Some things Congress should do. (Preferably before the 2008 Elections)

1.Suspend the Patriot Act and Detainee Bill for Congressional review.
"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. "For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all". - H. L. Mencken

2.Deny any additional funding for US Combat roles in Iraq. (This will require the often absent backbone and integrity, but I feel we can do it)."Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare". Japanese proverb

3.Increase funding for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. They actually did facilitate an attack on our country. Osama Bin Laden is there, maybe.

4.Prohibit torture in any and all of its forms to include the President's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques". "What we must face squarely is this: whenever we torture or mistreat prisoners, we are capitulating morally to the enemy-in fact, adopting the terrorist ethic that the end justifies the means." Rev. Kermit D. Johnson, Chaplain (Major General), U.S. Army (ret.)

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Media Matters exposes MSM coverage of Edwards (w/ poll)

On Friday, May 11, Jamison Foser at Media Matters published a scathing exposé of the way the mainstream media covers presidential candidate John Edwards and others with progressive economic agendas.  The article makes two main points about the typical media coverage of Edwards and other economic progressives:

*    Media often give short shrift to the actual substance of progressive proposals, focusing instead on their cost.
*    Media portray wealthy candidates who advocate progressive economic proposals as out-of-touch hypocrites. Bizarrely, wealthy candidates who advocate conservative economic policies that would actually enrich themselves often escape similar scrutiny of their personal finances.

The Media Matters article is well illustrated with specific examples of how recent media coverage failed to fairly evaluate the substance of Edwards's proposals, instead focusing on the cost of his proposals and his personal wealth.

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The World Bank: Worse Than Wolfowitz

I truly have to say that I can no longer state that I am proud to be an American because of this government's hand in what they are doing to create this horror, and that is very sad. The one prerequisite I then have for any candidate running for president of this country that has its hand directly involved in the misery caused by the schemes of the World Bank and IMF is that they call for them to be shut down and all third world debt cancelled. If they can't do that, they are then only part of the status quo to me.

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Sallie Mae: May you never profit from poor students again

Dear Senator Kennedy and Rep. Miller,

I write to with great thanks that you are taking a lead at the private student loan industry.   As a working class 18 year old,  I entered college knowing that I would take student loans.  It wasn't option, and when getting a college education was literally saving my life from being underemployed,   I had to embrace that debt burden.  I didn't quite understand the complexity of interest, nor did I understand the difference between Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, or Private Loans.    Since I was the first person in my family to attend college,  I didn't have the guidance that I can now provide   ( and so much to his weekly chargrim) to my high school aged cousin.  It sadden my Mom that she wasn't able to afford college, and for some reason,   the student aid office believed that a single parent making less than $40,000 a year could afford to pay $10,000 or $20,000 a year for college.

That said, as a freshman, I signed away at the dotted lines- more or less signing my life away to Sallie Mae.   My college did not inform that there we more than one option. I didn't know that I could go to other banks and try to compete for better deals.  I thought that the "Mae '   meant that it was similar to Fannie Mae and that they were providing a public service.  My college aid office failed to inform that I should try to get the maximum Pell or Stafford loans before I took out private loans.  Sallie Mae was my gatekeeper to college.    If I would have been offered a seminar on student loans that was impartial,   I would have listened to every word and try to figure it all out.  But, I trusted the people who were meant to help me. That was back in 199-.

Now that I am young professional- I am surrounded by peers who came from middle and upper class families who are unburned  by student loans.  While I am paying, most of the time- some months its hard to pay-  $1000/ month on student loan, they are saving for their homes,   traveling, and working at lesser paying jobs that are super important to society.  If I didn't have student loans,   I would have moved to New  Orleans in 2005 to volunteer indefinetly to rebuild New Orleans.  But, I have to work every single day to pay for a college eductation- that with interest- will cost more almost twice as much than my peers from upper class families pay for college.

I want to comment on collections for a second.  Sallie Mae will call me on my cell phone every five minutes for hours at a time.   They call my reference three or four times a day.  They "loose" my information just so that contact other people to find me.   I refused to give them my work information.   When I  hear from them, I feel like nothing matters- that I will never be able to own my home, that I will never to able to save for retirement,   my whole life existsts to pay back student loans.

I am heartened to hear that many colleges are now offering free education to students who come from families with less $60,000 a year income.   I am happy for them  but wish that the schools would have smartened up before I entered college.

Please take Sallie Mae to task for taking advantage of vulnerable young adults. I just wanted to fulfill the dreams instilled in me by my hard working Mom.   I just wanted what middle and upper class children take for granted- an unlimited future.

Also,  I have gotten several requests to consolidate my federal loans from private loan companies.    Can I file a complaint anywhere?   Who had the right to let anyone know that I had student loans?

Thank you so much for your work.   I hope that you can find away to help future students since no one can really help me.

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John Edwards gets it and gets this woman's vote.

April 18, 2007

Like most people who haven't had their head buried under a rock for the last six years, I've been outraged about a lot of things recently. Sometimes there are so many things to be outraged about, that there isn't time to respond to them all. Sometimes, the things that I ought to speak out on get buried under a whole pile of other things that I ought to speak out on, until I feel entombed by my own unsaid words.

I just looked back at the first paragraph I wrote here, and realized there are a lot of words there about burial and tombs. Honestly, I hadn't thought my metaphors through well enough for that to have been conscious, but it's an interesting choice of words, because today's Supreme Court decision limiting a woman's right to make a private decision about her health with her doctor, even when her health may be threatened by her pregnancy, will undoubtedly put some women in the grave.

John Edwards had a great response to this decision:

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