11 November 2006

Veterans Day

I have no eloquence to bring to this day, no long posts remarking on the great sacrifices and great victories wrought from the men and women of our armed forces. Nothing I could write would encompass the immense debt we owe to all those who have served our country. They are heroes not just in the battles they fight, nor the service they render, nor even the victories they have won. They are heroes because they choose the life of their country over their own lives. Our armed forces deserve the utmost in respect and honor, as they do an often thankless job with often the most selfless intentions. Our gratitude cannot be expressed deeply enough. Our support can not be broad enough. And, so, on this day, I simply say, as words escape me:

Thank you for serving. God bless you and God bring you home.

10 November 2006

Romney Again Vetoes Spending

Our esteemed executive has taken the opportunity, while spending a few hours actually in the commonwealth he was elected to govern, to ... well ... govern, kind of. In what has become something of a ritual, Willard has picked up his pen and overruled the Legislature again, freezing state spending. This move comes after the Leg had already over-ridden his vetoes of this same spending months ago. Granted, the money is meant to come from the state's Rainy Day Fund, and that might not be a great idea, but the money would be going to fund health care and education initiatives.

I'm of the mind that we're not taxed highly enough in this country or in this state and that our government should be providing more services than it does presently. I realize that this puts me at odds with many people, including many of my friends and most of my family. I don't think the government should be the only provider of those services, but that it should offer some baseline of support for those who need it or choose it. Government spending generally is not the problem, in my mind, but rather the efficiency with which the government spends and what the government is spending its money on. In this case, the government is attempting to fund crucial health care and educational programs, and Romney is blocking those attempts. Basically, the guv wants our commonwealth to be filled with stupid, sick children ... but what does he care, he's not around anyway. How long until Deval Patrick takes office again?

And, yes, I'm a big-government, tax-and-spend liberal. I'm not going to apologize.

09 November 2006

Not So Fast Liberal America...Remember Gay Marriage?

While Tuesday was a huge win for Democratic America is was not so much for liberal America. While it may be great that he can't fall off again for a while, humpty did fall off the wall, and putting him back together again is going to be really difficult. The Democrats may have taken control of one of the three branches of government, we still have a lot of work to do in bringing this country into the 21st century, and the outlook for that is not too good.

Remember gay marriage/rights? I know, you too forgot about it when you were cheering for Pro-Life Bob Casey is his defeat Rick Santorum. The bad news is that one largest civil rights issues of our time just took another large step backward on Tuesday. According to the New York Times:
Just because progressives came up with a turnout-driving alternative on the left doesn't mean the gay marriage issue disappeared as an Election Day option on the right. In fact, voters in seven states approved constitutional amendments to bar same-sex marriage. Those states - Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin; bring to 23 the number of states that have written provisions limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman into their state constitutions, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute.

This is a very telling sign and will be the start of something much larger, if we do not put a stop to homophobia and ignorance at the ground level, starting now. I'm going to assume that you don't tolerate racism and racial slurs in your everyday life? Then why do we let homophobia slide by? Why do we have to tolerate bigotry, if it comes out of someone's religion? If I were to say that interracial marriage was against my religion, you would call me a racist, and you would be right. Then why is it more tolerable to be against marriage on the basis of sex? Bigotry is bigotry no matter how you slice it and it should not be tolerated by anyone, let alone someone who claims to believe in democratic ideals.

I can’t stress enough that Democrats from left to right need to take this issue on as a civil rights issue before it’s too late. If these religious ideologues can tell us the sex of the person we can marry, why not the religion? Or the race. It really is time to stop pussy footing around people who are against this issue for any reason and call them out. Civil rights are not just a legal issues, but issues of consciousness, and changing belief and thought is much more difficult than changing law. We need to challenge these backward ideas and we need to start now, in our communities, our schools and our workplaces.

The good news is that you can start at today's Constitutional Convention at the Massachusetts State House. According to TakeMassAction:
Show up at the State House anytime you can but the earlier the better. We expect to be greatly out-numbered by our anti-gay opponents. They are busing people in from all over the state and even from other states. The outcome of today's vote is uncertain. We need everyone who cares about equality to be at the State House. Gay or straight - if you care, be there. We cannot expect to be granted our rights, we need to fight for them. No social justice movement in history has had their rights handed to them. It takes all of us together to make change. You have an opportunity to impact the future of LGBT rights in this country. Do something. Show up. I will see you there.

