Thursday, September 30, 2004

Virginia: Moran & Scott stand up for Equality AGAIN

I just received great news from the Virginia Partisans:

The Republican attempts to write discrimination into the US Constitution with the so-called federal "Marriage Protection Amendment" did NOT pass--thanks to a vote mainly on party lines.

Congressman Jim Moran and Bobby Scott were the *only* two Virginia representatives to vote down this amendment.

Republicans have been attacking civil rights for the GLBT community (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transsexuals) as a way to force Democrats to cast controversial votes in an election year. Congressmen Moran and Scott not only did the right thing, they also both put their careers and their re-election chances on the line by standing up for civil rights and against discrimination.

These are two Democrats who do so much for Virginia. Please, please, please: thank them by calling them on Friday and volunteering to help out on their campaigns this weekend. And if you can't this weekend, go and help as soon as you can--and bring 3 friends with you.

Northern Virginia:
Jim Moran for Congress
703-248-9330

Richmond/Central Virginia:
Bobby Scott for Congress
(757) 245-5500


I'm including the email from the Virginia Partisans below, along with Congressman Moran's remarks in the floor debate on the Amendment.


Friends,

I am pleased to report that today, the Republican-run US House of Representatives failed to muster the necessary 2/3s majority to pass an amendment to write discrimination in our US Constitution. Almost every Democrat voted with us, almost every Republican voted against us.

I am particularly pleased to say that Congressmen Bobby Scott (3rd District) and Jim Moran (8th District) both stood with us and voted no. We have endorsed both for re-election, this further re-affirms our faith in these two strong supporters of inclusion and equality. I am enclosing Congressman Moran's comments on the House floor---I believe they speak for themself.

Every Virginia Republican voted against us on this---even "moderate" Tom Davis, who had earlier pledged his opposition to the amendment. Call them and express your disappointment 202-224-3121 is the Capitol Switchboard. But more importantly, remember this on November 2nd and be sure to vote for good Democratic candidates who believe inclusion. As always, you can find our endorsed candidates thus far at:
http://www.vapartisans.org/endorse.html

With a Democratic majority and a Democratic administration, a vote like this would never have come up to begin with! We have just over a month to make sure we elect Kerry-Edwards and Democrats to the US House... You can donate to our Federal PAC via our website. You can get information on volunteer opportunities, all across Virginia, by e-mail me at president@vapartisans.org . Please make sure we do everything you can to make sure Virginia make a strong pro-equality and pro-Democratic statement on November 2nd.

Best regards,

Josh Israel
President



Representative James P. Moran
Federal Marriage Amendment Debate Remarks
September 30, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment."
Today, we stand on the floor of the people's body, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the intention of writing discrimination into the Constitution for the first time in our nation's history.

The "Marriage Protection Amendment" is a cruel joke. How it does anything to protect marriage in this country is beyond me. Will it instruct individuals on the necessity of communication in a successful relationship? Does it help reduce promiscuity or stop unwanted pregnancies? Will it strengthen people's resolve to work through the hard times that every marriage brings? No, sadly it will do none of those things.

What it will do, however, is single out one group of people for discrimination, declaring them forever unworthy of the same legal protection all other Americans enjoy. Further, this amendment would usurp the will of the people in states that have used their traditional states' rights authority to define civil marriage and civil union laws. State laws passed by elected representatives in places like Vermont will be wiped clean off the books. In situations where a loved one is sick in the hospital, same-sex couples will once again lose the right to sit bedside and help nurse their partner back to health. These couples' ability to plan a financial future together and share healthcare benefits will also be forever washed away.

Mr. Speaker, this push to tamper with the Constitution is misguided because we already have sufficient legislation to allow individual states the ability to retain and structure marriage laws the way they see fit. While I opposed and continue to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which passed the House back in 1996, this law is still fully functional and in effect. No state in the union has to accept any other state's laws with respect to same sex marriage. Since the bill's enactment eight years ago, it has not been successfully challenged in any court, anywhere in the country.

Why then, do we need to preemptively amend the Constitution? We've seen where preemptive war has gotten us so far, let's not make the same mistake with this most cherished of American documents.

Mr. Speaker, the Constitution should not be used as political football. Members across the aisle continue to play a risky game of Russian roulette with the blueprint of our democracy. I stand in opposition to this crass attempt to politically divide the American public in an election year and urge my colleagues to vote against amending the Constitution.


____________________________________________________________________
Building a Broader Coalition In The Commonwealth since 1992.

Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club
http://www.vapartisans.org

Virginia Partisans is now taking online payment for membership, State and Federal PAC donations, and general donations. Visit our web site at http://www.vapartisans.org/online.htm and join, renew, or donate today!
Please forward this e-mail to others.
To subscribe to this e-mail notification list, visit our web page at http://www.vapartisans.org.
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View our e-list archives at http://point0.net/pipermail/vplist/





Thanks are also due to Josh Isreal and the Virginia Partisans for their outstanding advocacy and public education efforts on this bill.

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Counter Freep Insurgency

Paperwight is a regular here and at BOP and a great blogger. His blog is part of a blogging/writing/analysis project for a composition class at USCA. I've written up an account of it here.

The students' blogs got freeped over the weekend. The kids have rallied with an impressive level of grace and poise.

Paperwight has been dilligently working through the student blogs and giving them encouraging comments, while engaging them at a "grown-up" level of blog discourse.

I am extremely impressed with this project, and I would hate to see the students discouraged by their experience this weekend.

