The First 100 Hours... is this radical?

Here’s what the first 100 hours of Democratic control of Congress would look like courtesy of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi who would become house speaker…

Day One: Put new rules in place to “break the link between lobbyists and legislation.”

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds – “I hope with a veto-proof majority,” she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

All the days after that: “Pay as you go,” meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority.

Nancy Pelosi has been slimed as too liberal for our nation because she serves from San Francisco. But what’s so liberal and radical about all this? To me it just makes common sense to shape up our national security and financial security.

Hey, if this is what “liberal San Francisco politics” looks like, I’ll take it. Indeed, I’m drooling over the concept that we’ll finally start taking care of our country.

Posted in Politics

Sodrel-Hill polls are now in...

Labor Day has come and gone and I was getting curious about how our local congressional race was going—especially as I live in Indiana’s 9th, one of the hotest races in the country.

Just as this thought crossed my mind this week, two polls came out showing former Congressman Baron Hill leading in his bid to reclaim his seat from Republican Mike Sodrel. Sodrel won the seat in 2004 by 1,500 votes.

The first poll was from the independent firm Research 2000 who showed Hill up 46-40.
This poll was conducted just after Labor Day (Sept. 5-8) is among likely voters and a margin of error of 4.9%.

Another poll, conducted Sept. 8-10, is much more optimistic about Hill’s chances. Constituent Dynamics polled 30 hot races and their results found Hill current favored 53-42 with only a 3% margin of error. This race showed Sodrel doing well in our part of the district, but losing badly in Bloomington (no surprise) and the western part of IN-9.

I’m living a sheltered life at the moment and Madison has yet entered the election frenzy. As such, I have little gut instinct on our local race other than I’d suspect it is closer than 11 points.

Posted in Politics

Oooh.. really graceful

The GOP just amazes me. They’re always wanting clean up or down votes on their issues, but they won’t give 15 million American workers a clean up or down vote on the minimum wage.

No, instead they say we’ll give you a couple of bucks in minimum wage, but only if you give multi-millionaires yet another juicy tax break that will cost the nation $800 billion over the next decade when we are already drowning in red ink.

Really graceful guys.

Mind you, I’m not much more graceful today.

It’s hard to describe, but I mount my bicycle on a moving start. Today, however, I didn’t realize the chain had come off and when I went to step on the peddle the bike offered no resistance or forward movement. Thus I flipped over the bike into the street just as an 18-wheeler was coming through the intersection.

Other than a scraped knee and feeling sore I’m fine, but a truck (even one that is moving slowly as he saw me flip) is scary looking from asphalt level.

Posted in Politics

The unexpected history of church- state separation

Washington Monthly has a fascinating article in their April issue on the early history of church-state separation.

Just as we are debating church-state separation today, it was heavily debated in the early years of our country. Because the “Founding Fathers” were truly split on the issue, Waldman wrote that both sides of the current debate could easily point to them for support.

However, there is a very interesting kicker to this history. Those who favored church-state seperation (Jefferson and Madison interestingly) had an unusual ally—evangelical Baptists.

The Baptists of the 18th century were staunchly against any government involvement in religion. This was both from their theology and because they were persecuted at the hands of the majority religions—the Anglicans and Congressionalists who favored state supported religion.

Religions do and are certainly welcome to change their beliefs. It is nice to see religions no longer condoning slavery, for example. However, it is interesting that today’s biggest proponents of breaking down the church-state walls were of the same religion who fought to build the walls to begin with.

Posted in Politics

New group blog

Take a gander over at Valley City Blues a new progressive political blog some friends and I are working on.

We’re thinking of straight ahead political commentary on local, state, national and world politics, history and more. There are four of us, three have posted at least once so far. It will be interesting if we can get it going and attract some good honest conversation.

I’ve cross-blogged my last few entries, but may give up political blogging here and work on it over there. I’m not sure.

If you’re in or very near Jefferson County, Indiana, and would like to blog, let me know. For example, we’d love to have people to track the state and congressional races coming up. I’d love to do it (my journalistic blood still bubbles on occasion), but I just don’t have the time to do it this year.

Posted in Politics

A different set of levees are crumbling

I am 100 percent for religious freedom. This includes allowing our Indiana legislators to open their session with prayer.

The key is that everyone should be able to enjoy the same freedom. People should be able to worship their God(s)-Godess(es)-Spirit(s) as they deem proper. The flip side to freedom of religion is that we cannot quash anyone else’s freedoms either.

Benjamin Franklin had an interesting saying: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”

We have heard the argument that the lambs are trying to force the wolves to go vegetarian—no public prayer anywhere! A vegetarian wolf is certainly unrealistic. Yet, recently even the lamb expressing their desire not to be eaten has met with howling.

For example, there is now a resolution before the the Missouri legislature to name Christianity the state’s official majority religion.

The resolution would recognize “a Christian god,” and it would not protect minority religions, but “protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs. The resolution also recognizes that, “a greater power exists,” and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, “justified recognition.”

In Kentucky, a county attorney and a church youth group has submitted surveys to legislators and candidates with a single question: Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

On one hand a voter should be able to ask a legislator their views on any topic and use that information in exercising their lobbying efforts or voting. Yet on the flip side the U.S. Constitution specifically states: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.” Again, an interesting balance.

To me it is specifically that…a balance.

Let’s say a public school teacher were to offer up a prayer in class. In my mind any and all others in the school should be able to have the exact same freedom. Everyone would probably agree until one child or teacher wanted to offer a Wiccan prayer. Then all hell would break lose even though the last 42 prayers were Christian. So 42 people are allowed religious freedom and one does not?

My personal preference would be to let everyone have their moments of prayer throughout the day as they desire so long as it did not interfer with classtime. Groups of Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Wiccan students could meet before school, between classes, during lunch or after school. 100 percent freedom and zero religious harassment.

Yet, right now the wolves are howling that they don’t get to eat the lamb. I think this is obvious when you have legislative resolutions being proposed in a country with the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The levy between government and religion are crumbling. That might not be entirely bad if, unlike Hurricane Katrina, we actually evacuate everyone before the levy breaks.

I may revisit and even revise these thoughts. It’s an interesting topic to think about. What are your thoughts?

Posted in Politics

Bush knew about Katrina and there's video to prove it

Do you remember George W. Bush, four days after Hurricane Katrina absolutely swamped New Orleans stating: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”

Well the Associated Press got ahold of a certain video and some transcripts today.

Here’s a quote from Video Shows Bush Was Warned Before Katrina

In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans’ Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage… Bush didn’t ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: “We are fully prepared.”

Bush is on tape. He knew. During the briefing Bush promised that the feds were ready and that help would be there. They were not.

Why does he have to constantly lie about the sheer ineptness of his administration? I suspect his approval ratings would be a lot higher than 34 percent had he quickly acknowleged that FEMA became buried in a bureaucratic hell and that he would do everything in his power to correct it.

Rather he told Brownie he was doing a “heck of a job” and lied that no one could have anticipated the breach. Typical, how bushing typical.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has his share of the blame for the absolute disaster as well, but I can’t blame him at all for thinking this…

“I have kind a sinking feeling in my gut right now,” Nagin said. “I was listening to what people were saying—they didn’t know, so therefore it was an issue of a learning curve. You know, from this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware.”

Here’s a link to an AP video with clips from the briefing video. If you stay tuned into the feed, it is followed by Ray Nagins comments and a pretty neat short about Mardi Gras.

Posted in On-the-News

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