Written by Audrie Zettick on November 16, 2009
Hat tip to Tabitha Hale, who posted this video today by Steve Crowder about Gitmo. Okay, you say, you’re not so into discussing Guantanamo Bay and the detainees. You’d rather, say, read the massive Democrat health care bill. Trust me on this one. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for about 12 minutes. It’s worth it. A humorous look at a very serious subject. And you’ll learn something.
Written by Audrie Zettick on October 6, 2009
South of the border, speed bumps are apparently as common as tequila–though admittedly not so enjoyable. In an attempt to ameliorate the “dirty air” around Mexico City, government officials are facilitating the private development of “smart speed bumps.” The idea: when a car going the correct speed begins to go over the bump, the speed bump flattens, letting the obedient driver avoid the usual abrupt “thunk” while helping his or her gas mileage.
I believe in American ingenuity, so I’m calling on inventors to apply similar technology here in the U.S. of A. Think of it: a smart speed bump to slow down government spending. Balance the budget and see that government lives within its means, then it’s smooth sailing. Spend a few billion too much and thunk–the speed bump slams into place.
Of course, the ability to recall elected officials and a requirement for a balanced budget would be a good substitute for a smart speed bump. And they might clear the hot air around D.C. as well.
Written by Audrie Zettick on September 21, 2009
After a several-week technology meltdown that required a new hard drive, reinstallation of my software and restoring of my files (bless Carbonite!), I thought I’d start back to blogging with some light brain food.
“If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do.”
Sounds like a GOP campaign ad tag line in there somewhere. I couldn’t have said it better.
Moveon.org tries to move forward with their “Big Insurance Sick of It” Rallies, basically a counter protest to the tea parties albeit focused on health care. According to their website, 100 rallies are planned so far.
Moveon guidance to Sick of It rallies: if confronted w/right wing protests, sing patriotic songs and make sure articulate spokesperson seeks media. Now there’s spontaneous from-the-heart-protests-not-organized-by-big-groups for you.
Actually, I have my own sign being readied in case I see any of these rallies in my area:
BIG GOVERNMENT: SICK OF IT.
Written by Audrie Zettick on August 15, 2009
A good friend sent me an email she’d received that contained a flash video by the ACLU. It’s a fictional account of how we might all be ordering pizza in a year or two, given the Federal government’s propensity for collecting information on us. Check it out.
They say humor is best when it’s based on reality. I’d say this presentation is funny, except it’s also scary. Do I think we as citizens would let our government get to this point? Probably not. Yet it’s not too far fetched to think of a health insurance plan that knows what we eat and holds us accountable somehow.
The end of the presentation contains a link to a petition asking for repeal of the Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 and requiring that all states share their motor vehicle databases to establish a national ID number for each of us.
We may have worried over this in the Bush administration. With the potential advent of a national health database, the concern has upped a few notches. Given that, the ACLU encourages people to send this message:
The ACLU needs our help to protect Americans’ right to privacy today!
New technologies and government policies are eroding our personal privacy and creating a 24-hour total surveillance society. One example is a dangerous program ominously called the Matrix - that combines state government records with commercially available data to create a vast database capable of compiling and analyzing a profile of every American.
Click on the postcard to watch this humorous flash video and tell Congress to protect your privacy now!
A couple years ago, I did a few consulting days for a state contractor who (at the time) was trying to pitch matrix-like technology to state government (I was not hired for this aspect of their operations). The guy that contracted with me told me about it, asked me if I’d like him to put my name in the system to see what they found. It was an eye-opener for me.
Thus, when I saw this video from the ACLU, for once, I agree.
Written by Audrie Zettick on August 3, 2009
Courtesy of Atlas Shrugs, here are some videos and other links that cover Arlen Specter’s Town Hall in Philadelphia on August 2. Worth the watch. I couldn’t make the Philly event as I was busy yesterday at a local meet up with several Smart Girl Politics central PA members. We plan to attend his Lebanon, PA town hall.
Here are upcoming Specter town halls. Wonder if he’ll be more prepared. I’m certainly tired of the “we-haven’t-had-time-to-read-the-whole-health-care-bill” excuse we’ve heard from our elected reps.
- Tuesday, August 11, 2009 @ 9:30am
HACC – Lebanon Campus, Multipurpose Room
735 Cumberland Street
Lebanon, PA 17042
- Tuesday, August 11, 2009 @ 3:45pm
Bucknell University, Trout Auditorium
701 Moore Avenue
Lewisburg, PA 17837
- Wednesday, August 12, 2009 @ 8:30am
The Penn Stater, President’s Hall 4
215 Innovation Boulevard
State College, PA 16803-6603
- Thursday, August 13, 2009 @ 3:00 pm
415 Butler Road
Kittanning, PA 16201
Written by Audrie Zettick on July 13, 2009
Like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, taxpayers have recently been assaulted with many wish-it-weren’t-for-real events that make me watch for the white rabbit. It’s been a Wonderland of events and characters. Among them:
Queen of Hearts: Nancy Pelosi. Politico recounts how she “whipped” together the votes for Cap and Trade, replacing “off with their heads” with dogged, in-your-face (and perhaps other body parts) persistence. Worried more about her reputation than the content of the bill, witnesses recounted that she and her sidekicks even surrounded one holdout–Rep. Joe Baca–who then (surprise!) voted in favor of Cap and Trade. No wonder Congressman Ciro Rodriguez sprinted like a rabbit out of the House chamber after surprising Pelosi with a “no” vote.
