Pilots at Delta Air Lines approved a second major pay cut in 13 months Wednesday to help their cash-strapped airline survive bankruptcy. By a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent, rank-and-file pilots ratified a union-backed measure that immediately slashes their pay 14 percent. The pay cut comes on top of a 32.5 percent pilot wage drop last year. The latest concession is part of $3 billion in annual savings Delta is seeking to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection.
Bad for the pilots, but Delta dodged a bullet on this one. I think everyone knew a strike would have been rapidly fatal. I'd say "Fly Delta, guys!" but dang it, their prices are really high...
Student government leaders at Kennesaw State University are spearheading a campaign for seats on the state University System's Board of Regents. ... Currently, the 18 regents are appointed by the governor. Thirteen represent congression al districts and five are at large. Legislative action would be required to change the board's structure. State officials say they'll entertain the request but won't make any promises. Incoming University System Chancellor Erroll Davis said he would support increasing student input into the regents' decisions. But appointing a student to the board might not be the best way to do that, he said. ... Public university and university system boards in at least half the 50 states include students, said Richard Novak, executive director of the Center for Public Trusteeship and Governance at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Some are voting members of the board; others are ex-officio. "I think student trustees seem to work in most areas," Novak said. "They treat it seriously." ... Rep. Bill Hembree (R-Douglasville), chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, said he would favor closer interaction between students and regents but wasn't sure making a student a voting member of the board was the best way to get that. "If they act as advisers, they could certainly have an impact," Hembree said. Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland), who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, suggested that the students broach the idea with the Board of Regents before bringing it to legislators. "I'm not hostile to it," Harp said. "If the regents were dead set against it, I probably wouldn't do it."
Sounds like it's getting a real...warm reception. I'm not sure what my opinion on it is (what did I know about running a university 12 years ago?), but if you like the idea, here is some contact info for you, and the legislators' names above are email links:
The Beltline, a proposed ring of parks and surface rail transit around Atlanta, passed a major test yesterday when the Tax Allocation District (TAD) needed to fund it was approved by the Fulton County Commission. Having secured the approval of the Atlanta City Council and the Atlanta Board of Education, the Beltline now has an open avenue to the funding it needs. Yay!
A judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the transfer of hundreds of Fulton County inmates to South Georgia, interrupting Sheriff Myron Freeman's efforts to keep his jail population within a proposed court-ordered limit. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington was reluctant to decide one way or the other on a motion by public defenders to stop Freeman from sending inmates to rented cells in Mitchell and Decatur counties. But he finally agreed to give each side something at least until a higher state court or the federal courts looked at the issue. Arrington first approved public defenders' request for a temporary restraining order against the relocations. The judge then accepted a motion from the sheriff's lawyer to stay the order until the question is resolved by another court. But Arrington told both sides he did not want any more inmates moved until other courts consider the issue.
A new security audit requested by Fulton County judges has found that they should hire their own security details rather than rely on the sheriff's department. NPR reported yesterday that the audit results have put renewed pressure on Sheriff Myron Freeman. Surprise!
Georgia Watch, the state’s leading consumer watchdog and advocacy organization needs your help. There are two ways that you can assist us with our fight to look out for Georgia families.
First, if any of you are interested in a legislative internship, we can put you to use. This is a great opportunity to learn the processes involved with Georgia legislature. Not only will you work with us in advocating for family based legislation, but you will also gain valuable research and political communication experience.
The hours for the internship are flexible, and there is not a set schedule for when you would be required to work on our behalf. We will work with you to find a schedule that is suitable to your availability. College credit is offered for those of you still pursuing degrees at the bachelors level.
A second way to assist Georgia Watch is by coming in this week for any amount of time, and helping with our mailers being distributed. I know how you Democrats love to fold, stuff, seal, and stamp. So, why not come share some of that grassroots loving with us. Whether it is thirty minutes or an hour, any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Heck, I may just buy you a little something-say lunch-for helping out.
If any of you fine, sexy Democrats are interested in either of these two ways you can help out Georgia Watch, let me know. It would be great to work with any of you. Happy Holidays, and think Blue!
