Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Would you rather...

There's a poll out from the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience asking whether voters would choose George W. Bush or a reanimated George Washington if they were running against one another for President. Washington beat Bush overall by about 20 points, but the party-line breakdown has some chins wagging:
Republicans in the survey supported Bush by a margin of more than 2 to 1, while Democrats and independents overwhelmingly favored Washington.

Last night on Air America's horrid show, the Majority Report, host, Sam Seder was shocked (shocked, I say!) that those stinking Republican morons could possibly prefer Bush to Washington. New Donkey has similar (if better articulated) thoughts posted today.
Am I alone in thinking it's a stupid bloody question to ask in the first place? It's like asking if you'd prefer having Hippocrates or Dr. Nick take your appendix out. Next option please...
I wouldn't vote for George Washington for President and I'm anything but a true-Bush-believer. And it's not just because I have an aversion to zombie politicians. I simply prefer a man who's seen the miracle of flush toilets up close as leader of the free world. If the question was put to me I'd have to ask who the third party candidates were.
If we're looking for reasons to criticize the right, there are plenty right here in the realm of the possible.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Check it out...

The current Mayor of Oakland, former Governor of California, likely future Attorney General of California, my mother's favorite politician, and my neighbor, Jerry Brown, has himself a brand spanking new blog.
If it's like his media appearances, it will be anything but boring...
I've added a link on the list of sites more interesting than this one. Give it a gander...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

That's a hell of an idea!

Chris Bowers over at MyDD offers Democratic leaders a fantastic, innovative idea.
Along the lines of MoveOn.org's Bush In Thirty Second you should start a wide-ranging, public campaign to encourage individuals within the blogosphere and the netroots to produce television, radio, internet, newspaper, direct mail and door hanging advertisements for both district wide, state-wide, and nationwide distribution in the 2006 Congressional campaigns. The benefits of such a campaign would be enormous[...]

Pelosi, Reid, Dean, et al should consider the plan seriously. Nothing endears someone to you like asking them for help. Some copyright issues and such would probably need to be worked out, but that's what lawyers are for, and I suspect there's no shortage of those at the DNC. There's also the problem of dingbats who think calling Bush Hitler is a good message, but they wouldn't be reinventing the wheel here. Moveon.org already made those mistakes. Their experience could provide valuable lessons on what and what not to do. Either way, huzzah for innovation and breaking out of the stodgy old campaign mold!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union

I'm currently watching and listening to a fabulously lo-fi C-SPAN.org stream of the State of the Union speech, while simultaneously reading Andrew Sullivan's and Wonkette's runnung blog commentary (blogentary?). God bless the internet, says I.

Best thng about the whole affair? this line from Wonkette:
9:35 Operative: "Oh, great: An ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence, brought to you by the president who wants to ban abortion and starts wars for no reason."

Comedy gold, folks. Comedy gold...

Your liver will thank you

Here it is: The 2005 State of the Union drinking game. Fun for the whole family!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Color me insulted...

I take great umbrage at something the Moose posted today:
The other issue that the Moose will keep an eye out for is immigration reform. Immigration is to the Republicans what trade is to the Democrats - it splits the party right down the middle. Nothing fires up the talk show right than this issue - they are on the side the restrictionists. In reaching out to the Latino community, the President has taken a more progressive approach on immigration reform, but has failed to move legislation. Will he make it a priority and take on the restrictionist right?
The Moose will be watching whether the President is in touch with his inner compassionate conservative or whether he will cave to the xenophobes. (emphases mine)

Well, I think the immigration reform plan the President has outlined is a fantastically bad idea. Does that make me a regressive xenophobe? Mr. Moose might be shocked to learn that there is a rational, non-xenophobic, even *gasp* compassionate case to be made against the plan.

There are two essential parts of Bush's plan:
1) Raising the number of green cards given out each year.
2) Creation of a "guest worker" program, wherein foreign workers will be allowed entry into the US for an unspecified length of time to take jobs that can't be filled with domestic labor. Undocumented workers that are already here will have to pay a fee to enter the program, while those outside our borders will not. All participants in the program will be able to apply for citizenship, but there will be no preference for them over non-participants. There will be various incentives for them to eventually return home.

I have no problem at all with issuing more green cards. It's good for our labor needs, and it's what the US is about, so we should go for it. No hard numbers were outlined in the plan, but whatever the administration has in mind, they should double it.

The main problem I have is that the plan does nothing to strengthen our borders. Without stepping up enforcement of existing laws, this plan does less than nothing. Employers that hire undocumented immigrants need to be dealt with harshly-jailed if need be. The border also has to be way more tightly controlled to prevent more undocumented workers from coming in. I understand people living in horrendous poverty wanting to claim better opportunity, and don't begrudge them the attempt to do whatever they can to feed and clothe their families, but they should be made to do it legally. There's nothing xenophobic about wanting workers to be able to avail themselves of the legal protections against exploitation and dangerous working conditions that legal workers have. And the guest worker program won't be enough to stop the exploitation. If we continue to allow as many undocumented workers over the border as we have, and do nothing to enforce the law on the employers, the guest worker program will be a joke. Why would an employer hire a guest worker at a higher wage and with more bothersome paperwork when there are forty laborers with the same skills and no hassles on a local street corner waiting to be picked up?

Tightly controlling the border is the indispensable cornerstone without which any immigration "reform" is nothing. And there's nothing compassionate about allowing people to come in under cover of darkness only to be put to work at near slave wages doing crushing work picking strawberries with no recourse if they are screwed out of their pay or injured.

Clamping the border shut is good fiscal policy besides. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that the cost to California alone from undocumented immigrants is $10.5 billion a year. This may be an oversimplified picture. I'm not well acquainted with their methodology so it's possible that this study fails to take a variety of factors such as social security taxes withheld but never collected, and lower produce prices into account. The fact remains, however, that the affected states are paying the high costs and the federal government is not reimbursing them. For a state like California, in pretty dire financial straits, this is calamitous. And the services that will need to be cut to get the state out of its budgetary hole benefit the poor, including immigrants. Is it xenophobic to be concerned about that?

So yes, there is a principled, dare I say progressive, position to be taken against the President's immigration reform plan. I'm not saying all right-thinking people necessarily agree with it. But, resorting to knee-jerk characterizations of those who oppose it as xenophobes makes Mr. Moose sound like something other than the thoughtful centrist he's always seemed to be.

Wow. Just...wow.

From the AP today:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners. The U.S. military said it was investigating, but the claim's authenticity could not be immediately confirmed.
The posting, on a Web site that frequently carried militants' statements, included a photo of what that statement said was an American soldier, wearing desert fatigues and seated on a concrete floor with his hands tied behind his back. The figure in the photo appeared stiff and expressionless, and the photo's authenticity could not be confirmed. (emphasis, mine)

Actually, the photo's authenticity can be confirmed by anyone with a functioning pair of eyes. Those bastards have kidnapped GI Joe! I don't care what we have to do-call in the Transformers, He-Man, the Thundercats, anyone! We've gotta get this real American hero back!

Update: They seem to have figured it out. Nice work, folks!