Get Up & Be It
Here you will find the musings of a 20-something year old on politics and current events. If you're confused, the name has indeed changed. This is the blog formerly known as L'esprit de Christophe.

"In the end, each of us will be judged by our standard of life, not by our standard of living; by our measure of giving, not by our measure of wealth; by our simple goodness, not by our seeming greatness."
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006
A Noble Cause

Here's an article featured in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle.

A helping curriculum
Students take a year to raise AIDS awareness -- and funds

It all started with Mama Katele.

Three Stanford University students met the 45-year-old grandmother last summer while volunteering in a refugee camp in Zambia, a land hard hit by Africa's AIDS epidemic. Dying of the disease and extremely poor, Mama Katele Henriette cared for three grandchildren and a mentally disabled daughter. Pain kept her up at night. She had no prospect for earning money.

For the Stanford students -- Lauren Young, Jonny Dorsey and Katie Bollbach -- her plight became their calling: create a project for her to make beaded pins, using the international AIDS awareness symbol of a red ribbon, to be sold in the United States.

And from there, the idea blossomed into something much bigger.

"We realized there are more people than Mama Katele who needed help," Young said.

"Stanford encourages people to take risks and follow what you believe in -- like the Google boys," Young added, referring to the doctoral students Sergey Brin and Larry Page who left Stanford in 1998 to create the Internet search engine.

After returning from Africa in late August, the three students dropped out of Stanford for the year and founded Face AIDS, a nonprofit devoted to raising $1 million on 200 U.S. college campuses to ease the African AIDS epidemic and increase awareness about it.

Mama Katele died not long after the students returned, and they used her likeness as a logo for Face AIDS.

So far, the students have raised nearly $50,000 for an operating budget and are paying 30 refugees in Zambia to make 50,000 pins.

Their campaign will kick off in March at Stanford, UC Berkeley and Santa Clara University. Stanford students also are contacting existing organizations at other campuses to sell the pins next fall.

The proceeds will go to Partners In Health in Boston, which is combatting infectious disease around the world and recently opened a clinic in Rwanda. Its founder, Paul Farmer, is something of a cult hero to Young, Dorsey and Bollbach for his unswerving drive to cure the world's poorest people of deadly diseases.

"For a student group to look at reaching a $1 million level, as far as I'm aware, is unprecedented,'' said Ed Cardoza, the development director of Partners In Health. "A million dollars goes a long way in our work."

Still, the overriding goal of Face AIDS is to put the African AIDS epidemic on the college student agenda.

"Students are the leaders of the future, and if we can affect how they think today, they will continue fighting AIDS with the way they vote and the way they donate," Young said. "Hopefully they will go into careers in international development and in fighting AIDS."

The three students went to Zambia as volunteers through a program developed by another Stanford student. Young taught poetry, Bollbach organized a library, and Dorsey created a mentoring project to benefit orphans in Mwange, a camp of 24,000 refugees from Congo.

The students said they learned how war breaks down families, creating worse poverty, the trading of sex for food and other survival necessities, and the spread of HIV. The disease has such a stigma attached to it that Mama Katele was the only person among her camp's estimated 1,000 HIV-positive people to admit publicly to suffering from it. The students never learned how she got the disease. Young and Dorsey set up their Face AIDS offices in the light yellow pool house of Dorsey's family's Woodside home. Bollbach is in Africa overseeing the making of pins at two refugee camps and nearby villages.

The students will sell them for $5 apiece to raise $250,000 on campuses across the nation. The rest of the money, they say, will come in the form of matching grants from foundations and businesses and community groups.

Many would consider it overwhelming, but Young has experience at creating things, and Dorsey took his inspiration from her. In 2004, Young helped found the Roosevelt Institution, the nation's first student think tank with 20 chapters devoted to promoting student policy.

