November 29, 2012

Nate Silver Gives The Bay Area Some Love - And I Send Him Some Love Back

Watercolor map of San Francisco Bay Area, inset photo of Nate Silver jiveinthe415.com
We Love Nate Silver At Jive in the [415]

I have to confess that for all of the disgust that I have for today’s Republican party, that I’m not a registered Democrat. I call myself a Democrat, because the idea of voting for a Republican in today’s climate, is about as likely as Santa Claus sliding down my chimney.

There is one Republican candidate that might run for President in the future, that I would seriously consider voting for, and that’s Jon Huntsman. He's also a candidate that Barack Obama’s campaign team was very concerned about facing, when he resigned as Ambassador to China to run for President.

Political guru and gay God (in my book) Nate Silver, of the Five Thirty Eight - Nate Silver’s Political Calculus blog, gave the bay area some love yesterday. An interesting fact that he cited was that Barack Obama carried all 9 counties that make up the bay area, and in San Francisco, Obama’s margin of victory was 71 percentage points. Wow.

Democratic vote margins in presidential elections since 1980  includes national results california results and bay area results
The real point of Nate’s blog post is the fact that the bay area is home to the largest concentration of technology companies, and IT workers, in the United States. The people who work at these companies are largely Democrats, and supported Obama overwhelmingly.  He infers that the raw talent and innovation available to Democratic party operatives and progressive causes, might be willing to look at and support a Republican candidate, if they were different from the old relics and stale ideas that the GOP stands for today.

Nate writes:
Since Democrats had the support of 80 percent or 90 percent of the best and brightest minds in the information technology field, it shouldn’t be surprising that Mr. Obama’s information technology infrastructure was viewed as state-of-the-art exemplary, whereas everyone from Republican volunteers to Silicon Valley journalists have criticized Mr. Romney’s systems. Mr. Romney’s get-out-the-vote application, Project Orca, is widely viewed as having failed on Election Day, perhaps contributing to a disappointing Republican turnout.
This is not intended to absolve Mr. Romney and his campaign entirely. There were undoubtedly many bright and talented information technology professionals who worked for Mr. Romney, and who might have fielded a better product given better management. 
Even if only 10 percent or 20 percent of elite information technology professionals would consider working for a Republican like Mr. Romney, this is still a reasonably large talent pool to draw from.

But Democrats are drawing from a much larger group of potential staff and volunteers in Silicon Valley.

Perhaps a different type of Republican candidate, one whose views on social policy were more in line with the tolerant and multicultural values of the Bay Area, and the youthful cultures of the leading companies here, could gather more support among information technology professionals.
IT Company employees campaign contributions 2012
I think Nate’s thoughts echo my own. The Republicans keep harping on the fact that they have to deliver their message in a different way. While their communication skills are problematic, it’s their policy positions that repel and turn off voters most of all.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and it has been for 40 years. The Republican party, and particularly men, need to back off from the abortion issue and leave it alone. It's decided law, and if the Republican party spends the next 40 years fighting abortion, they will be a minority party permanently.

LGBT civil rights are marching on, and the GOP is nursing their wounds after 4 marriage equality losses on election day, despite many rank and file Republicans openly supporting equality. This is another issue that they will not win, and could destroy their party.

A political party that is anti-gay and anti-women doesn’t have a long shelf life today.

If Republicans continue to embrace these polarizing social issues, they are signing their own death warrant.


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November 28, 2012

ACT-UP Brilliantly Storms Speaker Boehner’s Washington Office

ACT-UP Brilliantly Storms Speaker Boehner’s Washington Office to protest AIDS budget cuts
AIDS Cuts Kill”

In naked news today, or yesterday to be exact, protesters from ACT-UP stormed House Speaker John Boehner’s district office in the Longworth House Office building, to protest potential budget cuts to HIV related federal programs.

There were 7 protesters who entered Boehner’s office and promptly took their clothes off, while dozens of others chanted in the hallway. The nude protesters had slogans painted on their bodies, including “AIDS Cuts Kill.” For some reason 3 naked women were arrested, and the 4 naked men were not.

The New York Daily News reports:

Three women AIDS activists saying they wanted to highlight the "naked truth" about potential spending cuts in HIV programs were arrested Tuesday after taking their clothes off in the lobby of House Speaker John Boehner's office.

The trio had the words "AIDS cuts kill" painted on their bodies and had linked arms with four men who also disrobed as part of the protest. The nude protesters, along with dozens of other clothed demonstrators chanted slogans, including: "People with AIDS are under attack. What do we do? Fight back."

