Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Archive for January, 2008

The price of xenophobia

Posted by Greg on January 31, 2008

You may recall that Arizona has passed some rather comprehensive legislation to “discourage” illegal immigration.  An interesting piece at Disloyal Opposition starts to quantify economic loss due to immigrant bashing.

…advocates of the sanctions law will say that this is exactly the result they were hoping for; they want Hispanics to flee the state (usually, they’ll claim that they just want the illegal ones to leave). But with workers leaving Arizona, taking their rent money, mortgage payments and shopping dollars with them, and with state employers facing rising labor costs — if they can even find workers — the economy is likely to take a major hit. In fact, the University of Arizona predicts a $29 billion economic loss if illegal workers are successfully purged from the state (full report here in PDF).

Curious. Meanwhile the wingnut caucus has taken to calling McCain “Juan” because he’s not ready to draw and quarter all brown people north of the Rio Grande.  It’s unfortunate because McCain’s right to be out of step with his comrades on this issue.  Fewer things would bring about more economic benefit to the nation, or to the poor worldwide, than freeing up the movement of people across national borders.

Hat tip: Coyote Blog

Posted in Economics, Immigration | 1 Comment »

Stand by your adulterous “sanctity of marriage” hypocrite

Posted by Greg on January 31, 2008

HT: Pam Spaulding

Posted in Civil Rights | Leave a Comment »

Day 356

Posted by Greg on January 30, 2008

“We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

Dick Cheney

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

Warning Bloomberg

Posted by Greg on January 30, 2008

via satirist Andy Borowitz:

Only Room for One Egomaniac in Race, Activist Says

Not so fast.

That was the message delivered today to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg by consumer activist Ralph Nader, who warned Mr. Bloomberg, “If some egomaniac is going to jump in and screw up this election, it’s going to be me.”

Mr. Nader established an exploratory committee for a presidential bid today to let Mr. Bloomberg know that there was “only room for one self-absorbed gas-bag in the 2008 race.”

At a press conference in Washington, Mr. Nader said that voters who are looking for someone to spoil the 2008 election should be suspicious of Mr. Bloomberg’s motives: “Michael Bloomberg has a track record of winning elections, not screwing them up.”

In contrast, Mr. Nader said, “I know how hard it is to wreck an election, and I am prepared to put in the long hours necessary to mess this one up big-time.”

If both Mr. Nader and Mr. Bloomberg were to enter the race, they would be competing head to head for the vote of egomaniacs, who make up three percent of the electorate nationwide but closer to fifty percent in California and New York.

Speaking to that egomaniac constituency, Mr. Nader called Mr. Bloomberg a “novice spoiler,” adding, “When it comes to screwing up elections, experience matters.”

“Michael Bloomberg can’t point to a single election he’s messed up – I can,” he said. “I am ready to screw this one up on Day One.”

Elsewhere, Attorney General Michael Mukasey clarified his position on waterboarding, saying, “Having to answer questions about whether waterboarding is torture or not is torture.”

Posted in Election 2008, Humor | Leave a Comment »

Feingold explains why FISA matters

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

Posted in Civil Rights, Congress, Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

Kennedy for Obama

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

Obama has received the endorsement of the Kennedy dynasty, and the media’s hearts are a flutter. Here’s a very well done ad featuring Caroline Kennedy (for which HT MNPublius).

It’s a well done ad, and at a very fundamental level I “get” the excitement over an Obama candidacy.  Indeed, I have myself been looking forward to his greater exposure in the national media and his viability as a candidate for higher office.

It goes without saying, if he’s the candidate for the Democrats this go around, he’ll have my vote.   But I’m afraid at this point in time he’s still my third choice, not my first. For all his motivational rhetoric and bipartisan platitudes, there are some genuine concerns about what it might all mean in terms of an Obama administration.

Melissa McEwan has also been thinking in this direction, and compiled a list of concerns that are a wonderful place to start.  She begins by pointing out that Obama says he wants to be applauded by both sides of the aisle in the annual SOTU ritual.  She observes:

1. Why will the Republican members of Congress rise to applaud you, and the conservative half of the nation tune in to support you, unless you pursue an agenda that appeals to them? How do you pursue an agenda that appeals to conservatives, but is also progressive?

