Saturday, August 30, 2008

Her Tiny Little Shoulders

Let's get this straight - the Democratic ticket is Obama/Biden not Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama so it is up to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden to win votes in this election. Jack Tapper over at ABC seems to think Hillary isn't doing enough to counter Palin. "We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain, while their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate." Clinton said. "There's still time for Clinton to pivot and point out that she and Palin disagree on quite a bit -- Palin opposes legal abortion even for victims of rape and incest, for example -- but the Clinton-Obama psychodrama is very much present in these comments from the junior senator from New York. Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and Joe Biden, D-Del., risk looking like chauvinistic bullies when they go after Palin -- they need women -- especially Clinton -- to do that for them. Will she rise to the task?" counters Tapper. Really? Am I to assume that she should attack her unfairly as she was attacked? Heaping scorn so heavy Obama's psueda Greek Parthenon would buckle under the weight of it. For all we know Hillary could have gotten that press release approved by the Obama campaign, after all both sides reported on how easy negotiations were between both camps leading up to the convention. But it really doesn't matter a wit because this is Obama's campaign to win or lose - not Hillary's. Yes, Hillary said she would do anything that was asked of her to help him win the White House. I believe her. But that does not include selling out her principles . Those of us that have taken upon ourselves to be, how should we say it, guardian angels of Hillary and her legacy, thought that was understood. That it didn't need to be said.

We have broken both gender and racial barriers in this election. I relish that and I am excited that we will also break another gender or racial barrier with the election of Sarah Palin as the first woman Vice President or Barack Obama as the first mixed race President. This is a huge breakthrough anyway you slice it. Hillary Clinton, and her supporters, as well as Geraldine Ferraro and many others have worked hard and in doing so have made Sarah Palin's ascension possible. Geraldine Ferraro notes the chasm of time between her candidacy and Palin's, "I've spent a lot of time over the last 24 years saying, 'Gosh, I wish I weren't the only one,' " Ms. Ferraro told a New York TV station. I will not stand by while others try diminish the significance of this decision or the integrity of Sarah Palin or the character of Hillary Clinton in any way. James Clyburn, the Representative from South Carolina who has gotten in the habit of stirring the racial pot, and who Bill Clinton no longer considers a friend, had the audacity to attack both Palin and Ferraro. According to a news release from the station, Democratic Congressman Clyburn of South Carolina attacked Sarah Palin on South Carolina ETV Radio this morning, comparing her unfavorably to both Dan Quayle and Geraldine Ferraro: "I do believe that McCain has to do something to reshuffle the cards, shake up the establishment, do something unexpected and Governor Palin...has all the kinds of things that McCain might see as a way to shake things up. I think (her selection) would be something similar to Dan Quayle...Dan Quayle proved to be sort of an embarrassment as a campaigner. Being thrust on a national stage like that could be very tough. Now Mondale tried to shake things up by going with Geraldine Ferraro...she proved to be a disaster as a running mate. And as a campaigner, she was absolutely awful." This is how we honor women and their accomplishments in our society? Pathetic indeed.

Well, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a lady and will only press a point or ask a tough question if it is needed or relevant. She isn't going to be your attack dog, now, especially considering how she was treated but she also won't do it because she knows that Sarah Palin is correct when she said “It was rightly noted in Denver that Hillary made 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, It turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.” Both Hillary and Sarah will honor the thread that connects their historical triumphs. Also, lest we not forget when Hillary Rodham Clinton went in a bright yellow pantsuit to speak to the State of the Black Union with nothing but love in her heart - political courage draped around her neck like an understated strand of pearls. She offered her apologies for any misunderstandings and was determined to maintain her commitments and friendships. She did this after many other guests of this forum attacked her husband unfairly and ignored the fact that this man, William Jefferson Clinton, had worked his entire life bringing people together. But I haven't heard a word from Jesse Jackson Jr. for his over the top yet slight of hand character attack on Hillary's tears, or a peep out of Chris Rock when he told an audiance not to vote for 'that white lady,' let alone nary a single utter of regret from Senator Obama and his use of the race card. From Sean Wilentz's "Race Man," "A review of what actually happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the "race card" were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent, college-educated white liberals as well as college students. The Clinton campaign, in fact, has not racialized the campaign, and never had any reason to do so. Rather the Obama campaign and its supporters, well-prepared to play the "race-baiter card" before the primaries began, launched it with a vengeance when Obama ran into dire straits after his losses in New Hampshire and Nevada--and thereby created a campaign myth that has turned into an incontrovertible truth among political pundits, reporters, and various Obama supporters." And guess what else? It cuts both ways. Ardent Hillary supporters are watching and recording history. Votes have to be won, respect has to be earned, leadership needs to be demonstrated, and relationships have to be healed and nurtured by all. Not just Hillary. That is too much for just her tiny little shoulders.

America and the world is waiting to finally see real leadership as we have been suffering eight long years with out it under the Bush Administration. So far McCain and Palin are winning on the leadership front. There needs to be shared responsibility for leadership and an ability to acknowledge the truth and learn from past mistakes. We all have work to do including Hillary Clinton!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hillary Clinton for Senate Majority Leader

From Janet Levy

Dear Hillary Supporters:

I would encourage you to write a letter to the DSC Committee urging them to elect Hillary to the Senate Majority Leader Position next January.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Phone: (202) 224-2447
Fax: (202) 969-0354

or contact the DSCC

Hillary needs to be Majority Leader come next January, 2009. This will add to her resume for the next Presidential elections. I hope you all had an opportunity to watch her this week at the DNC. I personally feel she delivered a superb speech one of her best. This Lady showed America and the World how classy and smart she is. I have not lost hope. Hillary can still be our first Woman President.

