Nag nag nag

Have a Republican Representative? Get on the phone and suggest that he or she man up and propose something instead of sitting around like a pouty three-year-old with his finger in his ears. I would feel more sanguine about this fiscal whateverthehellitis except that I have a training grant in review that I need to move forward with my career, and that 8% cut to the NIH could mean my ass.

Find your Congresscritter Conngressperson here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first timers below the jump.

(1) Use a phone. Email has nigh on zero impact. Trust me on this. Letter mail gets read and in fact has the most impact of all, but you don’t have time. Reach the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 .

(2) Remember, this person works for you. You pay his or her salary and you voted for them. You’re the boss here, or at least one of them, and it’s they who should worry about what you think of them.

(3) Identify your name and the town or neighborhood where you live zip code. If you are not a constituent don’t bother. Since you guys never listen to me, at least google a zip code in the appropriate district before you call.

(4) State the issue. This is easy: pass the Senate bill or the party gets it. We can (and certainly will) fix the shortcomings later. Talking points above.

(5) How strongly do you feel? Don’t apologize about feeling passionate or pissed off. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. However, keep in mind that teabaggers threaten the apocalypse over everything. Interns get jaded pretty fast when call volume is high. Polite but firm is the best way to go.

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39 replies
  1. 1
    sparrow says:

    Agreed. I know people like to joke about the “fiscal staircase of gradual change” and I’m not arguing that we necessarily NOT let the whole thing go over the cliff as a lesson, BUT…

    Those of us in science are in pretty precarious positions. So it’s most definitely NOT minor to have your funding (which pays salaries, mostly) drastically cut all of a sudden. My friends at NIH are worried, and my own institution is not doing ANY hires until we know what’s going on. Many people could lose jobs and be out overnight. Once you put a PhD out to pasture, they don’t tend to come back.

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    Just to be safe call your Congressthing even if it is labeled as a Dem. I have no confidence we can count on all of them when the time comes. Obviously the goopers believe the Dems will fold – and why wouldn’t they believe that? – so it would be good if you called just to make sure they know we are watching

  3. 3
    r€nato says:

    done.

    it sure is nice having Obama negotiate like he won the fucking election.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Tim F. is one of those eggheads getting rich off of government research grants!

  5. 5
    MomSense says:

    Calling all Mainers!!

    Sen. Collins’ staff will hold a series of meetings tomorrow across the state and would be perfect opportunity to nag in person!!

    Here they are.

    10-11:30 a.m., Turner Town Office, 11 Turner Center Road.
    9:30-10:30 a.m., Ashland Town Office, 17 Bridgham St.
    10-11 a.m, Falmouth Town Office, 271 Falmouth Road.
    11:30-12:30 p.m., Cumberland Town Office, 290 Tuttle Road.
    1:30-3 p.m., South Portland City Hall 25 Cottage Road.
    3:30:4:30 p.m., Cape Elizabeth Town Hall, 320 Ocean House Road.
    12:30-2 p.m., Wilton Town Office, 158 Weld Road.
    9:30-11 a.m., Lamoine Town Office, 686 Douglas Highway.
    10:30-11:30 a.m., Winthrop Town Office, 17 Highland Ave.
    1-3 p.m., Camden Town Office, Conference Room, 29 Elm St.
    3:30-4:30 p.m. Newcastle Town Office, 4 Pump St.
    3-4:30 p.m., Norway Town Office 19 Danforth St.
    10-11:30 a.m. Millinocket Town Office, 197 Penobscot Ave.
    10-11:30 a.m., Greenville Town Office, 7 Minden St.
    1:30-2:30 p.m. Topsham Town Office, second floor Conference Room, 100 Main St.
    8:30-9:30 p.m. Norridgewock Town Office,16 Perkins St.
    1:30-3 p.m. Belfast City Hall, 131 Church St.
    9:30-10:30 a.m. Danforth Town Office, 18 Central St.
    Noon-1:30 p.m., Arundel Fire Department, 468 Limerick Road.
    Noon-1:30 p.m. Berwick Town Hall, 11 Square St.

  6. 6

    Just to clarify: I need to call my lame duck Representative, not the one who just got elected to take his place, right?

  7. 7

    Caberet Voltaire FTW.

    And, BTW, those pushing for abrupt, heavy defense cuts should realize that most of those cuts would be coming from the ‘sciency’ part of DoD work: The part that actually has some benefit for those outside of the field.

    Whatever particular weapon system you hate will still be funded. Whatever war you want ended will still go on. It’s the useful, knowledge-enhancing stuff that will get cut, because that’s just how Congress works.

