has political overtones. Compare Spencer Ackerman, who thinks it is pro-Cheney:
[The threat of a devastating terrorist attack] creates an awful burden on those entrusted to protect
others. "When Cheney spoke about it on national television a few days
after the attacks," writes Ron Suskind, in his surprisingly sympathetic
book explicating Cheney's weltanschauung, "The One Percent Doctrine,"
"he had given it a note of recognition -- this is what we must do,
where we must live, like it or not."
That recognition is how Batman attempts to square his moral circle. He
creates a surveillance technology that gives him limitless power,
something that horrifies his ally Lucius Fox, and vows to destroy it
after its first use. (In the comics, it's known as the Brother Eye,
and it leads to disaster.) Only by abusing the trust of Gotham City can
Batman redeem it. But through it all, he reassures himself -- at least
implicitly -- that his awareness of his betrayal is what separates him
from the Joker: intentions. It is this, and not consequences, that
matter here. As part of his burden, he recognizes that he has become an
outlaw, and accepts the ensuing persecution from the Gotham Police
[O]ne of the central issues in the new movie is Batman’s vigilanteism.
Batman acts outside of the law, but does so for what he – in his and
our minds – believe is the greater good. When the movie starts, though,
we learn that there are new copycat Batmans, trying out the vigilante’s
hat for themselves. And what’s to stop them? After all, Batman doesn’t
have any real legitimacy. Why does he get to dress up as a bat, while
While these imitation Batmans are fairly harmless, the Joker is a
far different story (Ledger/Nolan’s Joker, to be precise). The Joker –
like Batman – is acting for his own reasons. I don’t want to give away
the whole film, but he has a different sort of philosophical vision in
his head and – like Batman – goes about making it reality. And like
Batman, he acts outside of the law. ...
[A]s long as [Batman's] using the authority, we’re all ok. But once
one person can break the law because they subjectively think they’re
doing “good,” then what’s to stop everyone else? More to the point,
what’s to stop the Jokers? What makes the Joker’s worldview objectively
worse than Batmans? ...
From here, you can see the connection to the problems with the
unitary executive and Yoo-ism in all their glory. These people broke
the law, but did it for subjectively good reasons (or let’s assume they
did). Except for the US Attorney scandal, there’s no evidence that
they’ve been breaking the law (torturing, spying, etc.) for naked
But once the legitimacy threshold is crossed, it’s hard to see how
Jokers won’t eventually arise. After all, if we can break the law to
beat terrorists, why can’t we break the law if we’re convinced (really firmly convinced in our heads) that electing Democrats or Republicans will destroy the country?
Duncan does a great job of advertising the thing, but it only reaches people who read political blogs. We need to create a little advertising slush fund so we can get the word out to people who don't do their activism online.
Once upon a time James Dobson made the Republican Party dance to his tune, and the GOP got the boot from the electorate as a result (along with such things as, oh, the war, the economy, incompetence, lying, and lawlessness). Now:
"I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson said in a radio broadcast to air Monday. "... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might." ...
Dobson and other evangelical leaders unimpressed by McCain increasingly are taking a lesser-of-two-evils approach to the 2008 race.
Aww, what's so evil about Obama, Jimmy?
"Barack Obama contradicts and threatens everything I believe about
the institution of the family and what is best for the nation. His
radical positions on life, marriage and national security force me to
reevaluate the candidacy of our only other choice, John McCain."
What a nutcase. Obama's a dedicated centrist on abortion, gay marriage
and national security; he holds positions that are well in the
mainstream of American public opinion.
Earlier, Dobson had said he could not in good conscience vote for McCain, citing the candidate's support for embryonic stem cell research
and opposition to a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage, as well as concerns about McCain's temper and foul language.
Dobson said on the radio program he must consider McCain's record
against abortion rights and support for smaller government, and added
McCain "seems to understand the Muslim threat." He also indicated
McCain's choice of a running mate will be a factor.
"The Muslim threat." Bigot. Maybe someone should ask Sen. McCain if he agrees that Muslims are a threat to the U.S., hmm?
Last month, Dobson accused Obama, in a 2006 speech on faith and
politics, of distorting the Bible and pushing a "fruitcake
interpretation" of the Constitution.
