Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush: But We've Always Had A Strategy! Honest!

Today Bush is planning to answer his critics by speechifying at poor Naval cadets. As if the cadets don't have it hard enough as it is.

My favorite part of the article?
The White House plans to release a document on the national strategy for victory in Iraq, which officials say will mainly reiterate policies that have already been in place.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan described the document as "an unclassified version of the plan that we have had in place and the plan that we've been pursuing."
They've actually been pursuing a plan? Sounds like more rewriting of history to me...

Cunningham Cries, "Mea Culpa"; Bush Bleats, "Bad Boy!"

On Monday U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham confessed to accepting bribes from several defense contractors and resigned his seat in Congress:
Cunningham, who denied any wrongdoing in July, said he was deeply sorry and ashamed and would cooperate in the government investigation of at least four defense contractors.

"I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family," he said, choking back tears.


Cunningham is a member of the House intelligence committee and the appropriations sub-committee that controls defense spending.

"Yes, your honor," Cunningham said when Judge Larry Burns asked him if he had accepted bribes in return for influencing the award of tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts.
Surprisingly, Bush entered the real world, however briefly, and took Cunningham to task:
"Any member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, must take their office seriously and the ethics seriously," Bush said to reporters during a trip to Texas.

"The idea of a congressman taking money is outrageous. And Congressman Cunningham is going to realize that he has broken the law and is going to pay a serious price, which he should," Bush said.
Thing is, unlike Bush, Cunningham has realized that he has broken the law. That's why he said that he knew he was forfeiting his freedom. Perhaps Bush doesn't know what "forfeit" means. It's only recently that he learned the meaning of "ethics." Perhaps that's why he's using the word whenever possible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Violence is Spreading

From AP: Next 'Apprentice' to be shot in Calif.

Just imagine what's gonna happen to the losers...

The Name's Hackett... Paul Hackett

I looked up "After Hours" on IMDB the other day... one of Martin Scorsese's lesser known gems, a very dark, funny and disturbing film.

And so I discovered that the main character's name is Paul Hackett, as in Paul Hackett of Ohio, near-winner in OH-2 and currently running for the U.S. Senate.

And then I got curious and looked further: Seems there have been 4 movie characters named Paul Hackett, including.... get this.... a Major Paul Hackett in the movie "Extreme Prejudice".

And then I got curiouser and looked even further: A French movie named "Les Clowns de Dieu" (The Clowns of God) was directed by a Jean Schmidt. Well, not that Jean Schmidt, but The Clowns of God... you can't make this stuff up.

And just for final good measure, the 1931 movie "The Ruling Voice" had a character named Dick Cheney. Foreshadowing.... undoubtedly.

A Swift Wiki is Swiftly Corrected

I've frequently linked to Wikipedia in this blog, as I find it the best encyclopedia on the Net.... constantly updated, comprehensive, great cross-referencing, and it's owned/updated by its users. (The only downside I've found is that it often runs slowly, probably because it's so popular.)

In the last day, the entry for Swiftboating has been in quite a whirlwind. A few hours ago, Crooks and Liars reported that the entry started thusly:
"Swiftboating is American political jargon for truthful and accurate debunking of John Kerry's exaggerated military experience in Vietnam. The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth organization's ads against Democratic presidential candidate Senator John F. Kerry in the 2004 election campaign revealed the candidate to be untruthful in his representation of his military record. Swiftboating is a new political term for exposing the truth while being under constant attack from those that desperately want to believe the lie. "
As of this writing, just a few hours later, the entry has been reverted to its original content (with the page "temporarily protected from editing to deal with vandalism"):
Swiftboating is American political jargon for the sensationalized portrayal of John Kerry's decorated military experience in Vietnam. The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth organization's ads against Democratic presidential candidate Senator John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential election campaign alleged that Senator Kerry was being untruthful in his representation of his military record. All available military records support Senator Kerry's accounts of his own service.
What will it look like when you view it now?

Wow!! Regarding Wikipedia "vandalism": A 2002 study by IBM found that most vandalism on the English Wikipedia is reverted within five minutes (see official results).

Not In My Name

NY Times: BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 28 - As the American military pushes the largely Shiite Iraqi security services into a larger role in combating the insurgency, evidence has begun to mount suggesting that the Iraqi forces are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods.

