Thursday, July 31, 2008

The best little house race in Texas?

I had no idea that the Democrats in Texas only need to pick up 5 seats in November to take control of the Texas House!

This looks like a possible pick-up for Democrat Sherrie Matula. Her opponent, incumbent Republican John Davis, is getting some fundraising support from non-other-than Karl Rove (unless he's in jail) on August 12th in Houston. Wonder if more protesters than donors show up to that one?

Anyway, the latest news is that Davis spent more than $1,500 on a pair of boots - paid for illegally with campaign donations. How many people in his district could (or would!) spend that much on a pair of shoes??

If you want to support his opponent, go to Act Blue and give her a few bucks. Maybe on the 12th, in honor of inmate Rove?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Which country is exporting low-cost (and low-wage) goods to China?

That'd be us.

According to the new study from the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the Economic Policy Institute, "Economic theory would suggest that the United States should specialize in producing goods that intensively use high-skilled, highly educated (and highly paid) workers and import labor-intensive goods that use more low-skilled labor. In fact, low-wage commodity sectors were some of the largest exporters of goods from the United States to China."

You can read more here. But I do warn you it's depressing news.

Disclosure: My company works with AAM and EPI.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Karl Rove was almost arrested

Three cheers for these brave souls!

Four Iowans were arrested today while attempting to make a Citizens’ Arrest of Karl Rove in Des Moines, Iowa. Citing Iowa Code provisions for making Citizen’s Arrests as well as citing Federal Statute violations they claimed Rove had violated, the four were stopped at the gate of the Wakonda Country Club in Des Moines where Rove was scheduled to speak at a Republican Fundraiser.

The four arrested were retired Methodist minister and Peace and Justice Advocate, Rev. Chet Guinn, 80, as well as three Des Moines Catholic Workers, Edward Bloomer, 61, Kirk Brown, 25, and Mona Shaw, 57. All four were cited for trespassing and released.

Here's the AP story as well.

Better luck next time!

What is up with John Edwards - and why is the media not discussing?

I have no idea if this story about John Edwards having an affair - and a baby with the mistress - is true. Actually, I assumed it was false last fall when it first came up and then went away after a strong denial from Edwards. But after all the chatter this weekend, I'm back to wondering if he really is a man who cheated on his dying wife with a campaign staffer, had a baby and denied the whole thing publicly. Seems he was caught last week leaving the hotel - at 2:45 a.m. - where the woman and baby were staying in Los Angeles. Now, the folks who "caught" him are from the National Enquirer, but sounds like the story is still true. (And remember, they are the ones who reported on Jesse Jackson's 'love child', Gennifer Flowers' affair with Bill Clinton and other scandals.)

I just can't understand why the MSM is ignoring the's not being ignored by those of us who follow politics (too closely). Read these stories from Slate and Salon for more on the story, and on why it's being ignored. Just Google "John Edwards" and you can find more info, like this one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I almost feel sorry for McCain...

Desperate to get into the news cycle?

Via TPM:

McCain To Be In German Restaurant While Obama Gives Berlin Speech

Not sure what to make of this. While Obama gives his historic speech in Berlin today, John McCain will be lunching in a German restaurant in Ohio.

Farah Hice, a hostess at Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus in Columbus, just confirmed to me by phone that McCain just walked into the restaurant and is staying for lunch.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad use of 'green' technology

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I bought an Amazon Kindle. I have yet to give it a full review, but I LOVE it. And the technology behind the "print" is really cool (that's a technical term, right?).

Well, looks like the editors at Esquire think it's cool technology too, but they are using it in the print copies of their magazine in September. This makes NO sense...other than as a gimmick...See this write-up on Huffington Post for details:

First, Esquire had to make a six-figure investment to hire an engineer in China to develop a battery small enough to be inserted in the magazine cover. The batteries and the display case are manufactured and put together in China. They are shipped to Texas and on to Mexico, where the device is inserted by hand into each magazine. The issues will then be shipped via trucks, which will be refrigerated to preserve the batteries, to the magazine's distributor in Glazer, Ky.

And then it gets shipped in the mail to thousands of subscribers. I am a magazine junkie (which is not a 'green' habit), but this effort is just silly (another technical term, right?).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is this scary to anyone else?

I was reading this article about the steps that Beijing is taking to clear up their air in advance of the Olympics:

BEIJING -- With the Olympics less than three weeks away, Beijing began restricting car use and limiting factory emissions on Sunday in a final drastic effort to clear its smog-choked skies.

Under the two-month plan, half of the capital's 3.3 million cars will be removed from city streets on alternate days, depending on whether the license plate ends in an odd or even number.

In addition to the traffic plan, chemical plants, power stations and foundries had to cut emissions by 30 percent beginning Sunday. Dust-spewing construction in the capital was to stop entirely.

I've never been to Beijing, but I did live in one of the 'dirtiest' cities in the U.S. for a couple of years, Los Angeles. I can't imagine how dirty the air in Beijing actually is for them to take these sorts of steps. And even with these efforts, the article notes that the world's best distance runner will not even participate in the marathon event because of the air.

I will be interested to see what effect these drastic efforts (which could NEVER happen in a democracy, BTW) will have. It just reinforces the call for immediate action on climate change, like that proposed by Al Gore this week...and I'd add the need to support/encourage developing nations to adopt 'green' technologies as they continue to grow.

Also, check out this organization, Green for All ...I just learned about them today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The George W. Bush Sewage Plant

Every time I fly out of DC, it bugs me to hear the airport's official name...Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. I think it will somehow bug me less if San Franciscans pass this ballot measure:

A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My favorite t-shirt of the day

I didn't get a pic of this guy, but someone else posted to flickr

I'm impressed

I've been working at the grassroots level in Democratic politics for a long time (when I was in elementary school, my mom used to take me along to work outside the polls or lick stamps for mailings)...that experience has left me frustrated as often as it's felt worthwhile. I just sat through a DNC training that left me excited. They have finally started using a national voter database (6 months ago, versus 10 years ago for the Republicans) and it is constantly being used and updated - and shared!

And this, the Neighborhood Volunteer Program, looks amazing. I'm about to sign up and I encourage you all to do the same. Instead of shipping volunteers all over the country for GOTV activies, the DNC is recommending NOTV (Neighbors Organizing the Vote).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Learning about Phil Gramm

I haven't paid much attention to Phil Gramm since I saw him a few years back, so out-of-place at the old Black Cat (his son's band was playing). And once he left the Senate, I really didn't care what he was up to...Now that he's McCain's campaign co-chair and his top economic advisor, I'm glad someone has been keeping track! Read this whole post by Robert Scheer (it's not long):

The bookends of the Bush years are the Enron debacle and the federal bailout of bankers drunk on their own greed. And no two people in this country are more responsible for enabling this sordid behavior than the power couple Phil and Wendy Gramm.

Enron, lest we forget, was their baby. Then-Sen. Gramm sponsored the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed Enron's scamming to happen. As Ken Lay, who was chair of Gramm's election finance committee, put it quite candidly when asked for the secret of Enron's success, "basically, we are entering or in markets that are deregulating or have recently deregulated."

Part of that deregulation involved rulings of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, then chaired by Wendy Gramm, who upon retiring from that post became a highly compensated member of the Enron board of directors, serving for eight years. She even was on the board's audit committee during the time of the corporation's despicable financial shenanigans. While on the Enron board, Wendy Gramm also chaired an anti-regulatory think tank that received funding from Enron and other corporations that benefited directly from the policies her institute espoused.

Not someone I'd even invite to a BBQ...

UPDATE: Even more writings about Phil Gramm today. He tried to invest in porn films? Wow.

Our Sense of Humor

As soon as the New Yorker cover came out, the conversation started shifting from its content/appropriateness to the Democrats' sense of humor, or their lack of a sense of humor. For the record, I think the cover is funny, but I also understood the concerns of others. Today, on - my favorite - Morning Joe, Joe was in quite a mood about the late night comedians - especially the Daily Show - and how they are not making fun of Obama the way they have gone after Republicans. (He did ease up toward the end of the show and said he was having a bad day, and was running on little sleep.)

Since I am a media junkie, and watch the Daily Show every day, I have to disagree that they don't make fun of Dems, or that they don't give Republicans a chance. I've cringed every time John Bolton or Doug Feith show up, but John Stewart lets them hang themselves with their own arguments...and it's fun for us Dems to watch.

Anyway, back to not making fun of Obama...I agree with Maureen Dowd's take today and started laughing (and cringing) when I read the following:

He’s [Obama] already in danger of seeming too prissy about food — a perception heightened when The Wall Street Journal reported that the planners for Obama’s convention have hired the first-ever Director of Greening, the environmental activist Andrea Robinson. She in turn hired an Official Carbon Adviser to “measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every coffee cup tossed.”

The “lean ‘n’ green” catering guidelines, The Journal said, bar fried food and instruct that, “on the theory that nutritious food is more vibrant, each meal should include ‘at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white.’ (Garnishes don’t count.) At least 70% of the ingredients should be organic or grown locally, to minimize emissions from fuel during transportation.”

Bring it on, Ozone Democrats! Because if Obama gets elected and there is nothing funny about him, it won’t be the economy that’s depressed. It will be the rest of us.

Now, if we can't make fun of giving someone the title of "Official Carbon Advisor" or of officially color-coding the meals, there really is something wrong with our sense of humor!

And just to show that we can make fun of Obama, jib jab just came out with this:
Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm going to Netroots Nation! (aka Yearly Kos)

Just got the go-ahead to pack my bags for Austin, TX to spend 4 days hanging out with bloggers...Check out Netroots Nation if you haven't heard of it (or its previous incarnation, Yearly Kos) before!

I'm sure I'll be blogging from the convention!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Media and Democracy

Via a new Bill Moyers column:

"It is impossible not to wonder what will become of not just news but democracy itself, in a world in which we can no longer depend on newspapers to invest their unmatched resources and professional pride in helping the rest of us to learn, however imperfectly, what we need to know.” - Eric Alterman, in the New Yorker

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Kindle

During my business trip last week, I was seated next to a woman on the plane who was reading on a Kindle. This was the first time I'd actually seen the e-book reader in person, so I asked her what she thought. By the time we walked off the plane, I was sold...and I bought one over the weekend. It arrived today! I'll let you know if I love it as much as my fellow traveler does!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Better late than never, I guess

The state of the FDA is so sad, but maybe the tomato scare will do something to reverse the trend and return some teeth to the agency that is supposed to protect our food reported in Portfolio:

Simmering frustration with the failure to find and fix the cause of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people and crippled fresh-tomato sales is spurring calls among unlikely allies—including farmers, restaurant owners, and consumers—to roll back the decades-long campaign to roll back regulations.

Just today, for example, Florida began enforcing new food-safety regulations that will subject tomato growers there to annual inspections and increased training. The new rules were adopted with the support of tomato growers in that state.

For now, we'll stick with buying as much of our food as we can from our local farmer's market!