Thursday, November 27, 2008

YES WE CAN 2009 INAUGURATION CRUISE

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, President- elect Barack Obama is expected to have over 4 million people attend his Inauguration. We are using our best efforts to get the volunteers and supporters- who supported and elected Sen. Obama for President to the inauguration in Washington, D.C.
During our exploration to offer an Inauguration Cruise to the public, we feel that the "Yes We Can"- 2009 Inauguration Cruise" can be the one stop travel and lodging solution for thousands of President-Elect Obama's staff, volunteers and supporters. We are offering an alternative proposal to the severe shortage of hotel and flights accommodations- within Washington D.C., Virginia, & Maryland.

The costs of the cruise starts at $1,100.00 per person and that includes sailing from South FL to Maryland, food, beverages, entertainment, a quick stop in the Bahamas and lodging. ( Prices are subject to change based on availability).


For More Info



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

COALITION ANNOUNCES CANDIDATES FOR PARTY LEADERSHIP


For Immediate Release NOV. 25, 2008
Contact: Robin Rorapaugh
Robin@BrowardForChange.com
954.261.0032



COALITION ANNOUNCES CANDIDATES FOR PARTY LEADERSHIP
A coalition of Democratic Party activists known as BROWARD FOR CHANGE announced its slate of candidates for the upcoming Democratic Executive Committee organizational meeting on December 7. "The Obama campaign proved that neighbors talking to neighbors is the key to electing Democrats," said Ron Mills, a Democratic area leader and member of the Broward For Change coalition. "We are working to elect new leadership that believes in this model and will continue building a local party that will be an asset for local and national campaign efforts," Mills said. President Elect Obama's campaign efforts in Broward County delivered a record-breaking plurality for the campaign. Broward For Change candidates hope to build upon the grass-roots gains made by the Obama organization through better transparency, more aggressive outreach to potential Democrats and and expansion of the club system to bring the Democratic Party back to the neighborhood level. The coalition includes activists from organized labor, the Democratic Executive Committee, the Obama local organization, the GLBT community and former candidates.


The Broward For Change candidates are:

CHAIR: Peter Deutsch, former six term Congressman from the 20th Congressional District and five term state reprsentative. Peter is also the founder of the Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood Florida.

VICE-CHAIR
: Marta Prado, Former Chair of the Broward County YMCA an acknowledged expert on health care delivery issues. Marta served on President Clinton's Commission on Quality Health Care and
Governor Lawton Child's Medicaid Reform Commission.

SECOND VICE-CHAIR:
Ron Mills, current Democratic Area leader, Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach and co-founder of Progressive Democrats of America. Founder Of Democracy For America- Broward

STATE COMMITTEEWOMAN
: Linda Bird, former candidate for State Senate seat 25 and advocate for
women in business and child protection issues.

TREASURER: Valerie Pigatt, Controller for the National Federation of Public and Private Employees and treasurer for the National Black MBA Association.

SECRETARY:
Alexander Johnson, an attorney and founder of Broward4Obama, a local Obama support group that sponsored over 90 events during the '08 campaign.

RECORDING SECRETARY: Donna Greenberg, former Executive Director of the Broward Democratic Executive Committee and Chair of the Florida Chapter of Leadership for America's Children and
Families PAC.

BROWARD FOR CHANGE

MOVING OUR DEMOCRATIC PARTY FORWARD


1. INCREASE VOTER ENGAGEMENT
Build on the model of the Obama Campaign by registering voters,
reactivating voters, and reaching out to the forgotten corners of
Broward with a Democratic community organizer in EVERY
neighborhood. The Broward Democratic Party must be accountable to
ask for a vote every two years by being visible, accessible and
responsible to all democratic voters in the county.

2. EARN THE TRUST TO EARN THE VOTE
Instill transparency and accountability at all levels of the DEC
through written minutes and Treasurer's reports available to DEC
members, a functioning committee system, access to the bylaws, a
member directory and clear rules of ethics. The Broward Democratic
Party must do a better job of listening to those it wishes to lead and it
must lead by good example.

