I, too, have been remiss

Contribute to Paul Hackett's campaign to take the Ohio 2nd District Update Aug 02: bugger. Schmidt 52, Hackett 48. Either the public freely chose a lying corrupt shitweasel over an educated, charismatic family man and Marine Corps Iraq veteran, or the election was swiz. Either way, I’m severely bummed. You’d do better to listen to Julia:

…we’ll have to console ourselves that a district which went 65% for Our Fearless Leader broke from three decades of yellow-dog voting to give 48 percent of the vote to a man who said that Our Fearless Leader is an idiot and a failure.
It cost the Republicans seven figures to achieve that result.
And they have to do it all over again in a year.
I suspect that cooperation with the White House on the right of the House just moved down a few notches on the To Do list.
The previous incumbent wouldn’t have been named trade representative unless this was seen as the ultimate safe seat.
Guess not.
And the rest of them are less safe than that.

Update Aug 01: Hackett’s campaign is asking for more money:

To Get Out the Vote, we need to raise $30,000 today. Here’s why.
Last week, the netroots stepped up and delivered around $40K a day. The campaign gambled and put all of that on TV (the ads are great and a Democrat is leading the Republicans in gross points in every market in every medium!!!).
It worked, and now Independents are breaking rapidly our way. And Democrats in the district are so fired up that the far more than expected are signing up for GOTV.
This has drastically increased the cost of the GOTV mobilization. The enthusiasm over the weekend was more than expected and more was spend during the huge door-to-door effort. Now the campaign needs money for tomorrow to finish the job.
The cost breaks down to around $50 a precinct with 600 precincts. The netroots best friend, Matt from ActBlue, is flying in right now to coordinate moving the money.
But we need enough to finish the job.
Your investments have made Hackett a contender. Please give one more time so we can win this in the field.

I gave again, because I think this is a very important race. The seat in question has been a 70-30 GOP stronghold since approximately forever and the Republican in question is particularly vile. Per the excellent Malcolm Gladwell, I’m hoping this will be a tipping point. Please give. Seriously, even just a dollar — don’t think it’s “not enough” or “not worth the time” — the power of small donations from regular people is what grassroots is all about. (Hat-tips: Majikthise, Atrios, Seeing The Forest.)
Original entry:
With four days to go in the OH special election, this entry is late — but better late than never. Terrance and Julia have all the details you need. Briefly, Paul Hackett is a returned Iraq veteran running for congress in a state that desperately needs an integrity infusion. Hackett looks like he might just provide one.
If Hackett loses he goes back to Iraq and another unprincipled greedy born-entitled asshole settles into a position of power.
Julia’s exactly right when she says:

…a lot of us have been beating up on the powers that be for not fighting every race. Well, here’s the thing. Right now, the Republicans are spending the best part of a million bucks to defend one of the safest seats in the country. The left ponied up, and because a very few activists made the statement that we’re willing to fight, this has turned into a real race. That gave the DCCC the luxury of waiting until now, when last-minute dollars are going to make a much bigger splash, to chip in.
They can only afford what they can afford, and maybe the conventional wisdom is that dollars are better spent on “competitive” races.
What we need to do is let them know that when we get interested in a race, it becomes a competitive race.
Then we need to get interested in all the races.

Well, I’m interested in this one. If you can, please put your hand in your pocket. I’ll leave this entry on top until after the election.
(For the record: I never ask readers to cough up unless I have done so myself. I won’t usually say how much, because the amount is not the point. The point is to do what you can.)

mouths of babes

jebus.jpgMajikthise reports on “the cheesiest miracle in recent memory”; news stories here and here.

Scores of faithful Christians converged on Hoboken, N.J., yesterday to get a firsthand glimpse of a plaster statue of Jesus that enraptured witnesses say opened one of its eyes. […]
True believers started coming to the scene outside a Jackson St. housing project two days ago after Julio Dones began telling people that one of the eyes suddenly opened as he was cleaning the “sleeping” statue.
“I looked up, and saw the eye was open and light blue, like the sky,” said Dones, 52, who is partially blind himself […]
Dones, a 52-year-old neighborhood preacher who attends the nearby St. Francis Roman Catholic Church and maintains the shrine year-round, said he first saw the blinking after a friend alerted him to it Thursday, around 2 p.m.
He said tears flowed from the eye, and that Jesus’ head turned to the right.
“I felt a chill going up my body, the Holy Spirit coming upon me,” he said. “I … told the people to come see the great sight that just occurred. See, people don’t understand what God does. God does things in mysterious ways.”
Dones, who found the statue in the trash in Jersey City a year ago, said a woman who stopped by yesterday saw the right eye blink and began crying.

