Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Strange Bedfellows

UKIP candidate suspended in probe
Robert Kilroy-Silk Eurosceptic party UKIP have suspended a candidate for allegedly suggesting the criminally insane should be killed.

John Houston, 54, was due to stand in the East Kilbride seat in Lanarkshire at the next election.

But he was suspended after his reported views, including the return of the British Empire, were sent to two Scottish newspapers.

UKIP spokesman Mark Croucher said those who selected Mr Houston knew nothing of his views.


Mr Houston is alleged to have said that the organs of the criminally insane should be "made available to law-abiding members of the community" and proposed the legalisation of drugs and the sex trade.

The document reportedly said: "We're looking for the resurrection of the British Empire.

"The problems for the human race - environmental and others - can only be dealt with on a global scale, and that calls for a radical alliance of the English-speaking nations, which they are uniquely able to do."

Mr Croucher said the main issue would be that Mr Houston's reported views had been presented as UKIP policy, which they were not.

via stateline.org
NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Huckabee blasts immigrant bill as ‘race-baiting’
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005

URL: full story here

Gov. Mike Huckabee said Thursday that a bill to deny state government benefits and voting rights to illegal immigrants is "inflammatory... race-baiting and demagoguery." He challenged the Christian values of its main sponsor.

The governor said the bill "inflames those who are racist and bigots and makes them think there’s a real problem. But there’s not."

Sens. Jim Holt of Springdale and Denny Altes of Fort Smith, whose Northwest Arkansas region includes the state’s fastestgrowing Hispanic population, filed the measure, Senate Bill 206.

Huckabee, a Baptist minister and a Republican like Holt and Altes, said Arkansans should be welcoming hardworking immigrants of all races.

Holt often talks of his strong Christian beliefs, but Huckabee singled him out, saying, "I drink a different kind of Jesus juice. My faith says don’t make false accusations against somebody. In the Bible, it’s called 'Don’t bear false witness.'"

The governor said Holt’s plan to deny prenatal care to illegal immigrants goes against their shared anti-abortion principles — that unborn fetuses should have a citizen’s right to life
McCutchen accused Huckabee of pandering to "politically correct" interests to better his chances for a position in President Bush’s administration.

From stateline.org
Arizona: Political pressure building to oust Arizona legislator
Political pressure is starting to swirl around a newly elected lawmaker who overspent his public campaign funds by $7,500, setting up a possible constitutional battle over the state's Clean Elections Law. By Chip Scutari, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix)

Georgia: Bill requires challenging evolution
A bill filed Thursday would require Georgia's teachers to introduce scientific evidence challenging evolution. By Mary MacDonald and Nancy Badertshcer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (registration)

Nebraska: Study - extreme climate swings could threaten Nebraska's future
Extreme swings in climate cycles could jeopardize both social and economic stability in the Northern Great Plains, according to a study released earlier this week by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), which is based in North Dakota. By Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent

Nevada: Judge rules woman has right to photocopy election records
A judge ruled that Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller must let a Reno woman copy records she sought to verify the result of November's presidential election. By The Associated Press, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Washington: Tim Eyman's latest - Hands off initiatives
Professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman is pushing a new measure, one to keep the Legislature from curbing the citizen initiative and referendum tools from which he makes a living. By Staff and Wire Reports, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Washington: Court ruling OKs store's ads on backs of raincoats
A Kitsap County mattress store's unusual advertising strategy -- paying people to wear bright yellow raincoats emblazoned with the store's name, phone number and news of a half-off sale -- is a matter of free speech, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday. By Tracy Johnson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

From stateline.org

Georgia: Senate gets hopping with state amphibian bill
After a week-and-a-half hiatus, the Georgia Senate convened at 1 p.m. today with the first reading of several pieces of legislation, including a bill that would designate the green tree frog as the official state amphibian. By Sonji Jacobs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (registration)

Nice to know they're concentrating on the important things.

