Friday, January 14, 2005

Un-Inaugural Option One

The proverbial voting with your wallet:
"Not One Damn Dime Day
Thursday, January 20, 2005 (Inauguration Day)

On Not One Damn Dime Day those who oppose what is happening in our name in
Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer
spending. During Not One Damn Dime Day please don't spend money. Not one
damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse
purchases in person or online or by credit card. Not one damn dime for
anything for 24 hours.

It doesn't really matter that everyone will be out spending what they didn't
the next day -- a point or two will have been made. Since our religious
leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political
leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day,
Thursday, January 20, 2005 is Not One Damn Dime Day in America.

On Not One Damn Dime Day, please boycott Walmart, KMart and Target. Please
don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any
fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do
what you can to shut down the retail economy. The object is simple. Remind
the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they
are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop
it. Not One Damn Dime Day is to remind them, too, that they work for the
people of the United States of America, not for the international
corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and
funnel cash into the coffers of US politicians.

Not One Damn Dime Day is about supporting the troops. The politicians put
the troops in harm's way. Now more than 1,200 brave young Americans and some
estimated 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan --
a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left- or right-wing agenda
to rant about. On Not One Damn Dime Day you take action by doing nothing.
You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing
gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our
politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give
America back to the people."

Friday, January 07, 2005

W's new speechwriter: watch your back

Wall Street Journal editorial-page writer William McGurn has a new gig as head speechwriter.

I suppose this is a good move, in some respects, but I can't help but wonder if most of the job couldn't be outsourced (we know that's still going to be 'in' in '05 with this crew in charge) to a software program akin to Spell Check, one that would simply:

-Delete all "-ing" endings and replace with 'in (i.e. "fixin' all the taxin' you've been payin'") as part of the overarching Folks It Up program, designed to hide preppy estabilishment roots behind Stuff That Sounds Like Real People, Only Dumber
-Scan text and delete all words over two syllables
-Automatically fill in a predetermined number of 'hot' words such as freedom, values, Amurica, and Trial Lawyers
-Draw from archived historical speeches dating from the pre-suffrage, pre-Civil Rights Good Ol'Days.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Some Backbone in the Senate-Barbara Boxer

This is very heartening-try not to think too much about what would have happened if a Senator had done this in 2000.

Senator Boxer's Statement On Her Objection To The Certification Of Ohio's Electoral Votes
January 6, 2005

For most of us in the Senate and the House, we have spent our lives fighting for things we believe in -- always fighting to make our nation better.

We have fought for social justice. We have fought for economic justice. We have fought for environmental justice. We have fought for criminal justice.

Now we must add a new fight -- the fight for electoral justice.

Every citizen of this country who is registered to vote should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth of their community, their vote has as much weight as the vote of any Senator, any Congressperson, any President, any cabinet member, or any CEO of any Fortune 500 Corporation.

I am sure that every one of my colleagues -- Democrat, Republican, and Independent -- agrees with that statement. That in the voting booth, every one is equal.

So now it seems to me that under the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees the right to vote, we must ask:

Why did voters in Ohio wait hours in the rain to vote? Why were voters at Kenyan College, for example, made to wait in line until nearly 4 a.m. to vote because there were only two machines for 1300 voters?

Why did poor and predominantly African-American communities have disproportionately long waits?

Why in Franklin County did election officials only use 2,798 machines when they said they needed 5,000? Why did they hold back 68 machines in warehouses? Why were 42 of those machines in predominantly African-American districts?

Why did, in Columbus area alone, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 voters leave polling places, out of frustration, without having voted? How many more never bothered to vote after they heard about this?

Why is it when 638 people voted at a precinct in Franklin County, a voting machine awarded 4,258 extra votes to George Bush. Thankfully, they fixed it -- but how many other votes did the computers get wrong?

Why did Franklin County officials reduce the number of electronic voting machines in downtown precincts, while adding them in the suburbs? This also led to long lines.