So, I'm pimping out paperwight and the project, in order to ask you, if you have a minute to spare, to go over and encourage the kids and write a few encouraging comments. You can find a list of the student's blogs in the sidebars of the class homepage: http://101f04.blogspot.com/.

Think of it as a Counter Freep Insurgency for a really good cause.


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Composing vs Transcribing

I can't write a post to save my life this week, but over on BOP News I've been writing comments longer than my normal posts.

I think the different is that when I write a post (of any substance), typically I do research, I incorporate multiple sources, I synthesize ideas and I try to present a cogent analysis. I push myself to write new things and learn in the process--it is the challenge for me of writing. Er...all of which is over my head at the moment.

On the other hand, when I comment on other people's posts, often I am just transcribing information out of my head that is an area of expertise, or a set of ideas I have already given much thought. It's all up there already and I just need to get it on the page.

All of which is to say...I've been neglecting Tsuredzuregusa lately, but I'm commenting up a storm on BOP, and I'd like to invite my readers here to come over and join some interesting conversations:

BOP readers are sketching a blueprint of the progressive political machine.

Abby Vigneron examines the lessons we need to learn from Florida 2000 to prepare for 2004.

Matt Stoller asks for your thoughts on Bling Bling for Kerry.

Marcy Wheeler points out why party building trumps vote goals as a long term strategy.

Come on over and have your say...and make me feel less guilty for being a crummy hostess over here. ;)

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Leave No Trace Blogging

Haloscan seems to be burpy lately...so as I write this, there are no comments on the site. I also owe some people trackbacks and can't get at them...sorry folks. I'm sure all will be back online...someday.
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I knew he was behind it!

Okay, I have a new favorite election ad:

SatanGood marks for concept and execution and viral potential; my only complaint is, I wish it was harder hitting.

But hey! Do your part and pass it on.

Via the great folks at Bag News.
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We're in the Countdown

[A]: "...We're in the countdown now."

[B]: "To what?"

[A]: "From the pattern of their operations--what we've peiced together--a prolonged series of massive, orchestrated conflagrations designed to spin governments out of control and destabilize them."

[B]: "That's a tall order. In what way?"

[A]: "Guesswork. Probably widespread, coordinated reruptions of violence led by terroists everywhere--terrorists fueled by [X] and his people. When the chaos becomse intolerable, it would be their excuse to march in with military units and assume the controls, initially with martial law."

[B]: "It's been done before. Feed and arm a presumed enemy, then send out provocatuers--"

[A]: "With massive sums of money and materials."

[B]: "And when they rise up, pull out the rug, crush them, and take over. The citizens give thanks, and call the heroes saviors, as they start marching to their drum."


Can anyone tell me where the quotes come from? No string-searches, please, and if you know with 100% certainty, keep it to yourself while the others guess, and let them have some fun.

I'll provide the source later in the week...
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What She Did!

About a month back, we had a good discussion going here on Tsuredzuregusa about progressive women bloggers who write about politics and ways to encourage and support each other.

Out of that discussion, Carla at Preemptive Karma set up a new Progressive Women's Blog Ring. (Thanks again, Carla!)
"This is a Progressive/Liberal political webring for women bloggers.

In order to join, your blog must have at least 50% ownership, management and posting by a woman. The ring is strictly for women who blog on political and current events issues related to Progressive politics and policy."
You can see current list of members here and if you are a progressive woman blogger who is interested in joining, find info on how to do so here.

I also threw out the idea of putting together a progressive women's political blogroll. I hadn't managed to put the idea into action yet (health, etc.), and Morgaine at The Goddess, bless her heart, has made the blogroll a reality, with the help of some other spectacular and generous bloggers. The criteria for the blogroll are:
  • the blog is by a woman or group including women

  • they cover liberal politics at least part time, and

  • they have a feminist slant- pro-choice, size acceptance, pay equity, etc.

The fruits of Morgaine's labours are two-fold:

1. What She Said! is the homepage for the blogroll, as well as the sign-up site for the What She Said! email newsletter and a new focal point for the progressive womens' blogging community. I also had the pleasure/honour of being the first WSS Feature Blogger.

2. Plus, of course, there is the "Progressive Women who Blog Politics" Blogroll itself. I have added the blogroll to Tsuredzuregusa, and while the blogroll is a work in progress, you can see how phenomenal the support for it has been already.

What can you do?

  • To join the Progressive Women's Blog Ring, go here.

  • To submit a topical progressive woman/women's blog to the What She Said! blogroll, contact Morgaine at morgaine (at) the-goddess.org. (And likewise, please let Morgaine know if you can help out!)

  • If you'd like your blog to be featured on What She Said!, find all the details here.

  • Finally, please help spread the word!

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    Uxorious

    Is there a non-pejorative equivalent to uxorious?

    If there is, Neil is it. :)

    He just came home from work and made me lunch.

    I am feeling absolutely genki...er, which is a fabulous Japanese word that in this case I would translate as "full of beans." (Yes, soybeans, presumably.)
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    Friday, September 24, 2004

    Magpie Blogging

    Shiny things I have found today:

    1. The Internet has a diameter of about 10,000 pookies.

    Take a look at their graphics and find out just what a pookie is.

    2. The Random Surrealism Generator

    Can never get enough surrealism in a day, or enough random engines for that matter. Their random Shakespear quote generator is quite lovely as well.

    3. Akiyoshi's Illusion Pages

    Not recommended for those sensitive to anomalous motion illusions.

