Pennsylvania Voter ID Law: No Motive Justifies This

The following is a comment I made on a friend’s Facebook page. This friend supports the Pennsylvania voter ID law. One of the things she said in support of this law is that it’s not an inconvenience to go get a license, so people should stop being lazy . That line of thinking comes from someone who can’t imagine or can’t remember what it’s like to be poor. Really poor. So poor that a car is a fantasy, and if a car is fantasy, why have a license? And when you’re working two jobs, and taking 3 buses and the train to get to and from, who has the time? It’s not lazy, it’s life. Point is it shouldn’t be that hard to vote.

Anyway – here’s the comment:

The country I grew up in valued the right to vote. It was an important moment in the history of this country when women and then blacks got the right. People died for that right. For the first time in my lifetime, this is an effort to take away that right from some people so that it’s easier for Romney to win. Basically, if you can’t win by the current rules, change the rules.

The reason republicans like the law is because it gives them a better chance to win. This is the same reason I like the second wild card in baseball this year; because it gives the Phillies a better chance to win. But this is not a game. These are our rights that men and women fought and died for.

There was apparently one valid case of voter fraud in PA in history. Does that justify the estimated $11 million dollars that it will cost to put this law in place? Let me put this in perspective: state governments have conducted studies to determine if seatbelts in large school buses would make a difference, the answer was yes they would. So why aren’t there seat-belts on large school buses – because it was determined by a study in Alabama that the $32 million dollars it would cost to install the belts wasn’t worth the one life it would save in that state. So they wouldn’t spend $32 million to save a life, but PA will spend $11 million to stop one case of voter fraud?

The motive behind the law is enough for me to dismiss any perceived benefit. Even if it helped my candidate – I wouldn’t be for it. My rights are worth too much to give them away.

Republicans off the rail. Maybe it’s time for a 3rd party

For years I have disagreed with the idea of a third political party – that there were two main parties and to get things done (like elect a President) you needed to support one of the main parties. When Arlen Specter switched parties earlier this summer, it was due to the type of political expediency; he was not a Democrat, but closer to them than the current Republican party. I think that many people would have thought that that if there were a third party, would have come from the fringe edges of the liberal side of the country. What has become apparent to me is that the true need is in the Republican party as the party moves more dangerously and sociopathically to the extreme ends of conservatism. These are the conservatives that include crazies like the birthers, secessionists, teabaggers, the town hall meeting attendees, etcetera, etcetera. This is not representative of the entire membership of the Republican party and those more moderate Republicans are being pushed out and silenced. The party is represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. I have to believe there are more viewpoints than that. But as they hold their party hostage, even rational and fair-minded Republicans are required to heed this fringe element, even if it puts them further out of step with the general public (the public who reserves secession for Texas – that is asking Texas to secede.)

At a point when this country is divided to the point where there is no valuable debate, we are left with one side in power, the other side babbling like village idiots, and the everyone else in the middle ducking and taking cover. Does it have to be this way?

I’m not saying that the current Republican party line doesn’t have place in this discussion, what I’m saying is that we need more intelligent discourse in order to get things right, and while the Republican party is busy entertaining thoughts of revolution, teabagging, birthing, and seceding – intelligent discourse is not on their list of to dos.

*Photo by Sage Ross. Creative Commons License

Thank you Joe Wilson

joewilsonAnyone who supports health care got a gift from the heavens when Joe Wilson lost his mind and called the President of the United States of America a liar to his face. So when the Republicans should be talking about health care, they’re talking about this, and the reason that I believe this is important is that it shows the Republicans to be frothing, crazy, out of touch fear mongers.

The President was brilliant tonight. He did what he needed to do, he took off the gloves, and he called these liars out. The Democrats need to fall in line and make this happen. The Republicans have been shown to be weirdos that don’t have our best interest in mind. All the talk from over the summer in those town hall meetings with those crazies is over. President Obama took the ball and now has the momentum on this issue. Waiting until now, after the end of the summer to respond was brilliant.

Now it’s time for the rest of us to make sure we let our representatives know we want this. We need to keep the momentum on this and make it happen.

Old News: Tennessee GOP appears to be full of bigots

Yesterday I read a comment from a friend that stated – “since when was the “new” optional in “news?” I raise that point because from a state where the GOP Party Chairman Chip Saltsman sent the infamous”Barack the Magic Negro” song, it’s clear that the KKK – err, I mean the Tennessee GOP condones and fosters this type of language.

The story that raises my ire today is one that’s gaining momentum (home page of CNN will do that).  It’s about Republican legislative aide Sherri Goforth who sent a racist email out in her capacity as an aide, about President Obama.

Here’s the image (link opens in a new window)

The image is very offensive and maybe that should have been enough to have the woman fired. Actually, initially I was fine with her being rebuked – then I read her explanation.

