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Heading Home and Thanks

My quick little trip to New York turned out to be huge fun because of the diverse cast of characters and the best weather I've experienced in New York in years. I'm just about to head to the airport to fly home.

I spent yesterday afternoon taping two tv shows which will air sometime in the next few weeks with Montel Williams, CNN's Lou Dobbs, MSNBC's Rita Cosby, Former EPA Secretary (and N.J.Governor) Christine Todd Whitman, Political guru Joe Trippi, actor Joey Pantoliano (who played the now deceased Ralphie on the Sopranos and as co-President of the Creative Coaliton has testified before Congress on First Amendment protections, actor and political activist Esai Morales (La Bamba, NYPD Blue, to name a few) and conservative Phoenix attorney Rachel Alexander, who also is co-editor of the blog Intellectual Conservative and private investigator and tv pundit Rod Wheeler.

It was a political free for all, where we covered everything from immigration, Bush's poor poll ratings, the lack of difference between Republicans and Democrats, voter apathy, reinstatement of the military draft and the gasoline crisis to the Duke lacrosse case and mandatory DNA testing for minor offenders.

There were two shows. The first had Lou Dobbs and Montel Williams co-hosting a panel with Joey Pantoliani, Joe Trippi, Rachel Alexander and me. The second show was co-hosted by Montel and Rita Cosby, with the panel being Christine Todd Whitman, Esai Morales, Rod Wheeler and me.

Immigration was definitely the hot topic, with Esai and I (on the same side) particularly fired up. Esai was really passionate if you get a chance to see it, you should, just for him on immigration. Montel pointed out that my view was way too radical for America to accept, which I acknowledged, but said that doesn't make it any less correct. My position, for those that haven't read it the umpteen times I've posted it, is legalize everyone now, don't separate families, eliminate the criminal penalties for undocumented presence, provide health care and other employee benefits to undocumented workers and let them have driver's licenses so they can get auto insurance in case there's an accident.

Rod Wheeler was passionate in his belief that we can't do that because the terror threat is real and at our door any day now, and I said that was typical Bush fear-mongering.

Christine Todd Whitman was suprisingly sensitive to the rights of the accused on crime issues. She was also very friendly and open about her views. She has just started a new venture called It's My Party Too, a tool for moderate Republicans to take back their party from the radical right.

On the draft, it was me against Lou Dobbs, Montel and Joe Trippi. They all seemed to believe that if everyone's kids were subject to the draft, Congress would think twice before authorizing a President to go to war. I think the rich will always find a way to have their kids avoid serving. But I was even more adamant that I was not about to allow someone like Bush make a decision to go to war under false pretenses and for the purpose of regime change and thereby put my child in harm's way.

Mandatory national service is fine, so long as there is an alternative to military service. Some on the panel believed you have to go with the flow. There should be a draft, and if the President says war, your kid has to go. I'm pretty shocked by that position. Later, I had dinner with the TL kid and asked him what he thought. He was as antagonistic as I was to that view and totally on my side. Good, because whether it's Iraq or Iran or China or the North Pole, if it's an unjust war entered under false pretenses for any reason other than to defend our country against an imminent threat, he's not going, period.

Other than those topics, I did a bunch of pitching the netroots, urging people to focus less on issues and more on values (a la Crashing the Gate), get online and get involved.

Both shows will air on Montel Williams, as part of a "town hall" series he is doing on politics to get people more engaged in the political process. The shows have live audiences and are completely unscripted and very free-wheeling. Because it's "live to tape," they can edit the tapes and hopefully come up with two fast-paced, intelligent and passionate shows. I was really impressed by everyone who participated.

We finished around 6pm, and then I raced downtown to the East Village to meet the TL kid at his apartment. He lives on the 6th floor of a six story walk-up. I love the apartment, but the stairs -- healthy for him, I could have used an oxygen tank afterwards.

We walked through the East Village, had a great dinner at Indochine, then walked over to the West Village to mosey around before I headed back to my hotel.

I'll be back in Denver and a regular blogging schedule tonight.

Major thanks to TChris who has kept TalkLeft alive the past few days. I'm going to send him some great wine when I return.

And most of all, thank you to the readers who responded to my donation request yesterday. You sent enough to cover my hosting costs for the next quarter, including the extra bandwidth I posted to be able host major pleadings in the Libby (and soon hopefully Rove) case and to cover my PACER bill for accessing and downloading them.

