Archive for ENDA

After DADT Podcast

This week’s repeal of the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell (DADT) provision for the military may not be the parting of the waters we might hope. Most certainly, it was not the doom anti-gay sorts have been claiming for the 17 years they have fought the repeal.

Kara Suffredini, MassEquality‘s executive director, joined us to think about the short-, mid- and long-term affects of the repeal. Click below to hear her views.

She does not see a flood or even solid stream of LGBT-positive results. Instead, she is simultaneously looking over the next five to 10 years, with some victories in Congress, others at state levels and still others in courts, and fending off challenges from those who would overturn same-sex marriage and other rights.

Suffredini noted that MassEquality was a bit freer for other efforts, including some beyond the state like helping Rhode Island finish passing SSM there. While DADT was fought on Capitol Hill, the local effort was hard fought as well. She cited the many thousands of post cards, phone calls and visits to legislators, particularly U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

She discussed the loose interplay between DADT, SSM and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). She noted that marriage rights and who can serve in the military have been closely linked even before gays and lesbians entered into the equation. Yet, she does not see the DADT victory as showing a major shift in Congress on DOMA. Instead, this week’s repeal indicates an important change in public opinion, which in turn eventually affects lawmakers.

Suffredini acknowledged that this repeal was a shot in the arm to her efforts. However, she also sees losses like the anti-SSM vote in Maine last year as having similar negative effects. In her terms, once lawmakers make a tough decision, they don’t want to revisit it.

Listen in as she describes the work ahead and where she sees possibilities.

icon for podpress  After DADT [41:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Niki Wired for Re-Election Podcast

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas joined us to discuss trends in Congress and her pending battle for a third term. Following U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s special-election victory, seven from the GOP and four independents have targeted her seat for the fall vote. At her day job, she sees time and opportunity still for solid legislation after the financial reform fight.

Rather than seeming worn by the health reform and financial regulation battles, she was energized. In fact, she told us that passage of health reform energized both houses of Congress.

Listen in as she discusses the likelihood of energy legislation and even immigration policy revision. For the latter, she suggests that Arizona’s new law on immigration illustrates how Congress has to act on the policies.

We also discussed her positions on the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy and the PATRIOT Act. She tells us what she expects to happen with each.

She also addressed criticisms that she hadn’t sponsored enough bills, which seems to be a talking point of GOP challengers. She details her successes in such areas as safe body armor for our soldiers, enabling the National Guard to attract doctors and dentists with student loan help, and a new model to reduce sexual assault in the military.

icon for podpress  Niki Tsongasa [40:51m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Upcoming Podcast Guests!!

Here at LeftAhead, we love to have interesting and informative guests on to do the show. They’re often our best-rated and most-watched shows, and they’re also the most fun to do as hosts. So, in that vein, we have a lot of good, upcoming guests coming on over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 15th (tomorrow) – we’re bringing on special guests Cara Seiderman of the city of Cambridge, and Ken Fields from Boston, both experts on bikes in urban areas and what we can do to promote them. Of course, by bikes, we mean of the foot-meets-pedal variety, the kind that uses no fossil fuels, burns calories and gets people around Boston about as quick (or quicker) than any other commuting option.

Tuesday, July 22nd – Here’s a big welcome for Gladys Kravitz, aka Mary, blogger extrordinaire on both casinos and Middleboro. She’s going to come on both to talk casinos, including the recent Racino defeat, as well as her experience as a quirky, super sarcastic local blogger who makes some of the funniest political youtube videos out there.

Tuesday, July 29th – A big welcome to Gunner Scott, Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Gunner’s been extremely busy over the past few years, pushing for equal rights in one of the few areas Massachusetts still has a lot of room to go. He’s been successful locally, being a good influence on Boston and many other local communities in terms of promoting equality in housing and in the workplace, but there’s still a ways to go on the hills, both Beacon and Capitol. Gunner’s as involved as anyone in getting DC politicians to embrace a fully inclusive ENDA, as well as passing HB 1722 in Massachusetts, both of which would make it so, at long last, people couldn’t be fired or denied housing because of their gender.


Beyond Pennsylvania

We dove into the results of this weekend’s BlogLeft gathering in Lowell. Ryan and Lynne took the initiative to present a proposal for ramping up a netroots drive. We agreed to work together as bloggers for some progressive goals. Definitely to be continued.

