Saturday, May 31, 2008

Loyalty vs. Honor

I wrote about Scott McClellan's tell-all memoirs on MyDD today. The takeaway: "The Republican Party's reaction to the book is giving the mainstream media new insight into how the Bushies' minds work. Although it's nothing new to those of in the Netroots, a spate of quotes from folks like Mary Matalin and Bernard Kerik are making headlines by showing just how low the Republican elites can sink, valuing loyalty over corruption and honesty."

Link here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back in Idaho!

For 9 days!

Blogging to recommence shortly...

I did not mean for that hiatus to happen, but classes, internship, and general lack of energy caught up to me. Classes and internship are now ending, so routine blogging to hopefully recommence shortly...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

CCC

Today marks a milestone for The Wayward Episcopalian - 300 posts since the first one way back in 2005! Tonight, we dine at the annual pancake supper in hell!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Defending Jeremiah Wright

The media's obsession with Jeremiah Wright has unfairly torn down a good man, and I don't mean Barack Obama.

My latest Dartmouth Free Press article (and my first since last July) defends Rev. Wright, best known as Obama's former pastor. The article, "Wright was Right: The Words of Obama's Pastor," looks at Wright's military service, outreach ministries, and social justice accomplishments, and attempts to debunk some of his critics.

"Had the media acted responsibly, this could have been the perfect opportunity for whites to learn more about our black brothers and sisters, to better understand their community as well as a compelling theology. But no, the press instead reduces, simplifies, and mocks, creating a caricature where a man once stood."


I initially included a quick defense of liberation theology, but that's not quite the same thing as black liberation theology, so I cut it for space constraints. I did look at five of Wright's most controversial quotes (including "God damn America") and explain why each one is not as bad as the media made it out to be, and in some cases, even true. One such quote was

"The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This business… of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."


Oh, wait, I'm sorry - that's not a Jeremiah Wright quote. It's a Martin Luther King quote. You know, the fellow who died just after writing a sermon called "Why America May Go To Hell"? What an unpatriotic twit he must have been!

I hope you have time to thumb through my article, but if not, at least read these Candorville strips from last week. (Sorry they're so small; click to enlarge.)





The Clinton Talking Points

I wrote an article for MyDD yesterday about the current state of the Democratic presidential nomination campaign. The article explained why, despite my vote for Obama, I am happy to see Clinton stay in the race, and am not mad at either her or her supporters. Following that, however, I attempt to refute four of the Clinton campaign's talking points: that Clinton will win the popular vote (a FL/MI argument), that her big state wins are what matter most, that Obama's scandals mean she is more electable, and that he can't close the deal. The post has 98 comments so far. An excerpt:

Clinton will win the popular vote once MI and FL are settled: There are three things wrong with this argument. First of all, it assumes that not a single person in all of Michigan supports Obama. Real Clear Politics has Obama up by about 846,801 without those two states and up 113,498 with them, but that latter figure does not give Obama any of Michigan's "uncommitted" vote. If you're determined to count every vote, you certainly can't ignore a full 200,000 voters. Second, the results of those two states are in no way reflective of this campaign. If my memory is correct, Indiana is the only state where both candidates have aggressively campaigned and Clinton's lead has not narrowed (or disappeared altogether). This pattern would no doubt have held in MI and FL, where no campaigning took place and Obama's name recognition had not yet taken off. A true reflection of those state's sentiments would certainly lean towards Clinton, but probably by a narrower margin. And third, even if you assume Edwards did as well as Obama and award him only half MI's uncommitted vote, he still picks up 119,084 votes and leads Clinton by well over 250,000. Do we really think that WV and KY will net her that many votes? To put it in perspective, Pennsylvania didn't, and it has a larger population than KY, WV, and PR combined. Throw in Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, and I can't see Clinton catching up.

