December 7, 2005

I understand that sadly Dems feel the need to court The Big Money, though I think they'd be better off thinking of ways to wean themselves off that money. But when a major campaign narrative for 2006 is that Washington has become a corrupt cesspool of Republican congressmen and lobbyists, it's a bit odd to think it to be a good idea to brag about your attempts to dive into the shit.

Steny Hoyer is awful. is, of course, Ellen Tauscher. Here's a flashback to her wankerific wanking about the Bankruptcy Bill.
grrrr. HULK SMASH.
Source: Atrios Blog
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NYU's John Sexton.

I'm a little late to this story, but NYU's treatment of their graduate students is awful. It's certainly the case that academic administrators have the right to be assholes, but I'm not sure they should be able to get away with being such disingenuous ("full of shit") assholes.

Basically Bush's NLRB, which is pretty much on a perpetual mission to shrink the set of workers who are eligible to form unions, reversed a previous decision which had allowed graduate students to unionize. NYU said love ya Bushy, and told its union to FOAD.

I was teaching when then union was forming at UCI. Certainly there are understandable reasons why administration and faculty would be a nervous about such a thing, though the fact that they often are demonstrates just how "liberal" academia can be sometimes. Nonetheless the arguments in the end boiled down to "how dare our employees expect that we treat them like employees instead of indentured servants!" which is basically what the lofty goal of grad students unions is. Not all faculty treated grad students like that, of course, but there wasn't much of a mechanism in place to prevent it from happening either.

And the idea that teaching is "professional development" is nonsense. All work experience can be called "professional development."
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
I think people too often get this issue wrong and it's important that people understand. Neither Mel Gibson nor his father deny the holocaust exist in the sense that they claim it's a wholly fabricated story. While Papa Gibson has been more outspoken than his son, Mel has never (to my knowledge) distanced himself from his father's views and in fact in the interview in which he supposedly proved he wasn't a holocaust denier he in fact demonstrated that he really was one.

Holocaust deniers for the most part don't claim that it was entirely fiction. What they do is say that the numbers and intention were exaggerated, that World War II was a tragedy all around and the holocaust happened in the context of a war in which lots of people were killed. In other words, yeah some people died but it wasn't the big deal everyone makes it out to be. And, that's precisely what Gibson said to Peggy Noonan:

I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.

As David Neiwert wrote:

It's important, of course, to understand that this is exactly the storyline pushed by Holocaust deniers, namely, that yes, there were many Jews killed in Europe during World War II, but they were only a small part of the total who died in the war, and the "6 million" number is grossly exaggerated. Not only is this exactly what Hutton Gibson told the New York Times, you can find the exact same views at such Holocaust-denial organs as the Barnes Review, the Institute for Historical Review, and the Adelaide Institute.

There's no conflict between creating a miniseries based on a novel which takes place in the context of the holocaust and being what we call "holocaust deniers."
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

In September, DFA launched the "DFA Grassroots All-Star Competition," an online vote by the grassroots for the first DFA-List congressional candidate endorsement of 2006. Now, Sen. Russ Feingold's PAC, the "Progressive Patriots Fund" is hosting a similar competition with many of the same congressional contenders. Below is a message from the winner of the DFA Grassroots All-Star Competition, John Courage.

Dear DFA Members,

Thanks to your support, we are off to a great start with our campaign in a changing district. Lamar Smith, also known as "Tom Delay's best friend...," is going to have a serious run for his money in TX-CD21.

We've hired a campaign director and volunteer coordinator from Democracy for Texas, and will soon be launching the "Team Courage" campaign. We want our volunteers to know how important they are, what a critical role they will play and how this is a campaign for the people, which can only succeed with teamwork.

Today as the DFA Grassroots All-Star I am asking for your help. I was recently selected as one of 11 Congressional candidates who are up against Republican incumbents by the Progressive Patriots Fund (Senator Russ Feingold's PAC) for the "Progressive Patriot Award." The winner will receive $5,000 as well as national name recognition, which is something we need in order to receive national assistance.

This is a winnable race against Lamar Smith, and every little bit helps. I was completely honored to be named the DFA Grassroots All-Star, and if I were to be the Progressive Patriot as well, both would really compliment each other.

It will only take a minute to vote by clicking here:

...and will go a long way for Team Courage in our campaign to defeat Lamar Smith.

Thank you much,

John Courage

Categories: Blogs

There's nothing we can't face

Source: Atrios Blog
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Threads aren't just cute like everybody supposes.

Source: Atrios Blog
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December 6, 2005


Thread makes you do the wacky.

Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
"Not Guilty Verdicts in Florida Terror Trial Are Setback for U.S."

No. They may be setbacks for individuals in the Justice Department, or for the members of the Bush administration (I'll except the shorthand "Justice Department" or "Bush administration.) They aren't setbacks for the "U.S." unless you either define the "U.S." as the "executive branch" or if the headline writer thinks s/he knows something the jury in the cases didn't.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

Listen, should we thread forever Knowing as we do know fear destroys?

Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

Jeeni Criscenzo joins us to share her story of Thanksgiving from California.

On the day after Thanksgiving, on a picture perfect day in Carlsbad, CA, in a quiet, non-violent expression of opposition to a senseless war that is ravaging our sons and daughters, our future, and the people of Iraq, the silence was deafening! The words most often spoken at our Thanksgiving memorial for our troops on Friday were, "Thank you".

I know that I said it hundreds of times as I walked nearly 1 1/2 miles to personally thank over 900 participants standing in silence along Carlsbad Blvd. I was grateful that each of you had chosen to give part of your precious day off to show gratitude to our fallen troops and to urge our government to bring their buddies home. I am moved by how many people responded by thanking me for putting the event together. As their words and what their eyes said as they spoke them, echo in my heart, I fully comprehend the responsibility that comes with my decision to run for Congress.

Only six months ago, I too was praying for someone to stand up against the tide of greed and lies that has overtaken our government. I am reminded of a volunteer appreciation breakfast I attended in Tampa almost two years ago. It was the day after the Florida primaries and we had failed to get enough votes to garner delegates for Dennis Kucinich. I was heartbroken, and asked Congressman Kucinich, "What do we do now?"

He replied, "This isn't about me. You haven't been working for me. You've been working for all of us. Don't stop."

It was at that moment that I realized that we must all take personal responsibility for the world that we live in. We can't ask, "Where are the leaders these times demand?" We must, each of us, in whatever way we can, be the leaders we want.

On Friday, when over 900 people stood with me to say, "Bring their buddies home," each person was participating in the freedom those troops we were honoring had signed up to defend. For many, this was the first time they had done something like this. For most, it will not be the last. The times demand that we, the people, become the government we want. Nothing else we do matters more. We can't leave this task to someone else.

To my incredible volunteers who worked so hard to organize this event, to everyone who wanted to join us, but couldn't make it, and to all of you who stood with me on Friday, I give you my heartfelt gratitude. With your help, we will continue to work toward our dream of America!

In peace,

Categories: Blogs
All of us must continue to fight to reclaim our political discourse, so we can reclaim our politics.

Categories: Blogs

Looks like David Brooks [no relation] just threw the best bat mitzvah ever [emphasis added]:

History will forever record Elizabeth Brooks' bat mitzvah as "Mitzvahpalooza."

For his daughter's coming-of-age celebration last weekend, multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks booked two floors of the Rainbow Room, hauled in concert-ready equipment, built a stage, installed special carpeting, outfitted the space with Jumbotrons and arranged command performances by everyone from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Aerosmith.

I hear it was garish display of rock ’n' roll idol worship for which the famously irascible CEO of DHB Industries, a Westbury-based manufacturer of bulletproof vests, sent his company jet to retrieve Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from their Saturday gig in Pittsburgh.

I'm also told that in honor of Aerosmith (and the $2 million fee I hear he paid for their appearance), the 50-year-old Brooks changed from a black-leather, metal-studded suit — accessorized with biker-chic necklace chains and diamonds from Chrome Hearts jewelers — into a hot-pink suede version of the same lovely outfit.

The party cost an estimated $10 million, including the price of corporate jets to ferry the performers to and from. Also on the bill were The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh performing with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks; DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiance); rap diva Ciara and, sadly perhaps (except that he received an estimated $250,000 for the job), Kenny G blowing on his soprano sax as more than 300 guests strolled and chatted into their pre-dinner cocktails.

"Hey, that guy looks like Kenny G," a disbelieving grownup was overheard remarking — though the 150 kids in attendance seemed more impressed by their $1,000 gift bags, complete with digital cameras and the latest video iPod.

Bulletproof-vest making: nice work, if you can get it. Now, for those who couldn't get the Army to provide a vest — lucrative as they are to make — life looks different [emphasis added]:

Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.

Soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won’t provide. One U.S. senator said ... he will try again to force the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement law it opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said he will offer amendments to the defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress, to take the funding issue out of the hands of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and give control to military unit commanders in the field.

Good for Senator Dodd, and shame on any senator not standing behind him. But the larger picture here — a defense contractor the dough to all but send his kids on a Kilimanjaro safari, complete with a few hundred guests, while parents of our boys and girls in Iraq still have to scrape up change to buy their kids' body armor — is totally screwed up.

To take a moment for us here: really, folks, this looks ridiculous. Pardon our French, but for our troops' sake, when in the h––– will this administration get its act together? Wait — don't answer that ...

Categories: Blogs
PDA members and chapters in Orange County are working hard this evening. They have organized 110 Get Out the Vote canvassers walking over 65 precincts from the Teamster’s hall in the district in an all out effort to turn out the vote. Steve Young is a true peace and justice candidate running in a very red [...]
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Ralph Miller is the Executive Director of Latinos for America. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.

