Sirota Headlines 143rd Democratic Picnic

I attended the 143rd House Democratic Picnic outside Dublin, Bucks County yesterday.  The fund raiser for the County Committee district was headlined by blogger and author David Sirota and Congressman Patrick Murphy and House candidate Diane Allison.  The food was good, the discussions interesting, and I enjoyed seeing many good friends from the Doylestown and Upper Bucks area.

David Sirota has worked on Capital Hill, for numerous political campaigns, made his name as a smart guy blogging and now as an author.  His first book, a best seller, was titled “Hostile Takeover.”  The new book, “The Uprising” (look for a review later this week) is about how Americans are organizing to channel their opposition to current government policies.

Read more…

I’ve been impressed by Sirota for a good while and his appearance at this picnic was the attraction for me to drive to Bucks on a Sunday afternoon.  His insights and knowledge of movement politics combine for interesting reading.  He understands what’s happening in the country and has a knack for putting it together in a nicely readable manner.

Congressman Patrick Murphy spoke about the problems high gas prices are inflicting on all of us and how we need to continue increasing CAFE fuel standards to ease the burden.  As he pointed out “we cannot drill our way out of this problem.”  Republicans seem to think the crisis is an opportunity for them to drill in ANWR and other  pristine areas of public lands.  No, the solutions lie in alternative and renewable energies, conservation, and mass transit.

Diane Allison, the candidate for the 143rd House seat, is an impressive person.  Polished from her years as a school board director, community volunteer, environmentalist and public servant she understands the importance of changing the rules in Harrisburg to rid the state capitol of corruption and undue influences.

Kennedy Undergoing Brain Surgery

Sen. Ted Kennedy, diagnosed with a brain tumor recently, is undergoing surgery at Duke this morning to remove some of the tumor.  The Lion of the Senate and longtime advocate for the people fell ill and the brain cancer was disclosed amidst much angst about his prognosis.

Brain tumors are extremely critical health problems.  It is a cancer with high fatality rates.  The television coverage I’ve seen on the issue has been fairly good.  A tumor is, essentially, a brain injury.  We still know little about the brain, how it works and which areas do what or how.

Brain tumors are what are called acquired brain injuries.  This is compared with traumatic brain injuries.  The difference is whether the problem happened as the result of outside force (trauma) or from something such as a stroke, aneurysm or tumor.

Aside from treatment with radiation and surgery such as this to remove as much of the tumor as possible the average prognosis isn’t good.  Should we lose Sen.Kennedy this will be a significant setback for all Americans.

Not only is Ted Kennedy a champion for all working people, all minorities and all those downtrodden by the greed of Republican Wall Street and K Street, he understands how Washington works and how to get things done.  This is a lost art.  Instead we hear candidates who stupidly and naively pander to voters that they can single handedly change Washington.  DC has seen others like Barack Obama come in there and they spit them out four years later, beaten and defeated.

Ted Kennedy knows how to work with others, how to work with anyone where you have common ground and shared interests to get things done.  In an age of bitter partisan divides where anyone accused of such effectiveness is driven out by Party purists (both sides) few Washington icons have the stature and security to actually perform effectively.  Kennedy is the master.  We wish him well.

McSame Can’t Keep Facts Straight

John McSame, running for President on a platform of foreign policy and economic policies which are identical to George Bush’s failed ones, cannot even express basic facts about Iraq.  The supposed foreign policy expert recently conflated Iraq and Iran while on one of his precious dog and pony show tours of the Green Zone.  Joe Loserman had to whisper in his ear before he got some semblance of the facts correct.

It isn’t just that McCain says things which aren’t accurate as he did again last week, maintaining the fiction that American troop levels are under pre surge levels (they aren’t, by 20,000) it’s that he then calls this “nitpicking” while insisting he’s the best candidate because of his foreign policy experience and knowledge.  Ask those 20,000 soldiers stumping through Sadr City if they’re nothing more than nitpickers.

John McCain was wrong about Iraq.  He supported this war of choice which was, basically, a huge gift to American corporations to make money off our blood and treasure, and he has steadfastly continued supporting the war even after it was lost.  We have a quieter Iraq now more do to Moqtada al Sadr than the surge.

Candidates do misspeak after two grueling years on the campaign trail.  Mistakes happen from sleep deprivation.  John McCain however, wrapped up the GOP nomination months ago and has been under no significant strains and pressures for some time.  We cannot compare his screwups with those of the Democratic Senators working their butts off trying to secure the nomination.

Funding NASA

Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off yesterday on a trip to the international space station.  More debris fell off at liftoff on a mission to install a huge new piece of the station and a pump to fix the malfunctioning toilet.

It isn’t like the astronauts can go out back behind a tree is it?  My reaction to the toilet problem is why there isn’t a back up system?  One of the basic tenets of space travel is having back ups and, sometimes, back ups for the back ups.  There’s no back ups system for the toilet?

All of this makes me wonder why we don’t adequately fund NASA.  They are doing amazing research and having great success on a shoestring budget.  The Mars lander, keeping a small fleet of aging, decrepit shuttles, Hubble’s incredible insight into deep space, the space station, it all adds up to a government system which does significant and valuable work.

NASA’s budget has been severely constrained as other federal priorities have taken precedence.  George W. Bush has slashed and eliminated hundreds of federal programs to finance his wars and tax cuts for the rich and non Defense spending has leveled off and/or disappeared under his mismanagement.

NASA has shown how good it is and how much basic research can be gained at what is really, in the scope of the entire federal budget, minimal cost.  We either need to build new shuttles or find their replacement.  We need more projects like Hubble, Explorer, the Viking probes and other successes.

I think the basic problem here is that this scientific research is telling us more about the origins of the universe, its age and other insight into science.  We have a president who doesn’t believe in science and undermines it at every opportunity.  He worries that science is debunking the existence of God and explaining our world in ways that counter the myths and tales in the book he takes as literal truth.

NASA’s scientific research undermines Bush’s religious beliefs so he rejects it and doesn’t fund science.  We all suffer from his ignorance.

The Bible sought to explain the unknown in times when there was little scientific knowledge.  We are no longer in the Dark Ages and its time to reject 12th century explanations of the universe.

Obama Leaves Trinity UCC

I’m sure this will now fuel rumors that he’s really a Muslim but some lunatics will seize on anything.  Barack Obama and his family have left the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago due to their determined efforts to undermine his presidential campaign.

Never before have I seen a group so close to a candidate work so diligently to force his defeat.  This story has been remarkable.  First it was Rev. Wright’s appearances on national television and then Rev.Pfleger’s Broadwayesque performance mocking and ridiculing Sen. Clinton.

These people couldn’t do more to sabotage Obama’s campaign if they tried.  It makes me think they are.  The question then is why?  No one can be this stupid can they?  Oops, I just watched Fox News so let me retract that question…

DNC Rules Seats Half of Florida Delegates

The Rules Committee compromised today by voting to seat half of Florida’s delegates for the National Convention.  The initial vote against seating the full complement met with unhappy chanting of “Denver” from the Clinton supporters watching the proceeding.  This was a threat to take the fight to the convention floor, something which would irretrievably split the Party.