Monday, August 29, 2011

Hundreds Sign Petition Asking Betsy Butler To Stay In South Bay To Run Against Tea Party Candidate Nathan Mintz

Wow. I'm just overwhelmed by the response. Last week, I asked constituents and activists in AD53 to sign a pledge of support to Assemblywoman Betsy Butler if she stayed in the South Bay to run against declared Tea Party candidate Nathan Mintz.

Hundreds of you signed this petition:

Dear Assemblywoman Butler,

We know what's at stake in 2012. Thanks to redistricting, California Democrats have a realistic chance to reach the 2/3rds majority threshold we desperately need in the legislature. If we achieve that, we can break the stranglehold a radical Republican minority has had on our state and allow us to rebuild the functional government Californians deserve.

In fact, we only need to gain two seats in the Assembly in 2012 to make this a reality.

We also know redistricting has made reelection in 2012 more challenging for you. So much so in fact, we know you're considering a move to another district you believe is safer for Democrats.

We need you to stay in the South Bay and run in the new 66th Assembly District as the Democratic incumbent. Because without you in the race, the declared Tea Party candidate, Nathan Mintz, will certainly win.

As our representative in the CA State Assembly, we know you've done your best to make sure we have a voice in Sacramento. We know you've gotten our back.

Now it's our turn to get yours.

If you stay and fight the Tea Party, we will fight with you. We will pledge you our money and our time. We will walk precincts for you, make phone calls, talk to our friends and neighbors, and register voters.

We will fight like hell to keep the South Bay blue and you as our representative in Sacramento.

Running for the 53d Assembly District in 2010, Butler defeated Mintz 50.2% - 43%.

But most of that support came from the northern part of the district, which is why she wants to move - so she'll have an easier and cheaper race in 2012.

Redistricting has primarily divided the 53d AD into two new districts - the heavily Democratic 62nd Assembly District, which includes Venice, Marina del Rey, El Segundo, Hawthorne, and Inglewood, and the more conservative 66th Assembly District, which includes the Beach Cities, Torrance, Palos Verdes and Carson. Only about 2% of the current 53d AD overlaps the new 50th Assembly District.

Butler lives in the new 62nd Assembly District, which is already represented by another incumbent, Democrat Steve Bradford. Media reports have indicated that Butler wants to move to the newly vacant 50th Assembly District rather than run for reelection against Bradford or move to the new 66th Assembly District, which only has a 3-point Democratic registration advantage.

Without Butler in the race, the GOP considers the new 66th Assembly District a "top target" for Republicans in 2012.

No word yet on Butler's reaction. Every signature triggered an email which went directly to her office, so she's definitely aware of our efforts.

Keep checking in for updates as they become available.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

OFA's Contempt For The Left: It's Not A Bug, It's A Feature

So the interwebs were all a-Twitter when this came over the transom today:

Obama Campaign Staffer Sends Out Email Bashing Paul Krugman And 'Firebagger Lefty Blogosphere'

Obama campaign's point person in New Mexico recently sent an email to supporters defending the president's position on the debt deal and bashing the Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the "Firebagger Lefty blogosphere."

On the evening of Aug. 1, just after Congress passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling, Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval sent an email to supporters with the subject line, "Please take 5 minutes to read this, Please."

"I know many of you have raised frustrations, but please, I implore you, please take 5 minutes and read the article below. It does a great job of explaining the Debt Ceiling deal," Sandoval wrote in bold text.

The rest of the email was a blog post taken from a blog called "The People's View," run by Spandan Chakrabarti. Chakrabarti writes that he has "been participating in online and offline liberal activism since 2003, when Gov. Howard Dean ran for president."

The blog post that Sandoval thought was important enough to share with others harshly condemns Krugman and progressive bloggers who have been critical of Obama. From the 1,825-word post:

Paul Krugman is a political rookie. At least he is when compared to President Obama. That's why he unleashed a screed as soon as word came about the debt ceiling compromise between President Obama and Congressional leaders - to, you know, avert an economic 9/11. Joining the ideologue spheres' pure, fanatic, indomitable hysteria, Krugman declares the deal a disaster - both political and economic - of course providing no evidence for the latter, which I find curious for this Nobel winning economist. He rides the coattails of the simplistic argument that spending cuts - any spending cuts - are bad for a fragile economy, ignoring wholeheartedly his own revious cheerleading for cutting, say, defense spending. But that was back in the day - all the way back in April of this year. [...]
No, the loudest screeching noise you hear coming from Krugman and the ideologue Left is, of course, Medicare. Oh, no, the President is agreeing to a Medicare trigger!!! Oh noes!!! Everybody freak out right now! But let's look at the deal again, shall we? [...]
Now let's get to the fun part: the triggers. The more than half-a-trillion in defense and security spending cut "trigger" for the Republicans will hardly earn a mention on the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere. Hell, it's a trigger supposedly for the Republicans, and of course, there's always It'sNotEnough-ism to cover it.
A few hours later, an Obama campaign spokesman, Katie Hogan, tried to put some distance between OFA and the staffer,  “The views expressed in this email do not represent the views of the campaign.”

