|THE GLOSSY PAMPHLET: Last week, reporters excitedly gathered for a GOP press conference where House leaders said they would announce their alternative to Obama's budget. The proposal that GOP leaders presented, however, was a huge disappointment; basically, it was nothing more than a "brochure." Annoyed at being summoned for this non-event, reporters quizzed Boehner on specifics of the plan: "Are you going to have any further details on this today?" "What about some numbers? What about the out-year deficit? What about balancing the budget?" Reporting on MSNBC, host Contessa Brewer exclaimed, "Give me some substance!" The GOP "budget," in fact, contains almost no numbers -- except where they criticize the Obama administration's figures. The few ideas their plan does have include undoing the economic recovery package (which would be hard to do since some of the money is already out the door), and lowering the 35 percent, 33 percent, and 28 percent income tax brackets to 25 percent (regressive cuts that would gut government revenue). According to a Citizens for Tax Justice analysis, more than a quarter of all taxpayers -- mostly low-income families -- would pay more in taxes under this plan than they would under Obama's. On the other hand, "the richest one percent of taxpayers would pay $100,000 less, on average, under the House GOP plan." Additionally, although Republicans claim to be so concerned about the rising deficit, their income tax proposals "would cost over $300 billion more than the Obama income tax cuts in 2011 alone." "The party of 'no' has become the party of no new ideas," quipped White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in response to the GOP proposal. |
TAX WINDFALL FOR CORPORATE EXECUTIVES: According to the Republican leadership, the reason that lawmakers didn't release numbers last week is because they intend to do so this week. "The numbers will come next week with a multi-hundred page piece of legislation" that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is currently drafting, Boehner's office told First Read. Ryan's bill will still likely be short on new, deficit-cutting ideas though. As the Wonk Room's Pat Garofalo has noted, his plan "consists almost entirely of massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich," including lowering the top marginal tax rate to 25 percent, lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, and completely eliminating the capital gains tax. Not only are these tax cuts regressive, but they will result in significant lost government revenue. According to a Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis, Ryan's plan gives the average CEO a $1.5 million tax break, while doing nothing for minimum wage workers.
THE RECONCILIATION HYPOCRISY: Republicans are also standing firm against allowing Obama to use the reconciliation process to pass key parts of his budget, such as health care and energy reform. This 25-year-old procedure "allows for the passage of a budget by a simple majority vote rather than the usual 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster." Republican senators have said that they are prepared to go "nuclear" -- essentially shutting down the Senate through the use of parliamentary maneuvers -- if budget reconciliation is pursued. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) compared reconciliation to "an act of violence" against the GOP. However, Republicans employed the same procedure to pass major Bush agenda items, including the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. In fact, in 2005, Gregg defended using the reconciliation procedure, arguing, "The president asked for it, and we're trying to do what the president asked for."
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
|U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, just released a statement about her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. |
"A little more than a year ago, after I found a lump in my breast while doing a routine self-exam, my doctor diagnosed me with breast cancer. "After my diagnosis, it seemed like there were a million different decisions I had to make. My doctor's initial recommendation, because I found the lump so early and it was less than a half centimeter, was to simply have the cancer removed, followed by radiation. However, after sitting down with a nurse educator who asked me many, many questions about my personal and family health history, I also decided to have a blood test that would show whether I had a genetic alteration in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Twitter has finally hit the mainstream media. Quite honestly, it has gotten so much press lately you would think this social networking site only just emerged on the scene. Yet it's been around for a few years now, so can we really call it "Twittermania" simply because the mainstream press has finally taken notice? The great thing about being an early adopter is being able to feel like you are in this secret, underground society where you know something most people don't. You know the advantages and disadvantages of being a part of this exclusive group, and you even try to lure people over little by little simply because you understand the value. But you also know that once enough people are on board, it's growth is like a high speed train careening out of control...until it hits a brick wall. Will Twitter become the next MySpace hitting the height of popularity only to then meet a turning point allowing a competitor to emerge and steal the spotlight? Or has the exposure Twitter is now receiving THAT turning point which determines how we will evolve the way we interact and communicate in the future?
I make the comparison to MySpace because for some time MySpace, as we know, was insanely popular. It still is, but that popularity is being userped by it's once underdog competitor, Facebook. At some point MySpace had expansive growth even despite tons of bad press due to spammers and being known as the hot spot for child predators. MySpace had a difficult time getting a handle on this and while they focused on changing it, it gave Facebook the opportunity to step in...again as a place that was a one-time "secret" of the early adopters. MySpace's continuous press coverage flooded the site with new users yet at the same time plateauing its popularity. So I have to wonder if something we all have pushed so hard for, the mass adoption of Twitter, will really be the turning point for its demise.
