Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
What were the biggest learning experiences? What were the biggest mistakes? What were the best decisions?
Enjoy the final strategy session of 2008. Next week, I'll be back in full swing as we discuss what to do in 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
But then, I realized something. It's not enough for us to just keep complaining about something that may or may not change. No, instead we need to get up & speak out. We must be loud, be proud, and raise some holy hell until we win our civil rights.
I mean it. I'm sick & tired of being told to "wait my turn". I'm sick & tired of being commanded to accept second-class citizenship. I'm sick & tired of being derided as "controversial" just for being who I am.
I've had enough, and I won't take it any more. I won't just take whatever bread crumbs Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi throws our way. I want us to have a seat at the table, and I won't stop fighting until we get our seat at that table.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that LGBT people abandon the Democratic Party. No, I'm saying that we can't simply expect Democratic politicians to tolerate us & be happy with that. We must go beyond just supporting candidates. We must build our own movement.
Past civil rights activists realized this, and we must realize this today to be successful in the future. We need our own Million Person March to Washington. We need our own sit-ins at the gates to Saddleback Church and the LDS (Mormon) Church Headquarters. We need our own advocates to win more landmark cases in court. And yes, we need our own campaigns & our own candidates to win.
So guess what? I want to start by taking my own advice. I'll help organize a protest in front of Rick Warren's church on January 18. I'll run for reelection to my state Democratic Party's Central Committee. I'll give all I can give to groups that are doing as I'm doing in fighting like hell for equal rights. Oh yes, and I'll be loud & proud in telling everyone I know that I'm gay & I just want the same treatment all of them take for granted.
Want to join me? Go ahead. If you're in California, please support Courage Campaign's Repeal Prop H8 Campaign and ACLU's efforts to overturn H8 in court. No matter where you are, help Lambda Legal secure people's civil rights all across the nation. And no matter where you are, come out.
Come out as an ally. Come out as queer if you are. Just come out, be loud, and be proud. After all, well-behaved queers never make history.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Hope you all had a great Christmas, and I hope you all come back in 2009. :-)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
And please, enjoy the beautiful holiday tomorrow! :-)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Take a look at the current forecast to see where electoral power is moving to.
What Congressional races do you think we should invest in?
The strategy session is now open. Please come on in!
I can understand Obama's desire to embrace constituencies that have rejected him. Evangelicals are in that category and Warren is an important evangelical leader with whom, Obama said, "we're not going to agree on every single issue." He went on to say, "We can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans." Sounds nice.
But what we do not "hold in common" is the dehumanization of homosexuals. What we do not hold in common is the belief that gays are perverts who have chosen their sexual orientation on some sort of whim. What we do not hold in common is the exaltation of ignorance that has led and will lead to discrimination and violence.
Finally, what we do not hold in common is the categorization of a civil rights issue -- the rights of gays to be treated equally -- as some sort of cranky cultural difference. For that we need moral leadership, which, on this occasion, Obama has failed to provide. For some people, that's nothing to celebrate.
The party's off.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Last Saturday, about 30 of us local civil rights activists in Orange County went out to see "Milk". And afterwards, we were all inspired by the story of "The Mayor of Castro Street" to go out & make a difference outside South Coast Plaza.
And guess what? We kept going on Sunday! In fact, we took our message of love & equality directly to H8 headquarters. And believe it or not, there's not as much H8 here as you'd think.
Come along with me as I tell you about my weekend full of love & equality.
On Saturday, Courage Campaign sponsored "MILK + Love" events all over California to remind the state that the civil rights movement isn't over yet. And yes, I hosted the event in Costa Mesa. I received RSVP email after RSVP email in the 72 hours before the event, but I seriously doubted that 46 people would actually show up.
But lo & behold, we actually had over 50 people come to the candlelight vigil after the movie! And better yet, most passers-by were quite moved by our plea for equal rights. In fact, a family doing some holiday shopping stopped by to apologize for their votes for H8 as the husband & wife were showing the kids all the other loving families at the rally. They seemed to be crying once they met the married couples that the Yes on H8 campaign wants to divorce against their will. I nearly cried after they left.
Well, I guess that was good preparation for what would happen the following day. I woke up early Sunday morning to make the trek down the toll road to Saddleback Church. I wanted to make sure I'd be there in time for the 9:00 AM & 11:00 AM services. But oh my, I didn't know what I'd be jumping into!
Sure, I expected the few people driving into church who shouted expletives at us. However, I didn't expect a church member to walk down from the campus to apologize for the recent Rick Warren related controversies. She tried to tell us that Warren isn't a bigot. Someone from our group wanted to shout her down, but the rest of us speaking with her quieted him down. Then, a lesbian couple who was married this year explained to the church member how they're not treated equally under a domestic partnership even though it's "just like marriage". She had asked about compromising by "calling it something else", but she started to understand as we were telling her our own stories of discovering that there's no such thing as "separate but equal". The church member told us of her gay son & gay cousins, and I told her of my Christian friends. We cried, we hugged, and I gave her my card in hopes that she will continue the conversation we began yesterday.
Believe it or not, not everyone at Saddleback Church hates queer people. Sure, we got the dirty looks and the thumbs down and the expletives. However, we also discovered our fair share of thumbs up and amicable waves among both the passers-by along Portola Parkway and parishioners leaving church. I guess once they realized that queer people aren't so scary, they let go of whatever fear and hatred they once had. I mean, how could they look directly at the married gay couple that joined us later in the day and say that they should be forcibly divorced?