    DARPA and NASA are the closest thing to a national industrial policy that we have. Don’t let Congress destroy them.

  8. 8
    Dork says:

    Here’s what I’m hearing. Am I missing something?

    PBO — Let’s go with Plan A
    John Boner: Hahahahahhahaha! Get real!
    PBO — Then let’s go with Plan A-1
    Boner — Unserryuz! Loser!
    PBO — Ok, then, tell me just what you think is real and serious
    Boner — No, we wont tell you anything. Just keep proposing so we can shoot them down.

    At what point does PBO just extend the middle finger and point to Jan. 1st on the calender?

  9. 9
    EconWatcher says:

    @Dork:

    That’s not it at all.

    It’s PBO looking down as they cling to a skyscraper ledge by their fingers, saying, you want to work with me?

    Think about it as long as you want. I’ve got all day. Let me know when you’re ready to talk.

    But keep in mind, we’re doing it my way. Oopsie, did I just step on one of your fingers?

  10. 10
    SFAW says:

    Apropos of nothing special:

    Can we lose the appellation “Congresscritter”, please? The fucking wingnuts started that, it’s stupid and childish, and the cutesiness of it passed into the ether about 30 years ago. (I almost included “coolness”, but realized it never had that in the first place, except for people like Malkin and Ewick Son of Ewick Son of Brave Sir Wobin.)

    Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.

  11. 11
    MikeJ says:

    @MomSense: And if you go to a town hall, make sure you show our elected representatives the same respect the teabaggers did in voicing their concern about healthcare.

  12. 12
    r€nato says:

    @Cris (without an H): Call your lame duck rep until and unless it becomes apparent there is no deal to be reached prior to Jan. 1. (We may not know for sure until the last moment, since that is how these things typically go…)

    The new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, I believe. After that it’s an all new negotiation since the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will have expired and then we’ll be talking about the Obama tax cuts for the middle class and (finger)fuck the rich. So you might call your new rep, but for different reasons.

  13. 13
    The Moar You Know says:

    And, BTW, those pushing for abrupt, heavy defense cuts should realize that most of those cuts would be coming from the ‘sciency’ part of DoD work: The part that actually has some benefit for those outside of the field.
    __
    Whatever particular weapon system you hate will still be funded. Whatever war you want ended will still go on. It’s the useful, knowledge-enhancing stuff that will get cut, because that’s just how Congress works.

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: This, with the added benefit that any work that does get lost will simply get kicked over to General Dynamics, Xe, or Northrup Grumman. It’s the little guys and scientists who will get kicked in the teeth.

    The “tell” for a serious, real cut in defense spending will be when someone has the balls to take an axe to the F-35 trillion-dollar boondoggle. Anything else is just moving shells around on a table.

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    And here is a little something from the president’s recent trip to push for the middle class tax cuts:

    With all the trappings of a campaign event, including a raucous, enthusiastic crowd, the president encouraged the crowd to contact their member of Congress, either through email or a phone call, to ask him or her to back extension of the middle-class tax cuts. He reminded them that the White House recently established a tweet campaign with the hash tag MY2K, for taxpayers to tell lawmakers what they would do with the $2,000 they would keep if the tax cuts are extended. “We’re trying to burn that into people’s minds here,” said the president.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    Between Lars Larson, Erik Erickson, and Chris Christie, just what the fuck is up with so many Republicans and their double first name-last name monikers? Can I conclude that their family’s inability to be creative is what caused them to be raised to be such boring, conservative douchebags?

  16. 16
    r€nato says:

    @Brachiator: the Repubs really are fucked here. Obama just won a mandate on this issue, and he’s got no problem going out on the campaign trail again. That worked out pretty well for him a month ago, and instead of the hapless Romney campaign to run against, he’s got the even more unpopular Congress to run against.

    Bring it on!

  17. 17
    sharl says:

    @Cris (without an H): Do you know where your lame duck Rep. is heading? If s/he is signing on with a think tank or an endowed Professorship funded by an organization/individual with an agenda, maybe you can figure out if bugging that person would be productive. If a good vote on this would displease his/her next benefactors, odds of getting good behavior would be slimmer. Otherwise, some folks in such positions take the concept of a positive legacy very seriously, and if they wish to be remembered well, they may be reachable.

  18. 18
    The Red Pen says:

    Even though I live in Missouri, my representative is a Democrat. Please bask in my unjustified aura of smug superiority.

