Wednesday, April 30, 2008

McCain Hates New Orleans


"That is why we need to go back is to have a conversation about what to do -rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is,” he said.

For the record, John, the correct answer is "rebuild it." It is the duty of the government to protect its citizens from natural disasters, particularly when the full damage from that disaster is based on the failure of the federal government to fully fund infrastructure. The fact that McCain doesn't know what to do with New Orleans shows that he doesn't care much about American history, poor people, minorities and the responsibilities of government.

Good New Resource

If you haven't seen this yet, there is a great new resource for the upcoming presidential election, McCain Source, a one-stop location for all the dirt on the Republican presidential nominee.

Out to Get Us

Patrick Crowley, a great Rhode Island blogger I met at the NOI Bloggers Summit, posted this story at Daily Kos:

Sometimes, when I take a stand on an issue, I incur the wrath of people who disagree. Some of the emails I’ve received are not fit for publication on a family blog like this and some of the voice mails have been saved for posterity (and possible court proceedings).

But never have I had someone think they could intimidate me by writing to my boss and demanding to know if I was speaking for my employer 24 hours a day. And never have I had someone write to my boss challenging my right to support or oppose any piece of legislation or government policy. And never have I had a high government official try to get my employer to silence my voice in the public square just because what I say challenges that official’s policy. Until ...

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri sent this letter.

The governor of the state went after him for something he wrote on a blog. I've had that happen to me as well, a few conservative students took some blog posts I put up that they disagreed with and went to the provost of the college I was teaching at. Luckily for me (and Patrick in the above story), my boss believed in free speech. I didn't get in any trouble and was, in fact, offered tenure a year early while doing that job, but what if I didn't have such an understanding boss? What if Patrick didn't? And we already know that here in Florida, the Lt. Governor has no problem going after bloggers.

This is why some bloggers are anonymous and why I fully support that decision and respect that privacy, and you should to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Action Alerts

Send an E-mail - Vote No on Railroad Corporate Welfare! (FLA AFL-CIO)

Help Deliver the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq - Find a Responsible Plan Delivery Near You. (TM)

Send an E-mail - Your governor is fighting for pre-k—send your thanks today! (NSFS)

Make a Phone Call - Make the Call for Wyoming Wolves. (DOW)

Donate Money - Stop Runaway Media Consolidation -- Before Time Runs Out. (FP)

Write A Letter to the Editor - Let your local paper know that you support a real update to the GI Bill. (VV)

Send an E-mail - Protect Utah's Wild Canyons. (TWS)

Sign the Petition - Support The Voters First Pledge! (PCAF)

Send an E-mail - Urge the Bush administration to protect the natural and cultural values of Nine Mile Canyon. (NRDC)

Vote - In the Obama in 30 Seconds Campaign (MoveOn)

Monday, April 28, 2008

James Lawson Gets It

Remember Pastor Hayes Wicker, who gave us this nonsense last week (in relation to gay marriage):

This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.

Now we hear about James Lawson. Via America's best columnist, Leonard Pitts, we learn of a Reverend who is on the right side of the homosexuality issue:

And then there's Rev. Lawson, who is scheduled to speak this weekend at the 10th anniversary conference of Soulforce, a group that fights church-based homophobia. Few things could be more out of step.

Lawson, you may know, is an icon of the civil rights movement; it was he who invited Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis to support the striking sanitation workers. He sees his longtime involvement with Soulforce as part of the same struggle. ''The human rights issue is not a single issue,'' he told me recently. ``It is about all human kind. And all human kind has been endowed with certain inalienable rights.''

My interview with Lawson was set before Wicker's remark, but I leapt at the chance to ask him about it. ''Obviously,'' said Lawson, ``he does not know anything about the 250 years of slavery or the 143 years since slavery as the nation has largely failed to deal with the issue of slavery and its consequences. . . . And he knows even less about the gospel of Jesus. . . . Jesus broke all the social etiquette in terms of relating to people and bringing people into relationship with himself. He acknowledged no barriers or human divisions . . . no category of sinners from who he would isolate himself.''

Sadly, Wicker's brand of intolerance cloaked in faith has lately made inroads in black America. King's daughter, Bernice, has marched against gay rights. Others have peevishly rejected the idea that there are parallels between the black struggle and the gay one.

Lawson finds the antipathy appalling. ``To unite with white Christian fundamentalism like Pat Robertson is an absolute disgrace. For black people to pretend that kind of Christian fundamentalism, which justified slavery and justifies racism, is a colleague in anything is to be blind to the realities that we're facing. We who have suffered and do suffer should be the most sensitive to the suffering of others. We don't want this undeserved suffering put on us, and we should therefore, clearly, not participate in putting such suffering on others. We ought to know better.''

More of this, please.

Action Alerts

April 28th, 2008 email from Karen Woodall:

We had hoped that the Conference committee would add the seamless transition from Medicaid into Healthy Kids or Medikids to the implementing bill over the weekend. The money to accomplish this policy change is already in the budget -- $13.4 million in General Reveue for 38,000 additional slots.

