Is this the sort of voice on the minimum wage that you’d like to hear coming from the U.S. Senate?
It’s the voice of Shenna Bellows, running for U.S. Senate in Maine against incumbent Republican politician Susan Collins.
S. 460 is a bill in the Senate that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, then index the bill to the Consumer Price Index so that it would keep pace with the cost of living. Shenna Bellows supports S. 460. Susan Collins refuses to support S. 460.
Don’t just trust me on this one issue. Read up on Bellows’ track record working on the environment, on surveillance, on the economy, on civil liberties.
Can Shenna Bellows win? She can with your support. In the 4th Quarter of 2013, outsider Bellows raised more money in campaign donations than insider Collins.
The twenty hottest and the twenty coldest years in NASA’s global record of direct temperature readings from 1880-2013:
|The 20 Coldest Years
||The 20 Hottest Years
Maybe the thermometers have been getting more liberal. Yes, that must be it.
This advertisement for the Netflix original show House of Cards appeared on my screen, and I just couldn’t resist.
Hunt or be hunted? In what kind of stupid world are those the only choices? Simple qualities are boring.
I choose the alternative, take a nap. My dreams will be much more interesting than watching Kevin Spacey try to pretend he’s a big, bad hunter. Last night, I dreamed I was being hunted by lions in a post apocalyptic world, and so, I ran into a liquor store that turned into a train. Will that happen on House Of Cards? I don’t think so.
Most nations are happy to put the face of a national leader or an iconic animal on their currency. Not New Zealand.
The Kiwis have chosen to place the image of a cybernetic monstrosity that seeks to kill all humanity on their money. They have minted an official Dalek commemorative coin, including, as you see here, the Dalek catch phrase: Exterminate, exterminate, exterminate!
For publicity, it’s a good move, but I wonder about the ethics of the choice. What about the children?
Also, though the Dalek coin is the first ever Doctor Who monster coin, it won’t be the last. New Zealand says it will make more. Are they going to make a Weeping Angels coin? Haven’t they heard that any image of a weeping Angel becomes a weeping angel?
That sure is a lovely, comforting yellow flower. That sure is a lovely, comforting notion.
And yet, despite the considerable hope Christopher Reeve communicated, over and over, it wasn’t possible, was it? It didn’t happen, did it? He never walked. He’s dead.
The message behind the faux-serenity yellow-flower making its way across social media is not uplifting. It’s a denigrating message: if with hope anything is possible, then if what you hope for doesn’t happen, then it’s your fault, you worm, because you just didn’t hope enough.
Today, Peregrin Wood wrote about the odd anti-surveillance event for February 11, 2014 called The Day We Fight Back. Peregrin found it odd that people would call for a nationwide day bringing honor to someone who committed suicide a year before. To tell you the truth, I’ve been checking out The Day We Fight Back for a few weeks now, and I just couldn’t bring myself to add it to the list of upcoming activist events you see at the upper-right-hand corner of this page. I find The Day We Fight Back odd for a different reason than Peregrin, though. What worries me is that although this event is titled “The Day We Fight Back,” I don’t see much fighting. Here’s what I see:
1. I’m being asked to put a banner on my website.
2. I’m being asked to post photos on Facebook.
3. I’m being asked to change my profile picture.
And, oh yeah, and…
4. That banner and those photos lead back to a website that seeks to gain your contact information so that (as laid out in a sort-of non-creepy, well, maybe kind of creepy, policy) it can gather your name and e-mail address to use in future campaigns by itself and its “coalition partners.” That, friends, is called data mining.
Is this really “The Day We Fight Back” if the “Fight” consists of posting links to a website that solicits personally identifying information for “coalition partners”? It feels slick and disingenuous, like a promotional effort for 501(c)(2)(3)(b)(k)(1) organization masquerading as a “protest” for “fighting back.” That’s how it feels to me. That’s what it looks like to me.
Does that make me an old-fashioned fuddy duddy? Is there something of value in “The Day We Fight Back” that I just don’t see? Let me know.
