Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Am I Missing Something?

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How can a person commit voter fraud without actually voting? I could see where it might be REGISTRATION fraud.  But can it really be called VOTER fraud before you have actually attempted to vote?

I have always thought that GET OUT THE VOTE promotions where canvassers go to shopping centers, RTA bus stops, and other places where there are large numbers of people are problematic.  First of all, you haven’t identified a VOTER you have probably identified someone who cannot say “no” and they find it easier to fill out your form and let you go away thinking that you have just signed up a voter for an upcoming election.  NOT!!  7 times out of 10 these people have no intention of going to the polls to vote.   In my estimation, this type of GOTV effort is a waste of time.

On the other hand, a neighborhood canvas identifying people who have recently moved into the area as well as those who have lived there but never registered to vote is a step up.  I would still maintain that you have not identified someone who will VOTE.  You have simply added another registration to the rolls.

And so this brings me to my estimation of this Republican version of “the Sky is Falling”   that there will be rampant voter fraud on election day.  Poppycock!  Talk about much ado over nothing.  Should canvassers who submitted multiple cards with the same names and addresses be fired?   Yes!  Should organizations that clog the voter rolls with bogus registrations be reprimanded? Yes!  Should they be warned if the registrations that they submit continue to have problems that they will not be welcome to help in GOTV efforts? Yes!  In fact, there should be a way of not allowing these organizations to participate at all. Would this include the Republican Party that sent out faulty registration cards?  Hmmm!

Again, I assert that many of the people demanding satisfaction don’t have a clue as to what they are screaming to achieve.  Or maybe they do.  Voter suppression is a much more likely outcome than any voter fraud.  People may stay away from the polls because they don’t want to be harassed when trying to vote.  More likely, they will stay away because they fear long lines and waits to vote.  Neither a good reason to stay away from the polls.

Anyone who knows who they are and where they live will probably have acceptable identification to take with them so that any challenger would not do so.  So go vote!  And to those of you so willing to say that there will be rampant voter fraud I ask how many of you are working as a poll worker in your county?  It is imperative for Ohio and the nation that we have a smoothly run election this November.  I ask what are you doing to make it so?  How sad when our political parties find it more advantageous to spend precious time in a courtroom rather than working together to make our national election safe, efficient, and credible. 

Oh and those questionable registrations by new “voters”.  They aren’t going to show up at the polls anyway.  But, wow, haven’t they created a “tempest in a teapot”.        

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 16th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Tennessee Contemplation of Pirates

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While in Tennessee visiting my granddaughter Teagan and her parents, one day, as I sipped my coffee, I began thinking about the global financial crisis which led me to financiers, stock brokers, and bankers. Suddenly, my mind wandered over to pirates.  At that time, my take was that pirates way back when had a code of ethics that prevented them from plundering certain countries-loyal to the crown and all that. Certain ports were protected. The pirate crews, often retreated to their own islands dividing their booty carousing and living the good life until they ran low on rum and other necessities. They, then.  took another foray out into the world.  Given the romantic notion that we now have of pirates, it is often thought that they did not take more than was necessary to keep themselves and their communities alive and well.

Fast forward to the pirates of today, and it is hard to see where the loyalties of these modern day pirates lie.  Basically, it seemed more like a feeding frenzy of sharks who had been given the hapless pirate who “walked the plank”.  Needless to say, I thought my early morning musings farfetched and fanciful so I parked them in the dark recesses of my mind doubting that they would see the light of day.  And then, today, I read this article from  the October 15, 2008 Science Daily which comments on the recent writings of Dr. Peter Hayes, Senior Lecturer on Politics at the University of Sunderland     

No longer so far-fetched.  But now, my mind wanders to dinosaurs, evolution, and how some species become extinct.  And, as I wander I wonder, is it time for these dinosaurs to die?  And if they die, what will evolve to take their place? 

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 15th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Takes A Stand: His Reasoned Reply

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We received the following letter from our U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. I feel a whole lot better knowing some of  his thought process on the $700 Billion “bailout”.  I am sure that he shared the same thoughts with all of his constituents who wrote him concerning this issue so I am sharing it here.

Thank you for expressing your concerns with the problems in the financial sector and how we address them.

A lot of Ohioans, including me, are angry at the thought of bailing out people who made a lot of money making bad business decisions that created problems in neighborhoods across Ohio. I agree that we need to avoid rewarding excessive risk taking. These institutions made unwise decisions, and taxpayers should not be expected to simply cover their losses.

On September 20th, Treasury Secretary Paulson sent a proposal to Congress that would have given him almost unfettered authority to spend $700 billion purchasing troubled assets from financial institutions. A few days later, my colleagues on the Banking Committee and I held a hearing at which Secretary Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and others testified.