Also of note on MyDD today is a post from Todd Beeton, entitled "Why Obama Wants Clinton to Stay In". Beeton quotes an LA Times article that argues even if Clinton were to drop out today, given her current polling margins in West Virginia and Kentucky, she would probably still win those primaries--horribly embarassing for the guaranteed nominee Obama. In continuing to campaign against him, she actually saves him face. My own rationale for wanting her to stay in the race (assuming she keepts it positive) is that she is registering new voters and sending the campaign to places McCain hasn't even dreamed about, but Beeton and the Times make an intriguing point as well.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Democracy

Part of my Capitol Hill internship is giving tours of the Capitol Building. I take tour groups through the Senate Brumidi Corridors, the Old Senate Rotunda, the Crypt, a hall on the House side, the Old Supreme Court Chamber, the Senate Gallery (if it’s open), the Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and a staircase outside Statuary Hall. I’ve memorized much of the building’s history and have a wealth of political and historical knowledge to rely on – we all have our hobbies – for talking points along the way. It may not be important, but I enjoy it, and when we get back to the office building, if it was a middle or high school student group, I always end on this note:

"You guys have been a great tour group, pretty good at sticking together and very engaged. Thank you. Now, I don’t want to patronize you or lecture you, so I apologize if this feels like a lecture, but there’s just something I’ve got to say.

This stuff matters. This is one heck of a democracy. Yes, it has problems – if you’re on the left you say it’s these problems; if you’re on the right you can say it’s those problems, but we all agree, our country isn’t perfect. But, for all its warts and faults, I’ll tell you this: it is still the freest country on the face of the earth. You can compare us to Britain, Spain, any of the old European nations, and we’ve got them all beat. Not only that, we are the freest country in the history of the world. Even when you think about Rome, or the constrictions on Athenian democracy, we win. Think about that – you are the freest people in the history of mankind. No one who has ever lived on this planet had more liberty than you, not a one.

What that means is that democratic participation is not a privilege, but a responsibility. This is especially true for the women in this group, and the minorities. In the 1910s, there was a group of women that came out here from (the state I work for) and tied themselves to the rafters of a Congressional meeting room to protest their lack of the right to vote. They had to fight for what should have been their natural-born rights, as did African Americans, Native Americans, and once upon a time, even white men. These rights are precious, so I hope that you will always, ALWAYS be able to name your two senators, your Congressman, and your Governor, and that you will always write letters to the editor. I would never ask you to obsess about it like I do, but please, stay involved.

Now, I’m sorry if that felt like a lecture, and I do apologize, but this stuff matters. It is among my core values, and it’s just something I have to share."

One teacher told me “That wasn’t patronizing, and I wouldn’t care if it was – as long as they hear it from someone!”

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Keeping Things in Perspective

So this week at work, I have researched issues including ethanol subsidies, global education, and the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, taught civics to eighth graders, caught the Bush Administration in an act of hypocrisy, and attended a climate change meeting with multiple Senators. (I’m just an intern, but I get exposed to some cool stuff.)

Yet for all the value of this work, I must say none of them qualify as the most fulfilling or enriching thing I have done this week.

No, that honor goes to taking my lunch outside into the park by Union Station and listening to Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon podcasts and Alison Krauss music on my iPod. Listening to his small town values and her heart-melting voice amongst the flowers, shade trees, and squirrels in one of the few spots isolated from sirens and tour buses, I am almost able to pretend that I am sitting in New Hampshire’s White Mountains or alongside Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille, out in God’s country. It’s very peaceful, and interrupts the Office Space grind of my copy machine hating day to remind me of what really matters. Taking lunch outside this week is the best decision I’ve made all spring.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

How the McCain Veepstakes started over two years ago

In early 2006, I sat down with rising Democratic star Rep. Artur Davis, perhaps the next Governor of Alabama, for an hour-long interview with the Dartmouth Free Press. I asked him who were his favorite Republicans to work with. Two years later, his choices are all the more interesting.

DFP: You have a pretty bipartisan reputation... Who are the best Republicans, the easiest Republicans, maybe, to work with?

AD: There are two people I have a lot of respect for. One of them is Rob Portman, the U.S. trade representative who was formerly a member from Ohio. The other is Bobby Jindal from Louisiana. Both of them are exceptionally sharp, they are exceptionally knowledgeable about issues, and while I disagree with them (laughs) on a whole range of issues, they bring a thoughtfulness to politics, and they also don’t de-legitimate people who disagree with them. They will argue your ideas but they don’t argue character back and forth, and I think that that’s a good thing.

I also overheard Davis tell a Dartmouth professor that he might expect to see a Portman-Jindal presidential ticket one day, if the Republican Party would only allow them to move up. I can understand his fears. The Republican Party these last 14 years has been a very hard-line, partisan organization; not a friendly place for pragmatic guys like Jindal and Portman.