The Card-Deck Queen’s Men–The eight Republican Congressmen–called jellyfish by Deroy Murdock but who more resemble the cowed cards–who enabled the House to pass Cap and Tax. They fell flat on their faces when the Queen appeared, but these Congressmen plus others in vulnerable districts will be trying to paint the roses red as they attempt to cover up their mistakes.
Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Even More Dum: Some of my home state Congressmen who voted for Cap and Trade in spite of the fact that PA gets a majority of its electricity from coal (great editorial here). It’s been estimated that Pennsylvanians will see over a $3,000 hike in annual electricity fees. Here’s an estimated impact by Congressional District.
The Caucus Race (click here if you don’t remember this part of the story), represented by the G8 and especially India and China on climate change. In Alice’s story, the animals, led on by the DoDo, have a nonsensical race ending in everyone getting meaningless prizes, with Alice finding her own prize, which she gives to DoDo who presents it back to her. Yeah, we may be a high consumption society, but it’s our economy and innovations that have given much of the world the freedoms and standards of living that have grown from development. Having the U.S. commit to harsher standards while India and China go nearly full speed ahead with development is an absurd gesture. Maybe we should all ride bicycles like they do in China.
Plus, even though Climate Change Happens, even THINKING that anything we do will make any meaningful impact on Global climate change is the absurdest gesture of all. The G8 nations committed to limiting global warming (by reducing carbon emissions) to no more than two degrees. A large volcanic explosion could do just that and more (will they claim success?). A closer look at Climate Change science and models shows that all the pain caused to our economy by legislation like Cap and Trade is much greater than the impact on the environment.
The Dodo: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. He is emphatic that global warming is a bigger threat to America than terrorism. Enough said.
Cheshire Cat: played by Obama. I considered casting him as the White Rabbit, since you can argue that the American public followed him down the rabbit hole. The Cheshire Cat might be more appropriate, as this character appears to be wise, yet Alice never knows if the cat is really steering her wrong.
Recent White House policy on Iran was every bit as perplexing as anything the Cheshire Cat said to Alice. In spite of the recent election-sparked violence in Iran, Iranian officials were originally invited to our July 4 celebration–first time they’ve been invited since the Iranian Revolution. Then they were disinvited. Of course, this was after it was clear they weren’t intending to show up anyway. In Wonderland, this all makes perfect sense.
Czar of Czars: Obama. Maybe we need a remake of Wonderland, featuring the Czar of Czars instead of the Queen of Hearts. ”With President Obama, the CZAR business has not only picked up.. It has been put on Steroids, Human Growth Hormones, Protein Shakes, Speed, and Epinephrine Shots.” Motley Fool
“Drink Me” potion: Alas, we the American people are at fault, willing to drink whatever comes our way if it looks to benefit us, darn the consequences. Growth of Big Government is the result. As Robert Samuelson recently noted: “Without anyone much noticing, our national government is on the verge of a permanent expansion that would endure long after the present economic crisis has (presumably) passed and that would exceed anything ever experienced in peacetime.”
Time to pull ourselves out of the Rabbit hole with a dose of reality. I wish I’d wake up.
Written by Audrie Zettick on June 26, 2009
I just received this email via my church choir’s prayer chain. It gives you some perspective on the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
“I try not to talk about everything that’s going on here cause its really hard,even to think about, and as of the 1st of July it’s only going to get worse. The government is pulling all combat troops out of the major cities surrounding us, leaving us “unprotected.” The rocket and motar attacks are getting more frequent, just last night we took small arms fire with insurgants trying to get on base. I’m not telling you this to worry you, I’m just telling you so you keep praying for me and everyone here. Pray for the families of the soldiers who have died here, 3 since I’ve been here, not from my company or even my state but the hurt their families are going through now!”
Please pray for our troops, their safety and for wisdom to prevail as leaders make decisions regarding the withdrawal.
Written by Audrie Zettick on April 30, 2009
Growing up in the U.S., May Day was a sort of unofficial holiday where we welcomed the spring season. Not so much in other countries, where May Day has evolved into a Labour holiday, a time for protest. And we’re not talking well-behaving tea party attendees.
The Wall Street Journal opines about what these protests hold in store (”Burn, Capitalism, Burn”)- which we may know by the time you read this. (Some articles on violent protests here and here and link to Reuters slide show here).
All this serves as a reminder of the slippery slope from disruptive, violent protest to anarchy to total government, where the people have lost their rights. An irony, since often anarchy begins because the common folk feel powerless and seek to be heard or recognized.
On this May Day, take this video to heart.
