Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Axis of Family Jihadis

Sometimes, you find a piece that really expresses exactly what you are thinking, and there's no way to improve upon it. So, here's a rare cut/paste job from the NYT.

The New York Times:

COLUMN: Mary Cheney's Bundle of Joy

By Frank Rich

Columnist Frank Rich calls Focus on the Family, Family Research Council
and American Family Association the "axis of family jihadis" and says
anti-gay politics is losing its ability to woo voters.

Sunday 12.17.06

IT'S not the least of John McCain's political talents that he
comes across as a paragon of straight talk even when he isn't
talking straight. So it was a surprise to see him reduced to
near-stammering on ABC's `'This Week'' two Sundays after
the election. The subject that brought him low was the elephant in the
elephants' room, or perhaps we should say in their closet:

Senator McCain is no bigot, and his only goal was to change the subject
as quickly as possible. He kept repeating two safe talking points for
dear life: he opposes same-sex marriage (as does every major
presidential aspirant in both parties) and he is opposed to
discrimination. But because he had endorsed a broadly written Arizona
ballot initiative that could have been used to discriminate against
unmarried domestic partners, George Stephanopoulos wouldn't let him
off the hook.

`'Are you against civil unions for gay couples?'' he asked the
senator, who replied, `'No, I'm not.'' When Mr.
Stephanopoulos reiterated the question seconds later—`'So
you're for civil unions?''—Mr. McCain answered,
`'No.'' In other words, he was not against civil unions before
he was against them. His gaffe was reminiscent of a similar appearance
on Mr. Stephanopoulos'
s show in 2004 by Bill Frist, a
Harvard-trained doctor who refused to criticize a federal abstinence
program that catered to the religious right by spreading the canard that
sweat and tears could transmit AIDS.

Senator Frist is now a lame duck, and his brand of pandering, typified
by his errant upbeat diagnosis of the brain-dead Terri Schiavo's
condition, is following him to political Valhalla. The 2006 midterms
left Karl Rove's supposedly foolproof playbook in tatters. It was
hard for the Republicans to deal the gay card one more time after the
Mark Foley and Ted Haggard scandals revealed that today's
conservative hierarchy is much like Roy Cohn's milieu in
`'Angels in America,'' minus the wit and pathos.

This time around, ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage drew
markedly less support than in 2004; the draconian one endorsed by Mr.
McCain in Arizona was voted down altogether. Two national politicians
who had kowtowed egregiously to their party's fringe, Rick Santorum
and George Allen, were defeated, joining their ideological fellow
travelers Tom DeLay and Ralph Reed in the political junkyard. To further
confirm the inexorable march of social history, the only Christmas
season miracle to lift the beleaguered Bush administration this year has
been the announcement that Mary Cheney, the vice president's gay
daughter, is pregnant. Her growing family is the living rejoinder to
those in her father's party who would relegate gay American couples
and their children to second-class legal or human status.

Yet not even these political realities have entirely broken the
knee-jerk habit of some 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls to woo
homophobes. Mitt Romney, the Republican Massachusetts governor, was
caught in yet another embarrassing example of his party's hypocrisy
last week. In a newly unearthed letter courting the gay Log Cabin
Republicans during his unsuccessful 1994 Senate race, he promised to
`'do better'' than even Ted Kennedy in making `'equality
for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.'' Given that Mr. Romney
has been making opposition to same-sex marriage his political calling
card this year, his ideological bisexuality looks as foolish in its
G-rated way as that of Mr. Haggard, the evangelical leader who was
caught keeping time with a male prostitute.

There's no evidence that Mr. Romney's rightward move on gay
civil rights and abortion (about which he acknowledges his flip-flop)
has helped him politically. Or that Mr. McCain has benefited from a
similar sea change that has taken him from accurately labeling Jerry
Falwell and Pat Robertson `'agents of intolerance'' in 2000 to
appearing at Mr. Falwell's Liberty University this year. A
Washington Post-ABC News poll last week found that among Republican
voters, Rudy Giuliani, an unabashed liberal on gay civil rights and
abortion, leads Mr. McCain 34 percent to 26 percent. Mr. Romney brought
up the rear, at 5 percent. That does, however, put him nominally ahead
of another presidential wannabe, the religious-right favorite Sam
Brownback, who has held up a federal judicial nomination in the Senate
because the nominee had attended a lesbian neighbor's commitment

For those who are cheered by seeing the Rovian politics of wedge issues
start to fade, the good news does not end with the growing evidence that
gay-baiting may do candidates who traffic in it more harm than good.
It's not only centrist American voters of both parties who reject
divisive demagoguery but also conservative evangelicals themselves. Some
of them are at last standing up to the extremists in their own camp.

No one more dramatically so, perhaps, than Rick Warren, the Orange
County, Calif., megachurch leader and best-selling author of `'The
Purpose Driven Life.'' He has adopted AIDS in Africa as a signature
crusade, and invited Barack Obama to join the usual suspects, including
Senator Brownback, to address his World AIDS Day conference on the
issue. This prompted predictable outrage from the right because of Mr.
Obama's liberal politics, especially on abortion. One radio host,
Kevin McCullough, demonized the Democrat for pursuing `'inhumane,
sick and sinister evil'' as a legislator. An open letter sponsored
by 18 `'pro-life'' groups protested the invitation, also
citing Mr. Obama's `'evil.'' But Mr. Warren didn't

Among those defending the invitation was David Kuo, the former deputy
director of the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based and
Community Initiatives. In a book, `'Tempting Faith,'' as well
as in interviews and on his blog, the heretical Mr. Kuo has become a
tough conservative critic of the corruption of religion by politicians
and religious-right leaders who are guilty of `'taking Jesus and
reducing him to some precinct captain, to some get-out-the-vote
guy.'' Of those `'family'' groups who criticized Mr.
Obama's appearance at the AIDS conference, Mr. Kuo wrote, `'Are
they so blind and possessed with such a narrow definition of life that
they can think of life only in utero?'' The answer, of course, is
yes. The Christian Coalition parted ways with its new president-elect, a
Florida megachurch pastor, Joel Hunter, after he announced that he would
take on bigger issues like poverty and global warming.

But it is leaders like Mr. Hunter and Mr. Warren who are in ascendance.
Even the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs at
Mr. Haggard's former perch, the National Association of
Evangelicals, has joined a number of his peers in taking up the cause of
the environment, putting him at odds with the Bush administration. Such
religious leaders may not have given up their opposition to abortion or
gay marriage, but they have more pressing priorities. They seem to have
figured out, as Mr. Kuo has said, that `'politicians use Christian
voters for their money and for their votes'' and give them little
in return except a reputation for bigotry and heartless opposition to
the lifesaving potential of stem-cell research.

The axis of family jihadis—Focus on the Family, the Family Research
Council, the American Family Association—is feeling the heat; its
positions get more extreme by the day. A Concerned Women for America
mouthpiece called Mary Cheney's pregnancy
`'unconscionable,'' condemning her for having `'injured
her child'' and `'acted in a way that denies everything that
the Bush administration has worked for.'' (That last statement,
thankfully, is true.) This overkill reeks of desperation. So does these
zealots' recent assault on the supposedly feminizing
`'medical'' properties of soy baby formula (which deserves the
`'blame for today's rise in homosexuality,'' according to
the chairman of Megashift Ministries), and penguins.

Yes, penguins. These fine birds have now joined the Teletubbies and
SpongeBob SquarePants in the pantheon of cuddly secret agents for
`'the gay agenda.'' Schools are being forced to defend
`'And Tango Makes Three,'' an acclaimed children's picture
book based on the true story of two Central Park Zoo male penguins who
adopted a chick from a fertilized egg. The hit penguin movie
`'Happy Feet'' has been outed for an `'anti-religious
bias'' and its `'endorsement of gay identity'' by Michael
Medved, the commentator who sets the tone for the religious right's
strictly enforced code of cultural political correctness.

Such censoriousness is increasingly the stuff of comedy. So are
politicians of all stripes who advertise their faith. A liberal like
Howard Dean is no more credible talking about the Bible (during the 2004
campaign he said his favorite book in the New Testament was Job) than
twice-married candidates like Mr. McCain are persuasive at pledging
allegiance to `'the sanctity of marriage.''

For all the skeptical theories about the Obama boomlet—or real boom,
we don't know yet—no one doubts that his language about faith is
his own, not a crib sheet provided by a conservative evangelical
preacher or a liberal political consultant on `'values.''
That's why a Democrat from Chicago whose voting record is to the
left of Hillary Clinton's received the same standing ovation from
the thousands at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church that he did from
his own party's throngs in New Hampshire. After a quarter-century of
watching politicians from both parties exploit religion for partisan and
often mean-spirited political gain, voters on all sides of this
country's culture wars are finally in the market for something new.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Like Vultures Circling

Everyone has heard about Senator Tim Johnson's illness and how it may affect control of the Senate. The GOP is playing it cool, trying not show their giddy delight at the thought that Sen. Johnson could die or resign, allowing the GOP Governor of SD to nominate a Republican for the seat and seize control of the Senate. Sen. McConnell and the outgoing Queen of the GOP, Ken Mehlman, have released appropriate statements of good wishes for Sen. Johnson.

However, you know the GOP is salvating, praying that Johnson will at least be forced to resign, and failing that, that he will join the Heavenly Father. You can almost smell the saliva dripping from their mouths and pooling on the floor.

I wish Sen. Johnson a speedy and full recovery. News reports make it sound like he is progressing nicely, and I hope that continues. The American people gave control of the Congress (BOTH houses) to the Democrats for a reason in November. To have it all undone because of a tragic illness would be cruel indeed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Georgia: GOP Banks on Your Bigotry

And I thought the GOP hated gays! Well, they sorta do, at least in public. In private, they'll hire us to do their dirty work. But that is not the point of this blog entry. During the last week, I have read articles that expose the naked underbelly of hate and fear the GOP is trying to spread across Georgia in an attempt to solidify their hold on power.

