Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reconciliation vs. Nuclear Option

I wrote this post on Tuesday, but for some reason Blogger erased everything I had on the post sans the title. Luckily, Rachel Maddow makes roughly the same points I did, but more persuasively and with more data to back it up.

Ladies and gentlemen, in lieu of backing up my files, I present: Rachel Maddow



My two cents: even if using reconciliation to bypass the filibuster on Health Care Reform this year is unprecedented (it's not, as Maddow makes very clear), it would be a response to unprecedented circumstances. We've never seen a more obstructionist minority in the Senate, and the number of times the filibuster has been used this past year has been truly unprecedented.


Or as John Kerry put it this week:
"On issue after issue, votes large and small, the strategy from the GOP at the highest levels has been the same: exploiting every Senate rule, playing every trick to try to slow things down. They put holds on bills that later pass by 90 votes, filibuster things they later vote for, block things they previously proposed. They used the filibuster to shoot down a debt commission that they themselves called on President Obama to implement! They block completely uncontroversial nominees and cause days of delays on the most critical of legislation. They even stalled on money for our troops last year, just to try to delay debate on health care reform."

Friday, March 5, 2010

House of Representatives Admits Facts, Causes ‘World War Three’



Look at this gem from the Reuters:
Turkish leaders reacted with fury after the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee narrowly passed a non-binding resolution that tarred their grandfathers with the same crime as Nazi Germany.
Well shit, I can’t count how many times in my life Turkey has raged at the pagan United States for ADMITTING HISTORY, but apparently this non-binding resolution will soon cause the end of the world:
Analysts said this new slap from the United States ran a risk of further alienating Turkey, at a time when there were concerns that its warmer ties with neighbors Iran and Syria, and Russia too, marked a shift away from the West.
Yes, what a slap! Iran? Syria? Russia? Someone quickly elect Zombie Reagan to put an end to this madness! Through tanks and bombs, of course (How else do you end a warless war!?).

Dear Ottoman Empire, if you would truly like to see what constitutes an America ‘slap,’ I propose you look DIRECTLY SOUTH at that oil crater mess we made in 01, or 02, or 03, or whenever that Shock and Awe thing began (Because of tyranny or nuke rods or real life genocide or some shit like that, right?). Now that was an Merica' ‘slap’! Watch out Ottomans, our Congress isthisclose to shocking and aweing the hell out of you too.

And so the American Congress admits history and "damages efforts to restore peace and stability in the region" Forever.

Way to go Congress, is there anything you can't fuck up?

Nick DeBoer can be reached at ndeboer@purdue.edu or twitter.com/nickdeboer

Eye Candy

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kysjlo99ek1qb3c26o1_400.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v493/scubastza/Blog%20Stuff/971cee5647f4ec287d088d71eca2d758.jpg
Yesterday was a big day for marriage equality:
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kyrg9toQI21qzaaklo1_500.jpg

http://www.americanprogress.org/cartoons/2010/03/img/030410.jpg
via Center for American Progress

well said Chris:
http://i48.tinypic.com/vi30ar.jpg
On behalf of Lefty's, I would like to wish everyone a happy (& safe) spring break

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mr. Evan Bayh- The Song

I saw this great video, and in lieu of recent events, thought it appropriate to post. Enjoy!



Video, courtesy of Youtube user mhpplf. A cover of "American Pie" by Don McLean

The Charge of the Phone Brigade!

From 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 2-3, 2010, a total of 15 brave volunteers marched boldly into the treacherous yet potentially fertile terrain that is the Indiana call universe. Hundreds of calls were made. Muted groans of discomfort were heard throughout Montgomery auditorium as blistered dialing fingers made just one more call. Field commander Jackson Taylor angrily rebuffed the advances of Notre Dame students who wanted to eat our pizza without dialing constituents. And by angrily rebuffed, I mean passively relented.

After brazenly navigating an initial bevy of wrong and disconnected numbers, these resolute warriors pressed onward, to the tune of 540 calls, 144 contacts, and 91 confirmed dial-throughs to Senators Bayh and Lugar. I can happily report that many of Bayh/Lugar’s office phones were shut down state-wide as a result of our coordinated efforts.


Pictured are five of the noble combatants who waged battle and emerged with their lives. Clockwise from bottom-left: Brendan McPhillips, Sara Bega, Briana Piper, Cassie O’Toole, Alyssa Sullivan.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and lending a hand!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Can't Believe We Have to Remind You of This Every Year: Climate =/= Weather!

Anyone who resides on the east coast or watches the Weather Channel can tell you that this winter has been a particularly snowy one. Conservatives pundits and politicians (particularly on Fox News, shocker) have been having a collective orgasm because this obviously means that global warming is a myth and Al Gore can go cry in his mansion now. Senator Jim DeMitt of South Carolina (oh South Carolina, is there nothing to which you can't add a little bit of stupid?) tweeted "It's going to keep snowing until Al Gore cries 'uncle'". This fantastically laid out argument appeals to modern America's infantile idea that what is happening now must be what has been happening and what will be happening. It also appeals to the conservative base's hatred of that elitist institution known as "science".

Weather and climate are not the same thing. The fact is, these storms are an expected and documented consequence of global climate change. To put it simply, as the air over large bodies of water warms, more water is taken up as vapor. Once it hits a cooler land mass, it will condensate and fall as precipitation. If the weather of that land mass is below freezing, it will snow. It shouldn't take an environmental science major to explain this (although, hey, I am one).

A complete distaste for science is a disturbing, and relatively new, development in conservativism. Stupidity, which was once something both sides could agree was detrimental, is now a virtue. Conservatives don't need to be bothered with trivial things like "facts" when they've got their anger and their blissful ignorance to comfort them. Of course Earth is 6,000 years old, of course the dinosaurs were too busy smoking pot to get on the ark, and of course the planet is fine. After all, it's lasted 6,000 years.

Charles Rice Gets Cock-Blocked By The Observer

I would usually let Bill take this one, but I couldn't resist...

Charles Rice is a veritable piece of crap.
Our lovely, student-run, independent newspaper, The Observer, has afforded this piece of crap a megaphone since 1992 that he may use once every two weeks. Unfortunately, he cannot resist the temptation for excessive conservative dickery when he has it.

Today, The Observer decided not to publish Dr. Rice's column on the Catholic teaching on homosexuality. It's great to see The Observer using journalistic discretion properly. We must not confuse this discretion from true censorship, which is about squelching ideas we oppose on their opinion alone.

Matt Gamber, the editor of The Observer, gave the following reasons for the decision:

#1: The column "far exceeded" the length guidelines of the newspaper

#2: “I personally had some concerns with the content of the column, particularly considering The Mobile Party comic incident earlier in the semester at The Observer.”


I will refrain from addressing the specifics of his column because he is not worth my time. There are simply too many examples of bigotry here. If you would like to see Bill's delightful butchering of his past comments, click here. Because I am not concerned with the judgment of our Lefty's readers or the potential damage done by publishing his words, I will include them below:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Writer of the Month: February 2010

Turns out that it's actually March 2nd today and not February 30th as I had previously thought. That means two things: 1) I now have to pay some fines to the library and 2) I'm overdue to announce the Lefty's Last Cry Writer of the Month for February 2010!

This is the first installment in what will be a monthly tradition, in which we identify a writer whose work for the past month strikes us as particularly excellent. This is our way of showing appreciation to our incredible writing staff who make this blog what it is. We couldn't do it without you guys.

February 2010 has been a particularly successful and productive month at Lefty's Last Cry, both in terms of content production and readership. We've had a lot of great submissions this past month, with both our old writers coming back and stepping up their game as well as some new blood that we hope to see more of in the future, so naturally this ended up being a tough call, because you guys have all been great. Nevertheless, we are pleased to announce that our very first Writer of the Month at Lefty's Last Cry is...


In the month of February, Nick has composed three posts (Conservative Constitutional Pornography, All the Good Torture Enablers Escape To U.C. Berkeley, and Democracy is Over Forever) the first of which was picked up in Crooks and Liars a few weeks ago, which gave Lefty's some much appreciated exposure. You can check out the collection of Nick's work here.

Nick has been on our writing staff for a while, joining us in April 2009 after the College Democrats of Indiana State Convention at Notre Dame. He has done great writing on Lefty's in the past, but in the month of February he really came to define his writing style and produced exceptional content for this blog. We commend him on his great work.

Keep it up!

Your Editors
Bill, Henry, and Brendan

Monday, March 1, 2010

Democrats: Do Your Part To Repower America!

Democrats,

This is an extremely important month in shaping the direction our country takes with its energy and environmental policies. Do we make a proactive stand now, and institute a comprehensive clean energy policy with substantial provisions for solar and wind technologies, or do we remain content with an energy policy almost wholly dependent on coal, oil, and polluting hydrocarbons? Do we invest in a green future which will provide tens of thousands of additional jobs to Hoosiers that can’t be outsourced, or will we sit idly while the largest transfer of wealth in world history persists from the United States to oil-exporting countries? These are the questions that are on the table, and that’s why we need you to make a stand with us right now.

It is imperative that we reach out to as many of our supporters as possible, so that we can literally jam the lines of Senator Bayh and Lugar with the voice of tens of thousands of Hoosiers who want comprehensive clean energy legislation from this Congress. We are conducting phone-banking sessions aimed at existing Alliance for Climate Protection/Repower supporters and loyal Democrats to encourage them to contact their Senators this week. These sessions are taking place Tuesday (3/2) and Wednesday (3/3) at the Montgomery Auditorium (across from Starbucks) in the LaFortune Student Center at Notre Dame from 7:00-9:00 PM. Pizza and pop will be served for volunteers.

Please answer this call, and do your part in getting a substantive, impactful clean energy and climate bill passed this year.

Thanks for all your hard work,

Jackson Taylor

Sign up here for:

Tuesday
Wednesday

Democracy is Over Forever


Your fine editors at Lefty’s have been enjoying my take on everything as of recently, and I was asked to perhaps write my thoughts on the notoriously evil Supreme Court opinion that ended American democracy forever. And believe me, I have a lot to say on the Citizens United opinion, most of which the readers of this blog probably won’t enjoy.



Overcoming Religious Prejudices


Nicholas Kristof is a New York Times columnist who travels the world in search of stories about human rights violations. He came to Saint Mary’s on Monday February 8, 2010 and gave an inspiring lecture about his new book “Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” Although the book has sat on my nightstand since the day I bought it, thanks to my hectic school schedule, I read Kristof’s column and blog all the time and follow him on Facebook, Twitter etc. etc. It would be accurate to say I’m fairly obsessed with the guy. 

On February 27, 2010, he wrote an article titled “Learning From the Sin of Sodom” which talks about the common misconception that conservative Christians spend all of their time addressing moral issues and do not devote time to spend on social concerns. Kristof says, “The American view of evangelicals is still shaped by preening television blowhards and hypocrites who seem obsessed with gays and fetuses.” While this notion may have been accurate at one time, today Evangelicals provide AIDS and malaria relief, work to stop human trafficking and try to prevent genocide in Darfur. This work is done through programs like World Vision, an organization with Evangelical Christian roots, that is now the largest international relief group in the world.

The problem in America is many liberals believe religious groups provide aid to get converts, which is actually a banned practice in most religiously based aid organizations. There is a large political split in America and the effects of the split are often disastrous for people that depend on aid. Rick Warren and his congregation are examples of the many Evangelicals that are making a difference to end poverty and other social issues around the world. Warren said, "Almost all of my work is in the Third World. I couldn't care less about politics, the culture wars. My only interest is to get people to care about Darfurs and Rwandas." 

Warren and Mr. Kristof both make excellent points that we need to get over this political split between us and focus on what is really important: providing relief and aid for those that need it. While we can drastically disagree politically with many Evangelical Christians, the bottom line is they are doing great work in the world and mocking their religion only shows how prejudicial we are towards those we don’t know much about.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Evening Tunes: "Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration"

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Evening Tunes!  I hope you've all had a great weekend.  Normally for Sunday Evening Tunes I just post a video to a song I happen to like, or think is funny.  This week I found this great rendition of an otherwise pretty crappy Timbaland video.  


I was actually introduced to this by Professor Mastrangelo in American Political Thought this week.  I immediately knew we had a Sunday Evening Tunes hit.





This video was made by some company that tries to come up with innovative teaching materials.  What do you guys think?  Hopefully it gives you a good laugh and helps you mourn our tragic overtime loss to Canada tonight :(

Good Guys Do Exist...

…Even in politics. I woke up yesterday feeling heartsick. My favorite potential candidate had scheduled a press conference to announce that he would continue running for Congress, not Senate. I experienced the typical steps in a breakup: why did he do it? What will happen in the future? Will we ever find someone as good as him?

After the initial queasiness, sadness, and regret, reality hit me: this is all for the best.
When you meet Baron Hill, there is a certain realness that radiates from him. He’s engaging, accessible, and friendly to his constituents. He’s a true Hoosier who loves basketball, knows the state well, and is a family man. Baron, to me, is the man that you want representing your district, your state, your nation.
While he is a “blue dog,” he votes progressive on issues that matter, especially to us college kids: civil rights, energy, and health care. He has the feistiness to avoid succumbing to Washington pressure, not to mention that Midwest disposition that makes us in the 9th district feel like one of our “dads” is out there fighting for change.

He’s in one of the most highly contested congressional races for 2010. By choosing to stay in the congressional race, Hill was sticking by his district which doesn’t have a strong democratic "back-up plan" candidate. In the 9th district we are thrilled to continue to stand on street corners passing out literature, registering voters, and making calls for Baron Hill.

The press has pointed out that this congressional election will show where America is since 2008, specifically citing Hill’s race. We are prepared to show them that we can keep our district blue.

At the end of the day, Baron is someone you’re proud to have elected to Congress. And who knows what could happen in 2012…