Written by Audrie Zettick on April 21, 2009
Just came back from a fabulous reception held by the PA Commission on Women, where my sister-in-law, children’s multi-media performer and producer Maria Del Rey (unabashed plug for her children’s music CDs here and here) was an honoree for the Voices Project. Voices, intended to provide Latina and African-American role models for middle-school age girls, is based on a book produced in 2006 and is kicking off a statewide tour, beginning at the PA State Museum.
Lots of high-powered women there, as you might expect. Intelligent, management-level gals full on into their careers. I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen in years–a woman who holds a position at the highest level of state government–letting her know I could promote one of her health-related nonprofit events on Twitter (see me here).
She had no idea what Twitter was. Barely knew Facebook (I’m admittedly a marginal user there).
As a member of TCOT who has only been Twittering part-time on that ID since November (approaching 1500 followers soon–goal to double that in the next month), I’m proof that you are never too old to learn new things. So, to get off the box and into the action, here’s a quick low tech video on Web 2.0 and beyond produced by my daughter and a friend. (Note: this doesn’t address Twitter, but you can find a good source here).
Written by Audrie Zettick on March 31, 2009
Just got back from the most recent “Save My Ballot” event, at the PA Capitol in Harrisburg. An initiative coordinated by Amercians for Prosperity. It was well organized and included many things: free lunch for attendees, a chance to hear Joe Wurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber), send Sen. Specter a message and……. commune with AFL-CIO members who were bused in.
Yeah, they were bused in. Not un-expected. I remember when I ran for Congress, an amazing number of union members were suddenly off work, working the polls on behalf of my opponent.
I got there a little after noon (the event was billed as 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Apparently, the union members tried to make a lotta noise early on, while featured guests were speaking.
Afterward, I spoke with Tim Phillips (pictured below, with several local protestors), President of AFP about the event. He noted that it was easier to get people to events who were benefiting from them, such as those getting something FROM the government (here, unions); conservatives just want people (and the government) to leave them alone. We’re generally not protesters.
A couple of Card Check opponents who hung around got into shouting matches or heated debates with union members. After watching our crowd, I decided to jot some coaching tips for future protest events.
1) Stick to your issue/keep to message. In this case, Card Check (Employee Not-So-Free-Choice Act). You might be ticked off about other issues (mandatory union dues, the power of the union PACs, what they’ve done to the auto industry, among others). I saw one person debating with a union member about union management structure/power, how they don’t represent their members’ interests, etc. Not sure what they thought this conversation would accomplish; maybe it was a mental health moment allowing them to vent and thereby keep their head from exploding….I understand. But, in this case, we’re taking about a piece of legislation that takes away workers’ rights to a secret ballot and would force federally-appointed arbitrators to write union contracts, forcing them on employers and workers without their consent.
2) Maintain your cool while engaging the opposition, but deploy defensive tactics when necessary. Let them make fools of themselves. We stay level-headed (yes, some days I’m ready to pick up the pitchfork too). Heated debate is great. Group chants (on message!) to override opposition chants are appropriate. I saw one woman shrieking ”union thugs!” and other verbiage because she was upset they were there and had been chanting previously. In this day and age of instant media, cell phone cameras and YouTube, even these chance encounters can work for or against you. An edited video of her shrieking would play well into the hands of the opposition (They hate the unions! And workers! And they’re a bunch of banshees!). Another protestor shouted to the union “you have no right to be here” (well, they do. There’s that Constitution thing).
3) For maximum crowd, make sure participants know when the bulk of the event is. Today’s was billed as 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I made the assumption this meant it would go on for that long, or at least speakers would continue for a while. It was pretty much done by noon. People showing up at noon or 12:30 would have simply kept walking, as it appeared the crowd was dispersing. I think it lessened the official turnout. Instead, we need to choose and promote a starting time. Period.
4) Dispell notions, when appropriate. We’re not at these protests to make friends, but we are there to engage, provoke thought, and let our voices per heard (and perhaps, even to change some minds). In many cases, we have the chance to voice our opinion in various media–so use it.
In my case, when engaging a union member, I assume that he believes my family’s had no union experience. So I start with: “My one grandfather was a union coal miner, my other one was a union stevador at the docks in Philly. Believe me, I’ve seen the worth of a union. But, THIS bill takes away the right of a private ballot”….etc.
The protestor who’d been having the most heated debate later told me that her mom was a cafeteria worker. That she’d been forced to join the union. I’d heard her debate for 10 minutes and she never brought this up! If I’d had my video cam handy, I’d have taped her mom’s story for the web. Instead, we could have gotten a video of a screaming rant by another protestor that wasn’t on message.
So, let’s keep to message, fine-tune what words we get out and where……. but still keep those pitchforks handy. After all, we have to be true to ourselves.
ADDENDUM: Here’s coverage from the Patriot News. A fair article that gives you a sense of the issue but leads with how the union members were shouting over the speakers. (Note: the link is an excerpt. The full written article was better). I think Joe The Plumber dealt with this by showing class. If he hadn’t THAT’s what would have led the story, and undoubtedly been on Youtube. We can all learn a thing or two.