Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dear Amazon, where is your customer service?

I think the Amazon computers are out of control. I also think that their customer service department (which of course should be the entire company) has failed us this holiday season. This is the letter that my wife just sent to them:

I'm very frustrated right now with your lack of customer service regarding this delivery. Not only did I get a message after 5:00p.m. on Christmas Eve that you would be unable to deliver my groceries at my scheduled time on 12/26/10, I've gotten no response to my reply, so I don't know if the delivery time can be rescheduled or if it just won't happen, and we have other plans on that day that we have to work around. Then I got my usual deliver reminder this morning telling me you would be delivering my groceries tomorrow between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., and when I tried to call and leave a message, since email obviously isn't getting me any answers, your phone system said that you weren't in and hung up, leaving me no way to leave a voice mail.

This is seriously poor treatment of a loyal customer on Christmas weekend and I will cancel this week's order. Since I have no way to contacting anyone there or making sure you get any messages before tomorrow, I will simply delay all of my items on automatic delivery until next week.

Will you be delivering at my usual time next week or will it be the same deal, me getting notification on New Year's Eve that my delivery on the day after New Year's won't take place?

I suppose that if I get no answer to this query either, I should assume that next week won't be any better and cancel that as well.

This is how Amazon says "Merry Christmas"? I think they can do better than that.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Potential solution for the Eurozone bond problem.

I just figured out a potential solution. Instead of a full Euro bond, and instead of breaking up the Eurozone into two pieces, allow countries to pair up for bonds where sets of countries can pair up and support each other.

For example, Germany can pair up with a country that needs help, and they can do a bond together. The primary repayment responsibility would be the country that needs help, with Germany as the "co-signer". That way the markets have stability and trust that their investment will be paid back, the country that needs help gets the funds for their municipal projects, and Germany doesn't have to worry about paying out any money unless their partner completely folds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Geographic History of United States Elections


Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

Lecture 5

These lectures are © Stanford University

Twelve Steps to recover from a Right Wing Media addiction

1. Admit that we are powerless to control what comes across over the TV and Radio.
2. Come to believe that our community intelligence can restore us to sanity.
3. Make the decision to turn our will and lives over to the pursuit of peace and cooperation instead of power and control.
4. Inventory our issue positions and where those ideas come from.
5. Admit to society and ourselves the exact nature of our assumptions and misconceptions.
6. Become ready for our communities to educate us about those assumptions and misconceptions.
7. Humbly ask for forgiveness from our community.
8. Make a list of everyone we have spread right wing lies to and be willing to educate them on the truth.
9. Make direct amends to such people when possible, except when we get violent or negative reactions from them due to our new-found understanding and community spirit.
10. Continue to educate ourselves on the history and current events, and when we find something that points out another misconception or wrong assumption be ready to admit it.
11. Seek through community dialoge to improve our consious connection with that community, praying that through collective and self-understanding we can achieve a brighter future for ourselves and our children.
12. Having had a community re-awakening, carry the message in our hearts and deeds to engage, educate and empower others to join the effort of building our communities.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time to rip apart another GOP idiot

So, I see this tweet come over Tweetdeck from the WAGOP. It's a retweet from Koster4Congress. John Koster is the GOP candidate for Washington's 2nd Congressional District running against Rick Larsen. It is a link to his latest email talking about Rick's latest ad against him. Granted, as points out, the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge does not state in writing that co-signers support outsourcing jobs. However, I need to point out that the Pledge also does not state in writing that co-signers support in-sourcing of jobs. The fact is that Americans for Tax Reform doesn't say anything about jobs because they don't CARE about jobs. They care about taxes. Low taxes. Taxes so low that the government can't do anything to prevent the outsourcing of jobs. So, in other words, is correct, and the co-signers of the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge are idiots.

We knew that.

However, I did not know that John Koster was so totally ignorant about the United States until I went to his Issue Summary page.

John Koster has never heard of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Government Spending vs. GDP was higher in the 1940's, and the National Debt was higher in the 1940's. So when Koster says "uncharted economic waters", he is lying. When he says incomprehensible spending, it means he doesn't know how to read. I agree about unconscionable deficits, but when someone makes that claim AND says that he is proud to have signed the pledge from Americans for Tax Reform, then it means that he would rather see deficits and debt than actually collect the tax revenue that would be needed to balance the budget and reduce the debt.

Our "founding document" is the Constitution of the United States. The Declaration of Independence was a resolution. The purpose of government is defined in the Constitution as follows:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I know that conservatives would like to toss the first three of these and just focus on the military and "freedom", but if they want to be considered American they really should try to support all of the goals of our government.

Does a well funded military mean that the Pentagon doesn't have to keep track of their money? When was the last comprehensive audit performed of the Department of Defense? Where exactly does all of that money go, anyway?

Koster seems to believe that suspected terrorists do not have any rights. Of course, he knows exactly who he means when he says this, wink, wink... I'm sure it's frustrating for him to be living in a nation of laws instead of a nation of winks and nods.

George Washington was not able to board a plane and step off into the streets of Paris in 10 hours. Any conflict, anywhere on the planet, can reach our shores in a matter of hours. That makes every conflict a legitimate concern for our national interest and security.

Being a veteran myself, I'm glad Koster supports our military veterans. I also support their families, and I support their right to come home to an economy that can support them.

I wonder if Koster considers the FDA standards of farm safety to be excessive. And repealing those standards would result in what? Oh, yeah. Disease and death.

Small businesses (making less than $5M) and farmers should be exempt from the Federal Estate Tax. But it should certainly apply to stock speculators.

Free Market = low wages. Free enterprise = no regulations and no consumer protection. Money that is reinvested into a small business is NOT TAXED. Only money that is brought home in a paycheck is taxed. Jobs are created by demand, not wealth. Don't talk to me about "S" Corporations.

We ARE drilling on American soil. We don't have enough to meet the demand. And Koster doesn't seem to believe in Climate Change, risking our children's future on his "right to keep the fruits of our labor" dogma.

What would have been "sound economic policy" would have been to reverse the Reagan Tax Cuts and balance the budget in 2010. We could have done it. We should have done it.

I give up. Everything I'm reading on his issues page is right wing "Boehner is my King" garbage.

Rick Larsen may not be perfect, but at least I know he shares most of my values. John Koster doesn't seem to share any of them. And that means he is the wrong choice for the 2nd Congressional District.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Original Intent?

The GOP wants to bring our country back to the "original intent" of the US Constitution.

They do know that the "original intent" did not include Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to own guns, etc, right? The Bill of Rights was a requirement that the states demanded in order to agree to ratify the original Constitution, and was passed by Congress AFTER that certification. So, did "original intent" include them, or not?

They do know that the 40 hour work week was not part of the original intent of the Constitution, right? Supreme Courts had ruled this, and other free-market intrusions of government like child labor and L&I insurance, unconstitutional until the 1930's. So if the GOP wants to go back to the original intent, would they rule those basic workplace protections as against what the founders intended?

One specific thing that was included in the Supreme Court rulings was denial of the ability of the government to create Unemployment Insurance. So, if the GOP wants to go back to the original intent, that means the people who are currently unemployed would be thrown to the free market. Same with Social Security and Medicare. The GOP has ALWAYS wanted to repeal those entitlement programs instead of fixing them and making them sustainable. They would rather throw our seniors and kids to the good graces of our charities. Which receive and control less than 5% of the capital available for those programs through government intrusion into the market place. People would starve, freeze and die of illness. That's the GOP.

The GOP wants to give the DENIED stamp back to the private health insurance companies. Their "Pledge to America" would very simply Plunge America into a Second Great Depression. A second Republican Great Depression.

We will get the kind of government that we vote for. If you believe that government should be used to help people, to establish a foundation for everyone so we can reach for our potential and reach for the stars, then please vote Democrat. Not because we're the least worst option, but because the Democratic Party is the ONLY option to keep our country moving in a positive direction.

Keep our nation in Drive. Vote D.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear Gov. Gregoire,

Please do not end the Take Charge Family Planning Program.

Take Charge saves the state money. Take Charge costs approximately $4 million a year. The unintended pregnancy costs in one year for those who are left without services are $45 million.

By cutting $4 million the state will incur $45 million in additional costs this year alone.

If $4 million to fund this program sounds like a lot now, how are we going to pay for the $45 million a year in new pregnancy costs next year which will add to the $3 billion deficit we already know about?
This program has allowed over 400,000 low-income Washingtonians to get the basic health care they need to be healthy and make responsible decisions. Thousands of unplanned pregnancies have been avoided because of this successful and cost-effective program.

The program has improved lives: young women have been able to finish school; families have been able to better to care for the children they already have; women have been able to start a career.

I know we are facing a huge revenue shortfall, and you are forced to make very tough choices. But this cut makes no sense for Washington's families or our budget, since it will cost the state $45 million in the next year.

Please use all of your resources to save this program. None of us can afford for Take Charge to end.


To take action and send your own letter to Gov. Gregoire, please click here!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Answering Dino Rossi's latest letter.

Dino Rossi's campaign is so badly organized, they actually sent ME a fundraising letter. Here's my answer:

Brick by brick, the conservative movement is trying to take apart the foundation of our nation's future. The trillions of dollars that goes through our Federal Government provide that foundation, and Dino Rossi and his conservative allies think that it is too much. They believe that the Health Care legislation that passed cost too much. They claim that the IRS will need to hire more people to collect the taxes. That's a lie.

They claim that the first set of stimulus money "has doubled our national debt". That's a lie. The conservative Heritage Foundation report that was the source of that claim said that if nothing was done that would be the result over the next decade. Rossi puts that doubling in the past tense. We intend to do something to balance the budget, pay OFF the deficit, and pay down the debt. And we're willing to do it without destroying our country and hurting our people.

Rossi claims that the stimulus plan failed to create jobs. The Congressional Budget Office believes otherwise, that the stimulus may have created up to 3.3 million jobs. So Rossi is lying again here.

Rossi claims that the government "took over car companies". That's a lie. GM is doing an IPO over the next few months so that the government can sell the shares it owns after the bankruptcy saved the company from extinction, and maybe even make money on the sale of that stock.

The policy of giving money to banks, insurance companies and Wall Street was a $700B boondoggle that came from a Republican Treasury Secretary under a Republican President. I agree that it was a bad idea. But is Dino so completely stupid that he believes that the Federal Government should be able to tell those companies that they are not allowed to give bonuses to their executives? He needs to make up his mind.

Rossi talks about the expiring tax cuts affecting the "average family". If Bill Gates walks into a bar, I'll bet the average income of the bar will increase as well. If Republicans are going to complain about the debt and the deficit, then they are being hypocrtical by only looking at one side of the equation. We need to pass I-1098 so that the people who won't be hurt by taxes can help pay the taxes.

America is at a crossroads. We can either continue to move forward, or we can put the country in reverse. Much of what has happened over the first year and a half of President Obama's term has been moving in the right direction. Personally, I don't think it's far enough, and certainly not fast enough. But one step forward is better than 8 years of goosesteps in the wrong direction.

The Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution has been introduced before. It's a crock, designed to be a nice talking point during the election. The truth of such a requirement is that it would destroy our country. In the United States, We the People are the government. So when conservatives say, quite seriously, that they want to drown the government in a bathtub, what they are saying is that they want to drown the people of the United States in their own debt. People who don't believe in government have no business running for office.

Rossi says that healthcare is too costly. He has never had cancer. He doesn't have a child with severe disabilities. Dino Rossi doesn't care about health care expenses because he has never had to pay them. He has no idea why people need help paying for their health care expenses because he has never needed help.

Rossi whines about $11 Billion in earmarks, which is less than 1% of the total budget. I don't think he has his priorities in order.

Dino Rossi can count on my help to send him back to the private sector, so he can continue to make money off the forclosures that are driving our fellow citizens out of their homes because the private sector has failed to use the Trillions of dollars at their disposal to hire people at a living wage. Third time's a charm, Dino. I hope this is the last time any of us ever see your name on a ballot.

I'll say again, people who don't believe in government have no business running for office. If the private sector is capable of doing everything, why hasn't it? Because it's another lie.

There is not one shred of truth to anything that Dino Rossi says when he talks about his values. He doesn't care about people, he cares about money. That's why he's asking for our money so he can help defeat our values in Washington DC.

Don't give him the time of day.

Chad Lupkes
Chair, 46th District Democrats

Thursday, September 02, 2010

How to support our kids:

"It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex. ... The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools."

This is from the Washington State Constitution, Article IX. If we accept this constitutional duty, then we must recognize the responsibility of the legislature to maintain their ability to raise revenue sufficient to fulfill their paramount duty, that of funding our schools. Anything that limits or reduces the ability of the Legislature to raise that revenue should be considered an attack on our schools. And anyone who proposes and/or promotes limits or reductions on the ability of the Legislature is against our State Constitution, against our schools, against our kids' future, and SHOULD NOT BE PROPOSING INITIATIVES TO THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON STATE!!!

Please vote against I-1053 and against I-1107. Let our legislature do its job providing for our kids education and our future.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On David Horsey's latest cartoon

See the cartoon here.

The comments are typical of the right-wing fanatical insanity that we usually see from people who don't have anything better to do than repeat the FOX and right-wing talking balloons. So here's what I posted:

What did we celebrate about 10 years ago, before the recession caused by the deregulation of the Financial Sector? Oh, right. The longest period of growth since the 1960's.

I was born in 1969, so I don't have any direct memories of that decade. But I can see by reading, thanks to an education that was publicly funded, that the top marginal tax rate was lowered by President Kennedy from 91% to 77%. And he closed loopholes, resulting in an increase in tax revenue because people in his tax bracket could no longer get out of taxes. Then President Nixon lowered it even further in 1969 and '70 down to 70%.

What was it that I said in the first paragraph? Oh yeah. The fact that the 1960's was a period of great economic growth. Meaning that high tax rates on the hyper-ultra-super-rich DON'T HURT THE ECONOMY.

But never mind the facts. Conservatives live in their own reality, one created by Reagan who lowered that top marginal rate down to 25% and started the accelerating budget deficits, one continued by Bush, Clinton and Bush, and one maintained today by President Obama by not suggesting that the hyper-ultra-super-rich pay their share for the tens or hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars that they earn every year, on the backs of the working people of this country who are now out of work at a rate of between 10 and 20 percent.

We can rant and rave forever about "unequal distribution of wealth". But the truth, backed up by historical fact, is that the only way we are going to see a real recovery, see unemployment go down, see our children grow up in a world with as many if not more opportunities than we had, is if we demand that the people making millions or billions pay their share of the cost of that opportunity.

Don't like that? Vote against it. And if you have a majority of the vote, you can watch our nation continue to suffer, and fall over the cliff that we find ourselves at the edge of.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Response to the President's address to Netroots Nation

My reaction? I'm an advocate for change. I'm going to keep pushing for change, and the acceleration of that change. The Federal Government needs to do two things. First, prop up the state governments that are facing deficits. No more cuts to state education budgets, or health care budgets, or unemployment benefits. Put resources into the hands of people, not banks or corporations. Second, make a huge, HUGE, investment in renewable energy, one that makes up for the last 30 years of inaction. We need solar panels on the roof of every government building in the country. We need a line of solar panels along every inch of Federal Highway. We need to revitalize our rail infrastructure and push it forward 50 years with high speed rail paralleling the Highways from coast to coast, border to border.

All of this is going to take money. It's money that we have to spend if we are going to save our country, or civilization and our planet. I honestly believe that it is possible for us to reverse course and fix the problems that we have created over the past 200 years through the industrial revolution. Yes, we can do this.

If we don't... If we continue as we are now... If we advocate for, or even tolerate the systems and attitudes that we see in the media today... Well, then we are sentencing our children to death. We will not just hand the next generation the problems we have created, we will have ended their future. I have friends that tell me that I'm wrong, that there will be small pockets of humanity that survive in specific places around the globe. Is that really what we want to resign ourselves to?

Mr. President, you have done a lot over the last year and a half. Thank you for working so hard. I'm not going to say that you have done a poor job. I think you've done the best job that you could do with the tools that you have. But as you said on the campaign trail, it's not up to you. It's up to us.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Red, White and Blue

Red, White and Blue
by Chad Lupkes

I would like to talk about what being an American means to me. To do that, I want to review the colors on our flag. Those colors are red, white and blue.

Blue represents opportunity. The blue sky on the horizon, a horizon that we constantly strive to reach. We may be distracted by the treasures and comfort that we find, but we must continue to strive to achieve, to learn new things, and find new paths.

White represents fairness. The white paper that we use to vote, the paper that we use to write our laws. With the rainbow of ideas, ideology, race and culture, the law must be written to be fair to everyone. This helps to ensure that we leave nobody behind as we strive toward that horizon.

Red represents sacrifice. The red blood that is spilled on the battlefield, the tears that we shed in memory of those who have sacrificed everything. The sweat that comes from our efforts to regain what was lost. We must never forget those that we have lost, and we must be there to help the ones who have sacrificed for us.

This is why we support our veterans and active military. Their sacrifice ensures our right to strive toward that blue horizon, writing our laws to leave no one behind.

The original meanings of the colors only came to apply to the Great Seal of the United States, adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782. This from

"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."

The meaning of the colors is always subjective. But that does not diminish the pride that we feel on July 4th.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dear Mr. President about the Gulf Coast

Dear Mr. President,

I know this is tough, but for the Gulf Coast, the future promises to be rough. What you will see will most likely make you want to flee.

The questions from the GOP make me wonder how hard on BP you should actually be. Should the government take over the oil spill response through eminent domain, or should you direct the DOD and Homeland Security to take things over with a military campaign?

With British Petroleum a corporation chartered by the British crown, I wonder what effect it might have for them to see a Royal frown. What is more important to our future, our ability to generate power, or the ability for animals and plants to grow and flower?

While the oil company tries to stop the flow with mud, the rest of the US gets to watch our coast fill up with crud.

People are worried if they will be able to eat the shrimp and fish, but aren't there bigger issues than simply the food on our dish? We all need to learn the lessons of this disaster, by slowing our lives down instead of pushing harder and faster. Think about our natural resources the next time you take a hot shower, because there are much better ways for us to generate that

Monday, May 24, 2010

Debi's House of Damaged Boys

Tamoshanter (Tam) is an 11 year old orange male tabby cat that came to us last March. He'd been living with some dogs in the home of the father of his previous owner when she left college. He is huge, and at 23 pounds one of the biggest cats we've seen and actually bigger than either of the two cats that Debi had brought from Florida, also orange tabs. Tam really caught our attention because he seemed by the pictures to be a mix between our original cats, and when he showed up he was actually bigger than either of them.

Over the past few months, the weather has been nice enough for us to take Tam out on the 2nd floor landing of our condo building, so he's enjoying the sounds and smells. But he's still not getting enough exercise, sort of like yours truly. Because we knew that the condo was big enough for two cats, we decided to try and find a companion for Tam. On Sunday we found one.

Cosmos was a stray that was brought into the Seattle Humane Society on May 10th. He is about two and a half years old. He's another orange tab, about 11 pounds. He's been through some really rough times, so he is pretty much skin and bones. His hair is dry and rough, and they had to shave quite a bit because of matting. They did the fixing surgery, which it looks like he's pretty much recovered from, but he's certainly a rescue.

We brought him home, and opened the top of the box in the living room. Tam was very dominating, so we brought Cosmos upstairs to Shea's room, set up a small cat box and food, and gave him a safe space. The little guy is a minx, and small enough to hide in a bunch of different places. He actually found a way under Shea's bed in the trundle, hiding among the blankets and luggage. According to Shea, he came out a few times during the night and actually spent much of the night on Shea's feet. All of the food was gone when we got up this morning, and he had used his box. Tam spent his night going back and forth between Shea's closed door and the open window in our room where his short tree is.

We're going to give Cosmos a few days of good rest and food, then open the door to the rest of the condo. We figure it will take about a year before he's fully healthy. It's a great long term project for Shea, and the bonding will be good for him.

Yet another guest in Debi's House of Damaged Boys.

Oh, and this morning I did the Greenlake loop in about 50 minutes. That's pretty good time for not having done that in 8 months.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some changes at home

Shea's computer was really slow. It's actually Debi's old system, dating back to the mid 1990's. I've boosted it a few times, and it has XP on it, but it really can't handle Youtube and animations. So we had to find a way to get him a computer that worked better. He really likes my desktop, so I asked my friends at Seattle Laptop whether they had a laptop Dock that I could get. They did.

So, my desktop is now up in Shea's room, along with my old monitor. I picked up a new monitor, flatscreen and widescreen, from Best Buy. I also switched out the router that we were using because it was a wireless that I needed for my laptop, which I don't need anymore. Meaning that we have our older wired router for the systems, Shea's computer connects to the router using a powerline connection, and everyone's online.

The last bit I'll say about this is what it makes possible for the 46th. The wireless router that I was using at home is now in the bag with the overhead projector. Anytime I go on the road with the projector, I can plug my Clear modem into the router, and connect via the wireless connection. And so can anyone else at our meetings.

One small step for Shea, one giant leap for the District. Ok, he doesn't think it's that small of a step. The computer upstairs is now a heck of a lot faster.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Chase, just shut up...

I got a call about 6 months ago from Chase, warning me about a terrible new law that was passed that required them to give me an option to opt out of their greatest deal, the magic "OverDraft Protection Coverage" or something. I listened to the speaker, and then asked this question:

Chad - "So, if I don't agree to continue with this overdraft protection, and I don't have enough money for a transaction, you won't approve the transaction?"

Chase rep - "Yes"

Chad - "And that also means that you won't charge me an overdraft fee?"

Chase rep - "Yes"

Chad - "So, you will no longer charge me an extra fee if I am stupid enough to try to make a transaction with my bank account that I can't afford?"

Chase rep - "Um, that's true, but..."

Chad - "But if I agree to your overdraft protection you will continue to do what you've been doing for years, which is charge my account $39 or more every time I try that?"

Chase rep - "Um, yes."

Chad - "So, you can probably guess what my answer is."

Chase rep - "Yes, I probably can."


But that didn't stop the warnings, of course. They're so terrified of losing their $39 stupidity reward, they send out warnings weekly, sometimes daily. Today they sent this one, and I had enough:

If you don't have Chase Debit Card Overdraft CoverageSM, beginning August 15, 2010, your everyday debit card purchases will not be approved if you don't have
sufficient available funds*.

These purchases may be approved at Chase's discretion if you have Chase Debit Card Overdraft Coverage.
Standard overdraft fees may apply.

So now they're at least being a little more honest and saying that the is charged at Chase's discretion, meaning they can choose whether to hurt their customers or not rather than it just being an automatic slap in the face every time they find someone who can't maintain their bank balance above zero.

Chase, just shut up...

Why does nobody ever ask this question?

I saw this question on one of the mailing lists that I subscribe to, and thought it was important enough to pass on as a seed for discussion.

Why are facts like this never put forth by any union or anyone?

When you rent a DVD from Netflix, the first thing you see is that if you pirate (copy) the DVD, you face a $250,000 and 5 years in jail. Yet, the coal companies, which have kill people in their death traps and continue to have repeat safety violations, face fines less then a $100,000 fine. They are repeat offenders and have killed many people over the years. It is appalling that we live in a society that values and has more fines and jail times for a $20 DVD then a human life.

Jeff Lyles

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm from Seattle

Went to a concert last night with two of my favorite artists, John Gorka and Patty Larkin. Here's a filk:

Inspired by John Gorka's "I'm from New Jersey" on his album "Jack's Crows"

I'm from Seattle
I probably expect too much
If the world ended today
I would reboot

I'm from Seattle
Yes I know I talk that way
I didn't own a TV
When I was young

I'm from Seattle
My mom's American
I've read those cowboy books
We don't belong

There are girls from Seattle
They have G.P.S.
They're found on 405
Or the Mercer Mess

I'm from Seattle
It's not like Florida
There is no mystery
I can't ignore

I'm from Seattle
It's like Silicon Valley
But even more so
Imagine that

I know which exit
And where I'm bound
The tolls on the Light Rail
Won't slow you down

Seattle people
They might suprise you
Cause they're expected
To do so much

They might try harder
They may go further
Cause they always have
Their coffee cups

I'm from Seattle
I probably expect too much
If the world ended today
I would reboot
I would reboot
I would reboot


And here's the original so you can get the tune:

Monday, March 01, 2010

Bill Phillips and I had some fun!

I am the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

[Pirates of the Senate]

I am the very model of a modern Junior-Senator
I know the rules of filibuster and adore the mainstream media
Now should I talk some Baseball you know I am quite historical
From Cooperstown to Waterloo, in order categorical
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters senitorical
I understand rules of order, both the simple and authorical

About parliamentary theory I'm teeming with a lot o' thorny
Bothersome and scary facts about the budget of the country

With many scary facts about the budget of the country
With many scary facts about the budget of the country
With many scary facts about the budget of our great country

I'm very good at legislative and parliamentary calculus
I know the scientific names of things animalculous
In short, in matters scary, budgetary, senatorical
I am the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

In short, in matters scary, budgetary, senatorical
He is the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

I know our mythic history, Washington’s and Jefferson
I'll answer all your questions after I get permission
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Teddy Roosevelt
Unemployment never bothered me for it I've never ever felt.

I can tell Nasdaq from Dow Jones and I love all lobbyists
I love their croaking chorus for I'm a lobby hobbyist
I hum whatever tune my donors play because they know me best

I hum whatever tune my donors play because they know me best
I hum whatever tune my donors play because they know me best
I hum whatever tune my donors play because they know me best
I hum whatever tune my donors play because they know me best

Then I can write a dashing bill in Babylonic cuneiform
And tell you ev'ry detail of Jim Demint's "play" uniform
In short, in matters scary, budgetary, senatorical
I am the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

In matters scary, budgetary, senatorical
He is the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

In fact, while I know that our country is unraveling
I can identify from a distance a filibuster or a javelin
When such affairs as downturns and recissions and the jobless hit
I know precisely when to say "tough shit"

When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern buffonery
When I ignored all of the lessons taught by Ted Kennedy
In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy
You'll say a better Junior-Senator had never sat a gee

You'll say a better Junior-Senator had never sat a gee
You'll say a better Junior-Senator had never sat a gee
You'll say a better Junior-Senator had never sat a sat a gee

For my parliamentary knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury
The country has been brought down at the beginning of this century
But still, in matters scary, budgetary, senatorical
I am the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

But still, in matters scary, budgetary, senatorical
He is the very model of a modern Junior-Senator

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm supporting Jay Clough for WA-04

I had a good gchat with Jay Clough yesterday. He’s running against Doc Hastings (WA-04). If you would like to help turn the 4th Congressional District blue, please visit and support him. We learned last year that radio ads and exposure are very effective because the prices are so reasonable. So let's do a Money Bomb for the race!

Jay's primary issue focuses are Education, Health Care and the Economy. So far I like what I'm reading and hearing both from him directly and from others. As hard as it might seem to win in a district like this, the lesson we get from progressives who run AS progressives is that they get the support they need to win. Please visit his website to learn more about him, get in touch with his campaign and find out how you can help. The season is well underway, and money at this stage can really help him. Even small donations will help, from anywhere so spread the word across the country for this one.

If you live in his district, what he needs most (in my opinion) is small town hall events both as fundraisers and as a way to get people to listen to him as well as talk to him. If you would like to hold one, please contact him directly.

I have a lot going on, as everyone knows. But when a candidate specifically reaches out to ask for my help, I do what I can.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The mission of a political party

(Excerpt from a "Chairs training guide" that I'm working on in my spare time.)

The mission of a political party in general is to push the platform into law. Everything else needs to happen in order to reach for that goal. We build our organizations in order to elect candidates in order to have those elected officials make decisions while in office that we support. To leave an elected official to make their own decisions without our input is ignoring our primary mission. To let decisions made that violate our principles and values go without being addressed is setting aside those principles and values in order to achieve some kind of "victory". The ONLY victory that we should consider worthwhile is improving the lives of the people who live in our communities.

Our platforms are written to articulate what our ideas are in order to achieve that victory. Candidates that agree with our principles and values, and agree to help push our ideas into law should be the candidates that we endorse and support during an election. Then we need to work just as hard to hold them accountable to the promise that they made when running with our endorsement.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Free Speech for People moves forward in Washington State

At my urging, Senator Jacobsen has introduced a Senate Joint Memorial asking for Congress to submit to the states a Federal Constitutional Amendment limiting the political activities of Corporations. The bill has been sent to the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee, where Darlene Fairley from your district is the chair. Can I get your help to push this through committee AS FAST AS POSSIBLE before first cutoff goes by and we miss the opportunity for this year?

Please read the bill as submitted. As you can see, this is one of the most critical issues that we have ever dealt with in this country in over 230 years. This is literally a "Drop Everything" moment. I'm not joking. Specific actions to take are below the text of the bill.


State of Washington 61st Legislature 2010 Regular Session
By Senator Jacobsen


We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations; and

WHEREAS, For the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has misinterpreted the First Amendment favoring the corporations' agenda over the people's voice; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from freely spending their general treasury funds for purposes of electioneering communications or direct contributions to candidates for public office; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now permit unprecedented spending of corporate money in our political process unrivaled by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history; and

WHEREAS, An individual can use his or her money to speak on his or her singular behalf, the money corporations use to speak belongs to its shareholders, who presumably come from disparate political ideologies; and

WHEREAS, It took over one million individual donors to raise about seven hundred fifty million dollars for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately five percent of ExxonMobil's third quarter profits in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately five percent of Bank of America's profits in 2007; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 18 percent of Bank of America's profits in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 37.5 percent of Goldman Sachs's first quarter profits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 18 percent of JPMorgan Chase's third quarter profits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 25 percent of Ford's profits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately five percent of Philip Morris's profits in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Individual shareholders will now be inextricably absorbed into the corporation's powerful political action, regardless of their individual political beliefs and affiliations; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC threatens to dilute an individual's power as a voting citizen and compromise the democratic process; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;

WHEREAS, The people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;

NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memoralists respectfully pray that Congress, in accordance with Article V of the Constitution of the United States, immediately transmit to the several states for ratification an amendment to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution so that corporations will not be considered as persons for the purposes of electioneering communications or direct contributions to candidates for public office.

BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.

So how do we push this through? The bill is currently in the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee. Here are the members:

Senator Room Phone
Fairley, Darlene (D-32) Chair JAC 227 (360) 786-7662
Oemig, Eric (D-45) Vice Chair LEG 416 (360) 786-7672
Roach, Pam (R-31) Ranking INB 202 (360) 786-7660
Benton, Don (R-17) INB 109B (360) 786-7632
McDermott, Joe (D-34) JAC 230 (360) 786-7667
Pridemore, Craig (D-49) JAC 212 (360) 786-7696
Swecker, Dan (R-20) INB 103 (360) 786-7638

Government Operations & Elections
439 J.A. Cherberg Bldg., P.O. Box 40466, Olympia, WA 98504-0466
Telephone: 360-786-7432 / Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000

If you live in one of the districts represented above, please contact your Senators office directly and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill. Then we need EVERYONE to call the committee office itself and ask that SJM 8027 be put on the hearings schedule as soon as possible so it can then be scheduled for a vote in committee. The first cutoff, where all bills must be out of the first committee, is tomorrow, February 5th. So this is a drop everything moment to get this done. The Senate and House leadership could choose to waive the cutoff rules, but that's not a sure bet. Let's do the work.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Constitutional Amendment

Please submit this to your state legislator in Olympia. If you are reading this from outside of Washington State, you can get your customized state version here.

The Constitution of the State of Washington is amended as follows:

Article. I

Section 1. Political Power. All political power is inherent in the **natural** people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain **the** individual rights **of natural people**.

Section 3. Personal Rights. No **natural** person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

The Constitution of the United States is amended as follows:

U.S. Const. Amend. XIV, ? 1: All **natural** persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any **natural** person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any **natural** person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

To save paradise, and stop a parking lot

This letter from a US Senate staff member is too important to ignore. I found it here on Talking Points Memo, thanks to a friend. I'm going to copy the entire thing, and damn the consequences of copyright and whatever. The message I'm getting from this letter is that our party leaders in Washington D.C. are learning a song. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

I certainly wouldn't want to indicate I have any unique insight on how everyone feels around this place but I thought you might be interested in how one Senate staffer is feeling.

My background is like probably the majority of staffers I know. I came to DC, from a far superior climate and quality of life, because I wanted to save the world. I arrived, and took a job in the House, at what I still view as the nadir of Congress - in 1996. Republicans had recently taken over Congress and had 230 seats in the House and 52 in the Senate. Democrats were in a state of shock and we watched (because that was essentially all we could do) in horror as they systematically went after nearly every institution of civil governance culminating in nearly removing the President from office via an entirely trumped-up charge. They had destroyed the Democrats in 1994 because they simply couldn't deliver - the BTU tax went down, health care went down, and finally the Crime Bill failed because it had such laughably wacky ideas as "midnight basketball" as a crime prevention measure (something with is widely approved of today and is completely noncontroversial). As a young LA, it was amazingly dispiriting. Literally nothing we proposed could get passed - we couldn't even get votes. Every bill came to the floor under a closed rule so we couldn't propose amendments and our Senate colleagues faced a full amendment tree on every bill such that unless they had Republican patron they couldn't get votes either. Kennedy fought like hell for things like minimum wage and sometimes could arm-wrestle a procedural vote win out of them but things would just die in the hands of the Hammer in the House. Eventually, my boss got fed up and retired and I went over to the Administration where I thought I might be able to get more accomplished.

Even there, in a Democratic Administration, we faced constant battles as anything remotely beneficial to the public or in keeping with our mission was forcibly outsourced by the Congress or investigated into near-paralysis. The Republican Majority in the House had steadily eroded so that by the end of the Clinton years they had only a 5 seat cushion (223) in the House, but their strong majority in the Senate (55) kept them firmly in control. Then, when Bush took over in the wake of the most disputable election imaginable, the political appointees flooded in and began reversing policies (including policies promulgated by previous Republican administrations) as if they were exercising the overwhelming mandate of the people. Republicans barely kept the House with 221 seats and only held on to the Senate via Cheney's tie breaking vote on the organizing resolution. I left to start a family.

Despite Jeffords' flip, and the razor-thin majority in the House, the Democrats dealt no significant losses to President Bush and his agenda went essentially unchecked, and nominations were processed efficiently and quickly (after all, the people had spoken!). The only arguable exception I can think of right now is that the Administration was unable to push through drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but they actually did put it on reconciliation, they just lost too many Republicans to win. I returned to being in the Minority on the Hill, on the Senate side this time and as staff to an important Committee, and Republicans now had a 51-seat Majority in the Senate and had strengthened in the House to a mighty 229 seats. We fought valiantly to slow them down but were unsuccessful in stopping a one-sided energy bill, escalation of a needless war in Iraq, and continued erosion of the social safety net and de-funding of civil institutions through tax cuts for the well-off. We got occasional fig leaves, and maybe could get a witness or two included in a hearing, but were essentially not a part of the final discussions to put together bills. I dreamed that if only we could get two Senate seat takeaways, then we could finally take the reigns back - after all, poll after poll showed the American people agreed with us on nearly every issue. In 2004 we would surely break through to the public - we had neutralized them on their central issue by nominating a war hero and people were desperate for health care and education reforms. We had moved away from that scary Howard Dean fellow and were now proposing only modest reforms to health care, more tax cuts, and deficit reduction (don't worry, never at the expense of the Pentagon!). How could we lose? Republicans strengthened their majorities to 55 Senators and 232 House Members and I almost lost my job as the now-overwhelming Republican Majority in the Senate increased their allocation of the office space and staff salaries. Now a majority was a faraway dream and the best we could hope for was a few sympathetic Republicans on a few issues that might help us at least expose what they were doing (and we did manage to beat back drilling in Arctic again).

Unexpectedly, public mood did finally begin to sour on the wars and deficits agenda in 2006 and we were able to eek out victories in MT and VA so that we could take a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate (including a dicey vote from Lieberman) and a massive 233-202 Majority in the House. Of course, we'd have to cautious and trim our sails a bit since Bush still was President and we had several skittish votes in the Caucus, but the American People were giving us a shot. We suffered some disappointments but we did about as well as could be expected in the Senate, but at least we were making progress and, though I had to trim my ambitions a bit, I was finally writing provisions that were becoming law. On balance, it was a good Congress, but I dreamed of having big majorities like 55 Senators so that we could really do the stuff we've all been waiting for.

A wave election hit us in 2008 where we not only had overwhelming majorities of 59 seats in the Senate (once Republicans finally got around to letting us seat Franken) and 257 seats in the House (returning us to the same power level as when we ruled the House with inpugnity in 1992-3) but, most importantly, a President who was explicitly elected on an agenda of "change." It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wrench the wheel away from the abyss and really deliver on our promises. It was disheartening when it seemed that Reid was allowing McConnell's disingenuous narrative of "it's always taken 60 votes to get anything done" to take hold, but we were later even saved from that when Specter switched. But it seems we've spent the entire year moving our own goalposts farther away. Things have gotten so bad that in roaming the halls today it feels exactly as if we lost the Majority last night.

