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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

 

Note to the Pentagon

Despite what you think we're not that stupid

PENTAGON After months of declining enlistment, the Army has more than met its recruitment goals for the month of June.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers announced the turnaround during a "town hall" meeting this afternoon at the Pentagon.

Myers did not provide numbers
, nor did he indicate how far above the recruitment target the enlistment number is.

 

Bad Bad Bad

It appears that the Minnesota state government will be shutting down after tomorrow. This is bad, it will hurt a lot of citizens in our state. The DFL abandoned it's idea for raising the highest bracket income taxes as it became clear that it would not work. This demonstrated to the citizens of minnesota that the DFL is willing to give up there goals to work for the civility of the state and not causing harm to it's citizens. The party also had the good sense to draw a line in the sand, and not compromise their core values in order to have a quick fix to the budget. The republicans are currently holding the budget hostage with forcing the Democrats to agree to a piece of radical cultural reform legisation. I doubt the shutdown will last very long because it's going to make the government look bad. Especially governor Pawlenty who is up for re-election next year. Jon has a great citizen's perspective on the issue.


After a day and a half of intense negotiations, talks among top Republican and DFL leaders broke down late this morning, with House Speaker Steve Sviggum announcing that Minnesotans should brace themselves for a partial government shutdown starting Friday.

"Citizens, like legislators, have to prepare themselves mentally," Sviggum said, after a nearly two-hour meeting with DFLers ended. "It's not the right thing to do, it's not a good thing to do, but you don't want to be just shocked by what is going to happen tomorrow night, either."

Talks ended when Gov. Tim Pawlenty insisted anew that DFlers choose from a list of "reforms" before he would agree to a budget deal.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said he and House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, were told they could select from a list that included initiative and referendum, a taxpayer's bill of rights, a ban on school-year teacher strikes, a voucher-type plan that would allow at least some children to attend private schools with taxpayer money, unicameral legislature and the racino, among others.

Johnson said he and Entenza left the meeting to discuss privately "what meaningful reform is," and to possibly come up with their own versions of reform.

Sviggum told reporters that Pawlenty's insistence on systemic change was reasonable.

"Government has to be more than just how much more you can spend and how much you can tax," he said.

DFLers made their last major concession on Tuesday, when they finally dropped their bid to increase income taxes on the state's wealthiest 40,000 residents.

In return, they had asked that Republicans withdraw their proposal for a racino _ slots at Canterbury Park racetrack _ that is anathema to DFL leaders, who prefer to reserve gaming for Indian tribes.

On Wednesday, Johnson said Republicans were still pushing racino, "but they're talking about it less."

 

Opinion piece

I've already hit on the issue of elections, and why I feel that we need to do a better job of ensuring that everyone has a fair and equal chance to vote. Secretary of State candidate Christian Sande has a fantastic op ed piece in the Pioneer press where he discusses the issue.

Voters are quickly losing faith in our election system because of political interference with the election process.

The sources of this problem are a combination of newly minted tactics by certain groups intent on frustrating their opponents' right to vote. In addition to injuring our trust in the system, these tactics have caused a surge in postelection lawsuits and, as several judges have warned, "seasons of discontent" following our elections. But the high voter turnout in Minnesota gives us the power to stop these problems now before people's loss of faith in the system results in cynical nonparticipation.

Research conducted by Professor Richard Hasen of Loyola Law School indicates that those on the losing end of an election often have much less faith in the election system than the winners, which recently has meant that Democrats nationwide tend to trust our system less. But when the shoe was on the other foot in Washington state and Republicans lost last fall's gubernatorial election by just 133 votes, the findings were just the opposite: according to a January 2005 Elway poll, 68 percent of Washington Republicans thought the state election process was unfair, compared with 27 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents.

Postelection challenges filed in state courts around the nation have risen from 61 in 1996 to more than 250 in 2002.

The lesson here is that the election process must be designed and run with the voter in mind and that elections must be above the political fray. Today's beneficiary is easily tomorrow's victim when the tables are turned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

Irony

I'm not sure what I think about the new eminant domain ruling. I think it's best if supreme court decisions should be as apolitical as possible. Either way this is just funny.

