Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bible-Based Marriage

Monday, June 1, 2009

Progress in Nevada? Yes, But We Still Have Work to Do!

(Cross-posted at My Silver State)

It finally happened. In case you missed last night's big news, the Nevada Legislature overrode Idiot-in-Chief Jim Gibbons' veto to make comprehensive domestic partnerships into law. Nevada is the first Mountain West state to offer legal recognition for same-sex couples, and is the first non-coastal state to do so by way of the Legislature. Believe me, I'm quite proud of "my other home state" today.

But hey, our work isn't over yet.

It's quite true that SB 283, the domestic partnership (DP) bill, will go a long way to help LGBT families. Gay and lesbian couples previously had little legal protection under state law. But starting in October, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples can register for a DP and receive largely the same legal rights as married spouses.

Again, this is a major step forward for equality in Nevada. However, it's not enough. We're still dealing with "separate but equal", and we still have far more work to do. Nevada now prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity. The LGBT working poor are still coping with brutal budget cuts to essential social services. And of course, gay & lesbian couples still aren't allowed the dignity and respect of full civil marriage.

I know it's easy for us to look at what happened over the weekend, pat ourselves on the back, and conclude that "gays have rights in Nevada". Perhaps so, but LGBT people still don't have full civil rights and we must keep working to eventually achieve equality for all.

Separate is never equal. LGBT people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. Our families deserve to enjoy the same commitment, dignity, and responsibilities of marriage. Our workers, whether they be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, deserve to be safe at work and judged for what they do, not who they are. No one deserves to be discriminated against simply because of one's sexual orientation or gender identity. All people are created equal, and the law should fully recognize that.

So let's celebrate the progress we're making today, then get back to work tomorrow. HRC Nevada did some great work with the SB 283 this year, and hopefully they'll keep it up. The Southern Nevada LGBT Center has never given up, and continues to deserve our support as they support all of our community. Nevada Women's Lobby, Progress Now Nevada, and Progressive Leadership Alliance Nevada are also committed to continue working for LGBT equality.

We're not even halfway through 2009 yet, but we've already seen so many leaps forward and falls backward. I'm heartened and joyful that Nevada's now one of those leaps forward. But hey, we're still just halfway up the stairs. Let's keep going until we achieve full equality.

Meeting in the Middle for Equality in Fresno

(Originally from my updates at OC Progressive)

I had so many questions before last weekend. And honestly, I still don't know exactly what lies ahead. However, I had many of my questions answered as I saw a glimpse of hope rising after the storm.

And yes, believe it or not, my questions were answered in Fresno!

I arrived in Fresno on Friday for Meet in the Middle 4 Equality, and I was already being blown away from the very beginning! Local LGBT civil rights activists, like Meet in the Middle Organizer Robin McGehee and Jay Matthew from Erase the H8, have clearly put together a stellar operation for this weekend. And with support from other state groups like Courage Campaign (Rick Jacobs himself was there!) and OCEC, it looked like the town was already filling up for this one-of-a-kind event.

My friend Linda and I arrived in Fresno just in time for the press conference for local media. Before the radical right could get any start demonizing all of us as "teh homosexual invaezjon army!!111!!!!1", such luminaries as Cleve Jones, Lt. Dan Choi, and Robin Tyler & Diane Olson explained that they're here in Fresno not to provoke controversy but to start dialogue on marriage equality and greater issues of civil rights. Local activists like Robin McGehee also explained that they're here all the time and they're committed to working with allies in other social justice movements to achieve equality for all in The Central Valley.

Not too long after the presser, I checked into the hotel... But only for a few minutes. I then rushed off to the other "first event of Meet in the Middle", which was the pre-party hosted by Equality Army and Erase the H8 with most of the proceeds benefitting Meet in the Middle. I connected with a few old friends, met plenty of new ones, and all around had a blast partying with my fellow queer love warriors. It was a great way to get fired up and ready to go marching the next day!

And speaking of that next day, we started off the morning walking from Selma to Fresno early Saturday morning. Yes, that's right. Hundreds of queer folks and straight (but not narrow!) folks who care about civil rights marched up Golden State Highway, many marching the entire 14.5 mile route, to demonstrate how much we want full equality for all.

We sweated together. We walked together. We jogged and ran together when necessary. But together, we all sent a powerful statement on today's civil rights struggles.

After my group marched for about 10 miles and over 3 hours, we arrived at the rally site in Downtown Fresno. We were greeted by numerous thousands of cheers! And yes, the cheering supporters far outnumbered the scattered few counter-protesters insulting us.

Once all of us marchers arrived for the rally, we were also greeted by some amazing speakers.

Charlize Theron, T.R. Knight, Eric McCormack, Cleve Jones, Rick Jacobs, Robin McGehee, Robin Tyler, and many more came to speak. But more importantly, the progressive grassroots from the Central Valley was present... And was backed up by many good activists from all over California.

I met wonderful new friends in Fresno. I chatted with old friends from Courage Campaign. I hanged with my BFFs from OCEC. It was truly a beautiful experience.

This truly felt like the start of the movement to repeal Prop H8, the start of a new way forward on securing equality in California and nationwide. I had so many questions before last weekend. And honestly, I still don't know exactly what lies ahead. However, I had many of my questions answered as I saw a glimpse of hope rising after the storm.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to stay in Fresno for the LGBT Leadership Summit. Remember when I told you all about that Equality Summit in LA in January? Well, it looks like we've all learned some important lessons since then. Courage Campaign and Equality California are getting along better. Most activists are ready to move on from the past. And yes, we're mostly ready to build a winning campaign for 2010 and beyond!

Yep, it seemed like this time we didn't have a problem coming together. And really, that's what we all need to do in order to secure our civil rights once and for all. We've survived the mistakes of the past, so now we need to work together to build a better future.

I feel like I saw a glimpse of the future in Fresno last weekend. I saw it with the young students who are organizing their schools. I saw it with the various grassroots Equality Teams from all over the state that are committed to changing hearts and minds one door knock at a time. I saw it with the new outreach strategies that aim to educate by showing the people in our community, not hiding them. This is the future, and I hope I'll be seeing much more of it in the days ahead.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Fear & Loathing in California... There's an Election Next Week!