The worst is that I can't help but feel like the main emotion people in the caucus are feeling is relief at this turn of events. Now they have a ready excuse for not getting anything done. While I always thought we had the better ideas but the weaker messaging, it feels like somewhere along the line Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas. They're afraid to actually implement them and face the judgement of the voters. That's the scariest dynamic and what makes me think this will all come crashing down around us in November.

I believe President Clinton provided some crucial insight when he said, "people would rather be with someone who is strong and wrong than weak and right." It's not that people are uninterested in who's right or wrong, it's that people will only follow leaders who seem to actually believe in what they are doing. Democrats have missed this essential fact.

The stimulus bill in the spring showed us what was coming. In the face of a historic economic crisis, Democrats negotiated against themselves at the outset and subsequently yielded to absurd demands from self-described "moderates" to trim the package to a clearly inadequate level. No one made any rational argument about why a lower level was better. It would have been trivial to write "claw-back" provisions if the stimulus turned out to be too much or we could have done a rescission this year to give these moderates their victory, but none of this was on the table. We essentially looked like we didn't know what the right answer was so we just kinda went for what we could get. This formula was repeated in spades in both the Climate and Health Care debacles.

This is my life and I simply can't answer the fundamental question: "what do Democrats stand for?" Voters don't know, and we can't make the case, so they're reacting exactly as you'd expect (just as they did in 1994, 2000, and 2004). We either find the voice to answer that question and exercise the strongest majority and voter mandate we've had since Watergate, or we suffer a bloodbath in November. History shows we're likely to choose the latter.

Although I realize this is far too long to publish, if you do decide to use any of it, please keep my anonymity. Just in case I'm wrong and there is more good to do yet.

Are we going to read letters like this, and then roll over and go to sleep? Or are we going to stand up? Do you think the Democrats in DC are weak? So do I. But like I've said to hundreds of people online and off, that realization doesn't make me want to walk away. It makes me want to take up the hammer and beat the forge to develop better tools. It makes me want to read history and learn its lessons better. It makes me want to make new plans and work even harder to bring them to fruition. If you're seeing a disspirited army on your side of the fight, you don't let them get slaughtered. You give them back their spirit. You take your passions and ideals, and you wear them on your sleeve. You don't back down.

Is there anything in our lives more important than saving our country and securing the future for our children? Anything?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

This is a perfect moment

I love Free Will Astrology.

This is a perfect moment. It's a perfect moment for many reasons, but especially because you and I are waking up from our sleepwalking, thumbsucking, dumb-clucking collusion with the masters of illusion and destruction.

Thanks to them,
from whom the painful blessings flow,
we are waking up.

Their wars and tortures,
their crimes against nature,
extinctions of species
and brand new diseases.

Their spying and lying
in the name of the father,
sterilizing seeds and
trademarking water.

Molestations of God,
celebrations of shame,
stealing our dreams and
changing our names.

Their cunning commercials
and blood-sucking hustles,
their endless rehearsals
for the end of the world.

Thanks to them,
from whom the awful teachings flow,
we are waking up.


Their painful blessings are cracking open more and more gashes in the shrunken and crippled mass hallucination that is mistakenly called "reality."

And through the fractures, ripe eternity is flooding in; news of the soul's true home is pouring in; our allies from the other side of the veil are swarming in, inspiring us to become smarter and wilder and kinder and trickier.

We are waking up.

As heaven and earth come together, as the dreamtime and daytime merge, we register the shockingly exhilarating fact that we are in charge of creating a New Earth. Not in some distant time or faraway place, but right here and right now . . . .

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The era of Bush is over, right?

After reading this article, I must say I'm really frustrated with the Democratic ad campaign "experts" in Washington DC. I'm mean really. Reminding people of the Bush years is a good way to win elections?! Please.

If you want to remind people of Bush, do it right. Off the top of my head, here's an ad that I would like to see on TV. If I owned a TV, anyway.

Announcer: "Remember the previous President? The Republican George Bush? So do we, and like you we don't want to go back to those years. Unemployment went up, the increasing National Debt went out of control thanks to the budgets passed by a Republican Majority and a Republican President, we got into an unnecessary war in Iraq, our leadership position around the world became a laughing matter."

Screen shows pictures of the stock market crash in September, 2008, the debt clock spinning out of control, and scenes of fighting in Iraq.

Announcer: "Since 2006, the Democrats in Congress have been fighting to put things right. And the Republican Party has tried to stop us at every turn. We tried enforcing accountability in Iraq, and the Republican President at the time vetoed it. We faced a record number of Block That Vote attempts in 2007. We tried providing health care to kids, and it was vetoed twice. You responded in 2008 by increasing our majorities and putting a new President in office."

Screen shows pictures of Republicans yelling and looking like idiots. Shouldn't be too hard to find.

Announcer: "In spite of all the Republican efforts to stop our progress, we still got some things done. We increased the Minimum Wage for the first time in over a decade. We implemented the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, something that had not been done under the Republicans. And under our new President, we finally passed health care for children, the largest investment in the economy ever, the most comprehensive legislation protecting people who use Credit Cards ever, and that's just the beginning."

Screen shows Senator Edward Kennedy (who advocated for the minimum wage increase), the cover of the 9/11 Commission Report with a big blue checkmark, healthy kids, a picture from one of the many construction projects, etc. Have fun with it.

Announcer: "So, after all of this, what do the Republicans want? They want to remind us of the years under George Bush. In our opinion, that era is over. And with your help, we won't be going back. Please support Democrats in 2010."