Archive for February, 2010

Abolish the Filibuster!

Posted in Domestic with tags , , , on February 15, 2010 by Black Pumpkin

The Senate is inherently an undemocratic body.  When states as small (in population) as Vermont or Montana have the same representation as states as large as Texas or California, you have a undemocratic system.  But that’s (sort of) what the Founders wanted, so that’s what we have.

But it gets worse.  The filibuster, which was used only sparingly until recently, is being used to stop any and all legislation from coming to a vote.  And although it is the Republicans that are using it now, the Democrats did the same thing when they were in the minority just a few years ago.

But wait, it gets even worse.

The filibuster is not even being used.  It is the threat of a filibuster that is actually being used.  A filibuster is, of course, when a member of the Senate stands up and continues to talk for a long period of time and doesn’t stop talking.  This is a tactic that was meant to stop a given piece of legislation from getting to the floor by delaying everything because the Senator would not stop talking.  OK, fine.  But now, they don’t even stand up and keep talking, they simply say that they will do that if the other side doesn’t stop what they are doing.  So it isn’t bad enough that filibusters are being used to stop votes.  No, we simply need the threat of a filibuster to stop votes.  At the very least, they should have to torture each other by actually employing the tactic.

In fact, the filibuster should be eliminated altogether.  We shouldn’t have this simple tactic that doesn’t allow anything to get done at all.  If they don’t like a bill, then they should vote against it.  If it passes anyway, well, too damn bad.  There are plenty of democratic ways to stop a bill from being passed.  How about telling people about how bad a bill is and letting them tell their Senators to vote against it.  I know it is a foreign concept to allow the actual people being governed to have any say in what laws get passed, but hey, let’s try something new for a change.

The Senate is undemocratic enough with its 100 members (2 per state), but the filibuster (or just the threat of such) is over the top.  I know that it’s more likely that we will get a camel through the eye of a needle than for the filibuster to be abolished, but I am one of those crazy people that believes that capitalism should be abolished too.  So you can just add this to my list of impossible dreams (abolish the filibuster, abolish capitalism, get money out of politics, racial equality, etc.)

Unless we reach for the stars we will be stuck with what we have here on earth.

Senate Republicans: Filibuster everything to win in November? (McClatchy)

Capitalism Hits the Fan

Posted in Economics with tags , , on February 11, 2010 by Black Pumpkin

Whatever you have to do, I implore you to watch this video.  Unfortunately, I could only find a really crappy version of the whole video here.  But this is definitely one video that everyone should see.  It is a lecture by Professor Richard Wolff about the economic crisis.  He explains in very clear, plain language why we are in this mess and why the policy prescriptions that are being offered will not fix the problem.  I caught it on Link TV.  I am not sure if they are going to show it again because according to the website it does not have any more air dates.  Perhaps we can all write to Link TV and tell them to show it more often.  It really should be seen far and wide.  And Link TV is an awesome resource anyway.

So support Link TV in whatever way you can and get your hands on this video however you can.  It is called “Capitalism Hits the Fan” and it was created by Media Education Foundation.

And if all else fails, here is a transcript of the lecture (in PDF).

Is Google Too Big To Fail?

Posted in Domestic with tags , on February 11, 2010 by Black Pumpkin

I have long thought that Google is taking over the whole world.  And everyday it seems like that is becoming more and more true.  Google has a finger in every pie there is.  Google is of course the King of Search, but it also has a browser (Google Chrome), a phone (Nexus One) and so much more (news, email, YouTube, pictures, blogs, you can even search patents).  Now they want to expand into being a network provider.  They want to build ultra high-speed (one gigabit per second) fiber optic lines.

So the logical question is, when is the US going to realize that Google is a trust and it needs to be split up?  But since the too-big-to-fail banks are not being split up, I’m sure Google has nothing to worry about.

Out of the Night that Covers Me…

Posted in Not Political, Poetry with tags , on February 11, 2010 by Black Pumpkin

Obviously, this little blog (which hit 100 posts as of Howard Zinn’s passing) has suffered in recent months.  It started strong but lost a member some time ago, and then things got even spottier.  I tried to recover and that didn’t last long.  And it has only gotten worse from there.  My problems are all mine, so I won’t get into details here.  Let me simply say that I am still here and I am working through the things I need to and will try my damnedest to keep writing here.  And I will try to keep the extreme darkness out of the posts.  If you are one of the few who keep coming back, please don’t stop now.  And if you are new here, well, just know that there is much more to come.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)