Believe it or not, California will be voting next week. Yes, thanks to this state's dysfunctional "democracy" we will have yet another election. And this time, we're promised to see fire and brimstone rain down upon the state!

The Governor's decision to roll out an early May [budget revision] puts into perspective some of the very ugly cuts that the Legislature will have to make in the next few months. Yet some opponents of the May 19th ballot initiatives seem to think this is nothing but a pre-election PR ploy. Think again. These proposals are very, very real.

Progressives like [State Assembly] Speaker Karen Bass and [State Senate Pro-tem] Darrell Steinberg already are warning that the magnitude of the cuts that will need to be made are so severe that there isn't much "protecting" they will be able to do. Traditional Democratic allies already are preparing for the worst, as no one expects the new Republican leaders Sen. Dennis Hollingworth and Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee to even entertain the thought of revenue increases. Even fee increases may be off the bargaining table, as well as borrowing.

This is going to be ugly folks. And even uglier if the props don't fast [sic?]. The Governor's action is, at the very least, serving to show the public that the legislative leaders haven't been crying wolf.

So what are we to believe? Will California sink into the Pacific if the May 19 Special Election Initiatives fail? Or is this whole discussion "fail"?

Let's get real. We have no good choices right now in California. Thanks to both "The Great Recession" and three decades of awful radical right tax policy, this state is in a fiscal abyss.

So what are we to do? If we're to believe the "Yes on 1A-1F" campaign, passing these initiatives is our only hope. The Governator has just released a truly disastrous budget proposal, but we may not have any other choice if the May 19 initiatives fail.

Or do we? Robert at Calitics mentioned today an article by Joe Stiglitz and Peter Orszag explaining why it's better for us to tax thr rich than cut the poor.

Consumers buy less and businesses produce less when the economy is weak. Therefore,
the key to promoting the state's economic growth in the short run is to encourage spending on goods and services. Stiglitz writes: "In a recession, you want to raise (or not decrease) the level of total spending - by households, businesses and government - in the economy. That keeps people employed and buying things, and makes it more likely that businesses will want to invest to serve that consumer demand." However, state spending reductions have the opposite effect: Each dollar less that the state spends generally reduces consumption by the same amount. This dollar-for-dollar reduction in consumption tends to occur because state spending cuts disproportionately affect lower-income Californians, who typically spend all of their incomes. For example, every dollar of cash payments to low-income families that the state cuts would reduce the money that these families have to spend on rent, groceries, and other goods and services by an equal amount.

So why don't we just do that? Unfortunately, California's budget rules call for 2/3 support in the legislature to agree to any budget and/or tax increase. And unfortunately for the rest of the state, Republicans in the California Legislature would rather just see the state "do away with high taxes, like Nevada did". However, they seem to forget that (1) California can't rely on casino revenue to balance the budget, and (2) neither can Nevada.

So in essence, this is why we ended up with the May 19 ballot. Back in February when the original budget was being debated, most Republicans didn't want to play ball. That's why Arnold and the Democrats hunted down and co-opted as many "renegade Republicans" as they could to agree to a craptastic package of temporary tax increases (that won't take place until 2011 if passed) and budgetary gimmicks like borrowing off state lottery revenue that may not actually materialize and stealing money from children's services and mental health programs to pay for some new slush fund that won't actually "stabilize the budget" as advertised.

And yes, I'm recommending that you "Just Say No" to this special election simply because all the "solutions" being offered aren't real solutions at all.

Prop 1A is the cornerstone of this special election, and it's the primary reason to vote it all down. If passed, it will permanently tie the state's hands and prevent the state from spending what's necessary to stimulate our economy and provide basic services to California residents. Even in years like this one when it's raining cats and dogs, we'll still be required to redirect funds from needed services to the "rainy day fund". Is that insane, or what?

And if passed as well, Props 1D & 1E will only exacerbate the problem created by Prop 1A's passage. Even though voters had already agreed to protect child services and mental health services, 1D & 1E (respectively) will undo those protections and allow Arnold the Governator to further raid these programs' budgets to avoid addressing the real crisis in our budget, which is the regressive income tax structure. Why must our budget always be "balanced" on the backs of the working poor? 1D & 1E will only worsen this crisis if passed, so why should we let them be passed?

And as for everything else, it's all crap. 1B isn't really that bad, but since it's tied to 1A it'll be rendered moot if 1A fails (as 1A should). 1C is an attempt to raise funds by selling bonds tied to the state lottery revenues. Now how is this gimmick better than all the other failed gimmicks of the recent past? And 1F? All I'll say is that it's much adieu about nothing.

While I understand that we'll have a difficult conversation on taxes, fiscal policy, and progressive priorities WHEN Props 1A-1E fail, the fact of the matter is that we can no longer avoid it. California's bag of "magic" budgetary gimmicks is now empty. We can't afford to keep kicking this can down the road. And yes, a vote for the May Props is just a vote to keep kicking that beat-up old can down the road to nowhere.

The fact of the matter is that we need to talk about real tax reform. We need to make our tax system more progressive. We need to stop trying to "balancing the budget" on the backs of the working poor. And yes, we need to make the ultra-rich and fat cat corporations pay their fair share. We may have an uphill battle in either convincing Republicans to go along with this tax package or repealing the 2/3 budget rule before then, but we need to do either or both simply to end the radical right's overpowering veto of California's future.

[...] These ballot propositions are sadly typical of the product of the Democratic legislature over the last 30 years - a slightly less wingnutty set of proposals that Democrats feel obligated to support, and that they insist we become a party to by ratification at the ballot box. If the grassroots had any confidence that the Democratic legislature had a clear and compelling plan to fight for progressive budget solutions, more of them might be willing to reluctantly back the initiatives as a necessary evil. (To be clear, I do not count myself among this number, and I cannot imagine a scenario where I would support 1A or 1C-1F.)

What is happening is that Democratic and progressive grassroots activists, joined by a number of prominent progressive organizations (from labor unions like CNA to good government organizations like the League of Women Voters), are rejecting the entire way of thinking that went into the May 19 proposals.

The current crisis is the product of too much short-term conservative-lite solutions. No matter what happens on May 19, we will be confronted with the same basic crisis on May 20. It is long past time for us to articulate progressive proposals, educate the public on their value and the problems with conservative "solutions," and organize voters to enact them.