Whether it is or it isn't, this really could signify something much bigger. Twitter going mainstream WILL change the way society communicates. It will change the way businesses interact with its customers. It will change the way we all network as a whole. So while Twitter's popularity may come and go, I think it's rise to stardom will push the evolution of communications and human interaction as we know it--starting now.
What do you think?
Follow Me @RainbowUSA
posted @ http://www.piercemattie.com/
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Office of Congressman Ron Klein
Contact: Melissa Silverman, 202-225-3026 office or 202-821-8152 cell
Klein Asks AIG Exec: "What Were You Thinking?"
In his opening statement, Klein told AIG Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy that he was "disgusted by the deplorable saga" of recent events and that he joined his constituents in "unfettered outrage about the millions of dollars in bonuses that are being awarded to AIG employees."
Klein contrasted the hard-working
The full statement follows.
Statement of Congressman Ron Klein, as prepared for delivery
Hearing of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Thank you, Chairman Kanjorski, for holding this important hearing.
I am disgusted by the deplorable saga of AIG, and I join my constituents in their unfettered outrage about the millions of dollars in bonuses that are being awarded to AIG employees.
When I am back in my district in
Yet here I am sitting across from the AIG Chairman and CEO who is distributing million dollar bonuses to those who drove company in the ground. There is a tremendous disconnect between
I just want to know one thing. What were you thinking?
I look forward to the testimony, and a frank discussion today.
Veterans of the BarackObama.com will surely recognize the big red button at the bottom of this post: Make Calls. This time however, we're not asking you to call voters -- we're asking you to call your representatives in Congress. We need you to let them know that you support the commitment that President Obama made to health care, education and renewable energy in his recent budget outline, and we need you to ask them to support the President's plan as well.
Here's a sample script that you can use for your calls:
Once you've finished, be sure to record the results of your calls. And feel free to also let everyone know how your calls went in the comments below. . .
Send others to http://Area-nine.org
Monday, March 16, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Good afternoon all ye who Rally in Tally!
My name is Michael Emanuel Rajner; a gay man living with AIDS and Director
of HIV/AIDS Education and Policy for the Florida Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgender Democratic Caucus. I am here today as the voice of the
statewide GLBT caucus of the Florida Democratic Party. I also have the role
and responsibility to acknowledge the courage and great work of many 501c3
organizations that have provided incredible leadership on issues of
equality. My role here today is clearly a partisan role. And I want you to
know we don't only have friends in the Florida State Legislature, but we
have some amazing champions who are willing to stand brave and strong and
bring our fight to the floor of the State House and Senate. Some of our
champions in the legislature are here today with us at today's rally and I
would be remiss to not acknowledge them for their amazing leadership.
As a GLBT community, we need to continue to elect Democrats. It is the
Democratic party providing the leadership on equality and social justice for
ALL FLORIDIANS. When the Florida State Legislature debated the Anti-Bully
legislation, shameful Republicans led the charge to dilute protections for
GLBTQ youth who are disproportionally affected with a greater rate of
bullying than non-GLBTQ youth. Conservative Republicans have continually
been the force to obstruct efforts to ensure protections for communities
whose voice is not represented in the State Legislature. As a trained
social worker, I am here to say it is the Republican Party who marginalizes
people who do not look like them. Their divisive acts are not limited to
groups such as GLBTQ people and people with skin darker than mine or those
who speak a language other than English.
The Florida Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus salutes
the leadership and courage of organizations like the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who have been lockstep with
the GLBT community in the fight for equality. The African American
community has suffered immense oppression and persecution in our society.
And now, thanks to God, in Barack Obama, we have the first African American
President of the United States of America!
From this platform, I can't begin to share with you how inspiring it is to
see the army of my brothers and sisters mobilizing and ready to engage in
the battle for equality. Many of us know all too well of the pain and
alienation brought about through the systematic disenfranchisement of
communities of human lives indoctrinated in our laws.
Before me is an incredible army with awesome courage and leadership.
Please, turn to your neighbor, and thank that person for their selfless
service and for being active in the movement and being a voice for those
unable to come to the table to fight for social justice.