First came former Rep. Bob Irvin's screed for Buckhead to join Milton County. The impetus for this plea allegedly came from the GOTV call from Shirley Franklin, John Lewis, and Andy Young on behalf of successful Fulton County Chair John Eaves. That call claimed that if the GOP took over Fulton County's commission, the days of fire hoses and attack dogs would return, and civil rights progress would be undone. A lot of my friends felt the ad was fine, and it gave to the GOP as good as they ever give to us. That's a good point, but the ad made me uncomfortable. While I do think the GOP as a whole wouldn't mind undoing the work of Dr. King and the civil rights movement, I'm not convinced the specific candidates for the Fulton Commission were in that category. I also feel that as Democrats, we should be better than the GOP in all respects. We need to find ways to win without sinking to their level. Perhaps that's not possible.

What I did not interpret that add to be saying was that white people are bad. The GOP claims that talking about "Republicans" is code for white folk. So much for their "diversity" plan, huh? Last time I checked in the mirror, I was a white guy AND a staunch Democrat. A good number of my friends in the Young Democrat community are also white and in many respects, more liberal than I am! So no, "Republican" doesn't equate to white. Republican equates to REPUBLICAN, whatever your color or creed.

Anyway, ex-Rep. Irvin wants Atlanta city council areas to be eligible to join the proposed resurrection of Milton County. After all, the whole purpose of resurrecting Milton County is to stop rich white people in Alpharetta from having their tax dollars potentially go toward services for people whose skin is darker than theirs. That's why the cities of Johns Creek and Milton have been formed. That's why the GOP will propose a constitutional amendment in 2007 to resurrect Milton County, thereby cutting of 46% of the value of the land of Fulton County from the rest of the county that is south of the Chattahoochee. All for the sake of their perception that their tax dollars should only go to "deserving" white people.

The whole reason Irvin wants the city council districts to vote is to get Buckhead to join Milton, in a first move that he admittedly hopes will lead to a "city of Buckhead". Well, shoot, Midtown seems to be whitening up too, Bobby, so why not annex Midtown too? Segregration worked SO WELL the first time we tried it, right? Why not give it a second go?

Don't be fooled. This whole citihood push for North Fulton and Dunwoody and the resurrection of Milton County is all about segregration. It's all about walling yourself off from people who don't look like you or make the money you do. And it's disgraceful. Yet I fear all this separation will come to pass, which will throw Fulton into a tailspin since no services will be affordable anymore. Will it fall to the cities? Won't that drive taxes way up? Of course it will, but the GOP doesn't care. They view this as hurting mostly poor people who are brown. "Those people" won't vote GOP, so what does it matter?

The next article was about Rep. Timothy Bearden of Villa Rica who is pushing a bill that would prohibit all Georgia cities and counties from issuing documents and forms in any language other than English. Bearden ckaims, "They refuse to learn the language, they refuse to assimilate. And that's a very dangerous problem."

Ohhhhhh, it's the ominous "they"! They are here to rape your children, steal your women, and force you to speak a strange tongue! They are here to burn Christians at the stake! They, They, THEY! How scary "they" are! We must stop "them" before "they" destroy us!

Bearden, he of "let's vote back in the Rebel flag" fame, also claims that English is the thread that unites us. Perhaps it is, perhaps it is not. It's telling though that the idea of the week from www.georgiaspeaks.com, the GOP idea board, was: "Public schools should be limited to kids who speak English as their first language and whose parents speak English as their first language." That was Dec. 5's "creative conservative idea of the week".

Immigration is a tough problem, and the system should be overhauled, but it can only be overhauled by the national government. Mean-spirited notions like the ones Bearden supports will get us no where. It also sends a message loud and clear to Hispanics, both legal and illegal, that they are NOT wanted here by the GOP. They are NOT welcome here by the GOP, and they will NEVER be "real" Americans in the GOP's eyes.

The question that I have is: will Georgians buy this? Will they allow themselves to be manipulated and fear-mongered into slapping around people who have never done anything to them? I used to have faith that the answer would be "no", but the gay marriage amendment's passage with 76% of the vote in 2004 changed that for me. The GOP was listening then, and that's why they are doing these things now. At what point will it stop?

Will Georgia once again live up to its motto of Truth, Justice, and Moderation?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

5 Day Work Week UNFAIR!!!

The Democrats in Congress plan to do the people's work, including adequate oversight of the Executive Branch. This means that Congress will be session 5 days a week from Monday afternoon to Friday morning. Under my timekeeping, that's technically only 4 days of work, but it sure beats what the GOP Congress has done. This year, the GOP Congress met only 103 days, and the federal government is STILL being run by a "continuing resolution" (i.e. "do what you did last year, minus the earmarks") and will be run by one until at least February 15. These jokers have met fewer days than the infamous "do nothing" Congress of 1947-48.

All this "work" by the GOP earns them $165,000 a year, official junkets, and lobbyists slobbering all over them to give them free stuff. They only met from late Tuesday afternoon to midday Thursday....if they met at all. For most of us, holidays mean an extra day off work. Not so for Congress. One day for mere citizens equates to at least a week for Congress. The Democrats, rightly, are putting a stop to it. And the GOP isn't happy.

Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) seems to have been nominated to be official whiner for the GOP caucus. In a fit of hysteria, Kingston told the Washington Post, "Keeping us up here eats away at families. Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that's what this says."

Yes, that's exactly what this says. Democrats are elected to public office, and they have the audicity to believe that they should put in an honest work week on behalf of the people who elected them. Mind you, Kingston is a guy who sleeps in his damn office to show how "fiscally conservative" he is. Many Congresspeople share living quarters to cut down expenses. Senators usually move their families since their terms are 6 years. Of course, many Congressmen do too.

It's Jack Kingston's problem if his wife refuses to leave the confines of the greater Savannah area. You would think that after 14 years in Congress, they would have discussed living arrangements that would look after the well-being of their family. Apparently, since 12 of those years were spent with the GOP in control, ol' Jack didn't have to worry about it since he only had to show up for a day and a half in DC.

I have no idea how our fragile Republic survived all those years before the advent of air travel, telephone, and the internet. Why, a Congressman would have to stay in town for an entire session, staying in touch only through snail mail! The HORROR! Of course, back then, our government was less complex and only needed to meet maybe 6 months every two years. Congress is a full time legislature, and it needs to be full time. If you don't like that, then don't run. If Jack can't hack the new schedule, he can feel free to resign so that someone who is willing to work for people of GA-1 can actually elect someone who will gladly do the work he/she asked to do.

wrote in today's AJC that "last year I hosted 25 town hall meetings regarding Medicare Part D. The year before that, I held 17 town hall meetings on Social Security. In addition, I made over 200 speeches and meetings with veteran groups, farmers, energy, tax, health care, education and environmental groups. And I met with many individuals who had problems with the federal government — people who don't have business cards and don't know doctors and lawyers personally. These are the people who don't have the lobbyists, the time, or the budgets that would allow them to come to Washington and meet with me." Wow, he had meetings in his district 25 times in a calendar year! That's every other weekend. I don't know where he gets the energy to keep up that schedule!

Being a Representative or Senator to Congress is not supposed to be easy. If you have to spend your workweek in DC and commute home on the weekends, so be it. And if you truly care about your district, you will find ways to stay in touch and not lose the pulse of the people.

Jack Kingston and his GOP whiners don't understand that.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

YDA in Jackson, Mississippi

I wanted to update you on the latest news from the Young Democrats of America. The last general meeting was this past weekend in Jackson, Mississippi with a theme of "Rebuild. Remember. Retake."

Attending from Georgia were: myself (National Committeeman), Flora Brooke Hesse (National Committeewoman), Kirk Miller (YDA Rules Chair), Billy Joyner (YDG President), Benson Manica (YDG Secretary), Kyle Bailey (Atlanta Stonewall Democrats), and Shelby Highsmith (Atlanta chapter).

Apart from various trainings on Fundraising, Press Relations, and Voter Files, panel discussions explored the emerging "religious left" and the strategy for winning back the South. Former DNC Chair Don Fowler of South Carolina spoke as did the newly elected House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. At Saturday's luncheon, we heard from the leaders of the Mississippi Freedom Democrats party that formed in 1964 as a protest to continued segregration and black voter suppression in Mississippi. On Saturday evening, a special movie presentation on Iraq entitled "The Ground Truth" was shown with a discussion afterward with one of the movie's stars, US Marine Corporal Sean Huze.

There was a postmortem on the elections done in the Campaigns Committee, for which Billy is the deputy chair and I represent the Southeast. Overall, the campaigns did well, even though Georgia lost its races. There was plenty of data collected during the campaign, and a professor at the University of Notre Dame is analyzing the numbers in order to give YDA a full report by its February meeting. There is the likelihood that some funds will be available to local chapters in 2007 for use in local races. If your chapter has contested city elections next year where the youth vote could make a difference, please let Billy Joyner or myself know so that we can keep you in the loop as the process for doling out this money is determined.

In other news, Billy Joyner was elected the Chair of the State Presidents Association of YDA, which is a great honor for our fearless leader!

YDA adopted its budget for the 2007 year, as well as started a restructuring of its charter and bylaws. The action taken in Jackson included adopting a board structure with 6 non-YD members elected to 4 year terms. There were further technical amendments dealing with future national conventions.

The next YDA meeting will be in February 2-4 in Washington, DC in conjunction with Founder's Day and the Winter DNC meeting. The DNC meeting starts on Feb 1, and the DNC has promised to get passes to any YD who wants to attend. As always, any Georgia YD is welcome to attend, so please let us know if you want to go. We do not know which hotel will hold the event, but it will likely be within walking distance of wherever the DNC is meeting. At the DNC meeting, YDA plans to push the DNC to fulfill its long-neglected promise to include youth in state delegations for the Democratic National Convention. Since 1980, there have been no youth participation targets despite being clearly called for in the rules. YDA would love to have a large turnout to pressure the DNC to formally include youth in ALL state delegations in 2008.