Have a safe and happy weekend.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

18 Million Voices, a Puma for All Seasons & the DNC Cabal

18 million strong and new movements and counter movements springing up everywhere - democracy seems to be bursting at the seams these days. Which takes me to the latest activist group formed - The New Agenda - their mission is to promote women's interest from a non partisan perspective. And the ClintonDems are continuing our fight for what we believe in - one person one vote, fair and free elections - the ClintonDems have been fighting the unfair and undemocratic caucus system since Iowa! They are helping distribute a documentary to bring to light the subverting of our democracy. Here is a clip - check it out and pass it on!

And from their ACTION Alert:

"We are finally getting to the end of this brutal primary season. So many of us have gone from being simply "Democrats" to being political activists. Average american voters all over the country have been working hard to make sure that our voices are heard by a party that has lost it's way. A new documentary about fraud has been created that is extremely important to the future of our party. We are calling on you to to distribute this video to everyone in your address book, to delegates, and to any members of the media you have access to. It is time for reform. It is time for party members to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves what being a Democrat means to them.


And a beautifully written post by sm77 over at The Confluence - sm77 writes about The 'Big Tent' of Puma. With the latest insult (see below) it is easy to say 'we are all Pumas now - willing to follow the inspiration of our ultimate muse --Hillary--but independent minded enough to know things are larger than her (e.g. democracy, the Democratic Party, voter's rights) and that we must stay firmly planted on the right side of these issues. From The Confluence:

"Today the mood’s been philosophical on the Confluence, and I wanted to write in response to some comments I’ve read in the NoObamasphere about PUMAs and our organized chaos (which is really proof we are a true grassroots movement.) In fact, we are the true remnants of Big Tent Democrats who formed the Big Tent of PUMAs."
"We are “Democrats in Exile” (as Mother Riverdaughter states above at the green tab post). We coalesced long before the RBC meeting on May 31st, 2008. Like a nebulae cloud giving birth to a brilliant star, or like the Big Bang itself, PUMA formed. From collapsing matter and energy that condensed to nothing and BANG! There it is. We didn’t know it when it happened, but after a couple of days, PUMA grew to massive proportions."

With respect to Obama's VP pick of Biden - Hillary Clinton 18 million votes Joe Biden 9,500 votes. That really says it all. Not that I was necessarily in favor of it, I wasn't and had many mixed feelings - more negatives than positives, but I do believe that if Obama had chosen Hillary it would have unified the party enough to win the election. The press hasn't been too kind so far this morning, "shows lack of confidence" says Ron Fournier from the AP, and fervent Obama supporters don't seem (how should we say) overly pleased either - even the completely reasonable TalkLeft bloggers aren't happy, "what a disappointing choice" laments Jeralyn at TalkLeft - "Can anyone tell me what Biden brings to the ticket? Democrats already have Delaware's THREE electoral votes. Can we now assume that Obama has chucked the 'change' mantra?" adds SueBonnetSue, and you know there are a whole lot of serious Hillary supporters out there who now even have more reason to be upset with the Obama DNC cabal. So this decision could even be a bigger "bone headed" mistake than that real estate deal - stay tuned!

Updated: Even a blogger at the McCain camp joins in with "Why 3:00 am?"

"Less than two weeks ago, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe emailed supporters to assure them that they would be the first to know who Obama choose for his VP:
People keep asking me if we're really going to announce Barack's VP directly to our supporters.

The answer is yes.
In the event, the press got wind of the announcement long before the text messages started going out. All three networks had confirmed his choice of Senator Biden before midnight. And then at 3 a.m., the text messages started going out.

By all accounts, Hillary Clinton was not vetted for the second spot, nor was she consulted by the Obama campaign on who should be taken--not even as a courtesy. If she had been the pick, the 3 a.m. text message might have had some real resonance--a signal that the two had put a tough campaign behind them in order to work together on the serious issues the next administration will have to deal with.

But what's with holding the text message until 3 a.m. for Joe Biden? The only explanation that makes any sense is that Team Obama just couldn't resist one last dig at Hillary."

Godspeed and a big thank you to all those going to Denver as the Japanese would say "eeenaaa!" - that's great ! I'm so envious !

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Clintons Front & Center : Right where they belong

There has been considerable push back by so many in the media as well as from other Clinton haters regarding The Clinton's prominent role at the Democratic Convention. Toby Harnden writes in his op/ed on Real Clear Politics "Fueled by an unholy brew of victim-hood and entitlement, Clinton's supporters threaten to steal the show at the convention" and Joe Gandelman writes on The Moderate Voice "But what is certain is that the pro-Hillary rallies, the Bill Clinton speech (which is likely to praise his wife and detail his own legacy rather than passionately urge Demmies to vote for Obama), the Hillary Clinton speech, the introduction of Hillary Clinton by daughter Chelsea will dilute the usual impact of a convention. Modern political conventions are now the best chance for a candidate to control the image and delivery of that image. Now it’ll be Obama by 1/2." What continues to amaze me is how so many people want to conveniently ignore the facts as to why the Clintons are such a force on the National stage. Since entering public life the Clintons have continually grown in popularity and stature - they are loved, admired, and respected by millions and millions of people across the country and the world. So what do all of us millions and millions of Clinton supporters see that other's can't or won't? Well for starters, the Clinton Administration presided over an unprecedented eight years of economic growth and built and maintained positive working relationships with countries across the globe. As Hillary would famously ask during the campaign "To those who say they don't want to go back to the 90's I ask which is that you don't like the peace or the prosperity? - paraphrasing." Secondly, before being the only Democratic President elected twice since FDR, Bill Clinton was a highly successful multi-term Governor of Arkansas and now in his post Presidency has worked vigorously to expand availability of HIV drugs to Africa and other parts of the world; expand economic opportunities for individuals, families, and small businesses in the U.S. through the Clinton Economic Initiative; and help 40 of the world's largest cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions - to name a few. Hillary Clinton's public service includes fighting school boards to fully integrate; reforming Arkansas's education system; to leading the fight for for Universal Health Coverage. Not only have both been life long dedicated public servants but life long and dedicated Democrats (despite the betrayals of those like Richardson et al and the Dean/Brazile DNC). To top it all off Hillary ran, and kept running despite the efforts of so many to push her out of the race, a historic and groundbreaking campaign, garnering nearly 18 million votes. Traveling the country and making her case for the Presidency, her supporters and fan base, or those that just generally came to admire her, grew exponentially - the more people learned about the real Hillary the more they liked her. So in a world where we respect experience, past achievements, salute our successful party leaders, honor the historic Hillary Clinton for President campaign and her legion of supporters the spot light will be exactly where it belongs on two great American heroes - Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Imagine a Generation Free of AIDS