Obama replied that Dobson was "making stuff up" and portrayed his
speech as an attempt by people of faith, like himself, to "try to
translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can
have an open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us."
The problem for Dobson is that Obama poses a serious threat to the ideological basis of Dobson's power - the idea God loves white, heterosexual, American patriarchy (at home) and hegemony (abroad). If Obama gets in, he could shatter Dobson's rice bowl forever, by demonstrating to the voters who used to follow Dobson what a real liberal Christian devoted to secular principles in government looks like.
I don't know if Obama is going to win or not. I do know he's made the right enemies. On a related note, from Professor Bitch, this true-life dialogue:
Mr. B.: Well, I'm not voting for Jeremiah Wright. I'm voting for Obama. He left that church. Man: But he attended it! With that black pastor saying "goddamn America" . . . Mr. B.: Wait a minute. Why is it important that the pastor is black? Man: . . . . Mr. B.: You made a point of saying that. Does it matter to you? Man, aggressively: Well, maybe it does. Mr. B.: Well then, you can vote for John McCain. Even his hair is white.
As Dr. B says, "I hope McCain's proud of his supporters." Heh. Indeedy.
The radio tells me there is no diesel fuel available on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the Allentown and Dowingtown truck stops. I am too lazy busy to check on the reason, so I will assume it's Bush's fault.
A bunch of people got very happy yesterday that Maliki supposedly endorsed Obama's Iraq withdrawal timetable:
This could be one of those unexpected events that forever changes the
way the world perceives an issue. Iraq's Prime Minister agrees with
Obama, and there's no wiggle room or fudge factor. This puts John
McCain in an extremely precarious spot: what's left to argue? to argue
against Maliki would be to predicate that Iraqi sovereignty at this
point means nothing. ...
Via e-mail, a prominent Republican strategist who occasionally provides
advice to the McCain campaign said, simply, "We're fucked."
Predictably, that quote spread across the blog world very quickly. And predictably, today Maliki says it's all a big misunderstanding:
Comments al-Maliki made to the magazine were "misunderstood and mistranslated'' and were not "conveyed accurately,'' [government spokesman Ali] al- Dabbagh said in the statement.
Whatever the truth is (we'll never know), in general people should not put too much stock in a mere statement by a politician. When the story broke yesterday, I thought to myself that Maliki's check from the Bush administration must not have cleared. Today, it did, so the story is different and "the way the world perceives an issue" is not forever changed.
If you want to support a great thrift store with your donations (especially if you dislike supporting religious institutions like Salvation Army), or if you are on a budget and need a good deal on clothes, housewares, music, furniture and books, I highly recommend Philly AIDS Thrift, located at 514 Bainbridge St. So far, PAT has made $97,500 in donations to Philly area HIV/AIDS organizations.
One of John McCain's fellow POW's in Vietnam defended the war in Iraq, saying, "The Muslims have said either we kneel or they're going to kill us.''
In a phone call with reporters arranged by Republican Party of Florida, Colonel Bud Day added: "I don't intend to kneel and I don't advocate to anybody that we kneel, and John doesn't advocate to anybody that we kneel.''
I wonder sometimes about otherwise normal people who vote Republican. They themselves may have no animosity towards particular groups of people, they aren't themselves corrupt or immoral, but they associate themselves with evil, incompetent, venal bigots.
[F]or a certain class of nation-states, possession of nuclear weapons, even a crude handful, remains a worthwhile expenditure even at the cost of great national sacrifice ( the ”We will have them even if we have to eat grass!” scenario). North Korea has starved upwards of a million of it’s citizens to death; Pakistan is desperately poor, economically backward and has a regime that can only govern only a portion of the territory it claims to rule but both Islamabad and Pyonggyang are nuclear armed today. These states value nuclear weapons because, simply, they desire to be independent powers at the least and dominating hegemons of their neighborhoods if possible. Nuclear weapons are a critical means in formulating strategies to realize these ends, not ends in themselves.
He lays out the general strategy a small, poor country is engaging in when it pursues nuclear weapons.
The Census Bureau says the federal Defense of Marriage Act bars the agency from recognizing gay marriages in the nation's 10-year count, even though the marriages are legal in Massachusetts and California.
I'm surprised Republicans didn't reclassify members of disfavored groups as 3/5ths of a regular, white, straight Christian.