They made a strong case for the need to act quickly to prevent further damage to our economy. The turmoil in the credit markets has the potential to do great damage to a lot of innocent bystanders. I am afraid that if we do not act, the economic instability could affect thousands of American jobs and the savings of countless middle class families.

But Secretary Paulson’s proposal was not the right answer. No Secretary should be given a $700 billion blank check. Taxpayers must be given an opportunity to recover their money, and assurances their tax dollars will not fund lavish pay and golden parachutes. We need strong rules to guard against abuse and we need to ensure that Ohio is helped and not just Wall Street. The legislation adopted by the Senate, with my support, makes each of these changes.

This was a difficult vote. But Ohio has already lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs over the past seven years as our unemployment rate has spiked. Retirement and college savings accounts have shriveled. Credit is becoming more expensive for small businesses. We cannot gamble on even greater economic dislocation.

This week’s vote was not the end of our work on this issue. In the months ahead we need to enact tough rules to govern our financial markets to ensure we never find ourselves in this situation again.
Sincerely,
Sherrod Brown

I will post U.S. Senator George Voinovich’s reply when received.

 

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 3rd, 2008 at 11:14 am

The Nation Waits with Bated Breath–Is It a Loan or Is it a Bailout?

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Warren Buffett knows if you are going to take on great risk, be sure to negotiate a hard bargain and at least have the option to make millions.  I just received my latest edition of The Economist where I learned this. 

I haven’t seen anything on line about the $700 Billion Bailout of the banking industry.  Personally, I like the idea of loaning them the money.  You see, when they get behind on their loans because they haven’t the money to pay back the American taxpayer, we can have our servicing agent, the government, tell them that their “client” has informed them that they can no longer work with them and that they are in default.  We, the taxpayers, will then own the banks.  In other words, we can foreclose on them. Turnabout is fair play.

Why in the world would we the American Taxpayer give the money to the banks without getting something in return?  Shouldn’t we let the free market decide which banks would survive and which would become part of the collateral owned by the United States?  After all, I believe that is what U.S. Treasurer Hank Paulson recommended not so long ago when told that the housing bubble had burst and that the walls were crumbling down.

Of course, no one knew just how far the rolling stones would fall and now that retirement and pension funds, local and state governments will be affected by this debacle, something should be done.  But I ask you, why should we give them this money with no strings attached so that they can again “play the game” with no repercussions for the reckless way they played “the game” this time?

Could that be the problem with this whole scenario?  It wasn’t a game, it was people’s lives, it was people’s savings, it was America’s way of life.  It was only a game to those who saw only the numbers and never the faces behind those numbers.

I see no reason that we the American Taxpayer should bail out the financial industry without receiving something in return.  After all, according to the investment gurus, our world revolves on ROI (Return on Investment).  Maybe not so much.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 29th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

In the Dark of Night The Senate Succumbs Once Again–Naming Your Intellectual Property Orphans

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Shannon Okey has asked for help in getting the word out about this latest attack on individual Intellectual Property.  Her article here says it better than I ever could.  Be sure to use the sidebar to gain knowledge of why artists, bloggers, small business people, and anyone else who believes in freedom of expression should do what Shannon asks of us.

Notify your congressperson that you are against this latest attempt to tie our hands, our tongues, and our minds to a mindless buisness  bureaucracy when innovation and creativity should be keywords in any endeavor in our country today. 

Please note the clandestine way that these examples of special interest legislation become part of our law that governs us.  Does anyone else get a shiver up their spine when the chance to object is limited to fifteen minutes and when no objection is recorded within those fifteen minutes the legislation passes by unanimous consent with no roll call vote?  WOW!

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 29th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Who Speaks for the Pig in all this folderol?

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I do.  Look we never asked to be the focal point of the 2008 General Election.  Who knew that the phrase “lipstick on a pig” would become the most important topic on the political scene with just six weeks left until the American Public vote for their next leader?

There hasn’t been this much to talk about in the barnyard since Orwell wrote that terrible book depicting us pigs as power-hungry despots. Actually, discourse among humans has decidedly deteriorated since that book was written.

We sure wish that the news media thought there was more to talk about than just us pigs.  Oh yes, we listen to  the news quite frequently.  No self-respecting farmer fails to have a radio in the barn.  They may be busy, but they keep informed.  So sad that politicians and news moguls think that the American voters are morons and would rather be entertained than informed.  Us pigs are quite concerned that we may have to take over barnyards all over the United States just as George Orwell predicted in Animal Farm.  Oh wait, somebody just told me that book was a satire.

Well, I’m not sure that pigs running things wouldn’t be a step up.  At least we already know that lipstick on a pig looks ridiculous and no self-respecting pig  would wear it.  People look down on us because we wallow in our own, well you-all-know-what.  I ask you what is different about what you humans are doing? 