Updates from President Clinton's Trip:

Today I arrived in a small rural district outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, called Debre Ziet, where a large crowd of people greeted us at Godino Health Center, a rural center that serves 45,000 people.

We announced a new program that will help 50 health centers across Ethiopia bringing HIV/AIDS and malaria testing, care, and treatment to more than one million people.

These efforts will include a focus on helping to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from a mother to her baby, giving more children the chance to live free of the disease.

Next stop: Rwanda, where I'll meet with coffee and cassava farmers partnering with my Foundation's Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, break ground on a new hospital, and make a home visit with a rural health care worker. Follow our journey at Clinton Foundation - Africa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lady Warrior: Takin Back the White House

After suspending her campaign - Brooklyn High School - enter Hillary stage left. A promise kept. An event attended {welcome to Brooklyn High and welcome to this event}. With grace our hero fights on. Leading by her heart, word and deeds.

So my heart was warmed today when I read a post by writerchick on about Hillary's latest deeds. Hillary's heart belongs to the Wesleyan Church or Wesleyan Methodism as it was earlier called. The Wesleyan believe that "Faith with out works is dead." Interestingly enough the Wesleyan Methodists have been at the front lines of the women's rights battle: "In addition to anti-slavery, the early Wesleyan Methodists championed the rights of women. The Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York hosted the first Women's Rights Convention in 1848, also known as the Seneca Falls Convention. It is commemorated by the Women's Rights National Historical Park in the village today." So walking in her faith - poised, clear headed, and determined to do good things.

WASHINGTON - July 24 - The American Civil Liberties Union applauds Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Representative Michael Honda (D-CA) for introducing a bill that protects the rights of English language learners. “Strengthening Communities Through English and Integration Act of 2008” will increase investment in English literacy programs, business support for adult education and training programs as well as other local strategies for integrating immigrant communities. The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel: “The ACLU applauds Senator Clinton and Representative Honda for introducing a language rights bill. The ‘Strengthening Communities Through English and Integration Act of 2008’ will accelerate the integration of immigrant communities.

“Over 50 million people speak a language other than English at home. An estimated 11 million to 21 million U.S. citizens and permanent residents with limited English proficiency live in the United States. Nearly 20 percent of our population cannot understand English to a degree that allows them to interact with government, schools, businesses, medical providers and emergency personnel.”

DELAWARE ELECTRIC - July 24 - Senator Hillary Clinton is asking the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to support a renewable energy plan proposed by Delaware County. The proposed plan would take water at the Cannonsville Reservoir along with three others in upstate New York and produce enough clean energy to power about 20,000 homes. Senator Clinton stressed the project is critical to these reservoir communities because their economic development options have been limited in order to protect the watershed.
I used to have this re-occurring image in my head through out the campaign and it was of Hillary in a long flowing robe, her hair long and blond, small strands pulled back to the sides; her hands are folded in front of her and she is moving fast towards a bell that she eventually rings. When that image would flash through my head I took it as a sign that she was going to win. Hillary will win because she will follow her heart, grow as a woman & person, push her boundaries, shake off any more fears - not sure if there are any left at this point and live her life with a boundless sense of purpose. Our girl, our Hillary, our hero will always be a winner and a warrior.

Puma cats roar. Carry the banner - fighting - meowwwwww. Puma daddy cat roars. We're takin back the White House. Puma mama roars meet me in Denver. We're takin back back the White House.

Monday, July 21, 2008

As I See It

By Janet Levy

One of the headlines in our local newspaper today says “An impressive war chest-but can Obama keep filling it?”

As we are all aware, Obama has broken his campaign promise and became the first candidate in three decades to bypass public funds. His true politician’s side is showing through, not too surprised from this end. I find it appalling how much this Election 2008 is costing, with Obama being the highest spender of all candidates thus far! I understand Obama has raised $340 million to date during his presidential run.

According to political strategists “Obama needs to maintain this pace…to match his best-ever month - every month.” McCain and the Republican Party will have $400 million to spend on the presidential campaign in the months before the November election. Obama and the Democratic Party, in order to surpass that level of spending, will have to raise $100 Million a month” according to these experts.

I guess the Democratic Party is indeed anxious. David Plouffe says “we have developed a strategy- a very aggressive strategy- that will only work if our millions of supporters continue to contribute their time and their money.” So, how much are they relying on Hillary supporters to help Obama? I honestly feel I can’t because I don’t like how Hillary has been treated by his campaign, Obama, his supporters and the overall media.

Personally I would prefer to help Hillary pay off her ten million dollar debt before I make any other political contributions. What I find amusing now is the fact that Kerry is suggesting that Obama choose Hillary as his running mate in order to get our financial support, and of course our votes. I am still struggling with this election of 2008. I don’t want McCain and I can’t embrace Obama’s candidacy (and no, it has NOTHING to do with his race or gender, despite other folks perception as such!).

