Friday, June 30, 2006

A Simple Solution for Democratic Party

All experts agree, even the experts on this blog agree, the major problem Democrats face is trying to appeal to too many constituencies. Picking a platform that appeals to all risks being considered as pandering. Picking one that is too narrow risks leaving out groups that can swing an election one way or another.

How about this challenge? We don't care who you vote for, just vote. At a 60% participation rate among possible voters the US stands at one of the lowest rates in democratic societies. If the Dems simply do everything possible to get out the vote, they probably would win and they could frame ingthe effort as one of patriotism. It would scare the hell out of all politiciansm, but would especially hurt the 'publicans. It is something that everyone, no matter their political persuasion, would agree improves our political system.

I think it's a brilliant idea. What do you think?

I promised the kid that he could have a mohawk

because it's summer vacation. But I seem to be having a problem pulling out the clippers and actually giving him a mohawk. Part of it is that he has this beautifully thick, wavy red-blond-brown hair that makes little curls at the nape of his neck and that I can mess up whenever he gets to cheeky. Part of it is fear of him looking like some of the world cup players.

Click pick for more scary hair.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Some background on Mexico and immigration

This is just a link to another column at the WA Post , but it does bring up the Mexican side of the story on immigration: Mexico's Missing Prosperity

Remember, to vote for your new Mexican leader on Sunday!

Fun with Typos and Win the Damn Cookie!

Yeah- we all can't be perfect little spelling and grammar bitches. Today's typos rock though.

DeeK was talking about how his favorite planet, hemp, would solve our biofuel problem. Would planet hemp be the planet of the stoners?

But I can't pick on Deek alone. Oh no- I am nothing if not the queen of typos and premature e-postulation.

for example- Benjamin Franklin didn't talk about how we scarifce liberty.

So new Giant Cookie Game for this week- instead of guessing song lyrics- the person who finds the most typos from this weeks posts gets the giant cookie of grammar bitchitude. And then they can suck on it.

Hemp for Freedom, uh Fuel

I was thinking the other day about biofuels and wondering where my favorite planet fit into the scene:

This is what I found: hempcar.

More evidence that the right wing's paranoia is leadin us away from sensible solutions under our noses. Hemp is easier to grow, causes less damage and grows faster than corn. If you take the politics out of the equation, hemp makes a better resource for biofuel than just about anything organic. Alas, it is just a dream for now, but it won't be long before more people start asking: why not use hemp?

Hooptie of the Week: A Classic and a Goodie

Some of you may not know this but RQ and I used to work toghether in temp-job hell. While we there, we (well mostly me) would play a little game called "Hooptie of the Week" For those who need a refresher, a hooptie is a car that most don't have the pride to park in front of their house, let alone sport for even occasional use. Of course, one word can have many meanings so I refer you to the Urban Dictionary for their use of the word, hooptie.

Now that you know you feel free to nominate any hoopties you may find on the internet. For the most part the cars I will present are those that were hoopties before they left the assembly line. In that light I present the king of all Hoopties: The Lincoln Versailles. (yes, there is a website devoted to this monster).

No shame was spared in creating this beauty. The vinyl half-roof effect, the unneeded hump for the spare tire, plastic fake wired wheels and the unabashed look of the Ford Granada. This is what American car manufacturing is all about!

Bi-conceptual is hot!

You all may remember that DeeK and I had a bit of a tiff over gay marriage. He thought that if it meant we couldwin elections- we should table the gay marriage talk for a while. I thought that telling someone to wait (again and again and again) for a right that you already have is cowardly. But if only we had this book (or if I had taken any linguistics classes- damn you community college!) we could have re-framed the debate so that gays don't loose out and we don't loose elections.

The republicans have been really amazing at re-framing debates, while us progressives have seen the politcal ball stolen from our hands and run down the other side of the field. I'll give you an example of how they do it.

I'm sure you've all heard of the death tax. You know that scary thing that double taxes your children after you're dead and are just trying to leave them the family farm or business. You know what the death tax really is- it's estate tax and it only applies to people with very large estates (there is a measure in Washington state to eliminate the estate tax on estates over 2 million dollars- there are only 250 families in the state who would get the benefit. Don't forget to vote in November!). But it sounds like double taxation. It sounds like this tax is going to leave your greiving widow and crying children destitute to the tax man after your death. Calling it the "death tax" brings to mind some Dickens plot where formerly stable families are forced to rummage though landfills after big, bad, mean government has turned them into the streets.

