Gavin Newsom's talk
Tonight, Gavin Newsom, CA gubernatorial candidate and SF mayor, came to Orange County to speak. I took the opportunity to go see him. The talk started at 6pm, but I arrived late (6:45, darned traffic) and as a consequence I had to stand just outside the packed room. I couldn't hear everything, so what follows is just from the sparse notes that I took.
First, he's an engaging speaker. Like him or not, you won't fall asleep when he's talking. Good pace, voice and does it in a casual manner.
He favors a CA constitutional convention. The US Constitution has had 27 amendments in 221 years. The CA Constitution has had over 500 amendments and revisions in 160 years. It's longer than any other state constitution except Alabama.
Bobby Kennedy is hero of his.
On poverty: Bobby Kennedy speech still applicable after 40 years. Frustrating. 40% of African Americans had no access to banks in SF [Gary: couldn't open accounts. Don't remember why]. He helped create program to fix that. The current Governor has never mentioned homeless problem.
Someone brought up Kevin Starr, who said something about higher education and centrist politicians. This segued into talk about open primaries. Newsom thinks that they have merit, but you have to be careful or you might be a Democrat running up against two really rich Republicans.
He's not running against anyone for governor, he's running for governor on a set of ideas. Your call on whether you like those ideas or not.
He considers himself to be "pro job" Democrat. You need workers to do the jobs, and you need corporations to provide the jobs, so treat them both well.
On prison reform: compare number of schools built vs number of prisons built lately. Compare cost of tuition vs cost of incarceration. Some prisons are at 300% capacity. These are not conditions conducive to rehab. Is "war on drugs" producing desired results? We need more things like "Step Down" programs.
On Prop 13: Need honest debate on it. Sales tax is regressive [hits everyone evenly, even those who can't afford it], but property tax is progressive [only affects those who can buy property, and is dependent on the value of the property]. No one supports property tax change for residents. Need to talk about industrial/commercial side. Talked about split rolls, which brings us back to Constitutional Convention.
Afterwards, I had a chance to introduce myself as president of the Canyon Democrats club, in the reddest part of Orange County, and that we'd love to have him as a speaker. He seemed very willing and his staff that I spoke to said that he's always willing to do those kinds of talks, so hopefully sometime (early next year?) we can book him.
Posted at 11:29PM Aug 11, 2009 by Gary Kephart in Politics |
Upcoming war with Iran?
I'm not sure about you, but I think that a war with Iran would be amazingly stupid, and if, *if*, the following is true, then those who agree with me should be outraged and should contact their Congressman if/when it starts.
They [the source’s institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this-they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."Read the whole article.
Posted at 12:43PM Sep 04, 2007 by Gary Kephart in Politics |
They did WHAT?!
WASHINGTON, May 22 — Congressional Democrats relented Tuesday on their insistence that a war spending measure set a date for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraq. Instead, they moved toward a deal with President Bush that would impose new conditions on the Iraqi government.
Unbelievable. This gives all the credence to "spineless Democrats". If any of the presidential candidates vote for that, it'll definitely lower my respect for them.
2007 CA Democratic Convention - The Experience
(Not to be confused with "Star Trek - The Experience")
Friday morning I headed down to San Diego for the 2007 California Democratic Convention. This was my first convention. I had been to the pre-meeting, which gave me an idea of what was going on, so I wasn't totally clueless. I made it down there around 12:00 or so. I found out that registration wasn't until 2pm, but there was a workshop for new delegates at 1pm. I therefore had an hour to kill. I walked around the convention center to get an idea of where everything was, and went out on the back patios to take a look at the view. I could see the Coronado bridge, leading down to the island where the Hotel Del is (my wife loves that place). Nice view. I asked one of the staff what there was to do in the area, and found out about Seaport Village and the USS Midway. I vaguely remembered the USS Midway as being an important ship, and figured it was a destroyer. Ok, so sue me; I don't have my WWII history down yet. I had enough time to walk down and explore the village, grab a chili dog and walk back.