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.

 

Survey

MIT is doing a survey of web blogging check it out.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

 

maybe the religious right should put it up in bars

A recent servey has shown us that only 10% percent of americans can name more than 4 of the 10 commandments.


WASHINGTON, DC—On the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that bars public buildings from erecting massive tributes to the stone tablets handed down to Moses by God, a new poll has found that few Americans are familiar with more than four of the Ten Commandments.

That finding comes at a time when support for the Ten Commandments is at an all time high, with an estimated 32% of Americans regularly calling into talk radio shows, writing letters to the editor or hectoring family and friends about the importance of the Ten Commandments—despite not knowing what most of them are.

 

Follow up

Here's more info about Cheney's hospitalization.

 

Cool

Coleen Rowley, the FBI wistle blower and time person of the year is now running for congress against John Kline. Rowley has demonstrated that she has the moral courage to be a reformer in the US House. She would be a thousand times better than another of Tom Delay's yes men.

Former Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley, whose public criticism of the bureau set off an uproar over the FBI's pre-Sept. 11 counterterrorism lapses, said Monday that she will run as a Democrat for the U.S. House.

Rowley plans to challenge second-term Republican Rep. John Kline in Minnesota's Second District, which stretches across the Twin Cities' western and southern suburbs and as far south as Le Sueur and Red Wing.

She said she will formally launch her campaign July 6 with a pancake breakfast for friends and supporters on the driveway of her Apple Valley home.

Her entry into the race, as one of Time magazine's former "Persons of the Year," pits Kline against an opponent with national name recognition and possibly, fundraising appeal.

If she wins the Democratic nomination, the race likely will feature lively exchanges about national security and the war in Iraq, which Kline has staunchly supported and Rowley vocally opposes.

Monday, June 27, 2005

 

Um..Why are we doing this

There are plenty of proactive steps that the United States can take in order to prevent nuclear weapons.... this is not one of them.

The United States plans to produce highly radioactive plutonium 238 for the first time since the Cold War, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper quoted project managers as saying most, if not all, of the new plutonium was intended for secret missions. The officials would not disclose details, but the newspaper said the plutonium in the past powered espionage devices.

The Times said Timothy Frazier, head of radioisotope power systems at the U.S. Energy Department, vigorously denied in a recent interview any of the classified missions would involve nuclear arms, satellites or weapons in space.

"The real reason we're starting production is for national security," Frazier was quoted as saying.

Officials at the Energy Department could not be reached for comment.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

 

Cheney Hospitalized

The White House is covering up Dick Cheney's recent hospital trip.

Friday, June 24, 2005

 

Friday Song Blogging

Boots of Spanish Leather - Bob Dylan

Oh, I'm sailin' away my own true love,
I'm sailin' away in the morning.
Is there something I can send you from across the sea,
From the place that I'll be landing?

No, there's nothin' you can send me, my own true love,
There's nothin' I wish to be ownin'.
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled,
From across that lonesome ocean.

Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden,
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona.

Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean,
I'd forsake them all for your sweet kiss,
For that's all I'm wishin' to be ownin'.

That I might be gone a long time
And it's only that I'm askin',
Is there something I can send you to remember me by,
To make your time more easy passin'.

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again,
It only brings me sorrow.
The same thing I want from you today,
I would want again tomorrow.

I got a letter on a lonesome day,
It was from her ship a-sailin',
Saying I don't know when I'll be comin' back again,
It depends on how I'm a-feelin'.

Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way,
I'm sure your mind is roamin'.
I'm sure your heart is not with me,
But with the country to where you're goin'.

So take heed, take heed of the western wind,
Take heed of the stormy weather.
And yes, there's something you can send back to me,
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

Elections

Right now I think that one of the most important domestic issues that our nation faces is ensuring that we have fair and open elections for all citizens. In the past two presidential elections there have been serious issues with the legitimacy of our voting. In 2000 there was the whole controversy with African American voters being disenfranchised if they had names similar to convicted felons or shared their birthday. In the past election there were allegations out of Ohio that voters had been turned away at the poles or otherwise kept from casting votes. The number of voters that were disenfranchised were not enough to influence the election, but this is still a disturbing trend.