My dream is still that at the time of the Convention the DNC will see the light. The Super Delegates who have not as yet supported Obama will support Hillary and finally the Democratic Party will have Senator Clinton as the official Democratic Nominee. I am very doubtful that Obama can beat McCain and the Republican Mean Machine. I know in my heart that Hillary could beat him.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not the Church, Not the State, Women Must Decide Their Fate

By Marcia Pappas
President NOW-NYS

McCain…Obama…McCain…Obama…McCain…Obama... You're in the voting booth, ready to pull the lever, punch the card, touch the screen, or write in your preference. Your passion is reproductive rights for ALL women, because without that autonomy and self determination, any women's rights gained in the past forty years are for naught.

And make no doubt about it, reproductive rights are under relentless siege in the United States and around the world. Already young women, some of them impregnated by abusive relatives, must jump through the legislative hoops of mandatory parental consent and/or judicial review by anti-choice judges. And in many states, poor women seeking birth control must fight through picket lines while those needing abortions must travel hundreds of miles for far more visits than are necessary, sometimes encountering obstacles that are actually life-threatening.

For women with money, securing an abortion has always been easier. But even these women with means are far more at risk than is generally suspected among this current generation of Americans who have grown up with reproductive rights as a fact of life. Under our next president, all women will find it more difficult to obtain reproductive care, even if the status quo remains on the Supreme Court. And indeed those women who cannot get the services they need will again be dying of botched or back-alley abortions, as did young Becky Bell of Indiana , not so long ago.

Many feminists and women’s rights supporters are convinced we must elect Obama to protect the US Supreme Court and women’s reproductive rights. They know that McCain has persistently promised to appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices who will overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing abortion as a privacy right.

But would our reproductive autonomy be any more protected by an Obama presidency than by McCain's? In his recent effort to placate right-wing fundamentalists, the presumptive Democratic nominee has announced he will expand, to the tune of one half billion dollars, Bush’s "faith-based" initiative which distributes federal tax dollars to sectarian religious groups, most of whom lobby extensively against women's reproductive rights and lesbian/gay civil rights. The program itself flies in the face of our Constitution's required Church/State separation. And Obama, the ostensibly pro-choice candidate wants to EXPAND this theocratic machinery?

Many churches have “relief funds” through which they receive money to run programs for immigrants and the poor. If the available funds for helping needy women are funneled to service providers such as Catholic Charities, how will these poor women even know about much less get birth control so they will not be forced to bring into the world children they cannot support. Where is the “relief” for these girls and women? And doesn't this increase, rather than reduce the need for abortions?

Finally, does anyone connect the dots about the "faith-based" expansion and the fact that Catholic leaders in Richmond , VA just fired four Commonwealth Catholic Charities workers because they helped a poor Guatemalan teenager obtain an abortion? This is the same organization that already receives $7.6 million a year in federal funds.

Is it really too late? The Democratic Convention is not until August. Only a tiny percentage of super delegates would have to change their declared preferences, to pick the real, feminist, pro-choice candidate, and to curtail this sea-change shift to the center by yesterday's liberal who is today's new religionist. We of NOW-NYS oppose Obama's "faith-based" politicking. And we want a true supporter of women's rights in the White House. Hint hint, she’s really pro choice.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our Activism Worked!

Thanks to all of those across the country that sent letters to their Senators. They heard our voices and the U.S. Senate voted to repleal the ban that prevented HIV positive individuals from entering the U.S. or for those seeking permanent residency. Now hopefully we can join all the other advanced nations of the world who treat HIV+ people with more respect than we do - at least on this account.

Senate votes to repeal HIV travel ban
July 17, 2008Chris Johnson
Yesterday afternoon, the Senate passed a crucial global HIV/AIDS funding bill that included an amendment to repeal the ban preventing HIV positive individuals from entering and seeking permanent residency in the United States under most circumstances: PEPFAR passed the Senate with the Kerry-Smith provision by a vote of 80 to 16 and now moves to conference committee before being sent to the President. The travel and immigration ban prohibits HIV-positive foreign nationals from entering the U.S. unless they obtain a special waiver, which can only allow for short-term travel. Current policy also prevents the vast majority of foreign nationals with HIV from obtaining legal permanent residency in the United States.[...] "We call on the leaders of the House and Senate to retain the Kerry-Smith provision in conference and ensure it is included in the final legislation sent to the President’s desk," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. This is, obviously, a long overdue development and removes n of the last vestiges of Jesse Helm's legacy of fear and discrimination.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stop the Discrimination Against HIV+ People

This is a letter that I received from the Human Rights Campaign regarding our ridiculous and blatantly immoral policy regarding HIV+ people. Please send a letter to your Senators asking them to support the Kerry-Smith provision in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). You can do that by clicking here.

Dear Tim,

Former Senator Jesse Helms, the notorious author of dozens of measures attacking GLBT and HIV-positive people during his years in the Senate, died on July 4. Unfortunately, the legacy of discrimination against HIV-positive people he helped to create lives on in a law that bars nearly every foreign person with HIV from entering the United States. That's right – with very few exceptions, an HIV-positive individual cannot come to the United States for any reason, be it to visit, work, study or become a legal resident.

It's an embarrassment and an outrage. And at long last, we have a chance to bring it to an end.

Ask your Senator to stand up against bias and ensure that the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants is repealed.

Earlier this year, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Smith (R-OR) added language to repeal this discriminatory law that was included in legislation reauthorizing efforts to fight HIV across the globe, commonly known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). We thought we were close to finally ending the discriminatory ban which prevents HIV positive individuals from entering the country or obtaining legal U.S. citizenship.

But now, just as Congress is preparing to vote on the PEPFAR bill anti-gay Senators are pushing to remove this critical provision keeping the discriminatory ban in place.

Send a message urging your Senator to support the Kerry-Smith provision and to ensure that the repeal of the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants remains in PEPFAR.

This discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS is inexcusable, and the policy has serious consequences. It separates families, denies American businesses access to talented workers, and bars students and tourists from accessing opportunities and supporting our economy. And it is just downright wrong.