Still, generating $1 million during a 200-campus campaign is tough, and the students readily credit many with helping. Robert Siegel, a microbiology and immunology associate professor at Stanford, led a "post field seminar" for students returning from abroad and helped them think through Face AIDS. Anne Firth Murray, who founded the Global Fund for Women, advised them on fundraising. A Bay Area lawyer incorporated Face AIDS. More than two dozen students are doing everything from profiling foundations that might donate to developing educational materials.

"What's remarkable about this is how much effort they're putting into this," Siegel said. "All of these projects live or die -- not so much on ideas -- but on people."

One of Face AIDS' early initiatives has been to attract donations from Rotary Clubs in the Bay Area. Over plates of roast beef and carrots, the students have tried to persuade hundreds of Rotarians at more than a dozen lunches to donate matching grants. With a $1 million target, a $500 check doesn't seem like much, but the students say it adds up.

At a recent meeting of Rotarians in Campbell, Young and Dorsey, in pressed business clothes, described their summer and what they learned.

"There are millions of orphans being created by this disease," Dorsey said as the two clicked through a PowerPoint presentation that flashed a photograph of people with AIDS who are earning money making beaded pins for Face AIDS.

"By channeling the lives of our peers into this field, we can have a huge impact," Young told the audience.

At the end, the Rotarians thanked the two; some even stopped by their table to show appreciation for their work. The students won't know until later whether this club will donate, but Rotarian Jim Movelan thinks the students won't have trouble raising funds.

"They both have the spirit of giving," he said.

For more information, go to

Much more to come on FACE AIDS in the not too distant future.

Also, please check out Stanford Dance Marathon 2006


Posted by Chris at 8:38 PM   | |

Version 3.0 on the horizon

Finally, my laptop is stable. So it's time for yet another facelift. A site name change may also be in order. Keep a look out, over the next few days as the transition occurs.



Posted by Chris at 8:02 PM   | |

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Alito and Iraq

So, I'm in the middle of fixing my laptop. I'm looking to get back to regular blogging later this week.

As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Samuel Alito to the SCOTUS.

Bush the Incompetent

Report: Army could be near breaking point

Posted by Chris at 8:49 PM   | |

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm back. After an extended hiatus, I'll be returning to blogging. Here's my most recent post on my personal site. I have to get my news roundup in before I'm back on here with some fresh content for you guys. Bear with me.


Posted by Chris at 11:04 PM   | |

Friday, November 18, 2005
What's wrong with our government?

Original title: House to vote on Iraq Pullout

Drudge has his siren going on his website with these words:

House Leadership In Meeting Making Final Decision on Vote...
GOP to Dems: Pull Troops Now? Okay, then let's vote?
Troop resolution Tonight; hitting the House floor between 5:45 and 7:45...
Ultimate showdown...

This is partially spurred by Congressman Murtha's comments the other day on the war. If you missed it here's what he said.

Here are a few excerpts.
"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.
"Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.
"I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won "militarily." I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.
"This war needs to be personalized. As I said before, I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

"Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation, to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home."

So once again, politics rears its ugly head. Instead of voting on Murtha's original resolution which was worded as followed,
Whereas Congress and the American People have not been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential to "promote the emergence of a democratic government";

Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U, S. military forces cannot be achieved without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional U S. troops, which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft;

Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S. troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;

Whereas U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency,

Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq;

Whereas polls also indicate that 45% of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified;

Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action;

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That:

Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

The GOP rewrote it and dubbed it Murtha's Resolution:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that
the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces
in Iraq be terminated immediately.

What a sham. This is ridiculous.

Posted by Chris at 12:57 PM   | |

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Alito, we have a paper trail and it says no

**sorry for the weird symbols in places where there should be quotation marks and apostrophes, it's a formatting issue I'm trying to fix**

SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito believes that the Constitution does not protect the right for a woman to have an abortion.

From the Washington Post
He also noted that he disagreed with the Warren Court's decisions "in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause and reapportionment." Reapportionment? By far the most notable reapportionment decision of the Warren Court was its famous one-man, one-vote ruling, which required state legislatures to create districts of equal population.