How about "pro-life"? Are any of the prominent people declaring themselves pro-life trying to abolish the death penalty? Or get nationalized healthcare to improve our atrocious infant death rates? No. So what is it about them that is actually pro-life? Not much except the name. But because they have the name- those of us on the other side of the arguement must be pro-death. So we need to learn how to re-frame the debate so that our ideas are ressonate with the rest of the population.
Many Americans, however, are what Lakoff calls "biconceptual." In some parts of their lives -- at home, say -- they behave according to the nurturant-parent model, while in others -- perhaps the workplace -- they're more strict-father. The point is, they swing both ways, although in recent years, conservatives have done a much better job at persuading them to the strict-father view of things. This has happened, Lakoff believes, because conservatives really worked at it. Finding themselves out of power in the '60s and '70s, they did some serious soul-searching and consolidated their moral view of American political life. They invested heavily in the think tanks, educational institutions and media outlets that figured out how to hone their message so that it penetrated to the very heart of the American political imagination.
If progressives would only do the same thing -- get a better grasp on the moral frames that unite them and concentrate on how to express those frames properly -- Lakoff believes they could arouse the nurturant-parent models that lie dormant in the minds of most Americans. And they wouldn't have to betray their ideals or pander to centrists by "skewing right." They can win back the public (or at least the biconceptuals) "honestly, using framings, both deep and surface, that we really believe and that reveal the truth about our social, economic and political realities." That's why much of "Why Freedom?" is devoted to explaining how classic progressive issues like social welfare, universal healthcare, improved public education, fair trade, labor unionization and a less warlike foreign policy can be articulated as forms of freedom.
So back to the marriage equality debate (and that is what it should be called instead of gay marriage). We need to remind people that it is not a special right, it is not creating a class of people who ge to have more access or benefits than you. It is allowing people to have the same benefits as you without diminishing anything that you already recieve.

This is why I use phrases like "forced-pregnancy" instead of "pro-life": to re-frame the debate and to call the opposition what it is instead of what it wants to be seen as. The more we use these terms - the bigger part of the lexicon they become and so do the ideas behind them.

(oh the spellcheck still ain't working right- dooda dooda)

Doing the SCOTUS happy dance- but just for a second.

The Supreme Court ruled today that using military tribunals to try Gitmo detainees exceedes the President's authority and violates the Geneva conventions (load of crap that the conventions are anyways- but my disgust at the International Committee for the Red Cross is a whole 'nother post).
"That return marks a high-water point," Commander Swift said at a news conference outside the court. "It shows that we can't be scared out of who we are, and that's a victory, folks."
Bolds are so mine. Paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin- He who would scarifce liberty for secuity deserves neither.

Scotus did leave the door open for Bushy to get congress to approve use of tribunals though- and that is why the happy dance only lasts for a minute.

I bet it's not long before we have a bunch of redstate yahoos screaming about terrorists and that the only way to protect ourselves is through a congressional act allowing military tribunals for enemy combatants. They will be waving the flag while they put the boot on our neck the whole time.

PS- Spellcheck is dead in firefox- how lovely. Suffer the little typos, just like Jesus said.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A note to a certain ex-boyfriend

who thinks that girls are gay because they can't attract guys or guys are gay because- well, he never answered that one because I don't think he has ever even met a gay man (at least not one who was out in front of him). Guess what dipshit- it is just as much of a "choice" to be homosexual as it is to be heterosexual.

Previous research had revealed the more older brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be gay, but the reason for this phenomenon was unknown.

But a Canadian study has shown that the effect is most likely due to biological rather than social factors.

So is this why there seems to be so many gay boys that come out of large religious families? I wonder if we can use this little bit o'science to get the forced pregnancy wingnuts off our backs? "See I have to use birth control cause I don't want to make a gay baby"*

*Not that I have any sort of problem with gay babies or gay adults- I'm just playing with the homophobes folks.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

War costs

Via War Room, we are now spending about 9.7 billion dollars a month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan..

Whenever I see numbers this big- I like to put it in perspective and I usually use the 37 million and growing men, women, and children living in poverty in the US. But first you should check out what poverty means as far as the feds go.

9.7 billion dollars a month would:

Give every man, woman and child living in poverty $259 a month. In Washington state, the TANF cash pay outs per month are only $220 per person, in a state like Georgia the payouts are only $120.


Give every man, woman and child living at 150% of poverty or below(21% of the population, by the way) $149 a month in food stamps. Currently the average monthly food stamp benefit per person is only $86 and only applies to families that are at 130% of poverty or less.


Every adult over age 18 living at 200% of the federal poverty guidelines or less that does not have a high school diploma or a college degree (about 50 million people) could recieve an additional $2200 per year in FSEOG grants to go to school.


Give every one of the 85 million people who do not have health insurance $112 per month towards the purchase of it and let them buy into state Medicaid plans with the money.

Priorities folks.

(Just so you know- I have been geeking out over 2004 census records for these numbers- my math may be off a bit but the census reports are always very interesting to read)

Monday, June 26, 2006

What- no guesses for the cookie?


On another note- guess what I found on Craigslist.

Is there any chance in hell of a Republican in Seattle getting elected? And would you spend the next 5 months working your ass off on a losing campaign for a lousy $1000?