Really, that was the success of our weekend of action here in Orange County. We practiced what Harvey Milk preached. We showed the outside world that LGBT people are people too. We came out, showed our love, and asked our neighbors to join in sharing the love... And the civil rights!
It's so crucial that we remain out of our closet comfort zone in the coming months as the California Supreme Court determines the immediate fate of marriage equality and the voting public decides whether to reconsider their opinions in 2010. We must be out fighting for our rights. We must be out winning hearts and minds. We can't just expect California to fall into place, or for President Obama to magically make everything better. We musf make it happen!
So please, make sure Courage Campaign is ready for 2010. Make sure the ACLU can continue to win our rights in court. And most importantly, go out & put you love into action by telling everyone why equal rights for all matter.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Let's hope that the court comes to the same conclusion next spring.
Coming up tomorrow in the C4O Bigot's Corner, David Duke.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I guess we'll just have to see what happens tomorrow to get a better idea of who will really win this race.
Please sign the petition.
It is appalling that President-elect Barack Obama would invite California Pastor Rev. Rick Warren, an ardent supporter of Prop 8 and someone who is opposed to the equality of LGBT Americans, to give the invocation at his inauguration.
Demand President-elect Obama to immediately rescind this invitation.
Please sign the petition.
Would President-elect Obama invite someone to give the invocation who supported eliminating the civil rights of a minority other than the LGBT community? Of course he wouldnt!
This is a slap in the face to the millions of LGBT Americans who supported his historic candidacy.
TAKE ACTION: Sign EQCAs petition to President-elect Obama. Ask him to immediately rescind this despicable invitation. Please sign the petition.
I was scanning the inauguration schedule for representatives of the American Nazi Party, but I couldn't find any. There are a diversity of views in the United States: I don't think we should carve out a special role for just anti-gay Americans. Surely, there is a place at the inauguration for Americans who hate Catholics, Jews, African Americans, Asians, and Latinos. I mean, ardent defenders of the rights of all Americans that we are, shall we fail to include racists, anti-Semites, and anti-Catholics?
Obama, step up to the plate and let the inauguration be an equal-opportunity platform for every sort of discrimination in America. Let hatred ring!
And better yet, you don't even need gift wrap!
Now's the perfect time to give the gift of equality! Instead of attempting to scour the malls for the usual iPods or food processors or Nordstrom gift cards, why not give a gift that your loved ones will really cherish, especially your LGBT loved ones still fighting for their civil rights! I mean, what could be a better holiday gift than equal rights?
We are so close to making so much progress. The California Supreme Court will hear the lawsuit to overturn Prop H8 in March, and our side has a great case prepared to win marriage equality in court. And no matter what happens in court, our political allies are already preparing to win marriage equality in the 2010 election.
And better yet, we're on the verge of victory in additional states. A legal suit for marriage equality is being heard in Iowa. The New Jersey Civil Unions Commission has recommended that the state institute marriage equality. Legislative action for marriage equality is in limbo in New York. We're so close in so many states, and the extra push we make can make the difference.
We can make the difference in organizing for equal rights in California by supporting Courage Campaign's Repeal Prop H8 Campaign. And to support efforts all over the nation to defend our civil rights, we can make the difference by supporting the ACLU's LGBT fund. And if you have a favorite LGBT civil rights group in your area, please go ahead & give to them as well!
Do something different this holiday season. Share some love with your friends & family. Give the gift of equality to the ones you love. Believe me, you won't regret it!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Well, it'll be nice to see Paul Wellstone's seat filled by another solid Minnesota prairie progressive. Let's hope it happens. :-)
Oh, my! Everyone's talking about the first shot in what should be a fascinating 2010 Senate campaign in California! It's just too bad for Orange County's favorite radical right legislator that people are laughing at the video, not along with the video.
Charles Lemos is having a good laugh about the Chuck DeVore for Senate campaign at MyDD. Sometimes, I still can't believe my original hometown is known for producing so many batsh*t crazy politicians.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
What are you concerned about? What do you think we need to work on? What should our goals be in the coming weeks?
It's time to open up the session. So please, come on in & let's get working.
Want to come along with me as we look at where we can win in 2010 and beyond?
Let's start in Wyoming. While John McCain beat Barack Obama by 32%, it was an improvement over Bush's 40% margin of victory in 2004. And believe it or not, Wyoming voters twice elected Democrat Dave Freudenthal as Governor while Democrat Gary Trauner twice lost the At-Large House seat by surprisingly narrow margins. We have an opportunity in 2010 to win both races, as Freudenthal is termed out and newly elected GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis doesn't seem much more popular than outgoing GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin. I see both races as "Leans Republican" now, but that can change if we find good candidates.
Unlike Wyoming, Montana is rapidly trending Democratic. Bush won the state by 20% in 2004, but McCain could only muster a 3% win and Obama may be the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to win here in 2012. And better yet, Montana now has 2 Democratic Senators, a Democratic Governor, and a split legislature. But for some reason, incumbent GOP Rep. Dennis Rehberg is still in office. If we find a strong Democrat to challenge Rehberg in 2010, I think we can make this "Likely Republican" seat more competitive.
Now Idaho may not be trending Democratic as quickly as Montana, but the state is moving our way. Bush's 39% win in 2004 was reduced to a 25% McCain win this year. And better yet, Democrat Walt Minnick scored a stunning upset win over incumbent GOP Rep. Bill Sali in ID-01. But even though Minnick won this year, we must remember that this House seat will be the top GOP target in 2010. This race looks like a "Toss-up" now, and we'll need to work hard to hold ID-01 while continuing to make electoral gains in Idaho.