I don't remember much of what was said at the workshop. I think it was stuff I had mostly heard already. The registration line was huge. I waited a while before joining the line. Inside the registration room, I got in line behind a friend. I wasn't sure who the state delegates from AD71 were, but she had a list and let me copy the info. I still only ended up seeing a few people on that list. After registration, we went to another booth to pick up our convention gimmes. Inside the bag were some flyers, a baseball hat, some stickers and pins and pens, as well as the event calendar. By the time I was done with all of that, it was nearly 4pm, and I went to the Computer and Internet caucus, which started at 3:30. They mostly talked about the Net Neutrality resolution, which I support, but which didn't make it to the end (more later). After that caucus, I went out to the terrace to hear Art Torres, Mike Gravel, Jerry McNerney and Charlie Brown speak. They had a little bit of food served there, but there were huge lines for it, so I skipped that. After a while, I went down to my car and drove to my hotel, which passed by the USS Midway. Holy Toledo! It's an aircraft carrier! And it's huge! And it's right there! I so wanted to go on it, but ended up not having enough time during the weekend.
After checking in, I parked back at the convention center and walked to Seaport Village. It turned out that it was right at 9pm, and everything had just closed. So, I turned around and walked down 5th Street, which is the heart of the Gaslamp District. I wanted something cheap and quick, and I walked all the way down to Broadway before finding a pizza joint. Note that I went out by myself for dinner. It's not that I didn't know anyone else there; it's just that we didn't coordinate, or at least I didn't coordinate with anyone else, and I'm perfectly content with taking care of myself.
I made it back to the convention center and went to the California Young Democrats (CYD) party. They had a "casino night" set up there, so I played blackjack for a while before calling it a night.
Saturday morning, I made it in time to the General Session at 9am. When I entered, I was reminded of the national party conventions because we all had our special areas in which we had to sit. I was in Region 18, which covers most of Orange County. There, I saw a bunch of people I knew, and some that I didn't know. Once things got started we heard speeches from Clinton, Garamendi, Debra Bowen, John Chiang, Lockyer, Jerry Brown and Jack O'Connell. I don't know why they didn't have Clinton last. Must have had something to do with her schedule. She gave a good speech, and when she left, there were lots of people standing around, and some people left. It took a while for everyone to sit down, and then we continued with the rest of the speeches. I'm not going to remark on any of the candidate speeches here, because I already went over them in a previous entry.
After that was a luncheon, where some awards went out, including one to our very own Melahat. Yea! After that, we went to the next General Session, where we heard from Obama, Dodd and Kucinich. We had the same problem with Obama that we did with Clinton. I pitied the people that went after Obama. After the General Session, I went over to the "Can the Spam" workshop. The topic was effective communication during a campaign. Very interesting. Gave me some good ideas.
Following that was the Pre-Dinner Social Hour out on the terrace again. I wandered around talking to various people and met a few new people as well. Kucinich's wife was out there also. I thought it a bit odd that a candidate's spouse was out there alone, but oh well. After that was the Pelosi dinner. She was introduced as the most powerful woman in the world. I hadn't thought of her that way before, but I can see how that would be true. It was an enjoyable dinner. I again met a few new people. Pelosi's remarks (not quite a speech) were good. She seems affable enough. Though, I've never had to go up against her in a political fight.
After that, at 10pm, was the Precinct Captains workshop, where we learned about tools and techniques that could help us get our precincts organized and active. I only stayed about a half-hour, because I wanted to get to the Richardson event over at the US Grant which started at 10pm. I got there around 10:45 only to be told that the event was actually from 9-10. Damnit. His volunteers gave me the wrong info. So, I walked back to the convention center and to the hospitality suites. There were a couple of dessert events, but by the time I got back, most of the desserts were gone. Not a lot of people that I knew, so I grabbed a brownie or two and headed back to the hotel.
Sunday, at the General Session, we heard from Edwards, Richarson and a few others including Maxine Waters. I mention her specifically, because she gave a good rousing speech. She had us chanting "Not another nickel, not another dime, not another soldier, not this time!". She knows how to give a speech. However, once I was back home, looking at the OC political blogs, I was reminded that she's in the top 20 corrupt members of congress. Shame on me for not remembering that.