[Census bureau director Steven] Murdock said the bureau will strive to count same-sex couples in the
2010 census, just as it has in the past. But those people who say they
are married will be reclassified as unmarried, same-sex partners.
Correction: "Married people will be reclassified as unmarried." There, fixed.
Same-sex couples with no children will not be classified as
families, according the bureau's policy. Those with children who are
related to the head of the household will be classified as families.
Again, correction: "Families will be counted as strangers living together." Voila! If you aren't counted, you don't count. Conservatism is so simple.
Breaking with the national organization’s stance on a right to bear
arms, the Nevada affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union
supports individual gun ownership rights. In a statement posted on its Web site,
the Nevada ACLU said it “respects the individual’s right to bear arms
subject to constitutionally permissible regulations. The ACLU of Nevada
will defend this right as it defends other constitutional rights.” The
Nevada affiliate’s board of directors reached the decision following
the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in D.C. v. Heller, which found that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.
The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller.
While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of
the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important
questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future
litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which
weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has
They get justifiably pasted as hypocrites in comments.
This is the first time that I know of that ACLU National has taken a position that is less rights-protecting than that of the Supreme Court, indeed, than that of the right wing of the Supreme Court.
Drink Liberally this Tuesday July 15 with your Drinking Liberally pals,
at the Tangier, 18th and Lombard Streets, in Philadelphia! Drinking
starts at 6:00 PM, and includes free wings for early birds and drink
I've been remiss in posting the numbers from the Vote for Change voter registration events I have been running or attending, but I caught up today by making some backdated posts. So far, I have run 14 events since May 10th, at which we registered a total of 403 people.
If it's not been clear already, one of the strategic pillars of the Obama campaign is to register as many new voters as possible, for two reasons: First, obviously, more votes for Obama, and second, to drive the media narrative about him being a game-changer, producing the tidal wave of support from those who hadn't participated in the electoral process before.
Just for informational purposes, about 7,260,000 people are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, of which about 4.1 million are Democrats. Total adult population of Pennsylvania is about 9.6 million, which leaves 2.3 million unregistered people.
My new personal goal is register 1 million of them by the deadline of October 6th.
Volunteered at a fundraiser this afternoon. I got to meet Sen. Edwards. I am sure he will never forget the experience.
It is true, he is the best-tanned white man alive. And his hair raised $28,000, while I watched.
Relatedly, I have observed: Average rich people are rude. Two of them actually said, "Don't you know who I am?", or variants thereof, to me today. I laughed at one of them. She asked, "Do you think that's funny?" I said yeah. The benefits of being a volunteer. Really rich people, on the other hand, are always very courteous and soft-spoken. You can get more with a billion dollars and a smile than a billion dollars alone.
Obama votes for more warrantless wiretapping. Ugh. I read the bill and conclude that, while it says a lot of nice things about what the executive branch can and can't do with the power, and giving Congress oversight over it, it doesn't contain the feature that is essential to me as a civil libertarian: A warrant, issued by an Article III judge, based upon probable cause, when a U.S. citizen is being investigated. Part of the problem here, of course, is that this is a spying bill, not a criminal law bill, where the exclusionary rule applies and Fourth Amendment law is highly developed. When you don't have a criminal defendant, of course, there is no party opposing the government's search in court. Here what you have is a program designed to gather intelligence, not evidence. But I don't care, because for me the Fourth Amendment is not just about criminal law, it's a blanket prohibition on search of U.S. citizens without probable cause. And this program not only violates that prohibition, the very secrecy of it makes it impossible for citizens to regain their rights.
Fortunately for Obama, a controversy that will be much simpler for the media to understand erupted today, which will overshadow the FISA issue in the news. Jesse Jackson was caught on video (warning: O'Reilly) saying Obama's been talking down to black people on the faith-based program issue, and Jackson would like to cut Obama's balls off for doing so. I'm guessing, but I think what Jackson meant was Obama's emphasis that he supported funding for churches that do social work because they're closer to the people, not because they're churches. Again, a guess, but to Jackson the point is that they're churches and so by definition better at doing good. Whatever, Obama had his ass saved by Jackson threatening to cut his balls off. It's getting very crotch-level this political season.