It is estimated that 17,000 children lose their Medicaid coverage every month because their family's income goes up or they age out of income eligibility for Medicaid. However, the majority of them are still elgibile for another KidCare program because their family income is below 200% of the federal poverty level.


In order to implement this policy change within the existing budget appropriation we suggested that it go into effect in January of 2009. This would provide 6 months of policy experience and would be within the allocation with a cost of $9.45 million (out of the $13.4 million) in state dollars.

There will be an estimating conference next year that would take in to account the effect of the policy change on keeping children in the program rather than relying on them losing coverage for several months and future appropriations would be based on that experience.

LEGISLATORS SEEMED WILLING TO TAKE THIS STEP. HOWEVER, THERE NOW SEEMS TO BE RELUCTANCE TO MOVE FORWARD AS THEY ARE PLANNING TO USE THE $13.4 MILLION TO COVER THE ADDITION OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND OTHER SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS NOT CURRENTLY COVERED BY PRIVATE INSURANCE TO THE FULL PAY PORTION OF THE KIDCARE PROGRAM --- the current plan in the House does not appear to offer that coverage to the lowest income families enrolled in Medicaid and Title XXI (subsidized portion of KidCare)...this is still a fluid issue that has not been resolved.

ACTION NEEDED TODAY -- PLEASE CALL THE SENATE PRESIDENT AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AND URGE THEM TO FIX THE MEDICAID TRANSITION FROM MEDICAID IN TO ANOTHER KIDCARE PROGRAM BY ALLOWING THE TRANSITION WITHOUT A GAP IN COVERAGE -- too many children are impacted by this and they can't wait another year. There are several different ways to accomplish this, they just need to decide that they are going to do it. Express your disappointment that ONCE AGAIN, they are failing to fix the KidCare program. The money is there. They need to provide additional money if they are going to expand the program and they need to make the private insurance companies include autism and other disabilities at the same time they consider opening KidCare.

Senate President Ken Pruitt: 850-487-5229
Speaker Marco Rubio - 850-488-1450
Governor Crist: 850-488-4441 (ask for healthcare staff)

We need the calls to go today to try and get them to include in budget process......


Other Action Alerts:

Send an E-mail - Tell Congress to restore access to affordable birth control now. (PP)

Sign the Petition - Help Protect Community Rights in Ghana. (OxFam)

Send an E-mail - Science abused at the EPA. See how you can help. (UCS)

Send an E-mail - Does your Member of Congress and your Senators know that you support a New GI Bill?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Action Alerts

Send an E-mail - Urge your state lawmakers to support a $1 increase in the cigarette user fee. (TFK)

Donate Money - Tom Feeney Has Got to Go. (FDP)

Donate Money - To support NARAL.

Sign the Petition - Co-Sponsor Education For All Act. (One)

Sign the Petition - There's a despicable new TV ad paid for by the North Carolina Republican Party that's earning swift and severe rebukes - even from Republicans. Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole has the power to stop this garbage. One call to her friends at the North Carolina Republican Party takes this ad off the air forever. (DSCC)

Donate Money - Help fired Vignolo activists get their jobs back and win a union contract. (UFW)

Sign the Petition - Senator McCain: Stop Insulting Women. (CREDO)

Send an E-mail - Tell senators not to oppose moratoria on harmful Medicaid regs. (MHA)

Send a Letter - Five Years Is Five Years Too Many Stop Paying for the Military Occupation of Iraq. (UFP)

Tell your Story - Your Story Could Impact Medicare Policy Today and for Years to Come! (AARP)

Send an E-mail - Republicans Block Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- But it's Not Over! Write Your Senators Today! (NOW)

Sign the Petition - Help Even the Smallest Wildlife Survive Global Warming. (NWF)

Donate Money - Help Us Stop the Wolf Killing. (DOW)

Send an E-mail - Expose the Truth about Bush’s “Abstinence-Only” Programs. (NARAL)

Send an E-mail - Help fight Ariz. bill to ban ethnic student groups like MEChA, Black Business Students Assoc. (UFW)

Donate Money - Veto the FCC: Support Better Media. (FP)

Donate Money - Sen. Coleman vs. Lilly Ledbetter. (PFAW)

Donate Money - Let's take our country back. (DFA)

Sign the Petition - Senator McCain, reject Hagee. (MoveOn)

Send an E-mail - Tell Your Senator To Oppose The Weak McCain Bill On Veterans Education. (VV)

Send an E-mail - Urge Congress to Protect Wyoming Range. (TWS)

Sign the Petition - Tell Burger King and other food industry leaders to end exploitation in the fields and modern-day slavery in the 21st century. (TM)

Donate Money - End the Bush era in 2008. (MoveOn)

Sign up to be a rapid responder (NARAL)

Send an E-mail - Tell Congress: Investigate the Propaganda Pundits. (FP)

Send an E-mail - Help End A Bear Poaching Plague. (DOW)

Sign the Petition - Outraged Over High Gas Prices? (DCCC)

McCain Hates Sensible Tax Policy, Himself; Loves Hypocrisy

Maverick? I think not.

