05 January 2007

And She Wore Purple

When you are somewhat of a cynic like I am (probably just more of an old coot actually), it's often hard to find that more hopeful and idealistic side. But it still surfaces once in a while and I am always happy to let it see the light of day.

Nothing better to bring out my rosy and optimistic nature than the Democrats taking control of Congress! But more importantly, seeing that Nancy Pelosi wore purple--the color associated with women's rights and the women's movement.....well that made me downright misty-eyed. A women is Speaker of the House. She replaced an old fat white guy, who followed 137 other old fat white guys in that position. I will say it again, a women is Speaker of the House.

I still seethe when I see this picture--and I have kept it around just so I don't forget what kind of country we live in under the Bush regime. If you are not aware, these extremely white old men are all watching Bush sign a partial-birth abortion ban. You might be able to see Rick Santorum smiling, and Dennis Hastert with a smirk on his face. I think you all get the irony of the picture. Well, maybe these days are coming to a close. I sure hope so.

A women is Speaker of the House. I am proud of Speaker Pelosi and proud of the Democrats. But I must mention some other names here. Just a few of the women of the past who made this possible--a few names we should never forget. I salute Jane Addams, Crystal Eastman, Ella Baker, Emma Goldman, Florence Kelley, Lillian Wald, Betty Friedan, the Grimke sisters, Fannie Lou Hamer, Lucy Parsons, Margaret Sanger, Rose Schneiderman, and Alice Paul. There are many, many more--but maybe this will keep us all thinking about what happened today. A women is Speaker of the House.

By the way, do you think the "leaders" in that picture have heard of any of the women in the above paragraph?

03 January 2007

Books, John McCain's Plan, and Friedman Units

I stumbled upon these books/reading statistics earlier this year. Some of the information is frightening! The data is from the website of a publishing company. Go to that link for specific references to each piece of information--everything is well cited. Granted, some of the details are dated--but I think you will get the point. This is why we need a nice "highbrow" book, literature, and political Blog....right?

--One-third of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives
--58% of the U.S. adult population never reads another book after high school (includes those who didn't graduate)
--42% of college graduates never read another book (can this really be true?)
--80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book during the past year
--70% of all U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the past five years
--Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased
--at least 20% of adults in the U.S. read at or below a fifth-grade level
--customers 55 years and older account for more than one-third of all books purchased
--each day, Americans spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio, and 14 minutes reading

John Edwards
Good work by Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards for referring to the proposed "troop surge" in Iraq as the McCain Plan. Isn't it about time that we Democrats started to employ those George Lakoff "framing" strategies? Edwards used the McCain Plan phrase several times on the Sunday morning talk-show circuit.
I would like this silly but dangerous troop surge scheme to be called the McCain-Lieberman Plan--but I am perfectly happy for just McCain and Bush to be saddled with it.

I will post more on the Democratic presidential race very soon. But I would say that the two anointed heavyweights, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, should not overlook John Edwards.

Thomas Friedman
Nice touch by Friedman in the NYT today in his editorial "A Hanging and a Funeral." Friedman compares the ridiculous "troop surge" idea to a married couple who are having problems. He writes, "Then one day, they say to each other, 'Hey, let's have a baby that will bring us together.' It never works. If the underlying union is not there, adding a baby won't help."

This whole "baby" analogy is a little odd, but strangely effective nonetheless. And coming from someone who has been an Iraq War supporter for much of the past few years, it's promising to hear.

If you want to understand Thomas Friedman's political ideas, take a look at the explanation of
a new time unit that has been invented by some liberal bloggers--really makes fun of Friedman's penchant to hope for the best in six-months increments. I am hoping he doesn't take the same tact on this troop surge. A pregnancy would be......1.25 Friedman Units, I think.

01 January 2007

First Resolution for the New Year

Woke up to these distressing NYT headlines today, "3,000 Deaths in Iraq, Countless Tears at Home" and "Another Grim Milestone for U.S." How dare the liberal media only report the bad news! I expect we will be hearing that from the right-wingers in the next few weeks.

What was the first thing my partner did on this bright January, 2007 morning?--she wrote to her elected representatives about Iraq, urging them to withdraw American troops and not pour any additional resources into this insane and futile quagmire.

A pretty good way to start the new year I believe. There are many things we can do to try and stop this madness in Iraq; but we must at least keep up the pressure on our elected officials. In particular, those vulnerable senators up for re-election in 2008 must be told that we are monitoring their actions on Iraq (that's you Norm Coleman). And the recently elected Democrats need some subtle pressure. Remember, many of our new charges gained only small victories in swing states and districts. They are uneasy and apprehensive about public opinion. Let them know why they were elected and who elected them. We must hold their feet to the fire once in a while. Besides, let them know that public opinion is on our side now.

Some offices are changing in the upcoming party transition--but you should be able to go to the following links and find an address. Let's keep the pressure on these people!

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives