Project Wonderful

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is Obama Losing the Jewish Vote?

No. Not in any meaningful way. And Ben Smith is a muckracker.

This article doesn't offer any polling data and among the groups it cites are the Republican Jewish Coalition and seniors, groups that were not likely to have voted for Obama in 2008.

His whole proof for the article is "some people I talked to."

On campaigns we used to say that if someone isn't going to vote for you because you called them too much, they weren't going to vote for you to begin with. The same principle applies here. No doubt some people will blame their change of heart in 2012 on "the Israel issue," and Obama possibly made a misstep in the after-glow of killing Bin Laden by coming out so strongly for 1967 borders, but what he suggested was not really that radical. If you're a Jewish Obama supporter, chances are you've already found a reason to forgive him.

This article is irresponsible journalism, but if Obama feels attacked, at least he is in very prestigious company.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Did Obama Violate Campaign Finance Laws?

by filming this video in the White House?
Republicans wish. Interesting to think about though.
Here's an article about it.

Supreme Court Rules States Can't Offer Extra Public Funds to Encourage Spending Limit

The Supreme Court, sharply divided along ideological lines, struck down part of an Arizona campaign funding law, ruling that states and cities may not seek to "level the playing field" by giving extra public funds to candidates who agree to abide by spending limits.

Quite frankly, I'm too flu-y to comment right now, but I wanted to make sure I shared this since I think it brings up some interesting points. More later.


Enfranchished doesn't always mean empowered.

A California poll shows that voters are increasingly less informed.

I will let you in on a little secret. Anyone who has ever worked on a campaign for an extended period of time has secretly and fleetingly wished there existed some kind of intelligence/information test for voting. Of course we would never advocate for such a test because of the obvious non-democratic and somewhat Jim Crow-y implications, but the temptation is there.

It is infuriating to sit with cold hard facts about a candidate's voting record and espoused principles while over the phone a voter tells you s/he is voting against your candidate and her/his own self interest, because "I just don't get a good feeling about him."

In defense of the uneducated voter, there is so much information out there, that it is difficult to know what to believe. Even the most politically active among us have one or two issues we use as a litmus test because you can't agree with your candidate on everything. Even after your candidate has been elected and served, it is impossible to know what might have been otherwise. And there have been times when a voter's gut reaction has turned out to be somewhat prescient. (I'm still kicking myself over John Edwards). In the end, it is about who you want answering the red phone.

Still, to me, this article highlights the fact that enfranchisement is not enough. As my hero, Teddy Roosevelt, once said "A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." When I advocate for your right to vote, I am also advocating for your right to use your vote like an idiot. That's part of what democracy is. That's why we can't stop with voter registration and access. An ill informed vote has little power behind it. As the article points out,
"It's almost as if a quarter of the electorate is really not there for most of the elections...The leadership tends to follow the whims of this smaller and smaller segment who are indeed following what's going on. But that segment may not be reflective of the whole. That has a bearing on politics."
True empowerment is about having the tools to make an informed decision and the confidence that your decisions will make a difference. This comes from government accountability, community activism and yes, some initiative on the part of the voter. In an age where voters get their information increasingly from niche websites and social media, we have to reconsider how we reach out to them. We have to find a way of communicating that voting is not just about the act itself but the weight you put behind it. The more engaged you are, the more your vote matters. Knowledge, as they say, is power.

Articles like this make me both hopeful and intimidated. On the one hand, there is so much potential to be harnessed. On the other, it highlights the age old dilemma: to empower more voters elected officials need to take them seriously, for elected officials to take them seriously, voters need to be empowered.

You guys, this stuff is hard! But as Theodore Roosevelt also said "It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things."

Peace, Love, and Presidents,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Non-Campaign Sick

You don't just take a sick day on a campaign.
Having been diagnosed with a chronic illness the summer before I started college, I had long ago redefined my concept of "sick." Working on a campaign was the first time I didn't feel like a "sick person." Although I was in remission well before I graduated, being part of something so much bigger than myself and having somewhere to focus my manic energy provided a welcome distraction from the confusing emotions in the aftermath of a chronic illness. The blessing and the curse of working on campaigns is that everything, (your health, your relationships, your hygiene) takes a backseat. One time I almost got kicked out of a chemo clinic in Denver for making event dials. (Whatever, its not like I was doing voter contact!)