In Cleveland, why were there thousands of provisional ballots disqualified after poll workers gave faulty instructions to voters?

Because of this, and voting irregularities in so many other places, I am joining with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones to cast the light of truth on a flawed system which must be fixed now.

Our democracy is the centerpiece of who we are as a nation. And it is the fondest hope of all Americans that we can help bring democracy to every corner of the world.

As we try to do that, and as we are shedding the blood of our military to this end, we must realize that we lose so much credibility when our own electoral system needs so much improvement.

Yet, in the past four years, this Congress has not done everything it should to give confidence to all of our people their votes matter.

After passing the Help America Vote Act, nothing more was done.

A year ago, Senators Graham, Clinton and I introduced legislation that would have required that electronic voting systems provide a paper record to verify a vote. That paper trail would be stored in a secure ballot box and invaluable in case of a recount.

There is no reason why the Senate should not have taken up and passed that bill. At the very least, a hearing should have been held. But it never happened.

Before I close, I want to thank my colleague from the House, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

Her letter to me asking for my intervention was substantive and compelling.

As I wrote to her, I was particularly moved by her point that it is virtually impossible to get official House consideration of the whole issue of election reform, including these irregularities.

The Congresswoman has tremendous respect in her state of Ohio, which is at the center of this fight.

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a judge for 10 years. She was a prosecutor for 8 years. She was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame in 2002.

I am proud to stand with her in filing this objection.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Needlepoint=The New Psychotropic

My clever and talented sister turned me on to this approach to anger management: using the repetitive, satisfying motion of a needle through teacloth to craft wicked twists on your grandmother's craft projects. And, it helps to have your hands occupied when the TV's on, if only to prevent throwing a heavy object (that you might actually like) through the screen when the news pops on.

Super-cool Austin resident Jenny Hart started it all at Sublime Stitching,
check out Subversive Cross Stitch as well.

How can you help but love a tea towel bearing Dick Cheney's best quote? (Hint: it begins with 'Go.')

Thursday, December 30, 2004

More Peace in 30 seconds

Your cell phone is about to become accessible to the telemarketing hordes. To put your cell on the National Do Not Call List, pick it up and dial 1-888-382-1222.

Monday, December 06, 2004

HRH Prince Bernhard, 1911-2004

Although it is a holiday (Sinteklaas, the old Dutch version of Christmas), that's all been overshadowed by the passing of the Queen's father, who died a few days ago.

Bernhard, a German Prince by birth, fought fiercely for his adopted country in WWII,shooting at Nazi planes from his palace, fleeing to England to train and serve as a fighter pilot. He was married to Queen Juliana for over 60 years, smoke and drank heavily his entire life, went from a passionate hunter to conservationist and co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund. He crashed several cars, got tainted by a bribery scandal, had an open falling-out with his wife about her reliance on a faith healer (the government stepped in to mediate), and he won the love of millions of subjects, from veterans to factory workers to the country's jet-set. A big life, lived large.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Happy Hour Talk

Landed at 10 in the morning, in the train by 10:45, picked up at 2:00 and at a bar for a happy hour celebrating Sabine's mother's 60th birthday by 4:00. Fifteen women, aged 40-60, in a cafe decorated to look like a cave with a giant fireplace (which I stayed near, since it is cold and damp, as you'd expect.)

Funnily enough for the Dutch (probably one of the most direct and outspoken people in the world), the folks who met me as the-friend-from-America didn't say a word about politics, although they were full of questions abour Georgia and my living here and the general differences in lifestyle. I finally started things up a little with one of the more colorful ladies, and we had an interesting talk about how incredibly fast things have changed, both in the Netherlands and in the US.

The line I remember most, on the subject of the gay marriage witchhunt: "That kind of thing could never, ever happen here. Not because people don't hate people, although nobody cares about the bedroom part of other people's lives really, but even people who hate people don't think they can put their hate in the country's consistution."