Monday, June 29, 2009

Minnick Votes Against Climate Change Bill

While I am so excited that the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed the House on Friday (while I was on a mountain with no Internet, desperate for news!), I am very disappointed in my Congressman, Idaho's Walk Minnick. Minnick, perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the House (just representing his constituents), voted against the bill. Here is an e-mail I sent his office to express my frustration. (Note: Previous posts have referred to Paul Hodes as my congressman, but this will be the last blog post I make from New Hampshire... having graduated, I'm flying back to Idaho tomorrow! But for the record, Hodes doesn't like warmer gulf waters or higher sea levels, so voted the right way. It's a shamw I won't get to vote for him for Senate.)

Dear Rep. Minnick,

I went to high school in Coeur d'Alene and recently graduated from college in New Hampshire with a degree in government and Native American studies. I am a former Senate intern and have worked for the Spokane (WA) Democrats, and will be moving back to Coeur d'Alene this week.

I am a Democrat with a special place in my heart for the Blue Dogs. I understood your vote against the president's stimulus bill and even agreed with your vote against his budget proposal (boo passing two trillion dollar deficits to my generation!), but your vote against the cap-and-trade bill is, for me, beyond the pale. Joe Biden always asks, what is a politician willing to lose over? What issues are more important to him than his career? In my opinion, preventing the harmful effects of rapid climate change is worth being a one-term congressman, and anyone who disagrees may be a good man but is probably not worth my vote. I will almost assuredly be voting in Coeur d'Alene again in 2010, and the ACES bill will be on my mind when I do. It hurts to be disappointed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Climate Change vote tomorrow, call Congress today

I called Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID) yesterday (my Idaho congressman and perhaps the most conservative House Democrat) to ask him to vote aye in tomorrow's climate change vote. The Staff Assistant who answered the phone said the Congressman is still reading through the bill now to determine how he'll vote, so, there's still time to register public opinion! Please call your Congressman today about tomorrow's vote, perhaps the most important vote of the next few decades. Some info from EPPN:

Anxious to leave for their 4th of July recess, the House of Representatives just scheduled a vote on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), historic comprehensive climate change and energy legislation covering the entire economy. ACES creates a framework for transitioning to clean energy and curbing global warming, setting a first-ever limit on pollution that causes global warming and new standards to increase energy efficiency and providing generous support to the most vulnerable consumers and displaced workers. Passage of this bill will mark the first time a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions actually passed a house of Congress.

As this bill moves forward in Congress, we are also urging that it be strengthened by making sure that all revenue generated from the program be returned directly to the consumer to enable individuals to absorb the increase in costs that result from climate legislation. We are asking that the current renewable electricity standard be increased to help bring more renewable energy online and spur greater energy efficiency, providing well-paying sustainable jobs, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and saving consumers money. We also seek additional funds for international adaptation assistance to help those around the world cope with the impacts of climate change for which they are least responsible.

Congress now has an opportunity to take the first major step toward enacting sweeping climate change legislation that will lead us down the path of energy efficiency, reduced dependency on fossil fuels, and needed reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases. Click here today to urge your Member to strengthen and support the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford Joke

A joke from a friend who works for the Republican House leadership:

If Mark Sanford were a member of Congress, he'd be chairman of Foreign Affairs!

Native American Christianity in the News

Here are three recent interesting stories about the intersections of Christianity and Native American spirituality that caught my eye. The first, and I think most important, is from Sojourners Magazine. Titled "Christ and Whose Culture?" and written by Kent Annan, the article discusses the work of Richard Twiss (Rosebud/Lakota Sioux) and his colleagues, who try to show perplexed/challenged Native Christians that they can follow Christ without giving up their traditional beliefs and practicies. (After all, Jesus wasn't white!)

Since his mystical encounter with Jesus and conversion in his early 20s, Twiss has not always found it easy to stand with his people. When he first started following Jesus, he felt forced to choose between being a Christian (“cut my hair and reject my Native American culture and spirituality to join the white evangelical church”) or a Native American.

