Open Thread

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13% of Vermont wants independent country

You read that right... 13% of Vermont (about 1 in 8) wants to secede from the United States to form an independent country

http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont articles/2007/06/03/in_vermont_nascent_ secession_movement_gains_traction

by meekermariner 2007-06-04 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: 13% of Vermont wants independent country

Another poll shows that 13% of Vermont people answering that poll questions are idiots or were joking.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-06-04 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

But but... where will we get our maple syrup?

by belili 2007-06-04 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Want to respond to your post below. The trick for progressive bloggers like you & those running for office without much money is to develop alternate sources of finances that will sustain you adequately. I think that for progressive bloggers it is developing advertising formats that work over the long haul. I get the impression that progressive bloggers plug in what is available rather than developing a marketing strategy.

If there are any really wealthy progressives out there, you could not do any better than put a pot of money out to a major marketing group that would develop business models for progressive bloggers & develop a network of potential advertisers. Next, put together a conference for liberal bloggers & go over the terrain & plug them into what's been developed. Also, help individual bloggers develop their markets. Are you listening cough very wealthy potential donors?

by carter1 2007-06-04 12:33PM | 0 recs
Interview w/ GA 4th District Rep. Hank Johnson

Thought you all might like to check out this interview I conducted today with Georgia 4th District Congressman Hank Johnson. We discussed Iraq, Darfur, and last night's debate among other things.

by Dignan 2007-06-04 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Now that I've had time to mull it over, I think Hillary won the debate (at least more so than any other candidate). Biden probably gained the most, and Edwards and Obama both did well - but Hillary came in the frontrunner, acted like the frontrunner, and left an even stronger frontrunner. She led the charge against those absurd hand-raiser questions. She laughed and joked and exuded confidence, even in the face of direct attacks. And her position center stage and extended talking time added to the impression that she is the heir apparent. Plus, there was all that talk about Bill.

That's the thing about being the frontrunner - you get treated like the frontrunner and get to act like the frontrunner. But how, then, does someone else get a shot at being the frontrunner?

by LandStander 2007-06-04 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Any Dem ticket combo of Obama, Edwards,and Richardson beats any Rep ticket combo. Who could you put with Hillary that you can say that about?

by irsouth2 2007-06-04 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Actually I've secretly been hoping for a Clinton/Richardson ticket and I know a few others who are thinking the same. They share some absolutely identical positions like making pre-K education universally available, and wanting to deauthorize the war. He also strikes me as fiscally conservative where others, including Clinton, are lacking. I think he'd bring a nice centrist, all-the-more pragmatic balance to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

by bowiegeek 2007-06-04 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread
Personally, I was hoping for a progressive ticket.
But sure, why not waste this golden opportunity electing some pragmatic centrists. Hell, maybe she'll run with Joe Lieberman!
by LandStander 2007-06-04 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Hell, maybe she'll run with Joe Lieberman!

Okay, that hurt. :'(

(I don't think anyone is quite ready to even think about the senator from Tel Aviv.)

But really, what makes you think she doesn't have a progressive agenda?

by bowiegeek 2007-06-04 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

- She won't take a firm enough stance on ending the War, and she supported the air war in the Balkans. (i.e. - many accuse her of being a hawk)

  • She is determined that a new health care model has to be crafted with the input and consent of the for-profit medicine industry.
  • She voted for the bankruptcy bill (pet peeve of mine, though Edwards voted for it too)
  • She supports Three Strikes laws (though I don't know how she feels about our particularly draconian one here in CA).
  • She is for the embargo against Cuba (I know, who isn't? Actually, Edwards is moderate on the embargo)
  • And she is madly in love with the DLC.

Don't get me wrong - she has great positions on many issues. But it's really the DLC connection that bothers me the most. She is not a commited liberal - she thinks liberals need to find a middle ground with centrist democrats. I think that is BS.

by LandStander 2007-06-04 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

She won't take a firm enough stance on ending the War

How firm is firm enough? What does that even mean?

and she supported the air war in the Balkans. (i.e. - many accuse her of being a hawk)

Is it not progressive to stand up against genocide? Is it not progressive now to want to stop the government of Sudan? Wesley Clark is commonly considered a progressive. Was he wrong to act as he did on behalf of NATO? Should he have resigned in protest? IMHO, what we did was very progressive.

She is determined that a new health care model has to be crafted with the input and consent of the for-profit medicine industry.

I'm sorry: doctors need to be paid and paid well. Drug researchers need to be paid and paid well. If you end for-profit medicine, you will give up quality. It's basic economics. You have to pay at least a producer's opportunity cost if you are expected to have supply (in this case: supply of medical expertise). If you take wealth away from doctors, you lose doctors. If you take wealth away from nurses, you lose nurses. If you take away incentive to become a doctor, you lose future doctors. If you take away incentive to research new treatments, you lose future treatments.

Remember, profit is what we all are driven by. Consumer surplus (the difference between what we're willing to pay at maximum for something and what we actually pay) is profit. We always want the lowest price because we're driven for the best value for our dollar. Any good deal we get is just like profit. And so, the difference between the cost (loss of time, resources, etc) of doing something and what someone pays is just as important to people who decide what it is that they're going to do for a living.

I consider myself fairly progressive. I don't see why it's progressive to advocate for something that has no reasonable basis other than that it appeals to one's emotions.

She voted for the bankruptcy bill (pet peeve of mine, though Edwards voted for it too)

I'm not proud of that one either. Maybe the new democratic majority can bring it up for debate in the fall.

She supports Three Strikes laws (though I don't know how she feels about our particularly draconian one here in CA).

I don't doubt that there are a lot of problems with the three strikes law. (I live in CA too). It seems to me that the big problem in CA and maybe elsewhere is that prosecutors are able to file felony charges (and succeed) for crimes that don't really fit the bill.

As for the other two points, I don't really care. Castro is an idiot and he's corrupt. Cuba's economy is the most perverse thing. The government outlaws possession of U.S. dollars even though U.S. dollars are what everyone in the country wants. Their transportation system is nationalized but it doesn't operate and the police literally stop cars on roads and force them to take families on board. There are a number of things Castro could do right now to help Cuba like respecting property rights, letting people sell and buy what they want and letting them have free and fair elections. In that case, there would be plenty more reason to lift an embargo.

To be progressive, to me, is being willing and able to make changes where changes are due to make for a better future. There still have to be good reasons for our proposed changes. Having a penchant for progressivism and pragmatism is not impossible.

by bowiegeek 2007-06-04 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Has it occurred to you that the urge to protect, consolidate and expand the consumer driven capitalism we are now 'enjoying' in the US has been the main contributor to the conflicts which currently threaten us?  That the co-incidence of energy security and global warming issues presages a society in which the profit-driven mechanisms of which you speak (you frame them almost like ideological canon) must be transformed to be dramatically less individuated and libertarian.  We need to redefine profit to consider the impacts of our actions in a, for now, closed system.  Adam Smith never considered that aspect, why should he?  But we must.

Our very notion of what is 'progressive' is undergoing a shift from labour and economic egalitarianism to embracing global sustainability and planetary ethics.  Personally I feel Senator Clinton's ideals have been forged in the past and that she is unsuited to manage, let alone lead, this transformation; her allegiance to corporate and establishment institutions supports this view.

We are at the edge of the abyss in many respects, a penchant for anything at this point seems inadequate to the task.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-06-04 06:22PM | 0 recs
Blue ribbon for incomprehensibility

Um, yeah. I'm not going to get into it with you on that because I am almost completely sure you have no idea what you're talking about. Capitalism is first and foremost about individual prerogatives. Our government does not decide what we should do with our time and our money (well, most of our money anyway). But no country has a truly capitalist economy.  We tax and impose many restrictions, but we also want to encourage work and innovation. And, of course, we care about the less fortunate. That's especially what makes Democrats distinct from Republicans. If you have any doubts about Hillary's agenda, check out her site and her speeches.

Hillary's agenda is forward looking. She wants to invest in future growth: which is what all of us want (Republican, Democrat, or Independent). I can say with confidence that her allegiance is with me and many other average Americans looking for shared prosperity and more opportunity for a brighter future. That includes environmental reform. So do give me a break with the -isms and the abstract black and white choices. Also, have fun redefining profit.

by bowiegeek 2007-06-04 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Blue ribbon for incomprehensibility

Suit yourself.  It's simple.  I have observed capitalism at the coal face.  Profit, the essential KPI for success or failure in business, takes absolutely no account of waste or intangibles like the environment.  The horizon for decision making is three to five years, maximum.  No longer good enough, is it?

No need to be insulting, BTW.  I think you miss my point about Hillary, anyway.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-06-05 12:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Everyone on the Blue Team is a moderate on the embargo.  They already have the votes to lift it in Congress - they just can't beat the veto.  If any Democrat wins, the embargo will be gone before 2012.  

Doesn't mean we'll have fully normalized trade instantly or anything, but they'll certainly lift travel restrictions (starting with families probably, but expanding rapidly), ease sanctions, let oil and gas companies do joint exploration ventures with Cuban companies, lift restrictions on Cuban emigration to play baseball, increase agricultural trade, etc.

by Baldrick 2007-06-04 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Do we know if Raul Castro is any different from Fidel on policy for when Fidel kicks the bucket?

by bowiegeek 2007-06-04 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

It's not super clear.  He's clearly less ideologically committed to the revolution, but it's never been really clear that Castro's beliefs in that respect have influenced Cuba's foreign policy all that much.  

He has made entreaties for engagement with the US since he assumed interim control, which were rebuffed.  Once again, not really sure just how much that means.  It probably shows that Raul is a little more pragmatic and is interested in the US beyond just using it as a foil.  

I can't imagine things would be worse under Raul, and at the very least it's a change which can be spun as a reason for action.  Beyond that, failure to do something might really piss off the Cuban population given that opportunity.

by Baldrick 2007-06-04 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Last year when Castro first got sick, I watched the show McLaughlin's One on One, and the topic was Cuba and what the future held.  There were a couple of Cuba experts, who at the time were suggesting that Raul Castro was indeed less dogmatic than Fidel and was instrumental in opening the local markets, where farmers could sell for profits.  There was also talk that there was probably not going to be the chaos that the US was expecting, because the different groups had been negotiating in preparation for a post Fidel Cuba. Things may obviously be different now, with Castro showing signs of resilience, but I remember it being an interesting discussion at the time.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-04 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Edwards voted for an earlier and from what I hear reasonable bankrupcy bill, not the one that was voted on after he left the senate, which is the really bad bankrupcy bill that we always hear about and bash Biden (amongst others) for supporting.

by Quinton 2007-06-04 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

I love Hillary, but I want Richardson no where near her ticket should she win the nomination.  He can go spend his time trying to bring the Yankees and the Red Sox fans together.  I think he is a panderer of the first order.  His Iraq positions (IMO) doesn't stand up under scrutiny.  It was clear he wanted to have it both ways with the issue of genocide in Darfur vs. Iraq.  I really don't like the fact that he was so dismissive of the issues around Alberto Gonzales.  He may not have known the details of the attorney firings, but the Gitmo issue was known, his Abu Al moniker was known, his belief that habeas corpus is optional was known, Al's blind loyalty to Bush was known.  I'm military (former active duty, married to military) and thought his "Hero Health card" for care of soldiers anywhere with any doctor was unrealistic and again in that pandering mode.  I think Obama made sense and was being truthful when he said the VA should be the main source of care unless it is onerous to the soldier.  There is definitely room for improvement with the VA but cost is an issue, given the huge number of soldiers that are injured and need long term care.  Also on the whole question of how he would reduce the price of gas, he said he would ask the Justice Department to investigate price gouging, but then said he didn't think there was price gouging.  Why then are you recommending an investigation?  There's more, but I'll stop now.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-04 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

I don't think Hillary is unelectable - but I do think her win would be by the narrowest of margins. What a waste that would.

Also - I don't think Richardson beats any Repub combo by being at the top of the ticket. (some, but not any). Though he may help out at the bottom.

by LandStander 2007-06-04 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

I can see how he'd help out in New Mexico, which is certainly important, but that's only five electoral votes. You'll still need two of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. If you're looking for the extra boost, you may as well go for Harkin, which would give you Iowa and probably help strengthen Wisconsin and Minnesota.

But as a vice-presidential candidate in general, I have real doubts. Maybe if you give him some kind of electric-shock based aversion therapy to the phrase 'tax cuts'...

by Englishlefty 2007-06-04 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

I think it's a damn shame it takes scandal and corruption to get even the progressive community to focus on post-Katrina New Orleans.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-06-04 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Pretty happy about this poll from politicalwire


According to a new Public Policy Polling survey of likely Iowa caucus-goers, John Edwards and Mitt Romney hold double digit leads in the first major contest of the 2008 presidential race.

Edwards leads the Democratic field with the support of 31% of respondents, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama with 17% each, with Bill Richardson receiving 10%.

Edwards    31%
Hillary    17%
Obama      17%
Richardson 10%

Those are numbers I can live with. I thought that other recent poll that showed Hillary at 16% was an outlier, but now it looks like it may not be. I'm glad that Richardson is taking support away from the two neoliberals (Hillay and Obama) in the top three and not away from Edwards.

I wish Edwards was doing better in this pollalso from politicalwire


According to the latest Public Policy Polling survey of likely South Carolina primary voters, Sen. Barack Obama leads the Democratic presidential race with the support of 34%, trailed by Sen. Hillary Clinton with 31% and John Edwards with 15%

But with Hillary now behind in two out of four early states, losing ground in NH to Edwards and only really having a big lead in Nevada, which hasn't gotten much action yet I think will change when more attention is paid to the state and the unions get involved. I can't see the unions there going for Hillary when they have Edwards so she's in pretty big trouble already.

by Quinton 2007-06-04 02:02PM | 0 recs
Tonight on CNN's Faith & Politics segment.....

....I thought Edwards sounded very much like a fundamentalist with a very literal, very dictatorial approach to faith.  Sorry.  He seems too much like a person who would find himself defining how faith should be lived in my life, the lives of others.  We've already had six or almost seven years of that scenario.  I'm really ready for a change!  

by MomWorks 2007-06-04 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Supporters of Ron Paul appear to live inside YouTube comment pages. It's a disturbing thing to see.

by bowiegeek 2007-06-04 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

So do several of the missing links in evolution. Specifically the ones between trilobites and those things crawling on to water for the first time.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-04 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Do you want Cornwall? I'm sure we can arrange some kind of equitable trade.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-04 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread
I am more and more annoyed at my lack of cable! Election season. Really need cable. I am really interested in the "Faith and Politics" debate that's about to happen at 4 p.m. PST on CNN with the Big 3. So I am putting out a request for anyone who wants to watch it and liveblog it, you will have at least one loyal and appreciative audience member!
by Jenifer Fernandez Ancona 2007-06-04 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

I'm not saying I like it - I'm just saying it's true! And more importantly, how do we stop it?

by LandStander 2007-06-04 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Just thought I would throw this one out there!
Virginia is gearing up for its primary (Tuesday, June 12th.) This is going to be an important year for the State Legislature in Virginia as we try to gain a majority in the Senate and close the gap in the House of Delegates.

There are some great races to pay attention to all over the state, and in NoVa in particular. Anyone who is interested should check out www.raisingkaine.com . They have endorsed a number of candidates involved in contested primaries and is probably the best source of information regarding progressive politics in Virginia.

Also, if anyone is interested in the candidate I am personally supporting go check out www.morrismeyer.com.

Morris is a wonderful candidate and an all around good guy. He ran against Rep. Joe Barton in Texas in 2004, and has since become a member of Al Gore's Climate Change Project. He has presented the slide show from the movie four times and is looking forward to continuing his work as an environmentalist.

Anyway, that is what is on my mind! Let me know what you think!  

by JDF 2007-06-04 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread
Okay, I just got CNN pipeline. We'll see how it goes but so far it's kind of awesome.
by Jenifer Fernandez Ancona 2007-06-04 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Open Thread

Tom Allen rocks.

He's taking on our least favorite Joe and his best bud Susan.

Lets all help him.

by Populista 2007-06-04 03:04PM | 0 recs
Politics and Faith Forum at GW-- Hillary's Faith..

...clearly informs her policy positions in very caring ways.  When she votes for children's health care, health care for those with none, help for returning vets, for a minimum living wage or other ways to help those less fortunate in this country - I think she is profoundly living her faith!  

Thank you Hillary!!

by MomWorks 2007-06-04 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re:Your entusiasm

Your enthusiasm for Hillary makes me smile.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-04 07:48PM | 0 recs

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