Because of stigma alone, HIV is the only medical condition codified in U.S. law as a basis for inadmissibility for short-term travel and immigration – the admissibility of persons with all other communicable diseases is at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Removing the ban would treat HIV/AIDS like all other medical conditions in the eyes of the law. The U.S. is one of only 12 countries – including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan – that maintains such harsh and outdated travel and immigration restrictions on people living with HIV.

No one should be punished by the law because of their HIV status. That's why we need to make sure this critical provision remains in PEPFAR and this discriminatory ban is finally abolished. When your Senator votes this week on whether or not to remove the ban from PEPFAR, make sure they know that this discrimination against HIV-positive individuals must end.

Please ask your Senator to reject discrimination and stigma and support the Kerry-Smith repeal of the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants in PEPFAR.

With your help, I know we can make real progress towards eliminating this draconian policy. Thank you for taking action today.

Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back to Normal

Can America finally move away from using the LGBT community enough so that we can have a break-through in the freedom of loving LGBT couples in California to marry? Will we be able to stand up to those politicians, people and institutions that blame and use LGBT for their own political and personal gain? Speaking for myself I am getting tired of being blamed for natural disasters, acts of terrorism, even prison abuse at Abu Ghraib - let alone the sanctity of my neighbor's marriage. Of course the Republican Party and George Bush used gays brilliantly - playing us like a fiddle so they could rally their voters to the polls. Mr. Bush wanted Americans to be afraid of terrorists and he wanted us to be afraid of gay people - particularly the marrying kind.

Now with California moving to the forefront of the gay marriage battle once again with the recent State Supreme Court ruling on the right of gays and lesbians to marry, right wing conservative groups have already started to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to ban same sex marriage in the State of California. But the LGBT community and their supporters are gearing up for the fight. Groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Equality for All are organizing and fundraising to fight back against this divisive amendment. One thing you can do right now if you are a California voter is vow to vote no on Proposition 8 by signing Equality for All's Vow to Vote No pledge. Another part of our campaign for equality is to get as many people as we can married. The idea being somewhat like coming out in that when you put names to all the faces of all these happy gay and lesbian couples and when those couples are your neighbors and your co-workers it will be a lot harder for those that fear us to deny us our rights - in other words visibility is key. Even where I work - UCSF - they are organizing a campaign to get members of the campus community to submit their wedding photos to help raise awareness and funds!

Hi, all,

In an effort to defeat the anti-marriage amendment, a group of faculty, staff, and students are organizing a huge fundraising effort to mobilize our friends and colleagues on campus and in the larger Bay Area health care community.

We are putting together our own website for this effort and feel it would be more effective if it included photos of couples from our campus community who either have married or plan to marry (or who simply feel deeply affected by this issue).

If you are interested in including your photo, please send a copy to me at my personal email: Please include your names as you would like them to appear, and the date of your wedding if applicable.

If you are interested in helping with the fundraising campaign, also feel free to contact me or join our group, the UCSF Protect Our Constitution Interest Group.



Robert B. Daroff, Jr., MD
Clinical Professor

All of this reminds me of a column I read back in the 90's by Rob Morse in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mr. Morse a happily married heterosexual male got it! He was wise enough, mature enough, and astute enough to know that the happiness and health of his marriage did not depend nor was it diminished by gay and lesbian people being married. To wit "They should do some field work in San Francisco, where the only normal people on the average block are gay couples. I live in a bungalow that was occupied for 45 years by two women, easily the stablest relationship for a radius of three mile. On my old block the two gay men next door were quiet, loving neat and owned a successful small business. The other neighbors included a psychopathic heterosexual redneck couple who kept .357 Magnum stashed in their broken dishwasher, and a zoned-out-heterosexual hippie couple who grew pot in a house with so many grow-lights it glowed like something from "The X-Files." Everybody else was single and lonely." wrote Morse.

Now we have a chance to bring equality to gays and lesbian couples in California; helping create the social support necessary to help foster an environment that alleviates some of that singleness and loneliness that Morse wrote about back in the "Defense of Marriage" days. Come on America just think of all these gays and lesbians as a bunch of crazy teenagers who fell in love and got hitched. If you can't support them then at least leave them alone so they can try and build a stable and loving family for themselves. The world won't end, the sky won't crack open, American civilization won't end as we know it but maybe just maybe some of us will have a little more happiness and companionship in our journey through life.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Unreasonable Hillary Supporter

Got the PUMA letter below via email and think it is a great and easy action item. During the campaign I always promised myself to at least do one thing for Hillary's campaign each day. Now let me promise myself to do one thing for democracy or to help right one injustice everyday. I used my own media list too and sent the letter below. I recommend you do the same so that even more media outlets are made aware of the activities of the PUMA coalition.

By the way, I watched "An Unreasonable Man" a documentary about Ralph Nader. The documentary exposed the Democratic Party's successful effort to marginalize Ralph Nader by making him the scapegoat for Al Gore's loss of the Presidency - complete with a stunning quote by a former hero of mine Jimmy Carter. He told a very large audience of people that Ralph "should go back to checking the rear ends of cars" (paraphrasing). The documentary also exposed how the Presidential Commission on Debates is controlled by big business. In light of this I feel I need to investigate some more and might consider voting for Nader and Gonzalez in November if I can't vote for Hillary. I am somewhat familiar with Matt Gonzalez as he is a San Francisco politician and I live in the Bay Area. He definitely scores points for being hot! Anyways, he was one of the few San Francisco latte liberals that didn't drink the kool-aid and came out AGAINST Obama early on with a scathing critique of his words and record in "Count Me Out - The Obama Craze."

I need to understand more about John McCain's position on LGBT rights before I would consider voting for him. I like John McCain. I trust John McCain. I know John McCain loves and has served his country honorably. But I will not support anyone who does not support something as fundamental as my civil rights. It's just that plain and simple. So more investigation is to be done on this issue for me as I don't know enough at this time.