Now that he is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, however, McCain is marching straight down the party line. The economic package he has laid out embraces many of the tax policies he once decried: extending Bush's tax cuts he voted against, offering investment tax breaks he once believed would have little economic benefit and granting the long-held wishes of tax lobbyists he has often mocked.

McCain's concerns -- about budget deficits, unanticipated defense costs, an Iraq war that would be longer and more costly than advertised -- have proved eerily prescient, usually a plus for politicians who are quick to say they were right when others were wrong. Yet McCain appears determined to leave such predictions behind.

"He's looking forward, not back," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior policy adviser.

Yeah, looking forward to the radical right-wing vote in November. McCain used to be right on these issues, now he's a stooge for the most dishonest and most anti-American elements of his party. He sold his soul for a shot at the presidency.

Note to Bloggers and Media

When dealing with a gay candidate for any particular office, it is biased to always refer to the person as gay or "openly gay." It's fine to note it once and it's fine to bring it up if the article/post is discussing gay issues. But to always preface a person's name by their sexuality is wrong. You don't do it for straight candidates ("Openly straight candidate for sheriff Biff Webster"). And as a progressive blogger, you should particularly avoid doing this, because, in effect, you are exhibiting bias and/or prejudice in the name of supporting someone.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Not Called the Hate Amendment for Nothing

Wow. At first glance, that's all I can say about the comments from Pastor Hayes Wicker of Naples, Florida. Here's what he said at an anti-gay event last week:

This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.


For those who don't know, fundamentalist right-wingers in Florida are attempting to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida this year that would ban gay marriage in the Sunshine State. The same gay marriage that is already illegal under four separate parts of state law. And this amendment wouldn't just ban gay marriage, it would also prevent civil unions, cities and corporations from offering benefits to gay couples and anyone from giving benefits to unmarried straight couples. But let's leave aside the practical implications of the proposed gay marriage ban in question, I've talked about that in the past and I'll come back to it over and over again throughout the year, let's look at the hate ingrained in this particular phrase.

This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.

Keep in mind, this isn't about banning gay marriage. Gay marriage is already banned in Florida under four different laws. What this nutjob is actually saying is that the fact that they haven't yet enshrined hatred in the Florida Constitution, despite not one single legal gay marriage ever taking place in Florida, is not only a "tremendous social crisis," but one greater than slavery. That shows an astounding amount of hatred not only for gay people, but for African Americans as well.

Let's take a quick look at the history of slavery and its outgrowths in American history:

  • Slavery caused approximately 30 million people to be ripped out of their homes, families and lives
  • Slavery included the horrible conditions of the Middle Passage, where the cramped, diseased and abusive conditions led to the deaths of as many as 15 million people
  • Slavery in America was hundreds of years of the near total subjugation of an entire class of people
  • Slavery involved the beating, flogging, raping, and murder of millions of people
  • Slavery tore apart families, kept people illiterate, and kept most in abject poverty
  • Slavery nearly destroyed the United States
  • Slavery led to the death of one of America's greatest presidents
  • Slavery transformed into sharecropping, tenant farming and the prison-lease system, which combined to keep most African Americans in virtual slavery through the beginning of the twentieth century
  • Slavery laid the groundwork for Jim Crow, lynching, a corrupt justice system, assassination and the long-term economic deprivation of African Americans long past the end of slavery

Now, for comparison's sake, let's take a quick look at the history of no gay marriages in Florida and the fact that the ban on gay marriage isn't in the Florida constitution:

  • Gay marriage ripped no one out of their home, family or life
  • Gay marriage included no Middle Passage
  • Gay marriage killed no one
  • Gay marriage led to the subjugation of no one
  • Gay marriage involved no beatings, floggings, rapes or murder
  • Gay marriage tore apart no families, kept no one illiterate and led to no poverty
  • Gay marriage has had no negative effect on the United States
  • Gay marriage killed no presidents
  • Gay marriage transformed into no forced subjugation or de facto slavery
  • Gay marriage did not lay the groundwork for segregation, lynching, corruption, assassination or economic deprivation

One of these things is not like the other.

And just in case you weren't convinced by that quote that this was all about hate, the article goes further:

Without such an amendment or a law, Wicker said, it could lead to legal marriages in Florida between “man and dog” and “father and child.”


This isn't just about hatred, it's about stupidity. How is it possible for someone to be so wrong and so misguided about so much? In the annals of critical thinking there is a logical fallacy known as the slippery slope. Simply put the argument that one step in a particular direction guarantees that we will continue down that path towards worse outcomes. In the real world, it's hardly ever true. In this case, it's incredibly untrue. First off, without this amendment, gay marriage is still illegal in Florida. And even if gay marriage were legal, the fact that two consenting adult humans who are unrelated could marry would in no way legally require bestiality or incest being made legal. It's the height of silliness to think otherwise. Those things would still be illegal under other laws, including federal constitutional law. Beyond that, the people who support the legality of gay marriage don't support the legality of bestiality or incest. In fact, they all oppose it. Just like everyone else. And if gay marriage were made legal, it wouldn't change anyone's opinion on these other issues. How do we know? Because gay marriage is legal in several places. Bestiality and incest aren't. And there are no negative consequences for anyone out of that legalization. Not one. These arguments are ludicrous and the people that say things like:

This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.