So it was an interesting dilemma when I resigned to the fact that I have some kind of flu/strep hybrid and needed to go to the doctor today. Did you know that in the real world, people call out sick from work? There was seriously a part of me that thought that only happened to people faking it in sitcoms, but apparently it's quite common. I had to have my mom,my sorority sister, my boss and the nurse practitioner at the minute clinic independently confirm this for me multiple times.

I'm gonna level with you, I don't love my temp job (more on that later.) It's at a great company with great people, I just miss the all consuming passion of campaigns. Still I didn't want to miss work because a) I get paid hourly and b) I like to be responsible and do a good job at whatever I do. However when you work in customer service/sales for a travel company, you don't go in sick. There are no fires to be put out, no race against the clock, no other side working when you're not. It would be weird if you did go in. I've already redefined sick and now I'm redefining work.

This is essentially why I made this change in my life. I want relationships. I want to take care of my health. I want to work out and shower daily. But with all those things I'm gaining, I can't help but think what I'm giving up. Temping has reminded me how lucky I am to have found something I am truly passionate about so early in life. Perhaps I'm campaignsick after all.

Hopped up on pain killers, lying in bed and watching Futurama,


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today in Voter Suppression


What has a funny last name and strikes fear into the hearts of the FEC?

This guy.

Do you know who James Bopp is? I didn't either, but he's a BFD in the world of campaign finance law. To wit:
"Bopp brought the Citizens United v. FEC case and breached the wall between corporate money and partisan politics; he unraveled major provisions of the McCain-Feingold law; he has helped to make state judicial elections more expensive; he's fighting to undo mandatory disclosure of donors; and now, he says he's found a way for federal candidates to ask corporations for cash."
One day, dear readers, we will talk about my views on campaign finance law. And on that day, you will probably hate me.

Until then, Bopp.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today in Voter Suppression

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is reconsidering a three-judge panel's ruling that the state's proof of citizenship requirement conflicts with federal voter registration law that law allows people registering to vote to swear under penalty of perjury that they are citizens.

I think my pro-voting/pro-access-to-voting/few-hurdles-to-voting-as-possible credentials are well enough secured, that I can say requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote does not seem like an undue burden.

Sure, we know where Arizona lawmakers' citizenship checking motivations come from and I certainly don't agree with those. But, if you are a person who is intentionally voting somewhere you shouldn't, you probably don't have any qualms about lying about it knowing you are very unlikely to get caught. If we're asking people to swear that they are citizens, they we obviously care about finding out, and if we care about finding out, why not do it right?

On the other hand this type of legislation would disproportionally affect poor people and young people since both groups are transient and less likely to have access to or knowledge of proper documentation. My friend Natalie points out that many domestic violence victims often won't have documentation because they have had to flee their abusers. Nor of course, would homeless people. These are all groups that don't need more barriers.

So I think where I stand is that in a perfect world we should require proof of citizenship to vote, but we also shouldn't be disenfranchising the aforementioned groups. So until we can solve the *shouldn't* by other means the *should* will have to wait.

Republicans want to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission

Because "it's a waste of money."

Which it is, if you consider making voting more accessible and secure a waste of money. The EAC (click for website) is essentially a government agency dedicated to providing and gathering information on how we vote. Among other services, they give grants for new voting technologies, test new voting systems and provide voters with information on elections and election laws in their area. I have no doubt that aspects of the agency are mismanaged, but that doesn't detract from its mission.

So to summarize, the elected officials who support H.R. 672 want to make it harder for us to go to the polls and elect them. Yes, the FEC can take over some of these duties, but I'm gonna go ahead and put a fine point on it. These politicians don't want to make it easier to vote because they are afraid that the groups that benefit most from the EAC, like the disabled or indigent, won't vote for them. This is the same kind of stuff we have been seeing all month in state legislatures. Unsurprisingly, the same people who don't mind denying the young, old, poor or disabled health care have no qualms about disenfranchising them either.

