Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Name Is Not "Those People"

Simply wonderful and well said....

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Unauthorized 9.12 Teabagger Tour

Oh My God!

Can you believe we live in a country with so many scary deranged people?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Filth and The Furious - The EPA's Most Wanted

The Environmental Protection Agency is turning up the heat on dirty criminals. Deputy director Doug Parker began compiling a list of the EPA’s “Most Wanted” in March of 2008 to ferret out those who are wanted on criminal investigation of environmental felonies. Although a relatively new endeavor, the list of 21 fugitives reaches back as far as 1996, when a man by the name of Mauro Valenzuela smuggled oxygen canisters onto an airliner, causing the deaths of 110 people when they ignited – causing the plane to crash into the everglades. Included on the roster are Albania Deleon, who ran an operation that hired workers to remove asbestos without proper certification, and two men who are believed to have trafficked ozone depleting coolants.

According to Cornelia Dean’s article in the New York Times, Parker states that the E.P.A. has “’180 agents fully authorized with arrest powers, carrying firearms’ around the country, but that it usually worked with state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies as well as the Coast Guard, the Homeland Security Department, and Interpol.”

While I applaud the idea behind the efforts of Parker and the agency, one omission I found glaringly obvious, was that of the range of penalties for these crimes. While Mauro Valenzuela would likely be brought up on charges that could include homicide, and is as of yet at large, what is to become of the perpetrator who places countless lives in danger in a more subtle manner that may span over a number of years? It has seemed that the victims often must rely on litigation for resolution, and if successful, may wait years for vindication. If ever they do. Twenty years after the massive travesty of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which had been ignored by the behemoth corporation and was cleaned up by good Samaritans, the diminutive sum that they were ordered to pay was again reduced by the Supreme Court. While the Exxon episode may have been deemed an accident and, therefore, not criminal, they’re lack of response is beyond irresponsible. And in cases where people or corporations deliberately act in ways that put the public at risk, they should be penalized in a similar manner as if they used any other weapon.

So, bravo to Doug Parker and the E.P.A for putting a face on environmental terrorists. Let’s hope it’s not just a never seen tribute to the post office wall.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Steven Colbert, Glenn Beck and FEAR!

Steven Colbert takes on glenn beck and the crazies at fox news. Even during the bush administration all they had to sell to the American people and the world was fear. You would think that they would have noticed that the vast majority of people in this country voted for HOPE, Change and Courage!

Here we have Steven Colbert telling us about beck' new War Room". This is followed by Steven Colbert's own version of the War Room called the "DOOM Bunker"

Have fun.

Steven Colbert and glenn beck's War Room.

Steven Colbert's DOOM Bunker.

When do we start referring to these people as crazy ass fear mongers who hate what the United States of America is REALLY all about? They only care about power and money. Wake up limbots! (previously known as republicans and conservatives)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Rebuilding our schools: the legacy of "no new taxes"

We are cross posting this for a Tacoma activist that is working hard for our schools.
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I am deep in the throes of campaigning for a local school bond election. Every year or two our school district has to undertake this ritual, the legacy of a state constitutional amendment that limited property taxes to 1% of assessed value, unless voters approve a bond levy by a 60% majority. "So what?" You say. "Shouldn't the voters have a say?" Well, yes, in theory, but in practice it means that necessary school construction projects are put off until our schools are literally crumbling around the kids. It also means that in times like these, when construction prices are low and construction jobs are desperately needed, voters balk at the idea of any additional property taxes.

But all of that is just talk. It is easy enough to say "fine, but not now" to school construction until you see the reality of what some of our kids are asked to live with every day.

This is a hallway ceiling at Hunt Middle School in Tacoma, Washington. Large parts of the school feature water damage just as severe. Maintenance staff dutifully replace ceiling panels and repaint when they can, but the water just seeps right through.

This is the roof that produced those leaks. When Hunt Middle School was built in 1957, I don't think school officials ever envisioned the days of sky high materials costs and 1% property tax caps. Faced with a booming student population, contractors used "imaginative" measures to cut costs, including a plywood based structure and a "California style" flat roof. 30 years of Northwest weather and no roof replacement funds have created the mold-laden environment its students have to learn in today.

Today, Hunt's problems extend far beyond the roof, and school officials must ask voters to approve enough funds for complete building replacement.

Across town at Stewart Middle School, a stately 1920s vintage building is a pleasant site to the casual observer. Inside, wires are strung along bare pipes, and students attend after school programs in rooms with missing ceiling tiles and severe water damage. (Caused by an electrical fire 2 years ago.)

School districts face this problem throughout the State of Washington. Other states have also jumped on the tax cap bandwagon, creating massive system-wide disasters like the classroom trailer-ridden California schools. 30+ years after most of these laws were passed, school bond elections have become an annual tradition in many parts of the country.

For the parents, teachers and school officials working on the school bond election, Tacoma's school building crisis seems obvious and urgent. Getting that message out to voters has been a nearly insurmountable task, however. School bond elections can't be funded by the district, and our total budget for promoting this 300 million dollar bond issue is about $20,000. (And much of that not materializing.) With the local press concentrating on the cost, our campaign strategy has come down to parent volunteers forwarding emails of school photos, late into the night.

Our complex system of school funding is a nightmare for school bond campaigns. Given the task of voting "yes" or "no" on the school bond, voters take this as an opportunity to express dissatisfaction with virtually any school-related issue, from the amount of school supplies teachers use, to larger more important issues like the state's persistent achievement gap. Their concerns can and should be addressed, but getting the message across that school bonds are only for buildings has been very challenging. The only state to expressly guarantee ample funding for basic education in its constitution, the State of Washington is charged with funding educational programming needs like teachers, textbooks, and curriculum. In the absence of a state income tax, that funding is rarely secure.

Tacoma's school funding mess is not unique. Schools like Hunt and Stewart are a vivid illustration of the long-term consequences of tax caps, cost cutting, and the general nearsightedness of the past several decades of education funding. In Washington State we're working hard to change this myopic legacy, but a little more help from the federal government wouldn't hurt. As the Obama administration considers new education initiatives and asks the American public to accept the stimulus plan, please think of Hunt Middle School, and ask your legislators to vote yes for change.

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Please visit Tacoma Citizens for Schools on their website and on Facebook.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What A Real President Looks and Sounds Like!

2/28/09: Your Weekly Address from White House on Vimeo

"I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

"So am I."

More here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/02/28/Keeping-Promises/

All I can say is WOW! It sure is nice to have a real President again!

Check out Recovery.gov