Last night I spoke with Michael Albetta, President of the Florida GLBT
Democratic Caucus. He wanted to make certain that I share with you that he
spoke with Senator Eleanor Sobel and Senator Chris Smith, and both agree
that "its adoption for all" and a crime that groups who dare use children
without a loving home as a divisive tool to advance their ideology of hate
that encourages discrimination!
Last week while in San Francisco I was waiting for the N Judah train to
visit the National AIDS Memorial Grove, I watch a gay man lovingly hold the
hand his child and only as a father can, taught his child how to cross the
street and avoid danger. I stirred with anger, pain and frustration as I
was haunted with how most Republicans prefer and vote to see children like
that child be passed around in group homes and institutionalized when there
are loving and nurturing homes to care for these children, the leadership of
the Republican Party has placed the needs of our vulnerable society with
The Florida Legislature can save tax-payers money and help children at the
same time. End the ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians. Help move
children out of foster care and into the homes of loving parents. The vast
majority of states have always allowed gay men and lesbians to adopt, so
this is not a social experiment. It's good for kids, and it will save
taxpayers money – why spend money to support children in foster care when
there are many able parents willing to adopt, and why spend tens of
thousands of dollars defending constitutional court cases, when the state
could be using the same money to actually support children (e.g,. better
funding for education, increased access to healthcare or other services for
children, or reducing the debt so our children will be less burdened by
taxes in the future).
Equality Florida and all their partners are doing an amazing job to mobilize
our statewide community and to demand solutions for all people! Keep up the
great work and continue to inspire the youthful community members to become
involved and be part of the collective voice fighting for equality! Our
involvement and organizing must be strategic and at all levels. The time
has come to end the apathy and complacency, the time has come to gear up for
the great battle before us!
Separate is not equal. As same-sex couples who are legally prohibited to
married, we are denied certain tax credits and have fewer rights than any
Today, we stand proud and united as a family. As Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgender community and allies, we must never allow any group or issue to
divide us. There is no equality without the "T".
I must now leave and wish you all well as Nadine Smith and I go into the
Governor's office and meet with his executive staff and urge Governor Crist
to join the 23 states not accepting federal dollars to promote ineffective
"abstinence-only" programs. As an GLBTQ community and single-parent
families, sex-education programs focused on "abstinence-only" fail to
prepare and protect us. As a gay man living with AIDS, I stand before you
as one of the more than 1,200,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in America and
150,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Florida.
Our death is on the hands of this largely morally corrupt
Republican-controlled legislature. My elected district representatives
Senator Atwater and Representative Bogdanoff will not even return my calls
to engage in legislation on HIV/AIDS and comprehensive sex-education.
Florida, we need inclusive and genuine leadership and we need it now! We
need to take back our government!
Michael Emanuel Rajner
|we call on your support to help pass two very important pieces of legislation. Both proposed bills secure basic human and parental fairness for LGBT people and their families. |
Representative Mary Brandenburg's legislation - HB 413 - to repeal the bigoted, discriminatory 32-year-old ban on adoption by gay Floridians has been assigned to four committees. The bill currently is in the Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee.
The first step in moving this important legislation forward is to hold a hearing in the Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee -- and for the committee to approve the bill.
We are asking you to contact the Committee Chair, Rep. Nick Thompson (R-Ft. Myers), and ask him to set a hearing date on HB 413 as soon as possible. We also need you to ask him to support this important legislation as a co-sponsor. His phone number in Tallahassee is 850-488-1541. Please note that Rep. Nick Thompson was the Sponsor of HB 669 in 2008, known as the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up For All Students Act, which protects all of Florida's students from bullying, including anti-gay harassment.
The other Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee members are:
Rep. Mike Weinstein (R) - District 19 - Jacksonville - Phone 850-488-1304(Vice Chair)
Please contact all Representatives that you know or that are in your area. Ask them to contact Rep. Nick Thompson and ask for a hearing as soon as possible. In addition, please ask them to support the bill by becoming a co-sponsor.
Click here for a sample letter.
PROTECTION FROM DISCRIMINATION
we will also be lobbying elected officials in Tallahassee for support on Sen. Ted Deutch's and Rep. Kelly Skidmore's legislations - SB 2012/ HB 397- that seek to update the Florida Civil Rights Act and Florida's Fair Housing Act to include LGBT individuals and families under its protections.
The Florida Civil Rights Act currently covers only race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, while Florida's Fair Housing Act covers the same categories, including familial status.
The Deutch-Skidmore legislation simply updates Florida's laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy and familial status.