Samuel Alito’s Record on Disability Issues
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Judge Alito's record is his narrow interpretation of the powers that authorize Congress to pass civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws of importance to people with disabilities. His rulings demonstrate cramped views of Congress's powers that would put critical disability rights laws at risk.

The op-ed linked earlier from the WaPo sums up Alito very well, “Alito's memo to Meese was, to be sure, a job application, and the assertions people make when applying for jobs tend to the hyperbolic. But Sam Alito comes off as one of nature's straight shooters, and I see no reason to take his declarations as anything other than accurate representations of his beliefs. Which means, unless he's reversed his thinking or unless deference to precedent trumps his deepest beliefs on constitutionality, that Justice Samuel Alito would, given the opportunity, abolish a woman's federal right to reproductive choice. It's not personal for him; it's constitutional. But it's plenty personal for the American people.”

Ok, so I’m not quite done with Alito…There was an op-ed (Too Perfect to Know the People?) from way back in September that I blogged about (9/8 to be exact). It was on John Roberts, but the same holds true for Sam Alito especially in light of his views toward those whom the judiciary should support most.

I offer you pieces of that op-ed (edited to apply to Alito rather than Roberts)
I sometimes think the best thing that ever happened to me was, at the time, the worst: I flunked out of college. I did so for the usual reasons -- painfully bored with school and distracted by life itself -- and so I went to work for an insurance company while I plowed ahead at night school. From there I went into the Army, emerging with a storehouse of anecdotes. In retrospect, I learned more by failing than I ever would have by succeeding. I wish that [Samuel Alito] had a touch of my incompetence.

Instead, the nominee for associate justice of the United States Supreme Court punched every career ticket right on schedule. He was raised in affluence, educated in private schools, dispatched to [Princeton] and then to [Yale] Law School. [He clerked for a U.S. appellate judge (Leonard I. Garth) and was a United States Attorney during the Regan administration. He now has 15 years as a judge on the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.]

Failure has its uses. Among other things, it can teach us about the human condition. It took a certain kind of cold arrogance to come up with the evacuation plan that New Orleans devised: Get everyone out of town. But what about those who could not get out of town? What about those with no cars or those already living on the streets? In other words, what about the very poor?

The poor? It's as if the idiots up and down the line never heard of them. It's as if no one at the top of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or at the White House knew they existed. Check that. They knew, but it was theoretical: Oh, they'll manage. The thinking was summed up in the sorry remark of Barbara Bush while she was visiting flood evacuees at a Houston relocation site. Since the refugees sent to Houston were poor to start with, she said, "this is working very well for them." Madam, bite thy tongue.

If I had a vote in the Senate, I would not deny it to [Alito] based on his lack of tough times -- nor, for that matter, would I have granted one to Clarence Thomas, who had plenty of them. But when it comes to civil rights, to women's rights, to workers' rights, to gay rights and to the plight of the poor, I would prefer that [Alito] had had his moment of failure. He will [be an integral part of] one branch of the government. I wish he knew more about all of the people.

The Democrats need to send a message that this nomination is not within the mainstream and fight it tooth and nail. I’m still quite hesitant to make a prediction one way or the other as to Alito’s confirmation. He should not be confirmed, but the cards are still in his favor at this point, slightly.


Posted by Chris at 9:10 AM   | |

Iraq a quagmire? No way?!?

**sorry for the weird symbols in places where there should be quotation marks and apostrophes, it's a formatting issue I'm trying to fix**

It's been a while since I've posted anything substantial here. I suppose you could say I took a short hiatus from blogging. Today I have for you some stories that I think cannot receive too much media attention. The first of which is on Iraq.

Congress finally says to Bush "enough is enough" on Iraq –well sort of

The Senate Democrats push a resolution demanding a clear exit strategy from Iraq, and what do the Senate Republicans do? They take the Dems' version and instead of a clear timetable for the removal of troops they designate 2006 as "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty . . . thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq."

Meanwhile, President Bush blasts critics of the war.
While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-NE) words:
"The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration's policies."

Finally, a senator is rejecting the calls that criticizing the war is unpatriotic and sends the wrong message to the troops. I can't get enough of Thomas Jefferson's quote, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

There was a great political cartoon (I can’t find the link) that I saw yesterday from the Washington Post. It showed President Bush leading the nation through quicksand. Bush stubbornly proclaims, “I didn’t mislead. You misfollowed.”

The tide is definitely turning with the American public. The Dems are finding their voice and the Republicans are actually listening. The walls seem to be caving in on Mr. Bush, but God only knows what lies ahead. At this point, all bets are off. I love the thought of the Republicans staying in this stink through the 2006 elections, but that might just be too good to be true.


Posted by Chris at 8:51 AM   | |

Monday, November 07, 2005
Political roundup

Tomorrow, several key elections take place around the country. Governors races in New Jersey and Virginia, the California special election, and the gay marriage vote in Texas. I have yet to blog at length on some things that have caught my eye lately. Hopefully I'll be able to do that soon.

Here's some stuff for your reading pleasure.

A Cheney-Libby Conspiracy, Or Worse? Reading Between the Lines of the Libby Indictment

Alito's Findings for Employers Cited as Evidence

Cheney Fights for Detainee Policy

Daily Kos mentions the above article in this diary: Interpreting the Washington Post: Cheney's Ass is Grass

Supreme Court to Hear Tribunals Challenge
Chief Justice John Roberts has recused himself from this case which means the SCOTUS' decision could result in a deadlock.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 12:27 PM   | |

Thursday, November 03, 2005
In California

I'm back out at Stanford. California is just as beautiful as it was when I left. Will try to blog this weekend. Here are some things to take a look at...

Second judge out in DeLay case

Texans Gear Up to Decide on Gay Marriage
Personally, I don't think this is an issue that should be left up to ballot initiatives. The SCOTUS is eventually going to have to rule on this and legalize it on the federal level. This is not a states' rights issue, imho (in my humble opinion).

Rove's Future Role Is Debated
Karl Rove, resign already please...

Critics See Ammunition In Alito's Rights Record
I don't know about this guy...


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 12:23 PM   | |

Monday, October 31, 2005
from Miers to Scalito

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. GWB appeased his "base" and nominated a "strict constructionist" jurist to the SCOTUS. I have yet to do my homework on Judge Alito, but the early signs are not looking good. The double standard of partisanship is rearing its ugly head.
"Republicans sounded relieved to be rid of the Miers appointment, which collapsed last week after it became clear she faced an uphill climb in winning confirmation.

"Let's give Judge Alito a fair up-or-down vote, not left or right," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

He was one of several Republicans to say so, and there was irony in that.

After battering Democrats for years about denying GOP judicial candidates yes-or-no votes, Republicans eagerly acquiesced in Miers' withdrawal without either hearings in the Judiciary Committee or a vote on the Senate floor."
I feel a bit out of the loop as I've been busy lately getting ready to return to California. I think it's important not to let Alito's nomination overshadow the Libby indictments or the increasing pressure on Syria.

A good op-ed on the current political hypocrisy: Hypocrisy and The Miers Case


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

P.S. This may be the last time I'm able to blog before I leave the good ol' Midwest and return to California. I'm not sure how my schedule is looking between now and Wednesday.

Posted by Chris at 8:25 PM   | |

Thursday, October 27, 2005
Twas the night before Fitzmas

*updated*(also, most of this is cross-posted at Blogs on Bush)
So I thought that I would wait until Fitzmas day before I blogged again, but alas I couldn't resist.

Who woulda thought this time last night that we would have a Harriet Miers withdrawal today?

I wouldn't call myself a political pundit. However, if you happen to scroll down the main page of this blog, you can find at least three different places where I say that Miers would not be confirmed. Like Bill, the bane of my existence, O'Reilly likes to say, "I call it like I see it." Harriet, we hardly knew thee, and as I said before we're not terribly sad to see you go. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) called for Bush to fulfill his campaign promise of nominating a strict constructionist (aka someone who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade) to the SCOTUS. With Fitzmas eve upon us, if Bush should choose to do this a fight will arise in the Senate. The Democrats have no reason to allow some ideologue a carte blanche through the confirmation process. We have a battle on our hands, it's up to President Bush to choose how he wants to fight it. (Bush is setting the religious right up) Looks like Bush should have stuck with his original choice.

October 28, 2005 - the day that rocked the Bush administration is tomorrow.

It's been a long, busy day so I've been out of the blogosphere loop. From what I'm reading, there's talk that Scooter Libby faces indictment while Karl Rove will be under continued investigation (looks like Patrick Fitzgerald is digging in the for long haul). Who knows what's going to happen, all we know is that we know nothing.
from the NY Times
"WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - Associates of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, expected an indictment on Friday charging him with making false statements to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak inquiry, lawyers in the case said Thursday.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday."

from the Washington Post
"Though there was considerable speculation among lawyers for witnesses in the case that Fitzgerald could choose to empanel a new grand jury and extend his investigation, two legal sources said he has indicated he does not plan to take that route and will wrap up the case today."

from the LA Times
"People close to the investigation said that, as of late Thursday afternoon, Rove had received no notice that he was going to be indicted. Some observers took that as a sign that the longtime Bush strategist might emerge from the investigation without being charged.

But others said that Fitzgerald might be waiting until Friday to alert those being charged to reduce the chances of last-minute leaks about his intentions."

from the AP
"A person outside the legal profession familiar with recent developments in the case said Thursday night that Rove's team does not believe he is out of legal jeopardy yet but likely would be spared bad news Friday when the White House fears the first indictments will be issued.

Fitzgerald signaled Thursday he might keep Rove under continuing investigation, sparing him from immediate charges, the person said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury probe."
The problem with all this speculation is that this investigation has been under such tight lips that I wouldn't put my money on anything at this point. We'll know tomorrow much more than anyone is able to guess right now.

Things to read:

Senate Backs Measure to Honor Rosa Parks
I'm glad they're giving Rosa Parks the recognition she deserves. She truly is an American hero; I hope this is just the beginning of honoring her life.

Aide to Cheney Appears Likely to Be Indicted; Rove Under Scrutiny

Miers Withdrawn as Nominee For Court; Search Begins Anew

Possible Supreme Court Nominees
And so it begins again...


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 9:08 PM   | |

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
What's in a number? Plenty if it's 2,000

What a sad day. For the past two years and seven months, an average of two American troops a day has died in Iraq.

Here is a photo essay in honor of our troops.

To our troops, we appreciate your courage, strength, and sacrifice. It breaks my heart that the war for which so many lives has been lost is one that was sold to this nation based on lies.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

I'm done until Fitzmas arrives. Until then, have a good week. Take a minute and look at the life of Rosa Parks. Read Zach's blog. Read Daniel's blog. Let them know that you care and wish them a safe return from Iraq. Think Peace.

Posted by Chris at 11:28 AM   | |

Monday, October 24, 2005
Rosa Parks 1913-2005

Our nation has lost one of the greats of American history. Rosa Parks died Monday, October 24, 2005 at age 92.

"The nation lost a courageous woman and a true American hero. A half century ago, Rosa Parks stood up not only for herself, but for generations upon generations of Americans. Her quiet fight for equality sounded the bells of freedom for millions." ---Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. (read more Comments After the Death of Rosa Parks)

(from the King Encyclopedia of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University; I worked as a reseach intern on the Institute's Liberation Curriculum and wrote some of the entries for the encyclopedia)
On 1 December 1955, Rosa Parks refused a bus driver's request to give her seat to a white passenger. With this act and her subsequent arrest, Parks sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, a nearly year-long struggle to desegregate Montgomery's city buses. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the boycott as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, and Parks' act launched the protest that would catapult King into the national spotlight.

Born in Tuskegee, Alabama on 4 February 1913, Rosa Louise McCauley grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. She was educated at Alabama State College, and in 1932 she married Raymond Parks, a barber and an active member of the NAACP.

In 1943, Parks was hired as secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP, and by the late 1940s, she was named secretary of the Alabama State Conference of NAACP branches. Through this position, she came in contact with a number of civil rights leaders, such as Ella Baker, A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins. In 1954, she reorganized the NAACP Youth Council, for which she served as adult advisor. Under Parks, youth members challenged Jim Crow by checking books out of white libraries and sitting in the white section of buses. Parks also attended a 1955 summer workshop at the Highlander Folk School, where she learned nonviolent protest strategies.

On 1 December 1955, while riding the bus home from her job as a seamstress, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. "People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired," Parks later wrote, "but that is not true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of the day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Parks' arrest elicited a strong reaction from leaders in Montgomery, who had been waiting for the right incident to launch a protest. "She was morally clean and she had fairly good academic training," E. D. Nixon explained. "Now she wasn't afraid and she didn't get excited about anything. If there ever was a person that would have been able to break the situation that existed on the Montgomery City Line, Rosa L. Parks was the women to use."

Parks' protest inspired 42,000 black citizens to boycott the Montgomery city buses for nearly a year. Her participation in the movement continued through the boycott, as she served as a dispatcher, coordinating rides for boycott participants. She was also indicted, along with King and eighty-seven others, for their participation in the boycotts. Her second arrest brought additional attention to the boycott, attracting national press coverage.

The Montgomery bus boycott culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that segregation on city buses is unconstitutional. The success of Montgomery put King into the national spotlight and created a model for challenging segregation in the South with nonviolent protest. Following the boycott victory, Parks continued to face harassment from segregationists and moved to Detroit in 1957. She has continued to be active in civil rights struggles throughout her life.

Watch Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks. It's an Oscar nominated documentary. It tells the story of how one woman's action galvanized a movement. There's a lot more to the story than you might think.

Ms. Parks, you will be dearly missed; when you refused to give up your seat you had no idea how many lives would be forever changed by your actions. You didn't start or stop there. You devoted your life to civil rights and deserve every ounce of recognition you get. We'll celebrate your life forever, but now we mourn your death.

More on Rosa Parks
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks dies at 92

A Bus Ride Jolted Nation's Conscience


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 10:25 PM   | |

Friday, October 21, 2005
A schism of sorts

I've started another blog. When this blog started back in July, it was supposed to be my personal blog. Now it has morphed into a political/current events blog, and I decided that I need to separate the politics from my personal life. So, now we have the creation of Keep Your Thoughts. There shouldn't be much interaction between the two blogs though obviously it'll be more difficult on the other site than on this one. I invite you to check it out (it's also now listed under the "About me" section). I think it is a good decision so now I can rant about my personal life and not have it interfere with the world of politics. Happy weekend, Fitzmas comes early this year! By Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, the toughest period of the Bush administration since 9/11 should be at hand.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 11:04 PM   | |

RNC attempts to salvage Miers nod

(cross-posted in my Daily Kos diary)

I was taking a leap into the conservative blogosphere and found a transcript from a conference call held earlier today held between some conservative bloggers and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch and White House communications advisor Jim Dyke organized by the RNC.

The person responding to the questions is TX Supreme Court Justice Enoch unless otherwise noted.  My emphasis in italics.
What kind of qualities do you think Ms. Miers has to be Supreme Court justice? Does she have strong convictions or feel strongly about issues that are big topics today like Roe v. Wade or gay marriage?