3. SERVICE MEMBERS, CLUBS, AND AREA LEADERSHIP
Better assist Democratic Clubs, Area Leaders, and DEC members by
making available centralized data services for dues notices,
bookkeeping, member tracking, calendar of events, and voter files.
With all the technology available, the Broward Democratic Party
must step into the 21st century.

4. ENCOURAGE GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP
Establish a training program to mentor potential Democratic
candidates, appointees, activists, and future Democratic leaders in
organizing and campaign winning methods.

5. RECONNECT WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS
Re establish the DEC's relationship with local and state elected
officials by engaging them on the issues with the DEC membership.


Volunteer On A Day Without a Gay Day






We are calling for a nationwide strike and economic boycott by all members of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community AND OUR STRAIGHT ALLIES on December 10th, 2008, International Human Rights Day.

WHY SHOULD WE DO IT?

Because LGBT workers, business owners, consumers and taxpayers contribute over $700 billion to the U.S. economy each year and should not be treated as second class citizens. See www.witeckcombs.com/news/releases/20080602_buyingpower.pdf

Because general strikes and economic boycotts are a powerful weapon in the history of non-violent protests. See http://www.pbs.org/now/society/boycott.html. For many of those protesters, their actions came at a cost, but they understood that we must be willing to make sacrifices to fight for equal rights, including the right to marry.

Because Civil Unions are only legal in the state that offers them. Civil Unions don't include the 1100 marriage rights and benefits provided by the Federal Government. Separate but not equal is discrimination.

Because every couple in America has to get a marriage certificate from their state, whereas religious ceremonies are optional. No church or religious institution has or ever will be forced to marry anyone.

Because marriage should be a Right for all Americans, regardless of gender, race OR religion.

Because until ALL are equal, NONE are equal.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Strike: call in gay, shut down your business, take the day off.

Boycott: don't buy anything or spend money.

Participate: visit www.daywithoutagay.org for a list of volunteer and/or protest opportunities.

Communicate: we need everyone's support!

Our co-sponsors include:
JOINTHEIMPACT.COM
DAYWITHOUTAGAY.ORG
DAYWITHOUTAGAY.NET
GAYS ON STRIKE (on Facebook)

WHY THE NAME "A DAY WITHOUT GAYS"? The name was inspired by the film A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN and the nationwide strike in 2006 called A DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS, protesting proposed immigration laws.

Anyone interested it the facts regarding Proposition 8 should go to:http://www.noonprop8.com/about/fact-vs-fiction


Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Friday, November 21, 2008

TAX STRUCTURE MUST BENEFIT MIDDLE CLASS


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement regarding the state's latest revenue forecast:

"The Republicans' tax policies of the past decade are a big reason why Florida is in this economic tailspin. We cannot continue to give away billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest Floridians while increasing property taxes on average Floridians to pay for the many needs of our state.

"I am glad that Gov. Crist opened the door this week to discussing increasing revenue. However, every option should be available for discussion so we can begin to develop a more equitable tax structure for the middle class.

"These discussions must begin now and be dealt with in a special legislative session next month."

Download Release

Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Miami GOP Hit Man Regrets Helping Bush


Roger Stone, the notorious political hitman who helped George W. Bush prevail in the 2000 Florida recount, tells The Daily Beast that he wishes he hadn't.


Roger Stone is one of the last guys on Earth one would expect to feel guilty over an episode of rough and tumble politicking. As a self-admitted hit man for the GOP, Stone has had a hand in everything from Nixon's dirty tricks to Eliot Spitzer's resignation to spreading discredited rumors of a Michelle Obama "whitey" tape during the 2008 Democratic primaries. You might call Stone the Forrest Gump of scandal, popping up to play a bit part in the most notorious negative campaigns in recent history.