And disenfranchising people, well that's downright unAmerican.

Pro-Tip: Volunteer On a Campaign

(Me with intern and volunteers on my first campaign)

You guuuuuys...I'm Campaign Sick!!! I can't think of one of my friends who is currently working on a candidate campaign. As for me, I'm experiencing the sort of ennui/anxiety combo that I would usually combat by channeling it into voter contact or better yet, bossiness, but due to impending graduate school, I cannot.

I recently remembered something I always promised myself I would do should I find myself in the (un?)fortunate position of no campaign in sight: volunteer!

The benefits of performing volunteer recruitment or voter contact when you don't actually have to are many fold. First, there's the issue of integrity. I believe strongly in the management philosophy that you should never ask someone to do something that you would be unwilling to do yourself. You think volunteering for candidates you care about is so important that you call someone nine times during dinner even though they have little children? Here's your chance to prove it.

Second, there's every field operative's best friend, guilt!(Or phrased more delicately, karma.) I have a strict any-time-your-campaigning-and-I'm-not reciprocation policy with my former colleagues. Even if you think you'll never do volunteer recruitment again, you'll need something from these people in the future and it doesn't hurt to have a little guilt capital in store. It also doesn't hurt to have a reputation that you're a team player, in the very general sense of "team." The more people who recognize your name as someone who has helped them, the better.

Third, and most often overlooked, because it helps. A little birdy once told me that the best way to influence the outcome of an election is by neighbors talking to neighbors...a birdy comprised of me, and every boss or training manual I've ever had. Assuming you care about the candidates and causes you've given your time to in the past, and that you have more free time now, why not donate your time one evening? Every recruitment tactic you've used on others still holds true for you. Do we know that 80 calls probably won't make a difference? Yes. But we also know, better than anyone that if everyone who cared made 80 calls it could dramatically change the shape of an election.

Finally, volunteering ourselves promotes empathy toward our volunteers. As campaign staff, we become so used to our own script and materials that we stare at our volunteers in amazement every time they mess it up. Sure, you're not going to accidentally mark a strong supporter as a 5 or try to dial someone's VANid (yes, a vol did this once) but you will get a feel for what its like to call off a script you don't have memorized, get questions on issues you're not familiar with and accountable only to your conscience. It's hard to motivate yourself to volunteer! Otherwise I wouldn't be writing this blog post.

So, turn inward with your favorite recruitment technique and while you're at it, take me with you! I hereby offer my superlative volunteer recruitment or voter contact services to the first bidder.

Love and Walklists,

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Most Sexist Campaign Ad I've Ever Seen*

*also it's pretty racist.

Yes, this ad is real.
Someone thought that was a good idea. It is so unbelievably offensive that I feel that aspect needs no explanation. Also, it looks like it was made by twelve year old boys, possibly to get back at a teacher or some girl who wouldn't make out with them.

Here is an article about it.
(FYI: What the article doesn't make clear is that the FEC complaint is unrelated to the content of the ad, but has to do with the PAC's association with Hahn's opponent's campaign.) The article includes the following quote from NOW President Terry O'Neill:
The GOP can't simply shrug its shoulders and claim ignorance about this ad. The party now has a woman running for president and another high-profile woman who may also jump into the race. In the past couple years, conservatives have received a crash course in what it's like to have gender stereotypes and sexist slurs directed at women on their side of the aisle.
Obviously I agree with O'Neill's denunciation of the content of this ad, but I don't think the Republican party is going to stop being sexist simply because Republican women are running for office. Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are anti-choice, anti-sex education, anti-equal pay for women and anti-rape victim support. Having a cello doesn't make you a cellist, and having a vagina doesn't make you a feminist.

On the other hand, according to her website:
Janice strongly supports advancing the rights of women. She believes in providing women a quality education, fair pay, and equal employment opportunities. Janice supports a woman’s right to choose and will fight to ensure that women of all ages and backgrounds are provided the tools they need to succeed in today’s society – whether in the job market or at home raising children and caring for their family.
Can you imagine being the candidate and her staff seeing this ad for the first time? Ironically, but not surprisingly, the ad is actually galvanizing support for Hahn. Maybe you would like to donate to an actual feminist candidate?