I don't even want to get into the fact that the people preaching for states' rights on the abortion issue are the same ones busing people to events in other states to protest...Anyway, here's your chance, I'll be down there on my lunch break, say hi if you see me.

08 November 2006

Happy Day

Now that most of the votes are in, it's time to celebrate the change that was set in motion last night. Deval Patrick is our Governor, and this is just a preview of what is to come:

This was not a victory just for me. This was not a victory just for Democrats. This was a victory for hope.

If you missed it, you should read the transcript of his victory speech.

The Democrats have taken the House, and are currently two wins (in Virginia and Montana) short of taking the Senate. James Webb's victory in Virginia will likely lead to recounts, but for now, it is hopeful. The results from the Montana race between Tester and Burns should be in later today.

In Missouri, Claire McCaskill's victory was made all the better after the drama concerning her stem cell research ad. And in South Dakota, voters rejected the controversial abortion ban that would allow an abortion only to save the mother's life.

Let's hope that these changes mean that we will have more answers and accountability from the White House. Let's hope that for the next two years, the Bush administration will have some 'splainin to do. Today is hopeful, indeed.

Update: Further rejoicing!

07 November 2006

Goodnight and Good Luck

Tonight was a great night for Massachusetts and the country. We've got a governor who respects his constituents and who has a positive agenda to move the state forward. We've returned a mostly progressive Congressional delegation to Washington. And they'll return to a House of Representatives in which they'll be part of the majority, which hopefully means that we'll begin to see some of the changes the country is clamoring for. The Senate is looking less-likely to fall into Democratic hands. It's 48-48 right now, with Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri and Montana up for grabs. Allen and Webb are in a race tight enough to likely warrant a week's worth of recounts. Harold Ford is behind 60 thousand with 88 percent in. Tester's leading in the early going and seems poised to pull it off in Montana. I don't know which half of Missouri is left at this point, but Claire McCaskill is down six to Jim Talent and it seems unlikely that she'll unseat the incumbent. I'm not giving up hope, but it's feeling like a long shot at this point to take three of those four (a 50-50 just leaves it to Cheney), and that's relying on Lieberman to vote with Democrats, which is certainly not a given.

But, hey, this was a good night. We should be proud of what we've accomplished so far, even if the work's only just started. But that's a post for another day. Tonight, let's just be thankful that we can voice differing opinions on every subject and change our government without fear. There may be a lot wrong with this country, but there's certainly more right with it. Tonight, let's concentrate on the latter. Tomorrow we fix what's wrong. Cheers and thanks for stopping by tonight.

P.S. In Virginia, Allen leads Webb by 1800 votes out of a total of 2.3 million ballots cast for the election. That's .7% difference with 99% of precincts reporting. If I don't fall asleep in the next ten minutes I might update it.

And that was the last we ever heard of Kerry Healey...

AHHHH!!! Oh sorry, I'm glad I'll never have to get used to seeing that. Bye Bye Kerry Healey. It looks like you are no better at winning the state, then you were at winning the Essex 6th...Goodbye to your administration that pushed our state back 15 years. Goodbye to your lies, your culture of hate and your xenophobic fear mongering. We don't want you in charge of anything anymore and a good chunk of us are glad to see you go. May you go the way of Evelyn Murphy, Teve Torbs and Color Me Badd.

Fast Forward 20 years:
Guy #1: Who was that woman we had as Lt. Governor under that Mormon guy who lost in the '08 primary?
Guy #2: I think her name was Evelyn Healey? Yeah, something like that.

Sorry, Linc.

Nothing personal against the Senator from Rhode Island, but I am quite glad that he'll not hold that position after the next couple months. MSNBC (can't stand Wolf and Fox News is for gloating puposes only) reports that Sheldon Whitehouse has defeated the actually-moderate Lincoln Chafee in their race. Sen Chafee, I really did like you, and in a different era, might have supported you. But not now. Now I am unfotrunately glad to see you lose. Maybe you are too.

Really, in Virginia?