Without such an amendment or a law, Wicker said, it could lead to legal marriages in Florida between “man and dog” and “father and child.”

are not only ignorant, they are morally bankrupt and about as un-American as a person could possibly be. Hatred of other citizens based on their innate characteristics, particularly when those characteristics harm no one, is as close to evil as one can get without raping, molesting or killing someone.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Action Alerts

Send an E-mail - Stop the Dangerous Budget Before More Floridians Get Hurt (FDP)

Send an E-mail - Tell Lawmakers to Lower Health Care Costs (FPIRG)

Send an E-mail - Florida's Budget Priorities Miss the Mark (CC)

Sign the Petition - Enough Distractions (MoveOn)

Send an E-mail - Support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (ACLU)

Donate Money - To Support NARAL.

Donate Money - To Support the 100-Day Environmental Blitz (ED)

Send an E-mail - Earth Day Call for Responsible Conservation Leadership (DoW)

Send an E-mail - Urge Senators To Improve Climate Bill, Reject Bush Rhetoric (UCS)

Donate Money - To invest in tomorrow's progressive leaders today (PFAW)

Send an E-mail - Time To Ask ABC News Some Questions (BlogPAC)

Sign the Petition - Condi Must Go! (BNF)

Donate Money - To help keep momentum going on environmental protection (SoE)

Vote - To help determine which organizations win large grants (CF)

Sign the Petition - To fight the world hunger crisis (ONE)

Send an E-mail - Support the Fair Pay Restoration Act (AFJ)

Send and E-mail - Toxic chemicals are threatening farm worker children. We need your help (UFW)

Send an E-mail - Demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws (ACLU)

Donate Money - to stay competitive with John McCain in the general election (Democratic Party)

Sign the Petition - To stop bad judges (PFAW)

Become a Member - of Planned Parenthood.

Donate Money - To protect elections in 2008 (PFAW)

Sign the Petition - Support Women's Right to Equal Pay (NWLC)

Send an E-Mail - Send a letter to your Congressmen and Senators, telling them to back a new GI Bill! (VV)

Send an E-mail -

Sign the Petition - Bears Need Our Help! Pass the Bear Protection Act of 2008 (WSPA)

Sign the Petition -

Send an E-mail - Impeach Bush and Cheney for Torture (

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Challenge

As I mentioned earlier, the Monday, Wednesday and Friday challenges for the near future will be related to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq ( What I'll do each of these days is highlight two members of our group of Congressional challengers. One is for you to contact and convince to endorse the Plan. The other is someone who has already endorsed the plan, for you to reward because they did the right thing.

Today's focus is on Robert Peterman from District 1. Call him and ask him to sign on the Responsible Plan (details on the plan are at, you could also use the talking points from our endorsement of the plan (, or you could use the argument mentioned at OpenLeft showing candidate Darcy Burner gaining ground in her race because of the plan ( or that she raised more than $500,000 in the first quarter this year running primarily on this issue, You can contact him at 850-432-2213.

Second is Clint Curtis, challenger in District 24, who has already endorsed the Plan. If you think this was a good thing for him to do, which you should, you can contribute to his campaign here (

Previous plan endorsers are the following:

Larry Byrnes, FL-14
Alan Grayson, FL-8
Joe Garcia, FL-25
Faye Armitage, FL-7
Timothy Cunha, FL-6
Clint Curtis, FL-24
Stephen Blythe, FL-15
Samm Simpson, FL-10
Clyde Malloy, FL-7

The other challengers who have yet to endorse the plan, and feel free to contact them about the plan, too, are:

James Bryan, 850-652-3350
Robert Peterman, 850-432-2213

Jay McGovern , 904-626-9618,

Carol Castagnero, 863-687-8414,
David Werder, 727-862-3377

Alexander Fry, 407-579-7800,
Corbett Kroehler, 407-855-8574, or
Michael Smith, 407-574-9296,
Charlie Stuart, 407-999-9899,
Quoc Van, 407-453-4380,

Anita de Palma, 727-239-0621
John Dicks, Web form:
Bill Mitchell, 813-223-1959,
Michael van Hoek, 813-451-4445, or

Doug Tudor, ?

Christine Jennings, 941-366-8121,

Jason King, 239-633-8388

Annette Taddeo, 305-661-6499, Web form:

Richard Allbritton, 305-274-4490, 305-213-4814,
Raul Martinez, 305-823-8686, or

Paul Renneisen, 954-812-2674,

Ray Sanchez, 561-996-6722,

Garv Bhola, 407-459-1590,
Ronald Bobay, 321-383-7955
Suzanne Kosmas, 386-427-0439,

If you contact anyone on the list, please be completely professional and respectful in doing so. The idea isn't to attack these people, it's to let them know that Floridians support this plan and we want our candidates to do the same.

