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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in progressivism's LiveJournal:

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Monday, October 12th, 2009
10:30 am
Alan Grayson is my New Hero
If you've been following US political news in the past week, you are probably already familiar with this story...

Last week, US Representative Alan Grayson (D, Orlando, Florida) responded to the "bitch slap" theory of politics as effectively as I have yet seen it done in the health care debate in Congress--with a one-two punch not only to Republicans, but to Conservative Democrats as well. And A-fucking-men, man. It's about damn time someone did.

The bitch-slap theory of politics (technically the Republican Bitch Slap Theory of Politics) by the by is a theory first written about by Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo in 2004, describing what's come to be known as the "Swift-Boating" of Sen. John Kerry's presidential election bid, and it goes something like this--you attack your political opponent, and if they do not defend themselves (and I mean come out swinging), then they look weak in the eyes of both supporters and non-supporters, and you gain political advantage. Historically, the Republican party has done this more effectively than Democrats, as a rule. The attack itself does not even have to be accurate, and often is not--it is the willingness or unwillingness to defend oneself that seems to stand out in the electorate's mind.

This past August and into this fall we have watched (yet again) as the Republican machine has bitch-slapped proponets of health care reform right and left, and many a progressive has watched in frustration as Democrats have taken licks and offered up compromise after compromise on this issue. Last week, instead of compromise, Grayson offered up some fight.

Exhibit A:

Full transcript under the cutCollapse )
Short version:

"The Republican health care plan for America: Don't get sick. That's right, don't get sick. If you have insurance, don't get sick. If you don't have insurance, don't get sick. If you're sick, don't get sick....but it's not quite a foolproof plan so the backup plan in case you do get sick, If you do get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly. "

This lead to predictable hand wringing and calls for him to apologize by some members of the Republican party, to which Grayson responded with even more fire, this time targeting not just Republicans but those in his own party who seem to be missing the point.

Exhibit B:

Full transcript under cutCollapse )

To wrap up, here's some context on the fellow speaking.  From Wikipedia: Grayson was born in the Bronx, NY, and grew up in tenements.  He graduated from Bronx High School of Science and worked his way through Harvard University, graduating in three years, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then began graduate studies and simultaneously, in the next four years, earned a law degree with honors from Harvard Law School, a masters in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and completed the course work and passed the general exams for a Ph.D in government...

Grayson was employed as a law clerk at the Colorado Supreme Court in 1983, and at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1984 to 1985, where he worked with such judges as Abner Mikva, Robert Bork, and two judges who later joined the U.S. Supreme Court: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia....

In recent years, Grayson specialized in war profiteer and whistleblower cases aimed at Iraq war contractors that had overbilled the U.S. government by tens of millions of dollars...

He is only the 2nd Democrat to represent his district since it's creation; Orlando and this area of Southern Florida is historically conservative, and Grayson ran as an openly progressive candidate in the last election.

Ah, it's nice to see some real progressive politics in the House once more.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
10:55 pm
Gay Men Face Discrimination Over Kiss in El Paso
A group of gay men are claiming they were subject to unfair treatment at the Chico's Taco's restaurant chain in El Paso, Texas. Two of the men were kissing, and were told to leave by security guards.

Full story and ways to take action: http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2009/07/gay-men-face-discrimination-over-kiss.html
Friday, March 6th, 2009
12:25 pm
Funny stuff going on with the objectivists these days
Those Grapes are SOUR!

"Going Galt" describes Ayn Rand followers who are saying they are shutting down their businesses, not because the entire economy is in recession and lots of businesses are going under, but rather by choice as a protest against a higher tax rate.

They glorify themselves as the only productive members of our society and thus making millions just isn't good enough for them, they also want their tax havens and big tax breaks. In reality they can't face the fact that times are tough and want to save face with self righteous rage. Don't buy it. More under the cut.

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Monday, February 23rd, 2009
10:47 am
Get'em while their hot!
Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress.

The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to the financial collapse. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress's analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

CRS reports are highly regarded as non-partisan, in-depth, and timely. The reports top the list of the "10 Most-Wanted Government Documents" compiled by the Washington based Center for Democracy and Technology. The Federation of American Scientists, in pushing for the reports to be made public, stated that the "CRS is Congress' Brain and it's useful for the public to be plugged into it,". While Wired magazine called their concealment "The biggest Congressional scandal of the digital age".