The capstone of Stone's career, at least in terms of results, was the "Brooks Brothers riot" of the 2000 election recount. This was when a Stone-led squad of pro-Bush protestors stormed the Miami-Dade County election board, stopping the recount and advancing then-Governor George W. Bush one step closer to the White House. Though he is quick to rebut GOP operatives who seek to minimize his role in the recount, Stone lately has been having second thoughts about what happened in Florida.

When I look at those double-page New York Times spreads of all the individual pictures of people who have been killed [in Iraq], I got to think, 'Maybe there wouldn't have been a war if I hadn't gone to Miami-Dade.' Read More......



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Broward Dem chair to face Peter Deutsch

Broward Democrats fired up about Barack Obama and smarting from losing the sheriff's race and two key state legislative contests say it's time for a shake up at their own party headquarters.

Former Congressman Peter Deutsch will challenge Mitch Ceasar for the position of chair of the Broward Democratic Party, according to active Democrats supporting Deutsch.

Deutsch couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon but Robin Rorapaugh, his former chief of staff, said he plans to run in the Dec. 7 election. Rorapaugh is the spokesperson for a coalition of organized labor, GLBT leaders, and other active Democrats who say after 12 years it's time for Ceasar to go.

"There is a lot of new blood in the county, a lot of opportunity like the governor's race upcoming, the U.S. Senate race upcoming. All of those need Broward County to be the vote producing machine,'' she said. "At this point doing things the same old way is not going to get the party and candidates across the finish line.''

Some of Deutsch's other supporters include Michael Albetta, a board member of the Dolphin Democrats, and Dan Reynolds, AFL-CIO president.

Ceasar, an attorney and lobbyist, said he's heard the rumors for months that Deutsch planned to challenge him for the four-year unpaid gig. He says he shouldn't be blamed for Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti's victory or for Republicans Jeff Atwater and Ellyn Bogdanoff keeping their seats in the state Legislature.

"They were all incumbents,'' he said. "They raised unbelievable amounts of money.''

Deutsch will run on a slate along with Linda Bird who lost the senate race to Atwater, Marta Prado, wife of former Attorney General Bob Butterworth and activist Ron Mills.

Since losing the U.S. Senate primary in 2004 to Betty Castor who later lost to Republican Mel Martinez, Deutsch launched a charter school that teaches Hebrew in Hollywood.

On Dec. 7, about 900 members of the Broward Democratic Executive Committee will vote for a chair.



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let's get out the vote for Jim Martin so he can help Barack in Washington DC...

Neighbor To Neighbor

Help Elect 1 More Democratic Senator

Click Above To Help
Let's get out the vote for Jim Martin so he can help Barack in Washington DC...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Knowing When to Walk Away

San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/13/EDAC144028.DTL
Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_10978301

Knowing When to Walk Away

By David Sirota
Creators Syndicate, 11/14/08

It wouldn't be the George W. Bush we all know if our shamed president didn't spend his remaining White House days in a final fit of polarization.

That's what Bush's moves this week are clearly about: dividing — not uniting. The New York Times reported that during his first meeting with Barack Obama, the outgoing president suggested he might support Democrats' economic stimulus package and aid to struggling automakers if party leaders "drop their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia." While Bush later denied an overt quid pro quo, one was obviously implied.

Strange behavior? Yes and no.

Bush is the Texas Hold 'Em addict who raised on the largest tax cuts in contemporary history, re-raised on two wars and went all-in with an attempt to privatize Social Security. So yes, from a brinkmanship standpoint, it seems bizarre that in exchange for a massive legislative effort to right the entire economy, the cowboy president may insist on a tiny trade deal that — at best — promises a boost of "less than seven-hundredths of one percent to U.S. gross domestic product," according to the Brookings Institution.

But, then, Bush is the protege of Karl Rove and the son of George H. W. Bush. So no, his Colombia demand isn't weird at all — nor is it as small a wager as it appears.