"What is important to Latinos?" I get asked this question quite frequently, as if the answer that is expected is supposed to be some miraculous revelation of the inner workings of the Hispanic-American mind. Well, please don't be disappointed. The answer is really quite simple: Latinos/Hispanics care about the same things that you do. We are not a monolithic bloc of voters marching in lock-step to a common set of moral or ethical or social values. We are, instead, a diverse group with widely differing opinions about what's important to us, our families and our nation. This does not mean that there is no "Progressive" set of opinions, or regressive ones. There are. But it does mean that the Latino/Hispanic culture is a rich tapestry of opinion, experiences, and life.

We believe in families. Families are at the cornerstone of our culture and society.

We believe in education for our children. Hispanics living in the USA share the great American dream of seeing our children getting a better educations than we did, advancing further than we did. The issue of education for Hispanics is no longer simply the issue of affordable primary education – it is about affordable secondary and graduate education.

We care for our seniors. They live with us when they can. We want what's best for them and they are an integral part of our lives. Intergenerational linkage is a key component of our culture.

We want affordable health insurance and value a woman's right to choose her own healthcare. A growing number of women, while valuing family and children, are opting for smaller families in recognition of the economic and social realities of our time.

We are opposed to the war in Iraq. While we are not afraid to fight to defend America, we expect honesty from our leaders and believe in the fight for justice and moral values, not for oil or political greed. We are defenders, not marauders. We have paid the price for being Americans, by taking on the greatest sacrifice, the taking and giving of life in war. Hispanics have shouldered a great share of the burden of this war, and we want a voice in bringing it to an end.

We care about the judicial system, seeing it as the cornerstone of our civil society, and are deeply concerned about potential judicial activism in the areas of civil rights, immigration and entitlements. We are troubled by what we see as a backlash against Hispanics around the country, a trend that is seemingly bolstered by the Courts. Many of us are against the nomination of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court for these reasons.

Most importantly, we want to be respected as valuable members of American society, as contributing members to our American dream. What's important to Latinos? Being Americans and being treated equally and with fairness by other Americans who may have just happened to have beat us to America's shores by a hundred or two hundred years. We are no different from you (unless you are a Native American, as many of us in the western United States are, having been driven from our ancestral lands in California, Nre Mexico, Arizona and Texas by America's westward expansion, in which case we share that as well).

This post marks the beginning of a series of weekly posts by members of Latinos for America to discuss issues that are important to us. You will see, as you read from week to week, that we don't all necessarily agree with each other or with every position each of us takes. We do, however, strive to respect each other's right to have and to express our opinions. This is what it means to us to be Americans. This is what it means to us to be participating members of our society. This is what it means to us to be members of the progressive movement.

—Ralph Miller

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Ted Nixon was a DFA-List candidate for County Legislature in Rochester, NY.

When I was chosen as a member of the DFA-List, I was excited and honored. What I didn't realize at the time was how much help DFA was going to provide me in my run for the Monroe County Legislature. They provided generous financial support, but it was the man and woman power of the five people they sent to upstate New York the weekend before the election that was really impressive. The five volunteers (all staff from DFA headquarters) drove out on Friday from Burlington, arrived just before 6:00pm and went right to work. They didn't slow down until they left on Sunday.

I was fighting an uphill battle against a 9-year veteran county legislator. He was the majority leader and had the full backing of the State Republican Committee. Republicans have a 45-30% registration advantage in my district, yet, with the help of the DFA- Five making phone calls, going door-to-door and doing lit drops, I garnered 45.4% of the vote. I am a first-time candidate, inspired by Governor Dean, and I almost won. I'll have another shot in two years, my opponenet is term-limited, and I am hoping that I'll be standing next to my friends from DFA.

—Ted Nixon
DFA Rochester (NY)

Categories: Blogs

December 5, 2005


Congratulations on breaking our bat to beat Tom DeLay! With a last-minute push via email and blogs (Thanks, Teresa!) the bat has been filled!

People from all walks of life have contributed to this week's bat; there were many familiar names and (excitingly) many more who are unfamiliar. The list included architects and doctors, students and teachers, a starving writer and even a "domestic goddess" (would you like to come to my house?).

Some gave hundreds of dollars, and some gave just the few that they could spare—every single dollar makes a difference in our support for candidates, and each one made our goal that much closer.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed. And thanks also to those who support DFA in other ways. Our goal is to offer support for progressive candidates to help create 29 new leaders to take on the corruption that has infested the Republican Party. Now that the bat is broken, don't forget to recommend a candidate for the 2006 DFA-List. Are you in?

Categories: Blogs
Guest Blogger: Tim Goodrich - Co-founder, Iraq Veterans Against the War / Western Region Contact So often in our quest to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home, we work from the bottom up. This happens when we have people in the streets protesting, people calling their elected officials and Iraq war [...]
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