The three women were arrested by Capitol Police as they mingled with other protesters in the hall outside Boehner's district office after putting their clothes back on. The naked male protesters appeared to have left.

"People with AIDS are sick and tired of being pushed over the cliff," said Jennifer Flynn, 40, of New York City, who was among those arrested. "We need to make sure they stop going after people with AIDS."

The protest occurred as congressional leaders and President Barack Obama seek a deal to avert automatic spending cuts and tax increases in January. A coalition of AIDS activist groups gathering in Washington for Saturday's World AIDS Day organized the protest.
Bravo ACT-UP!


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Republican Party Continues To Alienate Voters

US Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Chair of Science Space Technology wears a bad wig

Just when you thought that the GOP was doing some genuine soul searching, while giving serious thought to why they lost the presidential election, and lost seats in the US Senate, and the US House of Representatives, they dumbfound voters and political pundits alike.

I know you’re asking yourself, what did they do now? It almost defies description and I honestly can’t believe how dumb this political party is. Since they are the majority party, House Republicans decided who was going to chair each standing committee of the House in the 2013 session. And surprise surprise.........they chose straight white men to be the chairman of every committee.

The GOP has a rule that you can only be chairman of a committee for 3 terms, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is going to be the chairman of the Budget committee for a 4th term. Considering he's incapable of basic math, and someone lost track of how long Ryan has already served as chairman, I don’t think the Budget committee is a good fit.

House committee chairs all men
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the man responsible for SOPA (the stop online piracy act), is the new chairman of the Science Space and Technology committee. Aside from getting bad advice about his wiglet, and his inability to see himself in a mirror, the man doesn’t believe in climate change or global warming.

As Jillian Rayfield at salon.com points out, it’s the “GOP’s new House Science farce”.

Smith once accused ABC, NBC and CBS of coverage that was “largely slanted in favor of global warming alarmists.”

“The networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change,” Smith wrote in a statement in 2009. “During a six-month period, four out of five network news reports failed to acknowledge any dissenting opinions about global warming, according to a Business and Media Institute study.”
It’s obvious that Republicans are reverting to what they know best. They will marginalize women, ignore the LGBT community, and it won’t be long until we hear something about immigration that will piss the country off.

Republicans don’t get it at all, and don’t have a clue.

It’s best if they go through another election cycle, and learn the hard way
by losing.

The GOP might say I’m an alarmist, and that’s fine by me.
 

 

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November 26, 2012

Infographic: Election 2012 A Remarkable Year For Women In Politics

US Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and US Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) the Senator-elect from Wisconsin chat.
This Nov. 13, 2012 file photo shows Sen-elect Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, and Sen-elect, current Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. walking together on Capitol Hill in Washington. When the next Congress cranks up in January, there will be more women, many new faces and 11 fewer of the tea party-backed 2010 House GOP freshmen who sought re-election.

The Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University (Rutgers Rah!)  prepared an infographic to give us a visual idea of the changes in the 113th Session of Congress that begins in 2013.  

The year 2012 was a remarkable year for women in politics. In the next session of Congress, there will be a record number of women serving in the US Senate (20). In the US House of Representatives, there will be a record number of women serving in that body (81). [NOTE: Because the results of all 435 races in the House were not available, the infographic shows 78 women elected to the House when the actual number is 81.]

Marriage Equality Campaigns Reveal Their Secret Strategy

State of Maine in Red and Blue by jiveinthe415.com

Their New Approach A Prescription For Success In 4 States

Washington, D.C. -- Sharon Groves, the Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) religion and faith program, contributed an article to the “Other Voices” column in The Washington Post last week. “Other Voices” features a guest writer who doesn’t have a bully pulpit to express their thoughts and opinion, related to faith or religious issues confronting  society today.

Sharon wrote about marriage equality, and the same-sex marriage victories at the ballot box in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state. In Marriage equality campaigns: The difference faith makes, Sharon discussed a different campaign strategy that was deployed by the campaigns in all four states, that secured victory on November 6th, 2012.

We know that the most vocal opponents of equality and civil rights protections for the LGBT community are evangelical Christians, Catholics and Mormons. The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) were the biggest contributors to the 2008 anti-gay marriage campaign for proposition 8 in California. Religious organizations contributed to the anti-gay marriage movements in all four states this year.

In spite of the habitual demonizing rhetoric directed toward the LGBT community by faith based organizations, many marriage equality proponents felt that a “civil rights” argument would never defeat a “faith based” argument. So gay marriage proponents turned the tables on their religious opponents, and sought out religious leaders and clergymen and women who supported marriage equality in each state, and they partnered with them in the campaign to win marriage equality. This was a new approach, that no one had tried before.