Bush understands what happened in 1993 when his father left an almost-finished North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the lap of Bill Clinton's incoming administration. He knows that business interests subsequently pressured Clinton into joining with Republicans to pass the pact over his own party's opposition. His Rove-trained mind gets what The Nation's John Nichols reported: that the payout came with a 1994 election whose NAFTA taint delivered "a dramatic drop in turnout among members of union households," decreased "Democratic support in traditional areas of strength" — and thus birthed the Republican Congress.

Bush wants to replicate this Three Card Monte — and the Colombia trade pact is his ace in the hole.

The deal would reward a right-wing Colombian regime under investigation for links to paramilitary gangs, drug cartels and anti-union brutality. Like NAFTA, it includes few labor protections, meaning it will enrich Bush's corporate donors by forcing Americans into a wage-cutting competition with low-paid foreign workers. And, most important to Bush's legacy, the pact could bust Democrats before they ever have a chance to unify.

NAFTA proved that trade is the most divisive issue inside the Democratic Party. On one side is the party's Wall Street wing that supports free trade. On the other side is its progressive wing that wants our trade policies reformed. Lately, the latter has increased its clout. As globalization became a major campaign theme in the last two elections, the watchdog group Public Citizen reports that free trade critics replaced free trade proponents in 69 House and Senate races. These new populists, along with Democrats' more senior progressive incumbents, comprise a powerful new voting bloc promising to reject deals like the Colombia agreement and protect labor and human rights.

Therefore, if Bush successfully uses the economic emergency to hustle a faction of Wall Street Democrats into supporting the deal, he will have potentially engineered a 1994 redux: Democratic infighting, a demoralized progressive base, and these newly elected fair-trade Democrats humiliated — and thus electorally endangered — by their own party standard-bearers.

Certainly, with the president betting the economy on the Colombia deal, this is a difficult, high-stakes situation for Obama. But amid all the conflicting opinions he's hearing, he has the sound advice of country music's great political sage Kenny Rogers, who counsels that gambling greatness means knowing "when to walk away."

David Sirota is a bestselling author whose newest book, "The Uprising," was just released in June of 2008. He is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network — both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at www.credoaction.com/sirota.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

--------------------
David Sirota is a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist for Creators Syndicate. He is a New York Times bestselling author whose second book, The Uprising, was just released in the Spring of 2008. Sirota serves as a senior fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and as a board member of the Progressive States Network - two nonpartisan 501c3 organizations. If you would like to see Sirota's Creators Syndicate column in your local newspaper, contact your local editorial page editor through this newspaper directory and point them to Sirota's Creators Syndicate website. To subscribe to Sirota's free email newsletter, go to www.davidsirota.com and sign up on the left hand side.


Source:
San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/13/EDAC144028.DTL
Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_10978301



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Big-shot black Republican switches to Dem


Sun Sentinel: Dorsey Miller, one of the state's most prominent black Republicans, has left the Grand Old Party, returning to the Democratic Party he left 27 years ago. "It's devastating for the Republican Party in Broward County and the state," said Clarence McKee, a Broward County black Republican who serves on Gov. Charlie Crist's African American Council. "He's invaluable. It's great gain for the local Democrats. He raises money for campaigns."

Miller switched parties on Election Day. He said his switch back to the Democratic Party was made easier by the "campaign of John McCain and his selection of Sarah Palin for Vice President."

*



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Anti-Choice Proponents Biggest Losers Of Election 2008

At almost every level, last week's election was a stinging defeat for the anti-choice movement, Many conservatives, contended that Obama will be "the most radical pro-choice president" in U.S. history.

In Congress, supporters of choice rights now hold 17 more seats in the House and at least four more in the Senate, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. And at the state level, voters in Colorado, South Dakota and California defeated ballot measures that would have banned or restricted abortions.



Colorado voters on Tuesday rejected Amendment 48, which would have defined a "person" from the point of egg fertilization. If the measure had passed, Colorado would have become the first state to grant full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg. The potentially far-reaching ramifications of such a decision divided the anti-choice community, and the amendment lost endorsements from prominent activists who felt the personhood definition went too far. The amendment was defeated nearly 3 to 1.


