Top Tier Cowardice

Mike Gavel is not a bigot. He is also not a “top tier” candidate. He came out unequivocally in favor of legalizing gay marriage.

Pam Spaulding wonders:

Could you even fathom the top tier Dems giving a simple, straightforward answer like this

And of course they won’t. Those few extra votes are far too important to waste for those queers anyway, right? We are not just talking people who are homophobic theocrats either. We are talking voters who hate gay people so much they would rather vote against every other position they hold dear than elect a President who would legalize gay marriage. Those are the votes being purchased with weak support for separate but almost equal civil unions and brave silence on marriage itself.

And the calculating bastards know they can count on our votes, because we will not throw ours away on a single issue and risk another Bush in office. Bigotry and profound stupidity are walking hand in hand, and while it hides under a shroud of religious piety, we can see it for its true self when it rears its frothing head and screams about sodomy and “protecting the traditional family”. It is the same irrational hatred that has fueled every bit of prejudicial violence and oppression since humans started keeping track of themselves. It is a mark of nothing more or less than shameful cowardice.

I understand wanting to collect votes, and how seductive the hiss of silver tongued consultants woos even the most principled public servant. But I cannot understand how top tier candidates can misread their own performances and state. After all, to embrace fear so fully for the sake of victory is to lose the freedom of movement and power that comes with true courage.  The act defines the orator.  Homophobic positions may gain some play with a few voters, but the cost is the ethical and rhetorical power of the candidate himself.


How Do You Like Your Habeas?

Restored? At the pleasure of the government?
Looks like a few good Democrats are aiming for restored (via Tom Tomorrow):

Spread the word:

I’m told there’s an outside shot that House Democrats on the Armed Services Committee will put a restoration of habeas corpus into the Defense Department Authorization Bill being marked up tomorrow and Thursday. Apparently Chairman Skelton has the votes but there are concerns about whether to have this fight now.

Now’s the time to let them know that this is something that we elected them to get done. There’s a bit of fear that this vote could put freshmen members at risk, though I don’t really know why as the data on this isn’t compelling and the attack ads just didn’t work in 2006.

The most important members to contact are Ike Skelton, antiwar freshmen, and members of the Armed Services Committee. Pelosi and Hoyer would be good too. Each link below goes to that member’s email form, and their phone numbers are to the right. I’ve only included Democratic members of the committee since the decision on whether to make a vote will be made within the party – the full list of Armed Service members is here.

Call and ask them to restore habeas corpus and put it in the Defense Department Authorization bill. This is an especially important message to deliver to freshmen members who have the moral credibility of having been in elected in 2006 in the teeth of Republican fear-mongering.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (202) 225-4965
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, (202) 225-4131

Armed Services Committee Democrats
Ike Skelton, Missouri, Chairman, 202-225-2876
John Spratt, South Carolina, 202-225-5501
Solomon P. Ortiz, Texas, (202) 225-7742
Gene Taylor, Mississippi, 202 225-5772
Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii, (202) 225-2726
Marty Meehan, Massachusetts, (202) 225-3411
Silvestre Reyes, Texas, (202) 225-4831
Vic Snyder, Arkansas, 202-225-2506
Adam Smith, Washington, (202) 225-8901
Loretta Sanchez, California, 202-225-5859
Mike McIntyre, North Carolina, (202) 225-2731
Ellen O. Tauscher, California, (202) 225-1880
Robert A. Brady, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-4731
Robert Andrews, New Jersey, 202-225-6501
Susan A. Davis, California, (202) 225-2040
Rick Larsen, Washington, (202) 225-2605
Jim Cooper, Tennessee, 202-225-4311
Jim Marshall, Georgia, 202-225-4311
Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Guam, (202) 225-1188
Mark Udall, Colorado, (202) 225-2161
Dan Boren, Oklahoma, (202) 225-2701
Brad Ellsworth, Indiana, (202) 225-4636
Nancy Boyda, Kansas, (202) 225-6601
Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-4276
Hank Johnson, Georgia, (202) 225-1605
Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire,(202) 225-5456
Joe Courtney, Connecticut, (202) 225-2076
David Loebsack, Iowa, 202.225.6576
Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, (202) 225-5614
Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-2011
Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona, (202) 225-2542
Elijah Cummings, Maryland, (202) 225-4741
Kendrick Meek, Florida, 202-225-4506
Kathy Castor, Florida, (202)225-3376

Please rip this list off and spread it far and wide.

Open Source Research

This should go without saying for publicly funded research, but I’m aiming for a broader reach here.

Privatizing research has obvious side effects (Slashdot):

Knutsi sends us to the Federation of American Scientists’ blog Secrecy News for a post on how privatization can affect access to research material. The blog tells how a Harvard researcher on the history of nuclear secrecy was denied access that would have been granted in the past. Some followup is in the comments to this reposting of the FAS story.

More access to the fruits of research means more future research being planted, and a greater harvest for us all to look forward to.  I can understand and respect the desire to cling to as much personal benefit as possible, but we are rarely if ever talking about personal benefit.  We find ourselves in a clash between public and corporate benefit, not public and private.  Corporations where originally formed with the responsibility to contribute to the commons.  Now this is no longer the case.  Even allowing this as a good development for society at large, and having sympathy for the corporation’s desires, privatization of research is still highly undesirable from a larger societal standpoint.

We can discuss how to go about protecting corporations intellectual rights (or hopefully, individual ip rights) later.  We first must establish that the gain we stand to net by opening up scientific research is too valuable a resource to allow it to be monopolized by anyone.  We’d be closing off resulting further research, not just the research initially privatized.  We’d also be significantly slowing down progress, as scientists duplicate effort needlessly to arrive at previously grasped solutions.

Scientific advancement is a global concern, and a human one as well.  The great enterprise of discovery is our great responsibility to undertake and protect.