PUMA Email -


Sharpen your claws and ready your growl. Action for today is to send emails to the following list. Copy and paste this list into the “send to” window. Copy and past the letter below (starting with JULY 9, 2008 and ending with the disclaimer) and paste it into the body of the letter. For the subject put “PUMA POWER”. When you have sent this, get on the blog and brag!

JULY 9, 2008 Contact:

Puma PAC, People United Means Action, is the Voice of the Voters in the Democratic Party. We are Protesting the Election of 2008, and WILL NOT SUPPORT the DNC’s selected nominee. We have thousands of members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. Our website is visited tens of thousands of times a day, and nearly ¾ million visits have been logged since we began on June 3, 2008.

In the last 5 DAYS alone, 4 of which were a long holiday weekend, Puma PAC has accomplished tens of thousands of political actions.

• Sent over 20,000 emails and letters to elected and public officials
• Sent over 1,000 faxes and made hundreds of phone calls
• Produced and distributed over 10,000 fliers all across the country in
24 hours
• Raised thousands of dollars from individual contributors around the
• Organized and executed several local actions in Miami, Manhattan, and
• Ordered sky banner ads to fly over beaches all around the nation
• Intensified our planning for Denver
• Begun work on a documentary with a Los Angeles film company about
this primary campaign and our Puma PAC movement.

This week is not yet half over. We have more and bigger plans for the NEXT 5 days. The Puma PAC movement is spreading like wildfire across the Internet and the country. We are the Voice of the Voters in the Democratic Party. We are the ones who win elections for those politicians who represent the interests of ALL Democrats in ALL 50 states, and who uphold the foundational values of Representational Democracy upon which our government of the people, by the people, and for the people is built.

Presented by P.U.M.A. PAC, People United Means Action, an unconnected political action committee. Puma PAC is the Voice of the Voters
( and is not affiliated with any candidate or candidate's committee.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Unity circa 1970: We've come a long way baby?

I believe one of the most important National events of the 70's was the National Women's Conference - The National Women's Conference, which was held in Houston, was the largest assembly of women in the United States at the time. The U.S. Congress had requested that a women's conference be set up to find barriers which do not allow women to actively participate equally in our society, and ways to eliminate those barriers. There were 1,442 delegates who had been elected at fifty-six state and territorial meetings that were open to the public; four-hundred more had been appointed at large by a national commission. At the Houston conference the women were of all races, ages, income brackets, occupations and opinions. They were black, white, yellow, Spanish, Indian , Mexican and four of the delegates were Eskimos. There were Democrats, Republicans, radicals, and conservatives that joined in the event. Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, and Lady Bird Johnson turned up to endorse the National Women's Conference. Along with all of these women, there was also twelve-thousand observers who packed themselves in the Sam Houston Coliseum.

The conference's charge? Come up with a set of recommendations to be submitted to President Carter. By law, President Carter had to submit the recommendations to Congress within 120 days after receiving the recommendations. The delegates accomplished a 25 point national plan of action: passed the Equal Rights Amendment; a national health insurance plan; a federal campaign to educate women on their right to credit; federally and state funded programs for victims of child abuse, and for rape prevention education; freedom of choice on abortion along with funds for those who can not afford an abortion; elimination of job, housing, and credit discrimination against lesbians; custody rights for lesbians; an expansion of bilingual education; an extension of social security benefits to women who work at home; state supported shelters for women who are physically abused by their husbands; and lastly a federal rural program designed to overcome poverty and unemployment.

The three most controversial issues at the National Women's Conference were the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, and lesbian rights. Even though support of the ERA, support of the freedom to choose in terms of abortion, and recognition of lesbians and lesbian rights all eventually passed - all three areas were hotly debated. But what was the driving force that eventually helped pass these "controversial" issues at the time? The answer was UNITY.

Even though everybody did not agree on everything, the National Women's Conference can be remembered for its' UNITY and their accomplishment of their twenty-five point plan of action. New Yorker Letty Pogrebin recalled seeing a black delegate wearing and orange armband in support of lesbian rights, a button favoring abortion and a pro ERA button. Originally, the delegate had only worn one insignia, that backing the ERA. Said Pogrebin, "She was the best example of the progress of those three days in Houston."

We've come a long way baby. But unfortunately in the wrong direction and down the wrong road. Now UNITY is used not to garner support for doing the right thing but to gloss over very real difference of opinions on issues; to push a candidate that was selected not elected; and as an excuse to forget about all those pesky things like voter's rights,one person one vote, and a biased and sexist media to name a few. The call to UNITY by the Democratic Party is not a call to our higher natures, it a call for selective amnesia really. Just as Hillary used to rely on the spirit of one of her heroes - Eleneor Roosevelt - during some of her toughest times in the White House for inspiration, hopefully the spirits of all those women that gathered for those few days in Houston and used UNITY to help each other find the courage to fight for what was right will inspire all us that are ashamed of our country for the recent primary election to keep fighting. Often I read or heard women comment during the primary that the country needed a new or re-energized women's movement. They, like me, couldn't understand why more people, in particular more women were not outraged and active. When three times the number of women go to see the opening of the new "Sex in the City" movie than vote for Hillary Clinton, a uniquely qualified woman during the most historic of primaries I think we can say "Houston - we got a problem." Houston with your energy, your show of UNITY, and your legacy - light the rocket boosters of our imaginations once again cause we've gotta long way to go baby.

