Archive for June, 2007

Progressives in the 5th CD…and Beyond

Progressive Democratic candidate for the 5th U.S. Congressional District seat Jamie Eldridge joined us, about 39 minutes into the podcast. The three of us endorse him for the race, but we had a free-ranging discussion.

He responds to questions about how he expects to overcome Niki Tsongas’ presumed advantages, whether women’s right to choose or health care will be crucial issues, and what we can expect from him on the Iraq war, mass transit and other key Massachusetts concerns.

Mike’s post of the week is more blogging-centric than usual. Over at Blue Mass Group, Bob muses on whether blogs can set the tone for the Democrats as right-wing radio and TV has for Republicans. He cites a Timothy Egan NYT column saying that talk radio hosts have wagged the elephant. “[P]ragmatism is being drowned out by the bullies with electronic bullhorns, who’ve got their party leaders running scared.” While Bob doesn’t suggest bullying the Dems, he does point to the increasing readership of blogs and suggests the potential risks for the leftist.

This dovetails with the cover article of this week’s The Nation. There, Rick Perlstein wonders Will the Progressive Majority Emerge? He makes a strong argument that Democrats are already mainstream, because the vast majority of voters have come to recognize that corporations and conservative politicians are sacrificing the nation’s needy and middle classes to their greed. The voters are progressive, just waiting to be asked to support our issues.

Ryan’s Blog of the Week concerns the looming state crisis on property taxes and education funding. JCSinclair, over at BMG, writes about the situation in Stoneham and how tough choices are being made when towns don’t pass necessary overrides. Of course, we can’t keep passing these overrides because they fail to address the underlying issues (health care expenses, mainly). For another look at just how damaging these cuts are – especially to our youngest children – read about the situation in Dartmouth.

Lynne’s post of the week was from Tony on, regarding the Eldridge/Finegold/Tsongas/EMILY’s List tangle. She was especially grateful that Tony pointed out this story, because she felt it important enough to write about, as did BMG’s David.

Speaking of which, here’s the video of the question that started it all:

Click To Play


icon for podpress  Hunger for Congress [86:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Love & Liberty Podcast

Lynne came in a little over half way through — she had been at the candidate’s debate in the 5th CD race for U.S. House. She said it was the closest they had had to a slug fest so far, but that no one walked away a clear winner.

Victory Lap

To start the podcast, Ryan and Mike celebrated the defeat of the amendment aimed at stopping same-sex marriages here. They looked at the aftermath from two angles — a little on what the anti-gay/anti-SSM forces might do next, and a lot on the type of legislation needed to prevent abuse of ballot initiatives, gaming the system. They dealt with the 1913 laws used to forbid out-of-state homosexual couples from marrying here.

Posts of the Week

It’s a circle in a spiral and such. Mike’s blog post of the week is another blog citing a blog/activism thingummy. One of his favorite GBLT sites is Pam’s House Blend. She alerted us to a new personal activism site, Fight OUT Loud. She cites the two gay men who acted when a Ft. Lauderdale airport employee began broadcasting homophobic rants over the loudspeakers. In Turning a negative experience into positive action, Pam points to the new self-help and help others site from law professor Anthony Niedwiecki and his partner of six years, Waymon Hudson. Not only did they demand and get action from the airport officials and the police, their site will collect stories and provide specific procedures for following through when confronted like they were.

Ryan’s Blog of the Week is from Towleroad. Amazingly, South America’s Columbia has leap frogged most of America on GLBT-rights, allowing Civil-Union type laws that,

offer same-sex couples rights equal to heterosexual married couples in the areas of health insurance, social security and inheritance benefits.

Heck, as discussed in today’s podcast, we don’t even offer social security rights in our same-sex marriages from Massachusetts – because of the federal law DOMA. That news is more exciting than a pot of hot Columbian-bean coffee in the morning. Freedom’s marching.

Fear of Gloating

The other citation Mike had was for a truly bizarre podcast available at Mike Heath’s Christian Education League in Maine. The local anti-gay/anti-marriage equality Brian Camenker called Heath with, as he says, “You know you can hear the gays gloating in the background,” moments after the ConCon defeated the amendment last week. Who know gloating was so loud?