It is still legal in Florida to be discriminated against or even fired for being or perceived to be LGBT in your place of employment. However, recent polls have shown that 89% of Floridians believe that homosexuals should have the same rights in housing, job opportunities, and public accommodations.
We urge you to contact your state senator and state representative and ask if they have joined the list of co-sponsors, and encourage them to support this important legislation.
To view the web page for the Deutch-Skidmore legislation, which provides a link to the complete text of the bill as well as an updates list of co-sponsors, click here.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Beginning today, the White House will harness every part of the Democratic Party's machinery to defend President Obama's budget and portray Republicans as reflexively political, according to party strategists.
So the Democratic allies—the administration, congressional leaders, outside groups and the DNC—are uniting for the new push.
PS This was part of the Training on Saturday for precinct workers
Gay and Lesbian Parenting: THE FACTS(1) Florida's gay adoption ban was passed in 1977 at the height of Anita Bryant's anti-gay "Save the Children" campaign. This law has done significant damage to children in foster care by not allowing the best interest of the child to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Curtis Peterson, the lead Senate sponsor, said=2 0upon passage of the ban, "We're trying to send [homosexuals] a message. We're really tired of you. We wish you'd go back into the closet."
(2) Destructive impact on children - over 4,500 children languish in Florida's foster care system today. The adoption ban arbitrarily excludes hundreds, if not thousands, of potential parents based solely on the irrelevant criteria of sexual orientation. These adults could provide stable, loving, PERMANENT homes to many of these children if this ban were lifted.
(3) In 2003, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a research study, stating, "reality on the ground is outstripping the pace of the debate. That is, a growing number of lesbians and gay men are becoming parents and are living as families every day, irrespective of what the policymakers do or say."
(4) There is no credible scientific evidence that the sexual orientation of parents has any effects either on the quality of parenting or on the well-being of their children. In fact, the reliable social scientific evidence indicates that lesbian and gay parents are as fit, effective and successful at parenting as their heterosexual counterparts. (See American Academy of Pediatrics February 2002 Policy Statement, Vol. 109, No. 2, pp. 341-344)
(5) At least eleven (11) mainstream child welfare, social science, and professional organizations have issued policy statements SUPPORTING adoptio n by lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people:
Child Welfare League of America American Bar Association
American Medical Association American Academy of Pediatrics
American Psychiatric Association American Psychoanalytical Association
American Academy of Family Physicians American Psychological Association
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry National Association of Social Workers
North American Council on adoptable Children
(6) Decades of research indicate that optimal development for children is based not on the sexual orientation of the parents, but on stable attachments to committed and nurturing adults. Children with two parents, regardless of the parents' sexual orientation, do better than children with only one parent. (American Psychiatric Association 11/2002 policy statement)
(7) Adoption decisi ons should be based on an individualized assessment of what is in the best interests of the child to be adopted. Applicants should be assessed on the basis of their ability to successfully parent a child in need of family membership and not on irrelevant considerations such as sexual orientation.
(8) Regardless of what policy makers do or say, gay Floridians are raising children and legal protection is necessary for these children. Families have been created by adopting in other states, artificial insemination, previous heterosexual relationships and family tragedies such as the death of a sibling.
2009 LEGISLATIVE SPONSOR UPDATE SB 500 on AdoptionSponsored by Senator Nan Rich - District 34
Senator Dan Gelber - District 35
Senator Chris Smith - District 29
Senator Eleanor Sobel - District 31
HB 413 on Adoption
Sponsored by Representative Mary Brandenburg - District 89
Representative Joseph Abruzzo -20District 85
Representative Ronald Brisé - District 108
Representative Faye Culp - District 57
Representative Joe Gibbons - District 105
Representative Bill Heller - District 52
Representative Evan Jenne - District 100
Representative Rick Kriseman - District 53
Representative Mark Pafford - District 88
Representative Kevin Rader - District 78
Representative Scott Randolph - District 36
Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda - District 9
Representative Kelly Skidmore - District 90
Representative Richard Steinberg - District 106
If you don't see your representative or senator, please give them a call and ask them to sponsor the Adoption bill. To find your representative' s contact info, click here. To find your senator's contact info, click here.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Stay tuned for Thursday night, when Cramer is set to appear on "The Daily Show."
Watch the whole epic smackdown below.
Monday, March 09, 2009
|This video is from CNN's D.L Hughley Breaks the News, broadcast Mar. 8, 2009.|