Totally ridiculous and un-important, but the race in Virginia's 5th Congressional district is between Virgil Goode and Al Weed, making this the Goode-Weed election. Awesome. Also, I'm sorry for bringing this to your attention, but we're excited right now and so we're laughing at things we might not usually.

More importantly: Brown and Casey are projected to win seats in the Senate; Ellsworth has already been declared the winner over Hostettler while Yarmuth leads Northrup. We're on our way. This night has been fun so far. As Lee just said, "Nothing bad so far."

P.S. Tucker Carlson is sans bowtie this evening. Is that new? It's rather disconcerting to have to pick apart his words rather than his cravat.



The Republican Party, We're Sorry

This is a little late, but with no idea about tonight's outcomes, I thought that I would share this clip from last week's "Real Time with Bill Maher" via One Good Move::

Talking Point # 2 "When they say the terrorists want the Democrats to win. You say, are you insane? George Bush has been a terrorist's wet dream. He inflames radical hatred against America and then runs on offering to protect us from it. It's like a guy throwing shit on you, and then selling you relief from the flies."

Watch the whole thing here.


It might not matter to anyone else, but Lee and I are ecstatic that Bernie Sanders is, according to Fox News (we're gluttons for punishment), going to be the next Junior Senator from Vermont. As my history professor once said about Bernie, "Everyone in the House gets to eat lunch with someone. Everyone. Except Bernie. He brings his lunch and he eats it at his own table." He was a commencement speaker at our college and he's been great for Vermont. I was more than happy to vote for Bernie twice, and I wish I'd been able to vote for him today. Congrats, you crazy (not-so)Socialist, you!

National Exit Polls

Just in case you stumble upon this site before myDD, Chris Bowers put up some Senate numbers he'd heard. Here they are:
VA: Webb 52-47 Allen
RI: Whitehouse 53-46 Chafee
PA: Casey 57-42 Santorum
OH: Brown 57-43 DeWine
NJ: Menendez 52-45 Kean, Jr.
MT: Tester 53-46 Burns
MO: McCaskill 50-48 Talent
MD: Cardin 53-46 Steele
TN: Corker 51-48 Ford
AZ: Kyl 50-46 Pederson
So that happened. That's six seats, which puts the Dems at 51 seats.

Stay tuned, we're all gathered in one room tonight and it's going to be a race to be the first to post when something happens. There's also some podcast technology here, but we have no idea how to work it, so we'll see where that goes.

It feels like Christmas

I have not been this excited for an election for as long as I can remember...I haven't voted yet...I think I saw a 10-year-old holding a "No on 1" sign in Cambridge this morning...Does he really care? Does anyone who doesn't own a liquor store or live their life in fear really care? My boss voted at the same polling spot as Deval this morning. What a way to start your day...Thinking good thoughts today. I want to be surprisingly happy tonight.

06 November 2006

Tick, Tick, Tick

After all these many months, the moment of truth is fast approaching. After all the speeches, debates, ads and flyers, the candidates basically wait for the next 36 hours. There's not much more they can do. Even those of us who've worked from inside or outside campaigns have only a few things we can do. All the phone calls, yard signs, blog posts, google bombs, and conversations with acquaintances and strangers are pretty much over. Aside from last minute "Do you need a ride to the polls?" or a chance encounter, it's up to everyone else now. Yet, we still have the most important thing left to do, the actual vote.

This weekend, some national polls came out that were less-than-encouraging, none less-so than the results of the Pew Research Council's generic ballot, which showed the once-gigantic Democratic advantage having shriveled to a mere four points among likely voters. All races and polls tighten as the election nears, so some of this was expected, but such a precipitous drop (though still a lead) is disheartening. The Democratic wave that seemed only a week ago inevitable might now be just a figment. Or, as I certainly hope, simply a statistical outlier come along at the scariest moment. Of course, the latest Fox poll shows the Dems leading by 13%, 49-36, so it's possible that the Pew result is unduly pessimistic (if a poll can be pessimistic in itself). I'll be rooting --- more like hoping and praying --- for substantial Democratic gains in the House, Senate and various Governor's Mansions (or corner offices in our commonwealth's case).

We should be around for most of the afternoon and evening tomorrow with updates national and local and a post-mortem or two on Wednesday. Please feel free to join us tomorrow or let us know in the comments what you'll be doing.