2. What is the common purpose around which you envision the country rallying? Do you regard “transcending partisanship” an end in itself, and do you foresee the GOP rallying around this goal? If so, how and why do you imagine that will happen?

These are important.  The vision thing is wonderful and exciting to behold.  But what do you plan to actually DO that is different in a meaningful way from what has been done before?  I’m sick of partisanship getting the short end of the stick, particularly when it comes about in part due to legitimate and significant disagreement on major issues, and a desire to bring about policy change for the better.

What the hell does “bipartisanship” mean anyway?  As practiced by the Republican’ts since 1994, it means, “You be bi, while we are partisan,” and unless one is in the habit of bending over and saying “ahhh” on every substantiative policy debate, you’re criticized as a partisan hack and divisive.  Bipartisanship is not a virtue in and of itself but only as a means to an end and the only thing it’s accomplished for the last eight years is a spasmodic dance toward the extreme right in terms of policy.

Look at the US Senate.  A Democratic “moderate” is one who votes with Republicans an unfortunate percent of the time.   A GOP “moderate” is one who quietly thinks unkind thoughts about Bush before falling into line and voting like a good doobie.  The whole reason Arlen Specter’s recent (correct) vote on FISA closure is noteworthy is precisely because he actually DID instead of just talked, for a change.

3. Assume for a moment that you are nominated and subsequently elected, and, despite being “the kind of president” in whom Americans can believe, the profound partisan rancor that currently plagues the nation doesn’t evaporate, that Americans fail to rally around a common purpose. What is Plan B? Do you move ever rightward trying to find support among those who refuse to rally, or do you say “Screw ’em,” and go leftward to honor those who voted for you?

This is a question that simply MUST be addressed.  Look, there are a lot of people out there with a process fetish. These are the “Unity ’08” nerds who whine about partisanship and conflict, but lack any signature issues – other than the process itself – to drive their campaign forward or give it meaning. 

Dialog for the sake of dialog, negotiation for the sake of negotiation, compromise for the sake of compromise…it’s all moot if the end result isn’t defensible policy.    We’ve been working for years to find a happy middle, a reasonable compromise.  And the results are not pretty.

So Obama, I’m not interested in compromise and discussion with the wingnut caucus.  Been there, done that.  It’s time to recalibrate and I want to defeat them utterly.   Can you be trusted to use your bully pulpit to move things in the correct direction?  And don’t feed us the lines about limited presidential power, congressional responsibility, et. al.  Clinton and Reagan both had hostile congresses during parts of their administration, and they made progress on their agendas notwithstanding.

What are YOU willing to go to the mat on?

4. Noting that the most bitter partisan divides on domestic policy regard issues of basic rights, such as reproductive rights and marriage rights, and noting further that the two sides of these issues are unlikely to come to spontaneous agreement, those subjects are likely to continue to play a divisive role in American politics. How do you plan to prevent such bedrock divisions from undermining the national unity you imagine? Do those of us on the progressive side of these issues have reason to worry that you will not be a vociferous advocate for any controversial or ideologically discordant issues?

Obama, let’s be brutally honest here.  You’ve thrown gays under the bus, you’ve attacked your primary rivals using the same rightwing talking points that would be used against you in the fall, you’ve fallen into scaring people about Social Security…  Your track record here doesn’t lend itself toward optimism.   What are the issues on which you have distinguished yourself as a real leader and what are your policy goals in those areas?

Don’t get me wrong – there are legitimate concerns about Hillary too.  But at least she has a lengthy record on the national stage.  We have a sense that there are lines she’s willing to draw in the sand, battles she’s willing to fight.  Obama….still hearing crickets chirp in the background.

So what are we to make of the Kennedy endorsements?  Certainly, they’re significant in terms of nostalgic yearnings for camelot and a passing the torch of sorts.  But we can’t get starry-eyed and forget that the Kennedy mystique is what it is in large part because JFK was assassinated.  In objective terms his record was mixed, and the real accomplishments of the times were driven by LBJ.