Friday, June 20, 2008

PHILADELPHIA SOLE: My weekend with Hillary


Listen – Hillary is scoring with the older vote consistently. What does that tell you? Listen – Listen to your elders. Remember they are they ones that have been on this planet longer than any of us……

When I first arrived in the center of Philadelphia by train I immediately started looking for signs of Obama and Hillary. But at first it seemed that I saw more old Kerry/Edwards stuff. There was a great art poster of Obama on one of the bus stops with the word HOPE at the bottom. And on that first day I only saw one black man passing out Obama flyers; a group of young white men and women passed by and one of them yelled, “Hillary all the way!” I was trying to get a feel for how things were on the ground. These were my first clues.

When I say Madame you say President. “Madame” – “President” “Madame” – “President”

Stayed at one of the filthiest youth hostels I have ever seen. The room had at least 20 beds in it, maybe more. There was a club across the street so for Friday and Saturday night things were pretty loud. I was too tired to notice or care. I still slept really well. The 1st night the guy above me was somewhat heavy and he kept on moving around a lot which made the bed squeak a lot.

I loved walking around Chinatown in Philly. There was so much support for Hillary there. The first time I walked around I would say about 70% of the windows of the restaurant and stores had Hillary for President signs. There was one place with an Obama sign and another place with both an Obama and Hillary sign. I went back a second time when I needed a boost of confidence and a lift in my spirit.

Clinton country. Clinton country. Clinton country. Clinton country. Clinton country.

One elderly woman I met at a mixer for Hillary supporters at the Sole food restaurant told me she lives in a not so nice area and she can not put a Hillary sign in her window because they will break her window. Another gentleman from DC said that Hillary “is the whole package” once in a while “someone comes along that has it all” - Ben Franklin, FDR, John Kennedy and HRC.

Diane and Liz started Hireheels as a grassroots support (mechanism) for Senator Clinton. The first thing they did was throw a Hillary supporter’s party or Hilladarity event. And it was at of all places “Sole Food.” The second thing they did was a pub crawl for Hillary. They went from bar to bar in search of Hillary supporters and when they found one they stickered them with a Hillary sticker. This was campaigning party girl style at its’ best.

Chelsea’s mama not Obama. Chelsea’s mama not Obama. Chelsea’s mama not Obama.

On Saturday I went and worked out of the North East Philly office. A working class neighborhood so tailor made for Hillary. Sabrina and I went with these two Philadelphians (women partners I think) in a jeep, with the top down, so it would feel real adventurous! When both seats got stuck and we had to climb into our seats through the window we laughed – more fodder for our stories. Embellish it a little – I jumped in through the roof and sped away as an Obama supporter was hard on my heels.

Sabrina came from New York City by 2 hour bus. She only stayed the day. Carol dropped her and me at the transportation center at the end of the day. Carol is this wonderful retired woman who had driven from her home in Vermont and had been in Philadelphia working on the campaign for the last 2 weeks! When she talked about why she was supporting Hillary she mentioned that everything was on track for her to get the nomination until “this pied piper came along.” I liked her attitude. She even brought her dog. The dog stayed at doggy day care while she drove people from place to place, neighborhood to neighborhood.

The people in the neighborhood were really nice as we went door to door campaigning for Hillary. There were a lot of people that were genuinely undecided and were very sincere about getting more information. So we gave our pitches as best we could and passed out some additional hand made information. I had 100 Reasons to Support Hillary Clinton. We also met a nice elderly gentleman that was sincere and honest in that he has a problem with a woman being President. So we did our best to convince him to try and become comfortable with the idea. We talked about how other countries (some more conservative than ours) have had women leaders already. We also talked about the strong support Hillary has from military and ex-military people and how comfortable they are with the idea of Hillary being CIC. There was even a nice couple that invited us into their home. The wife was very interested in learning more about Hillary. When the day was over I felt we had earned some votes for Hillary.

When I say Hillary you say Clinton. Hillary – Clinton – Hillary Clinton – Hillary Clinton

After emailing back and forth for months, now I would finally be meeting Marcia Pappas, the President of NOW NY. We were thrown together when she wrote an OP/ED piece about Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama. She felt betrayed. Not in the particular sense of this event but in the over arching way – women’s work and contributions to life are diminished once again. Many including myself related to her anger and hurt. From that point forward we have been exchanging important campaign information. The Hillary camp has had to do a lot of their own work in the information/communication area as normal channels are working against us, e.g. the sexism in the main stream media coverage of this election. I was headed to NOW con Hillary at the Cobre restaurant; a Puerto Rican restaurant down the street from Temple University which was perfect because the HireHeels gals had organized a visibility event down the street. In between my sangria and the visibility workers was a Hip Hop Get Out the Vote event. It’s all coming together for you now, isn’t it?

Marched with the NOW gals and guys down the street Hillary signs held high to join up with Piper (another Marshan) at the Temple U visibility event. We were rockin and we were strong on two corners! The Obama supporters had their group too across the street and down a bit. The Obama camp also had cars or vans that drove around with either people yelling something like vote for Obama or they had his voice taped from a particular speech. Hope or just words?

By the end of the day we were on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania – an Ivy League school. Rick Sanchez from CNN was there recording live – “Rick on the Road.” We were told by headquarters to show up there back when we were still at Temple. From that point forward the rumors flew all day - first Hillary was going to show up, then it was Bill, then Chelsea and lastly before learning the truth a student debate with one student Obama supporter and one student Hillary supporter. I don’t know where all the Obama supporters were this day or this night. There were maybe 6 Obama supporters in the audience and the rest were Hillary supporters. I had to call mom and tell her to watch the show to see if she could see me. She did – twice! Rick kept pan caking his face during breaks. God is he good looking. He was also very nice. When the producer said we couldn’t chant Hillary he said a little chanting is ok. That’s when we began with “We love Rick” “We love Rick.” The other “brilliant” idea we had was that we put all our tall Hillary signs against some bushes just so. Just so that as Rick Sanchez sat in his chair asking his questions and pan caking his face there through the window behind him was Hillary’s name everywhere.

