Who Didn’t Know?

parker-palmer“I don’t think we should ever doubt our capacity to deny reality. Until you get to be my age, you really believe you’re not gonna die – that fundamental fact of human life. That’s part of our problem. I could make the same argument about the current economic collapse. Who didn’t know this was coming? Who didn’t know that a system that encouraged us to live beyond our means – and provided all kinds of devious and ethically doubtful ways for us to do so – was going to fall apart someday? Who didn’t know that housing was overvalued and stocks were overpriced? Who didn’t know a system that makes the rich richer while the poor get poorer would someday face a curtain call? We all knew it at some level, just like we all know we’re going to die. And yet our capacity to deny reality is huge and I think that we don’t want to know what we really know because if we did then we’d have to change our lives.” – Parker Palmer [on Bill Moyers’ Journal]

Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry

This Product Contains Cannabis [by me]
ZOMG, this product contains cannabis!

Michael Phelps has nothing to apologize for.  I understand the reality he faces, however, and why he has to say what he said.  But let’s go beyond the breathless theatrics and think about the core issue.  “He broke the law,” the pundits are saying, as if that is necessarily the end of the conversation.  Sorry, but Phelps was not wrong; our marijuana laws are wrong.  Really wrong.

Does anybody alive even remember why it was outlawed?  No, of course you don’t – but you’ll do yourself well to look over the historical – and hysterical – record.

Let’s take a few choice quotes from the era of marijuana criminalization, shall we?

“Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”
[1934 newspaper editorial in favor of criminalization]

“All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff is what makes them crazy.”
[Texas legislator arguing for criminalization]

Continue reading Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry

Back To The Future Too

“Various administrations have closed in gloom and weakness … but no other has closed in such paralysis and discredit (in all domestic fields) as did [President Ulysses] Grant’s. The President was without policies or popular support… half its members were utterly inexperienced, several others discredited, one was even disgraced. The personnel of the departments was largely demoralized. The party that autumn appealed for votes on the implicit ground that the next Administration would be totally unlike the one in office. In its centennial year, a year of deepest economic depression, the nation drifted almost rudderless…”

Continue reading Back To The Future Too

Five Reasons Every American Should Be Proud Today

Let’s transcend politics and look at the arc of history today.  The hard work will come – but for now, I wish to revel in some starry-eyed honeymooning.  No matter who you voted for, here are some reasons to be proud of your country today:

Senator John McCain’s Call For Unity

Senator McCain’s concession speech was the most gracious and patriotic concession I have ever heard.  While his crowd seemed to want almost none of it, he – and most of his supporters – are better than that.  This is the man I was excited about in 2000.  Had he run like this – had he been this guy all year – and avoided the neocons who sunk their claws into him, we’d very possibly be looking at a different outcome today.  I continue to believe – as I always have and as I have said publicly loud and often – that John McCain is a good man who wants the best for his nation.  It wasn’t particularly obvious these last few months, and that was tragic.  This speech – and the action that will undoubtedly follow it – serves as a powerful exclamation point on a distinguished career.

Continue reading Five Reasons Every American Should Be Proud Today

President Elect Barack Obama

I’m really thrilled – more excited about this Election Day outcome than any since ’94, when my friend Angus King won the Maine Governorship.

Our nation is confronting once-in-a-lifetime challenges, so the road ahead is rough.  But this outcome makes us far better equipped to face them.  I’m proud of us, and not just for the choice we made, but for the impressive numbers of people who engaged, spoke up, and turned out.

Shortly, the real work begins – but for now, maybe let’s celebrate a little.  Fireworks have actually erupted here in Venice.

Leading into the MSNBC announcement, Chris Matthews said: “The world will look at us – thank God – with wonder again.” NBC called it at exactly 20:00 PST, with a clearly emotional Keith Olbermann delivering the news:

Vote or be Ugly and Uncool

vote for better tape
image by tom.arthur via Flickr

Everyone – please, for the love of all that is holy, get out and vote tomorrow.  If you can vote early (at this point I guess that’s just today), do. Those of you who can’t vote early, please be sure you know where your polling place is, and that you bring anything you may need to bring (some states require ID for first-time voters.)

RockTheVote has a great resource center that helps you figure out where to go and what you need to bring.  Use it.  Now.  And DO IT.

Continue reading Vote or be Ugly and Uncool

Senator Reid: Palin Has News For You

Looks like – if the McCain-Palin ticket wins – that Senator Reid is in for a big surprise. Because Sarah Palin says the Vice President is “in charge” of the US Senate. Golly gee, won’t that be neat!! But shucks, this is probably just more “gotcha” journalism, tryin’ to find out what a candidate knows and thinks n’ stuff…

Action On Blog Action Day

Welcome Blog Action Day listeners.  Thanks Eric, Dawn, and Easton for having me on the show.

Now, let’s back up our talk with action:

Breadlines and Battlecries – a call for you all to get involved in your society today.

A way to fight poverty in Los Angeles.

A way to prevent future poverty everywhere.

A way you might not have thought of to help fight urban poverty and despair: change our nation’s drug policies.

More on my agitate page.