Okay, I do need to say it, just in case. This ad's portrayal of women in politics is completely unacceptable.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taking Back Religion- IN OUR OWN BACKYARD

Church sign in MEDFORD MASSACHUSETTS, displayed during Boston Pride.

Okay I assure you, I am not in some sort of weird Dan Savage cult. In fact, I made myself a promise after I posted that petition to lay off the slog-overs for a while. But this was SO relevant and in my own backyard. Maybe it's none of my Jewy,Jewy business, but I don't like the message this sign is sending about Medford or about organized religion.

I like this sign:

Feel free to include it in the email if you contact them which I encourage any and all Massachusetts Christians to do.

Click here for the link to Dan Savage's blog on the issue.

And now back to your regularly scheduled CampaignSickness...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Advocate from Where You Stand-Petition Edition

Click here redirect to the petition saying you don't date men who don't support equal marriage!

So, you know how I've mentioned Dan Savage in two of my last eight posts? Well I'm a big fan, almost as big a fan as I am of gay rights and creative advocacy. I was listening to this podcast and well...I'm just going to do some copy and pasting:
On his April 26th podcast, activist, author and sex columnist, Dan Savage said the following in response to a female caller who had refused to sleep with a potential partner because he opposed equal marriage:

“Wouldn’t it be great if this spread… just this meme that women don’t sleep with men who oppose marriage equality? Because homophobia, ladies, again, it is misogyny’s younger brother. And a guy who hates gays or is afraid of gays on some level hates and fears women too.”

In response to that call to arms, we have created this petition:

Because the same outdated thinking and bigoted attitudes cause opposition to and legislation against both LGBT and Women's Rights,

Because while questions should be addressed and ignorance should be educated, true hatred and bigotry have no place is our society,

Because we refuse to bring sexual and emotional gratification to those who would deny it to our friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers,

We pledge to abstain from sexual or romantic relationships with anyone who actively opposes equal marriage or promotes violence or bigotry against the LGBT community.

Homophobia is taboo, abhorrent behavior and should be treated as such.

If he can't fuck him, you can't fuck me.


The Undersigned

Please Click Here to Sign! (Redirects to the Petition)
(And please forward to your friends!!!)


Mitt Romney is an asshole

Maybe he's an asshole because he's Mormon. Maybe he's Mormon because he's an asshole. Maybe both and maybe neither. But I'm not not voting for him because he's Mormon, I'm not voting for him because he's an asshole.

Apparently lots of people disagree. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 26% of American are uncomfortable with the idea of a Mormon President. You can find the stats here for other religions as well.

Interestingly, Jews and Catholics rank above Evangelical Christians for acceptable Presidential religion(thanks President Bush)followed by Mormons, then Atheists then at the bottom Muslims. Stay classy, America.

So, if you are shopping for a religion for your Presidential run your best bet is generic/vague Protestant although Obama found out that can carry its own baggage.

Alternatively, we could judge politicians by,I don't know, how good they are at their jobs...but then I wouldn't have google news feeds with the word Weiner in them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taking Back Religion-Issue One

Orthodox Jews Lobbying Against Equal Marriage

Have you ever been SO FILLED WITH RAGE that you can barely form complete sentences? The day after I post about religious activism, I come upon this, a letter and corresponding propaganda from a bunch of Orthodox Jews protesting the "de-definition of marriage" (And you don't believe in fate...). I will spare you reproducing the part where they compare equal marriage to Sharia law and just copy and paste the body of the letter here:
Honorable Dean Skelos,

Thank you for your defense of Marriage in the past. We now plead with you: please do not hold yet another vote on de-defining Marriage. It would be an affront to the Creator, and threaten Religious Liberty for all Bible-believers.

The most effective way the Republicans have of attracting and keeping Orthodox Jewish support is by defending Marriage.

If the Republican Party cannot stand up for Marriage, they send a message that they do not truly stand for anything.