We have set up an ActBlue page for the Florida challengers that have endorsed the plan. You give to one or all of them here:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Action Alerts

Sign the Petition: To Stop the TBRC's Tax Cap Proposal. (CC)

Send an E-mail: Tell the members of the TBRC to vote against the Tax Cap Proposal. (CC)

Send an E-mail: Keep religion out of public school science classes. (CFI)

Donate Money: Condi Must Go. (TM)

Send an E-mail: Condi Must Go. (TM)

Sign the Petition: Show the Candidates the Many Faces of Climate Change. (1Sky)

Take the Pledge: Support the National Wildlife Refuge System. (DOW)

Donate Money: Sponsor the Operation: Climate Vote 100-Day Blitz. (ED)

Donate Your Economic Stimulus Check: Give it 4 Good to Help Fight Global Poverty. (EGR)

Sign the Petition: Demand McCain co-sponsor the new GI Bill. (BNF)

Send an E-mail: Tell Senators Reid and Leahy to Stop Confirming Controversial Judges. (AFJ)

Sign the Petition: Stop the Seal Hunt. (IFAW)

Take the Survey: Give feedback to the Wilderness Society.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Florida Seeks To Enshrine Discrimination in the Constitution

On today's radio show, I talked about the upcoming Amendment 2 that we will vote on in November. I've taken to calling this the Hate Amendment. You should, too. Why? Because this so-called gay marriage ban would not only ban gay marriage, which is already illegal in Florida, it would prevent cities and companies from providing benefits of any sort to gay couples and would also affect many straight couples and just plain roommates in a very negative way. I went through the list of arguments against the Amendment and you can feel free to pick and choose amongst the various arguments based on your location and audience. Here they are:

1. It's morally wrong to ban gay marriage. We are talking about taxpaying American citizens and such a ban would deny them a basic human right available to all other citizens.
2. It is unconstitutional under the federal Constitution. You can't deny any citizen a right without due process and without a legitimate reason. Neither of those is present here.
3. It would enshrine hate in the Constitution, something that we really shouldn't be doing. Putting such hatred in our highest document means that such hatred is legitimized.
4. This would be the first time that we used the Florida Constitution to take away rights, something that is at odds with basic constitutional principles. Constitutions exist to protect rights, not remove them.
5. At the federal level, we only tried to take away rights via the Constitution one time -- prohibition -- and it was an unmitigated disaster, leading to the Great Depression and the rise of organized crime in America. Is that the type of history we want to repeat?
6. It's unnecessary. Gay marriage is already illegal in Florida.
7. This law teaches hate to children. By legalizing hate in the Constitution, we tell children that such hate is acceptable. We should never teach hate to children. The government, in particular, should never teach hate to anyone.
8. The Republican slogan is "Less Taxes, Less Government, More Freedom." This Amendment proves that is a lie. This Amendment clearly means less freedom. Less freedom for individuals to choose who they love. Less freedom for cities to give benefits to who they choose to. Less freedom for corporations to provide benefits to their employees as they see fit. A dirty little secret here is that conservatives actually hate freedom. They love it for themselves, but they hate it for the rest of us. This Amendment proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
9. Gay marriage has never hurt anyone. Gay adoption has never hurt anyone. No gay right has ever caused any harm to anyone.
10. This Amendment, however, does hurt gay people. Particularly in those cities and working for those companies that do provide benefits. It hurts straight people who fall under its Draconian language. It hurts children who are taught to hate. It hurts us all because we become less civilized.
11. This Amendment would limit various rights that people currently have or might have, such as hospital visitation rights, the right to make decisions for your ill spouse, inheritance rights when there is no will, parental rights and more than a thousand other rights that marriage confers by law.
12. This Amendment would provide cover for Domestic abusers who live in situations where they aren't married. Don't believe me? A judge ruled exactly this in another state where a law with this same language passed.
13. By increasing the legitimacy of discrimination and hatred, this will encourage more hatred, discrimination and violence against gay people.
14. The role of the government is to protect citizens, not hurt them.
15. If you are a Christian, this directly violates the teachings of Christ. In addition to the substitution of earthly judgment for God's judgment it violates the admonition to "judge not, lest ye be judged." Beyond that, Christ never said a single word about gay people, but said thousands of words about helping those in poverty. Christians who obsess about gay people and ignore poverty are not only hypocrites, they are in direct violation of the teachings of Christ. And to those who say that the Old Testament has admonitions against homosexuality, maybe it does, but it also has many other admonitions, almost none of which modern people follow. For instance, one part of Leviticus specifically says that a woman on her period should be kept in a shed outside of the home while she has her period and that she shouldn't be touched. If you don't follow that rule (and many others), choosing to adhere to a strict literal interpretation of the passages on homosexuality are not you living by biblical principles, that's just you being a bigot.

Throughout the year, we'll come back to this issue often as we have a real chance to beat this Amendment and we have a moral obligation to do so.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

14 Stories to Read

This is our regular feature where every day I do a quick post with the top posts/stories that I think people should read from the previous day.

1. Legislative Watch: Dan Gelber - Today's Budget Debate, Aikane Leo - Senate vote keeps CSX-Orlando on track, Florida Kossacks - Dems: Don't Team Up With the Forces of Ego, BlueHerald 2.0 - Teh Stupid...It Burns!, Why Now? - Our Legislature Is Different, Change in Tallahassee - Senate Democrats Throw Floridians A Financial Lifeline, Change in Tallahassee - House Democrats: “The budget takes us down a disastrous path,” Incertus (Brian) - A Trifecta of Stupid, Pensacola Beach Blog - Will the Light Shine on Florida's Department of Children and Families?, and Florida Netroots - Legislative Update.

2. Flablog - Rubio the Righteous: "This is a bit rich even by Florida standards: Rubio defends covertly helping a friend and political contributor saying his actions were done to strike a blow at the Department of Transportation's 'cozy' ties to 'monopolistic' contractors."

3. Bigot Brian Blair: Ybor City Stogie - Brian Blair Plays Intolerance Card, Progressive Homeschoolers of Florida - Hillsborough County Commissioner Blair Intolerant of Tolerance Day at Local Schools, and Pam's House Blend - Commissioner Brian 'Killer Bee' Blair has conniption over Day of Silence.

4. Florida Netroots - Want more progressive candidates?: "Then help them get on the ballot! There are two ways to get on the ballot in Florida: 1) writing a check, 2) gathering enough signature via petition. If you’d rather have a candidate spend their money on the actual campaign, rather than on getting on the ballot, which is some cases amounts to thousands of dollars, then sign their petition."

5. Congressional Races: Miami-Dade Dems - Joe Garcia vs one-note incumbent, FLA Politics (Progressive Florida) - Several US House Seats up for grabs in Florida, Ybor City Stogie - Joe Garcia - A Different Kind of Campaign, and ThinkProgress - Wexler: ‘What is the definition of winning?’

6. The Creationism Bill: Florida Citizens for Science - House bill suddenly sees action, and Ybor City Stogie - Florida As Intellectual Ghetto.

7. Smashed Frog - United States of Florida: "But allow me to explain why this Florida blog concentrates so much on national politics. We can bang our keyboards all day long in earnest attempt to change the way business is done in Tallahassee, but the truth remains--the Democrats are the minority party with a minority voice."

8. Ybor City Stogie - Camp Equality In Orlando And Ft. Lauderdale: "The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, announced today that it is launching a national program to help elect fair-minded candidates and defeat discriminatory ballot measures. The program – called Camp Equality – will train nearly 1,500 people in 14 cities to work on political campaigns."

9. Grassroots Brevard - Petition Packet Party v2.0: "Last night’s petition packet party was a great success. We are going to do this again on Tuesday, April 22nd @ 7pm @ the DEC office. This will be for our canvassing efforts throughout the county before the May 19th deadline. The Brevard County Young Democrats will be canvassing every Saturday beginning April 26th (where we will be working the Titusville area). Here is what we are asking of the candidates and volunteers participating..."

10. Interstate4Jamming2 - New School To Honour Two Civil Rights Activists: "Last week America remembered the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his efforts to better the lives of people of color, championing the cause of equality for all the nation's citizens and ending the disgrace of segregation. Locally, two names from Winter Haven stand out for their work along those same lines, and their work is being honoured."

11. becoming change - michelle obama is the real deal...: "today i had the honor and privilege of meeting and listening to Michelle obama in tallahassee, and i can tell you with every ounce of political experience i have she will be like no first lady that this country has every experienced."

12. Also check out CG Radio and Situation Awareness radio.

13. For more, as always, go to the FLA Politics daily round-up, Political Newsclippings from The Spencerian and the Evening Sift from South Florida Daily Blog.

14. Finally, check out our national coverage at our new blog, Florida Speaks.

Action Alerts

Send an E-mail - Vote No On Railroad Corporate Welfare! (AFL-CIO)

Sign the Petition - No More Funds for Iraq. (

Donate Money - Double Your Donation to Help Save Yellowstone's Bison. (DOW)

Sign an E-mail - Oppose the Colombia "free" trade agreement. (ARAW)

Sign the Petition - Stop Bad Judges. (PFAW)

Sign the Petition - Become a Citizen Endorser of the Responsible Plan. (TM)

Donate Money - Sponsor Operation: Climate Vote 100-Day Blitz! (ED)

Donate Money - Join and support Planned Parenthood.

Send an E-mail - Urge Canada's Minister of International Trade to Stop the Seal Hunt. (THS)

McCain on Iraq

He's going to "six month more" us to 100 years in Iraq.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bridging the Digital Divide

(Below is a cross-post of my first guest-post at African American Political Pundit, a gig that was an outgrowth of the NOI Bloggers Summit).

Hello, I'm the new guy. I'm Kenneth Quinnell and I regularly blog at Florida Progressive Coalition (amongst other places). At the New Organizing Institute Blogger's Summit, AAPP made the generous offer to let the rest of us grace his space to talk about issues that appeal to his audience. Sounded like a good offer to me, so I took him up on it. This is my introduction.

A quick note on me. I'm a mid-30s adjunct college professor (political science and history) who is the happily-married father of three sons under seven. I run a statewide Netroots organization and am a state and local-level Democratic Party activist. I live in Tallahassee, Florida, and the area I live in is pretty forward-looking, but much of the neighboring area is deep-South. Parts of the Florida panhandle are referred to by Floridians as L.A. -- Lower Alabama. So, I'm a Southern White Guy.

Don't get worried, I'm not that kind of Southern White Guy. There's nothing redneck about me, I have no accent, I hate the Confederate flag, and, when it comes to issues related to race, I've always thought differently than most of the people I grew up around. (And only about 20% of the stuff at Stuff White People Like are things I actually like).

I will say that I was raised around a lot of racist people. In fact, before I went to college, I'd literally say that the majority of adults I'd known in my life were either openly racist or passively racist. But from an early age, I never understood that way of thinking. Mainly, I guess, it came from growing up in lower-class, mixed-race neighborhoods where I could easily see that my African-American and Hispanic friends didn't fit the things the adults were telling me.

I was always interested in other cultures, too, and loved the idea that there were other people out there who had different experiences and thought about things differently than I did. I grew up as a big, big fan of stand-up comedy and sports (among other things) and amongst the names that my sons have been given are tributes to Jackie Robinson and Richard Pryor, two of my idols (along with George Carlin and FDR).

So, what will I post about? Well, pretty much anything that might be of interest to readers of a blog titled African American Political Pundit. There will be a bit of a Florida focus, but not overwhelmingly so. Everyone knows Florida has a high Hispanic population, but what most people don't know is we also have the third-highest black population in the country. I'll talk about the roots of white racism and interactions between the races and how all of this interacts with politics, particularly progressive/liberal/Democratic politics. And I'll respond to what others say about what I've written and whatever people ask me. Hopefully, this will be an interactive experience and we can all learn something valuable from each other. Or at least have a little fun along the way.

Action Alerts

Sign the Petition - Exonerate Erin and Give her child back. (GoPetition)

Send an E-mail - 50 Senators To Fight AIDS, TB And Malaria. (One)

Sign the Petition - Tell Congress: No More Money For Iraq. (

Send an E-mail - Protect Your Right to Work. (ACLU)

Send an E-Mail - Fair Elections Now. (Common Cause)

Donate Money - To support the people of Tibet. (AI)

Sign the Petition - Stop Bad Judges! (PFAW)

Sign the Petition - Not Another Wa! (TM)

Sign the Petition - Help Protect America's Wetlands. (TRCP)

Send an E-mail - Say No to a New Generation of Nuclear Weapons. (CREDO)

Donate Money - Support Choice Today and DOUBLE the Impact of Your Gift! (NARAL)

Send an E-mail - Save Florida's Public Funding System. (PC)

Tell Your Story - About How Pre-K Changes Lives. (NSFS)

Sign the Pledge - The Humanitarian Plege on Iraq. (EPIC)

Call Your Senators - Tell the Senate to Go Digital. (PC)

Learn - What You Can Do For Earth Day. (SC)

Learn - How to Install a Low-Flow Showerhead. (SC)

Write a Letter to the Editor - Inform Your Community About John McCain. (DNC)

Send and E-mail - Tell Congress to help end mountaintop removal mining and protect the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. (NRDC)

Send and E-mail - Urge your representative to ensure permanent protection for our nation's wildlands. (NRDC)

Send and E-mail - Tell the Bush administration to drop its plans for new nuclear weapons. (NRDC)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Action Alerts

Send an E-mail: Oppose TABOR! (FPIRG)

Send an E-mail: Help Defend Religious Liberty in Florida. (PFAW)

Sign the Petition: Healthcare NOT Warfare. (PDA)

Sign the Petition: Fewer - Not Newer - Nuclear Bombs. (UCS)

Send an E-mail: Protect Your Right to Work. (ACLU)

Sign an E-mail: Speak Out for Yellowstone Bison! (DOW)

Sign the Petition: Reform Litmus Test: Sign the Letter to Senator John McCain. (PCAF)

Send an E-mail: Tell your personal story about pre-k. (NSFS)

Call Steny Hoyer: Tell him to oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA law. (TM)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Responsible Plan In Action

One day into our campaign to get our congressional challengers to sign on to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, we've already had one victory. Samm Simpson has endorsed the plan. Knowing Samm, I figured this was an issue that was important to her and that she'd be eager to sign on. We should reward Samm for singing on, so go here and contribute what you can. Hey, I'm a poor adjunct professor/blogger and I was able to muster a few bucks. It's the least you can do. And it's important.

Those of us active in the Netroots and blogging (as well as the more traditional grassroots) need to make sure that we reward candidates who engage in responsible, progressive behavior. Endorsing the Responsible Plan is a great step in that direction. Florida now has seven challengers signed on to this plan (still the top state), and you should consider dropping them a few bucks if you can. It'll show them you appreciate their efforts and encourage others to do the same.

Which is why I'm posting this message. First, though, info for our other candidates who are on board:

Larry Byrnes

Alan Grayson

Joe Garcia

Faye Armitage

Timothy Cunha (website under construction, send contribution inquiries to

Clint Curtis

Now, on to the way we can increase this list. Here's what I envision...