California: Mentally ill kids incarcerated, study finds
WASHINGTON — Due to a lack of community resources, children as young as 8 are routinely incarcerated in California juvenile detention facilities while awaiting mental health care, according to a House study released Monday. By Elise Castelli, Los Angeles Times (registration)

California: Legislator wants inquiry into plan to open prisons
State Sen. Gloria Romero on Monday called on the Bureau of State Audits to investigate the Schwarzenegger administration's decision to reopen two private prisons, one of which employed a consultant and lobbyists close to the governor's inner circle. By Dan Morain, Los Angeles Times (registration)

California: Study of California gun law finds blacks most likely to face felony charges
A study of California's weapons registration law found that blacks were far more likely to be charged with a felony than whites, who were more often charged with a misdemeanor for the same offense. By Don Thompson, The Associated Press, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Colorado: House takes on school bullying
The Colorado House voted Monday to declare this week "No Name-Calling Week" in schools despite some lawmakers' observations that teasing can build character. By Staff Writers, Rocky Mountain News (Denver)

Colorado: Pill for rape victims stirs reservations
A House committee approved a bill Monday that would require all hospitals in Colorado to notify sexual assault victims of the availability of an "emergency contraception" pill to prevent pregnancy. By Jim Hughes, Denver Post

Colorado: Medicaid funding restored for state's legal immigrants
State lawmakers on Monday approved restoring government-funded health insurance benefits to low- income legal immigrants. By Mark P. Couch, Denver Post

Michigan: Health care company fires employees for refusing smoking test
Four employees of a health care company have been fired for refusing to take a test to determine whether they smoke cigarettes. By The Associated Press, The Detroit News

Missouri: Missouri welfare call center moving back to state
A toll-free call center for Missouri welfare recipients will soon be staffed in Missouri, costing taxpayers $1 million more annually than if it had been kept in India. By The Associated Press, Kansas City Star (registration)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Wednesday January 19, 2005. This first item was as predictable as snow in Wyoming in December:

In second term, a fight over direction of GOP
Despite the rare advantage of one-party rule, President Bush has to surmount divisions within his own party. By Gail Russell Chaddock
Christian Science Monitor
To the Founders, Congress was king
The inaugural festivities contrast sharply with quiet Congress ceremonies that the Founding Fathers might have considered much more important. By John Dillin
Christian Science Monitor
From EurekAlert :

Public Release: 18-Jan-2005
Florida Department of Citrus responds to URMC's release on grapefruit-drug interactions
The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) is seeking clarification on allegations about grapefruit-drug interactions made without appropriate scientific support in a University of Rochester Medical Center's press release dated January 17th. The FDOC's first priority is the health of consumers in regards to possible interactions between grapefruit and certain drugs.

Public Release: 19-Jan-2005
Breakthrough in climate research
A long standing puzzle that has haunted climate researchers looking at the fate of carbon stored in the world's soils, has now been resolved. The research suggests that climate warming may be occurring even faster than previously recognised.
Natural Environment Research Council

No need to worry -- Michael Crichton and the current US Administration say there's no problem.

Public Release: 19-Jan-2005
University of Manchester makes made-to-measure skin and bones a reality using inkjet printers
Made-to-measure skin and bones, which could be used to treat burn victims or patients who have suffered severe disfigurements, may soon be a reality using inkjets which can print human cells.

Public Release: 19-Jan-2005
Geophysical Research Letters
Arctic rivers discharge more freshwater into ocean, reflecting changes to hydrologic cycle
Far northern rivers are discharging increasing amounts of freshwater into the Arctic Ocean, due to intensified precipitation caused by global warming. This could change the distribution of water on Earth's surface, with important social and economic consequences. It could alter the balance of the climate system itself, particularly the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. This flow helps keep northern Europe at a temperate climate, whereas the same latitudes in North America are sparsely settled tundra or taiga.
United Kingdom Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the Climate Prediction Program

If I understand this correctly, the good news is that London may have lots of lovely snow at Christmas. And at Easter, and Mayday.
Daphne Drewello, frequent contributor to the Stumpers list, found this:
The Exclusion of Black Workers...