While all the other Northwest states previously mentioned still tilt toward the GOP, Washington state is quite the different game. Barack Obama won here by 17%, a great improvement over Kerry's narrower 7% win in 2004. Meanwhile, Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire won reelection this year while Democratic majorities in both house of the legislature, both Democratic Senators, and all 6 Democratic House Reps. look pretty safe. However, we have a chance to pick up another House seat in the eastern suburban Seattle WA-08 district. Incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Reichert only narrowly won reelection in 2006 & 2008 in a district that both Kerry & Obama won. If we perhaps find a candidate with legislative experience to challenge Reichert in 2010, we can finally win this "Toss-up" race.
As you can see, The Northwest is undergoing many of the same changes being seen Southwest. Wyoming and Idaho may still look strongly Republican, but Montana has rapidly become a swing state as Oregon and Washington have gone from simply leaning Democratic to strongly Democratic. As the population grows, diversifies, and changes from rural to suburban & urban, Democrats are rising to victory.
As long as demographics change and voters continue to care less about "the culture wars" and more about issues like energy, environmental preservation, and economic development, Democrats will win. That's why our party must continue to invest in winning The West. So are you ready to win?
I guess not. And if this is a sign of what's to come in 2010 & 2012, then Democrats are in good shape for the next coming elections.
The first step has begun in Illinois ridding itself of Blago, and just about everyone wants him gone.
Martha Raddatz interviewed The Disaster President, George W. Bush, the obtuse cartoon character who has occupied the Oval Office during the last eight long and disastrous years. Of course, one of Mr. Magoo's worst disasters was his expensive incursion into Iraq which has poured out a steady stream of our national treasure and completely hemorrhaged international good will for the United States. The Prince Buffoon had this exchange with Raddatz:
Chimp: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take ...
Raddatz: But not until after the U.S. invaded.
Chimp: Yeah, that's right. So what?
So, there you have it, one by one, the weapons of mass destruction defense, the we've gotta fight where they are defense, one prevarication after another, the Prince Buffoon admits he just lied his way through the whole eight years.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Well, Salazar is quite centrist. However, he's pretty good on environmental issues. And hey, this may mean Colorado will get a better Democrat for Senator. ;-)
Yeah, I know I am going out on a limb here, but my money is on Obama to pull out a comfortable win.
Acting on behalf of billions of people, people who live inside the United States and outside of it, an Iraqi journalist sums up, by his actions, our assessment of the Bush presidency.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
So what's happening with you today?
Republicans, committed to perpetuating George W. Bush's legacy, are now trying to make a mountain out of a molehill by attenuating the links between the senator from Illinois to the governor of Illinois into something quite sinister:
The United States is deep trouble, directly as the result of the policy and behavior of Republicans. The only way the country will save itself is for Barack Obama to succeed as president, but here come the Republicans, the same as they ever were, trying to destroy America by trying to destroy her new president.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Have you had to endure a sick weekend lately? Doesn't it suck? I guess 'tis the season to feel really ill, fa la la la la yuck yuck yuck yuck.
So go ahead & chat away. I'll be around.
Friday, December 12, 2008
In the closest Senate race in Minnesota history, every vote should be counted fairly. But there are Minnesotans who had their votes thrown out, even though they did nothing wrong. They voted absentee, but their ballots were improperly rejected because of someone else's mistake. And in the closest Senate race in Minnesota history, their votes remain uncounted.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Why should we wait much longer?
We shouldn't have to. Really, we can't allow inequality to persist any longer. That's why we must start working now to urge President Obama and the Democratic Congress to get working!
One great place where they can start is with repealing DOMA, the "Defense of Marriage Act". In reality, DOMA defends no one's marriage. Rather, it prevents same-sex couples from exercising what should be their rights as legally recognized couples. Now that issues of LGBT equality are on the forefront of the national agenda and most Americans believe gay & lesbian couples should have all the same rights as straight couples, we must make sure that DOMA is repealed.
Another important LGBT civil rights issue to tackle is workplace discrimination. Believe it or not, someone can still be "legally" fired in 30 states simply for being a "f*gg*t". We're in desperate need of a national anti-discrimination policy, and that's why ENDA must become law as soon as possible. That's also why "Don't Ask Don't Tell" must be repealed, as far too many brave people in the military are discharged simply for being queer. There should be no "heterosexual litmus test" to hire employees, so DADT must be repealed as ENDA becomes law.
Now of course, we don't just have work to do on LGBT rights. We also must work to advance women's rights, including women's reproductive rights. We can start by pushing for the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, which will prevent any further erosion of the principle of freedom of choice originally decided in Roe v. Wade. Oh yes, and if the anti-choice forces really want to work with us to reduce the need for abortion, why don't they join us in protecting access to family planning & contraception?
OK, so choice shouldn't be the end of advancing women's rights. There's far more for us to do as well. Believe it or not, women are still not guaranteed fair pay for the hard work they do. And believe it or not, there's still no guarantee of equal rights for women in the Constitution yet. This must change, and we must change this soon.
It's about time that America treat all her citizens equally, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Are you ready to make this change happen? I am. Now, we must demand that the new President & Congress make it happen!