That is what the opponents of the May 19 initiatives are saying. Perhaps we will have to produce a May 20 strategy ourselves.

So are you ready to start talking about a real "May 20 Strategy"? I hope so.

Monday, May 11, 2009

CA-32: Why Judy Chu's Our Best Choice for Congress

I usually don't like to wade into LA politics. I usually have enough on my hands with Orange County matters, so I just don't have time for Los Angeles electoral fights. However, I have to say something about the special election coming up in California's 32nd Congressional District.

I just have to say first that I used to like Gil Cedillo because he was a leader on immigrant rights in the California Legislature. I really thought he cared about people's civil rights. However, his recent gutter-level attacks have forced me to question his sincerity. Would any "civil rights leader of our time" accuse a local community organizer of "gang-banging"? And would he use race-baiting tactics to attack another long-time community organizer and neighborhood leader?

I've had it with Gil Cedillo's low blows. Seriously. Calitics has already given him an "anti-endorsement", but I want to go one step further and do something positive. If my own fabulous member of Congress, Loretta Sanchez, can do it, then so can I.

Heck, if these people can do it, so can I!

Judy Chu has a long record of accomplishments that speaks for itself. Her tax amnesty program actually brought in $4.8 billion dollars in tax revenue that helped keep California moving. She's always stood firm on economic justice, environmental justice, and social justice, and has the long and accomplished record to prove it. And yes, she's always been stood strong with progressives on LGBT civil rights.

This was the ultimate kicker for me. It shows me that Judy Chu gets it. She understands our common struggle, our continuing struggle for equal rights, our ongoing struggle to make ends meet, our current struggle to make sure our families are provided for. Judy Chu gets it, and that's why we need to send her to Congress.

If you're in the San Gabriel Valley, please help her campaign in this final week before the May 19 special election. And if you know someone in the district, let them know more about why we need Judy Chu in Congress. Thanks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is FAIL, Needs to Go

(Proudly cross-posted at OC Progressive)

OK, so today's Mothers' Day. I'm planning to stop by my mom's house shortly and check up on her. But before I do that, I must address this:

President Barack Obama's national security adviser says allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military is in the early discussions.

But retired Marine Gen. James Jones says it's very preliminary in a very busy administration.

Jones said Sunday he's not sure if the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy would be overturned, although Obama has said he wants it eliminated. Jones said the decision to go forward lies with the president.

For now, Jones says, "We have a lot on our plate right now."

Mr. Jones, President Obama, and members of Congress, you just allowed this fine patriotic soldier to be fired. And believe it or not, we've already lost too many thousands of good soldiers simply because they're queer. Now's the time to lift the military service ban. Seriously.

There was no good reason for Dan Choi to be fired, none at all. He was a good soldier. He still loves this country. He served this country honorably. Yet because he showed real courage in coming out, we have to lose him. Why?

Really, why? Because the old timers in the "national security establishment" like Jim Jones are too afraid to allow LGBT people to serve openly in the military? Because Washington politicians are too afraid of doing something that most Americans now support?

Why are we willing to risk our own national security to fire good soldiers that happen to be LGBT? Is the good intelligence provided by an Arabic speaking linguists not really "good" if he's gay? Are the soldiers being protected by a fellow soldier out on the battle field not really "safe" if that solider happens to be a lesbian? Are the lives being saved by an army medic not actually "saved" if that medic is transgender? Give me a break!

President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, what are you waiting for? Why should any more soldiers be fired? Why should we continue this ridiculous kabuki dance of forcing LGBT servicemembers into the closet any longer? Haven't we had enough of this BS?

Please, please speak out and demand the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"! Legislation has been introduced in Congress, but now's the time for Congress to stop talking about it and start passing it. And yes, now's the time for President Obama to stop talking about repealing the ban and start acting to actually repeal it.

We can't allow this injustice any longer. We simply can't afford it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No Mo' Joe?

Stop the presses... (even though we haven't received the press release yet). Time Magazine is reporting - burying rather - the news that Joe the Plumber, also known as Samuel Wurzelbacher, is quitting the GOP. That's big news considering Joe became the new GOP mascot during the McCain campaign and has since advised the party during conferences and in Capitol Hill briefings.

Yes, that's right. The GOP's once "new mascot" is officially out of the GOP. Why, you ask? He thinks they "spend too much", though he can't say what he wants cut. Ain't the Republican life grand!

So who can the GOP use as their "new new mascot"? Teabaggers

CA-47: Battleground in My Backyard?

(This is the start of my multi-part series on emerging Western Congressional races in 2010.)

If we're to believe the local news reports, Democrats may actually lose a Congressional seat in Southern California. Central Orange County Assembly Member/Local GOP Power Broker Van Tran has announced he will challenge seven-term Democratic incumbent Loretta Sanchez next year. Already, Republicans are cheering victory and preparing to dance on Loretta's political grave... But are they celebrating too early?

Believe it or not, the GOP is. But how can that be? Isn't Orange County extremely conservative and Republican-friendly? Not exactly.

Overall, the county is changing and becoming less of a "red county" and more of a "swing county". But in the 47th Congressional District, we saw quite a sharp turn left in the once "swing district" now turning increasingly blue. President Barack Obama cruised to a 60-38 win in the district last November. Just in the last three years, Democrats have jumped from a meager 4% registration advantage to a much heftier 12% advantage. And of course, Loretta had no problem crushing her GOP opponent by a gigantic 69-25 margin while Van Tran struggled to defeat a Democrat with little money in his own State Assembly district by a tinier 54-46 margin. So what is The OC Register seeing that I'm not when they say my home district will be among "the hottest races in 2010"?

I guess they see the GOP pouring money into this district and galvanizing the Vietnamese-American vote. And let's face it, they're trying hard to score a win anywhere they can find. But even if Van can build a massive campaign operation, he still needs to overcome his own controversial reputation in Little Saigon while simultaneously eroding Loretta's long history of serving this district. Oh yes, and it doesn't help Van that he's been shopping for a race, any race, to win now that he's termed out of the Assembly while Loretta's been busy preparing for just this kind of challenge.