That was the first time I had heard of either Portman or Jindal, but taking heed of Davis’ words, I began to watch their careers with interest. Two years later, Jindal is the newly elected Governor of Louisiana and Portman is the recently retired head of the White House Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, both men are leading candidates to become John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate.

In today’s New York Times, and why they gave him a regular column I will never understand, William Kristol wrote that four separate McCain aides suggested in four separate conversations last week that Jindal is a possible pick. The two politicians did spend a lot of time together during McCain’s trip to New Orleans last month, and apparently get along fabulously. Jay Leno asked Jindal about his VP prospects after that visit, and both the Wall Street Journal and Robert Novak floated the idea in March. I myself don’t know that much about Jindal; the Independents I spoke to in New Orleans and its suburbs during my time there loved him, including one co-worker of mine who had known him for years, but NOLA bloggers seem to despise him.

Portman, a Dartmouth alum, seems to be the White House’s pick. While Novak was one of the first to float Jindal’s name, he also called Portman the favorite to win. His impressive resume would bring the economic credibility McCain lacks and could potentially help in his home swing state of Ohio, but I would imagine his White House resume would be a liability, given the Democrats’ efforts to tie McCain to Bush.

Until these two names emerged, Vice President guessing games seemed to center around Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, and former Governors and presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. I thought it would be Huckabee until he became a campaign headache for McCain, hanging around well after it was clear McCain would be the nominee; at that point my bets shifted to Pawlenty, even though he failed to deliver McCain the Minnesota primary. He certainly had the media buzz, as well as conservative credentials and a good relationship with McCain. Crist, another media favorite and McCain friend, would also bring a swing state and solid conservative credentials. Sanford never gained that much buzz and did not actually endorse McCain until after the SC primary, and I never thought Romney had a prayer in Hell given how much he and McCain loathe one another and how much the religious right distrusts him.

Both Portman and Jindal are solid, inoffensive conservatives who would balance out McCain’s age. The one thing Jindal has in common with the other five likely picks that Portman does not is that he is a Governor. He is also an Indian American, which could potentially balance out the historical importance of a woman or black nominee – at least in some eyes (not mine). Of course, Louisiana is a much safer state for a Republican than Ohio and probably needs Jindal more than does McCain, who could certainly use an economic heavyweight like Portman.

Ultimately, I think what will matter most is this: McCain is trying to succeed a fellow Republican who botched Hurricane Katrina and has a 28% approval rating in every credible major poll*. In this environment, Jindal’s credentials as a Louisianan and a reformer might be a tad more useful than the two jobs Portman worked for Bush. Portman and Crist may remain the press favorites, but my money’s on either Jindal or Pawlenty.

*(The mention of Bush’s approval rating brings to mind my favorite line from Kristol’s column: “Obama is the likely Democratic nominee. Some conservatives are giddy at the thought — kidding themselves that the general election will therefore be easy, that Obama will be another Dukakis… One McCain aide said: If in 1988 Ronald Reagan had had a 30 percent job approval rating, and 80 percent of the voters had thought we were on the wrong track, Dukakis would have won.” You know a Republican is bad when even Kristol jumps ship… well hey, only 259 days left, thank God!)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Gitmo, Leadership, and British Cats: Recommended Reading for a Sunday Afternoon

Well now this is amusing. Normally I crosspost from Wayward to MyDD, but today, it's the other way around. You might check out the third thread of the original post's comment section for an exchange between myself and an Iraq War veteran.

As far as I'm concerned, anything Nick Kristof writes is required reading. I can hardly say the same for the increasingly self-important Thomas "Six Months" Friedman, but today's column reminds us how he got his cushy gig in the first place.



Kristof's "A Prison of Shame, and It's Ours" chronicles the stories of several innocent people locked up in Guantanamo Bay, providing a compelling argument for why we need to close the place yesterday:

Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, an American woman of Afghan descent who worked as an interpreter, has written a book to be published next month, "My Guantánamo Diary," that is wrenching to read. She describes a pediatrician who returned to Afghanistan in 2003 to help rebuild his country -- and was then arrested by Americans, beaten, doused with icy water and paraded around naked. Finally, after three years, officials apparently decided he was innocent and sent him home... The new material suggests two essential truths about Guantánamo:

First, most of the inmates were probably innocent all along, but Pakistanis or Afghans turned them over to America in exchange for large cash rewards. The moment we offered $25,000 rewards for Al Qaeda supporters, any Arab in the region risked being kidnapped and turned over as a terrorism suspect.