Although South Dakota's Measure 11 included more exceptions to the outright abortion ban — for example, allowing abortion in rare cases of incest, rape or when the mother's life or health are endangered — than a similar initiative that was defeated in 2006, the new measure was rejected by 56% of voters. According to Kristine Wilfore, executive director of the Washington-based nonprofit Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, which advocates socially progressive issues, the initiative would have set in motion a future challenge to Roe v. Wade if passed. "It was an effort to get as close as possible to challenging Roe," Wilfore said, pointing out that South Dakota already has some of the most stringent abortion policies in the country. "This was just meant to be a test case."


Proposition 4, which would have required parental notification for girls under 18 seeking an abortion and mandated a 48-hour waiting period before the procedure, was rejected by California voters Tuesday by a vote of 52% to 48%. Prop 4 was similar to other parental-consent proposals that were defeated in 2005 and 2006.


Obama's election also dashed hopes within the anti-choice movement for possible Supreme Court vacancies over the next four years to be filled by judges who might support reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing a right to abortion.





Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Free-tickets to the 56th Inaugural Ceremonies


Tickets to the 56th Inaugural Ceremonies will be provided free of charge and distributed through Members of the 111th Congress

For More Information Visit http://Area-Nine.org

Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Subject: Blaming Black Voters for Prop 8 Loss is Wrong and Destructive

Subject: Blaming Black Voters for Prop 8 Loss is Wrong and Destructive

http://site.pfaw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=issues_equality_prop_8_memo

Blaming Black Voters for Prop 8 Loss is Wrong and Destructive
Memo from Kathryn Kolbert, President, People For the American Way Foundation, to Progressive Allies and Journalists

Nov. 7 — The past 72 hours have brought an extraordinary range of emotions — great joy at the election of Barack Obama and defeat of John McCain, and sadness and anger at the passage of anti-gay initiatives in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and California. That sadness has turned to outrage at the speed with which some white gay activists began blaming African Americans — sometimes in appallingly racist ways — for the defeat of Proposition 8. This is inexcusable.

As a mother who has raised two children in a 30-year relationship with another woman, I fully understand the depth of hurt and anger at voters' rejection of our families' equality. But responding to that hurt by lashing out at African Americans is deeply wrong and offensive — not to mention destructive to the goal of advancing equality.

Before we give Religious Right leaders more reasons to rejoice by deepening the divisions they have worked so hard to create between African Americans and the broader progressive community, let's be clear about who is responsible for gay couples in California losing the right to get married, and let's think strategically about a way forward that broadens and strengthens support for equality.

Others have taken on the challenge of looking at the basic numbers and concluded that it is simply false to suggest that Prop 8 would have been defeated if African Americans had been more supportive. The amendment seems to have passed by more than half a million votes, and the number of black voters, even with turnout boosted by the presidential race, couldn't have made up that difference. That's an important fact, but when African American supporters of equality are being called racist epithets at protests about Prop 8, the numbers almost seem beside the point.

Republicans and white churchgoers, among many other groups, voted for Prop. 8 at higher rates than African Americans. There are few African Americans in the inland counties that all voted overwhelmingly to strip marriage equality out of the California constitution. So why single out African Americans? Who's really to blame? The Religious Right. Let's start here:

Conservative evangelical leaders who are unremittingly hostile to the rights of gay people and who put Prop. 8 on the ballot and bombarded pastors, churchgoers, and the public with lies about gay people wanting to destroy their religious liberty and come for their children — even suggesting that Christians would be thrown in jail if Prop 8 passed.

Mormon Church leaders who turned Prop. 8 into a national religious crusade against gay couples, badgered Mormons nationwide to give heavily to the campaign, and recruited thousands of footsoldiers for door-to-door canvassing (special kudos to the courageous Mormons who challenged the Church leadership)

Conservative Catholic leaders who betrayed Catholic teaching about human dignity by enthusiastically joining forces with campaign organizers who portrayed supporters of gay equality as evil and satanic

"Yes on Prop 8" leaders whose view of the campaign as a battle between good and evil led to an "ends justifies the means" campaign that included grossly distorted ads, mailings, and robocalls directed at African Americans and falsely portrayed Barack Obama as a Prop 8 supporter.