How many of the reports have not been seen before?
Almost all.

Full coverage at Wikileaks.
Screw the explanation give the torrent file now!!
These files are HUGE. The tarball is 1.9 gigs for pete's sake. Uncompressed it adds up to almost 3 gigs of PDF's and text files.
Friday, February 6th, 2009
7:26 am

Great achievements in American socialism

A slide show of two dozen excellent things the federal government bought with your money.

By Mark Schone

Photo Courtesy the Library of Congress

View a slide show of the greatest achievements of American socialism.

Feb. 6, 2009 | Brave souls named Beck and Hannity and Limbaugh have raised the alarm: Socialism will soon be loosed upon the land. What is this "socialism" of which they -- and Malkin, McCain and Morris -- warn? Socialism is apparently what is created when a president you do not like spends money on things of which you do not approve.

Since the collapse of the economy and the election of Barack Obama, the American right has been engaged in a two-front ideological battle. Conservatives are fighting to prevent Democrats from spending America out of the current economic predicament, because it has long been a conservative article of faith that massive government investment in jobs and infrastructure does not work. But pressing that argument about the present also means looking backward, and trying to rewrite the history of the 1930s, when nearly everyone except conservative ideologues agrees that a huge Keynesian jolt to the economy did work.

Rather than publish another essay, though there have been some fine ones lately, about just what really happened during America's last episode of so-called socialism, we've opted to go to the visual record. As Marshall Auerback noted, in the process of modernizing the rural South and upgrading the infrastructure of America's largest cities, President Roosevelt's New Deal left behind a durable, physical and very visible legacy of schools and hospitals -- even aircraft carriers. (We'll leave discussion of Social Security and unemployment insurance for another time.) The following slide show gives a small sampling of the bricks-and-mortar achievements of red, white and blue "socialism."

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
9:23 am
You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done
Never thought I ’d make this comment, but the Democrats are handling Rush Limbaugh with brutal efficiency. For many years, Democrats have been terrified of the right wing sound machine. Show after show, pundit after pundit, all using the same talking points with devastating effect. But now, the worm has turned....

Click HERE to read a great summary of how the Democrats are fighting back, and how Rush is taking the Republicans down with him.
Thursday, January 29th, 2009
5:21 pm
Conservatives keep singing the same tune about the stimulus and the great depression...
but nobody will dance. Here is an excellent summary of some of the most important points though:

Wed, Dec 3, 2008 4:05pm ET
Send to a friend Print Version
Conservatives cherry-pick 1930s unemployment figures in continued assault on New Deal

Summary: Columnists Mona Charen and George Will continued a trend among conservative media of responding to comparisons between the current economic situation and that of the 1930s and between Barack Obama and FDR by attacking the New Deal. In separate columns, both Charen and Will cherry-picked unemployment figures to assert that the New Deal did not reduce unemployment. But historians and progressive economists have noted that unemployment fell every year of the New Deal except during the 1937-38 recession; further, Nobel-laureate Paul Krugman has said it was a reversal of New Deal policies, not a continuance of them, that contributed to rising unemployment in 1937 and 1938.
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Friday, January 23rd, 2009
12:02 am
yay yay yay, Obama brings good news every day!
As someone who has more than one friend in a wheelchair due to spinal injury, I say YAY!

US approves 1st stem cell study for spinal injury

By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer Malcolm Ritter, Ap Science Writer – 55 mins ago
Obama wants Congress to act on lifting stem cells ban AFP/File – Embryonic stem cells are pictured through a microscope viewfinder in a laboratory. President-elect Barack …

NEW YORK – A U.S. biotech company says it plans to start this summer the world's first study of a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells — a long-awaited project aimed at spinal cord injury.

The company gained federal permission this week to inject eight to 10 patients with cells derived from embryonic cells, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif.

The patients will be paraplegics, who can use their arms but can't walk. They will receive a single injection within two weeks of their injury.
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Monday, January 19th, 2009
1:21 pm
Did Obama Team Play us On Bishop Robinson?
During the inauguration kick off party at the Lincoln Memorial, openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of the Diocese of NH gave the opening prayer.

