Monday, November 24, 2008


Well here's something I think is worth sharing.

Be honest with yourself - do you see the parallels between pirates and corporations?

Civics quiz

So how much do YOU know about American government and history?

Here's a simple test to allow you to find out how you do on the basics. It's a broad range of questions, covering most of the fundamental elements of American government since the revolution.

My score:

You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %
Average score for this quiz during November: 78.1%
Average score: 78.1%

Look closely at that average score - that's the average score attained by those taking this test on the internet, which means that score represents a self-selecting cross-section of America. In other words, NOT a statistically accurate representation of the average population.

To get that, the group that administers the exam tested about 2,500 randomly selected Americans - including quite a few elected officials - to see where we stand. The results are not good:

The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following test was 49%; college educators scored 55%.
But the group that scored the lowest?

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.
Democracy without education cannot last long. It's not just a good idea to teach yourself about your nation and your government - in a democracy, it's your job.

Go to it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Talk about refreshing. Here's Barack Obama on torture and Gitmo:

CBS: There are a number of different things you can do early on pertaining to executive orders.

OBAMA: Right.

CBS: One of them is to shut down Guantanamo Bay. Another is to change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops. Are those things that you plan to take early action on?

OBAMA: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture, and I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.

Part of what makes this country great is our willingness to aim for the high ground. Democracy is a concept that could never take off without that desire to aim for something better. Further, it is rooted in the notion of human equality and decency. Without that fundamental underpinning, Democracy must begin to fall apart.

By contrast, a nation that tortures has abdicated that fundamental respect for human rights by deciding that certain people don't deserve them, that certain people are less human than the rest.

That is not my America.

This is a nation defined by ideas, not by borders; and one of those ideas is the belief that all men are created equal.

Thank God Obama has embraced this most basic of American beliefs.

Oh, and for all those hardcases who talk about Army training being tougher than the torture being used on these detainees - fuck off. You can stand up to waterboarding when you're voluntarily submitted? Great. Why do you get submitted to it? Because the Army wants you to show that you can stand up to enemy torture. BECAUSE IT'S TORTURE.

This country is better than that. If we can't win without betraying our ideals, then we can't win at all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Last Thought

Related: Roger Cohen's article.

The time for hatred is over. We are ruled by fear no more. Let us trust our neighbours, and care for them as they care for us. Let us be one nation, under God, indivisable once again. Let us stand united rather than fall divided. Let us be, once again, America united.

The Constitution of the United States sets forth how our government is going to work. The preamble tells us why: in order to form a more perfect union.

This is a nation founded on the simple premise that mankind can make the world a better place. This progressivism, this optimism permeates the American character. We are Americans, and we face the future boldly - and we face it together.

On September 11th, the world joined us in unity. We didn't just lose that unity - we threw it away.

On November 4th, 2008, we took it back.

Welcome home, America. It's good to have you back.

[quote]Rosa Parks sat in 1955. Martin Luther King walked in 1963. Barack Obama ran in 2008. That our children might fly.[/quote]

What You Could Have Done To Us

Ok I'm sorry, but if you build an entire party on the premise that ideas are bad and reactionary yearning for the past is what you're fighting for, that science is wrong because it's not in the Bible and the only credential that matters for leadership is how folksy you are, then Sarah Palin is exactly what you deserve - and that's what you got.

Conservatives have some strong ideas. But so long as you embrace Bush/Palin style idiocracy, you're never going to get those ideas a fair hearing, and admit it - you won't deserve to.

Conservatives, take your party back. Don't let this blatant and willful ignorance dominate your discourse.

I look forward to the day when we can have a legitimate discussion of our different solutions and world views once again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Save Esha

My good friend Matttbastard has been working hard on a very noble cause, and I'd like to take this opportunity to lend him some support from my little slice of bloggerland. If you're interested in finding out more about Esha Momeni, and doing something to help, you can find more information at For Esha and at Mr. Bastard's blog, Bastard.Logic. I'll also ask that you sign the official petition, offered here, for her release from custody. The folks running the petition have asked that you NOT sign other petitions for her release - many are poorly worded and with such a sensitive subject this can do more harm than good in that area of the world.

Thanks in advance for your help. It may not seem like much, but every bit counts. A tidal wave is nothing more than raindrops working together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes. We Did.

I had high hopes for today. I was ready and eager to get caught up in the excitement of election day fervor.

Instead, I'm physically and mentally tired, busy, and facing a mountainous workload on a variety of fronts over the next few hours, days, weeks, and months. I just can't muster the energy to be excited, which is itself disappointing.

But there is something. Something is different.

As I am too tired to be excited, so I am too tired to reach for truly inspirational writing. What I want to say - about the prospects for our nation, for our lives, and for our future - is simply out of reach.

But there is something.

I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first. I was looking for enthusiasm, excitement, even just relief... but no. None of those.

But there is something.

Today is November 5th, 2008; today is the day I have been looking forward to for the last four years; today is the first day I will face with the sure and certain knowledge that this nation is reaching for the future with a steady hand and hopeful heart at the helm.

Today, I'm proud to be an American.

Today, America is back.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


John Edwards always said there are two Americas, and I'm afraid I'm part of the much bigger one which has to work for a living, so after I vote in the morning I'll be busy working until quite late in the day. This means I'll probably miss most of the election coverage, which is a shame as it's one of my favourite things to be involved with.

I have confidence in the outcome, however.

I have a couple of friends texting me updates during the day - feel free to join them, I'm a news junkie so any info is appreciated. :D


Monday, November 3, 2008

Eugene Debs - American Hero

I had a busy weekend, and a busy week ahead of me, so the posts have been fairly sparse. So to make sure you have some reading material, here's a link to an excellent post at Progressive Historians about Eugene V. Debs, one of my heroes. Definitely worth checking out:

Progressive Historians: History For Our Future

Vote Harder

Election day soon - I thought it would never get here. I want to say that I'm sick of all the campaigning, but I'm really not - I've thoroughly enjoyed this whole campaign. It'll be a little sad to see it end. But then we can get to the hard work of fixing this place up.

Some important things to remember on Election Day - know your rights. You have a RIGHT to vote. Don't fall for any tricks, from either party, to prevent you from doing so.

Here's a fairly short video from the Obama campaign pointing out some of the most common techniques used to keep people from voting:

One important thing they point out - I expect the Republicans to challenge Tuesday's result as "vote fraud" after the election. They think of America as a conservative nation, and can't imagine actually losing honestly. So please note that they've so far managed to come up with zero instances of vote fraud actually occurring, and most assuredly no examples of a widespread campaign to "steal" the election. What they HAVE done is tried hard to keep people from voting based on technicalities - even their own Joe the Plumber wouldn't be able to vote if some of their initiatives had gone through (thankfully, the Democrats challenged that initiative and maintained access for Joe and thousands of others).

Please vote. It's a right, a privilege, AND a responsibility. Don't shirk it.