Voters in eight states go to the polls today with the main event focused on California where voters choose the top two candidates, regardless of party, who will face off in November. Californians call it the “jungle primary” which was instituted back when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was governor. Arnold thought that it would bring …
Nov 22 2014
Transgender Day of Celebration is a new event, totally non-standardized, which has been added at the End of Transgender Day of Awareness, as a time we can remember and acknowledge the good things that have happened to us as we integrated into our new lives.
A dinner and community gathering to share in each other’s company, meet new trans*-identified friends and give thanks for the love and support of our community. We will also be having a clothing exchange, so bring your pre-transition clothes that’ve been wasting away in the closet!
Transgender Day of Celebration is an opportunity for trans people and all who love them to come together and celebrate. We celebrate our own trans lives, and we celebrate the trans people whose lives have touched ours.
–Jamez Terry, MCC Boston
I’m integrating some stories from unusual sources to help establish the mood.
Jan 16 2011
This diary is a re-publication of an essay from April, 2008. It seems worth publishing again in honor of Dr. King.
I’m thinking about times almost forty years ago when I sang, “We Shall Overcome.” I’m remembering how I felt when I sang it, holding hands, swaying, anticipation in the air. I loved the idea of walking hand in hand, black and white together, and at the same time there was always a tension, a tightness in my jaw and in the pit of my stomach, the presence of fear. The song’s purpose was to get ready to do what had to be done. I’m committed to nonviolence, I recall thinking, but there are those who are not. They shot James Meredith, and lynched Emmitt Till, and burned Greyhound buses, and unlike me, they don’t want me to be safe. Uncertainty about what will happen tightens my jaw, while my heart commits me to the cause.
Jun 30 2010
This image is of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi
This high-resolution image shows Petit Bois Island (top right) and the eastern end of Horn Island (top left) on June 26. In general, oil-covered waters are silvery and cleaner waters are blue-gray.
NASA Earth Observatory
Jan 19 2010
A few days ago, I discussed the need for ballot access reform as a crucial first step in opening up the American political system and removing the shackles placed upon it by the Republican and Democratic parties. Today, I’d like to discuss another equally important element of political reform which I believe is a necessary co-requisite to ballot access liberalization: electoral fusion.
Fusion balloting, which is also referred to as cross-endorsement or open ballot voting, refers to the practice of allowing multiple political parties to nominate the same candidate for the same office. This cross-endorsement can open up several possibilities for minor parties operating within the constraints of a political system like ours here in America, in which two parties are dominant: these minor parties might, for example, choose to cross-endorse candidates nominated by one of the two major parties, or to cross-nominate each other’s candidates, or to run their own candidates without any cross-endorsements, depending on what their political and strategic priorities are. At present, fusion balloting doesn’t affect most voters because it’s only allowed in eight states: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, Oregon South Carolina, and Vermont.
Jan 16 2010
The following MLK Weekend Essay is a reprint of an April 4, 2008 essay.
I’m thinking about times more than forty years ago when I sang, “We Shall Overcome.” I’m remembering how I felt when I sang it, holding hands, swaying, anticipation in the air. I loved the idea of walking hand in hand, black and white together, and at the same time there was always a tension, a tightness in my jaw and in the pit of my stomach, the presence of fear. The song’s purpose was to get ready to do what had to be done. I’m committed to nonviolence, I recall thinking, but there are those who are not. They shot James Meredith, and lynched Emmitt Till, and burned Greyhound buses, and unlike me, they don’t want me to be safe. Uncertainty about what will happen tightens my jaw, while my heart commits me to the cause.
Remembering these fears rekindles my old thoughts. I remember the policemen in the church parking lot writing down the license plate numbers as if it were the Appalachin Crime Convention. My mind flashes from people sitting in a restaurant who stop eating to stare and sneer, to the incomprehensible Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, to the repeated, threatening phone calls, to kids on a school bus yelling hate names through the windows, to the Klan and the police, and wondering how they were different. I think about the person who ran over my dog.