The problem is it was not televised by HBO or NPR and there were 'technical difficulties' making it nearly impossible for the crowd of 500,000 to hear a word.

Demand to know why Bishop Robinson was part of the "pre-show" and therefore not taped.

More info and contact info at http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2009/01/did-obama-team-play-us-over-bishop.html
Friday, January 16th, 2009
4:50 pm
One of the better Krugman letters, and it is to Obama
What Obama Must Do
A Letter to the New President
By Paul Krugman
Dear Mr. President:

Like FDR three-quarters of a century ago, you're taking charge at a moment when all the old certainties have vanished, all the conventional wisdom been proved wrong. We're not living in a world you or anyone else expected to see. Many presidents have to deal with crises, but very few have been forced to deal from Day One with a crisis on the scale America now faces.

So, what should you do?
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Friday, December 19th, 2008
3:00 pm
I am so happy about this, why is it that nobody seems as excited as I am about Frankens victory???
Franken Senate Victory Projected
December 18, 2008 07:57 PM

Democratic challenger Al Franken finds himself on the cusp of winning a seat in the United States Senate after Minnesota's canvassing board awarded him a host of challenged votes during deliberations on Thursday.

As of 8PM ET, the Minneapolis Star Tribune projected that Franken would finish the recount process with a lead of 89 votes, positioning him to become the 59th senator caucusing with Democrats in the upcoming Congress.
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Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
8:36 pm
I am done grading my geography class for the semster:
So now I turn to you all for conversations about maps, demographics, and geographic analysis. Can we connect politics with safety or incomes? Would this back up that areas with less income and thus less social services such as health care or education also tend to vote republican??? Does anybody see any interesting other connections that are not obvious to me??? Does anybody have any interesting other maps that could connect with these themes?
How safe or unsafe is your geographic area of the nation? Click on any of them a couple of times to make them bigger.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
7:46 am
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
3:30 pm
another Bush appointee guilty of hackery
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin ignored his responsibilities as head of the regulatory body and abused his power, according to a congressional report released Tuesday.

Over the course of his tenure, Martin manipulated and withheld information from the other FCC commissioners and from Congress, neglected his statutory responsibilities to produce certain information to Congress, and ignored evidence that certain national communications programs were being grossly mismanaged, according to the report issued by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, titled "Deception and Distrust: The Federal Communications Commission Under Chairman Kevin J. Martin." (PDF)

source: cnet

The AP write up is available as well, but cnet did a much better job (IMO).
Sunday, December 7th, 2008
10:07 pm
Does pollution make men gay?
"The male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife, startling scientific research from around the world reveals.

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people."
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Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
12:53 am
Americans Remain Broadly Supportive of Labor Unions
Says Gallup

Friday, November 28th, 2008
11:52 pm
conservatives only see $$$
A different perspective:

"There's a growing anti-trade sentiment in our country. Much of the dialogue is grossly misinformed. Let's try to untangle it a bit with a few questions and observations. First, does the U.S. trade with Japan and England? Put another way, is it members of the U.S. Congress trading with their counterparts in the Japanese Diet or the English Parliament? An affirmative answer is pure nonsense. When I purchased my Lexus, I had nothing to do with either the Japanese Diet or the U.S. Congress. Through an intermediary, a Lexus dealer, I dealt with Toyota Motor Corporation.

While it might be convenient to speak of one country trading with another, such aggregation can conceal a lot of evil, particularly when people call for trade barriers. For example, what would be a moral case for third-party interference, by either the Japanese Diet or the U.S. Congress, with an exchange between me and Toyota Motor Corporation? Some might reason that since Japan places restrictions on U.S. products entering their country, an appropriate retaliatory measure is not to allow Japanese products to freely enter the U.S. By the way, Japanese protectionist restrictions on rice imports force Japanese consumers to pay three or four times the world price for rice. How much sense does it make for Congress to retaliate against Japan by imposing restrictions on their products thereby forcing American consumers, say Lexus buyers, to pay higher prices? Should our rule be: If one country screws its citizens we should retaliate by screwing our citizens?"

