Drinking Liberally tonight
Get on down to the local DL group meet up at Jack's Place 425 15th Street in downtown Moline around 8:00 p.m. knock back a few and catch up with what's going on.
Get on down to the local DL group meet up at Jack's Place 425 15th Street in downtown Moline around 8:00 p.m. knock back a few and catch up with what's going on.
Iowa Governor Vilsack formally announces for the presidency today.
To this day, I don’t understand it. And, I think it’s fair to say that he personally does in fact bear a measure of blame for not doing his job at a time when we really needed him to do his job. And now the Woodward book has this episode that has been confirmed by the record that George Tenet, who was much abused by this administration, went over to the White House for the purpose of calling an emergency meeting and warning as clearly as possible about the extremely dangerous situation with Osama bin Laden, and was brushed off!Thanks Al. Took the words right out of my mouth.
And I don’t know why—honestly—I mean, I understand how horrible this Congressman Foley situation with the instant messaging is, okay? I understand that. But, why didn’t these kinds of things produce a similar outrage? And you know, I’m even reluctant to talk about it in these terms because it’s so easy for people to hear this or read this as sort of cheap political game-playing. I understand how it could sound that way.
But dammit, whatever happened to the concept of accountability for catastrophic failure? This administration has been by far the most incompetent, inept, and with more moral cowardice, and obsequiousness to their wealthy contributors, and obliviousness to the public interest of any administration in modern history, and probably in the entire history of the country!
"I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall," Webb said in an interview yesterday in which he confirmed the exchange between him and Bush. "No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. [But] leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is."
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.It was later reported that Webb told someone afterwards that it was all he could do to keep from popping Bush in the mouth, though how credible that report is is anyone's guess.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"
"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
The Progressive States Network recently sent out a piece noting an article in Forbes magazine noting the concern of big business who have controlled D.C. for years over progressive actions at the state level.
Forbes: "The real action will be at the state level"
Forbes knows it:
Raise the minimum wage. Attack global warming. Negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Extend health coverage to the uninsured. Protect consumers from identity theft. A to-do list for Democrats taking over Congress? Nope, a sample of what states are up to.
If you're the type who prefers that government do as little as possible, you might be heartened by the prospect of a divided Washington that will likely gridlock on significant issues. But watch your back.
The real action will be at the state level, already a hotbed of interventionism that is likely to grow more so now that Washington is split and Democrats have firmer control in state capitals.
Janet Novack, the author of the piece, goes on to note a handful of key areas where business is already being alerted to state leadership:
- Global Warming - California and Northeastern states have taken the lead. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is expected to do more and there is talk of big action in the Rocky Mountain West, an area likely to be hit hard by climate change.
- Privacy and Identity Theft - The financial services industry is hoping the federal government will preempt state privacy laws, for fear that big states will force banks and others to protect privacy nationwide. Oh, the horror!
- Prescription Drugs - States have been major leaders. Novack describes California's recent bill "should have pharmaceutical executives reaching for Valium."
- Health Insurance - States have already been leading and they aren't going to wait for Washington to continue sitting on its laurels.
- Minimum Wage - In the last year, numerous legislatures raised the minimum wage and six more states followed suit through ballot measures. The momentum is predicted to continue to expand to more states in the near future.
All of this is great news for progressives. But something else here is key: Both BusinessWeek and Forbes are recognizing states as the key policy battlegrounds for the next two years.
Will progressives realize what the corporate readership of these two mags already have?
Hopefully, they will -- and they'll get on board with PSN's "Building a Progressive Majority in the States" Agenda.
Progressive States Network
101 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
The DesMoines Register reports:
Democrat Barack Obama has sought the advice of top campaign workers in Iowa and has established a seedling support network in this state as he prepares to decide whether to seek the 2008 presidential nomination.The new Inside Dope poll asks a two part question, will Sen. Obama run, and should he run for president in 2008. Go look over the choices and cast your vote.
A philosophy professor stood before her class and had some items in front of her.
C-Span recently aired a panel at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs with author Trish Woods. Ms. Woods has compiled veterans accounts of what it's really like in Iraq in the book "What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It".
