Mass Revolution Now!

Another member of Massachusetts’ reality based community. Maybe honesty IS the best policy.

March 27, 2006

Town Meeting Tonight On Wiretapping

by @ 8:50 am. Filed under Current Events, Civil Liberties

The ACLU of Massachusetts will be having an “emergency” town meeting tonight to discuss the facts and debunk the myths about President Bush’s illegal wiretapping of Americans.  If you can make it I think the event should be incredibly informative.  It is tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the First Church Congregational in Harvard Square.  Given the panel I think the discussion should be very lively and very informative.  After the event the floor will be open to questions.
The participants in the forum are:

, Eighth Congressional District of Mass.

Prof. MARY CULNAN, Expert on Information Technology and Privacy, Bentley College

JOHN ROBERTS, Former Executive Director, ACLU of Massachusetts

, Director of Education, ACLU of Massachusetts

March 13, 2006

Catholic Charitites Takes Its Ball and Goes Home

by @ 1:23 pm. Filed under Current Events, Massachusetts

I think there is a lot that can be said about Catholic Charities recent decision to get out of the adoption business rather than give one more kid to a loving, albeit homosexual, household. However, I think the clearest message from Catholic Charities is that it was never about the kids. If the Charities in Boston was interested in truly serving kids then they would not cut their nose off to spite their face in this manner. While the Catholic Church may believe that allowing kids into gay adoptive families may be morally abusive there is no credible evidence to suggest that a “gay” home is any less productive and loving in terms of child rearing than a “straight” home.

My initial reaction was anger but the more I though about the issue the more my reaction to turned to just plain sadness. Too often in our modern society we cannot rise above what makes us different to see what makes us the same. Instead of realizing that these kids need a good home that will provide love and stability Catholic Charities chooses to trap them in another fight between two sides.  While Catholic Charities’ mission requires it to follow Church doctrine and that doctrine condemns homosexuality, that doctrine also preaches tolerance and a love for all humanity.  The fundamental mission of serving God’s creation is failed by this retreat.

February 14, 2006

A Must Read

by @ 9:17 am. Filed under Current Events

Everyone needs to take a few minutes to read Ben’s post about leadership. I hadn’t heard this story because I really don’t care about the Olympics and all the robo-athletes. But I was inspired that someone is trying to speak up for the incredibly tragic loss of life occuring in Darfur. I am also just a little dismayed that it takes a sports figure or a multinational company to get the ball rolling or to open the eyes of the world. However, so long as the message spreads there is hope.

January 16, 2006

In Honor of a King

by @ 8:24 pm. Filed under Current Events

There are a few writings/speeches that literally move me. One of them is Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Not only are the words incredibly powerful and demanding but King’s soaring oratory of that day gives me chills like no other speech. I encourage everyone to take the time and read it now.

I heard on the news this morning that Dr. King would be 77 today had his life not been cut short. I couldn’t help but hang my head in utter sadness as the real loss of Dr. King hit me for the first time. Had that bullet not hit him and ended his journey all those years ago Dr. King might at the tender age of 77 still be leading us. It occurred to me how much we lost in just a few years, the great minds and leaders of JFK, RFK, and MLK. I don’t know why the loss hadn’t hit me so hard before but it did today. I wish with a world full of George Bush’s and Tom Delay’s we could find a leader who is even one quarter of a man the Dr. King was.

When Is It Our Turn?

by @ 6:35 am. Filed under Current Events

In the past week we have had two historic events take place. First, Liberia elects not only the first female president in the country’s history but also the first elected female African leader as well. Then yesterday Chile rises to the challenge and elects the first female in its history. The arguments that women don’t have what it takes to lead or that they somehow won’t garner the necessary respect on the international level have really fallen by the wayside.

I am excited to see worldwide that women are taking great strides toward equality and genuine and literal seats at the table. I am just wondering when we are going to have a female president here in the United States. When are we going to have a female candidate that is realistic and viable from either of the major parties? (Yes, I realize that Elizabeth Dole ran for president on the Republican side but she didn’t stand a realistic chance.) I hope that Hillary Clinton isn’t the first from our party but even if she is I welcome the chance to nominate a women. I think it is about time.

December 21, 2005

Romney Just Loves to Draw Things Out

by @ 7:38 pm. Filed under Current Events, Massachusetts

Apparently Romney is saying he won’t make a decision about whether to run for president until 2007. Although he is saying that he plans to continue laying the foundations of a run and raising the money necessary. Why does he insist on leading people on for so long?

December 20, 2005

Union Could Get Slapped Hard

by @ 6:36 pm. Filed under Current Events, National

A judge has declared the TWU’s strike illegal under the Taylor Law which forbids public employees from walking off the job. Here are some of the penalties the union is facing:

*$1 million per day in fines beginning Tuesday
*$5 million in damages to compensate the city for the money it already has spent preparing for the strike
*The city also sought $25,000 fines for individual union members, doubling each day as well

The $1 million fine threat is already in place. The $5 million and $25k fines were additionally sought by the city today. To add to the total blunder by the TWU the international unions it belongs to have both said they did not support the strike making this not only illegal but unauthorized as well.

I support higher wages. I support workers. I support unions. But I do not support this strike. This could cost NYC anywhere from $450 to $600 million. No one wins if NYC loses billions; I am not sure where the union thinks it will get the concessions from if the city loses that kind of cash. I cannot imagine how TWU President Toussaint thinks he will get an ounce of sympathy by shutting down a system that transports more people in a day than on ALL domestic flights. This was not well thought out.

A Vicotry for Science

by @ 1:34 pm. Filed under Current Events, National

A nice post from the American Constitution Society about the ruling concerning intelligent design. I find a certain irony in the fact that despite the conservatives’ best efforts to pack courts with their nutty friends it was ultimately a court that blocked one of their favorite school reforms. You know what this means? Time for another Justice Sunday to beat the courts into submission

November 29, 2005

1,000 Will Have to Wait

by @ 5:20 pm. Filed under Current Events, Law

I am pleased that the 1,000th execution since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated, has been delayed. Mark Warner, the Democratic governor of Virgina has stopped the execution and commuted the sentence to life in prison. I am no fan of the death penalty so I am happy 1,000 will have to wait a little longer.

November 28, 2005

Open Seat in Cali

by @ 2:48 pm. Filed under Current Events, Election '06

Duke Cunningham resigns. He admitted to taking bribes, how honorable of him to step aside. The Republicans and their darn scandals.

November 18, 2005

Neutral No More

by @ 10:07 am. Filed under Current Events, Massachusetts

The official stance of the state GOP had been one of neutrality when it came to gay marriage. Willard’s national ambitions seem to have infected everyone to be more conservative because now the state GOP’s formerly neutral strategists are sending emails emails to party members and supporters asking them to collect signatures for the homophobic ban on same-sex marriage.

This story is a great foil today’s anniversary (brought to my attention by MassResistance Watch) of the decision in Goodridge. I could somewhat understand the push for the Constitutional amendment before the marriages actually took place because the fear of the unknown is quite powerful. But here we are two years later and the Earth is still on its axis, the planets have not shifted and gays are married! Oh my, how do we survive? The reality is that nothing changed at all except we are a little less bigoted in our constitutional interpretation. I don’t know why the GOP wants to break their neutrality now other than to show the Willard is a good conservative who simply cannot stand the notion of equality and is squarely against human rights like the rest of his ilk. I wish we could move on from the debate of whether certain people can be married and accept the fact that not only our Constitution but our sense of fairness demand it.

November 15, 2005

Event Reminders

by @ 6:52 pm. Filed under Current Events, Somerville, Massachusetts

I know it is sort of late but I wanted to remind anyone that is interested that tonight at Somerville City Hall there is a public hearing on whether to make the position of police chief a non-civil service position. The meeting is from 7-9. I cannot attend so if anyone who goes wants to comment on how things went I would really love that!

Tonight at 7:30 at the Harvard Coop is Al Franken reading from his book. The event is free! Feel free to comment on this event as well.

Politics of Personal Destruction…Literally

by @ 11:41 am. Filed under Current Events, National

Bill O’Reilly is an idiot. This conclusion is hardly new. I am sure that most of us are aware of his crazy rant about San Francisco. After hearing it and reading a little about it I sort of dismissed the whole thing as Bill being idiotic Bill…until this morning.

This morning I got REALLY angry not so much at Bill but really at the rest of country. I think any person in a leadership position in Congress, the President, and the heads of both parties should have demanded that O’Reilly apologize for his nonsensical comment. I do not want O’Reilly’s apology because I believe in any sort of censorship for stupidity, I am generally “ok” with people spewing nonsense, it is their Constitutional right. What rubbed me the wrong way with O’Reilly and what ultimately lead me to wanting a demand for an apology from the leadership of this country, was that O’Reilly took intolerance for another’s view to another level.

I think the leadership of this country needs to say enough is enough, we have made politics entirely too personal, it isn’t about debate anymore, it isn’t about ideas anymore, it isn’t even about disagreement anymore. Politics is now about how thoroughly you can make the other side look ignorant, unpatriotic, and inhuman. O’Reilly actually believes (he admitted it himself when he stood by is statement) that San Fran deserves to be attacked by terrorists; he finds the death of those who do not agree with him an acceptable price to pay for disagreement. The leadership should be demanding apology because it is difficult enough for them to all work together with O’Reilly inciting such hatred. Those in positions of power of this country need to reign in any person from whichever side who helps fuel this disgusting race to the bottom.

Politics is out of hand. The enormous devastation that is left after political campaigns in this country is too much to bear. We are not just left with a candidate who did not win but rather what is left is a dumbfounded electorate that is hard pressed to figure out what the other person is substantively for because the campaign could never get to that point. When a point is raised in today’s political campaigns it is not met with fact, figures, and analysis but rather spin and television commercials about how candidate A is really for terrorism because she doesn’t want our federal government to look at library records. Then the debate becomes about whether candidate A is a terrorist instead of really looking at the policy. O’Reilly did the same thing. Instead of starting a meaningful discussion on whether it is wise to have school districts ban military recruiting we are all talking about whether San Fran should suffer an attack 9/11 style. Ridiculous. Why are we, members of the voting public, not demanding more? I am too disgusted to go farther. Sorry this was more of a rant perhaps than a substantive post.

November 11, 2005

Moderates Rising

by @ 8:24 am. Filed under Current Events, National

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece in the Washington Post. I am not one of those who is gloating about the quickly cracking leadership of the Republican Party. Rather I enjoyed reading it because I am convinced we need genuine leadership in Washington right now; not leadership as in someone to marshall the troops but rather more in the vein of leadership on principle. A group of moderate Republicans have demonstrated this leadership by refusing to allow ANOTHER $60 billion on tax cuts. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) pointed out that after three back to back hurricanes the cuts aren’t what we need right now. Props also go out to Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for his closed door session last week. These are excellent examples of leadership on principle. Neither move of necessarily partisan but instead a move toward doing something because it was right, not politically expedient (although in Reid’s case political expediency was an added bonus).

The time is now for our “leaders” in Washington to put pure partisanship aside and work to right all the wrongs they have created. As citizens we can demand no less. Let’s encourage more acts of courage like those demonstarted by the moderate Republicans and Harry Reid.

November 9, 2005

Privacy IS a Right

by @ 8:30 am. Filed under Current Events, National, Law

As with any of us, sometimes in our writing we fail to put down what we assume everyone knows. Sometimes, too, in our writing we also suffer form a degree of vanity; we assume that our prose is so precise that the meaning we have in our head has managed to be perfectly expressed on the paper.

This argument is an effective counter to Jeff Jacoby’s recent piece where he throws out the standard “Orginalists” line of defense on the subject of privacy. He and the other oringinalists believe that only the exact words and phrases in the Constitution may be used for interpretation. As such, the word privacy never is mentioned and therefore there can be no right to privacy. Curiously the originalists also are of the belief that constitutional interpretation should center on finding and upholding the original intent of the Constitution. I think this line of analysis is bogus and defies what the Constitution has been praised for since its inception, the “living” quality of its words. I think the justices in the seminal privacy case, Griswold v. Connecticut, properly analyzed the document from a legal and constitutional standpoint.

However I do not think the technical analysis of a Supreme Court decision is needed to support the idea that one of our Constitution’s very purposes is defend privacy at nearly all costs. Living in New England, the birthplace of many of the men whose minds molded the Constitution, we are all acutely aware of the country’s history pre-1776. The Stamp Tax. Mandatory quartering of soldiers. Jurists and juries culled from a foreign occupier. Governors and often legislatures not of neighbors but of royal appointment. The people populating New England pre-1776 were nearly all-direct descendents of forced religion and religious persecution.

Why are these historical anecdotes of significance in constitutional interpretation? One can hardly imagine that the men and women who struggled through such oppressive government entanglement, who risked everything to throw off the oppressive yoke of tyranny, while still in the glory of their victory, would create a document by which their long fought struggle for freedom would ultimately fail to secure the privacy upon which liberty is necessary.

The Third Amendment forbids the quartering of soldiers. Is it an unreasonable interpretation to say that the amendment stands for the notion that the government has no place messing with the make up of our homes? The First Amendment guarantees my freedom to say what I wish, so long as I stay in the very wide parameters created by the Supreme Court. Is it an unreasonable interpretation to say that the amendment stands for the notion that the government cannot tell us what thoughts to have and that our thoughts are therefore private? The Fourth Amendment protects our persons and our homes from unnecessary searches and seizures. Only under exigent circumstances may our homes be searched without a warrant. Is it an unreasonable interpretation to say that the amendment stands for the idea that our homes and persons are sacred and that what we do in and with them is mostly our business; that the shroud of privacy that covers them from the world is also the shield that should protect them from the government?

Only a fool blind to history, blind to the struggle that birthed the Constitution, blind to the men that penned the Constitution, would tell you that we have no right to privacy. To those who do not see that right I ask, if we are without protected privacy, how have we secured the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness promised to us when we supported our declaration of independence?

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There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

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    andy AT massrevolutionnow DOT com

Russ Feingold for President!




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