Mark your calendars for July 18-21, 2007!!! The YDA National Convention will be held in Dallas, TX at the Adams Mark Hotel. For those who have attended previous conventions in San Francisco (2005), Buffalo (2003), and Tuscon (2001), you know these conventions are a lot of fun and great way to get together with YDs from across the nation, settle on a national YD platform, and elect national officers.

Confirmed speakers include Hillary Clinton and John Edwards so far. The convention website will not be up until January, but some financial details are available for you to start saving your pennies. The Adams Mark Hotel is the largest hotel in Texas, and for rooms with two queen size beds, the cost is $125/night (or $31.25/person with 4 people in a room). For those who want your own room, a king size bed is available in the Royal Tower for $145/night. Registration will cost $60/person. American Airlines is offering a 5% discount off airfare for conference attendees, and if 10 or more people fly Southwest, an unspecified discount will apply.

With the convention being in Dallas, we will likely have a driving option for those interested in that. The downside of Dallas is that in order to maximize Georgia's votes at the Convention, we must have 34 people in our delegation. Fundraising will obviously be key, and YDG will work with local chapters to offset the costs. The experience of the national convention is worth it, though. Dallas has world class shopping and entertainment, and it promises to be a good time for everyone. I hope you will make plans to attend.

This weekend also featured bizarre jockeying in the clusterfuck that is the YDA campaign for 2007. We identified no fewer than 9 people who were claiming to be running for YDA president. One truly surreal episode involved a candidate my state favors who faced with vociferous threats from the LGBT caucus that if he didn't come out, he could forget running for office. The odd thing about these comments, other than their viciousness in tone, was that the candidate about which they complained is already out! He simply had never announced it to people at YDA, and no one had ever bothered to ask him. Of course, they all whispered their speculation, but they didn't ask the source. Had they asked him, he would have simply told them that yes, indeed, he is gay. In fact, he's been living quite openly in a relationship for 4 years now!

Some might claim he was closeted because he didn't announce his sexuality, especially when someone tried to spread a rumor that he was homophobic, of all things. Those of us who knew him best had a great laugh about that, although at the time, none us knew for sure if he was gay or not. Some of us suspected, but we really didn't care. I knew where this guy stood, so it didn't matter much to me. My initial impression about the gay whispers was that he's a metrosexual kind of guy who didn't sleep around YDA, so they were saying he was gay. But really, had I or anyone else just bothered to ask, he would have told us.

Why is it that asking about someone's sexuality is so taboo? It's like there's something wrong with being thought of as "gay". Most people I know who don't wear their sexuality on their sleeve, are quite open when asked. There are varying degrees of being out, but seriously, with the candidate in question, you'd pretty much have to be deaf, blind, and mute to not at least strongly suspect this guy is gay. He's got way too much sense of style to be straight.

For a moment, let's pretend this guy was deep in the closet despite being heavily involved in a very gay-friendly organization like YDA. Normally, I'm all about people taking whatever time they need to come to grips with their sexuality and to come out on their own terms. I'm also sensitive to the concerns of my fellow LGBT citizens who don't have supportive families or live in areas or have jobs where being out would threaten their livelihoods. At the same time, I also understand the vehemence of Democrats who say "HELL to the No!" when it comes to closet cases in powerful positions. The closet is truly poisonous, and it leads to destructive behavior. At the very least, it's self-torture on an emotional level.

Anyway, people need to understand that the LGBT community is quite diverse. Not everyone in it is loudly out, and for many of those people (including the candidate in question), it's a non-issue. There's no closet, which people would know if they'd ask. It was really very silly as far as "controversies" go, and it's looking like this candidate will end up as the #2 on a ticket that is being put together. The fact remains, #1 or #2 on the ticket, this guy is openly gay and has been for quite some time.

The gay bar in Jackson was a sad, sad place. But we managed to make it fun even though it was "bring your own liquor". Kyle gave a dance performance on stage Saturday night to rival just about any gay club in the country! No really scandalous hook-ups occurred while we were there, which is unusual.

Jackson isn't a bad place. I just wouldn't want to live there.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Desperate": The New GOP Fragrance for 2006!

In the last several days, I have been reminded of about this time in 1992, just as we started to dare against all hope that Clinton would actually beat Bush the Father. By late October, the Bush Pere campaign was starting to froth at the mouth, which is never a good sign. You had the then-President proclaiming Clinton and Gore to be "bozos" and "environmental whackos". It was really silly, and it didn't stop the inevitable outcome.

There's something about losing power that drives politicians and political parties absolutely bonkers. I can't blame then, since having your own bullet proof sedan, body guards, and control of the US treasury and armed forces would be heady stuff. The trappings of power can and do corrupt better people than the ass clowns currently in power in Washington, DC.

What we have seen in the last week or so is the emotional meltdown of the GOP. Luckily, the NJ Supreme Court decision declaring that gay couples should have equal rights to straight couples hasn't taken off in the press. I kept waiting for the backdraft, knowing the GOP would seize on the issue. They have seized on it, but people don't seem to care as much as they did in 2004 before state constitutions all over the country were amended to prevent gays from marrying, and before courts in Washington and New York bowed to public pressure to give sanction to official discrimination against same-sex relationships. And the New Jersey decision did not confer the name "marriage" on gays, which probably helped lessen the impact. Nevertheless, George W Bush has been railing against "activist" judges who are "putting marriage in doubt". Of course, he's the man to protect us all from the sourge of same-sex love.

The response? People yawn, and talk about corruption and how Bush has made a royal mess out of Iraq. Still, some conservatives drool at the thought of another gay-bashing election season, so the President keeps the references in his speeches. In the past week, he's been to Georgia not once but TWICE. I know he's trying to unseat Jim Marshall in Macon and John Barrow of Athens, but all the attention in a state that STILL loves Bush (when the rest of the country seems to be finally waking up and smelling the coffee) shows how much trouble the GOP is in throughout the country. If Georgia's not "safe" by now, no where is for the national GOP.
Maybe Bush is perusing some land deals with Sonny, preferably in the path of some secret development plans in the vaults of the Department of Transportation that have not been made public yet. Bush will be out of a job in two years, after all. Gotta build that nest egg so he can fight off those crimes against humanity charges (I wish!).

While Bush was in Georgia the first time this week, he announced that if the Democrats win the Congressional elections in either house, then "the terrorists win." Excuse me? Did I miss something? Did the Democratic platform change when I wasn't looking? Are we now the official Party of Al Queda in the US?

The President nakedly makes the argument (backed up by Chief Henchman, Dick Cheney) that the terrorists want Democrats to win, b/c that would be the way to defeat America. So, they're ratcheting up the attacks on our troops to try to sway the elections. The only way to fight the terrorists is to re-elect the GOP congress and "stay the course"! We'll show them!
The more insulting thing is the insinuation that Democrats neither love nor support this country. Sir, we love this country more than you could ever know. Why else would we fight tooth and nail against your disastrous policies...your exploding deficit...and your general incompetence? We don't want to see this country ruined, and if we continue down the path you've lead for the past 6 years, we will be ruined. Our reputation worldwide is in shambles, our military is stretched to the breaking point, and we are building a debt that could swallow this country whole within my lifetime. Myself and my fellow Democrats love this country, and we will fight like hell to protect this country....but we will do it without pissing on our friends, creating new enemies, or engaging in wars of choice while bankrupting our finances. To have you suggest that we are on the side of terrorists is disgusting, and I hope the public punishes you all the more for it on November 7.

Then John Kerry stuck his foot in his mouth yesterday with a comment that's been exploited to say he thinks all military people are stupid. So in another effort to distract, the GOP has jumped all over John Kerry and the "military hating" Democrats. Last I checked, it wasn't the Democrats who gleefully cut veteran care or military benefits the last several years. It was this lilly livered bunch in control who never served a day in their lives. The Democrats are the ones who want to armor our troops, protect them, get them home, and then keep our promises to take care of their physical and psychological wounds once they return. It's another distraction, just like the gay marriage thing. Hopefully it too will pass.

As we come into the final weekend of the campaign, there is no telling what Bush and his team will come up with to try to turn the tide in their favor. Maybe they'll have Bin Laden release a tape declaring that Nancy Pelosi is his concubine or agent. Or maybe they'll just SAY she is, and hope for the best.

I'm sick of this bunch. I'm sick of their games, their lies, and the way they are actively running this nation into the ground. And if the American people don't collectively vote at least one house of Congress to the Democrats on November 7, we will deserve whatever disasters come our way.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh, New Jersey!

I have been unusually quiet for a while, and I do apologize for that. Today, though, something happened on which I must comment. New Jersey's Supreme Court handed down its decision in Lewis v. Harris, the NJ marriage case.

The key portion of this ruling is the holding:

HELD: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

This ruling mimics the Vermont decision of 1999 which held that Vermont could not treat same sex and heterosexual couples differently. There was no justifiable reason to gives rights and priviledges to one group and deny them to another...at least not under the state constitution. New Jersey has said the same thing.

The NJ Supreme Court has told NJ that its domestic partnership law is not enough. NJ must treat its gay and straight couples equally...giving them the same rights, privledges, and responsibilities as straight couples in marriage. However, it didn't need to be called marriage if that was what the legislature wanted, but the effect had to be the same. NJ could either amend its marriage statute to allow same sex marriage or it could create an equal institution that was marriage in everything but name. The legislature has 6 months to comply.

Generally, this is good news. However, I wish that the NJ court had just held off a couple of more weeks until the elections were over. Another two weeks would have killed nobody, and it wouldn't have given the damn Republicans something to latch onto as they drown in their own incompetence.

You can be rest assured that the GOP will now gleefully ressurect the gay boogeyman of 2004 where they gave middle America the image of flaming homosexuals banging down their front doors and forcing them to marry people of the same sex, whether they wanted to or not. Or that gay marriage would end our civilization or that little Johnny would see two men married, and even though he preferred women, would decide to marry a man. And the only way to stop this scourage of raging homos is to vote GOP!