Which is all very well and good, but here's the deal - whether it was Rahm Emanuel calling progressive organizations "fucking retarded" , Robert Gibbs castigating "the professional left"  or Obama himself, who lashed out at vocal critics who thought he gave too much away on the tax cut deal, saying "this is the public option all over again" - Mr. Sandoval's email represented exactly what the views of the campaign are.

Closer to home, I reported on this blog how an OFA staffer in Southern California posted a story on their Facebook wall comparing liberals critical of the Obama tax deal to Tea Party members. Minutes later, in an epic example of #organizerfail, the same OFA staffer puts out an "ask"  for volunteers to come out to California headquarters to phone bank.

Look, I know a number of great, dedicated OFA staffers, but the organization as a whole has degenerated from a powerful way for the grassroots to create real social change to a cheerleading, insular shell - it's only purpose to redirect that energy into Obama's next campaign. The staffer might not speak for OFA, but he certainly is reflecting the prevalent attitude coming from Washington.

In 2008, I took a six-month unpaid leave of absence to work on the Obama campaign.  In fact, I was a Regional Field Organizer in Southern California. I also maxed out my campaign donations - the first time I've ever done that in my life.

Not in 2012. Next year, I'll be turning my focus on retaking the House, keeping the Senate, and electing good Democrats in local races.

I highly recommend many of you do the same.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Final CA Redistricting Maps Yanks The Rug Out From Janice Hahn, She Tells Constituents They "Won't Exist" In 2012

So, Torrance, Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Marina del Rey, Venice, Mar Vista and WLA - remember all that stuff Janice Hahn said in the campaign about how she was ready serve the people of the 36th District? 

Yeah, not so much.

Just a couple of hours after final redistricting maps were approved, Janice Hahn announced she would run in the new CA-44, a primarily African-American and Latino district currently represented by Democrat Laura Richardson.

Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, said Monday she will run for re-election in the 44th District, likely setting up a race against Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Long Beach.

"Because of the new redistricting, the district I currently represent will no longer exist in 2012," Hahn said. "I plan to run for California's new 44th Congressional District because I live in it. I know many of these communities and I understand the issues that affect them."

Under the redistricting plan approved Monday by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, the 44th District stretches north from San Pedro to Lynwood. It also includes Watts, Wilmington, Carson, South Gate, Compton, Willowbrook and Walnut Park and parts of Long Beach.

Richardson announced last month she will also run in the district.

In fairness, Hahn didn't have much of a choice. The new CA-33, which runs from Palos Verdes to the south,  Malibu to the north and Beverly Hills to the west, is already occupied by veteran congressman Henry Waxman. 

While she runs for reelection in another district, Hahn pledges to "continue to be the voice for the residents who elected me just over a month ago".

Don't hold your breath, kids. Hahn is going to have to run yet another aggressive campaign to win in her chosen district. Besides Richardson, Hahn will be running against popular Assemblyman Isadore Hall, who is also African-American. And considering the district is also heavily Latino, there's always the possibility a credible Latino candidate could jump into the race down the road.

The net affect of all this is our area will once again be in limbo. We'll have a warm body occupying the office for a next year, but that's about it.  On the bright side, next year we'll have Waxman to represent us. He has a long and distinguished record in congress and has fought tirelessly for many issues important to progressives.

That's something really positive to look forward to.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

URGENT! Tell State Senator Ted Lieu To Support The Ban On Shark Finning!

Approximately 73 million sharks per year are killed to provide fins for shark fin soup, a luxury popular in the Cantonese community. The soup can sell for upwards of $100 a bowl.

The vast majority of fins are obtained using the barbaric practice of landing the shark, cutting off the fins and releasing the mutilated live shark back into the ocean to die.

This year, California Assemblymen Paul Fong and Jared Huffman introduced AB 376, a bill that would ban the sale and possession of shark fins in California. The bill passed, 65-8, with bipartisan support in the Assembly, but has hit rough waters in the State Senate.

My state Senator Ted Lieu does not support the bill.  Lieu, who is Asian-American, claims a ban on shark fins unfairly targets that community's cultural heritage. (Recent research contradicts that claim of discrimination. A poll of Chinese Americans commissioned by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and conducted by a nationally recognized polling research firm showed that 70 percent of Chinese Americans interviewed support the proposed legislation banning shark fin.)

Instead, he's proposing changes to the bill that would make it both impossible to pass and impossible to enforce.

Please click on this link to tell Senator Lieu to support AB 376 as proposed.