Three times a week, I'm going to ask you to contact the challengers who aren't on board yet and remind you to reward those have already signed on. So, were talking about nothing more than three phone calls or e-mails a week (as a minimum). We can all do that, right? If not, you really shouldn't call yourself an activist. This is some of the easiest activism you can get involved in.

But it's still important. If everyone who comes across this message makes those three calls or sends three e-mails a week, then these candidates will get hundreds, if not thousands, of messages letting them know that the Responsible Plan is the right thing to do. If you've never worked on a campaign before, hundreds or thousands of messages repeating the same message definitely have an impact. Ask around.

So, here's how I'll do it. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, I'll put up the full list of who has and who hasn't endorsed the plan. Then I'll highlight one particular person from each list. I'll be asking you to call the person who hasn't endorsed it and ask them to do so (or send them an e-mail). And I'll be asking you to give a few dollars to the person who has endorsed it. That's it. So drop by the site three times a week and make a few phone calls and send a few e-mails and, most importantly, spare a few bucks. It's also fine for you to call/e-mail more than one candidate, particularly if the person is someone who represents you directly or someone you know personally. Tim Cunha and Samm Simpson endorsed the pledge because FPC members asked them, they looked at the plan and thought it was a good idea. It can be that simple. It can also be a bit harder, that's why we're asking for your help. We need to let the candidates know that Floridians have had enough of this war and enough of congressional inability to end the war.

Finally, there are a few of the challengers who we have very weak or nonexistent contact information for. If you have this info, please pass it on to us. Thanks. Here's the list of current challengers (who have filed, let me know if anyone is missing), who haven't endorsed the plan. You know what to do (The information below is all from public sources, if it isn't meant to be public, let me know and I'll take it down and replace it with the right info):


James Bryan, 850-652-3350

Robert Peterman, 850-432-2213


Jay McGovern ?


Carol Castagnero, 863-687-8414,

David Werder ?


Clyde Malloy, 386-671-7433, or


Alexander Fry, 407-579-7800,

Corbett Kroehler, 407-855-8574, or

Michael Smith, 407-574-9296,

Quoc Van, 407-453-4380,

Charlie Stuart, 407-999-9899,


Bill Mitchell, 813-223-1959,


Christine Jennings, 941-366-8121,

Michael LaFevers, 941-753-6781

Frank McAndrews, 732-995-4670


Jason King, 239-633-8388


Stephen Blythe,


Annette Taddeo, 305-661-6499, Web form:


Richard Allbritton,

Raul Martinez, 305-823-8686, or


Paul Renneisen, 954-812-2674,


Ray Sanchez, 561-996-6722,


Garv Bhola, 407-459-1590,

Ronald Bobay, 321-383-7955

Suzanne Kosmas, 386-427-0439,

Action Alerts

Send an E-mail: The U.S. House Must Act on Global Warming This Year! (LCV)

Sign the Petition: Sign the petition to steer Whole Foods in the right direction. (UFW)

Sign the Petition: Support the bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act. (PCAF)

Send an E-mail: Stop Funding for Abstinence-Only Education! (CFI)

Send an E-mail: Protect Working Families from Losing Their Homes. (WA)

Send an E-card: Help your friends get to know the Real John McCain. (NARAL)

Send an E-mail: Restore Affordable Birth Control to Low Income and College Women. (NOW)

Call Your Legislator: When you reach your legislator's office please tell the person that answers the phone: I urge you to oppose HB 257 and HB 513. These bills do nothing to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion. The legislature has the opportunity to prevent unintended pregnancies in Florida by supporting the Prevention First Act and Healthy Teens Act. Background Information: HB 257 ties the hands of doctors by requiring that an ultrasound is performed prior to an abortion, regardless of the woman’s particular situation. HB 257 is an unnecessary mandate that will result in more women receiving less health care. This dangerous bill also takes needed advocates away from Florida’s abused, neglected and abandoned children by requiring that young women seeking a judicial bypass for abortion are assigned a guardian ad litem. On its face, HB 513, creates penalties if, in the course of commission of homicide or vehicular homicide, a pregnancy is terminated, resulting in fetal demise. The dangerous reality of the bill, however, is that it would elevate the legal status of the fetus at any stage of development to that of an adult human being. HB 513 politicizes a woman’s loss instead of focusing on harm to the pregnant woman herself. The Florida House of Representatives is expected to vote on HB 257 and HB 513 this week. Please make your voice heard! (PP)

Call Your Represenatative: Today, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the Bush Administration will waive environmental and land use laws along 470 miles of the border -- a gross abuse of power that could harm border communities and jaguars and other wildlife. Call your Senators and Representative now and urge them to do everything they can to stop this awful abuse of power and protect our wildlife and border communities. Also call your Senators: Bill Nelson - (202) 224-5274 or (850) 942-8415, Mel Martinez - (202) 224-3041 or (407) 254-2573 (DOW)

Call Your Represenatative: Tell them you support the new bipartison bill to reauthorize PEPFAR, called the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008. Learn more about this bill. (One)