The ending of the convention was the most interesting part, though I don't think it was intended to be. This was the time for all of the resolutions to be approved. The one against the toll road in San Onofre got approved, which the SOCDC president was behind. Then we got to the one about the Iraq war. There were a couple of amendments, and one that they were going to separate into its own resolution which called for the revocation of the resolution giving the President the power to conduct the war. There was some heated debate about the amendments, and then someone called for a quorum count. This pissed most everyone off. Many delegates had left after hearing the speeches, and so even without the count, it was kind of obvious that we didn't have quorum. Which, it turns out, we didn't. That stopped all further business, including passing resolutions, and so the convention came to a very abrupt close. Quorum call apparently came from Region 12's Karen Wingard.
A new Drinking Liberally event starting up in Orange County
There's a new Drinking Liberally event starting up in Orange County. In case you're unfamiliar with it, Drinking Liberally is "an informal, inclusive progressive social group. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics." Starting this Thursday, May 3, we will be meeting weekly on Thursdays at 7pm at the Canyon Fireside Grille, 22312 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita. It is being hosted by Gary Kephart (rsm-AT-drinkingliberally.org)
2007 CA Democratic Convention - The Candidates
Ok, let's get right to it. I'll save the talk about my first experience at the convention for the next entry. Right now, I'll talk just about the candidates.
Going in, I'll confess that I was favoring Richardson. I had seen him on TV on the Daily Show and liked how and what he had to say. Seven out of eight candidates were there, with Biden being the only one who wasn't. Most of them gave very good speeches. I'll have to say that Gravel is a bit too far out there for me, though. Kucinich is a special case warranting a bit further discussion. He did seem to have a fan club there, as a lot of people seemed to be cheering for him. However, he is more-or-less a one issue candidate. His topic is violence - in any form. That in itself is not bad, but to be President, you need to have a broader view, and be more practical. In Keirsey terms, he's an Idealist, and probably specifically a Champion or Healer. As Keirsey points out "there has never been an Idealist President in all the two hundred year history of The United States of America."
I need to read Presidential Temperament for more details on that. Kucinich also smiled during his entire speech. Either he was faking his enthusiasm, or as someone else joked, he had dropped some acid beforehand. He talked about how great the 60's were, and how he was going to revive them. Sorry, but that's just too weird for me.
Edwards, Clinton, Obama and Dodd also gave good speeches. I liked Obama's phrase that "It’s time to turn the page". I think that Edwards gave a better speech than Obama, who gave a better speech than Clinton or Dodd. He had a lot more specifics for his plans as President. I liked his tag phrase: "We're better than that". Of those four, I liked Edwards the best.
And then there was Richardson. His "entourage" of supporters were smaller and a bit quieter than the others. He has a different attitude than the others. He seems more genuine and down-to-earth. He admitted he was not a rock star, and doesn't have a lot of money for the campaign. Obviously, that's his way of chipping away at Obama and Clinton. He then went on, though, to stress how much experience he has. Here's a summary:
- served in Congress for 15 years
- Ambassador to the United Nations
- worked with world leaders to build alliances and help prevent the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea
- Secretary of Energy to President Bill Clinton
- recently re-elected to a second term as Governor of New Mexico with the support of 69 percent of voters
- has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize
- recently negotiated a 60-day cease fire in war-torn Darfur following direct talks with rebel leaders and the President of Sudan
On top of that, he has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for 33 years. No divorces. Frankly, he's the most qualified candidate for the job. And, as an article in the NY Times said, "Most of all, he's not a senator. Since 1961, 40 senators have run for president and their record is 0-40."
My money's on Richardson. I've signed up to volunteer for his campaign.
And now that I've stated that, I'm heading over to Ontheissues.org for the presidential match quiz. Hmm. It says that Clinton matches me best, with Dodd coming in a close second. Richardson's actually 5th.
Bible-Believer Frightened by Rep. Stark's Atheism
The following is an article in the San Leandro Times:
By : Matt Rempel : 4/2/07
It is a sad day in America when a public official is lauded as a hero for declaring his non-theistic beliefs. Such is the case with our own Congressman, Pete Stark, and his declared atheistic views.
Yes, it is true that each man and woman is free to make their own decisions in regard to God and religion, but for a man of his stature, this is a truly frightening condition for all of us.
How Mr. Stark chooses to create law will stem from his belief system, including his belief or unbelief in God.