    4. The Philosophical Lexicon
    desousaphone, n. A musical instrument, descended from the harmanica (q.v.); like the bassoon, it is often used to provide comic effects in program music.

    foucault, n. A howler, an insane mistake. "I'm afraid I've committed an egregious foucault."

    jerry-mander, v. To tailor one's metaphysics so as to produce results convenient for the philosophy of mind. E.g. "Paramecia don't have mental representations; therefore the properties they react to are nomic." Hence jerry-rigged, adj. said of an argument proceeding from jerry-mandered premises. "Paramecia only react to nomic properties; therefore, they don't have mental representations."

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    Yusif Islam (Cat Stevens) Update

    I wrote earlier in the week on the lack of irony in this country: First they harrassed Art Spiegelman, and now they've deported Cat Stevens.

    I gather that not everyone caught that Art Spiegelman was harrassed by police during the RNC. Here's the quote from Salon:
    Author Irene Dische was covering the Bush speech for the German paper Die Zeit. Dische said she was sitting in the press stands with the artist and graphic novelist Art Spiegelman when police removed them both from the press stands and questioned them about their T-shirts. Spiegelman's T-shirt said "Pray for a secular society"; Dische's featured the word "Bush" and Chinese characters. She convinced police it said, "I love Bush" (it meant shit on Bush and flush him away) and was allowed to return to her seat. On her way back, an usher handed her an American flag and told her to wave it. When she refused to take it, she "immediately felt a hand on my shoulders," she said, and police quickly ushered her off the convention floor and into a station set up inside the Garden. They called immigration officials to check on her American status and questioned her for over an hour. She also convinced them to Google her on the Internet to prove that she was a legitimate writer. When she called her daughter, Emily, and spoke to her in German, one detective barked, "You don't speak in a language we can't understand here." Finally she was escorted to the street, with the police, Dische said, "trying to make nice the whole way."
    The Dynamic Driveler has made the point that Stevens earned his lumps:
    ...the man has supported Islamic terrorist organizations. Worse yet he publicly used his fame with the Baby Boomer generation to promote his agreement with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwah against Saloman Rushdie that declared a death sentence against Salman for a novel he wrote (he later did a flip flop but only after much public outcry and particularly a sharp decline in record sales). Sorry gang - he should be kept out of North America. Choices have consequences. He made his choice now he gets to pay the consequences.
    Fair enough, Doug, but my concerns are:
    1. If we are deporting on the basis of hate speech, then Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh should be packing their bags.
    2. To the best of my knowledge, the deportation happened without any recourse to due process. Yusuf Islam *allegedly* supported groups linked to terrorism: please don't underestimate how broadly, how loosely, and how opportunistically that can currently be interpreted here.

    The New York Times article on the deportation points out that Tom Ridge got huffy that United Airlines let Islam on the plane, even though his name is allegedly on the do not fly list. However, United officials say his name was NOT on the list. In addition, Islam flew to the US in May...so his status on the mysterious list, or his status with Homeland Security, has changed since then.

    So, this is not so much about hate speech or fatwas or terrorist organizations...but mysterious lists that cannot be challenged and the ongoing assault on civil liberties in the US.

    I think the final word goes to Newswriter:

    Homeland

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    Thursday, September 23, 2004

    prezzies

    I am blind with a migraine today and have nothing to add to all of the Very Serious Discussions. So, instead, I come bearing gifts (in the standard denomination of 3's):
  • Cheese Test: What type of cheese are you?
    It seems that...I am Brie.
    brie
    You are a cheese with a complex flavor. Your moods are affected by your current environments. You are sophisticated and mature but sometimes a little superstitious.
  • Muffin Films
    Beware the fatal snack!

    two muffins speaking french on a city street

  • The Traffic Cone Preservation Society

    cross between a traffic cone and a jelly fish


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    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    Debunking the myth of the Faustian Republicans

    I have had a very quiet summer since I left my (political) job, resting up and trying to get on top of my crazy insomnia and some other health concerns.

    In the past week or so, fairly randomly and out of the blue, I've had the pleasure of talking with or even seeing in person some of my favourite political people (well, favourite people, period) from Northern Virginia, many of whom are scattered around the country right now.

    And I've reached a few conclusions:
  • I love Democrats, I really do. I adore the rank and file Democrats that I have the pleasure and honor of meeting and working side by side with in this line of work.
  • I hate the big Democratic machine. We aren't professional, we are grossly disfunctional, and we perform so poorly that we don't deserve to win. I'll say it again: we don't deserve to win.

  • I know great prospective candidates that get shut out by the personal prejudices or the petty provincial concerns of regional democratic organizations (I don't think I'm out of line I cite Becky Cate as an example, for any Northern Virginia readers who have followed that saga in the news); I have friends working on targetted races that are flogging their workers and volunteers to death trying to run rural field models in urban areas--and wondering why morale is low, staff turnover is high, and the candidate is slipping in the polls; I know people trying desperately to drum up volunteers, for targetted races, where the Democratic party in its infinite wisdom is fielding a candidate that is anti-choice, anti-environment...and then the campaign is suprised when the base doesn't turn up to help (the base, in fact, has made itself clear that it is making a point of staying home, and the republican-lite candidate is on its own); I have friends working with the Kerry Edwards campaign in a state that is fully staffed with multiple campaign offices, paid staff, overhead costs...and they aren't running ANY field campaign activites...(WTF???); and I know state legislators who are so naive about American politics that they don't have the sense to recognize that the same shit going on at the federal level rolls down hill (with a nudge from Karl Rove) and they are shocked when it hits them.

    A great, hysterical, celebrate-our-victimhood-and-righteous-martyrdom myth of Democrats I've worked with across the country is that the Republicans win because they are evil and sneaky.

    Er, no.

    They win because they have discipline and organization and they approach politics like a business. Democrats do politics like community theatre. They train for the Olympics like a cold-war era Soviet team and while we throw together a pick-up team for a game of street hockey.

    We don't deserve to win.

    The Democratic Party doesn't deserve to win, but the American people don't deserve to lose. And, other than Howard Dean's Democratic machine, the people are locked out of American politics.

    I am angry and disgusted right now. And exhausted.

    This week has demonstrated that I am up for helping Democrats get elected who want to win, but not for fighting with Democrats who want to lose the way we always have.

    Damn them.

    We have tremendous work to do in reforming the Democratic party. I'm committed to getting good Democrats elected in the interim. And, I'm doing what I can to teach students how to win and do this right, so they can bring a culture of winning and best practices up with them through the ranks. Otherwise, I don't even know where to start to fix up a pervasive, pathological mess like this--but if someone else can point the way, I'll do whatever I can to work towards a solution.

    (And, in the meantime, I really am exhausted and back to wacky insomnia. Plus I have the opportunity to help some great people look at their field data. I'm resting up and trying to get my brain sharpened, and real politics takes precedent over blogging.)

    Out of curiosity, how many readers are volunteering with a campaign right now? (or interested, but don't know what to do or how to get in?) How many work in politics? How many are considering or might be interested in running for elected office down the road?

    Rambly post, I know; I didn't want to abandon the site altogether while I'm fog headed.
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    First they harrassed Art Spiegelman...

    ...now this:
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security intercepts a United Airlines flight from London, so that Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, can be arrested and deported for allegedly financially supporting groups linked to terrorism. (MSNBC)
    Via Wikipedia Current Events.

    These folks know no irony...or decency.
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    Monday, September 20, 2004

    Real Life vs Politics

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    Friday, September 17, 2004

    Multiblogging

    John McCain Back in the Koolaid

    Karl 'Roveeni' Rove flavor koolaid package
    I wrote a while back on BOP about how the Bush campaign savaged John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries. However, since McCain stood up and spoke out against scurilous attacks on fellow Vietnam vet John Kerry, Karl Rove et al have treated us this summer to the much vaunted Bush McCain Hugs along the campaign trail [I supose McCain should feel lucky Rove didn't make him roll on his back and piss himself], and his "We will never surrender" speech at the RNC. (Er, where was that spirit back in 2000, John?)

    In the latest installment of this bizarre and tragic saga, McCain just told the Florida Supreme court that the law should not be an obstable to getting Ralph Nader on the ballot.


    Read the rest at The Blogging of the President


    Women's lives as the currency of political gain

    The Guardian reports that another assault on reproductive freedom has quietly passed the house:coat rack with wire hangers

    A little-noticed provision cleared the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency.
    Translation: if a woman requires emergency medical care, a hospital can legally turn her away, and state and local governments can't do anything about it.

    Read the rest (and the comments that so far promise to be a troll fest extravaganza) on BOP.
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    I thought it was a spoof on Bush...

    ...turns out it's even better.


    movie poster for 'The Pssion of the Shrimp'


    Go visit the entire Passion of the Shrimp art collection.

    Via (who else?) Pen-Elayne.

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    We don't know, either

    Warning: not work appropriate. There is a fabulous version of the American Anthem that sounds like it is being played by the houseband from the original Star Trek.

    We don't know why, but it obviously happenned.

    Via Seeing the Forest.

    If anyone finds out where this came from, I'll offer a reward...er...of my undying gratitude, and my public thanks here on Tsuredzuregusa, and the ensuing *oodles* of publicity.
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    Nader watch

    Nader's off the ballot in Virginia but Republicans are fighting to overturn the courts and get him back on the ballot in Florida.
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    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    Stanley Hilton falls on a hand grenade for America

    lady_justice large.jpgOn June 3 2002, Stanley Hilton, a San Francisco attorney and former aide to Senator Bob Dole, filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court against George W. Bush and members of his administration, on behalf of 400 9/11 victim family members. The suit alleges that Bush and his administration knowingly allowed the attacks to take place for their own political gain. Hilton has been targetted with death threats, professional threats, and harrassment; his law office was broken into and his professional papers were stolen. After a year underground, he recently broke his silence in a radio interview with Andrew Jones.

    Listen to the interview and read the rest of this article on The Blogging of the President.


    Update

    I got the idea for truncating long essays this way from multiblogger extraordinaire, Suw Charman, who sometimes crossposts a teaser for articles on her personal blog, Chocolate & Vodka, that she posts in full on her professional blog, Strange Attractor. (Oh, yes, there are professional blogs.) Both blogs are excellent, btw.

    Question: is this a good way to handle the limitations of Blogger, or just an inconvenience to readers? I'd love your feedback.
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    More on Multiblogging

    I'm still finding my way as a contributor to multiple blogs. I don't feel like Blogger lends itself well to particularly long posts, so I'll be mostly keeping shorter posts here, and longer posts on BOP. We'll see how that goes.

    I'm always keen to hear from senior multibloggers on how you allocate your time and divide up your posting.
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    Mr. Stay-the-Course Revealed

    The truth about the Flip Flopper-in-Chief




    Observations
    1. I adore Jon Stewart.
    2. Why isn't he on retainer at the DNC?
    3. Why isn't John Kerry just broadcasting this clip every day until November 2?
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    Rule of Law

    From The Leiter Reports:
    At the same time, we are witnessing alarming expansions of state power (to spy, to pry, to detain); the collapse of the rule of law in crucial areas (separation of powers, rights of habeas corpus--though with a hopeful push-back from the courts recently); and, finally, the packing of the judiciary with ideologues who exacerbate both the other tendencies. (In the 4th judicial circuit of the United States, the process is complete--there, if a 3-judge panel produces a decision deemed "too liberal," en banc panels are then convened, where the conservative majority on the circuit can overturn the remaining liberals. The rule of law is, for many purposes, effectively abolished in states like Virginia and North Carolina as a result.)

    Read Leiter's excellent essay in full here
    The state of the 4th circuit court is outside my ken, frankly. I am hoping that Steve from SW Virginia Law Blog or some of our other knowledgable Virginia (or North Carolina) readers can comment on this.

    Update

    Links corrected. (Thanks, Heather, for the heads up!)
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    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Counterfeit Constitution

    handwriting sample from constitution

    Definitive proof that the US Constitution is a Forgery

    Thanks to Eat Your Vegetables via Pen-Elayne.
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    Multiblogging

    I try not to crosspost too much, but I have some long articles up on The Blogging of the President and C101 that I'd like to point Tsuredzuregusa readers towards:

    hot pink bikini panties sporting slogan 'expose bush'"W is NOT for Women", but I still feel left behind
    Examining Democratic strategies to reach out to Women Voters



    catalogue picture of jackboot with size chartIf the Jackboot Fits...
    On the Rise of Facism in America
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    Bloglines, etc.

    I am happy that my blogroll has reached the size where I can no longer read through it in the course of a normal day--happy for the blogroll, a little frustrated as a reader.

    The time has come to get...a newsreader thingy, to use the technical term.

    Bloglines seems to be a common option. I also run Firefox and I have Sage (and something else) installed as extensions, with no clue as to how to find them, let alone run them.

    I'd like something that is multi-format compatible...xml, rss, etc.

    I am not a technophobe (no matter how much of a blither idiot I have presented myself to be in this post)...I'm just, er, lazy. I haven't expended much effort to figure this out, yet, and I'd far rather throw myself on the generosity and expertise of you kind readers than go figure it all out from scratch.

    Any suggestions?

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    Fabulous Branding Award

    The Fabulous Branding Award goes to King of Zembla for coming up with the Pine Box Republicans.

    Bravo, your majesty.

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    Quebec Separatism: Smoke & Mirrors

    Doug's Dynamic Drivel reveals the true reason that Quebec will never manage to separate from Canada:
    CBC radio disloses that Quebec grows more pot than BC does
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    Monday, September 13, 2004

    Nous sommes désolés aussi

    washing instructions that say, in French, 'Hand wash with warm water. Use mild soap. Dry flat. Do not use bleach. Do not dry in the dryer. Do not iron. We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We did not vote for him.'

    This is a clothing label from a small American company that sells their product in France. Note the French washing directions:
    Hand wash with warm water.
    Use mild soap.
    Dry flat.
    Do not use bleach.
    Do not dry in the dryer.
    Do not iron.
    We are sorry that our president is an idiot.
    We did not vote for him.
    Via NewsGrist.

    Update

    Turns out the company is Tom Bihn, manufacturer of laptop bags, backpacks, and briefcases. They also offer the French tag on a T-shirt--sale proceeds go to the Seattle Homeless Vet Center.

    Bravo à Monsieur Bihn et sa société!

    Via Corrente.
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    Scratch & Sniff: Kamal Nawash & Free Muslims

    South Park character 'Token'I came across recommendation on Get Religion today for Free Muslims as "source of information about the moderate Muslims who are outraged by events in Beslan and elsewhere."
    I did a little digging and I would be leery of recommending Free Muslims.

    The president and founder, Kamal Nawash, ran an unsuccessful senate campaign as a Republican candidate in Virginia last year against Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mary Margaret Whipple. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2001 for the Virginia house of Delegates against Virginia House Democratic Caucus Chair Brian Moran. In 2001 Nawash raised $57,057 and in 2003 he raised $180,339: Nawash 2001 donor list and 2003 donor list.

    This *may* be on the up and up...but from inside Virginia politics, it looks an awful lot like a move to promote Nawash's political career and yet another a Republican attempt to put up thinly-veiled front group of token minority spokespeople to hijack a community's authentic voice:

    1. Fronted by a Republican, Kamal Nawash.

    2. According to the site, Nawash is a "regular guest on Fox News Channel," including Bill O'Reilly's show. As the documentary Outfoxed demonstrated, Ruper Murdoch's media channels, including Fox, are notorious for inviting GOP-invented "spokespeople" like Nawash. The group has also been highlighted by the Drudge Report.

    3. The purpose of the website seems to be to encourage Muslims to spy on their neighbors, and loudly, publically, and simplistically pin the blame for any and all acts of terrorism singly and solely on Muslims.

    4. According to Ismail Royer, boardmember Ali Al-Ahmed is part of a neocon campaign to smear the Saudi government and Saudi-based Islamic groups. (Er...I can't say I've really noticed the neocons jumping *out* of bed with the Saudis. Royer has his own checkered past, and I haven't been able to verify the allegations against Al Ahmed or the Saudi Institute, but I'm including FYI).