So what should we do? Well, we shouldn't just take CA-47 for granted, even with all the good stats in our favor. Rather, we should see these good stats as encouragement to make sure Loretta Sanchez defeats Van Tran by a large enough margin to provide coattails to Democrats running to turn GOP-held "red" state & local seats (like Van's own 68th AD seat) blue. Since we need to undo the damage of both the radical right ideologues still running local governments in Orange County and the GOP minority in Sacramento that's still large enough to hold the state hostage, this can be our opportunity to not just keep the 47th Congressional District strongly "blue", but also elect more Democrats to office in OC.

And hey, Loretta deserves our support. She's been voting more progressive as the district's been turning bluer. And though she once had to tout "Blue Dog" membership to win over moderate Republicans, she's been doing a good job of listening to what we the constituents wants and voting accordingly. And more importantly, she always works hard for Orange County and delivers real results for real people. That's why all the local school districts, police departments, fire departments, and city agencies go to Loretta first to ensure our tax dollars come home to work for us.

So if you can, please make sure Loretta Sanchez goes back to Congress in 2010. But not only are we investing in Loretta's reelection, we're also investing in building a stronger Democratic majority in Central Orange County and a more progressive future for the whole county. We're turning OC bluer one new Democratic voter registration at a time, and we shouldn't let a Van Tran challenge scare us away from continuing our good work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marriage Equality Comes to Maine!

Hooray! Here's the release from national Stonewall Democrats:

Washington, DC - Today, the Stonewall Democrats released the following statement in response to the signing of marriage legislation in Maine:

"Stonewall Democrats loudly applauds Democratic Governor John Baldacci for signing into law legislation that extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Local advocates and Democratic leaders built the support necessary to pass this bill and we congratulate them. This legislation will provide economic and legal security for families in Maine.

It is now time for New Hampshire Democratic Governor John Lynch to follow the example of his neighboring state and sign the final version of marriage legislation once it reaches his desk. Stonewall Democrats worked with local advocates in Maine and New Hampshire to add support for the freedom to marry in the platforms of the Democratic Parties of those states. Democratic support proved to be a crucial component in the broad coalition of advocates who are moving marriage equality forward in Maine and New Hampshire."

- Jon Hoadley, Executive Director, Stonewall Democrats

Earlier today, Democratic Governor John Baldacci signed LD 1020, "An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom." The Act had been sent to his desk after it received passage from the Democratically controlled Maine Senate and then the Democratically controlled Maine House of Representatives.

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

Last month in neighboring New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Senate voted to approve legislation allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Similar legislation legislation had already been approved by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Upon reconciliation, the bill will go before Democratic Governor John Lynch who has not yet indicated how he will act on the bill.

Stonewall Democrats continue to build support for the freedom to marry in addition to working on broader pro-equality issues. In Wyoming, the organization worked with the newly-forming Wyoming Stonewall Democrats earlier this year to help Democrats stop an anti0marriage ballot initiative introduced in the state legislature. In Massachusetts, the Bay State Stonewall Democrats played a key role in building Democratic support for marriage legislation enacted in 2004. Last month, two Stonewall Democrats - Kate and Trish Varnum - won a landmark decision by the Iowa Supreme Court (Varnum V. Brien) that recognized the rights of all Iowans to Marry. Stonewall Democrats is continuing its work in Iowa by aiding statewide advocates liek One Iowa to build support for the Democratic Leadership of the Iowa House and Senate who continue to stand against an onslaught of special-interest attacks from the far right. And last month in Vermont, Stonewall Democrats initiated a campaign that contributed to three Democratic lawmakers switching their previously anti-marriage votes in order to override a gubernatorial veto and enact marriage legislation in that state.

With more than 120 local chapters the Stonewall Democrats is the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied Democrats. Stonewall Democrats works to elect pro-equality Democrats to public office and improve the Democratic Party on issues important to pro-equality Americans.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Progress? Finally?



Just in the last six months, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont have moved to enact marriage equality. Just today, The District of Columbia moved one step closer to full marriage equality with the city council passing 12-1 an ordinance to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. And just today, Maine is on the verge of making history as the second state to legalize marriage equality by way of legislation as the House just passed the marriage bill that recently passed the Senate. Meanwhile, Kate Kendell has changed her mind and now feels hopeful about the California Supreme Court's upcoming Prop H8 verdict as New Hampshire inches even closer to becoming the second/third state (depending on what happens in Maine) to enact marriage equality by legislation.

And wait, there's more! Marriage equality may actually come to New York some day soon. Washington state and Nevada are moving closer to establishing "everything but 'the m word'" domestic partnerships (DPs). Colorado is finally taking baby steps toward equality by allowing for domestic partner rights and benefits. And now, we're even starting to see progress on the federal level.

Wait, progress? You mean we're seeing progress on LGBT civil rights? Yes, now may finally be our time for progress.



Last week, I attended the Pride Parade/Festival in "my other hometown" of Las Vegas. And unlike past Pride events I've attended in California and Nevada, I really sensed some hope. Why? It looked like we're really making progress. Anti-discrimination and DP proposals are advancing here like never before. In a state that passed a marriage ban just seven years ago, things have turned around. Most major casinos now offer domestic partner benefits and anti-discrimination protection as more and more Nevadans are coming out and being part of a more vibrant LGBT community.

And guess what? Nevada's not a "stereotypical far left ultra-liberal state". And neither is Iowa. And neither is New Hampshire. A sea change in attitudes is happening throughout the nation, and now may finally be the time for progress.

I know there's been some tension lately on how hard our community should push President Obama to push harder for civil rights. And while I understand the President is concerned about major issues like the economy and health care, he should understand how many LGBT families are suffering in this economy precisely because they have no health care benefits, no anti-discrimination protection, and little to no benefits from the recent tax breaks passed in the stimulus. These issues are connected, and it's time for the federal government to start catching up with states across the country in making progress.

Again, this is no longer a "red state vs. blue state hot-button social issue controversy". In fact, it never really was. This is a civil rights issue and a human rights issue. Do we really believe in liberty and justice for all? Do we really believe in equal protection under the law? And if so, why are we still allowing so many people to suffer such injustice and inequity?

Now's the time for progress. Now's the time for fully-inclusive workplace protection. Now's the time to end the ban on federal spousal rights and benefits. Now's the time to end the military service ban. Now's the time to make progress for civil rights on the national level.

So what are we waiting for? The people are ready for progress. It's now up to us to make Washington make it happen.