So, I am extremely disappointed in Obama supporting the FISA bill. It would have passed without him, and I understand why he went along rather than filibuster it. (Basically, the people he really needs to convince to vote for him - the 4 or 5 million idiots who decide Presidential elections - couldn't care less about the Fourth Amendment and don't want to know anything much other than whether Obama is a secret Muslim and if he can make gas prices go down.) But still, I am putting basically all of my free time into volunteering for the campaign, so it makes me feel whipsawed to have my candidate do this.
Still, I know Obama is not especially liberal, because I have been saying so. I support him because I think he's a very good campaigner, far better than his closest rival for the nomination was, and I want the Democrat to win. I am working to elect him because seats on the Supreme Court are at stake, and because we need to get through a good 4 to 8 years without embarking on any more disastrous wars. That's good enough. I wish a perfect candidate would win, but that would require all the people not being idiots, so the chances are low.
The problem for Obama is that, while he can certainly make an argument
that would convince the American people that working against the bill
would have been the right thing to do, doing so would have taken time
and a considerable amount of energy. Time is limited in this campaign
and I think he just made a calculated decision that spending time on
this debate just wasn't worth it.
I disagree with that decision.
Not only because of what was given up but because this fight is one
that needs to be made if Obama is going to be a real agent for change
(if not now, when?) But Obama apparently feels different and he's the
candidate. Not me.
They may seem like a political odd couple, but Mark Penn, the former
strategist for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Karen Hughes, a
trusted adviser to President Bush, are joining together to provide
crisis communications consulting and advice to corporate clients.
In fact, Hughes and Penns share the same ideology: $.
We registered voters on the Parkway for the 4th from 2 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. The crowd was good, but the rain got in the way.
Registered by me:
Prior running total: 68
Day 10 total: 26
Total to date: 94
Registered by my volunteers:
Prior running total: 118
Day 10 total: 63 Total to date: 181
Just for comparison's sake, during the primary I registered about 400 people by myself in 10 days leading up to the registration deadline, as opposed to 275 between me and my volunteers over 10 days this summer. It will pick up in September.
It looks like, by a stroke of luck and a friend doing me a huge favor, I will be able to go to Denver during the convention. Not in the hall, but in the media facility outside, and a nice hotel room close by.
Good: Obama's sister connecting with Asian-Americans. Good: Obama and Bill Clinton chat for 20 minutes. Good: Obama delivers speech on what is and what isn't true patriotism, while media actually does its job for once and points out that people believe a bunch of lies about him. Not so good: Obama calls out MoveOn for "General Betrayus" and disavows Clark's simple statement of the truth. Good: Obama goes after those evangelicals who are sick of being tools of the GOP. Total fucking bullshit: Obama proposes using more tax money to subsidize social services delivered by churches, allowing them explicitly to discriminate in hiring and tacitly to proselytize the clients.
It'll be interesting to see how people react now that Obama has to
appeal to general election voters. It's a pretty sure thing that he'll
be talking a lot more about God, and he'll have to up the pander on
Israel, if only to keep the manufactured outrage to a minimum. No doubt
there'll be plenty of Democrats who'll remind us that they just knew
he'd be a sell-out.
Obama's whole shtick is "kumbaya". That means he will work to maintain his image as being above the mudslinging (as perceived by the media, like the Clark thing and MoveOn), and embrace "common-sense solutions that work" (again, as perceived by the media, like faith-based programs). "Kumbaya" means triangulation.
Update: Brendan in comments alerts me to the fact that Obama actually said discrimination in employment on the basis of religion using taxpayer money was and will be forbidden. Hence the correction.
However. Saying that something is the law is not the same as that being the practice. The reason why giving large amounts of tax money to churches is a bad idea is that the people administering the programs have a very sincere, deep-seated belief in God, and often feel compelled to share that with people. They see nothing wrong with bringing their faith into their work, and would vehemently deny that they were doing anything wrong. It just so happens that all their clients have to listen to their spiel, and the workers would get very upset if they disagreed or told them to keep their beliefs to themselves.
Multiply these little incidents across thousands of organizations, and you see the enforcement problem. People who need social services are hardly in the position to raise hell about having their rights being violated. So "the law" becomes a dead letter when there is no practical way to enforce it.