It’s Not A Liberal or Conservative Issue

It is my general feeling that amending the United States Constitution is something that should not be suggested lightly. There’s a whole slew of proposed amendments that never really went anywhere.

Still, I’m mulling over this e-mail I got from Uthaclena which reads in part: “As you are undoubtedly aware, the Supreme Court recently decided that Corporations are Persons who are entitled to spend as much money on ‘free speech’ to effect elections as they like. I believe that most Americans, be they Liberal or Conservative, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or Independent, thinks that this is ludicrous. The ruling legitimizes the business of BUYING elections, which is already a grave threat to our democracy. This is an issue that should unite us despite the partisan contention of the last decade.”

Well, yes. When I commented on the court case initially, my view was what it was, one commenter suggested, because I was liberal. I AM a liberal, but the issue was that the Court seemed to cede power from the people to the corporate state. It seemed radical. People complain about the “activist” court when some “progressive” ruling down. Well, this was the height of judicial activism. Along with the Griswold decision to essentially allow eminent domain for “economic” reasons, this court has put the people last.

So I’m feeling inclined to support such a measure.

“Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, have co-sponsored a bill to send a Constitutional Amendment to the States for ratification that would allow corporation’s influence to be limited. The proposal reads:

H. J. RES. ___
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland (for herself and Mr. CONYERS) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on __________________

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘SECTION 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.
‘SECTION 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’.

You can voice your support of Representative Edwards here.

But more importantly, contact YOUR OWN Congressional Representative and ask them to support this resolution so that it can move forward. If you are uncertain who your representative is or how to contact them, use the locator.

The source article can be read here.

(WARNING! Leftie blog!! ;-)”


What does patriotism mean? QUESTION

My wife is reading a book called Deep Democracy by Judith Green (no relation) as one of the required readings for her summer courses. My understanding of the book, and I haven’t seen it, is that deep democracy isn’t just a flag pin on the lapel; it’s working for the opportunity to make sure that each individual has the opportunity to pursue the American dream.

So what does patriotism mean to you? For me voting; but also being an informed voter. Perhaps working on a campaign; I owe time to TWO of them this year. Participate in the “marketplace of ideas”.

I believe that participating in the Census qualifies.

Civil protest, when injustice exists.

How about you?

And what do you think of this new study of sixteen countries, which “shows that in nearly every democracy surveyed, government helps assure that every eligible citizen is registered to vote. If the United States were to modernize voter registration in this way, it would add between 50 and 65 million citizens to the rolls.” How do you feel about compulsory voter registration? I think I’m against it, but I can be convinced.


What did you REALLY think? QUESTIONS

Regardless of who you WANTED to win on Tuesday, what did you REALLY think would happen? Go ahead, admit it You thought there’d be another Florida 2000. My guess for that was Missouri, which IS very close for McCain…NOT THAT IT MATTERS.

I thought:
Obama would win, initially with 364 electoral votes, as noted here. But I got nervous and changed to 311. He’s at 365, including one in Nebraska with Missouri still in doubt, so I should have stayed with my first instinct. Incidentally, I favor the Maine/Nebraska model of allocating electoral votes by Congressional district, with only the two votes going to the statewide winner. If only we could do something about the gerrymandering that tends to make certain districts heavily leaning towards one party or another.
Hey, does anyone know someone who could look at the last several Presidential elections to ascertain what the Electoral College vote would have been had the Maine/Nebraska model been in place NATIONALLY?

I knew Sen. Liddy Dole was going down in NC, and deservedly so.

I thought Sen. Ted Stevens would lose in AK; if he wins, I think the Senate will boot him, and the governor of Alaska (who is the governor of Alaska, I wonder) will pick someone, perhaps herself.

I was disappointed that the anti-gay marriage proposals went down, but was surprised only in CA.

I’m sorry Chris Shays, the last Republican in the House from New England, will be gone.

I guessed a pickup of 7 Senate seats and 29 House seats for the Democrats; so far, 5 Senate seats and at least two dozen House seats.

I was hoping Linda Hall would win in the race for Onondaga County Clerk, if only because we went to church together when we were kids. Onondaga County includes Syracuse, NY.

I’m not surprised that Rahm Emanuel’s heading Obamas’s staff. I saw him on Meet the Press with MN Gov. Tom Pawlenty and had him for lunch.

I was surprised by the margin (61-39) of victory for Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, in
the Congressional district adjacent to mine, a Democrat running in a GOP district who won last time largely because of domestic violence allegation against the imncumbent. Her opponent this time, Sandy Treadwell, is rich and spent lots of money. In fact, this may have been the most expensive House race in the country. Part of Gillibrand’s district is Rensselaer County, where Obama did less well against McCain than Kerry did against Bush.
Someone I know well says he’ll have me defenestrated if I don’t show up to this:

Monday, 4:30 PM Albany Law School. “Maggie Thompson on the big screen, free Buffy comics, and hot food after. What more could you ask for?” More hours in the day. Say, does anyone know what “defenestrated” means? thanks to high school French, I guessed correctly.
Samhain Wax Magic by people I know.
Remembering John Leonard, who I particularly loved for over a decade and a half on CBS Sunday Morning. He was unapologetical erudite in a world where “dumbing down” seemed more popular.