Hundreds of accounts of killings and abductions have emerged in recent weeks, most of them brought forward by Sunni civilians, who claim that their relatives have been taken away by Iraqi men in uniform without warrant or explanation.

Some Sunni men have been found dead in ditches and fields, with bullet holes in their temples, acid burns on their skin, and holes in their bodies apparently made by electric drills. Many have simply vanished.

Full article...

More at LA Times

Kos, Kevin Drum, Bob Johnson comments...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

But What the Hell (Part 2)

From AP: The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sunday suggested that President Bush use an FDR-style presentation to update people on progress in the war in Iraq.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., recalled that during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt often went on the radio in "fireside chats" to explain to the nation in detail the conduct of the war in Europe and Asia.

Full article...

Sounds like a great idea. After all, El Presidente has lots of experience with fire.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

This Makes No Sense... But What the Hell

The conspiracy is far greater than we thought..... spanning time, geography, and political affiliations.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Giveth and Taketh.... and Taketh Again

LA Times: State at Risk to Lose Billions
Republican-backed budget cuts moving through Congress threaten to hit California with billions of dollars in lost aid, putting some state social services in jeopardy and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at risk of yet another political setback.

State and federal budget analysts say California, because of its reliance on some of the specific programs targeted, would suffer more in coming years than most states from the package of reductions approved by the House last week.

The bill includes provisions that, in California, would make it tougher to get child support from tens of thousands of deadbeat parents, would strip food stamps from legal immigrants, and would make less money available to doctors who treat low-income patients.

Amid pressure from Democrats in the Legislature, Schwarzenegger had sent an extensive letter to California's congressional delegation earlier this month, expressing concern about the proposal's impact on the state. Every California Republican in Congress voted for it nonetheless.
Full article...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Go For It

California Congressional Races

From Kos:
Sweet. The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) has delivered on our request for a listing of every congressional seat and currently announced candidates. As a quick perusal will show, there are still way too many Republicans running unopposed. Check your district if you are represented by a Republican. If we have a candidate, help out however you can. If not, do whatever you can to find a candidate.

The DCCC can do a lot, but we in the netroots number millions. We know lots of people who would never register on the DCCC's radar. I'm not talking lawyers or career politicians -- we've got more than enough of those -- but teachers, firefighters, farmers, vets, etc. Real people that could be persuaded to make a run to help build clean house in DC and take power away from those utterly corrupted by it.

Collectively, let's plug every hole on that list and make sure we have a Democrat challenging in every single Republican district in 2006.
Seconded. Here's how California is shaping up (with the candidate filing deadline coming up March 10, 2006): Eight Republicans are currently running unopposed (far too many given the way the GOP has been wounded), 11 have declared Democratic challengers (including the open seat currently held by Dukester Cunningham.)

If you're waiting for an invitation, here's one to get involved. In Southern California, SoCal Grassroots' Blue House (Swing District) Group is primarily targeting a very vulnerable Dave Dreier in the 26th CD, among others.

Wherever you live, it's the Grassroots that will make the difference. Add your voice... and your sweat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A License to Burn Money?

I heard this line attributed to Joe Biden.... can't confirm this, but enjoy: "President Bush runs the only oil company that couldn't make any money in 2005."

GM to Cut 30,000 jobs, close plants

News report on GM announcement

I bought my Acura Integra new for $13,600 in January, 1991. It now has 231,419 miles.... the distance to the moon. Original engine (no problems), original transmission (no problems), 1 or perhaps 2 clutch changes, leaks a little oil and power steering fluid, the A/C needs a charge, the suspension can be noisy when it's cold, and the car needs a paint job, but no rusting. The 4-cylinder engine is still plenty fast. And I drive the car pretty hard.... and can still do so. Every few months somebody leaves a note on the car asking me whether I'd like to sell it.

Do you think I'll buy a Pontiac next time around?

Memory lane: The GM Van Nuys, CA assembly
plant closed in 1992. A big box shopping center named
"The Plant" now occupies the location.

November 22nd

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Other King George

Ramsay, "Inability to Recognize When a Native
Population Perceives an Occupying Military Force"

1824, Oil on canvas, The Royal Collection

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Murtha: Withdraw From Iraq NOW

Representative John Murtha (D-PA), Vietnam combat veteran, retired Colonel (Marine Corps Reserve), top Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee:
"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region."
Full transcript of press conference statement at The Stakeholder.
Video at Crooks and Liars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I can't believe there's even a hint of a debate about this. Not just on Iraq.... tax policy, social security, environment, Libby/Rove, military records, tort reform, etc. etc.

