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Archive for January, 2008

The World Is Worth Fighting For: The Legacy of Joe Strummer
“Id like to say that people . . . people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. Show me any country . . . and therell be people in it just trying to take their humanity back into the center of the ring . . . . And follow that for a time. Yknow, think on that. Without people youre nothing.” — Joe Strummer

Found this pro-union website when looking to clarify those words from the beginning ofthe Redemption Song (originally by Bob Marley) video of Joe Strummer and the Mescalaroes.

That’s the video. It’s really good. Think on that for a while. Chokes me up, too.

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YouTube – Interstate 80 Iowa

YouTube – Interstate 80 Iowa

This sums it up well, in a 50 second video about Iowa.

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Bacon Brown Betty

When I was growing up, on the back of the bisquick box was a savory zucchini bread recipe. Bisquick, zucchini and onion, as the basics. It was nice.

Now I moved from NYC out to Iowa, land of affordable instead of fancy farmer’s markets. Church ladies selling baked goods, including zucchini bread. In my nice big yard I grew all sorts of things. I learned to can. I learned to bake. I grew zucchini, ten pounds heavy, as big as my arm. Life was good this summer.

But what to do? I figured I would make zucchini bread, so I called mom. Mom wasn’t home, so dad googled it for me (my laptop was at HP getting fixed). He gave me a recipe that called for a lot of sugar, no onions. Weird. ANd some cinnamon but that wasn’t that weird, I figured it was a contrast or something. Since I was new to baking I figured that the sugar had to help it rise or something chemically. I was not aware really how much sugar goes in things.

It seemed like such a boring recipe, and not quite like what I wanted. I figured I would cut out the cinammon, and cut back a tiny bit of the sugar. Maybe one cup instead of two. Or two instead of three. It was a big recipe. Then I decided I wanted my onions. So I added those. Then A bit of cheese.

Then bacon. I added bacon because I felt that bacon makes everything better. I had a half a package or so left so I happily fried it up, drained it, and tossed it in. I think I left some of the other seasonings in it, maybe the cloves or allspice or something like that.

Well, I guess I came out with what could only be called BACON BROWN BETTY. It was nasty. I tried to eat it. I really did. So did the family. Even the dog would not eat it. I picked at the bacon bits, they weren’t horrible. I guess.

When mom came home she explained the bisquick recipe to me, which had no sugar, and told me that outside the family people make a zucchini bread that is sweet like a pumpkin, banana, or carrot bread. I did not know

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Blog Takes Failed Marriage Into Fight Over Free Speech – New York Times

Man blogs a ‘ficti0nal account’ of his marriage. Divorce judge wants him to take it down and not post any more.  Interesting article.

I think he should keep it up unless what the article says is true — he posted bits of her personal journal in his blog. THAT is unacceptable. Otherwise, it should stay up or at the very least go to civil, and not family court. This was done without a hearing.

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Empowering

If I could think of one word to describe the Democratic caucus process, that would be it. (It is different than the Republican one.) Standing with your neighbors, your community, discussing the issues and how to best obtain the goals you’ve set makes you feel like part of the process.

After living in NYC much of my life, I was used to primaries that didn’t matter, and elections that didn’t matter. I still voted, but I knew that my city, my state, would nearly always go a certain way. There were no close elections, and any presidential primary was nearly pointless, the candidates already decided by time they got to NYS.

Here, not only are we first, but the process of standing and lobbying like that really makes the issues matter.  Sure I suppose you could go and stand by whichever one seems popular, but the buzz in the air, the talk about politics, showed that Iowans took their duty seriously.  If there was an issue we were unsure of, we discussed amongst ourselves in advance and later could ask some of the people already standing with their candidate of choice what they thought.

What was really interesting, too, was the second round. For example, Kucinich said that if he is not viable, go over to Obama. But wait! Biden and Kucinich supporters realized that if they combined, they could make one viable candidate — ahh, but which way to go? And would everyone agree?  And people at that point weren’t just looking for who to support, but by that time, if they moved one way, how would that influence the mainstream characters. Would Edwards mean a win for Hilary? Some people thought so. Would the Biden go to Kucinich or the other way around? Or would they go to someone else?

And then the reps from the candidates would come over and court the undecided and the non viable ones, explaining why they fit best. And you could walk around and ask who. And if you changed? CHEERS. You were like a hero, one more for the team!

No animosity towards neighbors, but a lot of education about the issues.

Given this process, I would say that Iowa caucus voters (this year a record turnout, I’ve heard) are some of the most informed voters in the country. Not only about the candidates but about what issues matter.  Sometimes issues you didn’t give a second thought about had views aired by someone and you realized you didn’t even consider your stand on it.

And if you had an issue? Someone in the room probably listened to you. Sure it was casual, but to be not just a voice in the symbolic sense, but in the very real and literal sense that you spoke and people heard, was empowering. Although I do believe in private ballots for the general election, I can see where having a caucus like this leads to an informed populace and a good choice for a candidate.

The reason that Iowa caucus winners aren’t so much because we are first, but because we take our duty seriously, and have the opportunity to really hash out what matters. We’re not just pulling a lever or checking a box. We are discussing and deciding. And that’s an important part of democracy. Information as well as freedom.

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