Thursday, November 20, 2008

Joe Lieberman to Dems - You don't have the balls...

How Joe Lieberman Kept His Post

I know I don't understand all of the nuances of the Senate and the Democratic party; but how does this guy keep his chairmanship of one of the most powerful committees?!? Not only did he endorse the REPUBLICAN candidate for President AND go on the road stumping for him simultaneously heavily criticizing Obama, but he was shortlisted for the Republican Veep spot!

Is it just Harry Reid or does the entire Democratic Party have no freakin' cojones? I realize that the Dems need to have as many votes as possible in the Senate to avoid constant "fillibustering" (yes there is a reason it's in quotes) and get Obama's agenda accomplished, but doesn't letting Lieberman get away with doing basically anything he wants kind of erode party discipline? Obviously I am missing something.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Salvation Army Rescinds Benefits to Gay Partners

Salvation Army Rescinds Benefits to Gay Partners

SAN FRANCISCO –– Less than two weeks after Western officials of the Salvation Army decided to extend health benefits to domestic partners in 13 states, the group's national leaders have rescinded the order.

Until this month, the evangelical Christian group offered benefits only to married couples and their dependent children. But leaders of the group's Western Territory said Nov. 1 they would also begin offering benefits to all adult members of an employee's household, including straight and gay partners.

Under the national leaders' decision Monday, the Western Territory will follow the same policy as the rest of the group.

You might want to think about finding an alternative charity to give money to this holiday season. If you are in the Seattle area the Union Gospel Mission provides housing and meals for homeless men and Partners in Hope that helps women. Both of these organizations are religious but neither have given and then taken away benefits to gay employees.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Council approves boost in Metro bus fares

Council approves boost in Metro bus fares

I realize that costs are rising and that Metro's operating expenses are going up due to fuel costs, but at some point the people who NEED to ride the bus to work are going to get priced out of being able to ride it.

When the fare goes up to $2.00 one way or a $4.00 a day commute that will be $20.00 a week for the average commuter. At $8.55/hr (the new minimum wage) or $342 a week that is a cost of 6% or gross pay for transportation. Of course a lot of people working minimum wage jobs don't work the full 40 hour week. Also everyone has social security and medicare taxes are taken out of their paycheck so in reality this is an even larger hit to the working poor than people might think.

Feds consider wild horse euthanasia

Feds consider wild horse euthanasia

This is horrifying. The ranchers keep pushing the horses into a smaller size area so they can expand their cattle herds. Even though the horses aren't really native, they have been here for hundreds of years and have managed to find a place in the ecosystem. They don't deserve to be euthanized.


It looks like the wife of T. Boone Pickens, Madeleine Pickens may be saving the wild mustangs. She wants to buy a million acre ranch and create a place for them to live and for the public to be able to see them. Awesome!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day - Garden of Remembrance

A while back I was walking down 2nd Ave here in Seattle and I happened to notice a little park out in front of Benaroya Hall. I don't know how many times I had walked past it before thinking it was just a part of Benaroya Hall, but this time something caught my eye and I decided to take a look around. Turns out this little park is a memorial to fallen Washington State servicemembers. I spent quite some time at this understated yet powerful memorial humbled by thoughts of people who had sacrificed their lives for our country.

The Garden of Remembrance is crafted from large stones with a fountain running through the center in front of a wall engraved with the names of the fallen separated by war. Trees run through the garden and a small grove stands at one end with two flag poles, one flying the American flag and one the Washington state flag. The most striking part of the memorial is on the north end of the park where they have added a section for the fallen from Iraq and Afghanistan. The names carved in the wall are fresh still even though these wars are over 4 years old.

Since today is Veteran's Day I thought it would be a good day to stop by and take a moment to respect the fallen. There weren't many people there when I arrived but at least one person had come today to pay their respects.

From Garden of Remembrance Veteran's Day '08

Here are some photographs I took on this chilly, rainy Seattle afternoon. (more coming)

When you are in Seattle, please take a few minutes to stop by and give a thought or two to some of the people who died to allow our country to be what it is today. Then think if we are doing them justice with how we are taking care of what they have given us.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Howard Dean Stepping Down as Chair of DNC

Dean Prepares To Step Down As DNC Chair

This was expected, Gov. Dean had previously said that he would only serve one term as chair of the Democratic National Committee. And by tradition, President-elect Obama (I love writing that) will choose who he wants to be head of the DNC.

Howard Dean deserves all our our thanks for the bang up job he did. He leaves behind an empowered DNC that has set fund raising records and a Democratic party that has increased in size by hundreds of thousands of people. His 50-State Strategy allowed the Democratic Party to take the majority in the House by capitalizing on the unpopularity of the Iraq War in 2006 and take the majority in the Senate in 2008 by capitalizing on the economic crisis. The 50-State Strategy wasn't the only reason for these gains of course. The underlying unrest in the country was the ultimate cause. However, by implementing the 50-State Strategy Dean and the DNC had people on the ground in the Red States that were already building organizations that could immediately go to work when the opportunity appeared. (Of course Democracy for America helped by training thousands of people to be candidates, managers and staff to give the Dems a pool to pull from.)

If we go back to 2004, Dean was not the pick of Democratic insiders to be the DNC chair. The net roots and the everyday Democrats forced his appointment and gave him the chance to try out his strategy. So, in reality we have the Deaniacs, the net roots, and the grass roots Democrats to thank for winning the majority in both houses of Congress. Suck on that James Carville, Terry McCauliffe and your ilk!

I'm looking forward to seeing where Gov. Dean goes now. Will he get offered a position with Obama? Will he jump into Democracy for America? Or will he take some time off? I'm hoping he dives in somewhere, because even with the gains of the last four years we still need strong, smart and capable people of integrity like Howard Dean to help us get the country back on its feet.

No matter what your do Gov. Dean, thank you. Thanks from a grateful nation and personal thanks from me for kicking me in the ass back in 2004 and inspiring me to get involved.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Wins!

Soon I'm going to try to wrap my brain around what this means for the country but for now I think that President-Elect Obama's acceptance speech kind of sums things up:

Part 1

Part 2

It's funny. When I look at the length of the videos they run for a total of 20 minutes. When I watched it last night it seemed like his speech lasted for only five. It was an amazing speech that hit all of the right notes. This was the eloquence that he showed back in 2004 when he really launched this presidential campaign at the DNC.

And more for me then anything else... the transcript.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics -- you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to -- it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington -- it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -- I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you -- we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek -- it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers -- in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House -- a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn -- I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world -- our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down -- we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security -- we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright --tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America -- that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing -- Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time -- to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth -- that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

YES! on I-1000 - WIN!

Thanks to everyone that helped out on the Yes on I-1000! campaign. We WON!