Let's make one thing clear: There are only absolute "rights and wrongs" if God exists. Otherwise, what is right and wrong will change with the tide of the culture and what is popular today, and as our culture becomes more permissive and corrupt, Mr. Stark's beliefs will progress with the culture, because there is nothing absolute for him to cling to.
As a Bible-believing Christian, it is no surprise to me of Mr. Stark's "confession" on this issue, his voting record leaves little doubt. As a constituent, you must ask yourself, if you are comfortable with someone, who speaks for you at the national level, whose belief system will change like the wind. I am not.
Let's make one thing clear: There have never been absolute "rights and wrongs". The Bible has been used in the past to justify slavery, among other things. Whose to say that today's interpretation of the Bible will be viewed as immoral tomorrow? Personally, I believe that the fight against euthanasia is immoral, and that fight is being fought by the religious right. What is right and wrong will not necessarily change with the tide of the culture. There are certain things, such as murder and theft, that will always be wrong.
Oh, and Mr. Rempel, guess what? Since Stark has been a member of Congress since 1973, I'm pretty sure that his constituents are pretty darned comfortable with him speaking for them at the national level.
Going to see the Lt Govenor
Something else I wouldn't normally have time for: John Garamendi will be visiting CSU San Bernardino tomorrow (Mar 22) talking about California's Education System from 9:00-10:30am. For more info, including the flyer, go to www.ltg.ca.gov.
Get Rove to testify!
One of the nice things about being unemployed is that now I have time to watch daytime TV - and I ain't talkin' soaps. I managed to watch Valerie Plame testify before Congress under oath. After seeing that, and reading about the firing of the US attorneys, I think that we need to get Rove to testify under oath on both issues. Then he needs to go. Bush promised to fire whomever was involved in the Plame leak. It's about time he lived up to that.
Another sad example of Christian intolerance
This was unfortunately to be expected: a backlash against Pete Stark's announcement. This coming, unsurprisingly, from a Christian group, who it seems is for religious freedom - theirs, not ours.
"It is sad but not surprising that the current Congress has produced this historic first – one of its members has denied God," said CSA Executive Director James Lafferty. "The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.
"It is time for religious members of Congress to push back. A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people. Members who wish to expand could use the 'special orders' portion of the House calendar to elaborate but a simple "I believe in God" will suffice.
We have long recognized that all of this hot air about 'separation of church and state' has been a veiled effort to intimidate and silence religious voices in public policy matters.
"If the liberal House leadership refuses to recognize lawmakers who want to affirm their belief in God, then we suggest they add it to the end of floor speeches on other matters.
"Congressman Stark's statement is a very sad benchmark for America. It could be the moment which defines the decline of our country or it could be the spark which marks an important day. That would be the day that religious Americans stood-up to the liberal bullies who are so determined to use the power of government to silence prayer and every other religious expression of free speech.
"This is a fight which is destined to be fought in America and we think it should begin today."
It seems as though the Christian Seniors Association is an ultra-conservative Christian group, according to an AARP article, so this gives me hope that a majority of Christians do not think this way.
Senate District 34, time to complain!
Lou Correa, State Senator for District 34, was apparently locked out of his office by Senate Leader Don Perata. Perata apparently had the office locks changed because Correa attended a moderate Democrat fundraiser.
I think all of Correa's constituents should complain to Perata that because of this, Correa was unable to work on their issues. Perata stopped their elected official from doing his duties.
Thank you, Pete Stark
There is only one member of Congress who is on record as not holding a god-belief.
Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a member of Congress since 1973, acknowledged his nontheism in response to an inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America. Rep. Stark is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is Chair of the Health Subcommittee.
Thank you, Pete Stark, for openly admitting that you are an atheist. Hopefully, this will make it easier for other atheists to be elected to office in the future.
Member of Congress holds no god-belief
This coming Monday, March 12 the Secular Coalition for America will make a historic announcement: a member of Congress has agreed to be identified with our community.
This ground-breaking release is the much-anticipated outcome of a recent contest we initiated to seek the identity of the highest level openly nontheistic elected official. The purpose of the contest was to explore visibility problems for nontheists in public service.
Please visit our Web site at http://www.secular.org/ for background and more information on our upcoming announcement ... and please tell your friends about the momentous day ahead for nontheistic Americans.
Lori Lipman Brown, Director
The Secular Coalition for America