Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How I'm voting and Why on the California Special Election's Propositions

My recommendation for how to vote in the California special election this May is simple: NO on everything!!!

Proposition 1A: State Budget

Though 1A adds 5-year taxes, it will also make permanent the many crippling budget cuts CA is making in the recession and impose a tight spending cap. We can’t afford to have our budget hobbled again. NO

Proposition 1B: Public Education Funding - NO

Only works if 1A passes. Can’t we do this through the Democratic state legislature instead of taking 1A’s poison pill? NO

Proposition 1C: California State Lottery - NO

The lottery ceases to go towards education and we borrow 5 billion dollars against future revenues. Why would we do this again? NO

Proposition 1D: Transfer of Child Development Funds - NO

This one sneakily masquerades as benefits for CA’s children. Not so! It allows funds being put towards services for young children to be spent elsewhere. NO

Proposition 1E: Transfer of Mental Health Funds NO

Uses funds dedicated to mental health towards the state deficit. NO NO NO NO!

Proposition 1F: Pay Raises for State Officials - NO

Though I sympathize, this breaks the underlying progressive principle of wage increases mirroring cost of living. Under this prop. State legislators and constitutional offices can’t get pay raises in a deficit. This Proposition attempts to blame the pay of our legislators rather than their actions, and is a distraction from the real problems facing CA. NO

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cute Leopards

We won a rare legislative victory in Vermont. Though the issue is on the agenda in many state legislatures, I expect most victories to follow the Iowa model of court action. To sum up the last couple days in civil rights history, some pictures:

"Zhang Jie and Zhongni, two of only 100 endangered North China leopards in capitvity" via the BBC =). More pictures of them at http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/E7fdpa-H1OL/Animals+Of+Hamburg+Zoo/MZ_5mXw4UXO .


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is gay marriage here to stay in Iowa?

Over at Fivethirtyeight.com, everyone's favorite nerd Nate Silver has a fantastic article up on the future of gay marriage. Using his fantastic regression model based off of electoral history of anti gay marriage citizen initiatives and the population of evangelical Christians in each state, Silver projects the year in which puplic opinion will shift enough that each state will vote down a ban on gay marriage. By his theory, such a ban would fail in 2010 in California and fail in 2013 in Iowa barring any major public opinion shifts. If the Iowa state legislature moves against the ruling right away, it could be on the ballot potentially by 2012, in which Silver predicts that it would pass. The sunny side of this though is that the Iowa state legislature isn't exactly raring to go on this one. One possible reason? Having gay marriage on the table in an election would dramatically shift Iowa's caucus landscape for the 2012 elections to the right, something the Democratic controlled legislature would love to avoid. With any luck, the legislature won't move against the court's ruling, and the marriage rights of Iowa's LGBT population will be there for good.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Iowa and Gay Marriage

As most of you probably know already, On April 3, 2009, in Varnum v. Brien, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, overturning a statewide "Defense of Marriage Act" in 1998. This ruling is a momentous occasion and a great victory for the LGBT rights movement. Additonally though, this terriffic ruling is a reminder of the clout of the courts. While LGBT rights have been undermined again and again in state legislatures and in citizen initiatives/propositions, the courts remain our staunchest ally within the government. Though it may take more than a decade, with a strong grassroots movement we can shift public opinion and bring about equality for all.