Follow by Email

Friday, April 07, 2006

Quick Shot

Source unknown

Brrrrr. Heebeegeebees. I don't know if you'll find any volunteers.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Petri Dish of DeLay: Where's the Bleach?

Hear that sound? That's the band striking up to celebrate at least one more Republican standing down.

But it's been so long since we had something to actually be happy about, the music sounds as discordant as the first day of junior high band class. Why? Because though far from pyrrhic, this is only a small victory. Sure, if you toss in "Duke" Cunningham from California, that's two in the last six months, but getting the "poster boys" of Republican corruption - er, make that culture of corruption (gotta remember the talking points) - out of Congress is a far cry from getting corruption out of government.

If you're a little nerdy, like I am, then you can't hear the word "culture" without thinking of growing mold in a Petri dish (or that to-go container of unknown origin in the back of your fridge). But then, both biological cultures and social cultures involve finding a way to make it easy for like-natured organisms to join the fray. After being sealed and hidden in a dark place, away from prying eyes, they feast on the food that sustains them. For mold, it's yeast. For fungi-faced politicians it's money-money-money. I know - it's all bread - but isn't that part of the point?

Two things for sure that kill mold are light and bleach. So we shine a light on corruption in the well-founded belief that this kind of exposure should kill the culture. But , in truth, the Congress has passed nothing that will sustain the sunshine on their culture. In fact, they want us to believe that the small, under-nourished (read: under-funded) colonies they leave out for us to see is all there is to worry about and they've taken care of it. But they have done nothing to dismantle the system that perpetuates this kind of corruption, and continue to hide the cash-cow cultures.

Apparently - surprise - once again it's up to us. We should be asking (with apologies to Wendy's), "Where's the bleach?" Do you know how to find out who your representative is taking money from? Well, you can try petitioning them for their donor list. You know - write them a letter.

At least some of it is public record. The Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives says the following on their website:
"Members, officers, and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives are required by certain House Rules and federal statutes to file official documents on travel, income, gifts, etc. and to make this information available to the public as Public Disclosure documents. These documents are filed with the Clerk of the House and are available from the Legislative Resource Center, B-106 Cannon House Office Building, during normal office hours. The telephone number is (202) 226-5200."

Lobbying firms are required to report how much money they spend and on whose behalf. Those records are compiled by groups like The Center for Public Integrity. If you find out anything regarding lobbying, ethics and your representatives that you want to know more about, contact the Center either from the interface on their site or the old-fashioned way (pasted from their website):
"The Center is located at 910 17th Street, NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20006. The telephone number is (202) 466-1300."

Finally, talk about the issue with your friends and especially your neighbors. Don't let them sock away the Petri dish of corruption like it doesn't matter. Be the bleach. Then more will have to stand down.
PS. The special election to replace the prison-bound Cunningham is April 11! If you know anyone in California's 50th District (San Diego County) please let them know that there is a progressive Democrat, Fran Busby, running and she stands a good chance of winning in this usually very Republican district. Get out the vote!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Peace in Iraq, Justice at Home

On April 1, 2006, several thousand people marched from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta to nearby Piedmont Park to rally against the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's war on providing for those in need at home. The event was co-sponsored by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition.

Called "The Southern Regional March for Peace in Iraq & Justice at Home," the event was scheduled to coincide with the third anniversary of the War and the 38th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.

Once in the park, the protesters were treated to a giant puppet show with a giant, blue coated, cardboard Bush with an army of cardboard puppet airplanes was defeated by an enormous cardboard MLK puppet and a flock of white cardboard doves.

Speaking of puppets, there was a puppetmaster at the event showing who really pulls the strings in this administration.

Among the notable and noteworthy speakers at the event was form president and co-founder, with Dr. King, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, who spoke about sending "smart bombs in a dumb war."
Dr. Lowery also answered critics of his remarks during the funeral for Coretta Scott King in January, during which he mentioned the foibles of this administration with President Bush sitting right behind him! The service, of course, was in a large church east of Atlanta. Ten-thousand people were there. "People want to know how I could say those things with the President in my house," Rev. Lowery said Saturday. "First of all, it's not my house. It's the Lord's house." Cheers erupted. Then the reverend, who has been ministering for over fifty years, asked, "Who is he to tell me how to run a Black funeral? Has he ever run one? I've run hundreds. [At a Black funeral] we praise the good works of the departed so that those there can pick up the [mantle] and continue."

While there were several anti-war veterans' groups represented, it was riveting when four veterans of the Iraq War and founding members of the Georgia chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War took the stage.

I spoke with one of the vets afterward and he expressed to me how he felt like he let down his country by going and fighting in Iraq. I did my best to reassure him that it was not his fault, that we didn't blame him. But the pain of what he did in the name of the United States was evident on his face.

One of the most moving demonstrations was a display of a couple of hundred army boots with the names and ages of those killed-in-action lined up neatly on a hillside in the park, overlooking the event.

Near the army boots was another gathering of pairs of shoes, formed into a peace sign.
These shoes represented the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, including the children, whom our bombs and guns have taken in this terrible war.

And at least one little protester was there to voice her opinion- in the only way she could - the direction our country has gone.

Thanks Hannah Claire!

Finally, I urge you to click on the embedded links and see if there is something you can contribute to these courageous groups who are taking a stand for America at home. They know, as we do, that when we stand up our horrible president and his misguided supporters will have to stand down.