I don't know how the Mark Foley scandal will affect this message, but you can be rest assured that Karl Rove will use this to try to keep the Congress. It will certainly affect the NJ Senate race, but how is uncertain. It seems Menendez is crooked, and Kean has his head so far up Bush's ass that he take a dump without the White House knowing first.

It's too important that GOP control of our country is broken this election. We can't wait another two years and hope things will get better. If anything, a GOP win this year will mean they will get MORE arrogant and wreckless, not less. I fear, though, that this decision will help the GOP staunch the bleeding and potentially keep Congress.

Why couldn't the NJ Supremes have just waited another two weeks to rule that gay people should enjoy ALL the same rights as straight people???

Thursday, October 19, 2006

HHS Screws Over Afghan Maternity/OB Hospital

This morning, a colleague of mine sent an email detailing an HHS decision to not support a maternity/OB hospital in Afghanistan that had been supported through a 5 year cooperative agreement. The details should not surprise anyone familiar with the Bush administration. Such is support for the "culture of life".

The email states:
I wanted to let you know about a health program in Afghanistan that is in need of some urgent help. CDC’s reproductive health program has been supporting a maternity and obstetrics hospital in Kabul which provides critical health services for the past four years. These are services that many women and their babies will not receive otherwise. Our colleagues in reproductive health were informed at the last minute that HHS could not fund the 5th year of the project. Renee Brown-Bryant, and others in the reproductive health program, are actively looking for solutions.

However there is an immediate and urgent need at hand. There are 5 women that work for the project, whose salaries need to be paid. They cannot do that through any of their existing mechanisms. As we can all understand, not having a salary can have a devastating impact on these women, their families, and ultimately the program. The CDC Foundation can and will help support this need. However, our colleagues in reproductive health need to quickly raise the additional funds (approx $ 4,000) needed.

Renee will come to Mo’s (Pizza joint at Briarcliff and Clairmont in Atlanta) tonight at 5:30 and is really welcoming an opportunity to share information on their project. I know this is the kind of program that many of us feel is important to support.

If you are free, please join us at Mo’s tonight to hear more and consider a contribution. If you are not free, but are interested in supporting this cause please let me know. I would be happy to collect contributions to the CDC foundation on their behalf.

If you are interested in helping out, you can contact Julie Jenks at JJenks@cdc.gov and she'll give you details. It's a shame that such emails even have to go out, but such is the GOP world we live in.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Poisonous Closet

The proverbial closet is a very dangerous place, as most recently shown by GOP Rep. Mark Foley of Florida. Shaw's behavior toward pages was digusting. House pages are usually 16 years old when they serve, and for any congressman to make suggestive remarks or even physical moves toward these teenagers is nothing short of pedophilia. I do not care if 16 is the age of consent in many states. An adult in his 30s or 40s who propositions teenagers sexually has issues and should not be in positions of authority over children. Even if a page willingly participates in sexual innuendo or activities with a congressman, the power differential alone makes the relationship inappropriate and, by definition, sexual harassment. There is no way you can give valid consent when the power differential is that large.

The GOP, typically, is focusing on Foley's sexuality. That Foley was a closet case was well known, especially after his aborted run for the US Senate where he refused to discuss his sexuality. Newt Gingrich said over the weekend that one reason the GOP leadership didn't make a "big deal" about Foley's behavior (they've known about it for over a year) was that they didn't want to be accused of gay bashing.

EXCUSE ME?!? The GOP is concerned about looking anti-gay? Since when?!? The whole basis for the 2004 election was the GOP promise to middle america to protect them from the homos and their desire for marriage. They've tried repeatedly to amend the Constitution itself to ban recognition of gay relationships! This is not a party concerned about charges of gay bashing. The statement by Newt also indicates an assumption that pedophilic behavior is typical of a gay person. That alone speaks volumes about the GOP attitude toward gay people. They buy into the notion that gay people are perverts who want to molest children.

The Log Cabin apologists for the GOP have been silent so far about Foley and the scandal. They should at least be taking leadership to task for not intervening with Foley immediately, and for their insulting assumption that gay people are all pedophiles. My guess is that they will find a way to excuse the inaction by GOP leadership when they first discovered Foley was behaving badly with pages.

The GOP is also trying to throw Democratic pecodillos back in the limelight. I've heard several cries of "Monica Lewinsky" as a response to GOP inaction. First, Monica Lewinsky was no teenager. She was an adult when she and Clinton had their affair. That affair was wrong, and the power differential definitely smacked of sexual harassment, but pedophilia it was not. Another gem is bringing up the 1983 page scandal with Gerry Studds of Massachusetts as well as Barney Frank's affair with a male hustler that led to a prostitution ring being led out of his home in DC. Gerry Studds was censored for his affair with a male page (he defended it on the grounds that the boy was past the age of consent, an argument I reject) along with another GOP representative who had an affair with a female page. Studds was reelected to his seat until he retired in 1996, but as far as I know, there was no cover-up by Democratic leadership of Studds' affair, and he certainly was not put in charge (or left in charge) of a missing and exploited children caucus like Foley was. The illegal actions by Barney Frank's male hustler showed extremely poor judgement, but the voters of Massachusetts have forgiven him, and he was punished at the time of the scandal. Again, no real cover-up by the Democratic leadreship.

What all these men have in common is the closet. Until the scandals erupted, Frank, Studds, and Foley were all in the closet. The same is true of Gov. McGreevy of NJ who resigned over his appointment of his lover in a state job. All these men lived lives of shame and secrecy. They worked to cover up their identies as gay men to preserve political careers, but they couldn't reign in their desires. The closet made them feel and behave like perverts. Once Studds and Frank were outed, they didn't make the same mistakes. They had age-appropriate relationships, and I firmly believe it was because they no longer had to hide their secret. They could pursue romantic relationships in the open, so there was no temptation to find other closet cases or inappropriate people. Even McGreevy has now found himself a partner and is touring the country selling his book on how bad the closet was for him.

Maybe Mark Foley will find the same release. The irony of him being the point person for the GOP on missing and exploited children is the penultimate example of GOP hypocrisy on just one of many issues. It may be late in life, but hopefully Foley will accept the fact that he is a gay man and will make peace with that. And when he does, hopefully he will never look at another teenager with lustful intentions again.

Friday, September 29, 2006

TWO Events, ONE day

One Day
Two Great Ways
To Support the Young Democrats of Georgia
Young Democrats of Georgia Big Deck Blowout!
All Ages Event
Please Join the Young Democrats of Georgia at Roxx Tavern & Grill
1824 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE for an afternoon of fun and food
Saturday, September 30, 2006 3 pm – 6 pm
Cost of Admission: $20
Young Democrats of Georgia Sweetwater Event
21 years and older
Please join the Young Democrats of Georgia for a fun filled event at Sweetwater Brewery, 195 Ottley Dr NE
Saturday, September 30, 2006 4 pm – 7 pm
Cost of Admission: $25

We’re doing this to fund our youth voter program for this year’s elections….been proven in other states to dramatically raise under 36 turnout, especially those that agree with us politically ;-) Anyway, everyone is more than welcome. The sweetwater event is all the beer you can drink for the $25.

Promises from Campaigns Past...

I've been a bit busy, or I would have blogged a few days ago on something that is eating at me in the Georgia Governor's race. The problem is the spate of idiotic promises that both major candidates are offering. Neither is well thought out, and they are all designed to pull in support on Nov. 7. Normally, I don't pay much attention to promises made in a campaign, as I view most of them as cheap ploys to get votes from people who don't think about the world around them.

This year's Georgia gubernatorial race, however, is like an LSD flashback to Virginia Governor's races past. First up is hysteria about criminals and crime. Atlanta has had the fewest number of murders this year since 1969, but you wouldn't know it from looking at Sonny's and Mark's ad. Actually, it's not violent crime, but child molesters who are out to get us all. This is probably fed from the news stories of the last year from Dateline NBC and other outlets about the child molesters in our midst who use the internet to seduce our children. This is a serious problem, and it shows that pedophilia is more common than anyone would be comfortable with. I have no problem cracking down kiddie porn, arresting people who possess or trade in child porn, or being damn tough on convicted child molesters. Speaking as someone who was molested by a stranger in a movie theatre as a child, I know what kind of damage it can do to a child's self-esteem and psyche. I emerged pretty unscarred, but I immediately told the police and my parents what happened after what I felt to be the immediate danger passed. But for years, I thought the molestation was my fault, because I had just entered puberty and my hormone laden fantasies and dreams were definitely of the homosexual variety. I figured God was punishing me for my homo desires (thanks Southern Baptist Convention!). Anyway, I think there is a special place in hell for anyone who would abuse a child.

Sonny and Mark came out with child molester ads within days of each other, so I'm not sure who was first. Sonny's ad also started the nauseating "Sonny Do" commercials which I expect to be subjected to through November. It starts on a clear morning with Mrs. Perdue looking absolutely stricken as she gazes out of a kitchen window. Sonny places an arm around her while a Levitra ad plays over his shoulder, and Mrs. Perdue cries out about her worry over the children of Georgia and all those child molesters out there! You can practically see Sonny slap her ass as he tells her it will be all right, because he's worried too, and he's starting a Georgia CSI unit (Child Sex Investigation, not Crime Scene, like the TV show) with the state police. Mrs. Perdue's eyes glisten and remarks what a great idea that is ... and that she'll put that on his "Sonny Do" list.

Not to be outdone, Mark Taylor came out with an add that promises the death penalty for any repeat child offenders...assuming the victim was under 14. I guess it wouldn't be worth death if you molest a 12 yr old and follow up later with the statutory rape of a 15 yr old. Mark promises that with him as governor, child molesters will FRY (or be put to sleep since Georgia uses lethal injection). Can't beat death in the "who's tougher on child molesters" sweepstakes.