Second, torture was routine, especially early on. That's why more than 100 prisoners have died in American custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo...

When I started writing about Guantánamo several years ago, I thought the inmates might be lying and the Pentagon telling the truth. No doubt some inmates lie, and some surely are terrorists. But over time -- and it's painful to write this -- I've found the inmates to be more credible than American officials.

Both Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates have pushed to shut down Guantánamo because it undermines America's standing and influence. They have been overruled by Dick Cheney and other hard-liners. In reality, it would take an exceptional enemy to damage America's image and interests as much as President Bush and Mr. Cheney already have with Guantánamo.

January 20 can't come soon enough. 261 days left...

In "Who Will Tell the People?", Friedman looks at America's crumbling power and economy, and suggests that it will take bold leadership and vision to restore us to our previous heights.

We are not as powerful as we used to be because over the past three decades, the Asian values of our parents' generation -- work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means -- have given way to subprime values: "You can have the American dream -- a house -- with no money down and no payments for two years."...

A few weeks ago, my wife and I flew from New York's Kennedy Airport to Singapore. In J.F.K.'s waiting lounge we could barely find a place to sit. Eighteen hours later, we landed at Singapore's ultramodern airport, with free Internet portals and children's play zones throughout. We felt, as we have before, like we had just flown from the Flintstones to the Jetsons. If all Americans could compare Berlin's luxurious central train station today with the grimy, decrepit Penn Station in New York City, they would swear we were the ones who lost World War II.

How could this be? We are a great power. How could we be borrowing money from Singapore? Maybe it's because Singapore is investing billions of dollars, from its own savings, into infrastructure and scientific research to attract the world's best talent -- including Americans.

I leave you with this third insightful commentary, Friday's "Get Fuzzy" courtesy the funny papers.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Struggles - and Episcopal response - continue in New Orleans

Katie Mears, with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response, e-mailed out several articles about their rebuild program's recent work on Thursday. The program has been helping a number of families, including that of Alvin Thomas. Thomas was a mentally ill man who recently passed away, but Katie and the other folks at ODR are continuing to help his family. It is a sad story, but one tinged with hope, as is often the case in New Orleans.

The main article is called "Back from Katrina exile, man lived alone and died alone:"

Thomas, 54, had collected the first cans from a food pantry last summer, after returning from Katrina-induced exile in North Carolina. In early June, he walked, one bag in hand, from the Greyhound station on Loyola Avenue to his parents' narrow shotgun house in the St. Roch neighborhood, where he lived briefly before the flood. Soon, he had dragged a discarded mattress to the gutted house, where he lived alone, without electricity or running water.

Thomas' closest neighbors often saw him after dusk, locked inside the porch, listening to Christian sermons or jazz on a beat-up, gray boombox. Sometimes, he heard voices.

"But I don't worry about it," he said in an interview before he died.

Thomas was one of an incalculable number of people living in the city's abandoned houses. UNITY of Greater New Orleans, the nonprofit agency that fights homelessness, estimates that several thousand people -- the majority of the homeless in Jefferson and Orleans parishes -- are holed up in blighted houses without power or water. Like Thomas, many struggle with mental illness...

Katie Mears, who supervised the repair of Thomas' house with the Episcopal Diocese Office of Disaster Response, said the group increasingly works with disabled adults, either living with elderly parents or alone. As Mears drives through blocks of dark houses, she wonders how many are occupied.

"You don't know how many Mr. Alvins there are," she said.


The rest of the article tells Thomas' story, and that of his parents. A shorter article is here, and a video interview with Mears and another EDOLA employee is here.

Katie finished her e-mail, "We're still working on the house for Mr. Alvin's parents to live in. When they came back to New Orleans to see him at the hospital and for the funeral, they were able to look at the progress on the house--the new framing, plumbing, windows. In the midst of all that sorrow, it was good to be able to show them something positive."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Racism and arrogance in the Arizona State Legislature

As strong as this post’s title is, it isn’t strong enough. Racism and arrogance are bad enough on their own, but they are even worse when accompanied by provincialism, narrow-mindedness, and censorship. The final paragraph explains how, if you live in the right area, you can take action.

In a campus-wide email, the Dartmouth chapter of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), a Latino student organization, brought my attention to SB1108, a bill that recently passed the Arizona House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on a vote of 9-6. The e-mail prompted me to do a little more research on my own. This bill would ban all “anti-American” or “anti-European” teachings from public schools and universities and prohibit racially-based student groups from operating on campus. Its sponsor, Appropriations Chair Russell Pearce, is in no uncertain terms a racist. It's one thing to fight illegal immigration, but another entirely to push these policies.

Per the MEChA email, according to Pearce, SB1108 would ban any teaching that "overtly encourage(s) dissent from American values.” In other words, he has taken it upon himself to determine what does and does not count as an American value – as if, beyond democracy, equal opportunity, and freedom of speech, there really is such a thing. It is absurdly racist and arrogant to think you can take your own family life and your own personal upbringing and demand that it be reflected onto and legally mandated for 300 million other people. I can tell you this much, even if there are American values, focusing on only one small sliver of history, the European, should not be one of them. We can be smarter and more understanding of humanity than that. Another Arizona House appropriator, Rep. Jack Kavanagh, told the Arizona Republic, “If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture.” Never mind that this nation was once called the Melting Pot, or that our Southern cities were built by kidnapped members of African cultures and our western infrastructure by a mistreated Chinese culture! I’m forced to wonder if Kavanagh has ever kicked back with a couple of tacos and a German beer in front of The Godfather on TV after a night out in Chinatown. THAT’S American culture!!!

Pearce believes that students of Mexican studies programs, like the Tucson Unified School District’s Raza Studies, believe the Southwest should succeed from the United States and rejoin Mexico. I can tell you that I’ve known a number of Latino students, and the only place I’d previously heard that viewpoint was at a town hall meeting with the pro-immigration US Senator Larry Craig (R-bathroom stall), where anti-immigration advocates wearing White Pride buttons hijacked the proceedings. The Arizona Daily Star eloquently editorializes,

Pearce, one of the state's most strident opponents of illegal immigration, appears to have bought into the notion that MEChA followers want to take over the southwestern United States, which was part of Mexico.

That's hogwash.

The myth is perpetrated by right-wing anti-immigrant-rights groups like American Border Patrol and their Web sites. The lie gained new life over the last couple of years as the illegal-immigration debate reached a boiling point.

We editorialized in May 2006, around the time of several student marches calling for immigrant rights, that criticisms of MEChA were nothing more than fear-mongering tactics meant to foment anti-immigrant sentiment.

In reality, the group brings Hispanic students together so they can achieve academic success. MEChA is no different than black, Asian and American Indian groups that give students of the same race a place to meet, make friends and support one another.

I e-mailed the campus chapter of MEChA and suggested they write a joint letter with the Dartmouth Native American group, Korean group, etc., on how those groups have benefited both their members and our College. These groups really are a wonderful thing; what Pearce, Kavanagh, and their cohorts fail to understand is that "racial" doesn’t necessarily mean "racist". National, economic, and cultural communities often have a racial component to them for historical reasons, but why should we ban people from discussing their shared experiences? The only student groups I actively belong to are political and religious in nature, but if my family moved to Germany or if I studied abroad in Brazil, I think I would enjoy an American Student Union or something of the sort. Leonel Martinez of the Bakersfield Californian writes, “You can promote ethnic pride without teaching racial superiority. Kern County's own Cesar Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, understood that when he said, ‘Preservation of one's culture doesn't mean contempt for others.’” Vivirlatino expounds, explaining how MEChA benefited him back in his college days. I assume his arguments hold true for other cultural heritage groups as well.

When I first got to college, I found myself in a place where there were few people who looked like me. I soon got involved in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (MEChA). Suddenly, I was busy working on several of MEChA's projects, none of which involved taking up arms in an effort to return Aztlan to Mexico. It was much more tame. I tutored students at a local high school and called college representatives to organize a college fair at our annual conference for high school students. Although most the students in MEChA were Latino, we also worked closely with other ethnic student groups. Through this coalition, I learned about the common links between Chicanos and other people of color.