Please support our national allies like NCLR and ACLU that are working to secure our rights nationwide. And wherever you are, please support local organizations like Courage Campaign (CA) and The LGBT Center of Southern Nevada. Make sure we see more progress so we can one day reach full equality.






Thursday, April 30, 2009

BREAKING: Justice David Souter Retires from US Supreme Court

Just as many court watchers were expecting, Souter will be stepping down from the high court. Even though he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, Souter became increasingly independent of the right-wing bloc and eventually aligned himself with the center-left bloc on issues like environmental justice, women's reproductive rights, LGBT rights, workers' rights, and the Bill of Rights.

President Obama will soon be naming a replacement. And with a friendly Senate likely to confirm Obama's choice, let's hope he makes a good one.


So much for the NOMbies screaming about "freedom". This is what real freedom looks like:

We the people stand together for the freedom to marry. Simple as that.

Maine Senate Approves Marriage Equality

Wow, another state! This time, the Maine Senate approved a marriage equality bill on a party-line 20-15 vote (all 20 Dems voting for, all 15 GOPers against). Now the bill heads to the House for approval.

And its chances for final passage? We're not totally sure. The Governor, Democrat John Baldacci, has suggested he may sign it. However, we don't know yet if it will survive a House vote and/or possible "citizen veto" (think Prop H8 in CA, but even before the bill is finalized). But if LGBT civil rights activists can get through all of that, Maine may end up the 5th state to allow marriage equality (depending on what happens soon in New Hampshire and California).

House Passed Hate Crimes Bill

Fortunately, it now goes to the Senate and is likely to be signed into law by President Obama. I just want to share with you what may have been the most powerful speech in support of the Matthew Shepard Act from the House floor.

Jeez, if only more of our Congresscritters had the conscience that Barbara Lee has...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Hampshire Senate Passes Marriage Equality!

Apparently, The Granite State may be a step closer to marriage equality. The State Senate narrowly approved the bill 13-11. But now, we will see if NH Gov. John Lynch has enough courage to sign the bill into law. So far, he's indicated he may veto the bill once it reaches his desk.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter to Become a Democrat?

I guess so.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.

Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next senator from Minnesota. (Former senator Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)

"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."

He added: "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Overall, I'm happy. I mean, why shouldn't I be when we will be assured of 60 Senate votes once Al Franken is seated in Minnesota? Still, I have a few reservations.

After all, Specter was one of the key "Senate Moderates" who caved into Bush-Cheney every time he could. He caved on Iraq. He caved on torture. He caved on civil liberties. He's even indicated he might cave on Employee Free Choice. So what should we do?

While I don't always agree with him on everything, I think David Sirota is onto something here. We shouldn't let him get away with opposing the Employee Free Choice Act, especially since he's now a Democrat. We should make sure he supports an all-inclusive ENDA that protects all LGBT workers from wrongful unemployment. We should make sure he supports President Obama's budget and ensure he doesn't try to water it down. Basically, we should exert pressure on Arlen Specter to be more of a Democrat now that he's hoping to win reelection as a Democrat.

Now don't get me wrong. I get that "Snarlin' Arlen" is only doing this so he can reelected next year. Still, he should know that he doesn't get our help as Democrats for nothing. If he wants all the benefits in Pennsylvania of being a Democrat, then Specter needs to at least start acting like a mainstream center-left Democrat.

So am I glad we're closer to having 60 Democrats in the Senate? Sure. I just want to make sure that this is what we're actually getting today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Era for California Democrats?



(Proudly cross-posted at OC Progressive)

My goodness, what a convention we had! The "mainstream" corporate media may have just seen it as a massive foodfight, but beneath the surface something amazing happened. As I saw and Calitician Robert Cruickshank noted, the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" finally started to take control of the CDP.

Progressives flexed their muscle yet again at this convention, showing that they are the force to be reckoned with in the party - even if progressives did not always speak with a single voice. The refusal to endorse Propositions 1A, 1D and 1E was a sign that progressive delegates are not going to be dictated to by Democratic leaders, and that they feel empowered to say "No" when it is warranted. That's a sign of a healthy and mature progressive movement. People power is here in the California Democratic Party - and although it has yet to find sustained expression, it's only a matter of time before that power revitalizes the party.

As all of you who followed my Tweets saw, the vote was close on all the May Special Election Initiatives. And yes, debate was heated. But while the "mainstream" reporters were just focusing on how "divided!!!!" we were (like this was the first time?), they missed what the rest of us saw. They missed the progressive grassroots taking charge, speaking truth to power, and letting their voices be heard at what's supposed to be their convention.

Let me explain my thoughts some more down below...





It's ironic how the theme of "A New Era" for the CDP Convention was meant to simply recall the election of President Obama and symbolize the passing of the torch from Former Chair Art Torres to new Chair John Burton, but the actual action on the floor over the weekend was what really gave the "New Era" theme its meaning. While it may have seemed unfair for Former Controller Eric Bradley to be punished for the crimes of other party leaders in giving Don Perata and Fabian Nunez millions of dollars meant for partybuilding, we may nonetheless see some fresh air and better use of CDP funds with the election of new Controller Hilary Crosby. While there was large support for the May Props, it wasn't large enough for passage despite the massive pressure from legislative and CDP leaders as progressives simply could not accept the raw deal that Arnold the Governator was trying to force us into. And hey, even John Burton's election symbolizes this new era in an ironic way. He may be an "old-timer" in the party, but he's nonetheless a solid progressive who yesterday called for an exit strategy from Iraq AND Afghanistan as well as a renewed effort to speak up for the poor who are too often silenced. And especially in his refusal to join the other CDP head honchos in pushing 1A-1F, he showed he can listen to what the grassroots is saying.

Perhaps the opening shots of the 2010 Gubernatorial race also symbolized "a new era"... Or at least Gavin Newsom's budding campaign did. The energy and enthusiasm behind Gavin reminded me of, dare I say it, the beginning of Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign. And beyond the energy of his supporters, Gavin's ideas and policy proposals may really start a departure from the overly cautious "Sacramento Consensus" centrism of the recent past if his candidacy gains steam. I mean, how is it not a little gutsy to get past the usual canned budget answers to actually endorse a constitutional convention to undo the arcane budget rules that allow the GOP minority to have a stranglehold on our future? And how is it not innovative to reframe universal "PreK-college" education and universal health care as "#1 business issues"? And of course, his unwavering support for LGBT civil rights has helped other California Democrats "come out of the closet" to support marriage equality. Perhaps the San Francisco Mayor is pretty far from perfect, but I see potential for a Governor who may really be able to think "outside the box" to find the solutions we really need.

