David Price Letting Telecom Lawbreakers Off the Hook?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Called David Price, my local Congressman, this afternoon to see if he planned to vote NO on tomorrow’s House Bill HR 6304 which proffers blanket immunity to those telecoms, like ATT (Bellsouth, Cingular), that knowingly broke Federal and State wire-tapping laws on behalf of our current lawless madministration.

His current stance: no opinion.

In fact, his office said he won’t be expressing an opinion until after his vote!

Sounds like he’s preparing to defend the indefensible – issuing what the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls the ” Congressional seal of approval on illegal surveillance” but maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What’s the big deal? The millions of folks that are represented by the EFF in a class-action suit against AT&T because their “private domestic communications and communications records were illegally handed over to the National Security Agency (NSA)” won’t get their day in court (more here).

Not all telcos, notably QWEST (here) went along with this incredibly intrusive and illegal operation. Will Price put ATT and Verizon ahead of our citizenry and strip them of their fundamental Constitutional protections?

Contact David and let him know that warrantless searches are not acceptable.

Washington, D.C.
U.S. House of Representatives
2162 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202.225.1784

Fax: 202.225.2014

Durham
411 W. Chapel Hill Street
NC Mutual Building, 6th Floor
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919.688.3004

Fax: 919.688.0940

Raleigh
5400 Trinity Road
Suite 205
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919.859.5999

Fax: 919.859.5998

Chapel Hill
88 Vilcom Center
Suite 140
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Phone: 919.967.7924

Fax: 919.967.8324

Shearon-Harris: Fire in the Whole

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

It appears that Progress Energy has prevailed against local concerns the fire safety and overall security of their Shearon-Harris facility is less than adequate:

Progress Energy has cleared a hurdle in its bid to extend the operating license of the Shearon Harris nuclear plant by 20 years.

The Raleigh utility persuaded administrative law judges to reject safety concerns raised by nuclear critics who are challenging the license extension.

The groups want to litigate safety issues that the atomic board said fall outside the scope of a relicensing proceeding. Such proceedings are limited by law to reviewing a nuclear plant’s safety components and environmental impacts as the plant ages, the atomic board said.

N&O

I commented on NC Warn’s efforts in this recent post.

I’ve been following the mess at Shearon-Harris before the facility opened. Locally, our governments have to be concerned that this facility maintains the highest safety standards. For nearby communities – Pittsboro, Apex, Cary – the consequences of an accidental release present a devastating prospect. Closer to home, the economic and environmental reverberations would be significant.

The troubled NRCs role in this – their continued lack of oversight and willingness to bend what is in the best business interest of companies like Progress Energy – does not bode will for our community.

Luckily, local Representative David Price is aware of the fire safety issue and has promised to have the GAO look into the process to make sure the public good is well-served.

Democrats No Longer

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I’m a registered Independent.

OK, OK. I know there is no such thing as an Independent designation, just unaffiliated.

Unaffiliated. Indecisive. Indifferent. Uncommitted. Uninvolved. Fence-sitter. Don’t care.

A truly perverse bit of political framing.

I hope my occasional contributions to the local debate (CitizenWill , OrangePolitics, SqueezeThePulp, the Daily Tar Heel, the Chapel Hill News) and my willingness to take principled, though sometimes unpopular, stands on local issues demonstrates a small measure of care and commitment.

For years I’ve worked to elect Democrats. Dropped a few bucks here and there for a few of their more worthwhile national candidates. Sat polls for the local Orange County party. Contributed oodles of time to their and other affiliated organizations’ efforts to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). No plans to stop those efforts anytime soon.

But I am no Democrat (I was once). And I am no Republican (never have, never will be).

Heck, don’t try to graph my position on the one dimensional line passing through the Democrats Right to Republicans…. I, like many other local folks, exist outside these parties calculus.

I don’t know why three folks chose this week, from the many other recent weeks of Democratic disappointment, to ask me how to switch their party affiliation.

Maybe it was the recent reversal on Iraq or just the steady dissipation of last November’s promise.

Why me? I’m certainly not trying to “recruit” Independents. Sure, I haven’t been reserved in expressing my dissatisfaction with our local Democrat US Representative. They each knew of my efforts to open the local political scene to Independents via non-partisan elections and other voting reforms.

And I’ve been quite open about my status.