There will be plenty of post-game analysis of the No on 8 campaign's choices and strategies, and that's not the purpose of this memo. But it is clear that the Yes on 8 campaign had a far more aggressive and systematic outreach to African American religious leaders and voters. If we either take black voters for granted because they are "supposed to" be liberal, or we write them out of our campaign strategies because we label them inherently homophobic, we cannot turn around and make them the scapegoat for our failings.

Here's a fact that creates some perspective. On November 4 there was an anti-gay initiative on the ballot in Arkansas to prohibit unmarried couples from adopting or being foster parents. White voters supported that anti-gay initiative by a 16 percentage point margin, twice the margin for African Americans in the state. So it's clearly not the case that African Americans are inherently more prone to supporting discrimination than white Americans.

We need a broad and ongoing strategy to create and sustain constructive dialogue at the intersections of race, religion, sexuality, and politics. And it should go without saying that partnership is a two-way street. How many white LGBT leaders and activists have been at the forefront of battles to preserve affirmative action, or raise the minimum wage?
The Right's Big Investments Pay Big Dividends

The Religious Right has invested in systematic outreach to the most conservative elements of the Black Church, creating and promoting national spokespeople like Bishop Harry Jackson, and spreading the big lie that gays are out to destroy religious freedom and prevent pastors from preaching about homosexuality from the pulpit.

In addition, Religious Right leaders have exploited the discomfort among many African Americans with white gays who seem more ready to embrace the language and symbols of the civil rights movement than to be strong allies in the continuing battle for equal opportunity. At a series of Religious Right events, demagogic African American pastors have accused the gay rights movement of "hijacking" and "raping" the civil rights movement.

The effort to stir anti-gay emotions among African Americans by suggesting that gays are trying to "hijack" the civil rights movement is not new. During a Cincinnati referendum in 1993, anti-gay groups produced a videotape targeted to African American audiences; the tape featured Trent Lott, Ed Meese and other right-wing luminaries warning that protecting the civil rights of lesbians and gay men would come at the expense of civil rights gains made by the African American community. It was an astonishing act of hypocrisy for Lott and Meese to show concern for those civil rights gains, given their career-long hostility to civil rights principles and enforcement, but the strategy worked that year. Eleven years later, however, African American religious leaders and voters helped pass an initiative striking the anti-gay provision from the city charter. (The story of that successful fairness campaign is told in an award-winning mini-documentary — A Blinding Flash of the Obvious — that is part of a Focus on Fairness toolkit produced by People For the American Way Foundation.)

In California this year, national and local white anti-gay religious leaders worked hard to create alliances with African American clergy; Harry Jackson was busy in both California and Florida stirring opposition to marriage equality. None of the Right's outreach to African Americans on gay rights issues in recent years has been a secret. Neither has polling that showed some deterioration in African American support for full equality. But there hasn't been the same investment in systematic outreach from the gay rights community.
Support Champions, Don't Undermine Them

In the face of the Right's efforts to stir anti-gay sentiment among African Americans, many civil rights leaders have been powerful advocates for LGBT equality, among them Julian Bond, John Lewis, and the late Coretta Scott King. These leaders are deeply committed to the value of fairness and the constitutional principle of equality under the law, and they understand that strengthening the hand of far right leaders is not in any way in the interest of the African American community.

Angrily blaming African Americans for the passage of Prop 8 is not going to help open doors for the kind of long-term conversations we need to have about homophobia and discrimination. It will, instead, further isolate and undermine courageous African American leaders who have taken a firm stand for equality. Alice Huffman, president of the state NAACP, has been an outspoken champion on equality and on Prop 8, and right-wing leaders are fomenting attacks on her from within the organization. People like Alice Huffman need our support and strategic thinking, not complaints or condemnation.