Dear President-Elect Obama

Congratulations on your historic win. Not only am I glad that you were victorious, I’m happy that it wasn’t decided by the interpretation of a few hundred hanging chads somewhere. You ran, for the most part, an excellent campaign. You gave a very moving acceptance speech, embracing those who did not support you. I’m betting even Condi Rice shed a tear or two of happiness. Not only black people, but white people, Asians, Hispanics and not insignificantly, those who identify as mixed race, were inspired that your election could happen in the United States of America.

Before I get too far into this, my condolences to you and your sister on the passing of your beloved grandmother. Her death, practically on the eve of the election, gave you no time to grieve properly.

Wow. I’m so used to voting for people who run for President and lose. I’m now 2 for 10.

One of the things I saw on the news that hadn’t occurred to me was a story in a barbershop, the barbershop of Steve Osumsami of ABC News. One man noted that young black men can’t going around saying they can’t achieve because they didn’t have a father around. He said he’d point out Barack Obama and note that a fatherless black child can become President.

I know you know what a big job you have. Moreover, you doubtless know how much you’ve already been undercut, perhaps less by your race and more by a bunch of pernicious lies that may have been a cover for race or a different form of “otherness”. Some of it was particularly venal.

One of the effects of this particular poisoning of the well is that you will need to show that you’re not part of some wacko conspiracy to undermine the country. One of the ways for you to do that is to do less.

Please follow me here. One of the most egregious things done by your soon-to-be-predecessor is his unprecedented grab of Presidential authority. Signing documents, secret dealings and other tools in the toolkit that made the last eight years far from the balance of power I believe the Founders intended. in fact, the reason I favored the impeachment of George W. Bush was not to punish him but to set limits on the authority of the executive branch.

Failing that, I think you can build confidence of the American people, both those who supported you, and perhaps even more, those who did not, by relinquishing, or at least not utilizing some of the more venal methodologies used by Bush 43. Transparency, rather than secrecy, needs to be the watchword. You have given a lot of people tremendous hope in our future, in spite of the bleak economic forecast. They will follow you a long way as long as they know what they are following.

To that end, i think your website , which will be the “source for the latest news, events, and announcements so that you can follow the setting up of the Obama Administration” is a wonderful idea.

I do hope you can do something about health care, as you’ve indicated. I’ve found your story about your mother fighting insurance companies while fighting cancer deeply moving and I know will motivate you to have America do better.

Beyond that, I’ll just wish you well. But I do have this thought: I realize that voting is a function of the states. Is there something you might champion that would champion some sort of nationwide early voting? Also, it 1polls open 12 hours for a Presidential election seems severely short when it means long lines, perhaps in inclement weather; it IS November, after all.

Finally, and I know it’s a quirk, but you say, when answering questions, “Look” as a stalling tactic way too often. Watch the Fred Armisen parodies on Saturday Night Live. Hey maybe you can appear on SNL – all your opponents (Clinton, McCain, Palin) have. Maybe it’ll be a sock it to me?” moment.



So here’s the plan for the day: Get up at 5:45, throw on some clothes, walk the 5 blocks to my new polling place – my old one was less than 2 blocks away, but that library’s being renovated.

Vote. This undercuts the need for anyone (this means YOU, Working Families Party) to have to CALL me to REMIND me to vote. I ALWAYS VOTE. (Can we get early voting someday, New York? Oh, you’re arcane and backwards? I take that as a “no”.) Also, I’ll beat the crowds AND I’ll have a fallback position to come after work, should the machines not be working.

Since my wife has the day off, she’ll take the child to day care, so I can just go to play racquetball, then go to work. Try to ignore all polling news; I just don’t care anymore.

Go home, eat dinner, do the evening routine with the child. Turn on TV at 9 pm EST and watch the voting results until shortly after the California polls close, then go to bed for a few hours, getting up early to see what was unresolved tonight.

I must say that Charlie Gibson of ABC News seemed a bit apoplectic last week about the early voting that’s taking place, saying in essence, shouldn’t all the voters have exactly the same opportunity to get as much information before pulling the lever, or whatever it is one does on an electronic machine? I think Evanier said it as well as anyone: “Seriously, a lot of us just want it over. How long has it been since you heard anything from either candidate that might have changed your mind?” Everything I hear now is preaching to the converted. Here’s MY contribution to that effort:

Local (Albany County) advice.
My Personal ‘Faith Priorities’ for this Election by Jim Wallis of Sojourner Magazine
“The other day, a guy who played a game of basketball against Barack Obama said that Obama spent the whole game ‘trash talking.’ He also said Obama’s trash-talking is
eloquent, high-minded and inspirational.”
— Conan O’Brien


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