Camenker dropped all pretense of liberty and made it plain he just wanted to punish homosexuals. He called them and homosexual unions “innately destructive” and stated that the Vote on Marriage folk lost because they didn’t directly attack homosexuality. He called the GBLT one of the “totalitarian movements” like Nazism or Soviet Communism. He called for a “complete overhaul of our approach,” adding that his side needed to do anything it could to defeat GBLT civil rights efforts “because they’re doing to do horrible things to you.”

If you have the patience and stomach, or just need to be astonished, you can click over to the site and listen to the Homosexual Totalitarianism podcast. There you can find out what he and Heath think Christian education involves.

icon for podpress  Love & Liberty in Massachusetts [64:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Eldridge Joins Our Podcast

Tuesday, June 26th at 8 p.m. Jamie Eldridge is our guest on the weekly podcast. We endorsed him individually and as the Left Ahead! crew during last week’s podcast to replace the resigned U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan in the 5th Congressional District.

He’s breaking out of the banana bunch of candidates with strong progressive positions. Listen in to see what he’s about.


Massachusetts Still Marrying

There’s copious coverage of the terrific victory for civil rights and equality yesterday, the stopping of the amendment initiative aimed at stripping homosexual couples of the right to wed here. Of course, each of the three of us has a take. Check:

Otherwise, head to Lefty Blogs and Blue Mass Group, for all you can eat, er, read and in some cases hear.

There shall shortly be tales of heroics, by lobbyists and that small group of legislators who moved their positions and votes for equality.

I’ll have some next-steps suggestions for the legislature and governor. Not today though. This is a weekend for praising the righteous, savoring the huge win, and as they like to say down in Louisiana, laissez les bons temps roulez!

Podcast Note: We’ll certainly have a podcast Tuesday and this victory and follow-up will surely dominate. More details will follow. We do know that this coming week, June 19th, we’ll stream the podcast live from 8 to 9 p.m.



Today is the Big Day: Constitutional Convention Time

Your support is needed. If you aren’t busy, come to the State House. People will be there all day.

What’s just as important – and far easier for anyone – is to call your state Rep and Senator. I can’t do that for you, but I can point you to this handy tool which will show you exactly who you legislator is and how they can be contacted in no time. Even if your legislator is pro-marriage, call them anyway. Thank them for their support and tell them to do everything in their power to protect equality. There are different levels of support; we’re looking for the “full support” kind.

No one likes to make unnecessary phone calls, but keep this in mind:

One phone call is worth 100 emails – quite literally. So, ignite the flames of your democratic spirit and get calling, before 10 am if you can help it. If you wait much longer than that, your legislator will be gone and it won’t do any good.



Stout Hearts Podcast

The Left Ahead! trio formally (as formal as we can get) endorsed Jamie Eldridge for the 5th U.S. Congressional District special election to replace Rep. Marty Meehan. You can look on our three websites for more detailed arguments, but we concur that he shows the leadership, the breadth of understanding of the issues, the progressive positions, and the strength of heart and character the role and these times demand.

We started early with updates and the best projections we could on Thursday’s ConCon session coming up. That brought in a caller, Wayne from St. Louis. He was concerned about whether being against same-sex marriage branded him (at least to us) as homophobic. We answered that strongly and he concluded that the issue didn’t directly affect him, so he could see living and letting live.

For a blog post of the week, Mike surprised himself by favoring Outraged Liberal at Massachusetts liberal again. LOL at The Paris Hilton presidency. There’s an all too apt comparison of two spoiled rich kids goofing up and expecting their parents to rescue them, yet again. Then get more serious as the blogger notes “It’s obvious a lot of the national obsession and her pals Britney, Lindsay and the late Anna Nicole is overload from the arrogant failings of the Bush administration. Many Americans would rather escape into the fantasy world of over-exposed celebrities than deal with the reality of Iraq.”

Ryan’s Blog of the Week comes from Chris Mason, over at Take Mass Action. He had a great run down of all the constitutional conventions, titled “Constitutional Convention – Part 17.” If anyone is interested in the history we have going here, it’s a great blog to read. Like Chris Mason, Ryan is sick of these ConCons and would rather spend his time doing “a million other things,” but you’ll see Ryan, Chris Mason and Mike there this Thursday too, as well as hundreds of others, fighting for equal rights.

icon for podpress  Faint Hearts/Stout Hearts [65:55m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Boston’s Pride Parade

On last week’s episode of LeftAhead, I talked at length about the upcoming Pride Parade – that took place yesterday. I posted a bunch of photos on my website and am proud to say the whole thing went off without a hitch. The weather was stinky, but not bad. I couldn’t even dream of counting the huge number of people who came, but I’m sure the Boston Police Department has some kind of estimate.