We’re not bitter! We’re not bitter! We’re not bitter! We’re not bitter! We’re not bitter! We’re not bitter.

People came from Canada to work on the campaign. One Canadian woman told me that Canadians don’t like Republicans and they love Bill Clinton. “I can listen to Bill Clinton for hours,” she said. That wasn’t the first time I had heard that. We were at a sign making party. Signs we would use in our visibility events. Visibility is about marketing, media, pr, momentum, enthusiasm, declaring, and democratization. We were waiting for the media to show up to see all of us enthusiastically making signs. The Obama camp was beginning to follow us wherever we went. Liz spun in it in a positive light – “we’re leading they’re following.” I just found it more annoying than anything. So two Obama supporters show up and start dancing around with their signs above their heads chanting Obama, Obama, Obama…I asked people around me, “We don’t go around and do stuff like that do we?” The answer was no.

As I stood with my {we heart Hillary sign} and 10-12 black and Spanish high school students who had come down from New York City to help the lady they love at a visibility event at U-Penn for a rally with Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea a professor walked by and stated “She will never get out the youth vote.” And I thought you can’t get much younger than these high school students I am standing with that you are so oblivious to. Ramon is this cool Spanish guy who is quite the charmer and fancies himself a real ladies man. He is very smart and was schooling me on what “Ivy League” means. He’s a senior and wants to study Political Science in college. One gal from the group made a great sign about “a woman’s place being in the White House.” This jerk walked by, stopped and said “I don’t know about that.” My gal said “I do.” There was another guy that was real hip hopish for lack of a better description. He had the baseball cap turned sideways and did a great take off of Obama and his statement about “just words.” Every 5 minutes he’d say “just words” with a rising lilt. Their leader was Patricia; a great African American woman whose husband works for the Secret Service and was on President Clinton’s detail. He loves the Clintons! She does too and her daughter calls Hillary – Aunt Hillary. They have been targeted by some others in the African American community and called traitors but Pat, her daughter, and these high school students didn’t take any shit from their black “brothers and sisters.” They stood up to them time after time, undaunted and unafraid. I really admired them.

I see this kind of environment in the Universities where some students feel intimidated to express their Hilladarity.

It was like a carnival atmosphere at U-Penn the night of the Hillary, Bill and Chelsea rally – all 3!! People chanting, dancing, blowing whistles, leading cheers, banging drums, music playing – I am woman hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore – spirits high!! The Obama people couldn’t stand it so they HAD to open the windows of some campus building and stick some speakers in it and blared out some type of hip hop obama obama obama trance making Kool-Aid drinking melody. It was hard to overcome. I’m sure they knew that.

The rally was amazing – 7000+! People were stoked and didn’t need any warming up. I called my mom and put the phone to the roar of the crowd so she could hear it. As I spread my loving arms across the land. Oh yes I am wise but it’s wisdom born of pain. When Chelsea was speaking her father just sat back in utter amazement at what an incredibly gifted daughter they had raised. That’s some testimony. At the end as the Clintons worked the rope line I got about 10 feet away. I stood on a chair and yelled “we love you Chelsea” “we love you Bill” “we love you Hillary.” Yes I paid the price but look how much I gained. If I have to I can do anything.

Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

Liz and I sat at a cafĂ© on Rittenhouse Square on a beautiful sunny day and drank wine and Coronas. Got a totally great buzz and was having an absolute blast while the Obama and Hillary supports down on the corner were having shouting matches trying to out do each other. Of course the Obama supporters started the fight. Lost my buzz when Liz said the waitress heard Obama was still in town and was supposed to show up down the street soon. Until I could kill that rumor I couldn’t stop.

I met Stephanie Tubb Jones. Walked by Mayor Nutter. Shook Terry McAuliffe's shoulder and told him “Great job!”

I was interviewed by Urban Agenda television. I really let go when they asked me if I thought the media had been biased. At this point we were back at City Hall but on the opposite side from the day before. Today we were on the LOVE side but there wasn’t a lot of love to be found on that day. When Liz offered some friendly advice to some Obama supporters they thanked her then said something to the effect of wish your candidate was nice like you. I thought “Hillary is damn nice buster!”

Sat with Liz at The Palm restaurant in the Hyatt Hotel where the VICTORY party would be held and shared a very expensive and not so great filet mignon with grilled asparagus, and again another Corona. I want my buzz back! We were sitting next to a woman who seemed very tense or down. Because of that we assumed she was an Obama supporter and wasn’t looking forward to the night. Ends up she was a concerned Hillary supporter that just wanted her girl to score in double digits. She said “I keep thinking 12.” She was somewhat paranoid or self absorbed but was very nice to hang out with. Affie I think was her name. She was from New York. Affie, Liz and I ended up sitting in the bleachers behind Hillary when she gave her VICTORY speech.

Marcia was standing in front of Hillary and me at the VICTORY party. She kept signaling to me the current spread, 5% 10% 12% 5% 2% 7% 10% (is Philadelphia in?) oh what a roller coaster ride that was. But in the end Hill was victorious and she was beaming with pride and gave a knock out victory speech (waves to dee4hill from Taylor Marsh with the red boxing gloves).

Who do we want? Hillary. When do we want her? Now. Who do want? Hillary. When do we want her? Now.

Day after and I’m damn tired; can’t wait to be home in my comfy bed and clothes. I had a nice plane ride back and the nicest Christian Republican couple sat next to me. They live on a small island off the coast of New Jersey where they run a hotel for part of the year. The other part they travel and teach the gospel; have interfaith prayer meetings; sing for Christ and other various things related to their faith. Of course at the end the really nice woman after feeding me sweet baloney sandwiches and cheese and crackers handed me what I think they call a tract. I thanked her and put it in my backpack with all intention of throwing it away the 1st chance I got. But when I got home I thought “no this was part of my experience too” and I placed it with all the other pieces of my memory.