I've had two loyal readers write in their impressions of the new movie "Bobby" on the life and times of Robert F. Kennedy which opened on Thanksgiving.
Today I saw the movie "Bobby". I recommend it ! it is much better than the 2 stars it got in the reviews. You would enjoy it. RFK was a man who brought people (from all walks of life) together. Maybe you could open up a thread for discussion of this film and the life and times of RFK and inevitable comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam. "Bobby" had an all-star cast and good acting. The downside: it did have some slow parts. I think the film "Thirteen Days" moved at a faster pace than did Bobby. They did a nice job weaving in real film footage. All in all, 3 stars.
Go see Bobby. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was very good none-the-less. I think it will probbalye by up for numerous academy awards and maybe even best picture. Not living through the Vietnam war, I guess I never relized how eerie it is that Iraq seems so much like it. They also draw refrence to some other current events. I didn't think a film written and directed by Emilio Esteves would be good, but it was suprisingly well done.
Indulging my Andy Rooney-ish penchant for grumpy observations, I'd like to take a moment to say, without reservation, that people who put up their Christmas decorations at the beginning of NOVEMBER ought to be horse-whipped. (and yes, I saw a few up at that time. Jack-o-lanterns were still out all over.)
Get a load of this from local bunker dweller "QC Media ghost" (I was going to post it last night, but didn't want to spoil people's appetites.)
Another prominent figure debunks the "Dems won by going conservative - The Dems didn't win, the Republicans lost" myths. Even though it's false, many conservative Dems are quick to swallow it. (as our own commenter DemGorilla has, lock, stock, and barrel.)
Elections may come and go, but Washington remains incorrigible. Not even voters delivering a clear message can topple the town’s conventional wisdom once it has been set in the stone of punditry.
Right now the capital is entranced by a fictional story line about the Democrats. As this narrative goes, the party’s sweep of Congress was more or less an accident. The victory had little to do with the Democrats’ actual beliefs and was instead solely the result of President Bush’s unpopularity and a cunning backroom stunt by the campaign Machiavellis, Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel, to enlist a smattering of “conservative” candidates to run in red states. In this retelling of the 2006 election, the signature race took place in Montana, where the victor was a gun-toting farmer with a flattop haircut: i.e., a Democrat in Republican drag. And now the party is deeply divided as its old liberals and new conservatives converge on Capitol Hill to slug it out.
The only problem with this version of events is that it’s not true. The overwhelming majority of the Democratic winners, including Jon Tester of Montana, are to the left of most Republicans, whether on economic policy or abortion. For all of the hyperventilation devoted to the Steny Hoyer-John Murtha bout for the House leadership, the final count was lopsided next to the one-vote margin in the G.O.P. Senate intramural that yielded that paragon of “unity,” Trent Lott. But the most telling barometer is the election’s defining issue: there is far more unanimity among Democrats about Iraq than there is among Republicans. Disengaging America from that war is what the country voted for overwhelmingly on Nov. 7, and that’s what the Democrats almost uniformly promised to speed up, whatever their vague, often inchoate notions about how to do it.
Even before they officially take over, the Democrats are trying to deliver on this pledge. Carl Levin and Joe Biden, among the party’s leaders in thinking through a new Iraq policy, are gravitating toward a long-gestating centrist exit strategy: a phased withdrawal starting in four to six months; a loosely federal Iraqi government that would ratify the de facto separation of the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds and fairly allocate the oil spoils; and diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy to engage Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria, in securing some kind of peace.
None of these ideas are radical, novel or much removed from what James Baker’s Iraq Study Group is expected to come up with. All are debatable and all could fail. At this late date, only triage is an option, not “victory.” There’s no panacea to end the civil war that four years of American bumbling have wrought. But the one truly serious story to come out of the election — far more significant than the Washington chatter about “divided Democrats” — is that the president has no intention of changing his policy on Iraq or anything else one iota.
Silvis is falling over itself to bring a sprawling Wal-mart to town. It's location is guaranteed to drive out what few small businesses still exist in the east and northern areas outside the Quad Cities, areas that, miraculously, have still managed to hang on to a few small independent businesses.
Wal-Mart is not just the world's largest retailer. It's the world's largest company--bigger than ExxonMobil, General Motors, and General Electric. The scale can be hard to absorb. Wal-Mart sold $244.5 billion worth of goods last year. It sells in three months what number-two retailer Home Depot sells in a year. And in its own category of general merchandise and groceries, Wal-Mart no longer has any real rivals. It does more business than Target, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Safeway, and Kroger combined.
"Clearly," says Edward Fox, head of Southern Methodist University's J.C. Penney Center for Retailing Excellence, "Wal-Mart is more powerful than any retailer has ever been." It is, in fact, so big and so furtively powerful as to have become an entirely different order of corporate being.
Wal-Mart wields its power for just one purpose: to bring the lowest possible prices to its customers. At Wal-Mart, that goal is never reached. The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don't change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.
Of course, U.S. companies have been moving jobs offshore for decades, long before Wal-Mart was a retailing power. But there is no question that the chain is helping accelerate the loss of American jobs to low-wage countries such as China. Wal-Mart, which in the late 1980s and early 1990s trumpeted its claim to "Buy American," has doubled its imports from China in the past five years alone, buying some $12 billion in merchandise in 2002. That's nearly 10% of all Chinese exports to the United States.
Your tax dollars pay for Wal-Mart's greed
- The estimated total amount of federal assistance for which Wal-Mart employees were eligible in 2004 was $2.5 billion. [The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart, A Report By The Democratic Staff Of The Committee On Education And The Workforce, 2/16/04]
- One 200-employee Wal-Mart store may cost federal taxpayers $420,750 per year. This cost comes from the following, on average:
$36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches for just 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families.
$42,000 a year for low-income housing assistance.
$125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families.
$100,000 a year for the additional expenses for programs for students.
$108,000 a year for the additional federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP)
$9,750 a year for the additional costs for low income energy assistance.
[The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart, A Report By The Democratic Staff Of The Committee On Education And The Workforce, 2/16/04]
Health care subsidies compared to executive compensation
- Excluding his salary of $1.2 million, in 2004 Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott made around $22 million in bonuses, stock awards, and stock options in 2004.
This $22 million could reimburse taxpayers in 3 states where Wal-Mart topped the list of users of state-sponsored health care programs, covering more than 15,000 Wal-Mart employees and dependents. [Wal-Mart Proxy Statement and News Articles GA, CT, AL].
Your tax dollars subsidize Wal-Mart's growth
- The first ever national report on Wal-Mart subsidies documented at least $1 billion in subsidies from state and local governments.
- A Wal-Mart official stated that “it is common” for the company to request subsidies “in about one-third of all [retail] projects.” This would suggest that over a thousand Wal-Mart stores have been subsidized. [“Shopping For Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth,” Good Job First, May 2004]
Wal-Mart’s growth negatively impact worker’s wages
- The most comprehensive study of Wal-Mart’s impact showed that the stores reduced earnings per person by 5 percent. This 2005 study by an economist from the National Bureau of Economic Research used Wal-Mart’s own store data and government data for all counties where Wal-Mart has operated for 30 years, It found that the average Wal-Mart store reduces earnings per person by 5 percent in the county in which it operates. [David Neumark, The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets 2005]
The Cost of Wal-Mart’s entry into a community can be significant
- According to a 2003 estimate, the influx of big-box stores into San Diego would result in an annual decline in wages and benefits which could cost the area up to $221 million [San Diego Taxpayers Association (SDCTA), 2003]
Lower wages mean less money for communities
- When an employer pays low wages to its employees, the employees have less money to spend on goods and services in the community, which in turn reduces the income and spending of others in the community. In other words a reduction in wages has a multiplier impact in the surrounding area.
- For instance, in 1999, Southern California municipalities estimated that for every dollar decrease in wages in the southern California economy, $2.08 in spending was lost-- the $1 decrease plus another $1.08 in indirect multiplier impacts. [“The Impact of Big Box Grocers in Southern California” Dr. Marlon Boarnet and Dr. Randall Crane, 1999.]