She has strong convictions, but you also asked me what her qualifications were. Let me tell you, what I have seen her display is good judgment and common sense. What I know about her strong convictions is she has them. One of them is the role of the judicial institution. One of the strong convictions among others is the proper role of judges. And I think that gets kind of lost among all this chatter about what does she think. What does she say? It's what you do on a city council or what you do on the American Bar Association that gives you one side of someone's commitment and personal beliefs. But what you do gives you another side. Judicial restraint doesn't mean you go on and follow an agenda. What it's saying is I know the proper role of a judge. I take the facts. I apply the law, and I apply it to the facts and make a decision. I don't make the law. I think we lose some sight about what it is that makes you a good judge. The integrity that you display day in and day out is, in my mind, what qualifies you for this position.
That doesn't sound like any trailblazing to me.  Can't they at least make up something?  He sounds like a terrible salesman.
Tim Chapman: I got a chance yesterday to talk to Congressman Gohmert, a former Texas Supreme Court judge as well, and asked him what he thought of the Miers nomination. And he said that Harriet was a brilliant lawyer, and he thought a great deal of her. But the fact that we have to say, "Let's wait and see" as to her qualifications, means conservatives didn't get what they were looking for.

I love Louie... I don't know how well Congressman Gohmert knew her from day one. But those that knew her over the 30 years, know that she's well qualified for this. And quite frankly, I think some of the conservative commentators who jumped immediately out there with criticisms of this choice, really did so out of ignorance than of knowledge. And of course they'll just say, "Well, we didn't know anything about her. But not everybody who gets put in positions of trust is known by these commentators on the East Coast. I think there is good value in sessions like today, where you are taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to people who do know her and talk about her background, to become knowledgeable in this debate. I think when the Senate hearings are completed, all this wait-and-see attitude will have been done and they will say, "this was a good choice."
He mentions the value of sessions like the conference call, but fails to offer any real insight.
I agree with you that maybe people jumped on this a little too soon, and I've been urging people to wait and see. But I think that those of us who have been urging people to wait and see have become concerned it's not enough to say Ms. Miers will be a legend on the court before she's finished. I think that's what you said. And some of us are saying, aside from your personal opinion, can you reassure us that Ms. Miers will be legendary like the Ford model T and not like the Ford SL.

I think when I first was saying that, I said the icons of the United States Supreme Court, many of whom had never been a judge before they had gotten on that court. I'm in the business of words, and words are cheap. Do the words have any meaning for you, do you live those words? I was always fascinated when someone would ask me, "Well, did Harriet Miers ever tell you this?" I saw her on a daily basis. I saw how she acted and the decisions she made. What I'm telling you is not that I believe that she will be appropriately guided as a judge on the court, or that I believe she'll be a good judge. I'm telling you that I've seen her judgments in action. I've seen her in matters of mundane as well as important, in times of crisis. Proper reflection of her judgment day in and day out was solid, and so I know that Harriet Miers will be an excellent addition to the United States Supreme Court.
Is anyone else buying this crap?

You can read the full transcript here

Let's go back and look at exactly what Justice Enoch said.

1) She has strong convictions
--last time I checked, most public figures have strong convictions; hell, my stoner friends have strong convictions

2) I have seen her display is good judgment and common sense
--I would hope that any person nominated for such an important position would possess both of these traits

3) She has integrity
--see 2)

4) those that knew her over the 30 years, know that she's well qualified for this.
--that's good and well, but there are the 284,998,012 who haven't know her for that long.  Could you provide us with some concrete accomplishments?

5) I believe she'll be a good judge. I'm telling you that I've seen her judgments in action. I've seen her in matters of mundane as well as important, in times of crisis.
--I believe that my constitutional law professor would be a good judge (probably better than Miers), but who cares.  What judgments, what matters, what crises?

What's with these people?  This nomination is on its deathbed.  Harriet, we still hardly know thee, but we won't shed a tear when you leave us.  It was nice not knowing you.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more." <--Does this qualify me for the SCOTUS?

Posted by Chris at 10:30 PM   | |

Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wilma, Fitzmas, Miers, and more

Since my last post, much has happened...

Wilma updated 5 PM CDT

Well, the 21st named storm of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season is among us. Wilma is on a collision course with the Yucatan peninsula and then South Florida. At one point, Wilma registered as the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record with winds in excess of 175 mph. She's maintaining high category 4 level winds (around 145 mph). The Florida Keys are under a mandatory evacuation. It's unbelievable that the 3rd catastrophic-level hurricane is headed toward U.S. soil. I pray that people are able to evacuate safely and timely.