I told my friend Suey the other day, well at least they aren’t talking about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear or are you?

 

h/t to my friend Gloria who let me borrow her blog.

 

Patchouli Porker

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 14th, 2008 at 11:23 am

What Previous Occupation Prepares one to be The President of the United States?

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Lately, there has been a lot of talk of what occupation better prepares one to be President of the United States or what set of experiences makes one the more likely choice for president or even the importance of how much experience one has at a certain occupation.  It got me to wondering about past presidents and what there previous occupations were and how those occupations may or may not have had a direct correlation to the presidency.

After this cursory bit of research, I realized that maybe occupation and experience are not the criteria we should use to select our next  president.  Maybe, we should be looking at what kind of leader the candidate would be.  Now, there are many types of leaders so maybe the first order of business would be to choose the type of leader that would make you more comfortable.  Then, it would be important to choose the attributes that you would find important in a leader of your nation. So for now, here is what I am looking for in the next president of the United States:

-the ability to speak coherently and intelligently about a myriad of subjects.  This attribute is necessary so that he does not embarrass us at home or abroad by misspeaking or miscommunicating our policies as a nation.

-the ability to listen.  I want someone who will listen to other viewpoints and weigh consequences before making decisions.  

-the ability to know that it is not about him but about US.  The president of the United States should make every decision based on how it will affect our nation not only today but seven generations from now.

-the ability to surround himself with people more talented than him so he gets the best advice possible.  This attribute will become EXTREMELY important when choosing a cabinet to guide us.     

-the ability to talk to the American public like we have a brain.  I am SO tired of elected officials acting like “they know what is best for the masses”.  We are, after all, on the ground and know better than those who live within the beltway the pulse of our economy, our educational system, our banking system., our social services safety net.

-the ability to step away from sound bites and ACTUALLY tell it like it is.  If the next president doesn’t do this, a huge opportunity will be lost.  

-the ability to embrace the idea that we are in the 21st century and old models will no longer work to make our nation as a whole more prosperous.  Time is shifting and we need to shift as well if we are going to be where we should be.  

Five out of seven will probably make it for me because if one of the candidates has that many abilities, there will definitely be hope.  Oh yeah,  did I mention hope.  Hope is a big one for me because actually, the American people have the ability to do a whole hell of a lot on their own, but only if they have hope.

Many who read this will find this simplistic but maybe it is.  Could we have made it way too hard recently?  Could we be so intent on what keeps us apart that we have failed to see what keeps us together?  Is that the function of a president?  Is he the one who helps us stay focused leaving it up to the rest of us to make it better?  After all, if we truly wanted a manager wouldn’t we be looking somewhere else? 

I believe that our forefathers set up a great government way back when.  How could they have known how important the checks and balances of a judicial, executive, and legislative branch would be?  How would they know that in the coming years that those checks and balances would be used again and again to keep our country alive and strong?  And most of all, how would they have known how important it would be to guard against presidents who would be king or presidents who just weren’t up to snuff or that others who really had never shone in any other occupation would become giants among men? And, although, the media and the political parties would have us think that who we choose for our next president will make us or break us,  I seriously doubt it.  Does that mean I don’t want to make a fair and balanced choice when I cast my ballot?  No, but I sure think it brings some things into perspective.   I hold the cards just like every other voter who will cast a vote in November.  Let’s make them work for our vote.     

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 5th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

The Value of Community Organizing is Unlimited

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I wrote what appears below as a comment over on RealNEO in response to a great post about the value of community organizing by Kevin Cronin.  When I previewed the comment before posting, I decided that I wanted to crosspost it here at my site because I believe that we need to make sure that at every turn our elected government officials know that they are public servants and that the public they serve is us.

I think the disparaging remarks about community organizing shows that these politicians are very out of touch with the reality of the world.  Community organizing and community engagement will be the future of government in our nation.  Those leaders that understand the immense value of the knowledge that people on the ground and in the neighborhoods bring to what is needed and how to provide it will be key in our government moving into the 21st century.  Although some would have you believe that people want hand outs and a free ride, the exact opposite is true.  The vast majority want the chance, sometimes the second chance, to make it on their own.  Unlike some who strive for wealth they instead know that health, education, and opportunity is what is important. 

Instead of looking down their noses at community organizing, they should understand that the dismissing of the community by those offhand remarks will probably in the end be their undoing.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 4th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Do We Dare Hope?

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Lately, in news stories and on blogs I have read a lot of criticism about my generation–the boomers.  Some of it deserved. some of it written by journalists and bloggers who are obviously not boomers.  Even when we were younger, our parents’ generation called us the “me” generation so a lot of what is written is nothing new.  We have heard it time and time again throughout our lives.