(We are NOT asking for funding, programs, or any special favors. We are simply begging you not to risk our religious liberties and our childrens' future.)

Also please realize that to include "religious exemptions" in any de-definition of marriage would be perhaps the greatest threat to Marriage. That would increase the likelihood of passage (as the recent Maryland experience shows.) By trying to delay our defeat, we would ensure it. Additionally, religious exemptions could never protect us - particularly private individuals and business-owners - from all the effects of this bill, nor could they render such an attack on the Bible "kosher."

Instead, we urge you to push for Senate passage of the Defense Of Marriage Act in NY, as introduced by the esteemed Senator Marty Golden.

Thank you very much. This issue is more important for our vote than any social service or material benefit. Our vote for you depends on your leadership in decisively defending Marriage.


Phew. Okay. Now that I've gotten that out of my system, here is Senator Skelos' contact information:
Senator Dean Skelos
President Pro Tem
Majority Leader
332 State Capitol
Albany NY 12247
518-455-3171 / F: 426-6950

And here is a link where you can find your own NY State Senator (upper lefthand corner of the page).

My letter to Sen. Skelos is below. Please feel free to copy and edit freely. If you're wondering where I got the 58% statistic, recent Quinnipiac poll reported here.
Dear Senator Skelos,

You recently received a letter from a fringe group of Orthodox Jews urging you to refuse to hold a vote that could potentially allow same-sex marriages to be performed in New York state. As a practicing Jew, I can assure you these attitudes do not reflect my own or those of the Jewish community at large. What's more the majority of New Yorkers (58%) support equal marriage. Not only is there a legal and moral imperative to allow same sex marriages in New York, but it also reflects the will of the people you were elected to represent. Despite your past actions, I trust that you will do the responsible and ethical thing and allow a bill rectifying these current discriminatory policies to reach the Senate floor.

Nancy Leeds

Finally, I leave you with a quote from an Anti-DOMA letter written by Rabbi David Saperstein Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The juxtaposition really demonstrates that the usefulness of religion, like a gun, or a vote, depends not on the thing itself, but on the character of the user.
Jewish tradition teaches, "And God created humans in God's own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them." (Genesis 1:27) We oppose discrimination against all individuals, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender men and women, for the stamp of the divine is imprinted on the souls of each and every one of us. As Jews, we have been among the quintessential victims of group hatred, persecution, and discrimination. We feel a keen empathy for those who can still be victimized, deprived of opportunities, jobs, or advancement because of their identity.

Please join me in taking action (even if you live in NY but are not religious.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Separation of Church and Hate

I believe in God. It's not just that I'm culturally Jewish nor simply that I think there is some higher universal cosmic force. I unequivocally, balls out, believe in God.

I'm struggling as I write this, not because I am unsure of my faith, but because I believe religion is deeply personal. As a Field Organizer, I always marveled at the voters who refused to tell me whom they were voting for, but sent me off with a "God Bless You" or had Jesus Fish on their cars. In my mind this was irony exemplified. I couldn't care less what they did with their Sunday mornings, whereas their vote actually affected me.

Of all the tenets I hold, my belief in God feels the most controversial.
My favorite comedians always seem to be those who poke fun at religion in a "How-could-you-rationally-believe-that?" sort of way. David Cross and Myq Kaplan come to mind.

I am huge fan of Dan Savage.
I listen to his podcast and read his blog religiously and the thing that makes me squirm is not discussion of felching or sounding, but the way he talks about religion. He even has a segment O They Will Know We Are Christians where he highlights religious personnel who have been caught engaging in extremely amoral acts. This week he and guest co-host Jen McCreight went off on organized religion calling all religion "silliness" and equating leaving a religious community to "escape." (Click to listen.)

Although ninety percent of Americans say they believe in God, the East Coast liberal elite circles in which I travel do not reflect this statistic. The vast majority of my friends are atheist and some are fairly anti-religious. Once I was staying with a friend and was on my way to services when I casually mentioned I would put in a good word for him to which he replied "I will put in a word with the flying spaghetti monster for you." Between the ipso facto leap in logic that it takes to have faith and the anti-gay, anti-sex, anti-woman, anti-decency attitude espoused by many in the name of religion, when I tell people that I believe in God or that I participate in organized religion, I either get an incredulous or disgusted "How can you?"