Branden Lane Communications Coordinator Georgia Watch 70 Fairlie Street Suite 205 Atlanta, GA 30303 404-525-1084 ext.15 229-724-8944 cell
In case you haven't heard, Bush is in hot water -- which is about to reach a full boil -- for ordering the National Security Administration to spy on Americans without court-approved warrants. Get the whole story here.
Bush calls this practice "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists." Then he blabs about 9/11, and provides more fodder for Satuday Night Live. You know, the whole "Bush changes every subject back to 9/11" thing. That's all well and good, and of course we all want to prevent another terrorist attack.
There's one little problem, though. According to the Constitution, you can't violate the civil rights of Americans without getting a court warrant. In other words, there are Constitutional limits to searches or intelligence-gathering. That applies even if you're the president. If you fail to adhere to those limits, it's called, uh, breaking the law.
And yet, Bush tells us again and again that he's only protecting us from evil terrorists. And when asked about violating the law, he insists that the spying is consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution.
That's when it gets interesting. Yesterday on Meet The Press, Tim Russert had old Condie on the show. He asked her point-blank to reveal the laws or statutes that gave the president permission to circumvent the law.
Not surprisingly, Condie dodged the question. Not like sort of dodged, but flat-out embarrassingly I-can't-answer-the-question-so-I'll-change-the-subject kind of dodge.
But Tim asked her again. He said, "The law is very clear that a person is guilty of a criminal offense unless they get a court order before seeking to wiretap an American citizen. Why did the president not get a court order?"
And again she tried to weasel her way out of an answer. She said, "The president has drawn on additional authorities that he has under the Constitution and under other statutes."
Tim asks her a THIRD time, "What are the other authorities?" At this point, it's starting to get a bit uncomfortable.
Condie says, "I'm not a lawyer, but the president has Constitutional authority and statutory authority."
Then Tim brought up Nixon and his wiretapping shenanigans, and pointed out that the Supreme Court ruled that he had violated the Constitution.
Condie responds that we're talking about eavesdropping on terrorists hiding out in the U.S., not ordinary Americans.
Which is fine, but it does beg the question: THEN WHY NOT GET THE COCKADOODY COURT WARRANT? This is a question that the administration simply can't or won't answer.
Things that make you go hmmm...
Now, it will not surprise you to hear that Condie is not my favorite person. But I almost (not quite) felt sorry for her. I mean, she knows the Bush administration is about to be in a heap of trouble. And she knows that she, too, will be in a heap of trouble because when this whole practice started, she was National Security Adviser. And yet she's tossed out there on the talk shows to say again and again, "well, I'm not a lawyer but...[insert yammering that has nothing to do with the question here]" It's sad, really.
But it's also oddly enjoyable. Bush has simply gotten away with too much deception, lying and tomfoolery, and it's high time someone hold him accountable. Especially since it appears that he committed a crime. And this time, it's not just the Dems who are after him. There are plenty of Republicans who think he broke the law too, and they want some answers.
You will all be shocked to learn that Bush has "no regrets."
If you didn't catch Meet The Press yesterday, you've got to see it. And lucky for you, MSNBC streams the show on their web site. And while we're on the subject of MTP, I'd like to point out that Tim Russert is the bomb diggity.
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As much as some Republicans hate "big government," it turns out that the Bush administration's preference for Faith Based Initiatives is not the way to go, either. You know it's a conservative's worst nightmare when the ACLU has to step in to defend religious freedom.
After exhausting all avenues in the Michigan courts, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Catholic man who was criminally punished for not completing a Pentecostal drug rehabilitation program.
Twenty-three-year-old Joseph Hanas of Genesee County pled guilty in the Genesee Circuit Court to a charge of marijuana possession in February 2001. He was placed in a “drug court” for non-violent offenders, allowing for a deferred sentence and dismissal of the charges if he successfully completed the Inner City Christian Outreach Residential Program.
Unbeknownst to Hanas when he entered the program, one of the goals of Christian Outreach was to convert him from Catholicism to the Pentecostal faith. He was forced to read the bible for seven hours a day and was tested on Pentecostal principles. The staff also told him that Catholicism was a form of witchcraft and they confiscated both his rosary and Holy Communion prayer book. At one point, the program director told his aunt that he “gave up his right of freedom of religion when he was placed into this program.” Hanas was told that in order to complete the program successfully he would have to proclaim his salvation at the altar and was threatened that if he did not do what the pastor told him to do, he would be “washed of the program and go to prison.”
After seven weeks of receiving no drug treatment whatsoever and being prohibited from attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, Hanas requested placement in a secular drug treatment program. Although a judge acknowledged that Hanas was not being allowed to practice his own religion, and was pressured to convert to the Pentecostal faith, his request was denied.
What more can I say about this? I'm just a dirty little Catholic.
If Government is so incompetent, why trust it with death?
When I was being brought up Republican, I was always told that privatization was a Good Thing because government was bloated, inefficient, and incompetent. (Well crap, it is when you let Jack Abramoff run contracting!) Well, if Government is so incompetent, what in the great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts makes Republicans think it should be entrusted with killing people?
Robert Clark has been freed after spending 24 years wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Sucks bad enough for him (can you believe he's not angry?), but when you kill your prisoners, you can't free them when you find out you were wrong.
Who votes for having The Innocence Project come speak to the group? I'd say let's invite Mr. Clark, but the man has some family time to catch up on.
Okay kids, so I'm totally cheating this time and unabashedly stealing a podcast from the House Democrats. Unfortunately, I am an IDIOT and accidentally deleted the address we heard from Allison Wall of Georgia Watch. I was just so frazzled between the Al Franken gig (heard on this show) and getting to the YDA National Meeting (from whence we hear from YDA's Communications Director tonight) that I just screwed up.
Instead, you get to hear what I think is a relevant and important address Nancy Pelosi gave at the National Press Club on November 15th about the Innovation Agenda. It's appropriate inasmuch as one aspect of the plan is the expansion of broadband to universal access in the US in 5 years (and you're probably getting this show over broadband). Renewable and alternative energy sources are also discussed. It's an ambitious plan, but it's so nice to talk about our affirmative plans instead of just griping about the loons in charge right now.
Okay, okay, so this is a few days late -- but there were receptions to attend, contacts to make, a flight to catch, and now the airplane recycled air virus of death to fight off. I can't wait to address our general meeting in 90 minutes, hack hack.
The morning started off bright and early with a Southeast Regional Meeting, at which attendance, was, well, let's just say there were some busy snooze buttons. Our local Stonewall Caucus chair Kyle Bailey diligently took minutes -- and I'll try to get a copy -- but it was a pretty brief meeting not replete with content, and after spending most of my weekend with the Northeast contingent, I started to become jealous of the sense of connectivity and unity I got from them. I'm not speaking for YDAtl as a whole or even the executive board, here, but I personally wouldn't know an Alabama Young Dem if they walked up and hit me with Robert's Rules of Order, and I haven't really felt like an integral part of YDG at the state level since the Convention in Savannah. I'm glad I went to this national meeting, because I'm really proud of the things that YDAtl has done and I got the opportunity to share our success with others; I think we need to put some effort into doing that collectively right here in our very Red neighborhood. (Perhaps that's why the Northeast Region is so tight: many of their states are all so tiny and so blue.)
Since the regional meeting broke up pretty quick, I managed to catch the tail end of the DNC People of Faith Organizing Session, where Jewish leaders were taking Chairman Dean to task for letting the council go ahead with publication of some faith strategy memorandum without the full version -- i.e., the version really addressing the Jewish community -- being ready, so the "ready to go now" version was kind of a gaffe. At least they were able to pass out some booklets from 2004 in which the Interfaith Alliance put together some comprehensive tips about speaking to faith issues and voting from several perspectives: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist. (As a Catholic, I have to gripe that there was no specifically Catholic homily included in the addendum of sermons. No Catholics, and they let the Unitarians in? Jeez! :-P) (You see, inclusivity is hard.)
The DNC General Session kicked off at 9:00, and I tried, oh how desperately did I try, to get Howard Dean to shout a quick sound bite at my microphone for the YDAtl Podcast. Unfortunately, I was thwarted by a piece of cake, his on-the-run breakfast as his two bodymen shuttled him into the room. (A garbled recording of "I have to have something to drink first" through a mouthful of bundt just isn't good radio.) If you want to know more about the General Session, go read the Party's blog, I was too buy writing the last blog entry. I do have to say, though, that I'm generally uncomfortable with slogans that they make us chant like some kind of zombified cult. Remember the DNC Convention in 2004? "Help is on the way," over and over and over again? This weekend it was, "Together, America can do better!" I'm sure we can, but we'd probably do even better than that if we did it and left out the far right, in my humble opinion.
After our luncheon, which was addressed by Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ 7), there was more training -- and I'm actually not going to say too much about it here, because there will be a more detailed discussion of it later. First up was a workshop on DEMopolis, which is a new online system YDA has developed is developing in conjunction with Democracy in Action for membership database administration and communication. I say "is developing," because as cool as it is in theory, it's still buggy as all get out; we are in serious beta mode here. But once it's ready to implement, it will enable us to create and manage email lists for committees better; allow our membership to be accessible to the state and national levels above us; give us event creation with RSVP functionality (no more eVite -- but I'm not sure if this comes with a spiffy calendar view like CampaignWindow.com does); and what I'm most excited about, allow for short text message blasts to anyone who signs up for action alerts direct to their cell phone regardless of carrier. There's also Google Map functionality and "find a Democrat near you!" type stuff, but I'm still playing with it.
Next up was a seminar on the The Chapter Revolution, the 2006 in 2006 initiative, and the Alliance Campaign. YDA, as a 527, can raise truckloads of money, and we can ask for it. The Alliance Campaign will solicit proposals from local and state chapters that have a candidate and an agenda to win back blue seats, and then fund the bejeezus out of 5 or 6 of them, to put paid coordinators and staff on the ground. 2006 (actually 2000 and 6) in 2006 initiative seeks to have 2000 YDA chapters by the end of 2006 (there's somewhere around 1300-1500 right now; they're still cleaning up the database), and to get as many chapters as possible to accomplish 6 specific goals from a list of actions they've provided. Lucky for YDAtl, we're already doing a couple of them, and are planning a couple more. Chapters that achieve the 6 (or more) become eligible for extra assistance from national, in the form of on-site training, literature, and schwag to sprinkle amongst the peoples. There's also the Dollars for Young Democrats (D4YD) plan to help chapters like ours develop a sustainable donor base. Add DEMopolis to all this financial and training assistance, and we will soon be Revolutionized! Giddyup. I'm excited, too. Viva la revolucion!
That's really all I've got. You don't need to hear about the General Session; people were appointed, reports were reviewed, and frankly, I snuck out early to grab dinner with the Jewish Caucus.
You know you want to come to the next national meeting, now, don't you?
Okay, so it's Day 2 now, but you see there was a reception, then another reception, then an after-reception party.... And now there is much coffee. Let's see if I can type this quietly enough so as not to disturb Mr. Chairman, who thwarted my attempt to get him on our podcast by having a mouthful of cake. Damn you, cake!
Crystal Strait, our new Communications Director for YDA, led a training workshop on Press and Marketing: How to showcase your chapter and get press. Many of the ideas offered up by the group were already obvious: write letters to the editor, send out press releases, blog, etc. We still run into the same old obstacle: so we sent in a press release, but they still don't print them. I guess it just takes persistent nagging and the steady drumbeat of newsworthy items. Something that should have been obvious but wasn't to me: do more commenting on other blogs as YDAtl. The problem with that, of course, is that there's really nothing stopping the Young Republicans from making really stupid comments on blogs and signing our names. Typekey, save us!
One action item I definitely want to take away from this, though, is to create a Go Team for what guest speaker Bob Mulholland (CA Democratic Party) spoke about: Rapid Response. We need some volunteers with flexible schedules and sign-making materials ready to go within the hour when there's a hot event taking place -- show up, make noise, get in the news. Kind of like Page's action alert emails during the legislative section, but more mobilized. Letters to the editor and press releases also need to be rapid response, too, with as much boilerplate text prepared ahead of time as possible, ready to go. You see, this is why I need a bigger committee! (Especially when it comes time to make the press kits for the fundraiser next month).