Senator Lieu is proposing amendments to the bill, including a ban on shark fishing in California waters and banning the sale of all shark meat and products.

Both of these ideas may sound positive on first blush, but they are unworkable. Law enforcement does not have the ability to determine if fins were obtained in California waters, and banning shark fishing in California would face stiff opposition by the recreational and commercial fishing lobby in Sacramento. They would scuttle the bill.

Californians are the No. 1 consumers of shark fin soup outside of Asia, and our state is a significant entry point for fins trafficked to Asia. A state bill that specifically targets the sales of shark fins will have the greatest impact on helping critical shark populations recover.

Sign the petition - tell Ted Lieu to support CA Assembly Bill 376 as proposed, and end the wasteful and cruel slaughter of sharks.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cornography (UPDATED w NSFW animation )

Photos from the Iowa State Fair. The jokes just write themselves.

Driving away on a golf cart with her husband Marcus beside her, Mrs Bachmann stopped to buy a foot-long corn dog – a chicken and beef sausage in deep-fried batter. After applying mustard and allowing Mr Bachmann to take the first bite, she chomped into it with gusto.

Earlier this summer, Rick Santorum enjoyed some dick-shaped soft-serve.

“You cannot produce a dark enough chocolate for me not to like,” said Santorum. “The darkest chocolate ice cream in the world—I just love chocolate.” oldy, but a goody of Mitt Romney from 2007

.......Rick Perry, now with extra corn-dog!


If Perry and Bachmann become running mates on a GOP ticket, will this be their campaign logo?

Animated GIF of the Day
see more The Daily What

Monday, August 8, 2011

24 Hours Until Wisconsin Recall Elections: All Hands On Deck!

 It's T-24 hours in Wisconsin, and we have less than a day left to save the American Dream.

Tomorrow, six recall elections against Republican state Senators will finally happen in Wisconsin, the biggest result so far of a six-month uprising in the state against conservative policies and an assault on worker’s rights. If Standard and Poor’s wasn’t trying to force cuts to entitlements it would be the biggest story in America, and in a way, it still should be. This recall process, and the protests and activism that came before it, carry the seeds of a new progressive/youth/labor alliance that could be a catalyst to not only next year’s elections, but a re-imagining of the Democratic Party.

If Wisconsin Democrats win just three of six Republican recall elections, not only will they regain control of the state legislature and block Governor Walker's radical agenda, they will send a strong message to Washington that grassroots Democrats are a force to be reckoned with.

But there are reports that picking up those seats aren't a done deal at all.

The most stark word of caution is included in a private memo obtained by POLITICO from the Democratic-leaning We Are Wisconsin group to its donors.

"In our final days, we remain cautiously optimistic about our chances to take back the Senate. But predictions of victory at this point are beyond premature – they’re dangerous," wrote We Are Wisconsin field director Kristen Crowell in an Aug. 3 memo obviously designed to lower expectations.

"While we have solid research suggesting there are races where we might secure a second and third potential pick-up, none of these of these races except 32 should be considered safe pick-ups (and even there we face challenges to get the ball over the goal line), and we are dealing with an unprecedented electorate that is very difficult to forecast," she continues.

After outlining the odds Democrats face in going up against the "unlimited resources" of "corporate interests, she warns the the predictions of three wins in bank are overblown.


I'm asking you to join with Wisconsin teachers, firefighters, students and grassroots organizers to fight for the American Dream.

Voter turnout is key.
Can you take 30 minutes on your lunch break to help get out the vote?

Live in Wisconsin or a neighboring state? 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fed Up With The Tea Party? Don't Retreat, RECALL!

If you've been following the news out of Washington the last couple of weeks, you probably feel like I do about now: that the American Dream we rekindled in 2008 has turned into a Tea-Party fueled nightmare of austerity and attacks on the middle class.

But I'm here to tell you, now is not the time to give up. We still have a chance to save the American Dream.

In less than a week, Wisconsin voters will be going to the polls next Tuesday, and on August 16th to recall six Tea Party state senators in Wisconsin and replace them with Democrats.

If Wisconsin Democrats win just three of those seats, not only will they regain control of the state legislature and block Governor Walker's radical agenda, they will send a strong message to Washington that grassroots Democrats are a force to be reckoned with.

The polls are looking good, but Democratic organizers are facing some challenges - Republican operatives are pouring millions into the race, the headquarters for grassroots organizers was destroyed in a suspicious fire, and a conservative group admits sending out absentee ballots to Democrats with the wrong date on them.

So I'm asking you to join with Wisconsin teachers, firefighters, students and grassroots organizers to fight these dirty tricks and reclaim the American Dream.

Voter turnout is key.
Can you take 30 minutes on your lunch break to help get out the vote?

$5, $10, $20, $100 - whatever you can afford. Your donations will go to organizers on the ground and to media campaigns.