    5. Domain Registration Scrub
    Kurt at Canadian Content took a look at Free Muslim's domain registration on Friday, Sept 10. Here's what he found:
    Registrant:
    Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism

    2560 Virginia Avenue, NW
    Suite 171
    Washington, District of Columbia 20037
    United States

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: FREEMUSLIMS.ORG
    Created on: 21-Apr-04
    Expires on: 21-Apr-08
    Last Updated on: 02-May-04

    Administrative Contact:
    Huber, James huber@huberspace.net
    704 Donaldson Ln., SW
    Leesburg, Virginia 20175
    United States
    7037719368 Fax – 7037719368
    Technical Contact:
    Huber, James huber@huberspace.net
    704 Donaldson Ln., SW
    Leesburg, Virginia 20175
    United States
    7037719368 Fax – 7037719368

    Domain servers in listed order:
    NS.THEHOSTGROUP.COM
    NS2.THEHOSTGROUP.COM
    (The DNS information was originally posted on What Really Happenned, and presented as the "latest pathetic attempt to frame arabs for 9-11." WRH also points out that the groups offices are appropriately located at the Watergate Office Complex.)

    Kurt commented "You’d think the Republicans would at least cover their tracks and find somebody with an Arab or Muslim name to register the FreeMuslim domain.">

    Well, Kurt, it turns out that Free Muslims and Jim Huber are listening. Before I found your site, I ran a whois on Free Muslism at Sam Spade and lo and behold...by Monday, Sept 13, Kamal Nawash is now listed as the registrar (Huber's name has not, however, been scrubbed, but his home address in Leesburg, Virginia has been replaced with the DC office address, and his personal email with a webmaster address):
    Registrant ID: GODA-06290488
    Registrant Name: Kamal Nawash
    Registrant Organization: Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism
    Registrant Street1: 2560 Virginia Avenue NW
    Registrant Street2: Suite 171
    Registrant City: Washington
    Registrant State/Province: District of Columbia
    Registrant Postal Code: 20037
    Registrant Country: US
    Registrant Phone: 1.2022623491
    Registrant FAX: 1.2022623491
    Registrant Email: president@freemuslims.org

    Admin ID: GODA-26290488
    Admin Name: James Huber
    Admin Street1: 2560 Virginia Avenue NW
    Admin Street2: Suite 171
    Admin City: Washington
    Admin State/Province: District of Columbia
    Admin Postal Code: 20037
    Admin Country: US
    Admin Phone: 1.2022623491
    Admin FAX: 1.2022623491
    Admin Email: webmaster@freemuslims.org

    Tech ID: GODA-16290488
    Tech Name: James Huber
    Tech Street1: 2560 Virginia Avenue NW
    Tech Street2: Suite 171
    Tech City: Washington
    Tech State/Province: District of Columbia
    Tech Postal Code: 20037
    Tech Country: US
    Tech Phone: 1.2022623491
    Tech FAX: 1.2022623491
    Tech Email: webmaster@freemuslims.org
    6.RNC Operatives

    Jim Huber is the proprietor of HuberSpace, "a web development company specializing in law firms, conservative campaigns and organizations." In addition to Free Muslims, Huber has previously worked through Washington Webworks, LLC for Elizabeth Dole for President, George Allen for Senate, Demaris Miller for Congress, Jay Katzen for Lieutenant Governor (Virginia), and the Republican National Committee.

    In 2003, Nawash's campaign coincidentally paid Jim Huber/Huberspace for internet services.

    And, Nawash was an altenate delegate to the 2004 RNC.

    Nawash is looking like the Right's new Islamic Michelle Malkin or Virginia Walden-Ford, and Free Muslims (sic) is looking a whole lot like right-wing astroturf.

    Proceed with caution.




    Cross-posted to BOP
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    Administrivia

    With regret, I've removed the Cost of War counter from the sidebar since it was making Tsuredzuregusa unreadable for some people. Please let me know if the problem is resolved. (Ian?)

    However, I'm happy to announce some new sidebar additions: links to the Kerry campaign, the State Democratic Party of Virginia, The Pledge 04, and 8PercentVa.

    I've been weeding and adding to the blogroll as well. If you're not in there and you should be, just let me know--there's alway room for more progressive political blogs and technology blogs.

    It's looking a bit of a dog's breakfast in here...but it's all for a good cause. I'll snazz it up one of these days.
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    Tech Notes

    Comprehensive Tech Promotions Award goes to: The Pledge 04

    The pledge itself:
    I'm Young.
    I Vote.
    I'm NOT Voting Bush.
    The mandate:
    The 18-24 youth demographic in polls is consistently beating Bush, but this demographic is also the least likely to vote. We are trying to get as many people as possible to Pledge to NOT VOTE BUSH and then we will work towards making sure these people GET OUT AND VOTE!
    The way it works:
    1. Go to the Pledge04 site and sign the pledge.

    2. Get your friends to take the pledge.

    3. Pledge04 will remind you about deadlines for voter registration, absentee ballots, and when and where to vote. In other words, they'll help Get Out Our Vote.
    It's a good project that looks well-designed and executed, but I am most excited about is their blitzkreig approach to promotions. They offer:
    A selection of Linked Graphics for your website

    AIM Buddy Icon

    They're working on E-cards.

    They also have Downloadable Flyers and suggestions on adding the pledge to your Email Signature and how to host a pledge party.
    I think the AIM Icon is especially brilliant. I was happy to discover that that icons (AIM and MSM), web banners, and logos, as well as desktops, are all available from the Kerry campaign website. I would love to see the same promotional features available from the Virginia Young Democrats (Dominic? Peter?) or the Democratic Party of Virginia (Laura?).


