Saturday, June 28, 2008

Way Cool Org

I mentioned earlier that I had volunteered to drive some doorbellers to their destination. I had never heard of this organization until today, but what a fabulous org that it is.

Washington Bus is an organization that gets young people involved in politics, civic duties and just plain having fun and making a difference.

I don't remember any kind of hanging out with young people when I was young that did not involve some keg in some woods and end in some running from the cops. So, imagine my surprise when I had the opportunity to meet these kids; not only do they care about their community, state, country and the planet...they are doing something about it.

What they do, when it comes to Bus Trips, is that they find a candidate that they support - a Progressive candidate - and they go through a training on how to doorbell, take a bus trip out the candidate's district and then go door to door pitching said candidate.

According to their website, 40 percent of today’s 15- to 25-year olds volunteer in their communities. W.O.W. It is so nice to be exposed to something positive for a change.

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What Happens When We Don't Think This All The Way Through

My wife and I took the tots to Pixar's Wall-E yesterday. The good news is that Pixar has made a nuanced, beautiful film that keeps to it's traditions of heart and storytelling.

The bad news is that Pixar has made a great film that's . . well . . contributing to one of the very things it picks at - meaningless overconsumption.

Since Pixar is a Disney company, one can't be surprised at the marketing and toys. But were the cheap disposable latex wristband watches, laminated cards advertising other Disney films, and the stickers being handed out to the kids yesterday, really necessary? Or are the marketing flacks just dumber than bag full of hammers, rather than more opportunistically evil than lawyers and politicians?

More on the movie a little later - As this isn't a review site nor a blog with headlined posts, if I post something, I don't want to inadvertently spoil anything.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Like to See Girls of That Caliber

Dennis pointed out that I've been working all day - I totally missed the Supreme Court ruling that granted an individual right to own guns exists, and striking down the local municipal ban in DC. (Those with a sense of humour should read the link text . .) Link to the PDF

I love Dennis, but his sense of caustic comedy was off the mark for once. Unlike what the full metal jacket worshiping desired, the 5-4 majority (Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy & Thomas) ruled only that Yes, there is a right to bear arms - but not machine guns or other unusual implements of destruction - and that the DC law banning handguns for self-defense in the home is unconstitutional.

The minority wrote 2 dissents which they all joined in, twice - which was the judicial equivalent of all of them not only objecting to the majority, but hiring Demi Moore to stand up and strenously object to the majority's ruling. It looks gorgeous dressed up in Navy whites, it speaks with an inspired Aaron Sorkin script, but means absolutely nothing in the end, no matter how many times the minority comes to the same conclusion to which they all agree on.

Which makes this thing look even more baffling to me. It obvious this thing was crafted with the best right-wing talking points in regards to the Second Amendment, while balancing the necessity for some restriction in arms ownership in the interest of law enforcement in order to bring the moderates on board. The seriously gun-happy are going to be pissy because it doesn't touch the Brady Bill or let them finally pull the AK-47 out of the closet and brandish it with the pride of someone with a 3 foot long assault pecker. And it obviously gives the middle finger to gun control advocates. If anything, the first part of today's opinion simply enumerates in stone the status quo. And then because of the Rehnquist tradition of ruling with the most narrow scope tolerable, the Court simply just simply slapped only DC's restrictions, ignoring the hundreds to thousands of other more restrictive state and local laws.

The worst part is that it guts local attempts at firearms control - which is really what's important. It's the cities that need more restrictive controls, and can implement them more effectively than the federal background checks. (I read a fairly persuasive article on local control anticipating the decision a few days ago, but can't remember where) From what I understand, DC's gun problem was completely out-of-hand because of it's Federal city status (and politics) hampered enforcement, and the only solution became an outright ban. Once again, the residents of DC got shafted by the government that routinely disdains it's host city.

