2005
10.31

 

MSNBC: Bush picks conservative for Supreme Court — Democrats are quick to criticize choice of Alito as ‘needlessly provocative’

Absolutely insane pick for SCOTUS. I want to dig for more on this dude later, but on the surface of it this looks like an absolutely attrocious pick.

2005
10.30

What a trip

 

Well I’ll be departing Portland tomorrow around 5, but thus far the trip has been pretty good. The NLG conference was a mixed bag (something I’ll have to talk about more down the road), but Portland itself has been an absolute joy on the bike (I got in 22 miles today, riding to the International Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, and then way up north to Vancouver in Washington state, and then took the bus back downtown (because my butt was kicked by that ride up north) and then back around in the Hawthorne area.

2005
10.29

I love Portland

 

but I don’t think I would want to live here… way too much rain.

But while I’m sitting at the Hostel checking my email, here’s my list of 10 things I dig about Portland…

1. The girls have cute accents.

2. People are really nice here (unlike how it was in San Francisco), and unlike how it is often in Oklahoma, people seem really sincere about their niceness.

3. This is bicycle heaven. In OKC I might see 3-4 adult cyclists on my commute each way (about 1 per mile), but here in Portland you see 1-2 cyclists every single block. I am loving the bicycle scene in this town.

4. The scenery here is beautiful. The urban landscape is human-scale and downright pleasant.

5. Almost all of the businesses here are local establishments. Even the chains (McMennasis’s pubs… I’m sure I botched up the spelling of that) are locally owned. In fact so far I’ve only seen one Denny’s, one Wendy’s, and one McDonald’s in my traveling. — well I should say for the most part, Starbucks does infest the landscape like a bad case of athelete’s foot.

6. They have a Wobbly union hall in town! How cool is that!

7. The beer!

8. The prices -I think the food and drink is as good or better than in SF but the prices are about the same as you would pay in Oklahoma.

9. The hostel is funky and way laid back. Coffee is only 50 cents, pancakes are a $1, and you can eat all of the bread and bagels you want for free (donated by a local bakery).

10. The fall leaves are some of the prettiest I have ever seen. (I think they are a few weeks ahead of Oklahoma, as they are starting to turn at home but there they are approaching their peak)

Well that’s all I’ll say for now. I am taking lots and lots of pictures, so look for them when I get back.

2005
10.28

At the Portland Hostel

 

Well I made it to Portland in one piece, but it was a tiring night getting here.

A friend gave me a ride from OCU to the Will Rogers World Airport in OKC. I got there super early though so I had plenty of time to hang out at the airport (the smoking room is a trip, you always meet rather interesting folks in smoking rooms), and then flew out at 10:30-ish to Las Vegas, where I had 45 minute layover (enough time to lose $1 in the slot machines and to buy a pack of playing cards, and then caught the next leg to Portland.

After arriving in Portland, I found a place to camp out for a few hours (in the baggage area they don’t have arm chairs on the seats… but it is way too bright) and then caught the MAX (red line) into down Portland around 6:30-ish, which is where I’ll leave the story at for now.

2005
10.27

 

Oyez.com: Cooper v. Oklahoma — Oral arguments, w/ Bob Ravitz (Oklahoma County PD) and Drew Edmondson (Oklahoma Attorney General) — We listened to this tonight in my Capital Punishment class (taught by Ravitz himself).

I highly recommend listening to it if you are interested in how SCOTUS works. It is really neat to hear two very articulate advocates going head-to-head, and seeing the justices themselves interupt the attorneys and expect the attorneys to answer the tough questions and then go right back to the their original argument.

(also it is funny as all get out… listen to how Rehnquist and Ravitz both pronounce “malingering” differently, and also the part about the volume)

2005
10.27

Heading for Portland

 

Well I’ll be heading out in a few hours for Portland. My departure from OKC is at 10:30 p.m., and after a changeover in Las Vegas, I arrive in Portland at 2 a.m.-ish.

I am hoping to do some blogging while in Portland but don’t know much I’ll get to do. We’ll see I guess.

2005
10.27

 

As lottery fever is infecting everyone and their monkey these days, I thought it was appropriate to remind y’all that the Oklahoma Green Party continues to be the only Oklahoma political party that has the guts (and a heart and brain) to oppose the Oklahoma Lottery.

Here’s what we said last October about it: OKIMC.org: (press release) Oklahoma Greens stand firm against lottery (SQ 705)

The good news is that the anti-lottery movement is now rising up. I have some really good news to share with y’all in a few weeks, but in the meantime the best thing to do is to boycott the Oklahoma lottery and to keep telling the truth, that the lottery is all about the exploitation of the poor and desperate.

2005
10.27

 

Military.com/AP: Kerry Calls for Troop Withdrawal

On first glance from the headline it sounds good, but then you read the whole story . . .