Sharon writes:
The Rev. Marvin Ellison, president of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, a multi-faith coalition working in Maine, observed, “The 2009 campaign was basically a secular campaign. When RCAD showed up [in 2009], the campaign was grateful but did not know what to do with us. This time around the campaign understood from the beginning that religion would be a decisive factor.” This sentiment was felt across all four states.  

In all four states, we also saw an increase in pro-equality Roman Catholic organizing. Following a model established in Maine, a loose federation of Catholics for Marriage Equality emerged in all four states and in bold, yet theologically sound ways gave permission to Catholics to follow their conscience even if it meant going against the bishops. In Minnesota, a priest in favor of marriage equality cited Pope Benedict on the limitations of ecclesiastical authority, “Over the pope . . . . stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.” Using conscience as their touchstone, Washington State mobilized thousand of Catholics and raised money to run a powerful ad in major newspapers across the state showcasing Catholic support. Similar impressive efforts occurred in all three other states.

Hundreds of top level religious leaders were trained to provide a pro-faith, pro-equality message. By empowering and amplifying these faith leaders, we chipped away at the religious right’s singular claim to the religious response to this issue.

The tremendous success of faith communities’ organizing in the four states this election showcase the promise of faith organizing which, like the proverbial mustard seed, just needs watering to thrive. The gifts of people of faith in this work are only beginning to emerge, the fruits of our labors will be even more plentiful as the roots of our commitment deepen and expand. The best is yet to come.
This is a stunning revelation, and it’s a calculated move to reveal this "secret" because in any future campaigns the anti-gay forces will have to determine how to counter a faith based campaign that is promoting marriage equality, together with a civil rights campaign.

Evangelicals will find it difficult to manage a campaign on two different fronts simultaneously, especially with diminished resources. They will never have a 32 - 0 record again, and I can’t see them racking up wins or keeping together their previous coalitions.

When Sharon and her campaign colleagues decided to reveal this information, they were sending a message to our opponents that these wins weren't a fluke. They hit upon a successful formula that actually wins campaigns, and that means the best is yet to come!


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November 25, 2012

Uganda's Parliament Tries To Outlaw Being Gay --- Again

Map: Republic of Uganda
Whether Uganda employs genocide or imprisonment to “outlaw” being gay, both would be a crime against humanity and a total deprivation of basic civil and human rights.


Kampala, Uganda -- In early March of 2009 Ugandan members of Parliament were invited to an anti-gay breakfast seminar entitled “Exposing the truth about homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.” The meeting was held in the Parliament conference hall, and 3 American evangelicals who billed themselves as “religious leaders” were leading the anti-gay seminar. 

In April 2009 a bill was drafted in the federal legislature of Uganda, to outlaw the existence of any LGBT citizens. David Bahati, a member of Parliament (MP), introduced legislation that criminalized Uganda’s LGBT citizens, and the law contained a provision that prescribed mandatory prison sentences for any Ugandan found guilty of being LGBT. If someone was found guilty multiple times, under the "kill the gays" law the individual could be executed by the government of Uganda.

After a worldwide outcry, and intense diplomatic pressure from western nations, the “kill the gays” bill was quietly withdrawn.

Another “kill the gays” bill has been introduced in the Ugandan Parliament, and while MP Medard Segona says that the legislation has eliminated the death penalty provision, the law proposes life imprisonment for LGBT people.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has promised anti-gay proponents of the law, that she would steer the legislation through parliament quickly as a “Christmas gift.”

The BBC World News service reports:
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda - this bill increases the penalties.

Foreign donors have threatened to cut aid if gay rights are not respected.

The bill, tabled by MP David Bahati, proposes longer jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.

In its original form, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender" - faced the death penalty.
   
Such offences would now be punished with life imprisonment, it is understood.

The original bill also prohibited the "promotion" of gay rights and called for the punishment of anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality".

Mr Bahati has previously said that the death penalty provision would be dropped but this has not been confirmed until now.

Mr Segona, who is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee of Uganda's parliament, told the BBC: "I can confirm it has been dropped."

"Some of us who are human rights activists would discourage the death penalty," he said.
Ugandan human rights activists “would discourage the death penalty.” Really?

There are human rights activists in Uganda? I guess they don’t consider Ugandan LGBT citizens to be human, so they aren’t entitled to any rights at all.

