No on GonazlesThere's been a lot written lately about the upcoming vote in the Senate to confirm Alberto Gonzales to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General. I hadn't gotten to this yet, but reading the first page and a half of the story in this month's American Prospect about the stories of some of the women who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib...actually the first page and a half was all I could read. Mr. Gonzales is squarely responsible for that, so...no. Just no. This is a dark hour for this country indeed. Count Heeyah! among the 376 and counting webblogs that firmly and resolutely stand against the endorsement of barbarism that a yes vote on this confirmation would constitute. Senator Feinsten, I hope you are listening.
This may a little on the tweaky side, but there's an interesting thread about capital vs. human resource shortages over on j-bradford-delong's site.
How pro-life Dems can be pro-choice. There was certainly great tribulation among traditional Democratic constituencies when Harry Reid earned the Senate minority leader post. Did a pro-life legislator in a top Democratic post signal a cave-in to the Republicans' "moral values" warfare? Was the party backtracking on a long-standing support for abortion rights?
Fortunately, the answer to both questions is resoundingly, "no." Today, Senator Reid stood on the Senate floor to introduce ten bills that promote a Democratic agenda instead of waiting to react to the Republican agenda. Among those bills is Senate Bill 20, nicknamed "Putting Prevention First." The bill increases funding for family planning, improves access to emergency contraception, mandates contraceptive coverage in prescription drug plans, expands programs to reduce teen pregnancy, and forces fairer descriptions of contraception in "abstinence-only" programs.
This is a smart strategic move, both for a pro-choice movement suffering from shopworn battle lines and declining visibility, and for a pro-life Democratic leader seeking to energize the many religious Democrats who are looking for high ground on a moral wedge issue. It is still vital to defend all reproductive options for women with uwanted pregnancies, but focusing mainly on the right to abortions places Democrats on the wrong side of the wedge. Senate Bill 20 will allow Democrats to argue that they are preventing abortions by preventing unwanted pregancies. It will also allow Democrats to skewer religious fundamentalists on two of their most vulnerable issues: the recent revelations that abstinence-only programs are ineffective and promote stupid propaganda, and the corner that fundamentalists have painted themselves in by arguing that emergency contraception is abortion, in spite of scientific indications otherwise.
Two sides to every coin. Dan Weintraub has this to say about SB 921:
Sen. Sheila Kuehl is back with her plan for a government-run, single-payer health care plan. I oppose this idea on principle, because I do not want the people who run the DMV and ruined California's electricity industry to be managing my health care.
He does go on to list some substantive problems with the plan, but corporate health care is not the answer. We have to start looking at other solutions.
I don't know if Daraka is trying to keep this under wraps or what, but he's started blogging and of course, it's really damn good stuff!
From blogpac, there's a new site about Bush's Social Security "reform" plans. The D-trip also has a nice site up, Privatize This. Social Security is an old friend of a program that needs your help. It's amazing that the Republicans want to endanger such a successful, critical program and plunge the country into even more massive debt simply because of a philosophical disagreement with it. There was a little bit of good news this morning that this proposal might be dead on arrival. Congressional Republicans in unsafe seats could probably hear Dems sharpening the long knives (think TV commercials with "my opponent voted to gut social security") already. But we can't let up now, this is probably just a delaying tactic.
I just visited ABC's Bloggers are People of the Year story, and the page was plastered with ads for Wal-Mart's latest tactic in their touchy-feely propaganda campaign: walmartfacts.com. Conveniently, there's a feedback page on the site where you can send them a message. Mine was "avast, ye scurvy corporate union-busting sprawl-causing dogs, and prepare to be boarded!" but send them whatever you'd like.
Ridiculous. This morning, the News-Press complained yet again about the supposed lack of public comment on Inclusionary Housing. This is nothing short of completely preposterous. There were FIVE HOURS of public comment on this, ok? The 5-0 vote didn't go your way. Now quit with the whining!
Remember when the Governor "fixed" worker's comp last year? Turns out it was "fix" as in "fix a horserace," not fix as in "fix a car." These folks are fighting to clean it up: Denial of Care | A Disabled Workers' House of Horrors.
Liveblog from 35th AD committee. Good morning Santa Barbara, I'm live at the 35th Assembly District Committee meeting. This is a group that elects new folks every two years to go to the State Convention. The turnout is great, there's almost 100 folks here at the eastside library in Santa Barbara. Some factions want the party to become more accessible, some want it to be more fun, and everyone has a desire to see it become a more relevant institution somehow. It's great to see so much energy!
So, the Governor travels around the whole state pushing Republican candidates for the Senate and the Assembly, and gets his butt kicked. The News-Press pushes hard for their candidate here, and they get their butt kicked. Now both the Governor and the News-Press think redistricting is the top priority for this state? Those are some sour, sour grapes.
From Andrew Sullivan today, Tax Preferred
- "I see no good reason why my own money should be invested for me by the government when I feel I could do a much better job for myself. If there's any way we can liberate individual decisions from the oppressive and incompetent hand of government, I'm all for it."
The thing is, social security isn't investment. It's insurance. This isn't just a frame, it's the truth. I keep reading that young people tend to be in favor of some kind of generally phrased reform of social security, but we just want it to be solvent! Raise the payroll cap or something, but don't gut the thing. Sheesh!
Ouch: "Religious right Web sites ignore Tsunami relief, while liberal religious sites appeal for tsunami donations."
Green Manhattan? Check out this nicely accessible article, Green Manhattan, on the relationship between energy and land use in urban and suburban areas. This is very relevant to the ongoing land-use debate here in Santa Barbara, although the article makes no mention of the sweet spot that exists in the territory between the suburbs and large city level density that could be accomplished in small cities like Santa Barbara. We can design a built environment that has the best of both worlds: efficient energy use as well as easy access to sanity-provoking open space. But we have to imagine it first, and articles like this are the groundwork for doing so.