Please tell President-Elect Obama to keep his word & support equal rights for all! Oh yes, and please ask the same of your members of Congress. They promised us change we can believe in, so now's the time to deliver.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Mr. Obama used leverage that he had seldom employed - publicly, anyway - and strongly urged Mr. Jones to bypass Mr. Blagojevich and approve the ethics bill, banning the so-called pay-for-play system of influence peddling in Illinois. When asked at the time how Mr. Obama had come to be involved, Mr. Jones replied, "He's a friend."
When the Illinois Senate passed the measure by 55 to 0 on Sept. 22, with Mr. Jones reversing his position, Mr. Obama praised the move as one creating "a tougher ethics law that will reduce the influence of money over our state's political process." Mr. Obama's intervention deepened a rift between him and Mr. Blagojevich that had been growing for some time.
So does this now explain why Blagojevich called Obama a "motherf*cker" for not paying to play Blago's game? It does for me. Obama actually took a little time off the campaign trail in late September to line up the votes to pass the historic ethics legislation that proved to be Blago's downfall.
So will the Republicans stop telling lies about "Barky Hussein Soetoro's trail of corruption"? Obama actually worked to stop the corruption! If anything, we should thank the President-Elect for putting an end to this mess in Illinois & hope that he can do the same in DC!
Talking Points Memo has an excellent video out which, though it stops a little abruptly, speaks to the problems that the Obama faces in addressing the legacy of George Bush's torture regime. The caption at You Tube says about the video:
At a panel last week on justice in the post-Bush era, Scott Horton of Harper's explained to TPMtv why the Justice Department may not be the best venue to lead investigations of the Bush years. Also: Horton says members of the Obama transition team have asked him "penetrating questions" about his December cover story on how we should investigate -- and potentially prosecute -- Bush-era lawbreakers.
We'll find out when the next wave of indictments roll out.
The president-elect agrees with [Illinois] Lt. Governor Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois.Obama similarly called on the Illinois legislature to create a process to select a senator who enjoy the respect of the citizens of Illinois.
Illinois's Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, The Sun-Times reports, is prepared to go to the Supreme Court to force Governor Dead Meat out of office.
Go, Lisa, go!
The Los Angeles Times reports that Barack Obama intends to use his full name, including his middle one, "Hussein," when he takes the oath of office on January 20. Obama said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times:
I think the tradition is that they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition, not trying to make a statement one way or another. I'll do what everybody else does.Obama promises to make a strong pitch to the Muslim world. During the course of his interview, Obama observed that he thought the nation had a wonderful opportunity to shape the way non-Americans see it:
I think we've got a unique opportunity to reboot America's image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular.Obama plans to deliver a speech in a Muslim capital early in his term as president.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
He didn't do anything wrong. A lot of this is just politics.The lawyer said that Governor Dead Meat doesn't have plans to resign.
It's pretty sobering to hear Fitzgerald talk about this, and the comments by the Federal agent ought to send a chill down your spine.
Already, President-Elect Barack Obama has said he wants to take action on the economy as soon as he's sworn into office. But will he support the real solutions that our economy needs? Well, that's where we step in.
Now is the time for us to ensure that Obama's campaign promises come true. And now with everyone worried about the economy, now is the time to institute the real reforms and investments that are needed to fix what's broken. So where should we begin?
How about the one problem that is actually making our businesses less competitive? And the problem that is squeezing the working class, as people pay so much for so little? Yes, I'm talking about health care. Believe it or not, instituting universal health care can stimulate our economy. With businesses spending less on health care expenses, they can afford to hire more workers and produce more product. And with individuals spending less on inadequate health care, they can have more livable income. We must make universal health care happen, as this can do plenty to improve our people's and our economy's health.
Another great way for us to stimulate the economy will be to invest in infrastructure. And if we want to solve the climate crisis and fix our energy problem while also stimulating our economy, we should start building our green economy infrastructure. Think about it. We need new American jobs, and we need renewable energy. So why not build the solar panels and wind turbines and geothermal plants here so we can accomplish both? Contrary to what the "conventional wisdom" says, good environmental policy can actually go hand in hand with good economic policy. And right now, we need both for the new jobs and the investment. Blue Green Alliance gets it, and so should the new Administration.
And finally, no economy functions properly without a functioning middle class. And for far too long, the corporate right has attacked the middle class. We need to change this, and we can begin by ending the assault on the unions that helped create the American middle class. We must ensure that the Employee Free Choice Act becomes law, so that workers will once again be able to choose to form unions. We also must reform the global trade regime to make "free trade" fair as well. Our trade policies must be fair to our workers so they can keep their jobs, but we also must make sure that they are fair to the workers in the developing world. After all, how good is "free trade" if half the world can't afford it?
So there you have it, a more well-rounded economic rescue plan. We need to remember that Wall Street "rescue funds" and Detroit automaker loans are only part of the solution, and so do the incoming President and Congress. Please tell President-Elect Obama to fulfill his pledge to us, and please ask your members of Congress to do the same. They promised change we can believe in, and now's the time for that change to be delivered.
Marc Ambinder speculates that Jesse Jackson, Jr. is the unnamed "Senate Candidate 5" in the Blagojevich indictment, based upon the apparent timing of a recent meeting between Jackson and the Guv. Since this speculation is being widely disseminated, I wanted to look more closely at it. Even assuming Ambinder is right about that meeting, his argument simply makes no sense to me.