Map: Continent of Africa with Republoic of Uganda highlighted
Homosexuality is outlawed in Uganda because antiquated sodomy laws related to British colonialism, are still on the books.

I know it’s shocking to most of us living in western democracies, that any legislature in the world would consider a bill to imprison or execute people because of immutable characteristics they were born with. Whether Uganda employs genocide or imprisonment to “outlaw” being gay, both would be a crime against humanity and a total deprivation of basic human rights.

I hope that every western government mobilizes quickly to exert diplomatic pressure on Uganda to kill the bill. It's just as important to develop concrete economic sanctions should Uganda’s parliament move the bill forward. 

There are innocent people whose lives depend on it.



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November 23, 2012

Video: "Splaying Your Genitals At Castro And Market - The Documentary Short"

Supervisor Scott Wiener in a scene from the film "Splaying Your Genitals At Castro & Market - The Documentary Short" which is now in limited release.
Supervisor Scott Wiener in a scene from the film Splaying Your Genitals At Castro And Market - The Documentary Short which is now in limited release.
The highly acclaimed Splaying Your Genitals At Castro And Market - The Documentary Short was released on Tuesday November 20th 2012. The filmmaker has given me permission to screen the film here on my blog. [See Below]

This non-fiction documentary short tells the poignant story of a San Francisco neighborhood and their Herculean struggle to prevent moral decay and preserve freedom and family values.

Please note there is nudity in the short film, though it’s not porn or the gratuitous kind, it is very classy, very artistic, and the type of nudity that you would see in a University art class.

Let the filmmaker know what you think about the film in the comments.





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Elizabeth Warren Vows To Shake Up The US Senate

Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren
I was absolutely thrilled when Rutgers law school graduate Elizabeth Warren won former Senator Edward “Teddy” Kennedy’s Senate seat. Her number one priority is looking out for the middle class, and not just middle class residents of Massachusetts, but middle class Americans across the country.

Wall Street tycoons and bankers are not happy that Elizabeth Warren defeated Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). They donated millions to her opponent, and now that she has won they are lobbying Democrats in the Senate to try to ensure that she’s not on the Senate Banking Committee. They are afraid of her because she sees them as being corrupt, and she wants to rein them in. All the more reason that she better be placed on the Senate Banking Committee.

Elizabeth Warren has pledged to fight for reform of the filibuster rules in the US Senate. In a column for the Huffington Post entitled "The First Week In January" she writes:
Remember Jimmy Stewart's classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I love that movie. That's what most of us think of when we hear the word "filibuster" -- a single passionate senator speaking for hours about legislation they fiercely oppose until they literally collapse with exhaustion.

But that's not what today's filibuster looks like. In reality, any senator can make a phone call, say they object to a bill, then head out for the night. In the meantime, business comes to a screeching halt.
Senate Republicans have used this type of filibuster 380 times since the Democrats took over the majority in 2006. We've seen filibusters to block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, ending Big Oil subsidies -- you name it, there's been a filibuster.
We've seen filibusters of bills and nominations that ultimately passed with 90 or more votes. Why filibuster something that has that kind of support? Just to slow down the process and keep the Senate from working.

I saw the impact of these filibusters at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five senators pledged to filibuster any nominee to head that new consumer agency, regardless of that person's qualifications. After I left the agency, they tried to hold Richard Cordray's nomination vote hostage until the Senate agreed to weaken the agency to the point where it could no longer hold the big banks and credit card companies accountable. 
That's not open debate -- that's paralyzing progress.
I learned something important in my race against Senator Brown: voters want political leaders who are willing to break the partisan gridlock. They want fewer closed-door roadblocks and more public votes on legislation that could improve their lives.

On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition.

I'm joining Senator Jeff Merkley and six other newly elected senators to pledge to lead this reform on Day One, and I hope you'll be right there with us. Our campaign didn't end on Election Day -- and I'm counting on you to keep on working each and every day to bring real change for working families. This is the first step.
I say Bravo! Go get ‘em Elizabeth!


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November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving 2012 to you from jiveinthe415.com

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re having a GREAT day.

We only celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, and it’s uniquely North American. Our day starts with a spectacular parade,  and we stuff the goose or turkey and ourselves, and then we settle down for some football, before getting a good night’s sleep for the biggest shopping day of the year. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

May the feeling of thanks and gratitude live in our hearts through the year!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving day!

Love,

Roy xxxooo

PS: And thanks for reading and supporting the blog. I really appreciate it!

Happy Thanksgiving 2012 to you from jiveinthe415.com Macy's parade


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