And finally, the "Red Districts" that have far too often been ignored by the CDP as "hopelessly Republican" in the past are now getting attention in this "new era". At Take Back Red California's jam-packed Red to Blue Dinner on Saturday night, Russ Warner (CA-26) and Francine Busby (CA-50) were greeted with thunderous applause as they announced they will run for Congress again. Closer to home, enthusiasm was building in the convention halls for Bill Hedrick (CA-44) and Beth Krom (CA-48). And in the ultimate satisfying climax, newly elected CDP Chair John Burton seemed to bypass the old flowery language of a "58 County Strategy" to actually put forth a plan to make his 58 County Strategy work. Perhaps this may be a "new era" of turning more "Red Districts" blue?

So what can we expect in this "new era" for the California Democratic Party? I don't quite know yet. I mean, Jerry Brown still wants to take us on "a stroll down memory lane". Many of the "establishment power players" still have great power in the CDP. John Garamendi still can't get a fair shake. While much has changed, much has remained the same.

But hopefully as all this new progressive grassroots enthusiasm just spoke truth to power in electing Hilary Crosby as CDP Controller, allowing John Burton to be an unabashed progressive as CDP Chair, and rejecting the leadership's call to endorse Props 1A, 1D, and 1E, the grassroots won't give up in breathing new life into this Democratic Party in this new era. We have a Democratic Governor to elect in 2010. We have Prop H8 to overturn/repeal. We have a 2/3 budget rule to undo. We still have purplish "red" seats to turn fully blue. We have so much work to do, and hopefully we'll finally get it done in this new era.





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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Walking for Equality in South Orange County


(Proudly cross-posted at OC Progressive)

Yesterday, Team Courage OC did another neighborhood canvass. This time, we went south to Dana Point and Laguna Beach to walk. And while many other folks were simply going to the beach to cool off on a warm day, we were there to heat up the movement for LGBT civil rights in California.



We had a few "veteran canvassers" who had walked with us in Irvine join us again in South County, and we had some new faces join us as well. We talked, we got to know each other, we trained, and we paired up. Oh yes, and then we went out to walk!



Most of the areas we were walking in South County were close battlegrounds in the beautiful struggle for marriage equality. Most of South County isn't "easy territory", but it's much closer than most people think. And to my surprise, we were inundated by supporters as we walked and talked! And even though my partner and I walked a slightly friendlier neighborhood in South Laguna, I still wasn't expecting the overwhelmingly positive response we received!

"This is crazy! How did Prop 8 pass?!"

"It'll happen. Marriage equality will happen."

"Of course I support marriage equality!"

"Why must I be treated like a second class citizen?"

These were just some of the responses we received as we were walking. And again, we weren't walking in your typical "liberal bastion" in Southern California. We were in battleground territory in South Laguna and Dana Point, and we were faring much better than I could have imagined.

Believe it or not, this is how we will win our beautiful struggle for equality. We will win by knocking on doors, talking to neighbors, reaching out to the larger community. We will win by winning over millions of hearts and minds, one voter at a time.

So does this sound like something you want to be a part of? I originally couldn't imagine myself doing this back in November when my emotions were still raw and sore, but I look at myself now and am encouraged by all my fellow activists in OC participating in this movement. And if we can do it, I'm sure you can do it, too.

So why not do it? Even if you're not in California, join your local group wherever you are and make progress happen in your state. Oh, and don't forget that we must soon make progress on the federal level as well!

So please support this movement for equal rights. We can't wait any longer. We must start working now to make equality happen.



Monday, April 13, 2009

NOM Stupidity... Is FUNNY!

In case you missed the "National Organization for AGAINST Marriage (Equality)" ad, here it is... Just a million times better! :-)

And finally, 'cuz I just can't help myself:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Boycott Amazon!

In case you haven't seen it yet, Queerty has the news on the big change at

Are gay books any more "adult" than straight ones? seems to think so. The web retailer has mysteriously begun re-classifying gay-themed books — novels, parenting guides, self-help titles, and even biographies — as "adult," while stripping the sales ranking data (the figure that tells you how well a particular title is selling compared to other books) from them as well.

Amazon is now reclassifying all LGBT books as "adult". And no, I'm not just talking about sexual materials. Believe it or not, even "coming out" books, child-rearing books, suicide prevention books, and even biographies of LGBT people are now considered "X rated" at Amazon. So next time you want to buy a book, go to your local independent bookstore or Make sure to let Amazon know we don't appreciate them labeling our entire community as "indecent".
Hope you're all having a great Easter holiday. I'll check in with you tomorrow. :-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What's happening tonight? Consider this a weekend open thread. What are you doing this weekend?
Just passed a bunch of fundie wingnuts all over the place in Downtown Santa Ana. Jeez. I know it's Easter Wknd, but why force one's religion on everyone else?

You want to know something? Wow

I'm on my way to my nephew's t-ball game. This should be interesting. Btw, Happy Easter Weekend, everyone. I hope the weather near you looks better than SoCal.

The President's Weekly Address

It's a nice address, but theology is not the President's long suit: It's not accidental that Easter and Passover are celebrated at the same time of the year. Jesus was crucified at Passover, which is an important theological point in Christian theology.

Moreover, the President suggests that all Christians celebrate Easter on this Sunday. This is not true. While Catholic and Protestants accept the Gregorian calendar, eastern Christians use the Julian calendar, so the convergence of Easter on a single date among all Christians is a relatively rare event.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"GOProud"? Really?

Gimme a f*ckin' break!

It's been threatened to go down, and now reality: Conservative gays are splitting from the Log Cabin Republicans, furious with the organization's internal sniping and overall lack of influence as it lost ground in even the most basic of gay news cycles. The new org is GOProud, classified as a 527 and headed by former Log Cabin political director Christopher Barron, and will likely have zero connection with influential (and wealthy) Democratic fundraiser and "gay mafia" member Tim Gill, who was outed as one of Log Cabin's biggest donors. (Were it not for his cash, it could be argued, Log Cabin would exist in name only right now.)