But now he is part of a group of Native American evangelical theologians who reject this either/or as a false choice. In 2000, he and seven colleagues formed the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) to nurture theology and ministry that is “clearly evangelical yet fully contextual in its approach.”

The next two articles are both from Episcopal Life Online. The first discusses Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's visit to the 33rd annual Convocation (convention) of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland earlier this month and their upcoming election of a new bishop.

The second is about what may perhaps be a more important issue, but is in Canada so alas I don't pay as much attention. The headline says it all, but I do recommend a read: "Anglicans mark first anniversary of government apology for residential schools abuse."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Writing, writing everywhere

So much writing not just these past four years, but especially these past six months... this finals period included two twenty pagers, two eight pagers, a sixteen pager, and a five pager... Perhaps this is why I'm reluctant to type up blog rants at the moment? :P

But I shall return, and soon! I just need a like break from all that writing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

President Wright's Valedictory to Us

I will have thoughts on my graduation soon. In the meantime, here is our beloved President James Wright's valedictory speech, given moments after the final student's name was read.

Props to Susan Wright for those wicked cool '09 shades!!! Dartmouth will miss you both!

Friday, June 19, 2009

WMUR Chronicles ONE

Manchester, NH's WMUR, one of the state's two leading media outlets, ran this profile of the anti-poverty organization ONE (which the Episcopal Church is heavily involved with) a few weeks ago.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The most important thing about my graduation

My dad's been sick pretty much my whole life. He first grew ill when I was nine months old, and has been on death's door several times since. As I type this, thanks to 2007's transplant he is fortunately in the best health of my life, doing better at 60 than he did at 40.

So why do I bring this up now?

When I was in high school, I would sometimes ask Dad if he thought he would make it to my college graduation. His answer was always the same: "Well... I'm pretty sure I'll be there for your high school graduation."

That was 2004. It is now 2009, and I am graduating from Dartmouth College the day after tomorrow. The single greatest thing about my life, a fact that gives me more joy and happy tears than anything else about the past 20 years, is that my parents - both of them - will be in Hanover in about 30 minutes. When I walk across the stage on Sunday to get my AB in Government and Native American Studies, Dad will be there to see and celebrate.

Here's a picture of he and me from December 2005, my freshman Christmas when he was ghastly thin and I had a full beard:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Musical Whateverdayitis: Mr. T

I finished my undergraduate work today. Blogging should begin anew shortly. Anyways, as I type, my parents are 5,000 feet up in the sky, on their way to New England for my graduation. This couldn't haven happened without their life lessons and support, so this video's for them. Also, the hathos factor is through the roof.

H/T, of all places, NPR.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Musical NotMondaybutImtoobusywithfinalstopostsoheresthis

This was a great concert at Collis Student Center last month. It was a lot of fun. The band is called "Rambling Grass" and came to Dartmouth after meeting some Dartmouth students on a spring break service trip to West Virginia. In this video they're singing with Dartmouth students. The guy with the beard and golf cap is my good buddy Dan, a junior.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Errol Morris: There is such a thing as truth

Although NPR's "This I Believe" series no longer airs on the radio, it is continuing online and on XM Radio's "Bob Edwards Show." I really like the latest edition, from documentarian Errol Morris. You can listen to it at NPR's website. Here is an excerpt:

I drew a number of conclusions from this story.

There is such a thing as truth, but we often have a vested interest in ignoring it or outright denying it. Also, it's not just thinking something that makes it true. Truth is not relative. It's not subjective. It may be elusive or hidden. People may wish to disregard it. But there is such a thing as truth and the pursuit of truth: trying to figure out what has really happened, trying to figure out how things really are.

Almost 15 years ago, I stumbled on a story about an innocent man, a man who had been sentenced to die in the Huntsville, Texas, electric chair. And through hard work, luck and a certain amount of pathological obsession, I was able to make the movie The Thin Blue Line and to help get him out of prison.

What kept me going was the belief that there had to be answers to the questions "Did he do it?", "Was he guilty or innocent?", "If he didn't do it, who did?" and that I could find an answer to these questions through investigating.