Which isn’t to say Caroline and Teddy didn’t do a good job – they did, and the symbolism is powerful.  But let’s not lose our heads and think it means more than it does.

Posted in Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

Keith’s list

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

Congressman Keith Ellison, D, MN5 has a worthwhile opinion piece in which he shows what things are really costing:

We are currently spending $10 Billion a month in Iraq, more than $2.5 Billion a week.

Taxpayers in Minnesota alone paid $11 Billion for the cost of the Iraq War through 2007. For that amount of money, Minnesota could have provided:

  • over 3 million people with Health Care OR
  • over 13 million Homes with Renewable Electricity OR
  • over 250,000 Public Safety Officers OR
  • nearly 175,000 Music and Arts Teachers OR
  • over 1.2 million Scholarships for University Students OR
  • 1,300 New Elementary Schools OR
  • almost 70,000 Affordable Housing Units OR
  • over 3.5 million Children with Health Care OR
  • over 1.5 million Head Start Places for Children OR
  • almost 200,000 Elementary School Teachers OR
  • over 130,000 Port Container Inspectors

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

New Cerisi ad

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

You’ll note it stars Betty McCollum  – I’m biased, she’s my rep, and she’s wonderful.

It’s nice to see an alternative to Franken.

Posted in Election 2008, Minnesota | Leave a Comment »

Good for business

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

Mark Daniels at TMV pretty much drop kicks Multiple Choice Mitt‘s argument that as a businessman, he’s best positioned to manage the national economy.

Concerns about the national economy have increased in recent weeks. In the face of these concerns, Romney has been touting his supposed superior capacity to deal with economic issues because of his business background.

So far as I can recall, only three US presidents have spent major portions of their adult lives in business: Herbert Hoover and the two Bushes.

Ouch!

Posted in Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

Friggin’ cold

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

Just got back from taking my eldest to a review of area high schools, since he’ll have to be picking one in a couple years.  On the way back the thermometer in the Jetta, which is pretty accurate, read -12.  With windchill it’s about -40.

Remind me, why on earth did I move to Minnesota?

Posted in My Musings | Leave a Comment »

Day 357

Posted by Greg on January 29, 2008

“The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.”

Michigan, 1/03

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

In memoriam

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2008

A nicely done You Tube memorial to Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who passed away yesterday at the age of 97.

I had the chance to shake his hand on  a couple of occasions.  The world is poorer without him in it.

Posted in Religion, Utah | Leave a Comment »

Day 358

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2008

“My views are one that speaks to freedom”

DC, 1/04

Posted in Bush Adminisration | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2008

Via satirist Andy Borowitz:

Hillary Sends Bill on Campaign Trip to Antarctica

Will Remain There Until Convention, Aides Confirm

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has sent her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on a “special campaign trip” to Antarctica that could last “six or seven months,” Clinton aides confirmed today.

“From here on in, Bill is going to be our man in Antarctica,” said top Clinton strategist Mark Penn. “We have sent him down there with enough food and firewood to last until the Democratic convention this summer.”

The unexpected change in the former president’s itinerary happened just hours after Mrs. Clinton’s drubbing in the South Carolina primary, causing some party insiders to wonder if Mr. Clinton’s mission to Antarctica represented something of a demotion.

The decision to dispatch Mr. Clinton to the South Pole also raised eyebrows because the continent of Antarctica does not participate in the so-called “Super Tuesday” primaries on February 5 and sends no delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Penn attempted to tamp down all such speculation, telling reporters, “This race isn’t about votes or delegates, it’s about land mass, frozen tundra and penguins.”

Mr. Clinton’s itinerary change comes on the heels of a controversial incident Saturday night in which he was discovered bound and gagged in the bathroom of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign plane, his hands tied by what appeared to be the jacket of a bright yellow pantsuit.

Speaking to reporters with a strip of duct tape still over his mouth, Mr. Clinton denied that he was being muzzled by the campaign, adding, “Mmmfff mghrmfff mmbrrfff.”

Elsewhere, the White House announced that President Bush’s State of the Union address would be simulcast in English.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Humor | Leave a Comment »

Priceless

Posted by Greg on January 25, 2008

McCain’s latest salvo against Multiple Choice Mitt:

Posted in Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »