News!

May. 18th, 2010 12:40 pm
katernater: (politics ❝ chief of staff.)
Indiana Rep. Mark Souder resigns because of an affair with a staffer.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. Now, I appreciate the fact that he has appeared to take responsibility for what happened, and his resignation is, for all intents and purposes, the very least he can do for the citizens of northeast Indiana. But I do not envy him the crap he's going to have to take from his wife and family (he's been married for 35 years and has a few adult children) and, to a lesser degree, from his own party.

I have a personal beef with Souder. When I was eleven or so, I wrote his office a letter and asked him to look into the effects of the large-scale secret chemical testing that took place in my hometown in the 1950s-60s. In response to the growing fear that the Soviets were going to develop some form of chemical weapon in the wake of World War II, Franklin Roosevelt set up the U.S. Biological Warfare Program. The program carried out large-scale secret tests over 33 cities in the United States, including Corpus Christi, St. Louis, and Fort Wayne. They set up trucks at the perimeter of the cities and released an inestimable quantity of zinc cadmium sulfide into the air, effectively dousing the city and its population. There was -- is -- some debate as to the effects of the chemical on humans. Cadmium is, of course, poisonous, and has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. My grandmother died of advanced stage cancer. Now, while there is no evidence to suggest an ad hoc ergo propter hoc situation (my grandmother was a smoker for years), I can say with reasonable certainty that the chemical spraying did not exactly leave her immune system unscathed.

Anyway, the point is that, when I wrote to Congressman Souder asking him to reopen the investigation (this was before a formal inquiry into the chemical spraying, in 1997), I got a form letter in response, completely ignoring my question and -- infuriatingly -- asking me to support him in his reelection campaign in the fall. I was eleven years old.

So, now, am I sorry to see him go? Certainly not. You can bet that I am going to follow the search for his replacement very closely.

(Also, there is a Souder-related "chemical spraying" joke in here, but I just can't find it.)

[ETA:]
A link passed on to me by my dad: Six months ago, Mark Souder was interviewed by Tracy Jackson, the woman who has been linked to the affair. They discuss -- get this -- abstinence education. The link is here, but get it while it's hot. I have a feeling they're going to pull it soon.
katernater: (calm ☤ trouble is a friend.)
I want to speak, briefly, about the passage of health care reform. It is no secret that I have supported to move for wider health care support for the American people. I believe that other countries who have a nationalized health care system (Canada, Great Britain) have provided good, comparative examples for our own system. They have their drawbacks, of course, but I think the spirit of universal health care has merit: getting health services to those people who need them, when they need them, in the most humanitarian way possible.

I am disheartened by the arguments and behaviors expressed by the so-called "opposition." Those individuals who believe that a national system of health care means that the government will now be able to decide who lives and who dies, and who believe that this kind of reform is nothing more than a stunt by the Obama administration to try and drum up support before the elections in November. I am disheartened and disappointed by these accusations, both on behalf of myself (I have no health insurance) and on behalf of the 44 million Americans who do not have adequate coverage. When I worked at Hallmark, I knew a fellow employee who was four months pregnant but who had not been to a doctor once during her pregnancy because she did not have health insurance. No check-ups, no pre-natal vitamins, no ultrasounds. She told me that the only way she knew she was still pregnant was the movement of the baby from time to time, or the fact that she still got nauseous in the morning. The fact that that young mother even had to make that decision -- not to go to the doctor because she did not have health insurance -- is unconscionable to me. Everyone -- regardless of whether or not they are working full-time, part-time, or not at all -- should have access to health care without having to worry about how they are going to pay for it. Or, worse, deciding not to go at all because they can't.

I am not naive. I realize that this is not the be-all, end-all answer to the problem of health care. I realize that it will take a lot of work to make these things happen, that there will be imperfections, and I know that it will not come cheap. But I believe that it is a start. A reason to hope.

I do not know what happened to that young mother. She left shortly before the store closed and I lost track of her. By the time most of the provisions in the bill are actually implemented, she will have already given birth (I hope) and begun to raise her child. However, I am encouraged by the fact that, through the passage of health care reform this week, her son or daughter will grow up having access to services they need. My brother, now 21, will be covered under my parents' insurance plan for another five years. Should my mom or dad get sick, they cannot be turned away because of a pre-existing condition. For my part, I am almost finished with my graduate work and will hopefully enter into some kind of full-time academic employment, for which I believe adequate health care coverage will be provided. I am optimistic about the future and hope that, when all is said and done, I have good reason to be.

Also, Valparaiso University has scheduled a "Beyond Tolerance" event on campus, which is meant to (ostensibly) reconcile the issues between the campus's GLBT community and the Lutheran philosophies held by the university. I am interested in going, if only to see how the matter is treated. A fellow classmate of mine, Sean, might go, too. But we are both hesitant to attend because we don't want to get angry. But I told Sean that we could always sit in, listen to what is being said and, if we don't agree with it, leave when there is a break in the program. From what I can tell of the posters around campus, it looks like it will be a fairly inclusive event.

Wow, this turned into an issues post fairly easily.

Here is a picture of Todd with a mohawk:

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katernater: (actor ☆ ziggy played guitar.)
“Snowball in hand, the President chases Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on the White House Colonnade. To escape, Rahm ran through the Rose Garden, which unfortunately for him, was knee-deep in snow."

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Found here.
katernater: (politics (br) // Match made in Chi-Town)
"I wake up some mornings hating me, too."
-- Rahm Emanuel
katernater: (hope (w) // I like your enthusiasm)
I did a bit more digging on Obama's choice for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (read: I did an AP Wire search for Rahm Emanuel while I was playing FreeCell in another application window) and I have to say that, while his politics seem to lean him toward "tough street dog", the man is actually a silver fox.

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This Cabinet is so pretty, I want to put China in it )
katernater: (pleased (ca) // My nerdy little heart)
Todd and I spent part of the afternoon at an outdoor festival, looking for maple creams and apple pies and watching people buy stacks of wheat and grass which, at any other point in the year would constitute yard refuse, but since a woman in a puffy hat and period clothes is selling it, it is considered "country kitsch."

And then I got a phone call from MoveOn.org today, asking me if I'd be willing to donate part of next Saturday to help the phone pools at the Obama office downtown. I think I'm going to do it. I haven't been too active in the campaign up to this point, but I'm always reenergized about politics after I hear Obama speak. If nothing else, the fervor of this election has helped to clear away some of the political ennui in this country; people are actually excited about politics for a change. When I go out to dinner, I hear people at other tables discussing party platforms; I hear people in line behind me at the grocer's defending their candidate of choice -- often adamantly. It's an invigorating and politically stimulating time to be an American citizen.

And, in case you missed it: Voter registration information for all 50 states.

If you have not already registered, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Political activism always makes me want to listen to the Newsies soundtrack. Can't you see Joe Biden doing a plié while wearing a cabbie hat?

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