When I first came upon the Day We Fight Back web site, I wondered why hadn’t heard about the idea before. A national day of activism to oppose Big Brother sounds like just the sort of thing people would want to talk about, right?
The Day We Fight Back is February 11 – this coming Tuesday. That’s really soon.
When I looked again at the site this morning, and read the press release announcing The Day We Fight Back, I found one reason the protest event is having trouble gaining steam. The day of activism, it turns out, is being held by a coalition of activist groups… in order to honor one their former leaders who killed himself.
The idea of honoring a person who committed suicide, rather than continuing a life of activism, casts a strange tone over the entire event. How are we supposed to promote the event? How can I write an article urging people to show up and get involved in an event that honors somebody who decided not to be involved any more?
Death is as far from activism as a person can get. One of the organizers of The Day We Fight Back writes that “If ____ were alive he’d be on the front lines, fighting back against these practices that undermine our ability to engage with each other as genuinely free human beings.” Of course, the activist in question is not alive, because he chose not to be, which means he chose not to be on the front lines, and chose to stop fighting back.
I don’t know the details of the suicide of this activist. For all I know, he might have killed himself after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, or something like that. I could understand a suicide under such circumstances.
The Day We Fight Back isn’t sharing those details, though, and so we’re just left to wonder, and to feel mighty uncomfortable about the ambiguity. How can we celebrate the life of someone who chose suicide, when we don’t even know why that person chose death over life?
I don’t mean to cause offense to friends of the suicidal activist, but the people who created The Day We Fight Back haven’t just called attention to their friend who killed himself, they’re calling for us all to pay attention to their friend’s suicide… and celebrate it.
Whatever else you may think of the activist group Code Pink, they are very rarely boring. In a typical display of theatrical artistic flair, Code Pink has announced that it will be conducting surveillance at the San Francisco house of a Politically Important Person (SPIP), Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein is one of the most authoritarian pro-surveillance, anti-privacy members of the U.S. Senate. Clearly some suspicious activity may be afoot. If Senator Feinstein has nothing to hide, she should have no problem with this surveillance activity carried out on her premises and person… right?
If you live in California and want to take part in a protest that is pointed, timely but also fun, get yourself to San Francisco on February 11! Code Pink encourages you to bring magnifying glasses, telescopes, binoculars, listening devices, flying gizmos and other helpful national security equipment — and if you see something, say something!
When: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 12:00pm
Where: Lyon Street & Vallejo Street San Francisco, CA
Details: Code Pink website
Amazing news this morning: American Idol singer Clay Aiken is running for Congress, as a Democrat, against incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers. A wealthy celebrity candidate running for Congress – he actually stands a chance! Why, that’s just…
… disappointing. Clay Aiken is running for Congress on a platform of increasing military spending.
For military spending to go up, domestic spending will have to go down.
Way to fail the audition, Mr. Aiken.
You may recall that during the 2008 and 2012 campaign season, the political corporation calling itself Unity08 and then Americans Elect hired high-price lawyers to overturn campaign finance laws so that it could take campaign donations of unlimited size and then keep the names of those donors a secret from the public. Unity08/Americans Elect won its legal battle to overturn limits for political corporations, massively tilting the campaign finance system in favor of big money.
What are the leaders of Americans Elect doing now?
Why, touting their participation in marches for “campaign finance reform” that use the name of the deceased “Granny D” (aka Doris Haddock), who walked across the country at the age of 90 to bring attention to the growing problem of big money in politics.
I place “campaign finance reform” in quotes because the march organizers aren’t actually calling for any specific reform. They just want to be identified with the issue:
“There are so many different ideas being pushed by reformers on both the Right and the Left – all of which deserve consideration. We aren’t demanding a specific fix during the walk – what we’re asking is that politicians tell us how they intend to fix the problem.”
Using the phrase “campaign finance reform” in public while stacking the deck in favor of big money in private is not new for Americans Elect — they’ve pulled this trick before. Its leaders are talking the talk they’ve talked before. Where are they planning to walk?