MoveOn's Misleader archives (Sept 2003 - Nov 2004) for starters.

Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo has just put out a call to compile a comprehensive list of administration lies, intentionally misleading statements, and reckless exaggerations. "What is needed is a list of specifics. Specific dates, specific statements and specific explanations of context, intent and consequence." Go here to put in your 2 cents.


Tom Toles, Washington Post, 11/15/2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Good News/Bad News

LA Times.... L.A.'s the Capital of Dirty Air Again: Despite having fewer smoggy days this year than last, the region ranks as the worst in the nation for unhealthful haze, the EPA says.

Full article....

Saturday, November 12, 2005

For Once, He's Right

From Bush's Veterans Day speech:
"While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began."
Mr. President, I agree. It indeed is deeply irresponsible for you to continually rewrite history. Impeachable too.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Peter Drucker

You may have never heard of him, but Peter Drucker, who died earlier today -- the management guru of all management gurus -- was one of the most influential people in the world in the last 60 years.

Hatching a Plan

From AP:
Five-term incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will face a challenge from a distant member of his own family, Green Party candidate Julian Hatch, in the November 2006 election.

The Green Party of Utah announced Friday that the 51-year-old environmental activist and disabled veteran accepted the party's nomination at a convention this week.

Full article...

Thanking Our Veterans

We here at SoCal Grassroots would like to thank those who have served America in the armed forces.

Often progressives are painted as tree-hugging hippie peaceniks unable to recognize the need to defend our country. In some cases that is true. But there are many progressives who have served in the military or who come from military families. I'm a Navy brat myself, daughter of a Navy man, born in a Naval hospital and raised in Naval bases across the country. I grew up recognizing the need for a defensive force.

So my fellow contributors and I would like to say, "Thank you," to American veterans. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for being willing to put your life on the line for freedom. These are hard times to be a veteran and dangerous times to be amongst active duty personnel. We salute you.

We'd also like to join Anna in thanking our Democratic veterans who are running for the House of Representatives in 2006. They've already served their country, but still feel the call serve her yet again. Now that's patriotism.

Two Democrats Lose Spines

On Wednesday, November 9th, H. Res 505 was up for a vote in the House International Relations Committee. Had it passed, H. Res. 505 - introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich and cosponsored by 109 House members - would have required the Bush administration to turn over all documents relating to the White House Iraq Group. It did not pass. Why? Because two Democratic committee members decided not to show up to work that day. The kicker? It failed by a two vote margin: 23-25. And that was with two Republican committee members voting for it.

Who are the representatives who seem to have misplaced their spines? Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa and, I'm sorry to say, Howard Berman of California's 28th district - my own representative. I'm unclear about Faleomavaega's current position on the war. Like many Democratic representatives, he did vote to support Bush's war resolution but these days he appears to be more focused on retaining and granting rights for active service personnel.

Berman's position is clear: he also voted for the War Resolution, but has since admitted that he was mistaken in that action. However he is against setting a timetable to pull our troops out of Iraq, believing such an action will "embolden the insurgents" - these are positions that were imparted by his legislative director to a group of progressive constituents who lobbied his Washington office in September. A group that included your erstwhile contributor.

We don't know why Berman and Faleomavaega didn't show up for the vote. We can privately speculate about the reasons, especially regarding Berman, and let's just say that such speculations do not shed a favorable light on the congressman. Especially considering that this was not a resolution that called for immediate withdrawal or even a timetable to remove our troops from Iraq. It simply called for an investigation into the selling of the Iraq War to the American public. Something that a man who realized that the war - and his vote for it - was a mistake should have been all for. The very definition of a no-brainer.

Unfortunately Berman's possession of a spine in admitting his mistake was of a temporary nature. Let's tell him - and Faleomavaega - that unless they find their spines immediately, they may be finding themselves out of a job when the 2006 elections roll around:

Rep. Eni Faleomavaega - (202) 225-8577
Rep. Howard Berman - (202) 225-4695 and (818) 994-7200

You can also send them Spineless Citations - something that is, unfortunately, richly deserved by far too many of our "Democratic" congresspeople.