I've got no problems with guns and gun owners. The only time I've feared a gun possessor was a cop who I accidentally door dinged who went completely batshit on me for a few seconds before realizing it. If that story affirms anything, it's that a well-armed society may make for a more polite constabulary. :) But it's not the owners that are a concern - it's the possessors who obtain arms through means gray to black and use them to threaten, maim and kill.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So where do we go from here?

Three things are weighing on my mind today, 21 days after Ed Fallon lost his primary bid against Leonard Boswell.

One - Boswell, of course, voted with the rest of the Blue Dogs to help pass the FISA bill with its amnesties for telcos that helped the government spy on its' citizens. (No link - if you don't know about it, how the hell did you end up here?)

Two - Kos basically let the primary winners and incumbents know that when the Democratic Party has a firmer control 2010, those who vote against the progressive agenda will be challenged, and electorate willing, tossed. Their FISA vote will be remembered.

Three - but, Dennis Perrin gives a counter-argument of sorts - we're fools for thinking the means for our seizure of the government will be the Democratic Party. The Democratic party simply has happened to have the right people to bend to the will of outside political opinions.

In fact, much of the early civil rights movement was supported by communists and other radicals, while the early feminist arguments were made by anarchists like Emma Goldman. In these cases, the Dems, who were very slow to embrace either concept, were pressured by highly energized and politicized segments of the population. These activists didn't sit at computers, blogging about their personal concerns, hoping that the powers-that-be would be swayed by their posts and links; they organized, educated, marched, got clubbed, gassed, and arrested. They had decades of agitation behind them. They had independent political groups supporting them. They had spokespeople who made the case forcefully and eloquently.

Oddly enough, Dennis writes the real zinger earlier in the article.

One can speak of various alternatives, from grassroots organizing to self-education to politicizing the despised and forgotten, and if your suggestions don't end with voting for Better Democrats, most liberals will dismiss you as unserious. It must always come back to the mule team, regardless of what the Dems actually do or inevitably stand for. As I've said before, the vast majority of libs, especially those who blog, cannot and do not want to see a future where the Dems cease to exist. Hence their bottomless masochism, and their insistence that you join in.

It's easy this time to talk about electing Democrats. The independents want change and are willing to go with the obvious route to change - the Democratic Party. Those on the left and those in the Democratic Party are riding the wave and looking forward to the power that they're likely to achieve in November.

In 2010, the real bloodletting will erupt. That's when the various factions inside and outside Democratic Party will begin the real purity eliminations.

Meanwhile, those willing to be the adoring Boswells for the various powers & principalities that currently run the Union, still need to have their asses thrown out along the powers-that-be.

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Shameless Plugs.

Okay, first off, got a blog to plug. My friend Chris has started up a new project called Peacefully Prohibited. It's a blog about politics, culture, and religion, among other things. Good friend of mine, little younger than me, but he's got some good ideas and a unique perspective on things. Do me a solid and check him out.

Second, I did this before, but one more time: Letters to Indigo: The Diary of Alina Carpenter. It's a new project of mine, a fiction work, based on characters from the book I wrote downrange. It's not for everyone, just a side project, but if you read the excerpt I posted a while back, you might enjoy this. Again, I'd love to have some feedback.


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Monday, June 23, 2008

Rest in Peace, George

Picture borrowed from the NYT.

George Carlin died.

He brought a modicum of sanity to an insane world and did us all a favor when he took on the FCC.

George, you will be dearly missed.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The difference between looking presidential and looking like a douchebag

It's a mighty fine line. Even if you have a graphic designer's wet dream on your podium.

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Chez has picked up the meme running around about McNasty as our real-life Saul Tigh.

Which probably explains why Earth was in the state it was at the mid-season cliffhanger. Tigh could fuck up a hot fudge sundae without someone else to lean on. John McCain, leading the world's only remaining nuclear superpower, would probably be the only other person (other than Dubya) who could blow up the planet without MAD or another superpower in opposition.

If we're to get really mean - it makes MoDo's subtle slam at Michelle Obama kid of tame. (via Pandagon) I'd rather be compared to the French president's POA than Ellen Tigh.

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