  19. 19
    👽 Martin says:

    News Corp is splitting out their news properties from their entertainment division by creating a new company called Fox Group. Guess which group Fox News will go into. Yep, entertainment.

  20. 20
    r€nato says:

    @sharl: fuck it! Call ’em anyway. It’s just a phone call and it takes two minutes, tops.

  21. 21
    SFAW says:

    @Punchy:

    Can I conclude that their family’s inability to be creative is what caused them to be raised to be such boring, conservative douchebags?

    Ericksdottir may be a douchebag, but he’s not boring. Christie may be a bully (although I appreciate his “Joisy – foist, last, and always” stance post-Sandy), but he’s not boring. Larson? Not familiar with him. Probably because I’m also boring (which is shortened from “Dreary Fat Boring Old” – did I mention my last name is “Git”?)

  22. 22
    SFAW says:

    Tim –

    Noticed the mod. Thanks for humoring a stupid old fart. (Even if you didn’t do it for my benefit.)

  23. 23
    Brachiator says:

    @r€nato:

    the Repubs really are fucked here. Obama just won a mandate on this issue, and he’s got no problem going out on the campaign trail again.

    The Republicans bleat that this is just Obama “taking a victory lap” instead of negotiating with them. And then, when asked what the specific GOP plans are, they hem and hah and send out Grover Norquist to scare the Republicans in Congress, and to keep them in line.

    If the GOP insist on dragging this stuff out, Obama and the Democrats are right in using this time, especially the Christmas break, to get everyone, Democrats and Republicans, to send a message to pass the middle class tax cuts.

  24. 24
    mai naem says:

    I called my ahole congressdick on Thurs. The office person was rude and told me to go to the website. I am used to being asked my address, town or zip or my name. She didn’t even ask me that and she was obviously not interested. Oh, did I tell you he’s a teabagger. Also, here’s my problem. He got redistricted out of my area but he got elected in his new district which makes me feel like lying about my address and putting myself in his current distric. I am going to call again and see if I get somebody else. I just don’t think they are going to care if give them my reall address and they realize I am not in his district. BTW, I am talking about David Schweikert who beat Ben Quayle and my new rep will be Sinema who I know is going to be a loyal Dem but I don’t particularly care for her but she does break ground with being the first bisexual member of congress. Her primary opponent was so much better than her IMHO.

  25. 25
    Steeplejack says:

    @SFAW:

    Amen. Also, too, I would be happy if I never see “also, too” ever again. It is way past its ha-ha-funny date, and if you’re using it it means Sarah Palin is in your brain!

  26. 26
    ericblair says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The “tell” for a serious, real cut in defense spending will be when someone has the balls to take an axe to the F-35 trillion-dollar boondoggle. Anything else is just moving shells around on a table.

    Yes, the sequestration cuts aren’t targeted, thought-out reductions: it’s a cleaver across the board. Pointless politically-motivated featherbedded program gets cut 10%, but so does the well-run, efficient small program that will save money and lives. If this ends up being a constant threat you’ll see a huge incentive not to be efficient, since a 10% cut to an inefficient program is no big deal but a 10% cut to an efficient one could kill it.

    I think it’s more important that the Bush tax cuts for the rich die than sequestration gets avoided, because those tax cuts have been bleeding this country dry for a decade. But this is still no way to run a railroad, and we need the House back before we can really get back to business.

  27. 27
    MomSense says:

    @Mike J

    Rude and stupid don’t go over well heah! I think the best approach is for people to just tell it like it is. Winter is here and heating oil, gas to get there from here, and food prices mean that we need every penny just to pay the bills.

  28. 28
    slag says:

    @SFAW: I approve this message.

    Also (and mildly on-topic), for the first time in forever, Fred Hiatt is making sense:

    A Congressional Budget Office study last year found that taxpayers reporting less than $50,000 in income accounted for 19 percent of charitable donations but received only 5 percent of the tax subsidy for donations. Essentially, average Americans are helping to pay for our billionaire’s generosity, though of course they have no say in where his charity goes. And they’re paying a lot: The total charitable deduction will amount to $230 billion between 2010 and 2014, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, not including taxes lost on capital gains. That revenue has to be made up in some other way.

    Charitable deductions…Yet another way we give more to those who have more.

    Though, I only support removing them if we put all of their value toward funding actual social services–grants and public sector expansion. No more tax-payer subsidies of vanity projects for the wealthy!

  29. 29
    sparrow says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: Thanks for speaking up for NASA. As an astrophysicist it’s one of the only sources of funding we have, and the pool of resources keeps shrinking. Every year I hear of several people leaving to go into finance. Really, we need MORE people doing science, not less.