A good time was had by all. The Governor was there, marching with everyone else. Countless religious groups were present, prompting my comment to a friend, “so much for the anti-gay crowd using religion as an argument for marriage equality.” Of course, there were the half-naked men and women, politicians, and rainbow flags. It isn’t every day you can get that trifecta marching hand in hand.

I almost always find parades dreadfully boring and definately not my thing, even when I was a kid. However, I finally realize why the fundamentalists have such a problem with us in this country: we’re too much fun. They just can’t handle it. Never before have I been to a parade where I laughed so much and had a good time. I’m sure my friends and I will be back again next year.



DINOs and Diehards for Your Ears

Ryan and Lynne both went to the 5th Congressional District candidates’ forum in Hudson last Saturday. Again, Jamie Eldridge set himself apart from the other candidates. He had a firm single-payer and now attitude while opponents had a wait-and-see on the Massachusetts plan or a free-market view.

Whether that becomes a hot button with voters remains to be seen. This is key, particularly as some established pols, such as U.S. Rep. Barney Frank endorsed (just today) Niki Tsongas. This district is really out of Barney’s turf, and his position on issues such as health care are closer to Jamie’s than Niki’s. TBD.

There’ll be at least one more candidate forum. See Dick Howe’s blog for details. July 18th, Monday, at 8:30 a.m., candidates will be at UMASS Lowell for a breakfast forum.

To the anti-marriage-equality amendment initiative coming up at this month’s ConCon, maybe as early as June 14th, all three Left Ahead! podcasters concluded that we must stop it anyway we can. We see huge power in new Senate President Therese Murray’s hands. All she need do is act like the past several in her position and dictate what happens to this dreadful attempt to write discrimination into our constitution for the first time, going back to colonial days. We are nearly at 75% of the legislators opposed to advancing this awful attempt to strip a minority of existing rights. Killing it procedurally is fine with us.

Lynne’s post of the week was Blue Mass Group’s Charley on the MTA posting on Firedoglake, a popular national blog. Shifting the Health Care Discussion: The Obama Plan was diving into this national pool, something Lynne thinks we local bloggers should do more often. Charley discussed Sen. Obama’s plans and concluded with a call to action, “Considering the fierce mix of special interests involved, there’s no way our politicians will do any of the right things without massive pressure from the outside.”

Mike’s blog post of the week is a grand compare-and-contrast essay on two multi-millionaires by Outraged Liberal at Massachusetts Liberal, a.k.a. baystateliberal. A Tale of Two Salesmen has the moral of how you know people by their deeds.

The prototypical carpetbagger, Bain Capital co-founder Willard Mitt Romney stands in firm contrast to adman and co-founder of Hill, Holliday, Connors and Cosmopoulos Jack Connors. They both have lived by sales and persuasion. Romney hits and runs, taking his cash with him. Connors was born and raised, and still lives, here. He has never stopped helping Boston, and, as we think of him now, is adding starting summer camps for poor kids to his good works.

Ryan’s Blog of the Week is Joe’s diary over at Blue Mass Group. For a very long time, he’s been a conservative person and a religious person. However, he’s finally realized that his Catholicism and gay marriage have nothing to do with each other – and I’m proud to say, just days before the upcoming Constitutional Convention, has switched positions and now favors marriage equality. Let’s hope the rest of the state – and especially a few legislators – do the same.

icon for podpress  DINOs and Diehards [53:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Deval’s Learning Good

Or, should I say, well? Yes I should. Learning. It’s kind of important. It’s something even extremely intelligent Governors do, like Deval Patrick. That’s the theme I wrote about over at Ryan’s Take – and I didn’t want any LeftAhead listeners and followers to miss out. NECN created a great documentary following Deval Patrick’s first 100 days in office: it’s truly something to watch. Luckily, you can do so online or catch it on one of its many time slots listed below.

Friday, June 1, 7pm
Saturday, June 2, 8pm
Sunday, June 3, 11am
Monday, June 4, 4pm
Tuesday, June 5, 2pm
Wednesday, June 6, 11am

Also, do read Outraged Lib’s thoughts on the piece, because he has some good insights on both State House politics and political reporting. Maybe we’ll get a chance to talk about this next LeftAhead.