I am a substitute teacher in my day job. I live and work in the only majority-minority town in Oregon. Our school district is 75% Latino. On election day, the students were very curious, so we talked about the election for a portion of the class period in several classes, even though social studies wasn't the subject I was teaching that day. Every class wanted to know who I had voted for and, knowing what several of them were thinking. So I asked, "who do you think I voted for?" Every class said Romney. When I asked why, the answer was always "because you're white."
I'm usually a procrastinator in life, but not so with voting. What if I were to get sick, injured, or some emergency were to happen before election day? This is far too important to put off until another day.
So I voted this morning. But my tale doesn't consist of tales of long lines, special interests trying to pass of their "voter guides" on me, weird machines with no paper trails, or people hounding me for my ID. I had the pleasure of sitting at my desk and filling out a bubble sheet.
I love that Oregon is all vote by mail.
We got our ballots in the mailbox on Saturday. I opened it this morning and, knowing that I wouldn't have to work until noon, hopped on the computer. Obviously, I voted Obama. Already knew how I was going to vote on all the legislative and statewide races, as well as the ballot measures. But those races that few people ever know much about, like judges or soil and water board, I was actually able to sit on my computer and research and make informed decisions.
Then I put a stamp on it, though I could just take it to the big box at City Hall if I wished, and that was that. Plus, because I voted before election day, the elections division will call me if there is a problem with my signature or some other issue that could invalidate my ballot so that I can ensure my vote gets counted.
This system is easy. It ensures access to all. It empowers people to vote, instead of attempting to suppress. It allows people to be educated while voting. And it restricts attempts by local politicians or ballot workers to disenfranchise voters. There is no reason that every state shouldn't be on board with this.
I've been pretty much a doomer on the subject of climate change lately. That said, I don't think we should be doing everything we can to accelerate the process. So imagine my horror in today's Oregonian:
Legal documents indicate the Port of St. Helens is talking with a coal export terminal developer, the first sign that Oregon could be in the mix to export coal to meet ever-growing Asian demand.
Also in the game: Port of Morrow, near Boardman. It recently signed a one-year lease option with a subsidiary of Australian coal giant Ambre Energy, to shift Montana and Wyoming coal from trains to river barges, a move that could open more Northwest ports for coal export. Currently, Canada hosts the only West Coast coal export terminals.
Evidence of Port of St. Helens interest in coal stems from a complaint filed by Columbia Riverkeeper, which opposes coal export, asking a judge to require the port to release coal-related documents. In a response, a lawyer for the port said doing so would violate a confidentiality agreement and "would result in the greatest harm to the public interest which can be imagined -- a loss of jobs in our community."
No, I'm pretty sure the greatest harm to the public interest is losing the fucking ability to exist on this planet. But I've long ago learned to stop expecting public officials to actually give a damn about that.
We're all going to die.
Like most people, I was blissfully unaware of the full impacts of climate change until last weekend. I thought this was something that would cause a few undesirable things to happen--the polar bears would die off. Sea levels would rise and places like New Orleans and Bangladesh would be underwater. Not a big deal, life will go on. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep driving my car all around and run the furnace at whatever temperature I like becuase those things don't affect me. Right?
We've lost the climate change battle. We learned earlier this year what we all deep down already knew, that we're not going to keep global warming below 2 degrees celsius. Worse, we don't know just how far this will go. The most optimistic estimates say China's CO2 emissions won't peaks for a couple of decades. There isn't much political will in the US to move things forward. Is India the next big country to demand massive amounts of fossil fuels?
Despite all the growing evidence that we are already well into irreversible climate change, many people have no idea what's going on. Many people think it just means polar bears will disappear, and that we'll have some sea level change. They don't realize that as we keep up our dependence on fossil fuels, the change grows worse and worse, endangering far more than we realize. Our ability for survial is very comprimised. I've read newspaper articles recently here in the NW that bemoan the possible loss of skiing and salmon. I'm more worried about how we're going to feed ourselves. There will be massive death this century. The question is just how widespread it will be. I'm looking at my two kids right now, and I am terrified for them.
With no end in sight, just what exactly is the endgame here? I want to be optimistic, but I'm worried that by 2100, there won't be much of a world left.
Whats the global warming endgame? I've no doubt we'll survive as a species, but is there anyway we come out of this with civilization intact? Unfortunately, I'm quite pessimistic on that possiblity right now.
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power." --Franklin Roosevelt
I'm tired. I am a bundle of outrage with no place to vent. No place to go. The Republicans despise everything I stand for. The Democrats won't fight for it. Then there's the real problem--the vast majority of people are too stupid to know the difference. When are we, we the people, going to take back our country?
A fourteen year old middle school girl was kidnapped in my town last week by a 36 year old man who is using her for sex. Our wingnuts (and we have a lot) are making the audacious claim that she deserves this becuase she is Mexican, and apparantly this is "normal for Mexicans." First, a bit of background information.
Everyone is being a Negative Nancy. Crying about Lieberman. Crying about Reid giving a nice speech about Stevens. Crying about well, everything.....and using it all as an excuse about why Obama and the Democrats have turned their back on THEM.
Give me a freaking break.
My ballot is in. Chalk one up for Obama! My voting experience was likely very differnt from yours.
From Blue Oregon:
Its not exactly "voter suppression" in terms of being at the polls and trying to turn people away, but, on 20/20 this Friday night, John Stossel is going to try and convince young people not to vote, basically telling them they're too stupid and need to stay away from the polls.
Now, I don't know that such a thing is going to have much of an effect, because I'm not sure that uninformed twentysomethings are part of 20/20s core audience, but this is another example of how the rethugs believe that anyone likely to not vote their way isn't "worthy" of the franchise.
You can watch it early here.
I live in OR-05. This district stretches from the wealthy South Portland suburbs (Lake Oswego, West Linn, Wilsonville), through farm country, the Capital of Salem, and south to just north of Corvallis. It stretches from the Cascades to the coast at about the same area
Could these guys be kissing up to Bernake and Paulson any more?
Despite claims that they need to, they are doing nothing to asure us that this is necessary. The congressmen are throwing softball questions and getting off topic. One of them went on about minoirty business owners. While minority business owners are important, is this what we should be focusing on when we talk about $700 billion dollars? Lets get to the root of the problem, please, instead of talking about fluff.
Paulson is doing nothing to convince me that this isn't a big scam. And the congressmen aren't forcing the issue. We are not stupid. We have a right to know. And when several economists are insisting a bailout isn't necessary, forgive me for being skeptical of Paulson's massive proposal when he has given us nothing to back it up.
This thing better not pass, or there will be hell to pay.
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