Petition to Save Iraqi Academics

Sally has sent us a link to an important petition, which begins:

A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic liquidation of the country’s academics. Even according to conservative estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain, the secular middle class – which has refused to be co-opted by the US occupation – is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences for the future of Iraq.

Already on July 14, 2004, veteran correspondent Robert Fisk reported from Iraq that: “University staff suspect that there is a campaign to strip Iraq of its academics, to complete the destruction of Iraq’s cultural identity which began when the American army entered Baghdad.”

For more, and to sign, go here.

Make them filibuster.

Here’s a radical idea. Democrats could use their still thumpingly big majority to try to pass some legislation, and not back down until Republicans ACTUALLY successfully filibuster. The only reason this MA election matters so much is that whenever we’re short of 60 votes we give up. But an actual filibuster would require Republicans to talk non-stop, keeping debate open and thereby preventing a bill from passing. This never actually happens these days, because for some reason everyone’s decided to accept that saying “we will filibuster” is enough. But think about it: Republicans reading the phone book into the congressional record to make sure health care doesn’t pass is ready-made for TV. I say we should be calling their bluff. If it’s a bluff (which I think it must be), then we win. But even if it isn’t, the longest filibuster in Senate history was Strom Thurmond’s 24 hour attempt to block civil rights. And guess what? They forced it to a vote and Strom lost. Wikipedia writes, “A filibuster can be defeated by the governing party if they leave the debated issue on the agenda indefinitely, without adding anything else.” So why don’t we bloody well do that??