And for those who worked hard on H. Res 505 and have continued to speak out against the war, let's communicate to them our thanks. Perhaps send them Spine Cards:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich - (202) 225-5871
Rep. Adam Smith - (202) 225-8901
Rep. Barbara Lee - (202) 225-2661

Subliminal Messages

Came across this graph on the BBC site of Bush's approval/disapproval ratings since 2001:

Now look at it sideways. I'll have to ask Pat Robertson and Dr. Dobson for the hidden significance.

Merry Fitzmas, everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chalabi in D.C.

Answers.... or just more questions being raised?

Investigations Underway On N.O. Levee Breaks

From AP:

A federal prosecutor said Thursday he's pursuing tips about corruption relating to the building and maintenance of levees that broke during Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, new evidence has surfaced suggesting steel reinforcements driven into parts of the failed levee system were not nearly as deep as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had thought.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said his office is focused on the political and business relationships of those involved in building the levees, not whether the levees were poorly designed or improperly built.

"We're not in the business of trying to second-guess if something could have been designed and built better," Letten said. "Our investigation is looking into whether there was illegal conduct, whether it be diversion of funds ... that would have contributed to poor execution of the work."

Full article....

Heads need to roll at the local, state and federal levels. Until corrupt and incompetent people in positions of power and influence are held responsible for catastrophes like these, we should expect no better behavior.

Et tu, Iraq?

Get John Deere On the Phone

What if we detected a moderate-sized asteroid on a collision course with the earth? Two NASA astronauts have proposed a simple and elegant solution, just published in Nature:
No need to send Bruce Willis into space with a nuclear bomb - the best way to deal with a killer asteroid hurtling towards Earth could be a "gravity tractor". Two NASA astronauts, gently mocking the solution offered in the Hollywood blockbuster Armageddon, have come up with a deceptively simple plan to pull asteroids off course.

Edward Lu and Stanley Love have proposed that a rocket be launched into space, effectively to act as a giant magnet.

Landing on an asteroid, which is no more than a spinning pile of rubble, is very difficult to achieve. Instead, the gravity tractor would travel alongside the asteroid and gradually pull it off course, using nothing more than the gravitational pull between the two bodies. "This saves you from having to land on the asteroid and then trying to stabilize yourself on a flying pile of rock and debris which is spinning all the time," Love said after their plan was published on Wednesday in the science journal Nature.

Lu and Love calculated that, with sufficient warning, a 20-ton gravity tractor could safely deflect an asteroid 200 meters across in about a year of towing.

Full article...
BTW, an asteroid is due to pass close to earth on Friday, April 13, 2029. (Friday the 13th?) But Love is not losing any sleep over it..... just yet.

There Twice Lived a Man Named Oedipus Rex

David Remnick, "Hell Week", The New Yorker 11/07/2005:
... Part of Bush’s vanity––and his Oedipal drama––is that he has modelled himself on Reagan and not on his father, but it is hard to imagine him cleaning house the way Reagan did in 1987 and moving toward the center. In fact, it is even harder these days to locate a centrist establishment in the Republican Party. The conservative insurgency that took shape in the think tanks, congressional offices, and activist groups of Washington a quarter century ago now inhabits the core of the Party. In his anger, and after all his many failures, the President, quite suddenly, seems unpopular, alone, and adrift. Thirty-nine months — five months more than John F. Kennedy’s entire Presidency — remain in the second term of George W. Bush. (Emphasis added)

Full column...
While we're on the subject, listen to Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Schwarzenegger: I'll Be...Over Here, Licking My Wounds

Yesterday, in a thorough trouncing, all initiatives in Schwarzenegger's special interest election failed. The majority of Californians showed the Governator and his buddies that we weren't going to be led around by his empty glitz any longer. Hooray for us!

After long months of working to overturn the propositions of this needless - and needlessly expensive - special election, yesterday was a capper of a long day for many volunteers as they engaged in phone banking and precinct walking and, of course, voting, with a better than expected voter turnout - my own precinct had seen 200 voters by 11:30am, as opposed to barely 200 voters during the mayoral election in May. And last night my fellow volunteers and I watched the returns with growing elation, knowing that our hard work was definitely being rewarded. Granted, the initial results on 73, 74 and 75 were discouraging, but there was a definite sweetness that replaced the bitter as we watched those propositions flip into the negative column. There were many of us who hoped that 79 would pass (myself included, as it would directly affect my mother), but hopefully the proposition will be reintroduced next year when it won't be confused with an initiative that patently benefits the drug companies and no one else.

