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Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 03:28 PM PDT

We need to export the union movement

by david78209

Today at Netroots Nation, Senator Debbie Stabenow said we need to quit exporting jobs and go back to exporting goods.  I'll suggest we should also export the union movement.

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When someone from housekeeping at a VA hospital did a good job promptly, we asked if we should put in a good word to his boss.

He said, "Please don't."

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For a long time their email seemed to favor the GOP. But yesterday they unloaded on the Koch brothers.
FactCheck.org calls itself A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
http://www.factcheck.org/
I’ve been on their email list a long time.  I think I remember being irritated by the way they seemed to strive for false equivalency in how hard they critiqued what Democrats and Republicans said in election campaigns, going back as far as 2004.  In fact, that’s been my chronic peeve with them – they seem to give as much attention and ink to minor exaggerations by Democrats as they do to flaming lies by Republicans.  But on the nagging fear that some of that impression was due to my own take on politics, I’ve kept reading their emails.

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Do you read articles at FactCheck.org?

52%44 votes
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| 84 votes | Vote | Results

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In his column today, David Brooks tries to get inside Vladimir Putin’s mind.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

Putin was personally involved in getting [Ivan] Ilyin’s remains re-buried back in Russian soil. In 2009, Putin went to consecrate the grave himself.
Discussing Ilyin’s book “Our Tasks”, Brooks writes,  
Three great ideas run through this work. The first is Russian exceptionalism: the idea that Russia has its own unique spiritual status and purpose. The second is devotion to the Orthodox faith. The third is belief in autocracy. Mashed together, these philosophers point to a Russia that is a quasi-theocratic nationalist autocracy destined to play a culminating role on the world stage.
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Do you think Putin has a religious-type devotion to these ideas himself?

36%4 votes
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We have a number of hotly contested primary races going on in Texas, and my phone won't stop ringing.  As a politics junkie, I suppose I ought to appreciate it, but I hate the noise -- especially the phone, even though I've almost completely squelched the ringer.  I'm tired of seeing "Unknown Name" and "Wireless Caller" on the caller ID, and I'm tired of hearing my own voice on the answering machine.  Between my cell phone and land line I've made a dozen complaints to the Do Not Call registry.  The election is a week from tomorrow.  I hope things will quiet down then.
Tonight I got the second call in 3 days from a company that at least lets its name come up on caller ID.  It turned out to be someone trying to get a contribution to a nonprofit group I actually support, which I'd rather not name.  To help me let go of my anger, I often send complaints by email or letter.  Here's what I wrote tonight:

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How do you feel about telemarketing?

0%0 votes
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| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Someone should rate Senators and Representatives on the quality of their constituent service.  When someone writes a Representative for help with a government agency, he or she should get a poll a few months later, asking how receptive and how effective the staff in the Representative's office was with the problem.  Consumer Reports rates cars and washing machines.  US News and Washington Monthly rate colleges.  Some magazine or organization ought to rate Representatives.  Imagine a magazine cover splashed with:
    

"How well does your Representative in Congress serve YOU?
Ratings on all 435!  Is yours one of the top-rated, or at the bottom?"

An exchange of comments with dinotrac motivated me to write this up.  You can find the comments here:
http://www.dailykos.com/...
Some people, even ones who post here, seem timid about asking their Congresscritter for help.  Hell, I think that's what we're paying them for.  We should dump any complaint we can in their laps.
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Have you ever asked your Congresscritter for help with a government agency?

53%16 votes
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From today's New York Times:
"E.U. Panel Invites Snowden to Testify on Privacy Breaches"
http://www.nytimes.com/...

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Should Snowden testify by video link even if they don't give him asylum?

11%2 votes
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In the latest insult to the Fourth Amendment, a Brooklyn judge has upheld the right to search and seize laptop computers at the border.
http://www.nytimes.com/...

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by Pascal Abidor, a graduate student in Islamic studies, who sued the government after American border agents removed him from an Amtrak train crossing from Canada to New York. He was handcuffed, placed in a cell and questioned for several hours, then his laptop was seized and kept for 11 days.
 The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Press Photographers Association were also plaintiffs in the case, arguing that their members travel with confidential information that should be protected from government scrutiny.
In rejecting this argument, Judge Korman cited the rarity of electronic device searches and questioned whether travelers need to carry computers containing sensitive data when they travel abroad.
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Have you ever had anything confiscated by Customs?

72%54 votes
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:51 PM PST

Enrolling a 28 year old in Obamacare

by david78209

Tonight my son and I got him enrolled through the Affordable Care Act, but we had to do it over the telephone.  Our experience was a bit more frustrating than what YaNevaNo reports in this diary, which I urge you to read for comparison:  
http://www.dailykos.com/...

We live in Texas, so we had to try to go through the national web site.  If we'd created an account for my son months ago, as YaNevaNo did, we might have been able to finish things on the internet.  As it was, I spent about 50 minutes listening to pleasant music on hold, and the application and enrollment was just another 25 minutes.

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Have you enrolled on the healthcare.gov web site, or helped someone else do it?

57%27 votes
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| 47 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 03:32 PM PDT

Lock the committee in a room

by david78209

One possibly useful thing to come out of the standoff on closing the government and not raising the debt limit is that both parties seem agreeable to a committee to come up with a long term plan for budgets, which presumably includes spending, taxes, and economic growth.  The same committee, I think, is charged with coming up with a budget compromise by December 13.  If they don't meet that deadline, they should lock those Senators and Representatives in a conference room until they come up with an annual budget.  

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Getting this change would be

0%0 votes
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I just got a junk phone call, a recording, on a phone number that's been on the Do Not Call registry for a nice long time.  I tried to go to the "File a Complaint" page of donotcall. gov  and found:

National Do Not Call Registry

Due to the Government shutdown, we are unable to offer this website service at this time. We will resume normal operations when the government is funded.

Debido al cierre del gobierno no podemos ofrecer este servicio telefónico en este momento. Nosotros reanudaremos el funcionamiento normal cuando el gobierno este fianciado.

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Have you gotten more junk calls lately?

90%94 votes
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| 104 votes | Vote | Results

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and I think we should all have it.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-NSA) among others is trying to write into law a definition of a "professional journalist."  Coming from her, it's probably part of an effort to deny privacy rights to as many of us as possible by excluding us from her definition, but that got me thinking a few days ago about how we might all qualify as journalists.
Then, Friday August 23, 2013, I sent an email to the NY Times Public Editor suggesting that she and all reporters, or at least all investigative reporters, should be set up to receive encrypted email.  

The more I think about it, the more I think the ability and willingness to accept and read encrypted (read private, because that's what it is) messages is the hallmark of an investigative journalist.  So now I suppose I need to learn how to do that myself, and maybe we all should.  That way we can all stake a claim to be journalists, entitled to whatever (extra) rights come with that status.  Also, that way we can all receive [encrypted] private email.  And if we and our friends start sending lots of privacy-protected email, it would strain the NSA's ability to read it all and it would greatly dilute the allegation that encrypted email is inherently suspicious.  It shouldn't be any more suspicious than sealing a first class envelope.

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Have you tried encrypted E-mail?

28%11 votes
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| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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