  30. 30
    SFAW says:

    @slag:

    Thanks for the Hiatt pointer. Hadn’t seen the cost/benefit figures he/you presented, but that’s because I’m lazy.

    And yet, there is also an “opinion” from VSP Ruth Marcus, characterizing Obama’s negotiating position as “pathetic”, essentially because he’s being mean to the Rethugs. She’s bemoaning that the President’s offer is not as Rethug-friendly as last year, and it seems that his re-election contributed to his intransigence.

    It would be a wonderful experience if the WaPo were to replace Ms. Marcus with someone with an IQ higher than temperature atop Mt. Washington in a normal January. I feeled my braims oozing outta my ears after reading her.

  31. 31
    slag says:

    @SFAW: She’s probably just making up for defending Susan Rice in an earlier column. Both-sides-do-it-the-truth-is-in-the-middle-there-is-no-spoon.

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    I know there are those who think if it “just gets bad enough” the wingers will have a Road to Damascus moment. But if two terms of George W Bush and an war based on lies and Katrina didn’t do it… nothing will.

    Can we put a sock in it yet?

  33. 33
    SFAW says:

    @slag:

    Missed the Rice column. (Actually, I almost never read Marcus, and sorry I broke that streak today.)

    @WereBear:

    I know there are those who think if it “just gets bad enough” the wingers will have a Road to Damascus moment.

    There are also some who believe in Peak Wingnut. They’re wrong, but it doesn’t make them bad people. (“Them” being the hopeful ones. The Rethugs are still bad people, for the most part.)

  34. 34
    JohnK says:

    I called my republican congress woman’s phone and asked to speak with her about the debt negotiations. Unfortunately, she was not in the office but the operator said she would give her my message. Gee, I wonder if she will return my call? She ran a happy-smiley 2012 campaign saying she is working on jobs. ZOMG, how many jobs are getting created by not negotiating with the President on the tax rate on income over $250,000 after deductions? I feel a letter to the editor of every newspaper in the district coming on.

    Thats a butt load of income especially if you are making enough to pay an appreciable amount of increased income tax. JeebusMaximusChristo

  35. 35

    @The Moar You Know:
    There is a serious need to revisit our ‘forward base defense posture’ (or however the Powerpoint set refers to our bases in Korea, Japan, Germany etc these days). Why do we need 50,000+ troops on a base where only 10 or 20,000 might do with modern tech? An orderly draw-down over two decades is possible: just don’t replace everybody as they retire. But that requires a serious, realistic plan, drawn up by adults, and committed to by Congress for the long term.

    My other pet peeve is procurement reform. When the Cold War ended, the biggest corps went on a buying/merging spree, which has raised costs. In the 1960s, you’d have 4, 5 maybe even 6 companies bidding on a jet fighter contract, which had a way of minimizing the price. But now, there are really only two mega-companies capable of executing huge projects: you might as well just flip a coin to see if Boeing or Lockheed gets the contract.

    The reason these systems have gotten more expensive is that there is less competition. But for guessable reasons, DoD work is one of the few areas where we’re not allowed to talk about market forces, or saving money for the customer (who is, of course, ultimately the Taxpayer).

  36. 36
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Punchy:

    Between Lars Larson, Erik Erickson, and Chris Christie, just what the fuck is up with so many Republicans and their double first name-last name monikers?

    The alliterative first-name, last-name pattern is a tell that they are actually fictional characters dreamed up by Spike Lee. You’d think he could have come up with a better set of evil henchman characteristics for them than just being as stupid as leftover Halloween jack-o-lanterns still sitting out on the front porch a week before Thanksgiving, and twice as moldy, but then Spike is getting on in years.

  37. 37
    gbear says:

    My representatives are the very liberal congresswoman Betty McCollum, and Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in the senate. There’s not much I can call and gripe to them about. I do call and ask them to do what they already were planning on doing anyway. I made a call to Franken and Klobuchar last wednesday. I’d better call Betty too.

  38. 38
    Yutsano says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: A lot of those countries greatly capitalise on the fact that we have bases in their country mostly because that means they don’t have to spend much on their own militaries. Coupled with the fact that Japan cannot have a standing army at all (thank you Article 9) and at least in Japan a major drawdown would have huge consequences. And the host nations like to gripe about our presence, but they really are economic engines for the local areas as well.

  39. 39
    mainmati says:

    @EconWatcher: Don’t think he can step on the fingers of Weeping Orange Julius if he is also hanging over the ledge on his finger tips. But I like the intent of the metaphor.

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