Even better, elections across the country were obviously trending towards the left side of the political divide, despite defeats in New York City, Ohio, Texas and Kansas, in which Bloomberg retained mayorship of New York City, Ohio voters thought reform efforts were confusing, Texans saved the world from certain annihilation by banning same sex marriages, and the Kansas Board of Education proved there's a lack of intelligence when it comes to Intelligent Design. Both Virginia and New Jersey have newly minted Democratic governors, in the form of Tim Kaine and Jon Corzine. Tucson's city council is now under Democratic control. Intelligent Design advocates have been ushered out the door of the Dover school board in Pennsylvania. Maine struck down an anti-gay initiative. Things are good in the House of Blue.

So let's pause today and celebrate our wins, both at the polls and in the press. We most certainly deserve a day of celebration. But let's get right back into the fire fight. We still have 2006 - and 2008 - to work for. Let yesterday be simply the appetizer of what needs to be - for the sake of the country - a scrumptious blue meal.

(And maybe your humble contributor will stop writing these entries before she's had anything to eat.)

Election Night


Final election results

Monday, November 07, 2005

Latest Polls on 73-77

Via Daily Kos:

Prop 73 is the only one with more yes than no, but even that is only 51-47, and trending down. 74 is also a dead heat, while the others look to be in a significant amount of trouble.

We have a lot more GOTV to do tomorrow if we're going to defeat 73 and 74.

The Way Of the World

Many polling locations have been changed for this CA special election. Make sure you, your neighbors, your friends and family know where your polling places are.

For LA County locations, click here
Orange County
Other counties

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO on 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Absolutely! NO on Props 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78

"It isn't NO if you don't show." Staying home is equivalent to voting YES -- that's what Arnold wants.

To help get others out to the polls, volunteer here:

LA area locations
LA County Alliance HQ, c/o Los Angeles County Labor Federation, 2130 West James M. Wood Blvd, Los Angeles 90006 (213) 381-5611
3925 1/2 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles 90029 (323) 665-5345
San Fernando Valley, 11256 Magnolia Blvd., N Hollywood 91601 (818) 508-1222
San Gabriel Valley, c/o Los Angeles County Firefighters, Local 1014, 3460 Fletcher Avenue, El Monte 91731 (310) 639-1014 ext.201/202
Central/East Area
, c/o Service Employees International Union 347,1015 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles 90017 (213) 481-7253
Southeast LA Area 1933 Pacific Avenue Long Beach 90806 (562) 591-3568
West LA/Beach Cities 12023 Venice Boulevard, LA 90066 (310) 391-0700

Is This Gonna Be On the Test?

From AP:
President Bush, reacting to the indictment of a high-level White House aide in the CIA leak case, has ordered his staff to get a refresher on ethics rules.

In a memo sent to all White House aides on Friday, the counsel's office said it will hold briefings next week on ethics, with a particular focus on the rules governing the handling of classified information. Attendance is mandatory for anyone holding any level of security clearance.

Full article...

Thursday, November 03, 2005


From AP:
A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church...

Full article...
Bully for the cardinal, re the Catholic Church. Of course, someone should inform him that many churches (and political parties) long ago crossed over into the "fundamentalism" that he describes, and have never looked back.

Good News For the President?

Well.... relatively speaking, that is. Latest approval ratings:

Bush. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35%
Schwarzenegger. . . . 33%
Cheney. . . . . . . . . . . . 19%

(Of course we know that the president doesn't care about polls.)

But before we get too smug about this:

California legislature . . . . 25%

Plain Talk

Phil Angelides, on the Al Franken Show on Wednesday:
I really believe this 30-year assault by the right on the values of fairness and opportunity that built the wealth and strength of our country is coming to an end.

If we answer every lie they tell instantly and, more importantly, tell the truth about what they've done to the fabric of this country. And we remind people that it was fairness and opportunity and inclusion and investment that built the strongest state, the strongest nation in the history of humankind. If we stand up proudly for democratic values, giving more families chances to own homes, have decent jobs, more kids to get a good education, go to college. If we do that, we're gonna take back this country.

I don't care what lies they tell about us, they will never trump the truth.
Very nicely said. We'll develop our political strategies and play out our tactics. But let's never forget what we stand for. And let's hold everybody to it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Democratic Spine: Simply Delicious

There are few things in this world that are more satisfying, more delicious, than watching people stand up to insist on accountability. Yesterday's rare closed session of the Senate - called by Senator Harry Reid - is one of those wonderfully delicious morsels that this humble contributor finds most satisfying.