Ambinder even cites the paragraph of the indictment which leads me to draw the exact opposite conclusion as he does. To put this excerpt in context, "Senate Candidate 1" is apparently Barack Obama's preferred choice for the seat:
102. Later on November 10, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Advisor A discussed the open Senate seat. Among other things, ROD BLAGOJEVICH raised the issue of whether the President-elect could help get ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife on "paid corporate boards right now." Advisor A responded that he "think[s] they could" and that a "Presidentelect . . . can do almost anything he sets his mind to." ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will appoint "[Senate Candidate 1] . . . but if they feel like they can do this and not fucking give me anything . . . then I'll fucking go [Senate Candidate 5]." (Senate Candidate 5 is publicly reported to be interested in the open Senate seat). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that if his wife could get on some corporate boards and "picks up another 150 grand a year or whatever" it would help ROD BLAGOJEVICH get through the next several years asLINK
In my reading, Blagojevich is saying here that if Obama won't do anything for him, then screw Obama, he'll appoint Senate Candidate 5 instead. Ambinder agrees with my interpretation: "In other words -- if Blago doesn't get what he wanted, then he'd stiff the POTUS by appointing someone he didn't like -- Senate Candidate 5."
So then, how could Senate Candidate 5 possibly be Jesse Jackson Jr.? Unless I'm missing something, there is no reason to think that Obama doesn't like Jesse Jackson Jr., or that appointing Jackson to the seat would be perceived as any kind of "slap" to Obama. To the contrary, Jackson was a prominent surrogate for Obama during the presidential campaign, and I have never heard anything to suggest that Obama would be upset if Jackson took his Senate seat (although Jackson may not be his first choice).
To be clear, whether or not Jackson is "Senate Candidate 5," there are no allegations of criminal activity against Senate Candidate 5 in the indictment. But the charges definitely cast that anonymous person in an unfavorable light:
On December 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke to Advisor B and informed Advisor B that he was giving Senate Candidate 5 greater consideration for the Senate seat because, among other reasons, if ROD BLAGOJEVICH ran for re-election Senate Candidate 5 would "raise money" for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, although ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5 to insure Senate Candidate 5 kept his promise about raising money for ROD BLAGOJEVICH. (In a recorded conversation on October 31, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH described an earlier approach by an associate of Senate Candidate Five as follows: "We were approached `pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.")The indictment is unclear on this point, and whether or not Senate Candidate 5 did anything illegal necessarily depends on what exactly was said between him and Blagojevich - and by the sound of it, the Feds may not even have wiretaps of those particular conversations. But I'm pretty confident that Senate Candidate 5, whomever he or she may be, is not getting the Senate appointment given the light this indictment paints them in.
Rice and Clinton enjoyed a private two-hour catered meal of sea bass, wild rice, mushroom soup and fruit.The two women discussed the nation's foreign policy issues and challenges as Obama ascends to the presidency.
I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.Kurtz at TPM calls it, "serious chutzpah." Todd Beeton opens his description of the breaking news with a sardonic, "Greeeeaaaat." Josh Marshall at TPM expresses wonder with a single word at both the daring and denial of the governor: "Amazing." BarbinMD at Daily Kos sums it up with, "What an ass."
Somehow, the lack of a blue dress with a stain and the failure to claim there were WMDs when there were none makes the scandal a little refreshing. Everyone can understand trying to sell a public benefice for private gain. No one can argue that this is anything other than just bad. You don't need to call in an ethics philosopher or a moral theologian to do the analysis on this one.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Love. Love is a many splendid thing. Love is awesome. Love feels good.
But what if you couldn't be with the one you love? What if you couldn't have the one you love? What if you weren't allowed to love the one you love?
Think I'm crazy?
If we allow discriminatory initiatives like California's Prop H8, Arizona's Prop 102, and Florida's Amendment 2 to stand, it would only be the start. It would start a new effort to attack the LGBT community and the rights we have. But you know what's even worse?
The forces behind H8 don't really care about "protecting marriage". They mainly want to "divide and conquer" the progressive coalition that elected Barack Obama as our next President & sent more Democrats to Congress. They want to rekindle "the culture wars" and make LGBT people into just another "wedge issue".
But you know what? Our love isn't a "wedge issue"! People's civil rights shouldn't be a petty political game. It's high time we say "Enough!" to this attempt to make equality into some ugly "culture war".
That's why I'm giving the gift of equality to everyone I love. Because after all, isn't this about the right to love? And what better gift can I give than the right to live and love?
And yes, the beautiful struggle for the right to love goes on. We have a strong case in the California Supreme Court to overturn H8, as the forces behind this initiative didn't actually follow the constitutional guidelines to try to revise the state constitution. And no matter what happens in court next spring, we'll be prepared to win marriage equality on the California ballot in 2010. And believe me, we're not giving up on Arizona or Florida or any of the other states with marriage bans to repeal.
Hey, isn't love worth fighting for? That's why I'm giving to my friends and family the gift of a strong Courage Campaign effort to repeal H8. Meanwhile, a couple friends are giving me a great Lambda Legal effort to fight for our rights in court.
Love isn't cheap, but love is so worth it! So please, please give the gift of equality to the ones you love. Trust me, this will be a holiday present that your loved ones will absolutely love!
Won't you please consider sponsoring a sad and broken executive, especially at this particular time of the year.
The Associated Press is reporting that Governor Rod Blagojevich plans to sit down with Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. to discuss the possibility of Jackson's appointment to Obama's unfinished term as a United States Senator. The Governor described Jackson "as a 'very strong' candidate. The son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson is among several Illinois politicians mentioned as contenders."