I blogged about the possibility of the Hurricane Center running out of names back on 9/20, and now it has become reality. Hurricane Center May Run Out of Names (that story is from 9/19, now it should be Hurricane Center Has Run Out of Names)

Something wicked, this way comes
(Merry Fitzmas anyone?)
Sooner than later, indictments will be issued by a grand jury summoned by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. If you haven't been following the story religiously as some of us have in the progressive blogosphere, some of the officials facing indictment include Karl Rove, President Bush's chief advisor; Scooter Libby, Chief of Staff to the Vice President; and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The long term implications of Plamegate are highly disputed.

If Patrick Fitzgerald can show that top-level officials in this administration were involved in revealing Plame's identity and then covering it up, we may see obstruction of justice charges against Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. There has been a long air of silence from Fitzgerald's office. He has not leaked any specific details.

The White House has been careful not to comment on the investigation though the rumor mill is going haywire in Washington. Earlier this week, it was said that Cheney was considering resignation with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and Governor Jeb Bush suggested as possible vice presidential nominees. Any of those three would be a disaster as they would be elevated into a strong position heading into the 2008 primaries.

This could be the beginning of the end of Bush and Co.; only time will tell. It's beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas.

from Biblio's Daily Kos diary
a Fitzmas carol for your enjoyment
Walking in a Beltway Wonderland!

Pundits talk, are you listening?
On Rove's brow, sweat is glistening.
A beautiful sight,
Fitz will indict,
Walking in a beltway wonderland!

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he is Preznit Bush.
We'll call him an indicted co-conspirator,
And then we'll start to kick him in the tush!

Can you tell, we're excited?
Just to see, who's indicted!
Those who have clout,
Will be frog-marched out,
Walking in a beltway wonderland!

Plamegate related articles:

Bush Calls Recent Woes 'Background Noise'

Rove Told Jury Libby May Have Been His Source In Leak Case

Saddam on trial

Saddam Hussein's first trial started yesterday in Baghdad but has adjourned until November 28.

Arabs Remain Divided Over Saddam's Legacy

I believe he has probably committed many of the crimes for which he is accused. He still deserves a fair trial. This will undoubtedly be a positive distraction for the Bush administration.

Goodbye Busch Stadium 1966-2005
Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals fell to the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. I was down at Busch Stadium to see the game sadly the last one played in Busch Stadium. It amazing to see so many Cards fans out to support the team and the stadium. I definitely saw plenty of teary-eyed people. The new stadium (also to be named Busch Stadium) is well under construction and will be ready on opening day in 2006. It's too bad the Cards weren't able to reclaim their NLCS title and make another attempt at winning the World Series. The Astros face the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. I'm putting my money on the White Sox.

Harriet, we still barely know theeHarriet Miers continues to make her case for the Supreme Court. She has been asked by the Senate Judiciary Committe to elaborate on the written responses she submitted on a questionnaire. "Barely concealing their irritation during a 35-minute news conference at the Capitol, Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) called the lobbying on Miers's behalf "chaotic," and said the answers she provided Monday to a lengthy questionnaire were inadequate. "The comments I have heard range from incomplete to insulting," Leahy said," reports the Washington Post.

You can read her written responses to the committee here.

She's not doing too well right now. The confirmation hearings begin on 11/7. My gut still tells me she won't be confirmed.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 11:42 AM   | |

Monday, October 17, 2005
The Countdown to Indictments and a little more

The headlines speak for themselves

Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation, People Say

Absurd level of election fraud in Iraq

IRAN: Aspens Turning, Forged Letters, Fake Terror, Real War

I really wish I could blog something of substance, but there's a lot going on lately. My friend's 21st birthday was Saturday, and I'm running on 3 hours of sleep (yes it's Monday morning). Family drama has arisen as well which is never a fun or pleasant thing. Anyways, I'll try to post something later today or within the next couple of days.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by Chris at 8:21 AM   | |

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