Archive | September, 2011

The Power of Clicktivists! Really? Is there any power there?

15 Sep

Signed a petition this morning online through PDA to ask the super committee to save a trillion dollars by fixing Medicare Part D. The change requested would allow the Feds to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma instead of the current model. I haven’t studied this hard, but you don’t have to study much to know that the ability to negotiate prices is a good idea. It’s kind of free market stuff, isn’t it? Doesn’t the right love the power of the free market? Let’s see how far this thing goes. Senator Kyl has jumped off talking about savings from attacking Medicare fraud, but the CBO guy told him point blank, this approach does not address the deficit and tax changes needed.

I also responded to a request from the FCNL – Friends (quakers) Committee on National Legislation and sent the following letter to my Senator, Patty Murray:

I live in Chehalis, Wa and have been pleased to have you as my Senator.

In my lifetime I have watched the tax table leveled and it has had disastrous effects on the US economy and US politics. The well-to-do, the middle class, and the poor continue to pay their fair share. The “haves” and “have mores” as George Bush called them have had their tax burden greatly relieved and now we face a budget deficit that is a pretext for cutting essential government services that are important to the majority of Americans, but mean little or nothing to the have mores.

In addition to the tax structure tilted to the rich, there is a question of war profiteering and the failure to raise taxes to pay when this country goes to war as it has done too quickly in this century.

The Pentagon budget has doubled in the last 10 years–without even counting what our country has spent on the two wars. It now amounts to more than half of the money Congress appropriates to federal programs each year.

But the main problem is falling revenues and that related directly to the tax hatred and demagogery. A steep tax structure promotes investment in infrastructure, jobs and factories instead of second, third, and fourth homes for the captains of industry.

You are in a very difficult position. It seems you are the only woman on the Super Committee and perhaps this country’s needs more matriotism and less patriotism to turn it around. I send my thoughts to you with the prayer that you will stand larger than a single person on this committee and that you may turn the country in a new direction from your position.

Be strong, be well. Do wonderful things.

Sincerely,

I don’t have much time for this email activism, but I took a minute this morning. I am generally more directly involved in political action. I spend more time making signs and materials and engaging in political action than I do sending signing online petitions pleading for change in public policy. But I took a couple of minutes for this stuff this morning, mainly because FCNL asked me to take a minute.

The Friends, the Quakers, were the folks who ran the underground railroad moving enslaved humans to freedom when slavery was legal in part of our country. They probably wrote letters and signed petitions as well, but some of the friends of that era believed action was required.

We stand on the shoulders of giants. Will we stand? Do we stand for anything?

Which side are you on, boys and girls?

Be strong, be well, DO wonderful things.

Olympia Safe and Beautiful, Step 2

12 Sep

So, therPants on Dogs!e is lots of discussion about how scary it is downtown. It’s not just dirty, with houseless people urinating on the sidewalks, it’s just downright scary!!

It has been pretty clear for generations (and especially in the past decade) that the First Amendment right to assemble and petition for redress of grievance and to exercise free speech is just too inconvenient to remain on the books. Just look at the pedestrian interference ordinance. If the right to assemble for any reason interferes with the ability of a suburban shopper to come downtown and empty their wallet at a place like the Alpine Experience (just an example) instead of enjoying the homogenous shopping experience at Cabela’s or Walmart, then the first amendment is dispensable. Scotto Bear - wiki commons, is this legal?

The first amendment is archaic. The updated, if unofficial primary civil right appears to be the absolute right to shop in a safe and sterile environment. So, Amendment One – get out of the way.

So, aside from the fear that accrues from running into a strange looking person downtown, why don’t we make the downtown really safe by scuttling Amendment Two as well?

wiki commons - courtesy michaelpughWouldn’t we all feel safer if we knew when we head out to go shopping downtown that we are not going to be sharing the sidewalk with folks packing heat? Why is the Olympia City Council so timid. Dump the second amendment and let’s get the fourth out of the way as well.

Come on, let’s make the downtown really safe. Let’s outlaw any firearms in the downtown core and give the police blanket authority to conduct patdowns for weapons.

I want pants on dogs that are over twenty pounds as well. Some of these animals are just indecent. What’s up with that?

wiki commons - courtesy beat 768

These guys also should not be allowed downtown unless they promise to turn the volume down and act in a civilized manner.

Beauty and Safety in Downtown Olympia; Step 1 of 2

10 Sep

Let’s do the Downtown Oly two step. Let’s tackle beauty first:

Step 1: Holy smoke, there has been a lot discussion about how scary and disgusting it is to walk the street of downtown Olympia. The latest installment of this sad story ran in the Daily Zero on Sept 4th. It led with a line about drunks urinating on the sidewalks. Boy, is this a sad old story with an axe to grind. But, let’s just take it straight. Do drunks urinate on sidewalks in downtown Olympia. I think that could happen. Probably mainly at night because there are so few bathrooms available in downtown Olympia after hours unless you have the bills to buy a plate of food to get bathroom access.

I am downtown quite a bit and it just doesn’t scare me or disgust me. I get asked for money, I give it. I am tied in to this really old and weird spiritual tradition that included some lunacy about “ask and it shall be given'” and “love your enemy,” and relied on an economic model of trusting that when you need a coin or two, it will mysteriously pop out of the mouth or gut of a fish (apologies to my vegan friends, I don’t fish anymore) or will appear from a tiny seed. I digress…

Back to bathrooms. It seems to be a fact that if you have had the good fortune to be born into this world, it’s just going to be a matter of time before you will need to find a bathroom. And not just once. and not just during daylight hours. And sometimes you will be able to wait hours, and walk blocks to locate a bathroom, and sometimes, the bathroom better be right around the corner.

It’s too bad that we are in the position of having to discuss availability of bathrooms because in the whole ten thousand years of God’s creation, since Adam and Eve, there were always these interruptions where a human being is saying, hey, hold that thought, I will be right back, have to powder my nose or check on the Kaiser, pick your euphemism for that moment when nature calls.You would think that in all that time, we would have made peace with this inconvenience and recognized the need for public bathrooms with running water, sink, soap and connected to the “water treatment” system. But it appears we have not made that peace in downtown Olympia. Wiki Commons - Bucky Fuller's prefab shower, toilet, sink design, what a genious that guy was

So, instead of the war on the houseless and the “fallout” that attends having no standard residence, why don’t we just make sure that there are plenty of public bathrooms available in the downtown area, day and night?

The bathrooms already exist at Heritage Park, at Percival Landing, at Olympia Center, at the Capitol, at City Hall, at the Transit Center. Lots of municipalities, public buildings, and quasi-governmental agencies already have bathrooms installed all over downtown. Maybe we need to step up and recognize that economic conditions have put a lot of people on the street and while we work to sort out that dismal situation, maybe we need to make sure that folks without a house can have access to a bathroom and a sink? A showerstall or two would probably be appreciated, but lots of us have managed daily ablutions with just sink and soap, I know it can be done, even though there it’s not the same as a long, hot shower. I am not suggesting a spa for transients, just “comfort stations” at decent intervals.

I think we also need to put pants on the dogs downtown, but we will come back to that campaign once we have public bathrooms up and running.

Next Step? Safety downtown! Stay tuned.

Labor Day 2011! Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

3 Sep

Thanks for the tunes and the soul, Joe Zawinul!

I know there have been a lot of covers of this tune, but I like the Cannonball Adderly version with Joe at the keyboard.

Knocks me off my feet.