When, during my 2005 run for Town Council, a few local political operators counseled quiet discretion – suggesting talk of my non-affiliation would lead to a loss of stalwart Dem votes – I countered that to do so would not only be against my own tenets but promulgate the ruinous myth that folks are only capable of selecting representatives that fall along a one-dimensional political axis.

They might’ve been right. I did lose.

There is safety in numbers. Yet change springs from the outliers. And in today’s United States, it isn’t too far from “united we stand, divided we fall” to “deru kugi wa utareru”.

If you would like to lose your affiliation, either Republican or Democrat, or register to vote under any flag, the procedure is easy:

  • Review the instructions here.

    If you wish to change your party affiliation, you must complete either a Voter Registration Application Form (downloaded from address above) or complete the reverse side of a Voter Registration Card that has been mailed to you and return to the Board of Elections. All changes must be either postmarked or received in the Board of Election’s office at least 25 days before the election.

  • Download the registration form here [PDF].
  • Emancipate yourself from either of the two currently recognized parties.

Scared? You don’t have to go totally “cold turkey”. You will still be able to play some of the old game, for instance voting in either party’s primary. Initially, in many ways both large and small, you’ll feel stuck on the sidelines – constrained to vote for choices you wouldn’t have made, for flavors as close as Pepsi to Coke.

At first you might feel a little light-headed drifting above our current political Flatland. Navigating the multi-dimensional political reality we all currently occupy, whether we appreciate it or not, without the constant tether of partisan loyalty is heady stuff. Don’t panic! After a while, the relief of free agency sets in.

Still, though shorn of your party’s old baggage, paralyzed by its intransigence no longer, you leave one burden for another.

Sorry. Independence doesn’t mean “indecisive”. It doesn’t mean “uncommitted” And it certainly doesn’t mean “don’t care”.

iRack

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Another back and forth between Orange County Democrats over the Iraq debacle, local Representative Price’s efforts to scale it back and the party’s local leadership communicating that effectively (OrangePolitics Art on Weaver and Nudge Price, No More War Funding).

On the cusp of Bush’s Iraq “surge” the moment has come for the Democratic Party, and our local Representative David Price (contact), to make a stand.

This far and no farther, if for no other reason than the selfish desire to preserve what shred of credibility remains with their party’s leadership.

As I noted, Iraq 2007 has been quite bloody for civilians as exemplified by these individual incidents:

  • 01/16/07 100 killed, 245 wounded
  • 01/22/07 75 killed, 160 wounded
  • 01/30/07 38 killed, 100 wounded
  • 02/01/07 60 killed, 150 wounded
  • 02/03/07 120 killed, 340 wounded
  • 02/12/07 90 killed, 190 wounded
  • 02/18/07 60 killed
  • 03/06/07 120 killed, 200 wounded

The coalition casualties continue to mount.

In Iraq:

There have been 3,451 coalition deaths — 3,193 Americans, two Australians, 134 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, six Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, three Latvian, 19 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians — in the war in Iraq as of March 12, 2007, according to a CNN count.

CNN

In Afghanistan:

There have been 536 coalition deaths — 367 Americans, one Australian, 52 Britons, 45 Canadians, three Danes, three Dutch, nine French, 18 Germans, nine Italians, one Norwegian, one Portuguese, four Romanians, one South Korean, 20 Spaniards, two Swedes — in the war on terror as of March 12, 2007, according to a CNN count. Below are the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors whose deaths have been reported by their country’s governments. The troops died in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or were part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

CNN

Compromised beyond reason, the vastly weakened Democrat-sponsored legislation creeps through Congress.

Pelosi also fielded criticism from lawmakers for removing language from the bill barring military action against Iran without congressional approval. She said the issue would be addressed in future legislation.

“We’re having folks expressing every doubt, every reservation, every aspiration they have for this bill,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., another supporter.

In a bid to broaden its appeal, leaders stripped the Iran requirement and omitted language favored by several liberal members that would have specifically prohibited funding of military operations after fall 2008.

While the liberals said this threat would help enforce the deadline, Democratic leaders viewed the politically charged language as unnecessary.

The measure provides nearly $100 billion for two wars, including more money than Bush had requested for operations in Afghanistan, and to address what Democrats called training and equipment shortages. House Republicans say they will work to sink the measure, and the White House threatens a veto.

USA Today

No withdrawal by 2008. No restrictions on an Iranian adventure. $100 billion for “readiness training and equipment” on top of the $540+ billion already ear-marked for 2007/2008 (this with the US already accounting for 48% of 2006’s total military spending).

Price should say “No deal”.

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