Expect GOProud to return to Log Cabin's more conservative roots, which means less support for hate crimes legislation. Notes, which advocated splitting from LCR: "Their left-of-center positions on important issues have bothered me as LCR has continually sucked the teet of the Gay Leftist agenda. LCR’s silence and unwillingness to stand up and be vocal on true gay conservative issues (outing of Republican staffers, increasing threat of gays being selectively aborted, peril gays face by Islamic extremists) has been mind-boggling. And LCR’s continued obsession in trashing Republicans, yet letting Democrats get a pass on their gay-related hypocrisies, has been infruriating [sic]."

So they think the answer to LCR's identity crisis is to be even more self-loathing? What's "liberal" about protecting our community from hate crimes? Or allowing women to make their own health care decisions? Or using diplomacy in our foreign policy? May gawd, they just don't get it. If common sense is "liberal", then I guess we're all raving "socialists". If they really think Bush-style lunacy is what defines "gay conservative", then they can go ahead & fall off that cliff with the rest of their failed party.

Eugene Robinson: The Republicans are just making it up

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nevada: Opening the Mountain West to Equality

Something amazing happened yesterday. Maybe it isn't revolutionary, but hopefully it will be evolutionary. The Commerce & Labor Committee of the Nevada Senate agreed to domestic partnerships (or "DP's"). Unfortunately it's not marriage, but let me explain to you why this is a major step forward for equality in the Mountain West.

First off, no Western state without a Pacific coastline has either marriage equality or civil unions/domestic partnerships. Currently California and Oregon have "marriage lite" domestic partnerships available for same-sex couples, while Washington (state) and Hawaii offer some domestic partner (DP) rights (though Washington may soon agree to expanded DP rights). While New Mexico is unique in being the only Western state without a marriage ban (for now, until CA's Prop H8 is overturned in court this year or by voters next year), their DP bill failed in the Legislature and gay & lesbian couples still have no official legal rights. Considering the recent setbacks in California and New Mexico, Nevada's DP bill gives us a chance to turn the tide in LGBT civil rights out west.

Secondly, Nevada's proposed DP law is quite special in guaranteeing equal rights. While DP isn't marriage, this DP will move us much closer to full equality. Why? In the proposed law, all rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage will be afforded to same-sex AND opposite-sex couples who choose to form a DP. Hopefully, this will help Nevadans become comfortable with the practice of treating gay & lesbian couples the same as straight couples. And hopefully as they become more comfortable with the idea of equality, they'll one day put the idea fully into practice by repealing their marriage ban.

And finally, this bill now gives gay & lesbian couples the ability to be together without worrying about extra legal paperwork for hospital visits, child custody, property inheritance, state and local tax filings, and much more. For far too long, Nevada LGBT families have been suffering under arcane laws that added hardship to their lives. At least if the DP bill becomes law, these families will have it a little easier.

So what can we do? If you're in Nevada, please contact your state legislators and ask them to support SB 283, the domestic partnership bill. If you're out of state, please contact everyone you know in Nevada and ask them to contact their legislators in support of it. And wherever you are, please support organizations like The Las Vegas Center, ACLU of Nevada, and PLAN Nevada.

We can do it. I know we can. We're winning our civil rights in states across the nation, so let's get working in Nevada to add yet another victory to the rolls!
Cloudy skies out here. Rain's coming soon. Hopefully, those April showers will bring May flowers.

The Levi Johnston Drama

I don't know exactly why this interests me, but the Levi Johnston drama continues:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nevada Moves One Step Closer to Equality!

Yay! Domestic partnerships for everyone may soon be a reality in Nevada.

A bill to give same-sex couples the rights of married couples passed a key hurdle Wednesday, clearing a Senate committee by a 4-2 vote.

Senate Bill 283 would allow gay couples the right to enter into domestic partnerships, which would grant the same benefits to partners as married couples.

It now will have to clear the Senate floor, where Democrats hold a slim 12 to 9 majority over Republicans.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, sponsored the bill. He added an amendment Wednesday that exempts state and local government from being required to pay for domestic partner benefits.

Parks, Sen. Maggie Carlton, Sen. Mike Schneider, and Sen. Allison Copening, all Las Vegas Democrats, voted in support of the bill. Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas and Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, voted against the bill. Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, was not present.

Let's hope this becomes law. Nevada families are counting on it.
Crazy day today. Crazy week this week. So how are you this Hump Day?

Is Obama Siding With Bush on Illegal Wiretaps?

OK, I'm freaking out again...

Someone please tell me that President Obama does not want to give further immunity to these criminals? And especially not engage in the same behavior?

Update by DCDemocrat: This is Keith Olberman's take on the President's usurping of new and unprecedented authorities. If President Obama thinks his supporters are going to fall in line like a bunch of Bush Automatons, he perhaps belongs to the wrong party. The Democratic Party is the party of thinking and principled Americans:

How Nevada's Republican Governor "Respects the Sanctity of Marriage"

Yes, that's all for real. So how come the radical right screams about how loving gay & lesbian couples threaten other people's committed relationships but never complains about this? Just wonderin'...

UPDATE: There will be a committee vote in the Nevada Senate on SB 283, the domestic partnership bill. If you're in The Silver State, please call or email your legislator in support of SB 283!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The March of History

Vermont has signed on to gay marriage, the second state to do so in the last week. It is the fourth state in the Union to recognize gay marriages after Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa. It is the first state to do so with the vote of a state legislature. CBS reports:
The Legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Walking for Equality

(Proudly cross-posted at OC Progressive)

Last Saturday, I had the privilege to do Orange County's first Courage Campaign Equality Team canvass. We met. We prepared. And then, we went out and talked with voters. Yes, we really did go door to door to talk with voters in our area.

And guess what? We made change.




In all the conversations we had with our neighbors on Saturday, we persuaded about 5% of the voters we talked with. At first, this number may seem small. But guess what? If this results in just 5% of voters changing their minds on marriage equality throughout Orange County and all over California, we go from narrowly losing to winning a majority in favor of equal marriage rights for gay & lesbian families. 5% may seem small, but that much change in the vote can result in massive change in policy.