We grew up in a time when thinking about “me” was possible.  it didn’t mean that we were not aware of what was going on all around us or that we didn’t care.  I graduated in 1968.  Graduation is a time when the whole world is right there in front of you ripe for the taking.  This is what was happening in my world and my friends’ worlds-The TET Offensive,  Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination,  The Chicago 7, the looting and burning of our cities,  many of my friends, at 18, went to Vietnam. Yet, we dared to hope. We hoped that someone with the vision of MLK or RFK would step up and be able to right our world.

In 1970, things had gone from bad to worse.  The invasion of Cambodia began.  On May 4, Kent State experienced a tragedy that no college campus should have in their history, and ten days later on May 14, Jackson State experienced the very same tragedy.    Many of our friends who had been to Vietnam were now home telling us that the stories in the press didn’t tell the truth.  “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem” cropped up everywhere on campus-sidewalks, walls, signs.  Nothing was safe.  The environmental phrase had ventured in to every aspect that we who could not vote were trying to change the only way we knew how by shouting, by writing, by standing up and refusing to believe what we were hearing and seeing were the only alternatives open to us.

In 1973, we were beginning our lives in the “real world”-the world of opportunity and work.  The fall of Saigon happened.  Soldiers coming home from Vietnam were met with contempt, disdain, and unemployment as if they were some how to blame for America’s plight.  College students were met with distrust and unemployment.  Everyone suffered from high prices, inflation, and the threat of unemployment.  Me,  a month before the school year started had no offers of employment.  Two weeks before the school bells rang,  I had three.

Today, the world is changing quickly.  What my cohorts and I experienced is the past.  We can do nothing about the past, but we can do something in the present.  Someone very close to me says that we are getting a second chance.  This time we need to get it right.  I believe that.  And I believe that as a boomer I have the chance to make things turn out differently this time.  Sometimes, we need to go through troubled times to understand what can be done differently.

As boomers, we have real choice in the coming election,  we can vote.   What we cannot afford to forget is what we experienced in 1968 when we did not have the right to vote.  This time the future is in our hands.  This time we can change the world.  I hope that we all have the nerve to look back, remember, and jump feet first into uncharted waters.  After all, what do we have if we don’t have hope.

l                      

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 1st, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Say It Isn’t So

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Something is greatly disturbing me on this Election Day.  Reading comments on blogs, reading news stories from the wire services, and receiving three phone calls last night from Republican friends asking for advice on which judges to vote for on the Democratic ballot has made me shake my head in wonder.  How have we come to this?  Has the casino mentality really entered our election process?  For years, I have felt that the comparison to horse races and other sports events didn’t bode well for how we looked at elections, but this year has made me convinced that we have come to what may be seen as a new low.

The crux of my concern is this, folks; apparently the Republicans led by Rush Limbaugh believe that their boy John McCain has a better chance in November if the Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton.  Hence, Republicans switching parties to help us Democrats choose our candidate to run in November.  Does anyone else think that this scenario is terribly wrong? Independents are the only ones who should decide on Election Day if they want to back one particular party over another to nominate a candidate for president.

Don’t get me wrong. If a Republican or Democrat truly believes that the ideology of their party no longer represents what they believe then by all means change parties, but to cynically change parties for the short term for the ability to choose the candidate for the general election, because you have no race in your own party, is just PLAIN WRONG!! 

The first time I saw this happen was when Democratic women were urged to vote for Robert Dole in the primary so that in November a pro-choice candidate would win the presidency.  I thought it was cynical and wrong then, and I still do.  We should not be switching parties like we do last year’s fashions.  But then again, does this speak to a much deeper problem within our party system?

I think that the bigger question might be why is there such little loyalty to a party that switching is no big deal?  Could it mean that the party system is little more than frosting to hide the fact that under the surface not much is different between them?  Would anyone say that either party speaks to a large percentage of Americans or, would it be safe to say that each party speaks more to smaller factions and special interests while the huge majority of us feel like poor wayfaring strangers?

After the dust settles and the winners are announced later tonight, several questions will remain?  Just whose interests were served today?  And, how can we fault voters for cynically feeling that the votes they cast really don’t mean very much?  I challenge each and every one of us to turn this country toward a new day and get off this cynical self-interested merry-go-round that infiltrates one of the cornerstones of our republic.  We need to treat our election process with the respect and dignity that it deserves.  Our ancestors who founded this country and those of us who had ancestors who came here for a better life deserve better from us their descendents.  Our children and grandchildren deserve a better legacy that what we are forging today.

I hope that each and every one of you voted today for someone that you believed in and not because you thought that that person would lose in November.  How very sad that some of us see changing parties as a valid option, not because of a change in belief but trying to achieve an outcome.  We need to remember that this is not a game of chance but the future of our country.  We may not agree on how to get to where we are going, but we should all agree on how damn important it is.

 

 

 

 

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 4th, 2008 at 3:16 pm