Thursday, February 26, 2009
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Jindal's argument against government involvement in helping the country recover from the economic disaster the Republican Party has placed us in was to remind us of the George W. Bush model of government mis-management and incompetence during Hurricane Katrina. Are you kidding me?!
Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.
Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.
Let me tell you a story.
During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walked into his makeshift office I’d never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: ‘Well, I’m the Sheriff and if you don’t like it you can come and arrest me!’ I asked him: ‘Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?’ He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go - when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn’t go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, ‘Sheriff, that’s ridiculous.’ And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: ‘Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!’ Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and start rescuing people.
Seriously Governor, the person that your president put in charge previously judged horse shows! That bureaucrat? He was given that job because he had a 100% Republican voting record.
When Jindal wasn't talking about the Republican model of governmental incompetence, he was doing Republican one-liners about the stimulus plan.
But Democratic leaders in Congress rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history - with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest. While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.
Largest spending bill? Over 40% of this package is tax cuts - set to begin on April 1st. So that would suggest that the spending portion of the package is somewhere around $475 Billion. Can you spell Iraq Occupation funding? Of course he drops the ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland. No where in this package is this fantasy ever mentioned but, as we know, that doesn't stop the Republicans from saying it anyway.
I guess, if Jindal is the best the Republicans can put forward against Obama, then he shoud have a pretty good chance to move his agenda forward.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Americans Killed: 4247
Americans Wounded: 50,000
Iraqis Killed: 1,000,000+
“…a small price…” Rep. John Boehner
Latest Confirmed Casualties:
*Spc. Darrell L. Fernandez, 25, of Truth or Consequences, NM died Jan. 31 in Kirkuk, Iraq.
*Spc. James M. Dorsey, 23, of Beardstown, IL died Feb. 8 in Kamaliyah, Iraq.
*Spc. Christopher P. Sweet, 28, of Kahului, HI died Feb. 6 in Kirkush, Iraq.
*Lt. Col. Garnet R. Derby, 44, of Missoula, MT died Feb. 9 in Mosul, Iraq.
*Sgt. Joshua A. Ward, 30, of Scottsville, KY died Feb. 9 in Mosul, Iraq.
*Pfc. Albert R. Jex, 23, of Phoenix, AZ died Feb. 9 in Mosul, Iraq.
*Pfc. Jonathan R. Roberge, 22, of Leominster, MA died Feb. 9 in Mosul, Iraq.
*Cpl. Stephen S. Thompson, 23, of Tulsa, OK died Feb. 14 in Baghdad, Iraq.
*Staff Sgt. Sean D. Diamond, 41, of Dublin, CA died Feb. 15 in As Salam, Iraq.
*PFC Cwislyn K. Walter, 19, of Honolulu, HI died Feb. 19 in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
“A few components of the stew that contribute to the rising rate of suicides would be multiple, extended, and stop loss deployments, a broken VA care system, increases in traumatic brain injuries, untreated ptsd or ptsd treated by prescribing anti-depressants and returning them to combat. With the increased abilities and technologies of medical staff in treating horrific battle injuries, veterans who might not have come home during the Vietnam era come home to tend to a lifetime of overcoming debilitating injuries.
In these wars [Afghanistan and Iraq], there have been more married with children troops deployed than in previous wars. These relationships are at risk, suffering and often broken under the weight of repeat combat deployments. Adding another layer of loss and grief to a situation that is already fraught with loss and grief, depression is a natural human reaction and evolution giving birth to suicidal thoughts.”
[Ed Note: We should not lose sight of the toll on the family members of these troops who also suffer during these prolonged deployments]
In the clip below, Jon Solz, Co-Founder and Chair of VoteVets.org and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq engagements, talks about the rise in military suicide rates (more suicides than combat deaths in January) and conditions at the VA with MSNBC’s Nora O’Donnell.
This issue is much too important to overlook and I hope that the Obama Administration is taking it in to full account before they start sending more troops into Afghanistan without proper rest and care. Please follow the link above to Lietta’s post and thank her for all of her efforts on behalf of our military and their families.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Monday, February 09, 2009
For roughly 20 years there has been a discussion-turned debate-turned battle raging in Everett and Snohomish County over the potential for introducing commercial air passenger service to Paine Field. I recently posted a two-part story on this over at the Seattle Examiner (Part One - Part Two). What I would like to do here is give my personal take on the subject and ask others to join in. I would especially like for those who are represented on the Snohomish County Council or Everett City Council to make your voices heard there as the deliberations and negotiations continue.
Up front; I am opposed to bringing any commercial passenger service on to Paine Field. I think it is only right that I mention that I first lived in Everett from 1962 until 1966 while my father was stationed at Paine Field. I lived not far from the air base and attended school at Fairmont Elementary (directly across the street from the base) for a year. I also lived in Mukilteo during that time and attended Rose Hill Elementary. We moved from Everett to Tacoma when my dad's unit was transferred to McChord AFB and I lived on base there. I have spent many years with airplane noises as part of my environment. This isn't to say I would not consider it a factor when deciding to buy a house close to a busy airport; just saying that it would not necessarily be THE deciding factor.
The proponents of passenger flights talk about the potential for increased revenue to the area. They point to the fact that, with Boeing already taking off and landing at Paine Field, jet air traffic already exists in the community. And they argue that adding passenger service from Everett would reduce I-5 traffic to Sea-Tac. Most of the proponents for this service come from the Everett and Snohomish County business community and (just recently) the City of Everett and the Port of Everett.
The opponents mostly argue about quality of life issues; noise pollution, reduction of property values, and long-term harm to students in area schools. While they concede that traffic would be reduced on I-5, they point out the obvious; that such traffic would then be diverted to the surface streets of the various communities surrounding the airport. The opponents to bringing passenger service to Paine Field include citizens and homeowners who live in close proximity to the airfield, environmental activists, and the cities of Mukilteo, Edmonds, and Lynnwood who have all passed resolutions in opposition to passenger service at Paine Field.
For me, as a resident of North Everett, and therefore not one who might be directly impacted by the increase in air traffic and its resultant noise, I base my opposition mostly on the increase in surface street traffic that new passenger service would bring. While the proponents and both of the airlines currently in negotiations with the county suggest that only "limited service" is being proposed, most rational people know that, things never recede - they only continue to grow. Take the case of Allegiant Air. They are currently flying out of Bellingham to Las Vegas. They began service at two flights per week. They are currently at 10 flights per week. Horizon Air says, for now, that they only intend to augment their service at Sea-Tac. However, once they are faced with increasing fees from the Port of Seattle to help pay for the construction of that facility's new 3rd runway, what will prohibit them from simply re-locating their entire operation to the new "Snohomish County International Airport"? For that matter, what would stop Delta or any of the other smaller regional providers from following suit once the county opens the door for this type of service?
Now if you have ever attempted to get anywhere along Highway 99 during peak hours you must imagine what it would be like with new cars, shuttle vans, and busses trying to get to Paine Field for that flight to Spokane. If you are already sitting behind countless cars on the "Boeing Freeway" during shift change, just imagine the added burden of shuttle buses or single passenger vehicles coming in from Monroe, Stanwood, Mountlake Terrace, and beyond making their way to catch that Friday evening flight to Vegas. Oh, and let's not forget those folks just trying to get home from work from the various aerospace companies who located along Airport Road to be closer to Boeing and yet just a moment's drive back to the residential neighborhoods surrounding the airport where their employees live and raise their families - "honey, I'll be a bit later getting home for supper."
For those who ask, doesn't the potential for new revenues to county businesses offset the concerns of the opponents; I can only wonder where these revenues are going to come from. Just north of Everett, the Tulalip Tribe has just completed their new Resort and Spa - conveniently attached to their shiny big casino. From all reports, folks are flocking there from all over the area; even coming by the bus load from Canada. That brings us back to Allegiant Air and their intention of making anywhere from two to four flights per week from Everett to Las Vegas. Now I'm not much of a gambler but I would have to say, I think the odds of increased revenue would seem to favor Vegas. I like Everett. I have lived here a good number of the years of my lifetime. I just can't seem to bring myself to buy into the Mayor's vision of Everett as a "destination city." Perhaps he's counting on the numbers of folks who will be flocking to see the new condos and Riverfront Mall the city is so busy promoting - lord knows folks don't have anything like that back home in Spokane, Portland, or Las Vegas; the places that would be sending folks our way on the return flights.
The bottom line for me is that we have a handful of business leaders (many of whom pay handsomely into the campaigns of municipal candidates) who are jumping at the possibility of having their own personal fleet of planes to take them on that business/personal trip to Vegas or Portland and being spared the time it takes to drive (or take light rail) to Sea-Tac. They are not concerned about the average citizen in their community who will end up subsidizing this debacle with their time and quality of life. Perhaps the most despicable folks in this whole misadventure are the members of the Everett City Council and the mayor who continue to make decisions for our city based upon what they see as the best business interests and disregard the human interests of those for whom they are elected to represent.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Friday, February 06, 2009
I’ve just fired off LTEs to the local papers, and one through the WA State Legislature website to my State Senator Steve Hobbs of the 44th Legislative District. Hobbs is supporting heinous legislation in Senate Bill 5444. It is union-busting legislation designed to ensure, as surely as NCLB, was slow painful death of public education.
But that’s only the introduction to why I am writing and why I am sitting here at midnight, unable to sleep because I just want to smack otherwise smart people who simply don’t get how their problems are caused by their own small-minded foolishness.
I’ve got a student who is a bright kid. Not the brightest, but he’s well ahead of the curve. I have a necessarily cordial relationship with his mother. She’s a nice lady. She’s a Republican, which means that we wouldn’t associate with each other outside of this very specific domain. (My mother’s a Republican and I haven’t spoken to her for six months. Sue me. No seriously, I’m just tired of nonsense, and I’m more tired of it from family. First it’s embarrassing, then it’s annoying, and then it’s just like “I’m done, already!”…you know?) Anyway, this lady visits me in my classroom every so often, wants to make sure the kid is doing well, working hard, being pushed to excel. It’s nice, it’s welcome. It beats the shit out of not being able to get hold of parents when you’re trying to help their kid to not fail. So we talk about various things education related, and because I know she‘s “one of them” I do my level best to avoid politics. She’s never said a word about it to me either. I think she just feels that it’s the respectful thing to do in this paradigm, as do I (and as a practical matter also – I need my job.)
So I had a brief conversation with her about this education reform package SB 5444. I felt it was appropriate - not political, but rather “Hey this is what this means, could be a bad thing, you should look into it.” Naturally she had no idea about the bills. I mean, why would I expect her to, really? Rank and File Republicans don’t know shit about legislation. All they know is “cut my taxes.” They get their marching orders and that’s just about it, isn’t it? But she said she’d check it out, and to her credit she did. And then she emailed me, and this is where the need to “bitch-slap” festered and gave way to the aforementioned popcorn of profanity that is presently swirling in my gray matter.
She said she didn’t like the legislation because it didn’t say anything about any funding for gifted programs.
Exsqueeze me? Baking Powder?
OK, I’ll give her a pass on not recognizing that this is union-busting legislation. Then again, maybe she did. Why would she have a problem with union-busting, she’s a Republican. But does she not realize that the reason our schools are underfunded – the reason that the gifted program, and all programs, are underfunded now, the reason that there is an impetus to enact education finance reform at all, is because Republicans have destroyed our economy? Through illegal war and fraudulent deregulation and just basic ineptitude, they have done us over. And all we hear from Republicans about Obama’s stimulus is “need more tax cuts.” This mantra is so loathsome, it is so utterly disproven as to be not even worthy of discussion at this point. And this woman, this otherwise nice, normal, pleasant woman, doesn’t get that schools are dependent on taxes. You see, Republicans are the most short-sighted people on the planet. They have no interest in the far-reaching consequences of their actions, or of bad legislation. And they are selfish. They have no “sharing” bone, they have no “we’re all in this together” nerve, they have no “There but for the grace of God go I” organ. I’ve heard it all from my own family enough times, I’ve started to tic when I hear “tax cut.” Oh sure, they’re generous to their own kind, and some are biblical believers in charity, as long as they can do the giving personally (maybe so they can get a plaque or something for their donation; they seem to be very big on praying in public and that kind of thing. Bumps them up in the pecking order I think.) But ask them to give to the government so that the government can provide some parity, and we’re all fucking commie pinkos. “Build charter schools,” they say. “ Let us have vouchers!” But who do private schools really serve? Come on, that’s not racist. We all know they serve white kids. Rich, white kids whose parents can afford the tuition. There’s your free market at work. Nothing is more fundamental to democracy than education. And they want to call liberalism “social engineering.”
So needless to say I want to “go off” on this woman in the worst way. I tend to think a lot of Republicans are just evil shits. A lot of that is compounded by the fact that I can’t stand to even be in the room with the fuckwits, but what are you going to do? Nine times out of ten when I am forced into close quarters with one of them (and because I was born without the “STFU” gene) I start talking politics, and then I have a conniption fit. It’s not pretty, and I’d just as soon avoid it. But this woman is not evil (however I have not “looked into her eyes and seen her soul and seen she was a good person” the way Bush sized up Putin. Maybe I should.) She is severely misguided though, and part of me says the cure to that is a good tongue-lashing. The part of me that wants to keep my job, though – well, that’s the part that is forcing me to sit at my laptop at this very moment.
So this woman doesn’t get that the consequences of her actions (her support, her financial donations, her votes) have been a part of why her son won’t get his gifted education funded. You know, I teach math, and a lot of kids of trouble with math. It requires a modicum of thinking logically and analytically. Some are brighter than others, there’s no harm no foul saying that. But some kids are just fucking lazy. My colleagues and I sit around wondering why our kids are so unmotivated. Well it’s because they’ve got unmotivated parents, isn’t it. Oh they’re motivated enough when they want something. They’re all ready to negotiate when they have some immediate gratification on the line (kids.) But ask them to project, ask them to find purpose in the long-term, and the whole notion sails over their heads. Parents. They must watch their parents. Where’s the discussion on what’s good for the community? Where’s the talk about “We’re all Americans” – not this happy horseshit flag waving lapel pin hallmark patriotism that we’ve been spoon-fed for the last 8 years and more. And yet when it should smack them right in the face why shit isn’t working in their favor they’re still only good for “what’s in it for me?”
And I’ll say another thing, because at some point I may be called on some hypocrisy and I’ll address that charge pre-emptively (see, I did learn something from Bush.) Yes, I am pissed that this legislation is union busting because my household income stands to decrease dramatically as a result. Yeah, I could possibly lose my house. Yeah, this bill has the potential to fuck a lot of things up for me personally. I don’t have to be ashamed to say that. We paid a shitload of money for advanced degrees that we’ll be paying off forever, so we can be competitive in the marketplace (how capitalist of us.) . I have a right to self-interest. I play by the rules, and I pay my taxes without complaint. It’s the patriotic thing to do.
All of this and more I want to throw in this woman’s face and say, “There! There are your fucking tax cuts! I hope you choke on them.”
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
"Now, in the past few days, I’ve heard criticisms that this [stimulus] plan is somehow wanting, and these criticisms echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place, the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care, that we can somehow deal with this in a piecemeal fashion and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.
I reject those theories. And so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.
So I urge members of Congress to act without delay. No plan is perfect, and we should work to make it stronger. No one’s more committed to making it stronger than me, but let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the essential. Let’s show people all over the country who are looking for leadership in this difficult time that we are equal to the task."
Now THAT is change I can believe in! More please...
Chad (The Left) Shue
After noting that Gregg was essentially allowed to bargain for the position by forcing New Hampshire (Democratic) Governor, John Lynch to appoint another Republican to fill his senate seat (gee, didn’t the Illinois Senate just impeach that state’s governor for allegedly talking about bargaining away Barack Obama’s seat?) I took note of the fact that Judd would have the unique opportunity to express some post-partisan love by voting for President Obama’s economic stimulus plan while he is awaiting confirmation to Obama’s cabinet:
“Because Judd will most certainly not be confirmed before the senate has their turn to vote on the Obama stimulus package, Still-Senator Gregg will have the opportunity to cross that aisle and cast his vote with the man who has nominated him for a position at the head table. The question is will Judd Gregg give President that first taste of "post-partisan" props or will he take his nomination and simply go along with his own party's efforts to derail what will soon be his own administration's plan to restore the nation's economic health?”
Well we didn’t have to wait long. In an Associated Press article picked up by today’s Everett Herald, it seems that Sen. Judd will simply choose to sit this one out. In the piece Gregg is described as being a bit less than supportive of the stimulus plan,
But just last week Gregg was critical of the administration's plan.
"A stimulus package should be temporary, targeted and timely," he said then. "What we're getting here is something that's unfocused and unending."
But that was last week. Next week Judd may well be a key member of the Obama cabinet charged with helping to turn the economy around. According to the man that nominated him, the economic stimulus plan working its way through Congress will be a vital tool in that effort. So what will Still-Senator Gregg do?
“The secretary-designate told reporters that while he will remain in the Senate until he is confirmed, he would not participate in Senate business or votes while his confirmation is pending. That means he won't vote on the stimulus plan or help Republicans in their arguments against it.”
A cautionary note to President Obama: The other key word in the phrase “Team of Rivals” – Team. Sir, while you are spending so much time and effort trying to build your team, remember that your ultimate goal is to win the game.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
...And now Howard Dean will step down from a role that I personally (and wrongly) opposed him taking in the first place. But where will he go and what will he do? To President-elect Obama I would suggest that he not allow Dean to stray too far from his administration. A couple of obvious choices would be Secretary of Health and Human Services or Surgeon General because of his medical background but there are other roles where his experience as a governor would be valuable to an Obama administration; the Office of Management and Budget comes quickly to mind...
Guess what? There appears to be an opening.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Monday, February 02, 2009
Many of you may know that last July I accepted an offer to write for a relatively new on-line venture - Examiner.com (For more on the Examiner dot com story click here) I was recruited by one-time Seattle PI sports writer Laura Vescey who was serving as both a regular writer for the venture as well as the local recruiter for the national Examiner organization. To be honest I wasn't sure that I would be able to take on the additional responsibility and was not sure how it might impact my output here and at my other hang-out, Washblog However, when Laura explained to me that she had been trying unsuccessfully for some time to recruit more Progressive writers to the local Examiner effort (it soon became obvious that I was a fairly down-list choice) I decided that I could not sit by and watch this new local offering become an unfettered outlet for the right wing. This became more of an emphasis when Laura informed me that my counter-part would be Eric Earling of "Sound Politics" fame who was currently writing there as the "Seattle Right Side Politics Examiner". And so, on July 14th, I posted my first article as the Seattle Progressive Politics Examiner. A couple of things that should be said about the "left/right" bias at the Examiner - Both during and after the process of taking the gig with the Examiner, I had the opportunity to talk with some of the folks who had turned down the job before me. One of the primary concerns I heard was about the ownership of the national effort and the certain right-wing slant of the national organization. What I finally determined was, if my readership was based on the local demographic, I wouldn't have to worry about the national pages. As it has turned out, I have not yet had any hint of editorial management of my content and, as of the end of the November election cycle, I am the only "partisan" examiner writing at the Seattle site.
The assignment at the Examiner came with a few "strings" that have proven to be quite challenging for me. A couple of the "restrictions" that I found most difficult to adhere to were an obligation to keep my articles as "local" as possible and to keep my work there totally original (avoid simply cross-posting stories from the Left Shue or Washblog) - a restriction that certainly did not apply much to Mr. Earling I soon discovered. The upside of course was that we were entering an election cycle that would allow me to opportunity to separate state races from national. My biggest regret has been my lack of a regular presence at the Washblog. Not that I am such a vital part of that site; with the great group of writers there, but I am so pleased to be a part of what should be recognized as the premiere location for Progressives in Washington State. I have made an effort to contribute where I thought the story would have the most state-wide interest.
And so for the "new feature" here at the Left Shue. As you can see from the post below I have determined to begin sharing my work at the Examiner with my readers here. While I will keep up my end of the bargain about not cross-posting from these pages to the Examiner, I have no such compulsion about segregating my efforts there from the readers here. I hope that you will take the time to "click-through" on as many of these articles as appear of interest to you and that you will feel welcome to leave a comment or two from time to time.
Chad (The Left) Shue