There's more at the Source

Ultimately I disagree with this argument. Tariffs that enforce "fair" trade may hurt the American consumer (in so far as the price they pay for a product) but that is often the price of higher safety standards, a middle class wage, and environmental regulations (all things that improve our standard of living). It strikes me as odd that conservative economists always fall to the same fallacy; they look at the monetary benefits while ignoring the external benefits. I don't think we should protect our domestic workers from more efficient or higher quality competition. We do have a duty to protect our workers from foreign goods that are more efficient due to lower standards.
2:58 pm
Is investing in our infrastructure an investment in our future?
There has been lots written about how rebuilding our roads, schools, bridges, hospitals and other infrastructure projects will not only create immediate jobs, but also long term economic growth, including by conservatives such as Broader and Brooks linked below.

Is there any downside to this plan that is seemingly not clear? Do Obama's specifics stray from the best plans for this investment? So far everything sounds about perfect to me, what am I missing? For more on this topic, I have an article linked below by urban and technological scholar Mike Davis.

Rescue schools and hospitals first, then build light rail
New infrastructure will become so many bridges to nowhere unless Obama saves human-needs budgets and public-sector jobs.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on TomDispatch.com.
By Mike Davis

Nov. 21, 2008 | America's "Futurama" is defunct. The famous walk-through diorama of a car-and-suburb world, imagineered by Norman Bel Geddes for General Motors at the 1939 New York World's Fair, has weathered into a dreary emblem of our national backwardness. While G.M. bleeds to death on a Detroit street corner, the steel-and-concrete Interstate landscape built in the 1950s and 1960s is rapidly decaying into this century's equivalent of Victorian rubble.

As we wait in potholed gridlock for the next highway bridge to collapse, the French, the Japanese and now the Spanish blissfully speed by us on their sci-fi trains. Within the next year or two, Spain's high-speed rail network will become the world's largest, with plans to cap construction in 2020 at an incredible 6,000 miles of fast track. Meanwhile China has launched its first 200-mph prototype, and Saudi Arabia and Argentina are proceeding with the construction of their own state-of-the-art systems. Of the larger rich, industrial countries, only the United States has yet to build a single mile of what constitutes the new global standard of transportation.

From day one, Barack Obama campaigned to redress this infrastructure deficit through an ambitious program of public investment: "For our economy, our safety, and our workers, we have to rebuild America." Originally he proposed to finance this spending by ending the war in Iraq. Although his present commitments to a larger military and an expanded war in Afghanistan seem to foreclose any reconversion of the Pentagon budget, he continues to emphasize the urgency of an Apollo-style program to modernize highways, ports, rail transit and power grids.

Public works, he also promises, can put the public back to work. His "Economic Rescue Plan for the Middle Class" vows to "create 5 million new, high-wage jobs by investing in the renewable sources of energy that will eliminate the oil we currently import from the Middle East in 10 years, and we'll create 2 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and bridges."
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Monday, November 24th, 2008
7:34 pm
Christian Billboard Apologizes for Prop 8!
The Mission Gathering Church in San Diego has paid for a billboard in San Diego apologizing for people who supported proposition 8 in the name of God.

The sign says: "Mission gathering church is sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who took away the rights and equality of so many in the name of God. Our hearts are with you, Christianity for all"

Mission Gathering Church
3828 Herman Ave.
San Diego CA, 92104
Phone: 619.624.9335
Fax: 619.624.9395

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
9:06 pm
Interested in alternative viewpoints of our current financial crisis
All of the tv talking heads and print analysis tends to repeat some variation of the standard Neoclassical or even Keynesian logics behind what has gone wrong, what can be done to perhaps "fix" the crisis and what is predicted to come later. I am curious about any more radical interpretations or ideas. You can skim the below article for ideas. I agree that this is probably not "THE" crisis of capitalism, but it is a transformative point possibly leading to larger worker progress, yet also with the potential to just make things worse for workers. Feel free to include what the new American administrations effects could be. I see some neo-Keynesian and/or post-Keynesian new synthesis with investment in longer term infrastructure that could strengthen unions, workers, wages, living standards and even a more social form of capitalism. But, I also admit to spurts of self delusion. Thoughts?

Four Crises of the Contemporary World Capitalist System
William K. Tabb
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