Modest proposals for the 2010 CA state election

Proposition 1:
Equal Marriage Rights. Constitutional Amendment.
Changes the California Constitution to remove the following sentence: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Proposition 2:
Bigotry by Marriage Officiants. Constitutional Amendment.
Changes the California Constitution to add the following sentence: "No marriage conducted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints* or the Catholic Church** is valid or recognized in California."

* The Mormon Church took an official position in favor of Proposition 8, and as much as 40% of the Yes on 8 Campaign's donations came from Mormons.
** The California Catholic Conference took an official position in favor of Proposition 8.

Stupid on display

Every now and then, I get the tiniest twinge of sympathy for Sarah Palin. She's clearly in over her head, and I do believe she's a scary extremist, but there are times when the her inexperience in dealing with national media is somewhat unfairly interpreted as stupidity. I can imagine that it would be very easy to feel like a deer in headlights when you're desperately trying to avoid saying the wrong thing on national TV.

And then, there are things like this:

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

This is not Palin misspeaking. This is not a "gotcha" or poor choice of words. Leaving aside the absurd sense of victimhood and the attempt to bully the media into refraining from asking questions about her, this is a US governor and vice-presidential candidate publicly displaying a lack of EVEN THE MOST BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT. Either she's dumber than a box of hair, or she's attempting to deliberately mislead the public about their fundamental legal rights, and how they work.

This is the sort of thing that makes me really hope for an Obama landslide. The only way to develop a healthy civil and political discourse is to convince our political class that this sort of thing is unacceptable.

They're not even trying to hide it anymore

"For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."
- The Branchflower Report, page 8 (pdf)

"Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing … any hint of any kind of unethical activity there."
- Sarah Palin, October 11, 2008

"The reality is there was absolutely no wrongdoing found in the report."
- Rick Davis, October 12, 2008

This isn't spinning, or reinterpreting, or challenging the report's findings. This is just flat out lying about what the report says. It's not fudged, or couched in tricky language, as some of Palin's other responses have been. Some reporting has picked up on this, but if we actually had a functional political press, the lie here would be a bigger story than the report.

My Mini Meme

So, despite the fact that I've a well documented inability to rally, I've decided to start my very own internet meme, just to see what'll happen.

See, it all started about a year ago, when I stumbled upon this:
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Along with the caption:
"Here. Have a baby beaver."

Then came this:
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Which, of course, calls for the caption
"Here. Have a baby sloth."

It didn't take long for this to pop up:
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"Have a puppy" doesn't quite work, so obviously the caption had to be
"Here. Have a baby dog."

The latest installment came today:
"Here. Have some baby platypi."

So... given my lack of rally-fu, how to spread this?

I really hope Obama's people read this

I'm sure campaigns get a never-ending stream of armchair quarterbacking from supporters, commentators, and opponents, but Obama's campaign seems to have been a bit adrift for a few weeks, and I think this one's right on the money.

The way to deal with the “celebrity” charge is not to lower your profile; it’s to turn that charge back around on McCain. If I were advising Obama, I’d tell him to get up there in front of that sold out stadium and say the following:

My opponent has taken to calling me a “celebrity” in all of his commercials. The suggestion, I can only assume, is that all of you (gesturing to the crowd) show up at events like this and donate your time and your money to this campaign because you’re all adoring groupies who are obsessed with me. Now, that would certainly be flattering if it were true, but I’m not going to delude myself. The reality is I can’t act, I can’t sing, and my personal life is incredibly boring.

The truth is that no one would be paying any attention to me at all if I wasn’t talking about things that really matter to a lot of people. You’re not here tonight–and you’re not watching at home–because you want to be entertained. Lord knows there are plenty of things that you could be doing with your time right now that would be far more entertaining than listening to me. No, you’re here tonight because you love your country and you’re concerned about the direction it’s been heading over the last eight years.

You’re not here tonight to see what kind of outfit I’m wearing or to hear my latest hit single–and if you are, I think you’re probably going to be disappointed. No, you’re here because you want change, you want a government that fights for people like you and not on behalf of powerful special interests; you want a government that keeps you safe by pursuing a rationale foreign policy abroad and keeps your family secure by creating jobs, ensuring access to affordable health care, and fighting for energy independence.

That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re volunteering your time at record levels. That’s why you’re contributing your hard-earned money in record amounts.

So remember, when John McCain and his surrogates call me a “celebrity,” they’re not insulting me;
they’re insulting you. They’re insinuating that you are a mindless groupie rather than a concerned citizen, a fan rather than a voter.

But it’s not going to work. You know why you’re here, you know why you’re watching, and you’re much smarter than they give you credit for.
(HT Crooks and Liars)

Short Term Travel Plans

My dad's flying me out to LA next month (date tbd) and I'm going to try to figure out a way to make a quick hop up to SF.

Any dates that are particularly good for seeing and hanging out with folks? Any dates that are particularly bad?
Anyone going to be in LA in June?

Get that good-deed-warm-and-fuzzy feeling

Hey all -

Looking for some easy karma? Next week there are going to be bone marrow donor drives in SF and Boston. Head down to the San Francisco Hall of Justice on April 4th or the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on the Tufts campus on April 2nd and get screened, or just help spread the word.

The backstory: Erica Murray, a classmate of mine, was forced to leave Fletcher and return to SF when her leukemia came out of remission late last year. Her family and friends have organized a drive at the San Francisco, and her classmates have organized a drive at Fletcher. Obviously, we're hoping to find Erica a donor, but the drives are intended to get as many people on to the general registry as possible.

More info here.
Fundraising info here.