And in addition to the people we persuaded our way, we actually found far more people who were already open to undoing the damage of H8. I was surprised when I found out that we had picked up a total of 146 pledges to repeal H8 on Saturday! People throughout the battleground areas of Irvine and Costa Mesa, cities where we narrowly won (even in neighborhoods where we lost!), told us that they were appalled by Prop H8's assault on LGBT civil rights and understood how the attack on our rights threatens everyone.

We're not hopeless. We have far more support than we think. And if we simply talk to our supporters, let them know they're not alone, and let them know what they can do to help our cause, we can make significant progress in preparing to win our next campaign coming soon regardless of what happens in court.

Sooner or later, we'll see marriage equality come to California and arrive nationwide for good. So why not make it sooner in the nation's most populous state? Voters may be ready to undo the H8 next year, so why not build up an army for civil rights to go out, share our stories, and open up a whole lot of hearts and minds? That's what Courage Campaign is doing, and that's why we need to support them.

So if you're in Cali, why not consider joining your local Equality Team? If you're not, why not join local activists in your area? And no matter where you are in the nation, you can help Courage keep the momentum going in our direction?

We can do it. I know we can.

It's because the gays are getting married

Et tu, Iowa?

Wearable Technology

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm outside of Santa Barbara now, but I promise to add some good stuff to the blog as soon as I reach SF.
I really haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'm on my way to San Francisco to pick up my aunt & take her back to Orange County to see my grandmother.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Et tu, Uganda?

A new persecution against gay women and men seems to be brewing abroad. This time, it's in Uganda. 365 Gay is reporting that Uganda seeks to outlaw homosexuality. A proposal is on the table to establish a colony on an island in Lake Victoria where the country could send its gay people.

Sunday, Blood Sunday: George Bush does U2

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Biggest Taboo of All

May we finally start reexamining our failed "drug war"?

Iowa Supreme Courts Rules in Favor of Marriage Equality!

(Also at OC Progressive)

I just wonder when California, New York, and a host of other states will come to their senses (once and for all). Are CA's Supremes noticing the language in the ruling? Is Vermont's Governor noticing? What will it take for Prop H8, Arizona's Prop 102, Florida's Amendment 2, and all those other H8ful measures to go down?

Well, at least Iowa has now allowed full equality for its gay & lesbian couples. I just can't help but to follow Pam's House Blend as they track all the crazy fundie wingnuts' heads exploding. They say that "as Iowa goes, so goes the nation", so may this be the bellwether that starts moving the rest of the nation (including California) to marriage equality?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Budget? A Budget Coming Soon?

If we are to believe Reuters, we may finally get a decent one soon. Maybe we'll finally see our money being spent on our needs?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Great News

OK, I can't keep this from you all any longer. I'm becoming a TV star!

No really, I am! I'm so excited about this opportunity I have to share with the world all the good work I'm doing. So you want to see what this real Democrat of Orange County will be doing on your teevee set, take a look here and here.

How Did We Get This Fundie Wingnut as DNC Chair?


Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has signed a bill into law banning the use of some state funds for embryonic stem cell research. [...]

It contains language inserted by the General Assembly that would prevent a state fund from providing dollars to organizations or businesses that undertake "research in Virginia on human cells or tissue derived from induced abortions or from stem cells obtained from human embryos."

Kaine's support for the legislation is not surprising: He is a staunch Catholic who has long opposed using taxpayer money for embryonic stem cell research. But the platform of the Democratic Party, now headed by Kaine at Obama's behest, describes embryonic stem cell research as "research that could save lives."

What is wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Union Busting Under Obama?

Is this for real?

Remember Gordon Gekko from Wall Street? Specifically, remember how Gekko's entire scheme for the airline industry was based on crushing the blue-collar union that Bud Fox's dad (Martin Sheen) was part of? Welcome to a real life version of that story, starring corporate raider Steve Rattner, who President Obama appointed to head the White House team now overseeing the auto industry (and don't say you weren't warned).

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Rattner's strategy is to use the government's leverage to try to specifically crush auto workers and force them to accept even more contract concessions than they've already agreed to.

What the hell is going on? I have no clue. Perhaps President Obama needs a reminder from us on why he voted for him over McCain?

Why I Still Hope

(Proudly cross-posted at OC Progressive)

Right after the last election, I was devastated. I thought we had won, but instead I lost my fundamental rights and felt like garbage. I didn't know what do to next.

So what did this po' lil' queer kid do to start recovering what H8 stole away? I joined the impact. I put love into action. I didn't let homophobes like Rick Warren take my hope away. I looked back, then started thinking ahead. And lately, I've been waiting for our day of justice.

So what now? It's time to move on. It's time to start kicking some radical right ass and secure equality for all once and for all!

As we've talked about before, there's no way to really know how the California Supreme Court will rule in the Prop H8 lawsuits. They may issue a verdict we don't like, or they may issue a verdict that immediately reinstates marriage equality in the nation's most populous state. But either way, we must prepare for something else historic. We must prepare for the campaign afterward to secure our civil rights.

No matter what the court decides, we will likely see reaction to the ruling lead to action at the ballot box. Either the radical right will further try to erode LGBT rights and/or we will work for an initiative to secure marriage equality in California for good. So in order to prepare for the inevitable continuing campaign, we must ensure we build the strongest campaign possible. And no, I don't just mean raising money or putting up media ads. While we do need both, the inept and failed No on H8 campaign proved that those weren't enough to win.

We must knock doors. We must make calls. We must talk to our neighbors. We must register voters. We must reach out in our community and build those personal connections necessary to make a real impact and change people's hearts and minds.

This is why I've been so impressed by Courage Campaign. They get it. They realize how important grassroots community action is, so they're willing to help build local networks statewide like the one I'm working on in my hometown, Orange County. Without them, I don't know how I'd be able to prepare for our upcoming community outreach walks in Irvine on April 4 and Dana Point on April 18. Without their help in finding other local activists to help me do all this organizing, I don't know how I could have done this all on my own.

So if you're in California, please consider joining Courage Campaign. Give of your time if you can. Give of your money if you can. If you care about our civil rights, just give what you can and join our movement for equality.

And if you're not in California, you can still help us out here. But more importantly, go find your local LGBT activist network and join them. We need to see progress in all 50 states to build our way up to a nationwide tipping point for equality.

We're so close. I'm so fired up. I still have my hope, and no court or fundie wingnut can take it away from me.