Broad-brush denunciation of African Americans by white gay leaders also fosters the incredibly damaging perception that the LGBT and African American communities are two separate, rather than overlapping entities, and undermines the work of African American LGBT leaders.
Religion, Homophobia and Marriage Equality

The far right has aggressively sought to use traditional religious beliefs about homosexuality as a wedge to separate African Americans from progressive allies and particularly from the LGBT rights movement. In response, People For the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership Council has created an Equal Justice Task Force and made a commitment to a multi-year effort to take on homophobia in the black church and broader African American community.

As part of that long-term campaign, People For the American Way Foundation conducted focus groups among African American churchgoers in California in September. Among men and women, and among younger and older groups, we found strong opposition to discrimination against LGBT people in employment and housing. And we found widespread support for legal protections for committed couples. Among all groups there was generally a live-and-let-live attitude toward gay people in their communities and congregations, and a recognition that couples deserve some basic legal protections. People For the American Way Foundation produced and ran three radio ads designed to tap that instinct for fairness and encouraging African Americans to oppose anti-gay discrimination.

But our focus groups also showed us that marriage equality faces a higher hurdle. Many people in our focus groups had difficulty sorting out the difference between civil marriage and marriage as a religious institution. Even some of the most eloquent opponents of discrimination argued that marriage was somehow different because they saw it as an inherently religious act that God had designed to be between a man and a woman. Rev. Kenneth Samuel, chair of the AAMLC's Equal Justice Task Force, says we need to be in "tough and loving" conversation to get people to think differently about that question, and to grapple with separating religious belief from commitment to constitutional principles of equality under the law. That's a hard conversation to have in the midst of a heated political campaign.

Samuel was among the leaders of workshops at the California NAACP convention in October on homophobia in the black church. The overflow sessions went on for hours, demonstrating that there is a real hunger for the kind of honest, rousing conversation about homophobia, discrimination, love, equality, scripture, and politics. People's hearts were changed, even if everyone didn't end the session ready to fully embrace marriage equality.

As an outgrowth of those workshops, Rev. Gerald Johnson, the Individual Rights and Advocacy Vice Chair of the state NAACP, asked for volunteers to develop and submit a resolution that resolved to: "develop partnerships with African American civic and religious leaders to educate, train, and advocate for cultural competency and sensitivity in the greater African American community as it relates to gay and lesbian concerns." That resolution passed overwhelmingly.

In preparation for those workshops and other clergy roundtables and training sessions, People For the American Way Foundation created a video documenting right-wing efforts to co-opt the black church by embracing and lifting up the voices of anti-gay conservative black clergy. In that video, Rev. Samuel describes Religious Right leaders who believe welfare is satanic and the minimum wage and other worker protections are ungodly, and he asks, "what are the consequences of lending our voices, our moral and spiritual authority, to those who seek our support to deny the dignity, humanity, and equality of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters?"

Rev. Samuel speaks movingly about the religious journey that led him to begin preaching a gospel of inclusion — and his commitment to stick with it even when a thousand members left his church. He understands how deeply questions of homophobia and marriage are rooted in understandings of scripture and the traditions of the black church. Here's how Rev. Samuel concludes that video:

I know that within the Black Church we have different theological views about sexuality. But I believe we can find common ground against mistreating our brothers and sisters in the words of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we can find common ground in opposing discrimination in the constitutional principle of equal justice under the law that we fought so hard to make a reality.

I believe the Black Church loses a bit of its soul every time we sacrifice the well-being of our gay brothers and sisters — every time we make political alliances at their expense. I believe it is our calling to be a consistent voice for justice. And I do believe that "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The LGBT-equality movement needs to recognize that its real enemies are the Religious Right organizations and leaders who oppose gay and lesbian equality and who devise and fund strategies like Prop 8. And we must commit now to building long-term partnerships with equality-affirming African American clergy and community leaders that will allow us to advance the progressive values that we share.