Better yet? Despite all the GOP whining about the Senate being "hijacked by the Democratic leadership," (not so fun when it's you being harangued, is it, Frist?), Republicans gave into Reid's demands and agreed to a six-senator bipartisan task force that will report by Nov. 14 on "the intelligence committee's progress of the phase two review of the prewar intelligence and its schedule for completion." This was after the Senate intelligence committee report on prewar intelligence had been delayed for nearly a year, according to Democrats.

Even better than this is that Reid's actions moved media attention from ScAlito's nomination (no doubt revealed on Monday to distract the media from Libby's indictment) back to the Iraq war. Perfectly played.

Is this, as the Los Angeles Times reports, indicative of shift amongst Democratic lawmakers - and Congressional candidates - to take stronger measures in holding Republican leadership accountable? I certainly hope so. If Dems keep this up, we may see deeply deserved impeachment proceedings of Bush and his cronies.

That would be the richest morsel of all.

Calling All SoCal Grassroots Bloggers...

Are you a political blogger living in Southern California? Want to be listed in our BlogRoll and, perhaps, have your entries featured in this space? Send your URL to us at SoCal Grassroots:Keeping the Left Coast Blue - we're looking for local Democratic/Progressive bloggers to help build a blogging community.

See ya on the blog!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Call To All Californians: Educate Your Neighbors and Vote on November 8

A week from today Californians will be going to the polls to vote in an election called by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As y'all no doubt know, this election is unnecessary, called only to further the special interest agenda of Schwarzenegger and his big corporation cronies. That the Californian taxpayer is footing the bill for an expensive and irresponsible election that, should the governor's propositions pass, will seriously hurt the average taxpayer verges on criminal, in this contributor's opinion.

Regardless of the election's unnecessary existence, it is still important for all registered Californian voters to get out and vote next Tuesday. With polls indicating that public support for Schwarzenegger's initiatives is lagging, the only way the governor's agenda can win is if the public stays home:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered next week's special election to take his agenda to "the people," but his campaign strategy relies on relatively few people showing up next Tuesday and large segments of voters staying home.

The governor's plan — "micro-targeting" voters, advertising in selected markets to reach them and conducting daily polls to augur the political mood — is guided by a single premise: If every Democrat and every Republican in California votes next week, Schwarzenegger's measures are likely to lose.
Boycotting the election - which is the intent of some Democratic voters to show displeasure for Schwarzenegger's current attempt at a power grab - will only backfire, ushering in what promises to be an era of corporate-controlled California.

Equally important as voting next Tuesday is reaching our friends, families and neighbors and letting them know the importance of voting "NO" on the first six initiatives of the ballot and "YES" on the last two initiatives. The best way to do so? By phone banking and precinct walking. Many Democratic groups and clubs throughout California have partnered with Alliance for a Better California (ABC) in a concentrated effort to educate voters and Get the Vote Out - check the ABC web site to find a local office in your area.

Following are the California Democratic Party's positions on the ballot initiatives:
VOTE NO on Proposition 73
Termination of Minor's Pregnancy. Waiting Period and Parental Notification.
Proposition 73 just the latest attempt by right-wing conservatives to take away a woman's right to choose. Instead of creating another law that would increase the health risk of teenagers, we should focus our energy on preventing teen pregnancy. Prop. 73 unwisely tries to legislate family communication and unrealistically expects teenagers to navigate through a cumbersome and confusing judicial process. Vote No on Proposition 73 and let our daughters have the freedom, privacy, and choice to make their own decision.

VOTE NO on Proposition 74
Public School Teachers. Waiting Period for Permanent Status.
Proposition 74 does NOTHING to help improve public education. Currently, we have a system in place that allows a school to dismiss a teacher they find to be deficient during their first two years of service without a hearing. In fact, every local school has a system in place to deal with struggling teachers. In a time when we should be encouraging young adults to choose a career in teaching, Prop. 74 will hurt those recruitment efforts by not affording due process to those in the teaching profession who do so much for California's children.