I hate that the people I love and respect can't love and respect something so important to me, but on the other hand, I don't really blame them.

When somebody tells me s/he's a Republican "because I believe in small government," I basically react the same way. I probably wouldn't vote Republican even if we voted on espoused economic platform alone, but as it is, I can't even stomach the thought. "How," I ask my hypothetical friend, "can you align yourself with a party that encourages ignorance, that wants to treat gays and lesbians as second class citizens, that wants to deny access to sexual education and birth control while making abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest?" You know what else is famous for these very same things? Organized religion.

There are of course Republicans who don't hate gay people or sex or birth control. And to them I say "Where the hell are you? If you're so concerned about the negative image your party has, why don't you change it? Why don't you vote in primaries against extremists and refuse to support them in general elections?"

I'm a Jew for the same reasons I'm a Democrat. Both groups have a strong belief in advocacy, in alleviating suffering, and in social justice. I'm not recommending it for everyone, but it works for me. But more often when people think of the intersection of religion and politics they think of this.

So, my faithful friends,where the hell are we? As people of faith, Jewish, Christian, etc, alike, it is our responsibility to take back our own communities, and not allow hateful, bigoted people to speak for us. I wrote this post because I want you to know that Michelle Bachmann, Fred Phelps and their ilk don't speak for me.

We need to take action. When a politician comes along and tries some bullshit in the name of religion, we need to stand up and say "that's not my God!" We need to work doubly hard on the side of sanity and we need to write those politicians and tell them that by misrepresenting us, they've lost our votes. We need to hold our religious leaders accountable too. (And it can be done. Just recently Jewish Theological Seminary ordained its first openly lesbian rabbi.)Sure, religion still won't make sense to atheists, but I guarantee when it stops interfering with their sex, work, and love lives, they'll stop caring.

Look forward to updates on where to write and how to get involved on my blog. And in the mean time, Reform Jews, check out the Religious Action Center.

So Jewish I ate a BLT last night,

Rhode Island Couple Charged with Voter Fraud

I've never actually heard of a case on this level before.
Although I am sure this isn't the first.

"Agnes Mancini, 67, a former secretary for the Johnston Board of Canvassers, and her husband, Anthony, 68, turned themselves in to state police headquarters in Scituate Wednesday. Both were charged with fraudulent voting. State police detective commander Capt. James O. Demers said the Mancinis voted in the 2010 mayoral election in Johnston despite the fact that they lived at 69 Orchard Meadows Drive in Smithfield...The couple never voted in Smithfield, he said. Instead, they used the 1193 Hartford Ave. address of their business, Mancini Service Station, to vote in Johnston, he said."

The couple could face up to up to ten years in jail each and a fine of up to $5000.

Bravo to the police for taking this matter seriously, although I can't help but feel bad for the couple. People do this all the time and rarely, rarely get caught. In fact, how did the police even find out you wonder?

Apparently police got a tip and investigated. Who was this tipper? What kind of clever, disgruntled and politically engaged person just happened upon this situation? I mean, I take voting very seriously, but even I don't think I would have turned them in. I'd love to know more about this person including where he was the night of the 2008 Iowa caucus.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time!

I got this one from a meeting at my temp job, but I think sums up a lot of doing field work. I feel like a cultural anthropologist up in there comparing campaigns and Corporate America. Look forward to a full report when its over!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Did Sarah Palin Just Commit Election Fraud in Arizona?

I'm just posting a link from SLOG.
Because I have nothing to add but WOW.

Advocate From Where You Stand-In Santorum

You probably know about Santorum. But in case you don't, let me fill you in. (Get it?)

This story has a lot of things I love in one place; Dan Savage, advocacy, elections, sexual innuendo... (I kind of feel like the Grandpa in the beginning of the Princess Bride) Here goes:

Back in 2003 (and probably even before that) Rick Santorum said some not very nice things about gay people.

For example, comparing gay sex to bestiality and saying that sodomy laws should exist because acts that are considered sodomy "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family." Just bigoted, bigoted stuff.

