Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bipartisan Bush Appoints Anti-Birth Control Activist to Head Family Planning

Bush has claimed that he's ready to govern in a bipartisan fashion. His idea of bipartisanship? For starters, he's reappointed right-wing judges that have already been rejected, and has brought back anti-UN John Bolton for Senate confirmation as UN Ambassador.

His latest way of reaching across the aisle - late last week, Bush appointed Dr. Erik Keroack to head up the Office of Family Planning, which adminsters all Title X programs. Title X of the Public Health Service Act provides family planning services primarily to low-income women.

What's wrong with Keroack? He's one of the leaders of the abstinence-only movement, and has served as the medical director of five so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" that refuse to provide information about birth control and provide misleading information to pregnant women about their options. In Dr. Keroack's new role, he will oversee hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding designated to provide access to reproductive health information and contraception.

Planned Parenthood has a petition you can sign and send to Secretary Michael Levitt, urging him to replace Keroack. The man clearly has no business in this position. Sign it and send it on to anyone you know who is concerned with women's health and safety. Bush had six years with nobody telling him "no," on these types of issues - not anymore big boy.

Keith Olbermann - We're Not His Only Fans

We've long been big fans of Keith Olbermann. He's smart, funny, and unafraid to take Premier Bush and Bill O behind the woodshed.

Well it seems that the rest of the country is catching on. Olbermann is starting to get national attention, and his MSNBC network, as well as CNN, are steadily gaining share on Fox News.

For too long, Democrats just took all of the crap thrown at them by Republicans and their mouthpieces. But led by courageous people like Olbermann, Paul Hackett, and Jim Webb, Democrats have decided to hit back. Fight on Keith!

Alternative Energy News - November 21, 2006

  • General Motors plans a shift toward building and selling more small cars after concluding that most of the growth will come in emerging markets where subcompacts and even smaller cars are most in demand.

  • Still small, solar energy industry adds capacity and jobs to compete with utilities.

  • City employees get bonus for reaching 'green' goals - Aspen government reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 10.5%.

  • Adding to a flurry of oil-company-driven biofuels development pacts, Shell Oil and the biotechnology company Codexis announced an agreement last week to explore what they call "next- generation" biofuels.

  • The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles jointly approved a sweeping plan Monday to significantly reduce air pollution generated by port industries in the next five years.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Miles To Go To Improve Voting System

Sure, the Democrats kicked ass on November 7, taking control of both the House and the Senate. But there's still tons of work to be done, particularly in the area of protecting the vote.
  • VideotheVote.org has a great election wrap up. They document problems with voting machines, poorly trained poll workers, long lines, confusing photo ID laws, all of which created obstacles and disenfranchised voters.
  • In Maryland Republicans Robert Ehrlich and Michael Steele, candidates for Governor and Senate, respectively, handed out misleading flyers to African-American voters, falsely claiming that they had been endorsed by prominent African-American Democrats.
  • On election day, right-wing talk show host Laura Ingraham urged her listeners to obstruct efforts to protect voting rights by jamming a free voter protection hotline. Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) is urging the Justice Department to investigate.
  • In Florida's 13th Congressional District, Republican Vern Buchanan has declared himself the winner over Democrat Christine Jennings. The recount is over, and Buchanan has 369 more votes. However, that's not the whole story. 18,300 people in Sarasota County, or 13 percent of voters, did not cast a vote for the high-profile congressional race. Why? Because either they couldn't find the race as they scrolled through their voting screens or their votes for either candidate did not initially register on the ballot summary page. However, there is a chance for an entirely new election, and Jennings has vowed to continue fighting. You can contribute to Jennings here, and help make sure 18,000 voters aren't kept from their constitutional right to vote.

There are plenty of other examples of attempts to mislead and suppress voters. All, coincidentally I'm sure, by Republicans. While Democrats can use their newfound power to investigate, punish, and put a stop to further voter suppression tactics like these, Katrina Vanden Heuvel of The Nation has some ideas for how to repair and strengthen this country's voting system

Update: Salon has a great cheat sheet on "The GOP's dirty deeds of 2006" here.

Update II: Missouri's AG is urging the state legislature to pass a law that would protect voters on the state's "No Call" list from automated political "robo-calls". New Hampshire already has a law like that in place.

Unions See Opportunity in Democratic Victory

Organized labor is one of the strongest backers of the Democratic Party. And after having spent the last six years playing defense, unions now see the Democratic majorities in Congress as a chance to make some real gains.
We are going to be spotlighting one such union, the United Campus Workers, and their fight for a living wage for workers on college and university campuses, in the very near future.