The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court has declined to hear a case that proposed Barack Obama did not meet the qualifications for citizenship to be elected president of the United States. The Court declined to hear the case without comment. One more case on the question of Obama's natural citizenship remains unsettled, but it has met stiff judicial resistance to date. These cases remind me of the Wing Nuts' insistence that Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster. Where do these cuckoo birds come from?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Btw, Ohio now has a majority Democratic Congressional Delegation. Isn't that great? This certainly makes up for the recent news of Louisiana growing redder. Ohio's bigger, and it's growing bluer. ;-)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Still, it looks like the car companies will have to make concessions. There will be government oversight. There will likely be some kind of fuel effiency standards for new cars. We'll just have to see what happens with the final deal.
So yes, Bush is a complete f*ck-up. And yes, President-Elect Obama has a real challenge in cleaning up his mess.
Jon Favreau, the tacky adolescent on the left (as opposed to the tacky adolescent on the right), is Barack Obama's speech writer; he is to be the Director of Speechwriting for the President after Obama assumes office on January 20.
A stripling youth of 27, Favreau apparently doesn't know unacceptable behavior when he engages in it. He recently attended a party where he allowed himself to be photographed inappropriately pawing a life size cutout of Hillary Clinton.
This is just bad form, and it reminds me a lot of what went on in the blogs during the primaries. Blatantly sexist and entirely inappropriate for a presidential appointee. Al Kamen at The Washington Post reports that the man child had "reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology." Reached out, indeed.
I think the President-Elect should reconsider this appointment.
So please hold tight, and hopefully soon we'll be up and running again.
And again, this is why we can't afford "fiscal conservatism" now. We don't need "belt tightening" now. We need to stimulate this economy!
President Obama must be ready to tackle this on January 20. He must be ready to get people back to work & put money in people's hands ASAP. This is recession now, and we can't afford to continue falling down much lower.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In the mean time, it sucks that the whole nation is in limbo until then.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
- Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only about two in 10 (22%) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition.
– Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces.
– About six in 10 (63%) U.S. adults favor expanding hate crime laws to cover gay and transgender people.
– Nearly seven out of 10 U.S. adults (69%) oppose laws that would ban qualified gay and lesbian couples from adopting children.
So why do we keep hearing about this nation's "gay problem"? Well, it's not that hard to explain. People are still scared of "The M Word".
Yes, that's right. Marriage. There's this disconnect in many people's heads between supporting equal rights for all and knowing that separate isn't equal.
I occasionally ran into this problem when I was out campaigning against Prop 8 here in California. There would always be a few who'd ask me why we couldn't be happy that domestic partnerships "are just like marriage". I'd respond that domestic partnerships are not "just like marriage" because they're not marriage and they only provide 1/3 the same rights as marriage, as the other 2/3 are federal rights that are blocked under DOMA.
I just don't get it. On one hand, straight Americans seem more accepting of LGBT people than ever before. They support hate crimes laws, open military service, adoption rights, and essentially all the rights of marriage for gay & lesbian couples. But for some reason, people still stop and freak out over that actual one word: marriage.
So what can we do? First off, we need to continue educating people about what marriage really means. No, there's no threat to any churches. No, it doesn't force any one to do anything against his/her will. All it means is that all loving couples are treated equally under the law.
And secondly, we need to hold our newly elected officials accountable. Contrary to what some Beltway Pundits say about President Obama not being "too connected to the homosexual agenda", there's obviously support for equal rights. We can begin to make progress nationally by repealing DOMA, the current federal law that forbids recognition of any state or local same-sex union. By repealing DOMA, gay & lesbian couples actually would have the same rights as married straight couples. Also, we can urge Congress & the President to pass ENDA & allow open military service. No one should be discriminated at work, whether it's in the Marines or at the office near the marina, for one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It's just not right, and it's about time for the federal government to recognize that.
So is America ready for change that queer people can believe in? It seems likely now. We just need to continue educating the public on the change we really need while demanding that our government do what's right for all of us. Can we make it happen?
Yes, we can.
Still, I don't think we're as polarized around "culture wars" crap as we used to be. And if President Obama can really deliver the change we need on the economy, we'll see a continuing death of the "culture wars".
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
One... many at Kos hated Clinton, so that anyone that now supports her appointment as SOS was lying then or lying now.
Secondly... Clinton is so damn hawkish because of her support and vote for the war she is completely unfit to serve in Obama’s administration.
So, here I must refute these ideas...
Clinton fought hard during the primary and said some things that really pissed me off, just as many here were pissed. Some chose to express that anger in ways that might not seem as productive as other means but things were said during the primary, we all know that.
But when Clinton conceded and endorsed Obama, I was a bit shocked. I did believe she might keep fighting until the convention and even challenge his nomination at the roll call. But as history now shows us, Clinton not only endorsed Obama, she campaigned for him and urged her supporters to vote for him.
How much clearer could she have been, No McCain, no way, no how? She was very clear that McCain was not an alternative to Obama and by Republicans picking Sarah Palin as the VP choice (Sure, we all know McCain did not get his way) they gave Clinton an even bigger bat to hit that point home ; McCain/Palin were not an alternative to Clinton either.
I teared up when Clinton stopped the roll call and spoke those words that ended it as clearly as anyone could have, she will forever have a huge part in history for many different reasons and I think one of the most important was the grit and class she showed after she had lost the primary. It turned my head and it gave me the ability to forgive and forget. Yes, it can happen in politics as well, some things are just not worth hanging on to.