The Exclusion of Black Workers from the Social Security Act, 1935


Dissertation Director:

Alice Kessler-Harris

The topic of my dissertation is how and why the 1935 Social Security Act, which laid the foundations of the American Welfare state, was constructed in such a way that it discriminated against African Americans. I try to understand how public policy which is ostensibly “colorblind” can contribute to the construction and reconstruction of racial hierarchy. A prime example of this phenomenon is the exclusion of most African American workers from the two programs created in the act for workers, Unemployment Insurance and Old Age Insurance (now Social Security.) At the time, this exclusion was considered to be racially benign, made necessary for the administration difficulties involved with collecting contributions from African American workers, most of whom were domestic workers and agricultural laborers. Yet, this policy of exclusion had deep and important consequences for African Americans as a group, as the majority of Black workers were denied the main safety net created during the depression years.

Historians of the Social Security Act have either repeated the claim that the exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers was administratively necessary, or, more recently, argued that it resulted from the racist intentions of southerners in Congress to deny economic security to the southern work force. My research into this issue, which was based on congressional and administrative archives, has lead to a different conclusion. I argue that Congress was not primarily responsible for the exclusion of Black workers from the Act, and that there was a great deal of evidence at the time that the exclusions were not administratively necessary. The Act did not create a sound, fair system of Social Welfare from which African Americans were excluded. Rather, through its very structure, the Act reproduced the economic hierarchy that maintained African American workers at the bottom rungs. The Act was not radicalized primarily through the deliberate ‘racist’ intent of particular interests. Instead, it was constructed to express the vision of northern liberal reformers who sought to save the economic system, and the American was of life, by elevating the position of white, male industrial workers. The Act was the product of a particular group of reformers from Wisconsin who had been brought to Washington to enact their visions of a humane social welfare system. Like many liberal white New Dealers, the Wisconsin group assumed the developmental inferiority of African Americans, particularly in regard to their abilities as workers. While they may have believed, ostensibly, in the assumption, which was then made invisible through the ‘colorblind’ New deal environment.

The different chapters of this dissertation describes [sic] the participation of different groups in the development of the Social Security Act, and then analyze the ways that the racial ideologies of these groups factors into their participation, and into the Act that resulted. In addition to southern Congressional leadership and the President’s staff—dominated by the Wisconsin group—I also look at the involvement of the three Black of [sic]interracial organization that lobbied on behalf of Black workers, and at the women of the Children’s Bureau who helped to draft the children’s titles of the Act.
The Stumpers list is a place for librarians (and others) to discuss reference questions which they are unable to answer using available resources, including the Internet and local interlibrary loan capabilities.

This site contains information about the list, including how to subscribe to the list, how to send questions to the list, frequently asked questions from and about the list, and some links to list-related resources in other places.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Political News
From stateline.org

Homosexuality and laws:
Alabama: Same-sex marriage ban: Time is key
Legislators say a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages can easily pass both chambers, but that measure could stumble if supporters insist on putting it before the voters in the 2006 general election. By Tom Gordon, The Birmingham News

[Explanation: Republicans want it in the general election so it'll bring out conservative voters -- who will, of course, vote Republican. Oddly enough, Democratic legislators who would otherwise support it aren't nearly as pleased by that idea.]