VOTE NO on Proposition 75
Public Employee Union Dues.
Proposition 75 would silence the voice of working men and women. Prop. 75 would let Big Business spend freely, while public sector unions would be silenced and in turn shut out from participating in the political process. Vote No on Proposition 75 and protect the voice of advocates who want decent funding for schools, better quality health care and higher standards for public safety.

VOTE NO on Proposition 76
School Funding. State Spending.
Proposition 76 is an Arnold Schwarzenegger power grab that gives him the power to bypass the legislature and make cuts to the budget without any oversight or public approval. Prop. 76 does not protect education funding and it would reduce long-term Prop. 98 school spending by $4 billion per year. Under Prop. 76, local governments could lose hundreds of millions of dollars for police, firefighters, health care and social service programs. Vote No on Proposition 76 and protect those vital services that make our communities a better place to live.

VOTE NO on Proposition 77
Proposition 77 is a flawed redistricting initiative that requires no public input, has no accountability provision, is unfair to those most underrepresented, and quite frankly doesn't make any sense. Prop. 77 will put the process of redistricting into the hands of retired judges who would not be required to take public input and who are not accountable to the voters. Furthermore, Prop. 77 is flawed because it would require these judges to use census data that is six to eight years old, which would hurt those most underrepresented.

VOTE NO on Proposition 78
Prescription Drugs. Discounts.
Proposition 78 is sponsored by all the major pharmaceutical companies - need we say more? Prop. 78 is nothing more than a smokescreen to make it seem as if the pharmaceutical companies suddenly want to give drug discounts. Prop. 78 is a toothless initiative because it doesn't mandate pharmaceutical companies to comply with any state negotiated discounts and there is no accountability provision to ensure meaningful discounts. Prop. 78 limits who is allowed to participate and doesn't provide discounts to those who need it most: the uninsured.

VOTE YES on Proposition 79
Cheaper Prescription Drugs For Californians Act. State-Negotiated Rebates.
Unlike Prop. 78, Proposition 79 will provide real prescription drug discounts to those who need it most. Prop. 79 will establish a pharmacy assistance program to help businesses, small employer purchasing pools and labor organization health and welfare funds, among others, receive the same pharmacy discounts and rebates from drug makers. Pharmaceutical companies would be held accountable by a state advisory board that would review access to, and the pricing of, prescription drugs under the program. Real problems need real solutions, vote Yes on Prop. 79.

VOTE YES on Proposition 80
Affordable Electricity & Preventing Blackouts Act.
Proposition 80 will establish an energy policy for California that guarantees that the lights stay on, protects ratepayers from the market manipulation of private energy companies, "greens" our energy portfolio by increasing environmentally clean and sustainable renewable energy sources, assures that utility industry personnel are well trained, and repeals the failed electricity deregulation scheme that exposed Californians to blackouts and cost ratepayers billions of dollars.

ACTION ALERT: Save Online Freedom of Speech TODAY

Over at Daily Kos, Adam B reminds us to call and email our congresspeople and the House Democratic leaders TODAY to let them know we value the freedom of our online political speech.

On Wednesday, November 2, H.R. 1606, the Online Freedom of Speech Act goes before the House for a vote. This is a truly bipartisan bill which seeks to keep the FEC from deploying ham-fisted regulations upon online political speech in the guise of complying with the intent of McCain-Feingold, which was passed in 2002 and specifically did not mention online speech. The effect of such regulations, as pointed out by Adam B:
They've taken a narrow mandate to correct the anti-coordination gap as an excuse to propose all sorts of new restrictions on your internet activity, ranging from making group weblogs into regulated "political committees", to potentially imposing a "blogger code of ethics" with disclosure and disclaimer requirements enforceable by law (requirements otherwise unheard of for any other independent actor who deals with political campaigns), to intruding into the workplace to tell readers how much time they can spend participating in online political discussion groups. Plus which, they have no idea how to deal with podcasting, p2p networks or any of the emerging technologies for discussion.
This bill merely says, "Let's stick to the letter of McCain-Feingold, which could have mentioned political internet activity and did not. Let's not penalize those who participate in online political communities - most of which is done free of charge - for exercising their freedom of speech."

It's November 1st - please contact your representative and/or the House Democratic leaders TODAY:

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - (202) 225-4965 or email
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer - (202) 225-4131 or email from constituents

Let them know we want to continue to have our constitutionally granted freedom of speech to extend to the internet.


The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Cartoon by Robert Weber, originally published in The New Yorker Magazine, November 21, 1988. (Rights