    Colouring Outside the Lines Award goes to: Steven Clift of Publicus.net and Democracies Online Newswire

    Every week, Steven Clift sends out DoWire to 2700+ subsribers (moi, aussi), with the goal

    "organize everyone who is interested in using the Internet to make their community, democracy and, what the heck, our world a better place. Using democratic intent to improve the outcomes of governance and citizen participation through the intelligent and effective use of information and communication technologies is my strategy."
    It is an excellent, excellent list.

    Today, I received this invitation from Steven:
    I thought I'd see which DoWire members were in LinkedIn - there are over 150 of you. In order to help you access one another, feel free to join my LinkedIn network.

    Cheers,
    Steven Clift
    http://www.publicus.net
    Let re rewind: LinkedIn is social software set up to let people functionally "see" into each other's personal web of connections and network 2 and 3 degress away.

    What Steven has done is absolutely brilliant: taking two complimentary tech tools, a one-to-many email list of likeminded professionals, and a many-to-many social software networking tool, put them together to allow a disparate community of people committed to effective use of technology to network and collaborate more effectively.

    I'm delighted, just delighted by this--innovative community building. Hats off to Steven Clift.


    Inelegant Solution Award goes to:

    It looks like spammers caught up with
    OCR (optical character recognition) technology, because suddenly Yahoo's word verification images have become harder to read. REALLY hard. For example:



    ???

    I was in Yahoo Groups today trying to subscribe to some regional DoWire lists...and it took me a few tries, in 2 cases, to make a correct, case-sensitive guess on these ugly things.

    I applaud Yahoo for trying to save us from spam, but...wow. This is just plain ugly and hard to read.

    Also, Yahoo used to offer a link to an alternative verification process for visually-impaired users, but now the link seems to be gone. Bad Yahoo.

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    Whore President

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    Effective Activism 101

    I'm shamelessy cribbing this entire post from Bubblegeneration, because Mahashunyam has done such a great job with it.
    How Greenpeace changed the world forever.

    "Greenpeace was really good at delivering succinct messages," says Weyler, a former North Shore News journalist who played a key role in Greenpeace's antiwhaling and -sealing campaigns. "A boat on a nuclear test site--that's a clear message. Ecologist in Zodiacs between whales and harpoons--that's a clear message."

    Hunter called those messages "mind bombs"--effective salvos that provide a lasting image in the battle for public opinion. He soon realized how successful that first Amchitka voyage had been, and he tracked the success of Greenpeace's efforts less by a boat's place on the map or the mood of the crew and more by the number of mind bombs the group effectively delivered.

    Weyler says trying to win the hearts of the public with facts rather than images is a losing proposition. Science is complicated and inexact, he explains, and the opposition will always try to sow doubt: "The numbers aren't declining as fast as we thought"; "There's no clear evidence that people will die."

    Very cool analysis of their strategy of using strong images and media, which was a pioneering concept in social activism. I had no idea that the founder of Greenpeace was so strongly inspired by Marshall McLuhan. A picture like this (from the website of the Ruckus Society, mentioned in the article) is indeed worth a million words. Lots of strategy lessons in this article for all the wannabe activists out there.
    Democrats take note.

    More thoughts on this to come.
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    Saturday, September 11, 2004

    Three Things to Do Today

    1. Turn off your tv. And your radio.
    Treat yourself to a régime de jingoisme for one day. Today is a really good day for it.

    2. Go to your public library...
    ...and find out if your local branch is part of the September Project, an international campaign to bring people into public libraries on September 11 to share and discuss about democracy, citizenship, and patriotism through public talks, roundtables, and performances--and register to vote. (And if your library isn't participating this year, you have a whole year to persuade them in time for 2005.)

    Progressives often yearn for a way to raise the level of public discourse. Now's our chance.

    3. Vote with your wallet...
    ...for respect, communication, and support. Go and patronize a locally-owned mom and pop business--run by people of middle eastern descent. There is still massive racial profiling against "arab looking" people (whatever that means), there is violence and discrimination against Muslims, and today is an extra scary day for too many people. Show your neighbors that not everyone is a fascist. I'm off for lunch to a Lebanese restaurant I just found on the edge of my neighborhood. It's just a small, compassionate way to say the whole country isn't built on hate.

    And the bonus round, for the truly brave among us:

    4. Take a book out of the library...
    ...on learning Arabic, or Middle Eastern history, or Islam. Does the thought send a chill down your spine? Because let's be honest: we know that all those books are likely flagged on the FBI's watchlists through the Patriot Act. In discussions on civil liberties and public surveillance, the common defence of the Patriot Act is "but I have nothing to hide...." If you believe that, then go to your library or book store and bring home a book that will put John Ashcroft's knickers in a knot, knowing that your name (and address, and if you buy the book, your credit card number) is winding up on an FBI list or in a file. And if the idea makes you uncomfortable, you may want to rethink your position on civil liberties...and at the same time, go back to that mom and pop business and spend a little extra money.

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    Friday, September 10, 2004

    Good week for truth in Virginia

    Bush Virginia Campaign Chairman, current VA Attorney General, and presumptive Republican candidate for governor in 2005, Jerry Kilgore announces that Virginia is in play...for Kerry.
    But in a fundraising letter mailed to Bush supporters last week, Kilgore repeatedly warns that Bush could lose the state in November. A Democrat has not won the Old Dominion's electoral votes since 1964.

    "The nation is politically polarized like we have never seen before and there is a chance a liberal Democrat can win Virginia in November's presidential election," Kilgore writes. "Many experts will tell you, Virginia is in play."

