Friday, February 19, 2010

Why John Mellencamp Should Be The Next U.S. Senator From Indiana

With Evan Bayh's abrupt departure from the senate, it's up to Indiana to decide who will take his place. Who better than Indiana's own rock-and-roll-laureate, Mr. John (Cougar) Mellencamp? Here's why.

1. He was born in a small town
Educated in a small town
Taught to fear Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another born romantic that's me
Are there any lyrics written by a liberal that so wonderfully court the teabaggers and Sarah Palin's "real America"? Just don't let the song play to the part where he "marries an L.A. doll", or we'll lose them just as soon as we get them.

2. He has a history of saying "screw you" to Republicans

During the last campaign, John Mellencamp got royally pissed off when he discovered that John McCain was using his tune "Our Country" for the McCain/Palin campaign. Apparently, McCain ignored the lyrics:
There's room enough here
For science to live
And there's room enough here
For religion to forgive
And try to understand
All the people of this land
This is our country
Not exactly courting to the conservative base. Anyway, this ordeal was reminiscent of years earlier, when Mellencamp shut down Reagan's attempt to co-opt the tune "Pink Houses" - a song about how the American dream tends to fail those who were born less fortunate (Reagan also missed the point when he tried to use Springsteen's "Born In the USA", which is about how terribly the government treated Vietnam veterans). He's been doing this since Reagan! That's experience you can count on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vandals on the Loose!

The starting wage for Notre Dame building service employees is $9.02 an hour, or $8 an hour with no benefits for temporary workers, of which there are many. In St. Joe’s County, a self-sufficiency wage, the wage rate that provides a full-time worker an income sufficient to meet basic needs without subsidies of any kind is $12.90. And let’s be real, even workers who are lucky enough to make this “self-sufficiency” wage are struggling to pay their bills and support their families. Not such a great life, is it? Meanwhile, we are paying tens of thousands of dollars to attend this fine Catholic institution, which is systematically shitting on its own mission statement.
Notre Dame is first and foremost a business, which, like many corporations, specializes in cutting costs at the expense of its workers. Ever-increasing workloads, decreasing (or no) raises, hiring freezes, cutting hours, favoritism, discrimination, under-appreciation, working with injuries, disrespect, unjust suspensions... the list goes on. Talk to some workers; you’ll hear these stories, too.

The late Pope John Paul II—God rest his soul—wrote, “It is right to struggle against an unjust economic system that does not uphold the priority of the human being over capital and land.” That’s a pretty powerful statement. In an effort to make JPII proud, some quality Notre Dame students decided to hang up posters publicizing the nearly $4/hour difference between the self-sufficiency wage and the starting hourly wage of a Notre Dame building services employee. However, a couple of these students were stopped after hanging just one poster in the men’s bathroom. Apparently this is considered “vandalism” worthy of calling the all-powerful Notre Dame Security Police. Not wanting to risk a high-speed segway chase that would inevitably have ended with a career ruining reslife, the posters were removed. By the way, defines vandals as “a person who willfully destroys or mars something beautiful or valuable.” Never knew Debartolo bathrooms were valued so highly.

I don’t know when making people aware of injustice by hanging posters became vandalism, but that’s absurd. Do we have freedom of speech at this university, or can we only express things that paint Notre Dame in a positive light? Not only is JPII turning in his grave, but countless urinal users have been deprived of their right to a good read by this overbearing, unethical, yet allegedly Catholic institution.

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Conservative Constitutional Pornography

Let me preface this entry by noting I am largely a judicial conservative. I am one of the fiercest liberals in my advocacy of sound public policy, but my views on the judiciary often pit me against my brethren.

I found this interesting, as a Supreme Court watcher and constitutional law scholar, I thought I could provide some insight into this absurd conservative rambling I stumbled on the Huffpo:
“A group of more than 80 conservative leaders plan to sign a document on Wednesday that signals a retrenchment to "founding principles." The document will be called The Mount Vernon Statement in honor of the location of the signing ceremony. The signers include a who's who of conservative heavy weights -- names like Grover Norquist, Ed Meese, Richard Viguerie, Edwin Feulner and Alfred Regnery”
The treatise opens with the rather peculiar declaration of “Constitutional Conservatism: A Statement for the 21st Century.” An open declaration of conservative principles is fine by me, but shamefully attempting to cloak these thoughts in the mantle of constitutional conservatism is an act worthy of ridicule, which we may now joyfully engage. After a lengthy preface, of the typical counterfactual history that conservatives too often engage, we stumble upon their real intentions. Let’s take these misconceptions one at a time.
“[The Constitution] applies the principle of limited government based on the rule of law to every proposal.”
This certainly depends on what one means by the ‘principle of limited government.’ The congress acts within its authority when enacting legislation pursuant to the powers of the legislature in Article 1 section 8. Principles of limited government, therefore, must suppose that congress has acted without authority when enacting legislation, or that the ‘conservative constitution’ would provide congress with fewer tools to address the challenges of a nation of some three hundred million. I am unsure of what complaint these conservatives have (Not enough domestic spying!?). Do they think social security, Medicare, Health Care reform, to be a violation of the interstate commerce clause? Even if such programs were not to be interpreted as coherent with the interstate commerce, congress continues to retain such authority in the means of general welfare, or even through some system of cooperative federalism. Last, allow me to note, that when republicans blissfully held power, they enacted a large scale, unfunded, Medicare prescription bill, that one must believe is also unconstitutional under this bizarre reading of congressional authority. Either way, let’s take grandma's money and health care away, okay? Obviously too much government etc.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's Next?

Bayh resigned the day before the senatorial candidate's forms & signatures are due. If no one files by noon today, it's in the hands of the Indiana Democratic Party to choose the senate candidate (Indiana code 3-13-1-7). Maddow interviewed Dan Parker, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, on what's next for Indiana democrats:

Although D'Ippolito's chances of being on the ballot are looking grim, I completely agree with her statement about the Hoosier political world: “Politics in Indiana is the old boy’s school.” And I hate to get all lady-lovin' gendertastic* on you, but alas, it's in my nature. Currently, 17 of the 100 U.S. Senators are women. Thirteen of the women who have served were appointed; seven of those were appointed to succeed their deceased husbands. In the next decade it would be really refreshing to see an Indiana that is progressive enough to elect a lady senator (just throwing that pipe dream out there).

Keeping Indiana blue for the 2010 election is looking to be an uphill battle.

*word pulled from personal lexicon:
gendertastic -adj - describing unrestrained gender ideology

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Evening Tunes: Phoenix "1901"

It's been a while, but we here at Lefty's want to bring it back. So here it is, your Valentine's Day present from us- a little Sunday Evening Tunes. Enjoy!

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