Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End 287g

From the inbox:

I just signed a petition to terminate the 287g program, a failed experiment that lets local police and sheriffs enforce federal immigration law and deport workers, students and tax-payers at unprecedented rates of 1,000 per day. It’s time to end 287g.  http://act.presente.org/cms/sign/basta287g/

It’s clear that in many counties around the country, 287g has become a license for police officers to target and terrorize immigrants regardless of whether they have committed other crimes. This policy drives a wedge between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, diverts funds from the crime fighting police should be doing, and further divides our country. Even worse, 287g sets a precedent that is now being picked by states like Arizona, which are using the existence of 287g to justify the passage of damaging laws like SB 1070.

Click on the link and add your voice.  http://act.presente.org/cms/sign/basta287g/

Cough, Cough

COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH LOOK AT THIS DAMN CHART COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH

(h/t TPM)

Here's another.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rage Against the Wingnut

Not only is it nice to see a coalition built to push back against Jan Brewer & Crew, it also sounds like a pretty decent concert in the making.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Broader Theme in Kagan Hearings (Senate Dems Finding Their Spine?)

Normally court nomination hearings bore me.  I remember -- vaguely -- talk of pubic hair and Coca-cola on CNN during the Thomas confirmation circus and even at an age that should've been able to snicker along with the juvenile discussion, I remember thinking: Really?  What I've read of the Bork proceedings and other older confirmation battles reads like it would've been high drama as well, but it's that same high-drama that turns me off.  These proceedings are as much about grandstanding opposition/minority Senators (or in Orrin Hatch's case... Don't Tea-Bag Me Bro speeches) to sharpen their vocabularies while pretending to care about a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court more than their do their own careers.

The Kagan hearings today took a different turn that's worth taking note of, in the off chance it keeps up. 

Something Democrats have normally shied from, while Republicans fully embrace (sometimes a little too much) is the use of immediate matters -- like, say, a court nomination -- to reclaim the framing on larger, more broad concepts of governance and, in this case, judicial decision making with a lil' old-fashioned I've-got-a-microphone-and-I'm-going-to-use-it speech making.

Some of the highlights:

Al Franken on coporate personhood.

Franken said the court under Chief Justice John Roberts has repeatedly practiced judicial activism, always in favor of corporate interests.  “Your rights are harder to defend today than they were five years ago,” he said. Whitehouse ripped into the court over its recent decisions in a number of cases, including Citizens United v. FEC. “Sadly, the Supreme Court seems to be buying what the corporations are selling,” he said.
Durbin on the role of the court matters of civil rights:
The Democrats' themes revolve around Kagan's broad experience, in academia and particularly as Solicitor General. They say that her service in the White House is a strength. In a particularly striking passage, Senator Durbin implicitly criticized the Senators critical of the nominee because of her association with Justice Marshall. Describing Marshall's career as a civil rights litigator, Solicitor General, and Supreme Court Justice, Durbin said that he very much hoped that Kagan would continue Justice Marshall's work.
The Eyebrows Senator Leahy flipped the "activist judge" meme around (on record even!):
Numerous Democrats complained that under Chief Justice John Roberts the court has strayed far beyond what Congress intended when it wrote laws regarding campaign finance, workplace rights and other issues. Conservatives on the court "can be and are very activist judges," Leahy told reporters after gaveling the day's session to a close. 

Pincus on the overall "feel" of the hearings:
After the Sotomayor hearings, many progressive-oriented legal groups were angry that Democrats failed to use the hearing to criticize conservative legal principles and explain to Americans the real-world impact of the Court's decisions. That message came through loud and clear. In fact, half of more of the Democrats' time has been devoted to broader issues. Just about every Democrat has spoken about one or more decisions and explained their impact on ordinary Americans. And many Democrats have argued strenuously that judges should consider the impact of their decisions, a sharp contrast to the Republican view of judicial decision making.
Welcome back (Baby Steps!  Baby Steps!) to the fight, Senate Democrats.  

It's not a game changer (Bowers: 5% of the country is watching and Kagan's confirmation ratifies the "blank slate" nominee strategy), but it's at least an encouraging sign after six months of weak-kneed performance from the "majority."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Herbert's Unicorns and Rainbows

Some people hand-wring over a candidate directly attacking their opponent's rhetoric.  I call those people wussies. Herbert's rose-colored glasses are to be expected but this email from the Corroon campaign calling it what it is (BS!) is refreshing.  Despite what ALEC might say, there is more than enough room for improvement in the wat our state is managed.

From: "Donald Dunn" <campaign@votecorroon.com>
Date: June 27, 2010 1:40:27 PM MDT
To: <thesidetrack@gmail.com>
Subject: We can't take two more years of this kind of leadership

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Peter Corroon for Governor Bryce Canyon National Park
visit www.votecorroon.com call us at 801.953.0572
Dear Supporter,

On Thursday, Governor Herbert said "there's a lot of good news out there."  So what's the good news?

Is it that we rank dead last in education, or that we have the highest jobless rate in over 25 years? Maybe it's that we're the only state in the western United States that has lost clean energy jobs in the last 4 years. There is one place where we know Utah is number one. We have the highest gasoline prices in the Country.  That doesn't sound like a lot of good news.

See the video.

We can take two more years of this kind of leadership!


herbert


Sincerely,

Donald Dunn
Campaign Manager
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© 2010. Paid for by Corroon for Governor.
Utah Landscape
This email was sent to: thesidetrack

This email was sent by: Corroon for Governor
770 South Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84102

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It Could Be Worse (Surprisingly)

I sympathize completely with my Republican friends disgusted at the direction the Utah Senate race took, and the candidate (or lack there of) who took home the win (Yeah Mindless Narratives and Single Issue Voting! Right?). And the last thing you'll ever hear from me is a defense of The Panderer. But just to assuage a little of the frustration from Utah's more rational, thinking Republican voters...

It could be worse...

Angle, 60, looks to be the main reason Reid will survive for a fifth term. She wants to privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. She has no use for the departments of Energy and Education, the IRS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Environmental Protection Agency or Planned Parenthood. She'd like to repeal the 16th Amendment, which provides for direct federal taxation, and has expressed a fondness for the 18th Amendment, which created Prohibition. She has a permit to carry a concealed .44 Magnum and brags about bringing it to campaign events. But her passion also leads her to make troublesome statements: "The nation is arming," she said last month. "What are they arming for if it isn't that they are so distrustful of their government? They're afraid they'll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways. That's why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don't win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?"
Don't get me wrong, if the politics of the race ever demand it, The Panderer will embrace all of these ideas and more just to get elected. But surprisingly, the Utah Senate race, lunatic as it was, avoiding hitting this low, at least.

Merry Christmas in June, Senator Reid.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The gradual abandonment of on-the-ground campaign coverage

Walter Shapiro at PoliticsDaily (h/t Political Wire):

It was the perfect political scene to cap the weekend's campaign coverage less than 72 hours before the state's most raucous, riveting and, at times, repugnant gubernatorial primary in decades. Hartsville (population: 7,465) may be a small town in the Pee Dee region, but it is just 70 miles northeast of the state capital (and media center) in Columbia. But still there was one thing missing from the picturesque scene -- any South Carolina newspaper, wire service, TV or radio reporters.[...]

As a veteran of eight presidential campaigns, I know there is a virtue to being there in person rather than virtually. Reading the polls and watching TV ads may equip you to loudly opine on cable news shows, but it is no match for interviewing the candidate, listening to the stump speech, gauging the mood of the crowds, and quizzing voters in diners and BBQ joints. Traveling with candidates (particularly in states like South Carolina and Kentucky where personal campaigning matters) gives you a sense of nuance about who they are as people and politicians."

"The gradual abandonment of on-the-ground campaign coverage means that polls are fast becoming the only way to glimpse voter sentiment. Since most polls in statewide races (particularly primaries) are automated short-answer surveys, it becomes easy to jump to blunderbuss conclusions like 'all incumbents are imperiled' or 'the Tea Party movement is all-powerful.'
One of the races Shapiro notes happening in an area with no local reporters?

South Carolina, home of the Unknown Candidate.

We're lucky enough to have no such problem here in Utah, with two large "state-wide" news outlets, and many local papers, television, and online news orgs. But South Carolina has a similar set of organizations (two large newspapers, many radio and tv news outlets, and even a handful of hyper-local rags). And according to Shapiro, their silence on the political campaigns and election season at large is due to a lack of resources and staffing, leading their focus away from on-the-ground coverage.

I don't think the troubles facing newspapers and radio are going away, and the dynamics of our local news could change quickly. After reading Shapiro's story, I started cataloging the times -- just this week -- that I learned something about the Utah Senate race from Robert Gehrke's posts, or followed breaking news with Ben Winslow's tweets. The Salt Lake Tribune's online political content alone is some of the most informative stuff out there these days, and it's all being generated by a handful of names we'd all recognize.

I don't know what the solution is, and sometimes it seems like the CEO's of the companies who own a lot of these local papers don't either. I'd pay a subscription fee for the content, but recent experimentation by new orgs implies not many others would (No offense Utah Policy Daily... Who?  Exactly). I'd wager ad revenue has hit rock bottom already, but how high it will climb back up for newspapers, who knows?  And according to Shapiro, newsroom staffs nationwide have already shrunken 25% since 2001.

Regardless of where this all goes, every one of us would pay -- in a longer term sense -- if local political coverage we enjoy today gets tossed aside for cheaper, "easier" content.

Go hug a journalist, while you can.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Violent Crime in Border Cities Declines 30% in Past 20 Years

Learning through comedy.  Is there a better way?  Watch the latest episode of Sam Seder's That's Bullshit, this week tackling the bullshit over border violence in Arizona, and the ensuing Republican rhetoric.

"Conservatives know their best bet heading into an election is to scare the shit out of white people..."

Friday, June 4, 2010

A mellon ball perched atop a mound of pan-fried grease.

Heh.
Does every political race in South Carolina look like a screening of Deliverance??
Also, Rep. John Boehner is experiencing the vapors in an utter tizzy over Paul McCartney's Bush Joke, but not a peep about the SC GOPer calling the President a "raghead."

I'd argue you might even lose a few of the tea-baggiest Sarah Palin fans going after a Beatle.  Unfortunately, staying silent on racist commentary from elected hillbillies is now, for the GOP, just "playin' to the base."

Corroon Campaign In Logan

From the inbox:
The Corroon for Governor Campaign is open for business in Cache County! And our business is restoring the values of our great state and getting government back to the basics on which this state was founded – honest, ethical, reasonable, and accountable government.

The Corroon for Governor Campaign will be open ever Monday and Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, starting this Wednesday, June 9th.  It is urgent to get involved with the campaign to insure that we maximize our voter turnout in every county.  Cache County especially is a crucial and targeted county for the Corroon Campaign and we will need every supporter willing to volunteer to do so.

We will need volunteers to help with many tasks, some listed below:

· Office work

· Making phone calls

· Distributing campaign materials

· Delivering lawn signs

· Organizing parades and festivals

· Helping with general voter outreach

If you want planned practical solutions to our common Utah challenges we need to come together and get to work.  Please come by 232 S. Main St, Suite, B on Wednesday May 9th at 5:30 to kick off our campaign efforts in Logan and Cache County. Also, stop by at these times to pick up a Corroon for Governor lawn sign, bumper sticker or T-shirt.