It has become a strategy in some parts of the republican party to keep people from voting when it is believed they won't be voting your way. The main targets of this are young voters and minorities the people least likely to vote for conservative candidates. In Minnesota the secretary of state tried to drive down voter turn outs by making it difficult for students to vote. She required students to vote where their identification says they live. Nearly all college students have their home address and not their school address on their drivers license. We were able to work around this problem in Morris because we enlisted a large number of volunteers to vouch for people at the polls. There is currently a bill in the MN state legislature to cap the number of people that someone can vouch for.

I think that politicized our elections is an incredibly dangerous idea. We will be in a far better place if our leaders can be picked by the merits of their ideas, and not just the power of their political parties to get their voters to the polls. I think that all people should be given the right to vote not because higher turn outs are traditionally beneficial to liberal candidates, but instead because everyone is effected by the government they should have a say in who runs things.

 

Rove should appologize

The political climate's bad enough right now. Things like this are the last thing we need.


Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers"


Things like this are just absurd. The only thing this does is to create more tensions between parties, and it makes it that much harder for any thing to get done with bipartisan support.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

 

Ads

As you've noticed there are now ads on this site. The adds are the only source of revenue that David and I have from this site so we would like to encourage everyone to check them out. One thing I've noticed is that these ads at least for now are very republican. I've noticed this before with my previous blog that the same thing happened. I'd say check out the links anyways if nothing more they're a good laugh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

Tom Delay

Delay had been out of the news for the past couple weeks. There were a rush of stories about his dealings and his campain's financial actions, and the bad press about him was intense for about two weeks. After that, the story seemed to die away without a conclusion, and the media was onto it's next big thing. This seemed to be how many of the things that logically could have brought down powerful republicans in the past few years. The story gets intense coverage for a short ammount of time, and is then just left to die, and everyone forgets about it. There is now another break in the Tom Delay case however. It has now been brought to light that Delay has not reported donations from casino rich Native American tribes.

ELTON, La. - A casino-rich tribe wrote checks for at least $55,000 to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political groups, but the donations were never publicly disclosed and the tribe was directed to divert the money to other groups that helped Republicans, tribal documents show.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now under criminal investigation, told the Coushatta Indian tribe, a client, to cancel its checks to the DeLay groups in 2001 and 2002 and route the money to more obscure groups that helped Republicans on Medicare prescription drug legislation and Christian voter outreach.

DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority and Americans for a Republican Majority never reported receiving any checks from the Louisiana tribe to federal or state regulators, their reports show. The donations, however, are recorded in memos and ledgers kept by the tribe.

"Enclosed please find a check for $10,000 to the Texans for a Republican Majority. This check needs to be reissued to America 21," Abramoff wrote the Coushattas in a May 2002 letter obtained by The Associated Press.

America 21 is a Nashville, Tenn.-based Christian group focused on voter turnout that helped Republican candidates in the pivotal 2002 elections that kept DeLay's party in control of the House.

 

Troop Withdrawal Resolution

The House has recently proposed a resolution demanding that the president create a plan to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq by October 2006. While I must say that it is nice to see yet again congressional dems making public progress with some of their bigger issues, and even better to see another republican take off his leash and go against leadership, I am worried about the problems that have historically come from playing politics with a war. America has suffered from the effects of an indecisive foreign policy for a while now. Part of the motivation for some of the 9/11 hijackers may have sprung from similar mistakes.

I opposed the war through its build-up. I was skeptical of the presence of WMDs, and I was alarmed by the President's pure arrogance in making the decision to invade. But that no longer matters. What does matter is that for better or worse we are there, and we now have a large responsibility.