Massachusetts: Bid seen weakening to ban gay marriage
The slim majority that supported the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage last year has been thrown into doubt with the recent resignations of three legislators who oppose gay marriage and a net increase of two gay-marriage supporters in the crop of newly elected legislators. By Frank Phillips, The Boston Globe

Maryland: Session to revisit debate on gay unions
The national debate over same-sex unions lands squarely in Maryland this month, as legislators and lobbyists mobilize for a series of noisy battles over how gay couples will be treated in the eyes of state law. By Janice D'Arcy, The Sun (Baltimore) (registration)

Montana: Bill outlawing bias toward gays, lesbians draws fire
Montanans should be able to discriminate against gays and lesbians because their way of life threatens society and should be kept at bay, some critics said Monday in attacking a bill that would outlaw such discrimination under human-rights laws. By Bob Anez, The Associated Press, Missoulian
Arkansas: Huckabee aid plan for illegal aliens draws 'venom, anger'
Gov. Mike Huckabee's proposal last week to provide college scholarships and loans to illegal immigrants has sparked some emotional talk if not much ink compared to his other proposals. By David Robinson, Arkansas News Bureau

Arizona: Malpractice bill personal for legislator
Toni Hellon's 23-year-old daughter went to the emergency room of a Phoenix hospital in 1989 when she experienced weakness in her limbs and difficulty swallowing. She should have been put on a respirator. Instead, the doctor concluded she was hysterical and administered sedatives. By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)

Florida: Veiled sect hails Bush, Martinez
A mysterious committee backed by members of a secretive religious group whose members are forbidden to vote spent more than $500,000 on newspaper ads last year supporting President Bush and U.S. Senate candidate Mel Martinez. By Lucy Morgan, St. Petersburg Times

Iowa: Iowa professor says enterprise zones overrated
University of Iowa professor Peter Fisher has a theory about tax breaks, enterprise zones and other tools to lure companies on the move or expanding: They're not a big deal. By Staff Reports, KCCI-TV 8 (Des Moines)

North Dakota: Bill would let students carry asthma medicine
Students who suffer breathing problems should be allowed to carry asthma and allergy medicine in school rather than having it locked up, a Senate panel believes. By James Warden, The Associated Press, The Bismarck Tribune

Nebraska: Class I schools have fiery advocates
Mighty Mouse has nothing on Nebraska's elementary-only school districts. Those Class I school districts educate barely one in 50 Nebraska students, but the passion of their supporters has foiled every previous attempt to consolidate or close them. By Martha Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald

South Dakota: Johnson bill bans cattle from Canada
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said he will introduce legislation to hold back a "tidal wave of Canadian animals" that could hurt South Dakota ranchers. By Ben Shouse, Argus Leader (Sioux Falls)
Tuesday January 18, 2005. From a letter from my Congressman, Martin Olav Sabo, Minnesota 5th District:

"Thank you for contracting me to inquire about my vote against the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (H.R. 5382). I appeciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

"As you may know, the 108th Congress considered several bills to authorize passenger space flight. I support space exploration. However, I voted against H.R. 5382 because of concerns that its safety and regulatory provisions were inadequate and could result in unnecessary danger to the lives of passengers and crew on private space flights.

"Specifically, H.R. 5382 prohibits the Department of Transportation (DOT) from issuing safety design and operating regulations for eight years or until there is a death of catastrophic accident. This provision seriously limits the ability of the DOT to protect the health and safety of crew and space flight participants, since it exempts not only experimental flights by a manufacturer, but also passenger flights. It is irresponsible to allow the space flight industry to experiment with paying passengers on-board.

"Despite opposition from many members, H.R. 5382 was approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President. It is unclear whether the 109th Congress will revisit these serious safety issues.

"Finally, you may be interested to know that I voted for H.R. 3752, an earlier version of the legislation, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House. H.R. 3752 would not have precluded DOT from issuing basic safety standards to protect passengers."