Nadine Smith
Equality Florida




Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Friday, November 07, 2008

An American Moment: Our Story


An American Moment: Our Story



Start right now. Tell Obama your story in your own words about what this campaign and this election means to you. Share your hopes for an Obama Administration and a government for the people.



http://change.gov/page/s/yourstory



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thank You Howard Dean

Florida Democrats -

Four years ago, after John Kerry's devastating loss, DFA members nationwide decided to not give up.

We created the 50 State Strategy. We demanded a people-powered Democratic Party. And we ran and elected Democracy for America founder Governor Howard Dean for Democratic Party Chair to deliver the results.

The rest is history.

Governor Dean never let us down and now it's time to give him the credit he has earned. Please join me and thank Howard for getting the job done.

CLICK HERE TO ADD YOUR NAME

The 50 State Strategy laid the ground work for President-Elect Obama's 50 State Campaign and landslide victory.

Governor Dean delivered a 50 State primary between two historic candidates. Every Democrat in every state had a chance to cast their vote and make it matter. Governor Dean's leadership created a tidal wave of progressive victories in 2006.

And even before we elected him to DNC Chair, Governor Dean led DFA's early endorsement of Barack Obama for U.S. Senate. Making Barack one of the first Dean Dozen candidates and shining a national spotlight on a soon to be rising star.

Let's deliver hundreds of thousands of messages from people across America and around the world thanking Governor Dean for making change happen.

To make sure Governor Dean knows exactly how we feel, he should hear it directly from you.

Please add your name and your own personal message right now.

CLICK HERE TO THANK GOVERNOR DEAN TODAY

It is a great time to be an American. In 2004, we knew that if we worked together this day would come.

I'm proud of what we have accomplished together and I can't wait for 2009.



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Monday, November 03, 2008

John McCain could Not Draw A Crowd In Tampa

Something was missing from the first of John McCain's seven


campaign stops today: the crowd.

Kicking off the last day of the election in Tampa, Florida, John McCain was welcomed by a roughly 1,000 voters. Compare that to the 15,000 people that President Bush drew to a rally in Tampa on the eve of the 2004 election. "What's up with that?" wrote Adam Smith at the St. Petersburg Times.

Even Fox News had a bit of difficulty spinning the whole thing. Carl Cameron, who is following the Senator at every stop on Monday, said the crowd size was likely "a little bit disturbing" for the McCain campaign. He added that organizers had set up the venue predicting ten times the number of attendees.



Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Is Mason-Dixon Running A Scam O America?

State polling from Mason-Dixon provides a terrific working example of what we call "house effects" -- a poll's consistent tendency to lean toward one candidate or another. Throughout this election cycle, we have found that Mason-Dixon's polls lean 2-3 points more toward John McCain than the average of other polls taken in those states at the same time.

Here are the Mason-Dixon polls released within the past 72 hours in eight key battleground states, along with a comparison to our current trendline-adjusted averages:



In all of these states but Florida, Mason-Dixon came in below our average (although in some cases not by much). On balance, their polls were 2.5 points more favorable to McCain than the average -- exactly where our model had pegged Mason-Dixon polls going in.

But! -- you might protest -- maybe these numbers are more favorable to McCain because your averages are out of date, and this election is trending toward McCain!

Well, not really. Because if you compare these polls against the last time Mason-Dixon was in the field in these states, Obama hasn't really lost any ground. (Actually, he's gained a bit, but not any statistically significant amount).



...to make this clear for the nth time, the presence of a house effect does not mean that a pollster is partisan or "biased". Mason-Dixon is a non-partisan pollster. Nor does it mean that a pollster is wrong! Mason-Dixon has a pretty good track record. Their vision of the electorate -- which seems to point toward a narrow Obama electoral victory -- could very easily turn out to be the right one. But it does mean that you need to take these sorts of things into account to make sure that you're making apples-to-apples comparisons.


Ron Mills's Facebook profile
954-394-4980