Is it possible that I might be the only one whose opinion of Clinton was drastically changed? I highly doubt it and I’m hoping that is the case, that many allowed themselves to be won over by her ardent support of Obama and her ability to be a “team player”.
Obama is also playing the game and he has given her a great opportunity to be a tremendous Secretary of State to put forth HIS agenda on Foreign Policy not her own. That’s where her perceived hawkishness is irrelevant to me, ultimately Clinton was chosen for her standing in the international community and relationships between world leaders that already exist. It is also a nod to her competency as a Senator and an opponent. It was a brilliant move by Obama in my opinion and a deserving position for Clinton as well, in my opinion.
But do you really think that Clinton would have enough sway over Obama to start another useless and illegal war? Really?
I know many here admired the fact that Obama stood up and spoke out against the Iraq war when it was not the politically expedient thing to do. I was also one of the many who never supported this war and I still feel betrayed by all that allowed themselves to be swayed by the bullshit meme put forth by the Bush Administration, either you are for us or against us. Clinton is not politically un-savvy, she knew she had to support the war, at least in her mind and at the time it was what she felt was necessary.
Clinton also knew (yes, all supposition on my part, I admit it) that she could not fully repudiate her stance on the war, it would mean admitting she did not do her homework and that she was possibly like every other Democrat (according to the right wing) soft on national security, etc. Clinton was in it to win and she made a calculated decision (just as John Edwards did, by the way, but he had nothing to lose in saying he was sorry, I wonder even now if he ever meant to see it through Super Tuesday).
Obama has proven that you can be for America and be against stupid wars. He’s held his own in showing that inexperience doesn’t mean dumb and that his intellect far outweighs the experience of the many people who supported this war in the first place. Clinton in his Cabinet will not overpower Obama nor will her “hawkishness”. Obama will not allow that to be the driving force of his Foreign Policy.
It is possible for former Clintons skeptics to support her appointment as Secretary of State without it meaning that we all lied just a few months ago. And by her full throated support of Obama during the general election she’s also proven that his agenda can be her agenda if it means improving our standing in the world and helping America be a better place for all of us.
Just call me a pragmatic optimist, I would much rather give people the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best once Obama is sworn in rather than mope about something that is completely out of my control in the first place. (Yes, the left has every right to speak out against the perceived move to the center, which is still more left than McCain would have ever been if he had won).
But will this last? Will The Southwest continue to trend blue? And can Democrats continue to make gains here?
Honestly, I think so. Why? First off, demographics are shifting our way. Latinos continue to grow in population and political influence. "Creative Class" professionals continue to breathe new life into the region's urban areas. The area has changed, and the changes favor us.
And because the the demographics of The Southwest has changed, so has the politics. The old "rugged individualism" and "libertarian conservatism" that used to define the region's politics have faded away as these formerly rural states are becoming much more urban and suburban. After all, why would young parents in Henderson, NV, worry about whether or not they can own assault rifles when they have to make plans for their kids' college education, keep their kids safe from dangerous air and water pollution, and be able to afford a home and food and health care? Why would a couple of biotech researchers in Aurora, CO, feel threatened by public park land in the state when they're worried about keeping their jobs?
See where I'm going? The West has changed. I know. I've witnessed how my native Orange County, CA, has changed from "John Birch Society" embarrassment to dynamic urban environment. I've seen firsthand how Las Vegas has transformed from small casino town to world-class destination. I've been amazed by how the entire region has changed, and how we all saw this on full display as Democrats won across the board here.
So what should we do next? Let's first talk about Nevada. Barack Obama won here by 12% (vs. a 2% Bush win in 2004), Democrat Dina Titus defeated GOP incumbent Jon Porter for Congress in NV-03, and Democrats now control both houses of the state legislature. So what next? We keep Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate and put a good Democrat in the Governor's seat to replace the disgraced GOP incumbent Jim Gibbons, as both are quite doable. I'd now peg the Senate race as "Leans Democratic" and the Governor's race as "Toss-up". Oh yes, and we'd be wise to take advantage of Obama's possible 2012 coattails here by finding a legitimate challenger to GOP Senator John Ensign.
Colorado was also good to us this year, as Obama won by 9% (vs. a 5% Bush win in 2004), Tom Udall won a formerly GOP Senate seat, and Betsy Markey unseated GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in CO-04. So what can we do now? I'd peg incumbent Senator Ken Salazar's 2010 race as "Likely Democratic" now, but we should keep a close watch to make sure we win again. And of course, we'll need to make sure Obama wins again in 2012.
But what about California? Obama won here by a whopping 24% (vs. a 10% Kerry win in 2004) and Democrats already have both Senate seats & 33 of 53 House seats. What more can we have? How about the Governor's seat, which I already consider "Leans Democratic" as the GOP has no strong candidate to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger? And how about winning the "Toss-up" House races in CA-03, CA-04, and CA-44 in 2010, where we came so close this year? Same goes for the "Leans Republican" races in CA-46 and CA-50?
And what about Arizona? McCain won his home state by 9% (vs. an 11% Bush win in 2004), but Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick still managed to win a formerly GOP seat in AZ-01. So is there still potential here? I think so. Without the McCain home state edge, Obama can win here in 2012. And better yet, we can beat McCain in 2010, as well as fellow GOP Senator Jon Kyl in 2012, with the right candidates. Same goes with the 2010 Governor's race, which can be a "Toss-up" if we can have a quality candidate run against newly minted GOP Governor Jan Brewer.
So where do we go from here out West? We win! Ready to win?