From The Space Review, another view:

Well, shouldn’t they do something to protect the passengers? I have to answer a resounding no. The reason for this answer is that paying customers in the space tourism industry are not the same as passengers in the traditional sense of transportation by air. Instead, it is more appropriate to think of these persons as adventure tourists or reverse skydivers. Suborbital tourists are not paying to be transported from one point to another. In fact, they generally will end up just where they started. Instead, suborbital tourists are paying to be allowed along for the ride. Subrbital space tourism is the ultimate roller coaster ride, not a service designed to transport passengers. While we all want this to develop into a passenger service in the traditional functional sense, for now they are paying for the heart-pounding thrill of the ride and to see the awe inspiring view. Just as is not appropriate to mandate safety for persons who go swimming with sharks or climbing Mount Everest, it is not appropriate to mandate safety for private space flight participants.
My reaction: While "no safety mandates for climbers" is a logical position for libertarians to take, it's not one which governments take. And not because governments abhor a vacuum; because if they don't have safety mandates, they'll be blamed for any deaths. Not to mention that rescuing too-adventuring climbers is costly in money and resources. (And rational as it might be to just let the fools die, it's very bad public relations. "Very bad" as in "I'd like you to hand in your resignation five hours ago.")

Official information on H.R. 5382, including the summary of contents and the full text:

A search on Thomas for H.R. 3752 brings up this:
The text of H.R. 3752 has not yet been received from GPO
Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.

On the basis of the information at hand, I'd say Representative Sabo voted the right way. Given a few weeks of fulltime research, I might change my mind.

Important note: While I'm in favor of space exploration, including private enterprises, I don't think it has to be done in the USA or by Americans.

Comments to dsgood at gmail.com

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Thursday January 13, 2004. See if you can spot what's wrong with this:

[liberal bias turning off readers] will not be a problem initially for many big-city newspapers that both lead and reflect their liberal constituencies. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post are all pretty much in sync with their hometown sentiments. But there are problems looming for these papers. As the middle class surges into the new exurbia, those liberal and sectarian perceptions will not travel well from the city to the outskirts. Suburban papers, far more attuned to the local sentiments, will be able to seize upon disaffection with the city sophisticates.

Item: He's predicting for the near future something which began happening over fifty years ago. Americans began the big move from cities to suburbs in the 1950s. "City" newspapers have adjusted so thoroughly that urbanites can feel neglected. (Note: When I want to read New York City news, I look up Newsday -- a suburban daily -- rather than the New York Times.)

And many of the people moving to exurbs or new suburbs aren't from the cities. They're from older suburbs.

Beyond that: People don't automagically become conservative Republicans when they move to suburbs or exurbs. Sometimes they change, yes. But even when they do, the places they move to also change.
Via http://stateline.org:
Lawsuit: Legislature is unconstitutional
BY KEVIN O'HANLON / The Associated Press

To heck with fighting City Hall, a Nebraska man upset over his property taxes wants a federal judge to declare the state's one-house Legislature unconstitutional.

James Widtfeldt, an attorney in Atkinson, says in a federal lawsuit that Nebraska's unicameral Legislature is not a Republican form of government guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

"The abbreviated Nebraska Legislature shortchanges Nebraskans," Widtfeldt argues in the lawsuit against state and local tax boards, which were created by the Legislature.

My prediction: Lawsuit headed for defeat.
From the India edition of Google News:
HC bans public display of firearms during polls
Times of India - 8 hours ago
PATNA: The Patna High Court, while taking a dim view of poll candidates and their supporters carrying firearms, ordered on Wednesday for a complete ban on display of firearms at the time of filing of nomination papers as also during campaigning.
HC bans public display of firearms during Bihar polls: New Kerala
Don't display firearms during Bihar polls: HC Rediff
NDTV.com - all 5 related »
12:52 pm - Mowing the lawn in Antarctica http://www.livejournal.com/users/sclerotic_rings/701109.html

Courtesy of linkfrenzy, here's a bit of interesting information with some pretty serious repercussions, depending upon your interpretation. The Times reports on the return of grasslands to Antarctica [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1415627,00.html]: until recently, only two species of flowering plant were known from Antarctica, and both lived at the absolute tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. According to new information, though, large stretches of land that were previously barren are now supporting grass.

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