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kerry says President Bush should bring home 20,000 troops from Iraq over the Christmas holidays if the December parliamentary elections there are successful.

Defeated by Bush last year and a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Kerry called for a “reasonable time frame” for pulling back troops rather than a full-scale withdrawal advocated by some Democrats. He said it could be completed in 12 to 15 months.

. . . The Republican National Committee argued that Kerry’s plan to pull back troops would make American forces remaining in Iraq more vulnerable to insurgent strikes.

Kerry’s plan is to go from 159,000 troops on the ground to 139,000, and then to slowly pull out over the next 1 year or more. This is absolute lunacy. To begin with this war is already lost. There is no way to pull this around and to delay the inevitable pullout means to have hundreds, even thousands of more casulaties for no reason.

Beyond that though, pulling out gradually is a bad move because it puts American troops at risk. I do strongly believe that we need to pull out ASAP, but until that happens those units should not be undermanned. (one point I agree with the GOP on) Maybe a gradual pullout would work IF the US consolidates its positions (in other words, use more of a defensive battle strategy and consolidate its forces into fewer strongholds), but not if it is spread out all over the country.

All in all, I much prefer the Green Party’s stance on this…

GP.org: Greens Mark 2,000 Troop Deaths in Iraq, Demand End to Occupation

. . . In calling for a White House order to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops immediately, the Green Party has rejected the position of Democrats who ask for a plan to withdraw troops by the end of 2006.

“Every day the occupation is prolonged, more American troops and Iraqi civilians will be killed and maimed, we’re no closer to stability in Iraq, and are possibly nearer to a civil war there,” said Jody Grage Haug, Green Party co-chair and GPAX member. “The thousands of dead soldiers and civilians, nonexistent WMDs, forged evidence of an Iraqi nuclear threat (highlighted by the Plame scandal), torture in Abu Ghraib, and realization that a radical political ideology has motivated a massive abuse of power have resulted in majority opposition to the war, according to recent polls.”

“On this sad day, we also remember the servicemembers who are still risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we remember the families who have lost loved ones and who fear news of a lost loved one. And we thank people like Cindy Sheehan and all the veterans, families of fallen soldiers, and organizations supporting them for calling America back to sanity,” added Marc Sanson, party co-chair.

2005
10.27

 

NewsOK: Officials worry over expressway’s fate

Good for Coburn (even though I assume he opposes the I-40 project for different reasons than I do). The I-40 Crosstown relocation will displace many poor families from their homes and will ruin one of our best chances to get affordable commuter rail access (by building a giant highway right over the railyards at Union Station).

Here’s some more discussion on this:

Oklahomacitygasprices.com Forum – Still want to destroy Union station for the Crosstown realignment?

JustPeace.org: A Catholic prayer of power and comfort against the I 40 Crosstown Freeway Project in Oklahoma City

2005
10.26

 

NLG.org: Resolutions and candidate statements for the 2005 NLG National Convention (PDF file)

One particular resolution under consideration by the National Lawyers Guild this weekend in Portland really excites me, particularly as Green Party member see the nation’s leading radical/progressive law association consider a move like this (particularly with the language that says “WHEREAS this two-party political system has worked contrary to Democracy by ensuring that the American People are exposed only to politically moderate and centrist campaign platforms, thereby marginalizing the very ideas brought to the fore by the 3rd party candidates that stand outside of the Political Establishment; and…”

RESOLUTION for Electoral Reform Within the National Lawyers Guild

WHEREAS, Over the course of numerous elections for the office of President of the United States of America, it has become clear that the only candidates able to win are those nominated by the Democratic and Republican parties; and

WHERAS this has created in the United States a two-party political system in which the Democratic and Republican candidates adopt moderate and centrist political platforms in the hope of garnering the votes of the undecided few; and

WHEREAS this two-party political system has worked contrary to Democracy by ensuring that only two politically moderate and centrist candidates for President are taken seriously by the American People, thereby marginalizing any 3rd Party candidates that stand outside
of the Political Establishment; and

WHEREAS this two-party political system has worked contrary to Democracy by ensuring that the American People are exposed only to politically moderate and centrist campaign platforms, thereby marginalizing the very ideas brought to the fore by the 3rd party candidates
that stand outside of the Political Establishment; and

WHEREAS this practice has led to many casting their votes contrary to their conscience in an effort to elect the “Lesser of Two Evils,” a practice which subverts the very spirit of Democracy for which the National Lawyers Guild has fought for decades to preserve; and

WHEREAS the implementation of the Instant Run-Off voting system is a necessary step in destroying the two-party system and bringing about a Democratic Revolution in the United States in which the People will be able to vote their consciences for the first time in History
without the fear of “wasting” their vote; and

WHEREAS the National Lawyers Guild is an organization that seeks to become that which it wishes to see in the world;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:

That from this day forward, the National Lawyers Guild will employ the system of instant run-off voting in all of its elections