I want to hear from you on what we should do now. Go ahead and chat away.
Barack Obama spoke at National Governors Association meeting this morning. The President-Elect promised to get to work quickly on the nation's economic woes. He asked the governors for their advice and pledged that he was beginning a partnership and that he was in it for the long term.
I've been away for the Thanksgiving holiday, but I am back with delight that Senator Clinton will be our next Secretary of State. This is a dream for any C4O Democrat, that Barack Obama will enjoy the counsel of Hillary Clinton in the most important policy position in the foreign affairs establishment.
Monday, December 1, 2008
So sorry, Arizona, but I guess this is what you get for not voting Obama. :-(
Damn, I guess this means more work (and sore hands) for me tomorrow...
But what if both camps are wrong? What if today's revelation of the foreign policy/national security wing of the Obama Administration reveals something completely different? Hold on, because you may be surprised.
Now yes, Obama has two prominent ex-Republicans advising him. And yes, we don't even know if Defense Secretary Bob Gates and soon to be National Security Adviser Jim Jones even voted for the President-Elect. However, we need to remember that these two indivduals have never been part of the neoconservative cabal that caused so much damage in the Bush II Administration. While they're far from liberal internationalists, they do seem to hold a more pragmatic realist point of view that can help inform our next President understand the many dangers and challenges our nation faces. And if they provide "realist" reasons to support a more liberal internationalist (aka "progressive") foreign policy, more power to them.
But even above Jones and Gates, far too many so-called "progressives" seem panicked over the thought of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Why? I just don't know, other than the usual fearmongering over anything and everything "Clinton". Now I examined for myself Hillary Clinton's views on foreign policy. I found that her foreign policy is a liberal internationalist policy well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
So I do believe that we can get a glimpse into President Obama's foreign policy by looking at who will be on his national security team. But rather than looking at them and seeing a "neocon Obama", I see something different. Rather, I see an Obama Administration that will engage the world far differently than the current Administration has.
Honestly, it does look like Obama split the difference between realists who use diplomacy to keep threats at bay and liberal internationalists who use diplomacy to solve the world's problems. And frankly, I'm OK with it.
Why? Taylor Marsh sums it up well.
People talk about "hawkish" policies or people, but for national security focused analysts, with earned expertise over years of study, like myself, it's about America's history of strength going back to Truman that Bush-Cheney and the Republicans have made a mockery through their campaigns of fear, snubbing diplomacy for bellicose saber rattling, using the military as a threat instead of a very last resort, while undermining our moral authority by sending a message to underdeveloped nations that the rule of law across the globe is not to be respected by the most powerful.
What Obama faces in Central Asia was instigated under Ronald Reagan, which I'll leave for another time. But suffice it to say that it will take a strong team led by a 21st century mind to turn the U.S. ship of state in a new direction. Obama is that man, and today he proved he knows what it will take to get the job done through the choices of the people who will surround him.
Perhaps Obama's foreign policy team isn't wholly "progressive". Still, they're all great minds and they all agree on the value of diplomacy. Each may have a different view on diplomacy, but ultimately President Obama will be the one deciding what happens. And judging by the whole of his choices so far, I feel good about that.
Also, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will be Homeland Security Secretary. Susan Rice will be UN Ambassador. Robert Gates will remain Defense Secretary. Eric Holder will be Attorney General. Gen. Jim Jones will be National Security Advisor.
Overall, great picks. They're all wonderful public servants & smart people who will serve our next President well.
Simple. That's what a parliamentary democracy is all about. Larger parties & smaller parties can form coalitions to oust incumbent plurality-but-still-minority governments if they're not working.
Wow, if only America could be a parliamentary democracy... ;-)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The war on terror in Mumbai was on Saturday wrapped up by the security forces who eliminated three terrorists in Taj hotel after 60 hours of intense battle with the band of ultras who struck the country's financial capital killing 195 people. ( Watch )
"All operations are over. The NSG has formally reported that the operations are complete and now Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House are being sanitised. There are no more terrorists now in Mumbai. All have been liquidated or captured alive," M L Kumawat, Special Secretary in the Union Home Ministry told reporters in Delhi.
Friday, November 28, 2008
No one quite knows yet who is really responsible for this carnage. Some are already blaming Pakistan. Others say it's NOT the Pakistani government, but rather rogue ex-intelligence agents who may have been behind the attacks. Meanwhile, others think this was an al-Qaeda attacks... And others think Kashmiri separatists committed these attacks.
Please stay tuned here for continued updates, and go ahead & view CNN.com for the latest news.
So what's happening near you? What's up? Go ahead & chat away today.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Stay tuned as I'll try to update you as often as I can on what's happening in Mumbai.
Oh yes, and have a happy holiday.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Coordinated terrorist attacks struck the heart of Mumbai, India's commercial capital, on Wednesday night, killing dozens in machine-gun and grenade assaults on at least two five-star hotels, the city's largest train station, a movie theater and a hospital.
Even by the standards of terrorism in India, which has suffered a rising number of terrorist attacks this year, the assaults were particularly brazen and drastically different in scale and execution. The attackers used boats to reach the urban peninsula where they hit, and their targets were sites popular with tourists.
The Mumbai police said the attacks killed at least 80 people and wounded 240, according to preliminary reports. Guests who had escaped the hotels told television stations that the attackers were taking hostages, singling out Americans and Britons. A previously unknown group claimed responsibility, though that claim could not be confirmed. It remained unclear whether there was any link to outside terrorist groups.