Author Archives: grahamfirchlis

2010 election prognostication

Pounding a stake in the sand with my crystal balls.
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California 2010 Election Voter Guide

From a Progressive point of view. Continue reading

New public option health insurance bill introduced in the House

House Progressive Caucus members banded together today to introduce HR5808, a new version of a Public Option for universal health insurance. Led by Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), my own Pete Stark (D-CA) and member of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the bill was presented with 128 co-sponsors including all three chairs of the committees of jurisdiction, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor along with an accompanying Congressional Budget Office analysis showing an expected deficit reduction of $68 billion between 2020 and the start date in 2014.
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4th of July Revolutionary Independence Freedom Music Mashup

If there is a day of the year when we all ought to be able to set aside our differences and unhappiness and find a way to join together to celebrate the gifts we have received from those who came before, this should be the day.
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Rebranding abortion

Sharron Angle, Republican candidate for US Senate in Nevada and for incumbent Democrat Harry Reid the gift that keeps on giving, is against allowing abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Asked by conservative talk-radio host Bill Manders if she would support banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest, Angle said there are no acceptable reasons for an abortion:
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Are Jews as bad as Blacks, or worse?

Elena Kagan’s Republican interlocutors want to know. Continue reading

Supreme Court OKs restricting peaceable speech tied to terrorist groups

Ending a nearly twelve year legal odyssey, the SCOTUS has ruled that in some circumstances the government can restrict and punish speech directly connected with a terrorist group even if the intent of the speech is to advance and enable peaceful activity. The six justices who ruled with the majority were all appointed by Republican presidents, while the three dissenting were all appointed by Democratic presidents. Elections have consequences. Continue reading

Bees, sunflowers, citizen scientists and a really smart idea

sunflower wyoming prairie
Sunflowers, Wyoming prairie © Graham Firchlis 2010

Conservation biologist Gretchen LeBuhn had a really smart idea. The fact that American honeybees are struggling is well known, but what is happening to our native bees is less well understood. Even more obscure is what bees are up to in our urban and suburban areas, where 80% of Americans live. Continue reading

Texas Board of Education dominated by fools

[Update: There are two fine candidates running for seats on the Texas State Board of Education; Judy Jennings in District 10, and Rebecca Bell-Metereau in District 5. Please give them your full support. h/t Jon in comments]

In a normal cycle of curriculum review and textbook specification, states like Texas tend to push for content that is generally revisionist in a Reactionary way while states like California tend toward a more modernized curriculum. (I say tend. Here in CA we don’t much care for discussion in school of our own historical genocide and enslavement of Native Americans and mass murder facilitators like Junipero Serra are treated as heroic pioneers, but hey; mostly we get it better than average.)

But this is not a normal cycle, thanks to seven years of brilliant leadership in CA from another Republican hack governor coupled with systematic obstructionism by our Republican legislative minority. We are so stone broke we won’t be buying any new textbooks for some time to come. That left Texas all alone with a big stick, and the Reactionary members of their Board of Education have used it. Continue reading

Watching the Watchers: Obama’s real reason for sending troops to the border

It isn’t what everyone is taking about, a crime spree by illegal immigrants or political pressure from the TeaParty/Republican Right. There is an important crime problem, all right, but it is happening amongst our own, on our side of the border. The crime is official corruption, and it is rampant.
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