Ryan and Mike both expressed impatience with getting a nominee is place to start the  general Presidential campaign. Obama has it and it’s past time to get it on. Unless Clinton won Pennsylvania by a huge margin of 30% to 40%, she’s done. He needs to get to the business of bringing in a Democratic and Progressive administration.

Posts of the Week

Larry Womack calls tomorrow D-Day for superdelegates. Over at Huffington Post, he concludes they’ll know enough after the Pennsylvania vote to clear up this mess.

So which is the more plausible path to the White House? Clinton’s better chance in the king maker states, or Obama’s shot at putting new ones into play? Or will the turnout advantage hold, making the party virtually unstoppable regardless of the nominee? If it all seems a bit much for you to sort out, imagine how hard it must be for Democratic Party officials, whose inability to identify a winner must be chromosomal.

The decision they come to — or their choice to dodge it — should become apparent between Pennsylvania and Indiana. If they believe that Clinton’s elector-rich wins outweigh Obama’s delegate-rich wins, this will be the time to speak up. If they do, Obama is officially in trouble. If they don’t, Clinton is almost certainly fighting a losing battle.

icon for podpress  Lefties Off the Dime [47:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


LeftAhead Live From…

Today marks a special occasion for LeftAhead! Not only do we have one live report coming from Mike at Larry Cirignano’s trial, but we have Lynne ready and willing to cover Niki Tsongas’s victory lap the Fifth Congressional District election. Double-whammy!

Mike hopes to be on as early as 2:30, but 3pm is probably more likely. Lynne should be on from the get go to tell us how the race is turning.

And the game was afoot…Mike did call in from the 524 train to Boston. The opening of the civil-rights/assault trial of Larry Cirignano started in Worcester. We’ll have to depend on Bay Windows to provide detailed coverage, because Mike is only able to attend the first day, motions and jury selection. The trial should go into Friday.

There’s more detailed coverage of the defense strategy here and self-indulgent, artiste color here.

5th Update

5th Update
The unsurprisingly tight fight in the 5th Congressional District had the expected result. Nike Tsongas defeated all comers (really the main player, Jim Ogonowski) 51% to 45%. That’s close enough that the Og might consider running again next year in the regular election. It also proves again that Democratic registration is not all it takes to forecast in our more conservative areas. That’s a pastel blue.

icon for podpress  5th CD Results and ENDA [63:40m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


ENDA — All or Nothing?

Civil rights, transgender, inclusion, half a loaf…ENDA has to be the most loaded legislation around, and will continue to be so. We start on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with this week’s podcast. The guest was Laurel, a civil-rights activist and frequent commenter on left-wing blogs.

Many lefties and some righties are split on whether to include the T in GLBT. Even original ENDA sponsor U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has come to favor this moment to get most folk covered in employment protection. That may mean revisiting the issue of transgender in a year or two or 10.

Posts of the Week

Mike was educated by Monica Roberts posting Why the Transgender Community Hates HRC on TransGriot. She traces the tensions and their effects at least back to 1971. Moreover, on legislation, she notes:

So far the only states in which the gay and lesbian community has ‘come back’ for transgender people are Rhode Island (2001), California (2003), New Jersey (2006) and Vermont (2007). In New York they are still having a difficult time passing GENDA after transgender people were cut out of SONDA (N.Y.’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act) by gay rights advocating the same ‘we’ll come back for you’ incremental rights spin.

The first gay only rights bill, passed in Wisconsin in 1982 has been that way for 25 years now. There’s no indication by the GLB leadership in that state if they’ll move to rectify the omission of their transgender brothers and sisters or if they’ll assign it a priority as high as the one they place on marriage equality.

Ryan’s Blog of the Week comes from John Avarosis at Americablog, who kickstarted the idea of focusing on this subject for the podcast. He wonders how strongly most glb people think of transgenders as part of the same struggle or people who they sympathize with. At base, the differences mean a lot – including whether or not something like ENDA should be split. While Avarosis doesn’t have the best record on transgender rights, he does make a good point that people have to come to some kind of an understanding before we can work as a fully functioning, diverse community fighting together as opposed to apart. What I take from that is we need to have a meeting of the minds, get to know each other and learn how to work together. It also seems that the endo f Bush’s reign is as good a time to learn that process as ever, given that progress could be much faster with a Democratic president and larger majorities in the House and Senate – unless we become our own worst enemies, working against each other. There’s definately lots of food for thought there, so keep an open mind and eat up.

icon for podpress  ENDA Conumdrum [64:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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