Sonny's commercial is a stunt. He's already ordered this new unit in the state police to be started, which is a good thing. The problem with internet predators is long standing, so why did it take an election to get his attention? With Mark's proposal, I'm not certain that is legal. Yes, other states have the same kind of law...but I don't think it's been tested yet. No one's met the criteria for it to be tested in the courts. Death penalty jurisprudence has evolved to the point where death is imposed only when someone else dies AND there's aggravating factors. If you rape and kill a 12 year old, that would get you the death penalty TODAY if a jury was willing to impose it. I'm not convinced that the 8th amendment would allow a repeat child molester who did not kill his/her victims to be put to death without it being a violation of cruel and unusual punishment. There's definitely an argument to be made that it's no more cruel or unusual than what the molester does to his/her victim, but the law has a way of looking at things with the emotion stripped away. Besides, it's VERY expensive to put someone to death, more expensive than keeping them alive for life behind bars. You also would have to expand death row, I imagine. How will Mark pay for that and his proposals to reinstate the $1 billion Sonny cut from education or to expand PeachKids to all children under the age of 18, regardless of income? If you say "higher taxes", I will show you a GOP General Assembly that will not let that happen, no matter how sound the proposal.

Two other promises I've heard in connection with Taylor's campaign is a promise to a) eliminate the property tax on personal vehicles and b) to eliminate parole. That move is straight from the playbook of George Allen in 1993 and James Gilmore in 1997 when they won the Virginia governor's mansion. George Allen promised to eliminate parole and ended a 12 year Democratic reign in Richmond as a result. Parole was ended for anyone convicted after June 1994 in Virginia. The sentence you got is the sentence you would serve, by damn! It worked quite well, except for the fact that the prisons quickly became overcrowded. The solution to that was to cut higher education to fund building more prisons. George Allen chose prisons over schools, and Mark Taylor is setting himself up to make the same kind of choice.

In 1997, Gilmore promised to eliminate the property tax on vehicles. The problem is that this tax was not levied by the state; it was levied by the counties and cities. In Virginia, all sovreignity resides with the General Assembly, and counties/cities can only do what the General Assembly gives express permission for them to do. However, take away the tax on vehicles, and you decimate the local governments. Their budgets would virtually disappear overnight, and things like sewers, fire, police, and local roads would have no funding whatsoever. The way around this was to have the state reimburse the localities for the tax, and freeze the millage rate at where it stood in 1998. The problem is that SUVs and other expensive cars became hugely popular around this time, so the cost estimates for this program (much like the Bush estimates for the Medicare prescription drug program) were wildly under-stated. The program had to be frozen because it was bankrupting the state, and when the recession of Bush's first term caused a fiscal crisis in Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner was forced to freeze the program at 80% of the tax being covered by state funds. Mark Taylor should know that this program, while popular, will be extremely expensive, and money has to come from somewhere. How will he pay for it? This is a program for which Sonny has said "me too" so it looks like we'll be facing some kind of car tax relief in 2007. Again, the choice to cut the tax will have consequences, so the question is what will Georgians sacrifice to avoid that nasty birthday tax on our cars?

My point in all this is that choices have consequences. Bush has tried to sell the American people on the notion that you can have something for nothing, but that's irresponsible. It's the best way to bankrupt our society and government. Luckily, states can't run deficits, although rainy day funds do allow some extra spending in hard times, which is appropriate. We can't have everything we'd like, so we have to make choices. The hard decision comes when we have to decide whether to invest in our children or in housing our criminals. In pulling Georgia out of the education cellar or in getting a tax break on our cars. Virginia made these choices in the 1990s, and paid a price for it. Georgia would be wise to look at Virginia's experience before going down the same road.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It must be a mutation

This morning as I was driving to work, I came across a car with an interesting combination of stickers on its bumper. First I noticed the fish symbol colored in with a rainbow. That tells me this person is loudly proclaiming herself a lesiban Christian. (I could tell it was a woman driving when I passed.) The next sticker was more shocking: a W 2004 sticker.

As I drove past this lesbian of color, I became more flabbergasted. What could possibily lead a person of homosexual orientation to support Bush's re-election in 2004? Let alone a lesbian of COLOR! If anyone knows oppression, it would be a lesbian of color. I know about 29% of the gay vote went to Bush in 2004, but I figured most of that was snotty white guys who figured that greed was good and they'd have enough money to "buy" acceptance in a GOP world. That's usually how Log Cabin Republicans are at their core, despite the flowery rhetoric of "this is the only thing I don't agree with the GOP on" and "I'm more than my sexuality."

But a lesbian of color still having her W 2004 sticker on her car just boggles my mind. Here is a man who based his reelection on scaring the living crap out of conservative and rural voters with visions of forced homosexual marriages in every corner of the country, regardless of your sexuality! Bush purposely demonized LGBT people for his political purposes, which makes him no better than the segregationists of the South who did the same thing to blacks during the 1950s and 1960s especially. Luckily, the politicians who still vilifiy blacks (albeit more subtlely) in order to get elected are nearly all on the GOP side now.

How could an openly lesbian woman of faith support that man? How does she sleep at night knowing what she has contributed to? I simply do not get it. Bush's policies harm homosexuals and people of color. He's driven down wages, and given tax breaks to the most wealthy among us. He's undone good programs like Hope VI in order to pay for his military ventures. Yet, this lesbian of color (STILL kills me!) proudly puts her W2004 sticker on her car!

It makes me wonder if there's some kind of genetic defect that make people adopt a political party and set of beliefs that causes great harm not only to themselves but to everyone who is like them. Do they hate themselves that much? Or it is a mutuation that renders them incapable of rational thought?

Cathy's Revenge

The newspapers have been all atwitter about the absence of Cathy Cox from the Taylor for Governor campaign. Cathy has been very conveniently busy or travelling whenever an opportunity has arisen to appear with Mark and put on a good show for the cameras.
But today, the AJC reported that Cathy's campaign chairman, a Democratic turncoat who became Republican to preserve his seat in the legislature, has endorsed Sonny Perdue for re-election. Dan Ponder was supposed to be emblematic of how Cathy would govern in a different way, and she would reach across the aisle for the best ideas from both sides of the political spectrum. Apparently, there were a lot of GOPers eager to support the first female governor of Georgia, even if she was a Democrat.

The problem is that Cathy's campaign collapsed. Much of it was her fault, I think, and she didn't handle Mark Taylor's well-timed attacks too well. I've already documented on this blog my disappointment and anger over Cathy's reaction to the gay marriage amendment "crisis" earlier this year. I think she totally blew it and flushed her chances of election at that time. Mark Taylor did play dirty with her, there's no doubt. And the "Taylor Trolls" out there who were his most vociferous supporters (or the ones who just hated Cathy the most because she was a woman running for Governor) did more than their fair share of Cathy-bashing.

After Cathy's loss, I thought her concession speech was fantastic. It was the old Cathy Cox that I had once known and loved. However, I cannot blame her for being angry over Taylor's campaign tactics. She should not have been surprised though...he's notorious for playing rough when he has to. He always waits for his opponent to mess up first, but then he goes after them with a vengeance. After that wikipedia scandal when her campaign director Morton Brilliant amended Mark Taylor's bio to include information about his son's drunk driving and vehicular homicide charges in South Carolina...she should have known it was coming.

Cathy and her people have every right to feel bitter and angry about the primary. I look at it as a missed opportunity. I think Cathy could have peeled off GOP voters from Sonny easier than Mark will. Her campaign, though, did not do what it needed to do in order to nail down the Democratic primary. It was a case of opportunities wasted.

I think Cathy's revenge will be to stand idly by while Mark Taylor flounders and ultimately loses to Sonny in November. First, people aren't pissed off at Sonny like they were at Roy Barnes 6 years ago. Sure, Sonny's a mixture of greed, insider dealing, and broken promises packaged in a folksy grampa persona...but he doesn't have people really pissed at him. That's hard to fight in an incumbent governor. The sweetheart tax deal that Sonny had the legislature pass to save him $100,000 in taxes would have been a great start to the fall campaign, except for the fact that Mark Taylor's daddy pays him $100,000/yr and the free use of a Buckhead mansion for a couple of hours of work a month. Which is worse? I would argue Sonny's tax situation, because it was an abuse of his power and position as governor, but Mark's situation is no less sleazy and self-serving.

I'm not sure what Cathy's game plan is. Maybe she's setting her sights on 2010 to try again for Governor, or maybe someone can convince her to run for US Senate against Senator Bush, errr, Chambliss. I'm not sure inaction to let Mark fail will hurt her in the long run. She can't be seen as actively against Taylor, but she can just sit at home and do nothing to help him. Honestly, that's what a lot of Democrats in Georgia seem to be doing. We want to beat Sonny, but we're not sure Mark's the guy to do that. Cathy could have done it, maybe, but she screwed the pooch on her campaign, and there are LGBT voters who will never forgive her for the way she handled the marriage amendment being overturned. I'm not quite as harsh. I withheld my vote in the primary, and that was my punishment for Cathy. I hope she learned a lesson from it, and I'm willing to support her again in the future. I also will cast my vote for Mark Taylor, but the race doesn't get me as passionate or excited as, say, the Jim Martin campaign for Lt. Governor against that theocrat neanderthal Casey Cagel.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

YDG Democratic State Convention AFTER PARTY!

Join Us!

Following up on the great success of the YDG GADCC Dinner After Party in Macon, we're doing it again!! Please Join the Young Democrats of Georgia, and the Georgia Democrats still Young-At-Heart, as we celebrate and gather together after the Democratic Party State Convention at Shout in Midtown. Complimentary Valet Parking is available and recommended.

What: Young Democrats After-Party for the Democratic Party State Convention

When: Saturday, September 16th, 6pm-?Where: Shout in Midtown (Colony Square, 14th Street and Peachtree)

Link with Map: http://www.georgiayds.org/events/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Day&sm=9&sy=2006&sd=16&h=2688

Shout is located in Colong Square, where the Sheraton Midtown is also located. If you are planning on joining us for the After Party, and have a long drive home, you may want to consider booking a room at the Sheraton.

We look forward to a great evening with great Democrats!