So Dan Savage and his readers decided to reappropriate the term Santorum to mean "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex." (Yeah, like you hadn't clicked yet.) So successful were they that when you google Santorum it is the first thing that comes up.

Brilliant. Not only has this effectively sabotaged Santorum's career (as if he needed help), but it fired a warning shot to bigots everywhew "If you talk shit about us, we're going to talk shit about you." Literally.

Let that be a notice the next bigot who tries to run his mouth to score cheap political points.

Today in Voter Suppression

ACLU sues Rick Scott.

...on a technicality in order to stop the new law reducing early voting days.

What I really took from the article was this baller quote from Florida State Senator Arthenia Joyner, “It is un-American to make it a burden to vote. Too many people fought and died for this right.”

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Questionable candidate for a precedent ...

...about a questionable candidate for President.

Suppose you have a boyfriend. He's a jerk, but you can't see it. Sure, you've heard rumors, but you don't believe them. Your friends don't like him. They prefer that black guy who was interested in you. You know, the one who you didn't think was liberal enough? The relationship is making you miserable. Your boyfriend (let's call him John) takes all your money and makes you follow him to godforsaken towns to be with him. You are tired and stressed out all the time, but you don't want to admit you are unhappy because you are sooooo in love.

Then, once you have given all you have to give, he breaks up with you! You are devastated, but you pick up the pieces and move on with aforementioned black guy who turns out not to be as awful as you thought he was. Then all of a sudden, you are minding your own business and BOOM your friends start gchatting you "Did you know that John cheated on you? John is a coke dealer now! Remember when you LIKED him? I heard he is going to jail. Did you know about this? " You haven't thought about the relationship for weeks and all of a sudden you are barraged with emails reminding you just what dbag you were dating and what an idiot you were for wasting your time with him.

Welcome to the life of a former Edwards campaign staffer.

For reasons that should be obvious at this point, I generally try to eschew any Edwards related news, but when JRE's indictment popped up on my google news feed this morning, I couldn't resist.

According to Outside the Beltway
"Individuals familiar with the probe have said that investigators are focusing on whether money paid to Hunter and former Edwards campaign aide Andrew Young constituted campaign donations, since the funds helped Edwards’s presidential campaign by keeping the affair secret."

According to
"The government is believed to be building its case that Edwards violated campaign finance law based on an 11-year-old advisory opinion issued by the Federal Election Commission, which asserted that a gift to a candidate for federal office would be considered a campaign contribution."

Those are two slightly different things, right?

It seems, and I could be wrong, that if the money went right from the donors to Hunter, it was not technically a gift to Edwards, but did obviously impact the campaign. Like I said, I haven't been keeping up, but that seems like a dangerous precedent to set.

Does this mean I can go out, do something that impacts your campaign, and then get you brought up on FEC charges? Where is the line drawn?

If indeed Edwards knew about the funds and potentially even approved them (he says he didn't but, I bet he did), then that is much more clear cut. Even if he didn't (he did), John Edwards deserves what's coming to him. Unfortunately the courts can't mandate 24-hr call time.

PS. Just when you thought it couldn't get more eye-rolly, as I am about to post this, the $400 haircut rears its impeccably groomed head.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Advocate from where you stand-Greek Edition

Dartmouth Sororities Boycott Frats that Ignore Assault

This article is old, but I wanted to share it for a number of reasons. First, I want to introduce a new category of posts highlighting non-traditional forms of advocacy and engagement or "Advocate from where you stand." Second, it's about sorority women.

When I tell people I was Greek in college I invariably get one of two responses a)"Of course you were! That explains the cheering, high kicks and peppiness at 2 in the morning." or b)"But, you're so smart!" Yeah,I am! And so are my lawyer/doctor/PhD candidate/non-profit running sorority sisters!

At their best, sororities are about empowering women and creating communities where women support each other. (There's my little bit of advocating from where I stand.) This is an excellent example of that. These women used their position to support women in general and influence the behavior of these fraternities.

*Snaps* to you, Dartmouth sororities! This rose is for you.