July 16th, 2010


Another Attack on Women's Bodies

The goal of radial "conservatives" is less about preventing abortions and more about controlling women's bodies.  This is unacceptable; the government has no business making intimate decisions about an individual's body.

You are not having a moment of déjà vu. This is real. This is actually

Tell the Administration to reconsider the harmful decision to undermine
women's reproductive health:
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Wall Street Reform

Woohoo!  We're making progress.  This bill did get watered down somewhat, but emerged still being fairly effective, so it's a significant improvement over the status quo.

Yesterday, you made Wall Street reform happen.

Illinois PIRG's chief federal lobbyist, Ed Mierzwinski, calls the Wall Street reform bill "the strongest consumer protection since deposit insurance in 1933." It protects consumers from unscrupulous lenders, reins in Wall Street's risky practices and holds big firms accountable when they fail.

More than 2,000 industry lobbyists spent more than $500 million to kill or weaken this bill. They won some battles, but we won the war.
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A Coherent Conservative Discussion of Climate Change

Wow, this is a great find.  Link courtesy of my partner Doug.  There is a summary of how irrational climate-change denial harms  the conservative base.  And then there is this wonderful section:

Bad science: Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause
In simpler words, too many of us treat science as subjective — something we customize to reduce cognitive dissonance between what we think and how we live.

In the case of global warming, this dissonance is especially traumatic for many conservatives, because they have based their whole worldview on the idea that unfettered capitalism — and the asphalt-paved, gas-guzzling consumer culture it has spawned — is synonymous with both personal fulfillment and human advancement. The global-warming hypothesis challenges that fundamental dogma, perhaps fatally.

The appropriate intellectual response to that challenge — finding a way to balance human consumption with responsible environmental stewardship — is complicated and difficult. It will require developing new technologies, balancing carbon-abatement programs against other (more cost-effective) life-saving projects such as disease-prevention, and — yes — possibly increasing the economic cost of carbon-fuel usage through some form of direct or indirect taxation. It is one of the most important debates of our time. Yet many conservatives have made themselves irrelevant in it by simply cupping their hands over their ears and screaming out imprecations against Al Gore.

This is what's missing from most conservative AND liberal discussions of climate change: balance. I do not believe it is survivable to continue treating a finite system as infinite; sooner or later we'll do enough damage to render it unable to support us. Neither do I believe that it's possible or advisable to make radical changes to society all at once, nor to discard our advanced technology. What I want is to reduce our negative impact on the environment and improve our overall quality of life. That will mean making some changes, which will be challenging, but it's doable. This isn't a choice between unfettered growth or living in the woods. It's a challenge to figure out how we can develop a sustainable civilization.

I know, my opinion isn't popular. I'm mostly liberal, which tends to turn off the conservatives; but I have enough conservative points to turn off most liberals. But I like this guy. He's able to see that extremism on either side is not helpful. He can look for a balance point. That, I can work with. We need this guy. We need more people like him. Oh look -- he has an author page.

Flavors of Judaism

I'm rather disturbed by this batch of articles.  It seems that a very small splinter of Judaism is attempting to invalidate everyone else's Judaism.  That would ... um, sort of unmake a large number of Jews, if one were to believe it.  Which is not the sort of thing Jews should be doing to each other, given how much of history involves other people trying to stamp them out.  I am minded that a key tenet of Judaism is: "That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others."  It's a good  rule.  Following it keeps one out of a great deal of trouble.

"The Diaspora Need Not Apply"
"Israel to Diaspora: Drop Dead"
"Reform leader: Israelis worried by conversion bill too"
"Bad Jews"

Why Water Is a Human Right

You can't live without it.  Life is generally recognized as a human right (although people frequently kill each other anyway).  In order for that to have any meaning, people must also have a right to those things necessary for life: breathable air, potable water, nourishing food, shelter/clothing, health care, freedom from physical harm, etc. 

"Water as a Human Right Threatens to Split World Body"

*sigh*  Yeah, that usually happens when somebody is told to quit trampling someone else's rights.