If you have any questions, please contact Page Gleason, YDG Executive Director, at alupkg@yahoo.com or 404-317-3563.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Adovcate seeks future LGBT political leaders

Now, I quibble with their definition of young (25 and under), but this is the gay community we're talking about, so they probably felt like they were being generous to push "young" all the way to 25 yrs old. So, if you know anyone, urge them to apply. I got this through the YDA LGBT Caucus.

The Advocate is looking for the future LGBT leaders in politics . This November will prove to be a key election for equality, and we want to hear from the young queers working behind the scenes this election cycle.
We're looking for politically active LGBT youth (25 and under):
  • Campaign/Political staffers
  • Political Action Committee members
  • Field Directors
  • Grass roots organizers
  • Campus catalysts
  • Influential bloggers
  • Environmental activists
  • Workers on the Hill
  • Coalition builders
  • Lobbyists
  • Fundraisers
  • (Other)

Please submit the attached nomination to be considered as one of The Advocate's Up-and-Coming LGBT Politicos. Those selected will be contacted for a follow-up interview and expected to provide a photograph to appear in The Advocate.
Self-nominations are strongly encouraged and any additional materials are welcome. Deadline for submissions is September 22 or ASAP.
All submissions and questions can be sent to Kevin Hauswirth, advocatekevin@gmail.com.
Thank you,

Kevin Hauswirth
Editor, GenQ Editorial Advisory Board
The Advocate
+1 847.636.1791

Saturday, September 09, 2006

TalkOUT series continues this fall...

I attended a TalkOUT forum on race relations within the LGBT community last month, and it was very interesting, but poorly attended. Other than the three panelists, I was the only person of Caucasian background to attend. I found that to be a shame, along with the fact that only 4 people attended overall, including myself. The discussion was enlightening despite the poor attendance. I think these talks promise to be interesting, and the series continues this fall. I hope others will also attend. The information is below:

Talk OUT 06' Topics, Dates, Location, and Times:

Future Focused
How our Youth & Young Adults of Color play a major role in the GLBT
September 28, 2006 | 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Politic' an
The People of Color within the GLBT community, our voice and role in
October 26, 2006 | 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

War of the Sexes & Gender Diversity
Lesbians, vs. Gays, vs. the Transgendered, How the sexes clash...
November 23, 2006 | 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

GOD, the Bible, You, & Your Sexuality
The role of the Church and Religion in society and the impact on your
life and in your sexual...
December 14, 2006 | 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

All forums will be held at: City Hall East: Sherry Lyons-Williams
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30308
For more Info: TalkOUT@yahoogroups.com | (877) 358-4625

For more info: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/talkout/
MBK's Mission is: to improve the quality of life of young men of
color by; Creating Safe Spaces, Providing Quality Programs, and
Ensuring Access to Resources.

For more info check out our New website: www.MyBrothaz.org
Email us directly at: Info@MyBrothaz.org
Toll-Free Phone #: (877)358-4MBK(625)
Mail to us: 346 Auburn Ave, Suite 181, Atlanta, Georgia 30312
You can also join our list serves: MyBrothaz@yahoogroups.com

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Young Democrats of Georgia on MySpace

It's a little late in coming, as many of us in YDG just assumed we had a MySpace presence of some sort. That assumption was wrong, and thus has been rectified. For those who are on MySpace and interested in being part of the YDG network, go to http://www.myspace.com/georgiayds and add YDG to your friends list.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Young Democrats of America November Meeting

Young Democrats of America Update

Greetings fellow Georgia Young Democrats!

Brooke and I wanted to update you on the annoucement of the next national meeting of the Young Democrats of America. The last general meeting was in June in Las Vegas with a theme of "What Happens in Vegas Changes America".

YDA Announces Conference in Jackson, MississippiYDA is proud to announce the location of our next conference will be in Jackson, Mississippi. The Young Democrats of Mississippi will be wonderful hosts and we are excited to spend some time in the south after the elections.
Register for the conference today!The conference registration fee of $25 per person includes lunch on Saturday and all training materials. The Registration fee does not include the hotel room fees. Reserve your room today for the special rate of $129.00, see below for hotel information.

Dates:November 17-19, 2006
Hotel Information:Marriott Jackson200 East Amite StreetJackson, MS 39201
Hotel Rate:$129.95
Hotel Reservation Information:Phone reservations ONLY 1-800-256-9194 or 601-969-5100Please tell operator you are with the "YDA Group"
Last Day to Reserve Room with Guaranteed Rate:October 27, 2006

For those who find the above hotel cost a bit pricey (which is probably everyone!), another alternative is the Edison Walthall Hotel (http://www.edisonwalthallhotel.com/) about a 1/2 mile or 5 city blocks from the Marriott. I found prices ont he hotel website for $99/night and on Expedia for $90/night. With 4 people per room, that's much more affordable.

Since Jackson is about 5.5 hours from Atlanta on I-20, we will be caravaning for those who are interested. If you would like to attend, you will have a good time, as the Mississippi Young Democrats are known for their hospitality, and they have been waiting a long time to host a national meeting. It would be great to pack the place with Southerners! Please email Jason at jacecil6@bellsouth.net if you plan to attend with a cc to Brooke at floralu19@aol.com. We can try to hook people up with roommates and rides if needed. As always, please ask us any questions you might have.

Democratically Yours,
Jason Cecil & Brooke Hesse

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Own Slap Against Corruption

Today, I took a hard stand against corruption. I'm lucky in that the rules by which I was operating allowed me to easily dismantle the attempt to steal public health funds for private gain.

As a federal employee, I am sometimes asked to sit on panels, reviewing applications for grants and cooperative agreements. There are strict rules governing this process, including confidentiality. This makes posting about my triumph today tricky because I have to be vague by law.

The cooperative agreement application I reviewed today was for a pot of money meant to combat a very real public health threat in a developing country. The "principal" of this application just happens to be a key player in the GOP. In fact, this asswipe was arrogant enough to highlight his political ties in his application. I suppose this GOP shill thought that subtlely hinting closeness with the White House would cow us into granting him/her the money. The application did not even pretend to be seriously combating the public health threat the money was meant to fight. It was obvious that the money would be used to make a business case for the applicant to "offer services" to this developing nation to build an internet infrastructure. The top outcome of this "project" was to produce "profitable business relationships".

I was enraged when I finished this application. The panels can make it difficult to grant someone money, but there are ways to bypass the recommendation of reveiw panels. As a result, I decided to put into writing, using quotations from the application itself, to make selection of this project nearly impossible to anyone looking at the situation. Luckily, everyone at the panel was as shocked as I was at how bad the application was, and just how bad it "smelled".

This GOP hack will not get the money he/she sought from the CDC. And while it's not much, I will sleep better tonight knowing that I have done my part to prevent another instance of a Bush crony enriching him or herself at the expense of the American people.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Surprise! The Rich Get Richer... We Get SCREWED

Normally, I wouldn't just cut/paste an article, but I think this story by the NY Times shows (with hard data) just how the average American has been screwed by the Bush Administration's policies. It goes beyond the subtle subversion of our Constitutional separation of powers or the far right social agenda. If you are not in the top 1% of this nation's economic relief, your wages are decreasing in a very real way, thanks to high energy prices and other factors mentioned in the article. But, unlike Sec. Paulson, I think it's VERY useful, and highly instructive to blame the political party that instituted the policies that brought about this problem...the GOP.

Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity

Published: August 28, 2006 (NY Times)

With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.

That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections even though overall growth has been healthy for much of the last five years.

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”

Until the last year, stagnating wages were somewhat offset by the rising value of benefits, especially health insurance, which caused overall compensation for most Americans to continue increasing. Since last summer, however, the value of workers’ benefits has also failed to keep pace with inflation, according to government data.

At the very top of the income spectrum, many workers have continued to receive raises that outpace inflation, and the gains have been large enough to keep average income and consumer spending rising.

In a speech on Friday, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, did not specifically discuss wages, but he warned that the unequal distribution of the economy’s spoils could derail the trade liberalization of recent decades. Because recent economic changes “threaten the livelihoods of some workers and the profits of some firms,” Mr. Bernanke said, policy makers must try “to ensure that the benefits of global economic integration are sufficiently widely shared.”

Political analysts are divided over how much the wage trends will help Democrats this fall in their effort to take control of the House and, in a bigger stretch, the Senate. Some see parallels to watershed political years like 1980, 1992 and 1994, when wage growth fell behind inflation, party alignments shifted and dozens of incumbents were thrown out of office.

“It’s a dangerous time for any party to have control of the federal government — the presidency, the Senate and the House,” said Charles Cook, who publishes a nonpartisan political newsletter. “It all feeds into ‘it’s a time for a change’ sentiment. It’s a highly combustible mixture.”

But others say that war in Iraq and terrorism, not the economy, will dominate the campaign and that Democrats have yet to offer an economic vision that appeals to voters.

“National economic policies are more clearly in focus in presidential campaigns,” said Richard T. Curtin, director of the University of Michigan’s consumer surveys. “When you’re electing your local House members, you don’t debate that on those issues as much.”

Moreover, polls show that Americans are less dissatisfied with the economy than they were in the early 1980’s or early 90’s. Rising house and stock values have lifted the net worth of many families over the last few years, and interest rates remain fairly low.

But polls show that Americans disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the economy by wide margins and that anxiety about the future is growing. Earlier this month, the University of Michigan reported that consumer confidence had fallen sharply in recent months, with people’s expectations for the future now as downbeat as they were in 1992 and 1993, when the job market had not yet recovered from a recession.

“Some people who aren’t partisans say, ‘Yes, the economy’s pretty good, so why are people so agitated and anxious?’ ” said Frank Luntz, a Republican campaign consultant. “The answer is they don’t feel it in their weekly paychecks.”

But Mr. Luntz predicted that the economic mood would not do significant damage to Republicans this fall because voters blamed corporate America, not the government, for their problems.

Economists offer various reasons for the stagnation of wages. Although the economy continues to add jobs, global trade, immigration, layoffs and technology — as well as the insecurity caused by them — appear to have eroded workers’ bargaining power.

Trade unions are much weaker than they once were, while the buying power of the minimum wage is at a 50-year low. And health care is far more expensive than it was a decade ago, causing companies to spend more on benefits at the expense of wages.

Together, these forces have caused a growing share of the economy to go to companies instead of workers’ paychecks. In the first quarter of 2006, wages and salaries represented 45 percent of gross domestic product, down from almost 50 percent in the first quarter of 2001 and a record 53.6 percent in the first quarter of 1970, according to the Commerce Department. Each percentage point now equals about $132 billion.

Total employee compensation — wages plus benefits — has fared a little better. Its share was briefly lower than its current level of 56.1 percent in the mid-1990’s and otherwise has not been so low since 1966.

Over the last year, the value of employee benefits has risen only 3.4 percent, while inflation has exceeded 4 percent, according to the Labor Department.

In Europe and Japan, the profit share of economic output is also at or near record levels, noted Larry Hatheway, chief economist for UBS Investment Bank, who said that this highlighted the pressures of globalization on wages. Many Americans, be they apparel workers or software programmers, are facing more competition from China and India.

In another recent report on the boom in profits, economists at Goldman Sachs wrote, “The most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor’s share of national income.” Low interest rates and the moderate cost of capital goods, like computers, have also played a role, though economists note that an economic slowdown could hurt profits in coming months.

For most of the last century, wages and productivity — the key measure of the economy’s efficiency — have risen together, increasing rapidly through the 1950’s and 60’s and far more slowly in the 1970’s and 80’s.

But in recent years, the productivity gains have continued while the pay increases have not kept up. Worker productivity rose 16.6 percent from 2000 to 2005, while total compensation for the median worker rose 7.2 percent, according to Labor Department statistics analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group. Benefits accounted for most of the increase.
“If I had to sum it up,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior economist at the institute, “it comes down to bargaining power and the lack of ability of many in the work force to claim their fair share of growth.”

Nominal wages have accelerated in the last year, but the spike in oil costs has eaten up the gains. Now the job market appears to be weakening, after a protracted series of interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve.

Unless these trends reverse, the current expansion may lack even an extended period of modest wage growth like one that occurred in the mid-1980’s.

The most recent recession ended in late 2001. Hourly wages continued to rise in 2002 and peaked in early 2003, largely on the lingering strength of the 1990’s boom.

Average family income, adjusted for inflation, has continued to advance at a good clip, a fact Mr. Bush has cited when speaking about the economy. But these gains are a result mainly of increases at the top of the income spectrum that pull up the overall numbers. Even for workers at the 90th percentile of earners — making about $80,000 a year — inflation has outpaced their pay increases over the last three years, according to the Labor Department.

“There are two economies out there,” Mr. Cook, the political analyst, said. “One has been just white hot, going great guns. Those are the people who have benefited from globalization, technology, greater productivity and higher corporate earnings.

“And then there’s the working stiffs,’’ he added, “who just don’t feel like they’re getting ahead despite the fact that they’re working very hard. And there are a lot more people in that group than the other group.”

In 2004, the top 1 percent of earners — a group that includes many chief executives — received 11.2 percent of all wage income, up from 8.7 percent a decade earlier and less than 6 percent three decades ago, according to Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, economists who analyzed the tax data.

With the midterm campaign expected to heat up after Labor Day, Democrats are saying that they will help workers by making health care more affordable and lifting the minimum wage. Democrats have criticized Republicans for passing tax cuts mainly benefiting high-income families at a time when most families are failing to keep up.

Republicans counter that the tax cuts passed during Mr. Bush’s first term helped lifted the economy out of recession. Unless the cuts are extended, a move many Democrats oppose, the economy will suffer, and so will wages, Republicans say.

But in a sign that Republicans may be growing concerned about the public’s mood, the new Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., adopted a somewhat different tone from Mr. Bush in his first major speech, delivered early this month.

“Many aren’t seeing significant increases in their take-home pay,” Mr. Paulson said. “Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health care costs, among others.”

At the same time, he said that the Bush administration was not responsible for the situation, pointing out that inequality had been increasing for many years. “It is neither fair nor useful,” Mr. Paulson said, “to blame any political party.”

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poor, Sad Ruthie

In today's AJC, there was a headline that caught my eye: Tech students endured threats in free speech crusade. Reading the article, I was reminded of a lawsuit that had been filed by a couple of College Republicans who felt their constitutional right to bash minorities, gays, and other "undesirables" was threatened by Georgia Tech's speech code. This code was meant to suppress intolerant or offensive behavior.

Ruth Malhotra and Orit Skylar filed the suit, and if I remember correctly, it was funded by an ultra conservative legal group like Southeastern Legal Foundation or Heritage. These facts make me automatically hostile to whatever claim they made, but these two do have a point.
The politically correct speech codes of the 1980s and 1990s probably have gone too far. People should be free of harrassment and intimidation in school, and making people aware of the affect of language is a benefit of having these "speech codes". What bothers me is telling people what they can and cannot say. Many people are boors and will say just many offensive things about a variety of groups. I'm pretty sure that Ruth Malhotra falls in this category. She's a right wing GOP nutjob who's opposed to any form of affirmative action, gay rights, women's rights (ironic how women have always fought women's rights throughout time...every group has its sellouts I guess), etc. You name the progressive issue, and I'm sure Ruthie is against it.

From the coverage of the lawsuit, I remember that Ruthie was especially incensed about female empowerment (via the Vagina Monologues), abortion rights, gay rights (and really, anything that said being gay was OK and not a choice you could "undo"), and affirmative action. One thing that got her in trouble at Georgia Tech was having a "diversity bake sale" where people were charged different prices depending on their gender and race. While clever, that stunt was a false analogy. The 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate in a publicly offered "good" based on race, gender, national origin, etc. It would have been more appropriate for her to have some kind of raffle for a highly desirous prize and give extra entries automatically to people based on race, gender, etc.

So Ruthie and her pal in the Georgia Tech GOP, Orit Skylar, sued. Tech has now backed off its speech codes, which is probably a good thing. The nice thing about free speech is that while Ruthie can spew her bile, we can speak the truth to counteract. Hopefully, she can be held up for shame and ridicule for her right wing views. Already during the last school year, Ruthie had to endure death threats, maiming threats, and a Twinky shoved in her mailbox (she's Indian, so someone was saying she's yellow on the outside and white on the inside). She's now "nervous" about coming back to campus.

Poor, poor Ruthie! Allow this white homosexual who believes in everything she despises to shed a tear. Poor Ruthie exercised her rights of free speech, and others did too. Now, I don't advocate violence or threats of violence, but ridicule is fair game. She didn't deserve death threats or threats of having acid thrown on her, but she did deserve to be heavily mocked and ridiculed.

She's literally fighting for her right to belittle people, attack women's rights, attack gays, and whatever other right wing agenda item she wants to advocate. One thing the right wing likes to do is say that progressives are hypocrites because we are "intolerant of intolerance". Well, DUH! Society has to have a standard, and if you can't be respectful of others different from you, we shouldn't tolerate that behavior or attitude. We should ridicule you even while you spew your hateful speech on the street corner. The First Amendment is a two way street.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Run-Off Results

The Run-off was pretty good overall. I'm only sad that my friend Allen Thornell did not win his race for State House.

LT. GOV: Jim Martin (62.4%)
SEC. OF STATE: Gail Buckner (55.2%)
CONGRESS, DIST 4: Hank Johnson (58.8%)
STATE HOUSE 58: Robbin Shipp (53.5%)
STATE HOUSE 59: Margaret Kaiser (53.5%)
DEKALB SOLICITOR GEN.: Robert James (56%)

Of course, I couldn't vote in the 4th District race or the State House 58 or 59 races. Otherwise, my choices all won. I was thrilled that Jim Martin not only beat but PULVERIZED his Smurfiness, Greg Hecht. The way Greg ran his smear campaign against Jim was shameful, and I'm glad that the Democratic party voters came out and said in a loud voice they would not tolerate that kind of behavior.

I sincerely hope that this is not the end of Allen Thornell's electoral career. He ran a great campaign, raised a ton of money, and came close to winning in a majority black district. The fact remains though that he did not win solely because of his skin color, and that's a shame. His opponent ran solely on the fact that she was black, and it worked. I predict, though, that if she doesn't change her tune, the rapidly gentrifying district will dump her in 2008. The days of making class and race appeals and winning on that argument alone seem to be dwindling.

Hopefully they will be gone for good before long.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ding, Dong, Fuhrer McKinney's Gone!

Cynthia McKinney, the racist anti-Semitic Congresswoman from DeKalb County (GA-4th), has been soundly defeated. Let's hear it for the voters! Hip, hip! HOORAY!

Hank Johnson creamed Cynthia with 58.8% of the vote, or 41,148 votes to her 28,832 votes. She was crushed in the Gwinnett and Rockdale portions of the district, and she even lost DeKalb by nearly 9,000 votes. But, classy woman that Cynthia is, she didn't go down quietly.

First, her website listing weird complaints about the voting machines and how her name wasn't listed, people getting the wrong ballot (and not getting the right one until they complained...imagine that! Poll workers who aren't psychic...must be a conspiracy), and people saying they tried to vote for Cynthia but their ballot said they voted Hank after the "Cast Ballot" button was pushed. On that last point, it's impossible. The second you cast your ballot, you are taken back to the welcome screen. There is no"summary" after you cast your ballot. The Secretary of State's office checked into complaints and found no basis for them. I suppose Cynthia is saying that Diebold had the machines count all HER votes as being cast for Hank and all of Hank's for her. Please.

When she "conceded", Cynthia went on a rant about the President and stolen elections, and then tried to sink Pink's song "Mr. President". Her supporters went buck wild when she lost too. The police had to be called because members of her "gang" decided to literally beat on the press, chasing 11 Alive cameramen to their van and threatening them until the police came. You can see the video of the incident here.