Rumors are flying Rove was indicted Weds. by the grand jury and it may be unsealed today. I'm going to put up an open thread so you'll have a place to discuss that or anything else happening today.

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  • Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri May 05, 2006 at 08:38:19 AM EST
    Give illegal aliens health insurance when 41% of current citizens don't have health insurance (but would be responsble for paying for the alien's). Employee benefits? Would these be provided by the employer or by the government? If required to be provided by the employer many would drop the illegals and hire citizens. If benefits are provided by the government, how are we going to pay for it? More deficit spending? I am definitely on Lou's side of this issue.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 09:43:39 AM EST
    Esai Morales is a cool guy, he did a reading of one of my scripts at Universal several years ago. Hung out for a few hours after that, and he was talking politics, AIDS, a little of everything. Good to see he's out there even more.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#3)
    by chew2 on Fri May 05, 2006 at 09:49:44 AM EST
    TL
    My position.. is legalize everyone now, don't separate families, eliminate the criminal penalties for undocumented presence, provide health care and other employee benefits to undocumented workers and let them have driver's licenses so they can get auto insurance in case there's an accident.
    Is this a pure open borders position? Or are you conceding that the U.S. should have rules regulating and limiting entry and immigration? But if entrants violate those rules and enter anyway, we should just provide to them the range of benefits you've outlined?

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 09:54:53 AM EST
    Money has essentially open borders, why should actual human beings not enjoy the same? If capital can exploit labor advantages, labor should be have the right to exploit its ability to move where the capital is more available. The alternative is a just global economic system. We aren't close yet.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 10:46:52 AM EST
    And meanwhile, as New York basks in great weather, sunny San Diego continues to be blanketed in cold grey. I'm...sick...of...it.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#6)
    by chew2 on Fri May 05, 2006 at 10:54:24 AM EST
    Daedler,
    Money has essentially open borders, why should actual human beings not enjoy the same?
    Because national and class solidarity still matter. Most Americans don't identify with those "foreigners" and want to reserve economic justice for themselves. For me the problem is how to restrict the market power of concentrated capital. Perhaps a losing goal. But that could be capital constraints, ala Malaysia or other countries. Import restraints based on sweatshop content or the absence of labor rights in the exporting country. A less open trading and capital movement regime. Or we could just enforce and make more stringent the employer penalties against employing illegal aliens.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri May 05, 2006 at 11:01:55 AM EST
    Jeralyn. It would be nice to think that when the shows have aired that you could somehow make them available on line. How feasable this would be I truly have no idea, but yes it would nice to see you in action.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#8)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 11:06:08 AM EST
    Chew, You're arguing for an American trade policy based on human and labor rights that contradict the capitalist "needs" of our wealthiest free marketeers. And Americans reserving economic justice for "themselves" is a pipe dream when it so intimately depends on the economic injustice levied on others, miles and national borders away.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri May 05, 2006 at 11:11:23 AM EST
    Dadler, Gray May in San Diego is still better than many other places.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#10)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 11:21:13 AM EST
    Randy, I'm a born and bred, incredibly wimpy weatherwise, southern California boy. If it ain't sunny on Christmans, I don't know what to do. And it's not just grey, it's COLD for this place. Lousy. Sure I can see the ocean from my office window at home, but come on, it's really hard to survive in below 60 degree temperatures. Are you weeping for me yet? Ahem.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 11:26:41 AM EST
    Oscar, I think it might be pricey bandwidth-wise, for TL to host a clip of the shows. She'll probably link to a clip if it's available, but I think it would be too costly for her to try and pay for all those downloads when posts and threads are her bread and butter.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Fri May 05, 2006 at 11:28:23 AM EST
    I am SUCH a computer know-nothing in a really tech sense, someone please kick my as* if I completely mangled the actual process/costs TL would incur trying to provide a clip of those shows.

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri May 05, 2006 at 01:46:56 PM EST
    Daddler, I hear you, just wondered about the likes of You Tube etc. Call me Manuel in Fawlty Towers. "I know northing"

    Re: Heading Home and Thanks (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri May 05, 2006 at 08:24:34 PM EST
    I have no idea how to get a dvd recorded program onto the computer and convert it to internet format. Also, the shows are an hour each, and yes, hosting two hours of video would be prohibitive. I will post the airing date (if they let me know ahead of time) so anyone who is interested can watch it.