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Bad Party
Not his cup of tea: As a political party, the Tea Party's core beliefs seem to be that Republicans can do no wrong (except when honestly agreeing with Democrats) and Democrats can do no right (except when acquiescing to Republicans) ["It's His Tea Party," Peter Jamison, Sucka Free City, 2/10]. Furthermore, however vague and unarticulated those beliefs may be, they have zero tolerance for compromise or dissent: two things necessary for a functioning democracy, and two things necessary for any lasting political party or movement. They are in an endless cycle of eating their own, and whittling themselves down to the loudest and most rabid.

I, for one, would take as far a right-wing genuine Republican as you can show me over a Tea Party Republican any day of the week. At least they have some inkling of rationality.

Joel Earl

Portland, ORegon

Snitch Blog Comments of the Week
In response to a blog post about the SFPD's promotion of Taser use: The issue isn't the Taser; it's the availability of an alternative to the use of a gun that's being presented here. I'm no cop, but if someone were to get shot tomorrow, the first thing I would ask is, "Could something else have been done?" Don't forget there was a huge uproar when the cops wanted to use pepper spray and some suspects died in custody afterward. Sound familiar?

I work as an ER technician in a city where the cops do have Tasers. The cops often bring mentally unstable suspects into the building, and I've seen firsthand how a Taser can bring these people under control. The alternatives would have been to beat the guy with a baton (messy), marinate with pepper spray (and evacuate the building due to fumes in an enclosed area), or shoot the guy (very messy).


[Police Chief] George Gascón's argument that people who have been Tasered died because of pre-existing heart conditions is absurd. Certainly he couldn't have come up with a less convincing argument for why we should allow SFPD to use Tasers. Is he also planning to distribute "I have a heart condition" tags for S.F. residents so that they don't die in the hands of cops? I have never seen a person having a heart attack on the streets of S.F. I'm guessing that's because people with heart conditions don't go about running around the city's many hills, as he seems to suggest.

A much better explanation for why some people die when Tasered would be that they die because they are mortal. Tasered leprechauns don't die; they are immortal. So, if the SFPD cannot come up with a more intelligent argument in defense of Tasers, perhaps it really shouldn't be allowed to use them.


In response to a blog post about the March Against Muni organizers: I could quibble about some of the specifics in March Against Muni's approach, but the bottom line is that we need more pressure on Muni — not less.

A lot of skilled organizers and activists have tried to take on this issue in the past, and failed. (Myself humbly included.) You don't welcome new arrivals on the scene by lambasting them, but by proposing a platform of more concrete demands and strategies than what is currently on the table. Muni First has been doing a great job of pulling together the usual suspects to take on this issue. But we need some unusual suspects as well, and real conversation on how to win.

Although I'm far from an expert in this area, there are a few things I'm pretty sure are key here. One: There has to be an alliance between rank-and-file Muni workers and riders. Most Muni drivers deal well with their incredibly difficult jobs. We all know there are some asses, but those drivers generally don't set the policies that screw us all. You'll never beat City Hall without this kind of alliance or by scapegoating drivers.

Secondly, there has to be some sort of direct action component. The bus riders' union of L.A. had a great "No seat, no fare" campaign where riders were armed with cards informing drivers they weren't paying their fares if they couldn't sit. The tactic worked, because it made sense to the people who were being asked to take the risk of carrying it out. It also sent a clear signal to the city that the organizers weren't going to be confined to the electoral system. This, combined with several other approaches, forced L.A. to add a bunch of service.



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