Never mind that Jesus, if there was a real Jesus, almost certainly didn’t have blue eyes; my first thought was the same one Orac had here. Compare and contrast:

“It’s an absolute miracle,” said Peggy Dyer, 41, a traffic attendant, as she gazed into the 2-foot statue’s brilliantly blue right eye. “That’s a sign: Something’s getting ready to happen.”
“I’m going to start going to church from now on because since I’ve seen this yesterday, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind,” said Tanya Vega, 27, a Hoboken masseuse.
…word that the shrine’s Sacred Heart of Jesus statue spontaneously blinked its right eye twice and kept it open — while its left eye stayed closed — sparked more excitement there than ever.
“God’s probably telling us to wake up. This is the last chance to do the right thing,” said Diane Stewart, who lives in the area. “I think … we ain’t got that much time.”

with this:

“It’s just a sculpture,” said Wanda Aldea, 14, shaking her head. “I think somebody just scraped its eyelid off.”

That’s the nation’s future and the hope of all the world speaking. Brings a tear to my atheist eye, it does.
(Yes, I elided a quote from a 13-yo believer and attributed to adults quotes that aren’t certain. Sue me. I’m not a reporter, I don’t have to be fair and balanced.)

and one from SpeakSpeak

I’ve written about SpeakSpeak before. Right now, SpeakSpeak mainly functions as an antidote to the poisonous Parents (sic) Television Council, which seeks to use the Federal Communications Commission to impose their narrow, bigoted, repressive, uptight and generally odious worldview on the entire country. The FCC can “revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture, withhold or place conditions on the renewal of a broadcast license, or issue a warning, for the broadcast of obscene or indecent material”, and just what constitutes obscenity or indecency is pretty broadly defined. To be obscene, material must satisfy all of the following tests:

  • An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
  • The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
  • The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

So the FCC has a lot of leeway in carrying out its executive function; moreover:

Enforcement actions in this area are based on documented complaints received from the public about indecent or obscene broadcasting. The FCC

two from the ACLU

1. The Violence Against Women Act (version 7, scroll to Title IV) expires on September 30.

VAWA helps the survivors of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault rebuild their lives.
Victims of domestic violence face tremendous obstacles when they attempt to flee abusive relationships. Their situation is often exacerbated when the abusive partner controls the family finances, owns the home, and in the case of immigrant women, retains the documentation of the immigration status of the family. This legislation provides legal assistance, enhances victims

NARAL vs asshole pharmacists

From NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League):

It’s official: Americans can no longer take prescription birth control for granted. Yesterday, Monday, July 25, anti-choice representatives in the U.S. House made it clear that they support pharmacies that refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions – and that women have no right to birth control.
The radical right’s campaign to stop birth control
The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on whether pharmacies should be allowed to refuse to fill women’s prescriptions. Anti-choice Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told a witness, who had been denied birth control and emergency contraception by her pharmacist, that she had no “right” to her prescriptions – she only believed she did. Anti-choice Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) told a witness whose prescription had also been rejected by a hostile pharmacist, that her “minor inconvenience” – that is, risking an unintended pregnancy – was nothing compared to the “conscience” of a pharmacist.
The right’s anti-birth control campaign doesn’t stop in Washington, DC. Across the country, the radical right has engaged pharmacies in its campaign to block women’s access to birth control. Women like Julee Lacey, a 32-year-old married mother of two and first-grade teacher from Texas, are being turned away by vigilante pharmacists who think it’s their job to dispense morals instead of medicine.
Now, as many as 20 states officially protect pharmacists like Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life, who says she’d lecture women customers to get off the pill. Other states are pursuing an even more aggressive strategy. Just last month Wisconsin passed a bill to block state universities from filling birth control prescriptions.
What you can do
Tell your Member of Congress that you expect him or her to stand up for you – not right-wing pharmacies that oppose birth control. Click here to send a message today.

Yeesh. I’m about to start work so I just sent the form letter. My rep, David Wu, is pro-choice, but I want him to know when he has my support as well as when I disagree with him. (I should have added something to that effect to the letter; oh well, next time.)

you don’t get rid of me that easy

OK, hiatus over. One of the main reasons for taking a break was that politics was making me nuts, and I wanted to step back and find a way to cope. I didn’t have time to cover all the political issues I felt were important, nor even time to do justice to the most urgent of those issues. Being unable to provide comprehensive coverage made me freeze up (again). I still don’t have time to cover everything, but no one who wants to be politically well informed is going to rely on me as a news source anyway. For the most part, I’m just going to point to the most pressing issues, or the ones that press my particular hot buttons, and leave it at that. For everything else, see my blogroll. I chose the “primarily political” links with great care, and I really do think that between them they provide more comprehensive coverage than any mainstream news source, and I guarantee that they provide better analysis.
The other thing I’m going to start doing is passing on the various petitions and letters I sign. I’m on a bunch of mailing lists, all of which pretty regularly send me information about current issues and links to web pages where you can take some kind of action — sign a petition, send a letter, and so on. Without exception, they also ask me to “tell a friend” (or five friends, or everyone I know, or whatever). It’s clear that such networking is a powerful tool for political and charitable organizations. I’m not going to sign anyone up for these lists, which is of course what happens when you “just use this handy web form” to send emails — but I will post the links here. I don’t kid myself that I’m doing much by responding to these prompts, but I’m doing something, and that’s better than nothing. Right?
(Oh, and I’ll bribe the spousal unit to fix that thing with the spurious links too, but don’t hold your breath ‘cos she’s plenty busy.)