My peers in MEChA became my close friends. Several years out of college, they've gone on to careers as professors, lawyers, doctors, urban planners, teachers, counselors, and policy analysts for local and state government. Undoubtedly, the work we did through MEChA helped shape our career paths. MEChA has its flaws just like any other nearly 40-year-old organization, but the pros largely outweigh the cons.

This bill, and Pearce’s ego, must be stopped. Given the true nature of MEChA and related groups, and our nation's insistence on free speech, the law has no business telling students what they can't study or who they can't hang out with on campus. If you live in Arizona, use this United Farm Workers action page to contact your state senator, state representative, and AZ Speaker of the House Jim Weiers and ask them to stop this charade. If you live in Los Angeles, please, write to MEChA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and ask him to speak out. If you live in New Mexico, write to Hispanic Governor Bill Richardson, who spoke highly of such groups when he visited Dartmouth last year, and ask him to speak out. If you are a part of an ethnic group on any campus anywhere, use the UFW page to contact the Arizona Speaker and tell him how your group is beneficial and why it is not racist. Finally, I can't tell if Pearce has a Democratic opponent yet for the 2008 District 18 State Senate race, but if he ever does get one, you can contribute to their campaign.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sadness

I have been in DC for six weeks, and in all this time, I have not worn my Stetson once. It sits in my closet, neglected. In Idaho, Texas, or New England, it is my constant companion. Here, it is but a relic of another time. Epic fail.

I need to find a good honky tonk, or something.

More info on that protest

I leared a bit more about those ADAPT protestors from my last post in articles in today's and yesterday's Roll Call.

Medicare pays for a number of benefits (pills, handicap equipment, etc.) for seniors in nursing homes but not for folks still at home, thus freezing out folks sick enough to need help but not sick enough to surrender their freedom. ADAPT's main goal right now is passing the Community Choice Act, which would extend those Medicare benefits to people in their own homes. Obama and Clinton are co-sponsors, and the group would like McCain to sign on as well.

So far so good. It turns out that earlier in the day, the group, many of them disabled themselves, staged a sit-in at John McCain's office in the Russell Senate Office Building. A number were arrested for blocking the halls outside his office with their wheelchairs, a few more for refusing to leave Russell when the building closed, and more still (at least 40 in all) at the RNC (which I had mistakenly identified yesterday as the Capitol Hill Club). The RNC sit-in was particularly sour - the Republicans would not allow the protestors to order food from the outside or use the bathroom. The solution? Go on the floor, according to the group's own spokesman. Now I can't blame them for that, I suppose, since the RNC was not allowing to them use the restroom (that's beyond low), but it's still pretty darn gross. I am also told by a friend who works in the Cannon House building that the protestors were spitting on people.

I'm sympathetic to the group's aims. The Community Choice Act sounds like a pretty good idea - but barring people from leaving their office ("Just like a nursing home, you cant get out!") strikes me as a mild form of kidnapping. Stopping business for half a day and going on the floor is not the way to get someone to see things your way. Sit-ins were a good idea for the Civil Rights Movement when they were in the heart of the belly of the beast, and were a novel idea, but Tuesday's were just silly. And spitting on people? That's not civil disobedience, it's just wrong. Good goals, useless methods.

I stand by yesterday's post, however, that the lady across the street from the main protest was darn smart by asking if I wanted to know what they were protesting rather than asking me for their support.

By the way, here's a video from the sit-in. Capitol Police took down a woman who did not follow their orders. Seems reasonable, except for one little thing: the woman didn't hear the orders. Her disability? She's deaf. I'll give the cops credit, though; it looks like once they realized she was deaf, they backed off. Being able to keep your cool in situations like that is impressive.



Update: Commenter Susan has added the following information: "Amber was the Deaf protester and was my roommate at the action. The cops did not back off until one of their own who was not directly involved observed what was happening and took it under his control. To say that the officers responded quickly when they understood she was Deaf is a vast understatement. She was telling them as were several people in her vicinity." My hat remains tipped to the officer who stepped in, that doesn't always happen. My thanks to Susan for letting us know. She has more in the comment section.