Whether or not this war was a good idea will not be known to us for probably another 20 years or so, and I genuinely hope I'm proved wrong. Nothing would be greater than for Iraq to become a bastion of democracy in an unstable world. But we know that the kind of work that must be done cannot be done on any sort of strict timeline. Does that mean that we are going to lose more soldiers? Yes. But that is one of the consequences that needed to be considered before the invasion. Unfortunately I have a bad feeling that they weren't.

"It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and secure the surrender of Saddam's security force and his army.''
- February 27, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz

Monday, June 20, 2005

 

Introduction

Hi, my name is David Schmidt and I am the co-operator mentioned by Chris earlier. I am an incoming freshman at Carleton College in Northfield, MN and I plan to study history and political science. I am sure that this blog will have several purposes for me, but the largest two will be to get a chance to speak out when I feel it necessary and rant when I just cant take it anymore. Besides an interest in politics, I love books and am fanatical about Ultimate Frisbee. As for my politics, you'll eventually see for yourself, but I would describe myself as an idealistic liberal with a sense of pragmatism that tends to pull me towards the center.

You'll be hearing more from me soon,
David

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

 

Wow!

Americablog is alleging that Bill Frist tried to block the vote on the lynching resolution, and he prevented the vote from being on the record. This is a serious issue. Was he trying to prevent embarassment to other members of his party? Do influential members of the republican party really feel that lynching of innocent people because of their color is something that there is nothing wrong with. How much more out of touch with the values of regular Americans can these people be?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

A quote to Ponder

This quote is a passage from the play The Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo. I think it pertains well to our times, and if anyone out there has a chance to see this play i would encourage them to do so.

People say they want real justice... so we fob them off with a slightly less unjust system of justice. Workers howl that they're being flayed like donkeys... so we arrange for the flaying to be a little less severe and slash their howling entitlement, but the exploitation goes on. The workforce would rather not have fatal accidents in the factory... so we make it a teeny bit safer and increase compensation payments to widows. They'd like to see class divisions eliminated... so we do our best to bring the classes marginally closer or, preferably, just make it seem that way.

They want a revolution... and we give them reforms. We're drowning them in reforms. Or promises of reforms, because lets face it, they're not actually going to get anything.

 

Lynching

Yesterday the senate did something that very aplaudable. They past a resolution appologizing for the body's failure to enact a law to make lynching illeagle. The bill had 80 co-sponsors and it passed the senate on a voice vote last night. This does raise one interesting question however. Why didn't this bill have 100 senate co sponsors. I would think that we can all now agree that lynching is bad, and the senate should have acted back in 1948 when the issue first became prominant. Americablog has a list of the senators that did not support the bill. It is 1 democrat and 11 republicans (maybe Howard Dean was on to something with the whole white man's party comment). Voting against something like this is inexcusable for any person of either party; it is just plain wrong. Here is the list of senators that opposed it.


Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Michael Crapo (R-ID)
Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Trent Lott (R-MS)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Craig Thomas (R-WY)
George Voinovich (R-OH)

Update:
Kent Conrad (D, ND) is on the list of co sponsors after all. This leaves only 27% of the senate republicans as the hold outs on this issue.

Monday, June 13, 2005

 

Introduction pt. 1

I am Chris Yard, a sophomore political science major at the University of Minnesota Morris. I study Political Science and Sociology. I am a news junky and a citizen concerned about the current state of America. I plan on using this blog as a voice both my concerns about political issues and social justice in addition to more general writings about progressive culture and other thoughts on society. I am a member of the Episcipal church and I consider my faith to be an important part of my life as well as an influence for my opinions. My other interests are traveling, literature, music, art, and movies; most likely these will all appear here over time as well. I plan on carrying over my tradition of posting friday song lyrics here that I started with my old blog. Sometime in the near future the co operator of this blog will post his introduction.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

 

Vision

I am currently also the webmaster of BMW for Peace. This current site will be a co opperative with at least one other person. The purpose of this will most likely to discuss progessive ideas, lifestyles, and American Culture.

 

HI

Welcome to javelin blog. There will be more about this site in the future, and be forewarned there will be little content about javelins on here.