    <> Later, he says, "polls show [Kerry] is within striking distance of the President."
    Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, also commented on the general mendacity of direct mail.
    "It's classic politics," he said. "Direct mail is built on exaggeration. Anybody who believes anything in a direct mail letter should come to me for some wonderful swampland that I have available."
    Via the Washington Post.
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    What Real Government Reform Looks Like

    Doug's Dynamic Drivel has a list of parliamentary reforms that a coalition of Canada's opposition parties are forcing through, thanks to the current minority government:
    • Putting all opposition motions to a vote, which could include motions on international treaties, troop deployments and changes to marriage rules. Currently, only a few opposition motions chosen by lottery ever make it to a vote in Parliament.
    • Establishing two new committees on women’s issues, and access to information and ethics matters, as well as dividing the current committee on aboriginal affairs and natural resources into two bodies.
    • Putting all-committee reports to a vote in Parliament so that action will be taken more often; some now disappear from the House of Commons agenda after they’re finished.
    • Giving all parties a bigger role in committees, and putting time frames on the work of committees.
    • Ensuring speeches by the leaders and the prime minister are open to questions.
    • Having the Speaker, not the government, appoint deputy speakers.
    Given the abuse of power I've witnessed first hand this year by Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly as well as in Congress, I can only dream of bringing the same kind of reforms to the US. John Kerry, take note!

    Vive le Canada!
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    The Bush Nightmare Project

    I have been chatting this week on Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola's altruistic gift to writers of all ilks, with my friend the talented fiction writer Lydia Theys, about political nightmares. It turns out that Lydia and I both have nightmares about Bush.

    I reproduce them for you here. (Bear in mind that these were scribbled down as part of a casual exchange, not with the intention of presenting them as "narratives" to a readership.)

    Lydia's Nightmare
    I had a most vivid nightmare last night. We were at home in CT, just going about our business and a sudden wind came up. It got louder and louder and ended with a deep, booming crash followd by a sliding sound. We ran to our windows and saw we were now on the ocean. Right on the ocean. It turns out that Bush had arranged for the New York metroplitan area to be dropped into the sea and the resulting ocean shore was a lovely beach to be used as a training camp of some kind. I was horrified to see people already there. All they could comment on was the beauty of the ocean and they were happily taking lessons in right-wing ideology. This sin't the first nightmare I've had like this lately. It is really getting to me.
    Shaula's Nightmare
    Lydia, I had a dream a while back that Bush and an entourage of Secret Service went by me in a shopping mall, and I booed at him.

    And then, a few minutes later, we heard the coordinated stomp, stomp, stomp as a riot squad came marching in from the other end of the mall--to take everyone out.

    Everyone scattered. I lost my shoes and realized that if I was barefoot I might not be able to survive, and I conned a pair off someone.

    The stormtroopers were herding people into the department store at the end of the mall. The doors were locked and they were massacring everyone.

    I got to the edge of a crowd and into a side store before we reached the department store, and then out the emergency exit in the store room, and into the parking lot, which backed onto a construction site. People were running everywhere. Search teams of police were hunting them down.

    I was grabbing all the lost children, trying to keep them safe. We found a hole, like a bunker, under part of the construction site. There were a few other adults, but mostly lots and lots of children. It was getting dark and the kids were hungry and disoriented. The handful of adults realized that we had crossed a line, that we couldn't go home, that it wasn't the same anymore, but the children didn't understand yet.

    I had gathered all the food that people had with them and was doling out very small portions for dinner. A teenage girl lipped me off about the food. I stood up and explained that we were on rations, that we were living under war conditions now, that they had lost the luxury of being children and had to start thinking in terms of survival and taking care of each other. The girl gave me more sass and I took away her dinner and gave it to another child. It occurred to me that we would soon be in more extreme circumstances where, if her insubordinance threatened the safety of the many, I would have to shoot her.

    One of the adults thanked me for the work, for the hard day, and I said "if herding children and rationing food is the biggest challenge I face right now, that's a very good day."

    And I woke up.
    I got to thinking: surely we are not the only ones having bad dreams about Bush right now.

    So I wanted to ask: who else has nightmares about George.

    Come on, fess up. I'm really curious. :)



    Zoetrope requires registration; registered members can read Lydia's bio here; non-members can also find her writing online at Gator Springs Gazette, Yankee Pot Roast, Quintessence, and Moondance. Her writing is excellent and I recommend it highly. Many thanks to the likewise talented Maryanne Stahl for introducing us.
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    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    Blogging forcast: heavy showers, scattered blogging

    Richmond's horrific weather this summer (lots of rain and storms, the tail ends of the hurricanes hitting Florida, flooding) have exacerabted my lethal mold allergies and some other health conditions, and I'm just not lucid enough to be an articulate or steady blogger at the moment. I'm still reading *your* blogs, even if I'm not commenting, and I'm just not posting a whole lot.

    Matt Stoller on BOP generously mentioned the women's progressive political blogroll I discussed here earlier. That project is on hold, too--although if anyone else wants to run with it on her own, or would like to work with me on it, let me know.

    I'm afraid my minor but insistent health inconveniences are far more immediate demands on my attention than writing for the moment. But I'll be around, in a diluted form, and I'll certainly be back.
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    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    Shades of Ollie Crommers

    Via Canada.com:
    The statue of Copper John, a continental soldier that sits atop the state's Auburn Correctional Facility, was removed earlier this summer for renovation. The beloved figure is set to return to his perch this fall, albeit a lesser man. Workers sprucing up the 156-year-old statue were told to reduce the size of Copper John's crotch.
    Does this mean Ashcroft is an equal opportunity prude?
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