Now, Cynthia is saying that she got beat because of the GOP crossed over into her primary. First, Cynthia thinks just about any white person who doesn't support her must be a Republican. Second, there aren't that many Republicans in DeKalb to make the kind of difference that Cynthia would need to win. She can't face the notion that her own reckless behavior has led to her defeat. Black, white, old, and young were all TIRED of being embarrassed by her behavior. It became crystal clear that she was ineffective and a pariah. Even if she "spoke truth to power", she's such a loony-tunes that it made no difference.

Finally, Cynthia's people are blaming ... the J-E-W-S! Yes, the old anti-Semite comes out when the times are tough. One of her people said to a cable crew, You wanna know what led to the loss? Israel. The Zionists. You. put on your yarmulke and celebrate." Guess all that Islamist money that came her way was for naught.

Cynthia McKinney's gone. I say, "GOOD RIDDANCE."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Turnout! Turnout! Turnout!

For a political junkie like myself, not voting is abhorrent. I once voted absentee in an election over the phone FROM AFRICA so that I wouldn't miss the chance to cast my vote. So folks who can't be bothered or find voting too confusing don't make any sense to me. Unfortunately, a lot of these people would vote my way if they bothered to vote at all.

How do we reach them? In today's Washington Post, there was an article about a rift between Dean and Congressional leaders over the state of the turnout machine for November. It's a midterm election, so turnout will be lower than it is during a presidential election year. According to the WP:

The RNC runs a strategy known in political circles as the 72-hour program. It focuses on using phone calls, polling data and personal visits to identify would-be GOP voters and their top issues early in the cycle. The information is then fed into a database, allowing party leaders to flood them with pro-Republican messages through e-mail, regular mail and local volunteers. On Election Day, they receive a phone call or a visit to remind them to vote.

My question is: If the GOP system works so well, why aren't Democrats using it? Why aren't we using it in Georgia? Well, for Georgia, the first answer is lack of money. The party is flat broke. I know we have voter lists, but I have heard of no one making a database like the one the GOPers have. Why is that?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Electoral Aftermath

First, the results.

GOVERNOR: Mark Taylor (51.65%)
LT. GOV: Jim Martin (41.26%) and Greg Hecht (36.4%)
SEC. of STATE: Gail Buckner (25.45%) and Darryl Hicks (21.88%)
SCHOOL SUPER.: Denise Majette (67.08%)
US CONGRESS, DIST 4: Cynthia McKinney (46.92%) and Hank Johnson (44.52%)
HOUSE 44: Sheila Jones (63.2%)
HOUSE 56: Kathy Ashe (73.2%)
HOUSE 58: Robbin Shipp (40.81%) and Allen Thornell (26.32%)
HOUSE 59: Doug Dean (44.86%) and Margaret Kaiser (40.47%)
HOUSE 65: Sharon BEASTLY-Teague (60.70%)
SENATE 36: Nan Orrock (62.21%)
HOUSE 84: Stacey Abrams (51.19%)
HOUSE 86: Karla Drenner (62.45%)

Obviously, these are all Democratic results. The only remark I will make on the GOP primary is that Ralph Reed was given a stunning defeat with only 43.91% of the vote. There was some cross-over voting, although the Democratic primary had more voters than the GOP primary. This proves that the Theocrats are losing strength, even in Georgia. My only hope is that this will kill any chance of Ralph Reed having a career in politics, and that it's the beginning of the end for Sadie Fields and her minions.

Another piece of relatively good news is that of the candidates that Stonewall Democrats endorsed, only one lost outright: TJ Copeland. More on that race later. Two others, Allen Thornell and Doug Dean, are in the run off August 8 for their respective house seats. Jim Martin also made the run-off in his race after gay-baiting by Greg Hecht's campaign.
My thoughts on the governor's race are ones of sadness. Cathy Cox gave a truly inspiring concession speech last night around midnight. It brought to mind the Cathy Cox whose candidacy once inspired and thrilled me. The one who electrified the hall when she spoke to the Young Democrats convention in April at UGA. I don't know if she fell victim to the Al Gore syndrome of becoming captive to her DC-based consultants or what. Her campaign was a mess, and stumbled badly through the summer. It started with the gay marriage issue which I have blogged about. She could not have handled her response to the amendment being temporarily overthrown more badly if she'd tried. Then she came out to basically say she felt gays should have no protections under the law whatsoever (no civil union rights, no adoption rights, no non-discrimination in housing or jobs rights, etc), all while trying to oddly wink at the gay community. She backed away from the pro-choice crowd, hedging her bets on that issue too. Her commercials were OK, but didn't seem to say much. She fought from a defensive stance all summer, and she paid the price yesterday. If she'd had been the Cathy we all knew she could be, I think she would have run away with the nomination.

Mark Taylor gives you a smarmy feeling. It was strange seeing his child-bride next to him on the stage and his DUI and vehicular homicide charged son standing behind him as he gave his victory speech. Mark is a good ol' boy from the days of when Democrats were the only party in town. He does abuse his power and seems to love power for its sake alone. My only comfort is that I know he'll do anything to win. Sonny better buckle his seat belt, because if Mark can raise the money, he will attack Sonny with a vengeance. Still, I think we'll see Sonny win in November. As bad a governor as he is, Sonny doesn't give you that "I need a shower" feeling that Mark Taylor does.

I'm very happy that a man as decent and good as Jim Martin is leading in the Lt. Gov's race. I hope he can beat the crap out of Hecht on August 8. The smurfling hit new lows in campaigning this past week when he accused Jim Martin of being: a) a child murderer, b)a rapist-lover and c) some kind of firebrand looking to force your children into watching gay porn. Ok, I exaggerate the last point, but Hecht's campaign fingerprints were all over a false call that went out this past weekend to rural Georgia and older white males in Metro Atlanta featuring an effiminate "gay sounding" voice talking about how Jim Martin wants gay marriage and all this other stuff. It was gay-baiting, pure and simple. Jim Martin is a fair minded candidate, and he sees gays as human beings worthy of respect. Greg Hecht sees us as convenient punching bags in his climb up the political ladder.

The Secretary of State's race stunned me the most. The two most qualified candidates were BY FAR Shyam Reddy (16.51%) and Scott Holcomb (11.52%). Yet, they came in 4th and 5th respectively. Even more appalling is that Glamour-shot photo Angela "Vote for Miss Angela" Moore came in THIRD with 17.53% of the vote. That a bad joke like Angela Moore could beat Shyam and Scott is something that Democrats should be deeply ashamed of. If I weren't such a political junky, this race alone would have shaken my faith in the system to its core. I can understand why people don't vote when I see results like this. The two candidates that seemed to come out of nowhere were Gail Buckner and Darryl Hicks. I am not suprised that one of the two black candidates got into the run-off. With the black vote nearly 1/2 (it might have even broke the 50% barrier yesterday...the numbers have not been released) of the primary vote, it makes sense. At least it was Darryl and not "Miss Angela". Gail Buckner is the one who stunned me. I don't know if she even really campaigned, but she came in first. As a friend told me yesterday, I had to remember that she was the only viable woman on the ballot, and she was listed first. In a 6 person primary, most people didn't know WHO to vote for, so they go with the first name or the girl. Especially since the office was "SECRETARY" of State. Anyway, in the run-off, my vote goes to Gail Buckner hands down. Darryl Hicks is a corporate tool from Atlanta Gas & Light, and I view him with a LOT of suspicion.

Denise Majette won on name recognition alone. She may be the only name that stands a chance against Kathy Cox, but Kathy will run away with his election in November. The only way Denise makes this a contest is to hit hard and consistently on Georgia's low test scores and standing in the nation. It would help too if she could articulate a plan to turn the education system around.
Another surprise of the night was Cynthia McKinney being forced into a run-off. This race doesn't affect me anymore since I am now in John Lewis's district (THANK YOU GOD!!!), but I hope that all the GOPers in North DeKalb who didn't vote yesterday rush to the polls on August 8 to send Cynthia home for good. She's an embarrassment to the Democratic party, to DeKalb County, and to Georgia.

In state house races, it looked at first like Robbin Shipp would get the nomination without a run-off. As it turned out, her strongest precincts came in first, because her vote percentage kept lowering as the evening wore on. In a majority black district, Robbin being the only black candidate meant that she would make the run-off and probably come in first, both of which happened. Luckily, Allen pulled away from his competition in the end to survive to fight again on August 8. Hopefully people will turn out for him that day and send the first openly gay man with HIV to the legislature to join Karla Drenner.

Speaking of Karla, I was glad to see her beat back a challenge from a woman whose sole argument was, "This is a black-majority district, and we need a black woman to represent it, not some honkey lesbian." Karla's district rebuffed this argument and sent her back to the state house. She will be sorely needed when the GOP goes after gay families through adoption.
I'm very happy to see Nan kick ass in her primary. She will be such a forceful progressive voice in the state senate. I look forward to having her there.

The race between Sharon BEASTLY-Teague and TJ Copeland lives me sickened the most. TJ ran a brilliant campaign. He walked all over that district, went door to door, did all the right things a candidate should do. All this against an incumbent who does nothing, barely shows up when the legislature is in session, and is an anti-gay bigot. TJ is as fine and upstanding a man as I've seen run for office. That his district would vote for a woman who doesn't do her job, doesn't pass bills, and works against the interests of her district, says a lot about them. South Fulton residents can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. They get the government and representation they deserve. I hope BEASTLY continues to shit all over them and that they are starved of resources. I hope their schools continue to fail. Voting for what witch over a hard worker like TJ shows they don't deserve him. I will never lift a finger for South Fulton in the future.

Finally, in DeKalb, the tool of developers and Vernon Jones, Jeff Rader, won his county commission seat. It was much closer than I thought. Don Broussard had a lot of silent support, but he lost in the end. I think Gail's (the retiring commissioner) call the day before the election talking about what a bad man Don was to be "lying" about Jeff Rader may have made the difference. It looks like Vernon's majority on the commission just got stronger....God Help Us.