Sep 18 2009
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was recently interviewed by the conservative Washington Times and stated his opinion on a variety of current events. Barbour’s name has been floated as a potential 2012 Republican Presidential nominee and he appeals strongly to the party’s conservative base. The most interesting portion of the interview focuses on federal government spending versus state government spending. Barbour’s reply also reveals how quickly we have forgotten the problems of our past. Those who advance a states’ rights agenda and hold up the Tenth Amendment as justification often forget the massive problems this country faced when we focused more on individual states at the expense of Washington, DC. While placing more control in a centralized system of government has created some problems, they are nothing compared to way it was when the reverse was true.
Aug 29 2009
I should be feeling better–after all, Obama did commemorate Katrina and the flood in his radio address this morning. To his credit he also brought up levees and coastal restoration. But only time will tell if these words will be backed up by action or be mere empty words.
I have been upset and feel as if I’m almost physically ill. I cannot help but flash back, see the scenes of rescues and of the afflicted at the Superdome and the Convention Center and think of how so many suffered during Katrina and the federal flood and are still suffering. And I can’t help but wonder if Obama really cares about New Orleans. Because when I remember what happened during the flood and Katrina which turned the lives of so many upside down and think about the fact that Obama won’t be going there (which he wasn’t going to do anyway even if Ted Kennedy hadn’t passed) I’m depressed.
And others are also turned off by the fact that Obama has paid so little attention to Louisiana and her problems and those of her neighbors in the Gulf Region–a wound which Obama’s absence from Katrina observances has rubbed salt into. More below the fold…
May 27 2009
Election reform is one of the most important issues facing our country and our world right now, even if it doesn’t get the coverage of torture or abortion. The way that we run our elections and initiative processes determines who makes policy, the type of policy made, and the tone of our political discourse. If we ignore it or take advantage of the electoral system, we our doing ourselves and our republic a disservice.
This week: The results to last week’s poll, a lawsuit to ban electronic voting, “The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny,” online voting in Honolulu, the Progressive Party makes progress, photo ID laws, Sotomayor’s election law history, the disappearance of secretaries of state, and more.
But first, I want to say something about Prop 8 and the recent court ruling. It is outrageous that gay people in California now do not have equal rights, but the court ruling was more on how the initiative process works, and how Prop 8 fits into the state constitution than it was about gay rights. There has been a lot of oversimplification of the issues of the court ruling and the initiative process, so I’d like to dispel some of that (as much as an amateur election reform activist can…). Please follow me below the fold.
Crossposted at Dailykos.com, Opednews.com, and Congressmatters.com
May 24 2009
In this diary, we address more directly what I’ve mostly skirted around in this New Deal series – something I’m completely unqualified to talk about. That being race relations in the South. I know it’s a cheap shot to give a diary this potentially misleading title, but I couldn’t resist. STFU stands for Southern Tenant Farmers Union, which organization this diary will come around to after some introduction.
Delta Cooperative Farm, Hillhouse, Mississippi, July 4, 1936
(Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration)
STFU was an important progressive organization in its day. I’ve come across the argument that it was a key precursor to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. There’s probably something to that.
Dec 20 2008
cross posted from The Dream Antilles
Mississippi has long supported the death penalty. So it is remarkable when a Mississippi Supreme Court Justice writes a dissenting opinion in a death penalty case that calls for the abolition of the death penalty. In Doss v. State (pdf), Justice Oliver Diaz, Jr., did just that, he called for the end of the death penalty.
The Sun Herald reports:
Outgoing Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr.’s impassioned call for an end to the death penalty has drawn both criticism and praise.
In what was likely his departing dissent as his tenure on Mississippi’s highest court ends, Diaz says society finally must recognize that “even as murderers commit the most cruel and unusual crime, so too do executioners render cruel and unusual punishment.”
Jimmy Robertson, a Jackson attorney who served on the state Supreme Court from 1983 to 1992, said Diaz laid out a number of points, including that the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder, that were “pretty close to being irrefutable to anybody that’s objective on the question.”
The criticism in the Sun Herald article was provided not by Mississippians but instead solely by Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation of Sacramento, a right wing, pro death penalty organization, who provided the usual shop worn generalities.
Nov 19 2008
The gross incompetents and criminally negligent may be leaving DC soon, but there are still tens of thousands of people on the gulf coast who haven’t been able to rebuild… so we’re going back over Christmas, some for the fifth time since the storm.
What started as a group of 7 is now over 70 strong.
Show us some love… and if you’re near Westchester County, NY… come listen to some music: