Posted by Thomas Nephew on July 25th, 2006
Senator John Edwards on Poverty — from an R. Neal interview at “Facing South”:
It’s time to finish the job of welfare reform by giving low-income men the opportunity to work and challenging them to take responsibility for doing so. Welfare reform asked young mothers to join the workforce and gave them help to get there. Millions of poor women benefited, but poor men lost ground during the best economy we’ve ever had. In America today, there are communities where half the young men are out of work.
I believe that we should create one million ‘stepping stone’ jobs over five years. A good job that will let people work their way out of poverty in the short term, and help them get experience so they can get better jobs in the future.
We also need to give America’s workers a real right to organize. Unions helped move manufacturing jobs into the foundation of our middle class, and they can do the same for our service economy.
Five Years of Attention Whoring — Pablo Shounin is the blogger formerly known as Sgt. Stryker, pretty well known back in 2001-2003 or so as a serviceman both willing and able to deliver sharp commentary on politics, current events, and other bloggers. This title to the contrary, I’ve noticed many posts by Pablo/Stryker over the years whose honesty, eloquence, and/or humor stood out. From “Five years”:
…my claims of liberal thought didn’t seem to matter as long as I was saying what people wanted to hear. I was “right on” and I routinely “nailed it”. Nevermind that half the time, I trolled low-rate Freeper posts and newer conservo blogs to find the latest material and mock it using Stryker’s Schtick. I was purposely using words and phrases in exaggerated prose to mock what I was seeing, while at the same time slipping-in an honest point. [...]
…things started to change right after the Iraq war started. I was involved in a chat with some other prominent bloggers that sent alarm bells ringing in my head and really started me on the path to seeing them in an entirely new light. … There was a lot of the typical tough-talk in the chat and I mentioned my hope that an “Alpine Redoubt” wouldn’t play itself out in Iraq. When asked what I was talking about, I said it was Eisenhower’s main fear that the die-hard Nazis would take to the Alpine mountains and launch a guerilla war that would last for years. The people in the chat replied that the only mountains in Iraq were in the Kurdish north and the Kurds wouldn’t fight us. So help me, these people literally thought I was talking about an actual flight to the mountains by Saddam’s followers. [...]
I know I’ll get tired of it eventually, but so far I still feel the need to let the world know what I think, as if it really matters. No, correct that: I still feel the need to let a close circle of people that I respect (note: over in the blogroll) know what I think and that matters to me.
I’m honored to be one of them.
The time has come to hold another contitutional convention. Those conservatives known as liberals have always found this notion terrifying, because they are convinced that the powers of darkness will see to it that the Bill of Rights is abolished. This is always a possibility, but sometimes it’s best to know the worst all at once rather than to allow those rights to be slowly taken away from us by, let us say, the present majority of the Supreme Court…
(I had suggested that a constitutional convention “would be more likely to produce a reactionary disaster than a step forward.”) Riggsveda continues:
I admit it: I’m sick of it all. When I hauled out my long-buried optimism about the possibility of reversing the aristocracizing of America during the last election, I was stunned that Bush was returned to office, and what I have seen on my local front as those near to me have involved themselves in politics has made me all but despair of any hope. [...]
Can the party be saved? Maybe. But to do so would require the kind of wholesale changes to the electoral system that would allow outsiders and poor people to campaign. In my neck of the woods, there is a concerted effort by the Democratic machine to rebuff all attempts to run for any office at all if you haven’t been vetted and approved by the county Commission. On a more statewide level, the attempts of Chuck Pinnacchio and Alan Sandals to run for office were deep-sixed by Chuck Schumer and Ed Rendell long before the primary ever got off the ground, so now I’ve got a Democratic candidate to represent PA in the Senate that was hand-picked by a New Yorker who ran the machine. This is not representative government. This is puppetry.
I got yer Geneva Conventions right here — Tarek (“Liquid List”):
Being forced to show proof is what this administration sees as the final battle. They defend and defer and lie and deceive and finally give in — on paper. And they say, “trust us.” The world cannot trust us any longer. The world simply mustn’t. We’re habitual liars, and we gladly smile in your face while suspending a mortally wounded man by his shackled arms from a jailhouse window until his heart stops as soon as you turn your back.
For me the animals were secondary to the night sky, however. In mountainous or desert regions of the United States, you can still get very good views of the stars at night, but I have to say there’s nothing in the U.S. like the sky we saw in Ithala, in my experience. There are no lights besides the muted camp lights for many, many miles around the park, nothing at all. The camp is at elevation, and in the winter, the air around it is mostly clear, though occasionally the smell and sight of distant grass fires presents itself. Looking up at the Milky Way, undisguised by anything, with bushbabies making weird cries all around you in the trees, fills you with a kind of skin-prickling awe. I think I could have that sensation every single night and it would never get old or banal.
UPDATE, 7/25: Avedon Carol (“The Sideshow”) also raises the idea of a constitutional convention (well, strictly, a reader of hers does); she sounds about as wary of it as I am.