From Christian Graham of Nashville is Talking:

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.

“I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button,” Goforth told NIT. “I’m very sick about it, and it’s one of those things I can’t change or take back.”

First off – great job by Graham to get her to address the root problem. Given a second chance, Goforth did not. I’d like to know who the right list of people would be? The fact that she didn’t dissociate herself with the statement made by the image says it all. How can any politician even be seen with her?  The fact that she wasn’t fired says that this behavior isn’t toxic enough to affect our image, otherwise she would have been fired just give an appearance of outrage.

The new America

Obama Supreme CourtToday I saw a black President of the United States present a Puerto Rican woman as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Today we saw more of the new America.

The conservatives are going to have a hard time with Sonia Sotomayor. She works in a district where the death penalty isn’t used and abortion rights aren’t challenged much – so there isn’t a lot of mud on her record to sling.

Conservatives will find some reason to hate her but what people need to remember over the next few months is that most of what you hear is entirely partisan. If Obama had nominated a Republican old white male, the conservatives would find a problem him. It’s the old rule – object to everything; but this is the new America –  the old rules don’t apply here.

When Obama was nominated he gave people all over the world to feel proud, for they could look at themselves, their children, their community and say the top floor doesn’t seem so out of reach now. Now Sotomayor’s nomination confirms that swelling of pride. The best and brightest don’t need to come from prep schools in Connecticut – they can come from the projects in the Bronx.

I’m as proud today as I was on January 20. And I suspect millions of Americans feel that same way.

I dare the conservatives to take that on.

Bleeding jobs

This feels like I’m blogging for the first time. Anyway, I picked the most action two weeks since the election to not blog. The list of things I haven’t blogged about – The Obama Inauguartion, the first 10 days, Rod Blagojevich, Rush Limbaugh?

What brings me out of my shell are layoffs. They’re everywhere – hitting very close to home for all of us. One thing that has bothered me is the massive number of layoffs and location closings hitting the news. Starbucks, Circuit City, Home Depot, etc. A few years ago these companies couldn’t find a location they didn’t like. Across the street is another Starbucks? No problem.  The growth of these companies during the last 10 years has been dizzying.  Their growth has also been foolish.  

Here’s the analogy I’ve been using –  Say someone bought a lottery ticket and won a thousand dollars.  Good right?  What if this happened the next month and the month after that?  Excellent huh? Here’s the question: What would you say if that person, looking at their recent track record decided that the winnings had to coming month after month, and buys a bigger, nicer home based on the belief that these winnings were coming month after month?  You’d think that person was a fool.  Well this is essentially what many companies did.

Instead of growing at a sustainable and manageable rate – they grew thinking the good times would never end.  Fueled by a low interest rates, cheap money, an insane real estate market, these companies grew without any regard for the future.  Shouldn’t companies grow at a rate that allows them to withstand the bad times without upsetting the apple cart? Didn’t these have a responsibility to be there for their employees?  But greed won out and all they could think of is more, more, more.

All this is too late – people are losing the jobs, over 100,000 this week. The people in charge should be in jail, but they’re living off of their crazy bonuses.  One report had Wall Street bankers taking in $18 billion in bonuses last year.  How much is that?  Enough to give the automakers the bailout they asked for plus an additional $4 billion to “buy something to make themselves pretty”.  It’s enough to employ 300,000 people at $48,000 a year and pay for their health insurance for their family of four.  It’s enough to buy every Major League Baseball team and have enough left over to buy 10 or 11 NFL teams. In other words – it’s a lot of money.  I don’t want to get on a rant here – but maybe these guys didn’t need a bailout.  

I hope this ends soon – I fear that it will bring us all under.  But part of me wonders if that pain wouldn’t be good in the end. Maybe the past two hundred years  we were the  caterpillar  (the insect, not the company that has cut 22,000 jobs). Maybe when this is all done, we’ll be a pretty butterfly.

Or maybe Bernie Madoff will still be smiling?

Our last day in hell

I’m sure if there is a hell, its inhabitants don’t believe that there will be a last day and even if they think there might be, the worst thing would be is to hope or believe in it.

It’s been a long 8 years, from the Supreme Court deciding who the 43rd President of the United States would be. We’ve experienced the horror of 9/11; the subsequent and emotional rush to war in Iraq; the “Mission Accomplished” and the next six years of trying to accomplish that mission; the re-election of George Bush so that he would become the worst two-term President in history; the negligence of the government’s post-Katrina response; the implosion of the economy to its worst state in 70 years.

Yes it’s been a long eight years and now we get to count down to the end of Bush not in days, but hours. Right now he’s having his last dinner on the tax payer’s dime. It’s amazing how excited I am for him to leave, go to Texas where he should stay for the rest of his days, and not screw things up any further.

We’ve survived and after 8 years of nowhere – we can finally say “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives”.

Mission accomplished.