Wal-Mart hurts other businesses when it comes to town.
- In Maine, existing businesses lost over 10 percent of their market in 80 percent of the towns where Wal-Mart opened stores. [Georgeanne Artz And James McConnon, The Impact of Wal-Mart on Host Towns and Surrounding Communities in Maine, 2001]
Food stores in Mississippi lost 17 percent of their sales by the fifth year after a Wal-Mart Supercenter had come into their county, and retail stores lost 9 percent of their sales [Kenneth Stone and Georgeanne Artz, The Economic Impact of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Existing Businesses in Mississippi, 2002]
- Over the course of [a few years after Wal-Mart entered a community], retailers' sales of apparel dropped 28% on average, hardware sales fell by 20%, and sales of specialty stores fell by 17%. [Kenneth Stone at Iowa State University, “Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities,” 1997]
- In towns without Wal-Marts that are close to towns with Wal-Marts, sales in general merchandise declined immediately after Wal-Mart stores opened. After ten years, sales declined by a cumulative 34%. [Kenneth Stone at Iowa State University, “Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities,” 1997]
Just a note that there's a poll up in the sidebar on your opinion of John Kerry, prompted by his recent statement that he's still going to consider a run for the presidency.
Charlie Rangel, D-NY has long advocated a return to a military draft, citing the fact that it's largely minorities and kids from economically strapped households and regions of the country who do the fighting and dying for the elite.
As reported via the AP in the Dispatch/Argus:
With the election behind them, Illinois senators voted Thursday to accept raises that would mean a 9.6 percent increase next year in the paychecks of lawmakers and other top state officials.
Their salaries have not increased since July 2001, and some lawmakers defended the additional pay as long overdue.
The raise applies to lawmakers, the governor, agency directors and other high-ranking officials, although some -- including Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- say they will reject the extra money.
Lawmakers get a base salary of $57,619, which would jump to $63,143 with the raises that are being allowed to take effect. Most lawmakers get extra pay for chairing committees or serving in leadership positions. All are entitled to $125 in expenses for every day of session, plus a mileage reimbursement.
The governor's salary would climb from $150,691 to $165,138.
No one's paychecks will actually increase unless lawmakers set aside the money -- estimated at $4 million -- to cover the increases. That could happen later this month or early next year.
Officials also are entitled to two other cost-of-living increases that took effect on paper but never were accompanied by the necessary government funds. Those increases, if funded, would bring total raises to 15.6 percent.
Legislation to block the raise needed 30 votes. It failed 25-21, with six senators voting "present." Of the 21 senators voting to accept the raises, 19 were Democrats and two were Republicans.
The Illinois House voted in April to reject the raise, but the Senate delayed action until after the fall election.
Under Illinois law, the Compensation Review Board reports every two years on whether officials' salaries should be adjusted. Its recommendations take effect automatically unless both legislative chambers vote to reject them.
In addition, officials get annual cost-of-living increases unless, as has been the practice recently, lawmakers withhold the money.
Jones has defended the additional money, saying lawmakers need cost-of-living increases like everyone else. When asked about Illinois residents who don't get regular increases, he said, "You ought to quit who you're working for."
Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, chided lawmakers who claimed they would reject the extra money.
"You know you're not going to do that because you want to stay happily married and you want to avoid problems at home," Hendon said.
But other lawmakers said they couldn't support the increase when many mid-level state workers aren't getting raises.
"We have professional people in this government working right now who have not had a cost-of-living raise in four years," said Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria. "We need to give those people that are working hard, doing a good job for the state of Illinois, their cost-of-living first."
Those of you who watched know, those who didn't, even if you don't particularly care for football, missed one of the most closely fought and dramatic games I've seen for a long, long time. All I can say is WOW! But it's particularly painful that one team had to lose, and the fact that it was Michigan is particularly painful, as I dearly wanted them to win.
As reported on CNN, former Iowa governor and presidential hopeful Tom Vilsack is waging a cyber-campaign big time.
The anonymous blogger Atrios runs "Eschaton", easily one of the top left leaning blogs in the nation, routinely getting hundreds of thousands of readers a day.
The local Drinking Liberally gang will be getting together tonight at Jack's Place, 425 15th Street in beautiful downtown Moline once again tonight. Plan on getting there around 8:00 p.m. for the first post election get-together and share some celebratory spirits!
From data gathered by the respected Pew Research group, it's clear that the public backs the Democratic agenda and doesn't want a move to the right.
Democratic leaders should....
Work with President Bush:
Total: 55 Rep: 76 Dem: 42 Ind: 54
Stand up to President Bush:
Total: 36 Rep: 16 Dem: 51 Ind: 37
There's excitement on Capitol Hill. It's just been announced that Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) won the House Majority Leader's post and it wasn't even close. He had 149 votes while Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) had less than 90.Man, is it ever the "storyline".
This is a big loss for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.,) the House Speaker designate, who had publicly supported Murtha in recent days. It means her power has been questioned and resisted in her first major test. So she will begin her speakership in a weaker position than she would have otherwise. That will be the story line today across the media.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times (sub required):
Ever since movement conservatives took over, the Republican Party has pushed for policies that benefit a small minority of wealthy Americans at the expense of the great majority of voters. To hide this reality, conservatives have relied on wagging the dog and wedge issues, but they’ve also relied on a brilliant marketing campaign that portrays Democrats as elitists and Republicans as representatives of the average American.Thanks Mr. Krugman for echoing my point in the "Lessons of the Midterm" post below.
This sleight of hand depends on shifting the focus from policy to personal style: John Kerry speaks French and windsurfs, so pay no attention to his plan to roll back tax cuts for the wealthy and use the proceeds to make health care affordable.
This year, however, the American people wised up.
True to form, some reporters still seem to be falling for the conservative spin. “If it walks, talks like a conservative, can it be a Dem?” asked the headline on a CNN.com story featuring a photo of Senator-elect Jon Tester of Montana. In other words, if a Democrat doesn’t fit the right-wing caricature of a liberal, he must be a conservative.
But as Robin Toner and Kate Zernike of The New York Times pointed out yesterday, what actually characterizes the new wave of Democrats is a “strong streak of economic populism.”
Look at Mr. Tester’s actual policy positions: yes to an increase in the minimum wage; no to Social Security privatization; we need to “stand up to big drug companies” and have Medicare negotiate for lower prices; we should “stand up to big insurance companies and support a health care plan that makes health care affordable for all Montanans.”
So what, aside from his flattop haircut, makes Mr. Tester a conservative? O.K., he supports gun rights. But on economic issues he’s clearly left of center, not just compared with the current Senate, but compared with current Democratic senators. The same can be said of many other victorious Democrats, including Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Sheldon Whitehouse in Rhode Island, and Sherrod Brown in Ohio. All of these candidates ran on unabashedly populist platforms, and won.
What about Joe Lieberman? Like shipwreck survivors clinging to flotsam, some have seized on his reelection as proof of Americans’ continuing conservatism. But Mr. Lieberman won only through denial and deception, for example, by rewriting the history of his once-fervent support for the Iraq war and Donald Rumsfeld. He got two-thirds of the Republican vote, but managed to confuse enough Democrats about his positions to get over the top.
Last week’s populist wave, among other things, vindicates the populist direction that Al Gore took in the closing months of the 2000 campaign. But will this wave be reflected in the actual direction of the Democratic Party?
Not necessarily. Quite a few sitting Democrats have shown themselves nearly as willing as Republicans to bow to corporate interests. Consider the vote on last year’s draconian bankruptcy bill. Mr. Lieberman voted for cloture, cutting off debate and ensuring the bill’s passage; then he voted against the bill, a meaningless gesture that let him have it both ways. Thirteen other Democratic senators also voted for cloture, including Joe Biden, who has just announced his candidacy for president.
The first big test of the new Democratic populism will come over reform of the 2003 prescription drug law. Democrats have pledged to repeal the clause in that law preventing Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. But the fine print of how they do that is crucial: Medicare reform could be a mere symbolic gesture, or it could be a real reform that eliminates the huge implicit subsidies the program currently gives drug and insurance companies.
Are the newly invigorated Democrats ready to offer a real change in this country’s direction? We’ll know in a few months.
I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done. Words cannot express how deeply grateful and deeply honored Sharla and I are for the hard work and support that grassroots and netroots Democrats gave to this campaign. You opened up your schedules, opened up your wallets, and opened up your hearts to make Montana and our country a better place.Now DemGorilla wants to be sure that Dems don't pay any attention to the non-conservative side of the party, advocating avoiding being too hard on Republicans or calling them to account for their years of ineptitude and corruption. It's time to put it all behind us and set an example.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. A bit of hyperbole, but apt nonetheless. The Quad City Music Guild located in Moline's Prospect Park is a true gem located on a prometory of land surrounded by old oaks and with a spectacular view over the Rock River Valley on the south and Prospect Park on the west.
Myself and DemGorilla have had a spirited back and forth on the issue of what the midterm election results suggest as far as where the Democrats should go from here.
A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives
November 14th, 2006
To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,
I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.
Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.
Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:
Dear Conservatives and Republicans,
I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:
1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.
2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.
3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.
4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.
5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.
6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.
7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.
8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.
9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.
10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.
11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.
12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.
I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.
(Click here to sign the pledge)
P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.
Just looked up to take a peek at C-Span and their filming of the taking of the House Freshman Photo only to see a close up of Phil Hare standing very prominently at the corner of the balcony above the Capitol steps and with the camera zooming in on him and lingering for quite some time. The cameraperson must have found him interesting, evidently.
Well, what have we so far?
It seems that a group of citizens opposed to the Triumph Pork plant have helped get far in excess of the number of signatures required to put a multi-million dollar sewer bond issue to a vote.
The circultors want a public vote on whether East Moline should borrow $39.5 million to pay for water and sewer system improvements. The city wants to sell bonds, and increase water and sewer rates to repay them.By the looks of comments left on the story in the D/A, people aren't buying what Thodos is selling.
However, city officials are asking why people who don't live in East Moline are so concerned about how the city will pay for the utility improvements, which are mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Petition circulators argue that where they live doesn't matter -- and that they gathered more than 3,200 signatures from registered East Moline voters, way more than the 2,107 needed to put the issue to a public vote, said circulator Doug Riel, who lives in unincorporated Rock Island County.
Mr. Riel was adamant that he and others organized the effort because they want East Moline officials to be held accountable for not billing water and sewer rate increases on outside municipalities that aldermen approved in 1998 and 2003.
Mr. Riel said he helped a few East Moline residents collect enough signatures because they helped him in his fight against Triumph Foods' proposed pork processing plant.
"Everybody wants to say, 'This is a Doug Riel thing.' It's not a Doug Riel thing," he said.
Mayor John Thodos is convinced that accountability isn't the real reason. He said most of the people who circulated petitions are known pork-plant opponents.
"I am against the pork plant," Carole Stoner, of East Moline, said. "I won't deny it. But this particular thing cannot be connected to the hog plant. (City officials) need to be responsible."
Another circulator, Bob Zesiger of Silvis, offered a different reason. Mr. Zesiger, who is also a Silvis alderman, said he believes the borrowed money will go to Triumph.
"We're all out there because this all started with Triumph," Mr. Zesiger said. He said local business leaders don't dig into the background or look into the problems of the hog industry.
East Moline aldermen had approved selling bonds at roughly 4 percent interest, but will have to scrap those plans due to the referendum question on the February primary ballot.
Instead, the city will have to borrow money next month at a higher interest rate to pay for sewer repairs that need to be done now. That in turn means higher water and sewer rates than expected, the mayor said.
If voters approve the $39.5 million bond sale, then the city could begin borrowing money at a lower interest rate, which could mean lowering water and sewer rates, Mayor Thodos said.
Well, it's official. My top two favorite presidential hopefuls are out of the game.
Already the message is loud and clear... be afraid, be very afraid.