New Member Orientiation started off with your basics about what the heck YDA actually is, but then became quite fruitful as the various representatives shared their most successful chapter initiatives. Of course, everyone loves the idea of our podcast, and wants a copy of the workshop presentation I plan on making for GPS2006. Rob Dolin of WA described a pretty creative and fun sounding fundraising event called a "Straw Poll," where they bring out candidates to speak to the group in a mini-debate and then conduct a vote (with $20 bills, hence the fundraising). Some questions at that meeting about 501(c)3, (c)7, and 527 status were enough to spawn a new session today with YDA's lawyers to discuss the various tax status and finance issues. I hope I can go to that, because we need to take a serious look at our status. Finally, Rob Dolin and I had some offline chitchat about technology issues, to make sure DEMopolis (YDA's new web platform for chapter communications tools) is open and accessible enough so as not to require another YDAtl site redesign in the future, should DEMopolis become the Must Have toy for all chapters.
Scott Kleeb, a YD candidate for the 3rd NE congressional district, spoke to the first meeting of the YDA Rural Caucus, which I snuck into so I could learn all about cattle. (No, seriously, he explained some serious agribusiness to us - he's got a whole PhD in it from Yale.) He credits Chairman Dean's 50 State Strategy for really enabling his campaign.
I'm going to start paying attention to the DNC session now. More later.
Slow day at the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee
Apparently tired of dealing with real problems, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) today called a hearing on the all-important issue of... college football. Yes, you read that right - Barton is concerned that the Bowl Championship Series isn't a fair way to determine a national champion (in the "DUH!" department...). It's interesting to note that Barton is a graduate of Texas A&M; I wonder if he's ready to celebrate a national championship by the arch-rival Texas Longhorns? Hm...
Greetings from Phoenix, where it's a delightful dry 70 degree and sunny day. The DNC Fall Meeting is in its second day and the YDA National Meeting is just getting started. The Governor (Dean, silly) is buzzing around as usual and the DNC Southern Caucus just had their morning meeting, closed out with some inspirational remarks from Rev. Romal Tune of the DNC's Faith-Based Program.
There's a lot of energy among the YDA conventioneers, here, and I hope the programs over the next two days give me some good strategies to bring back to Atlanta. My only gripe so far -- you know I had to have one -- is the way a number of our members use the "We're young and hip and the future of the party!" mantra to justify the "We're the dopes in the back of the room in jeans and t-shirts and sports jerseys, Mr. Chairman!" appearance. I'm not saying we all have to dress like robots, but c'mon, kids, for a joint convention with the grown-ups at the DNC, can't we limit our personal expression to a snazzy tie or flashy blouse? I feel like we'll have to sit at the kids' table at dinner like this....
Mike on the Mic - Karaoke fundraiser for State Rep. Mike Jacobs
Please Join us for Mike on the Mic, a karaoke Fundraiser for State Representative Mike Jacobs
The Evening's Emcee""The Rock and Roll Representative" Doug Teper
"ROCK STAR" Hosts: Rep. Kathy Ashe, Ken Britt, Rep. Karla Drenner, Courtney Dufries, Rep. Pat Gardner, Richard Grice, Steve Leeds, Glenda Minkin, Rep. Nan Grogan Orrock, John Sawyer, Sharon Semmens, Will Sugden, Cathy Woolard
"CROONER" Hosts: Michelle Adams, Sally Bethea, Amit Bose, Jason Carter, Michelle Carter, Seth Cohen, Joel Cope, Bryant Cornett, Rebecca Crawford, Lawrie Demorest, Mark Duedall, Stacey Godfrey Evans, Glen Paul Freedman, J.D. Hadden, Scott Hitch, David Hungeling, Chris Jordan, Will Moore, Chris Nace, Seth Persily, Allen Thornell, Jeff Swart, Kyle Williams, Colin Wright, Atlanta Stonewall Democrats, Young Democrats of Dekalb
When: Monday, December 5, 2005, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm Where: Red Chair, 550 Amsterdam Ave. Admission: $30
If a recent Zogby poll is to be believed, Americans are starting to get the message about what "low prices" really means. I don't remember who it was at the screening who called Wal-Mart "plantation capitalism", but the shoe sure fits.
In a shocking development (for values of "shocking" that include plenty of sarcasm, Samuel (sc)Alito has been shown by newly available documents to have been pursuing and advocating backhanded legal strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade as early as 1985. No one should kid themselves into expecting Alito to be "moderate" on abortion. Our Democratic Senators, at least, appreciate the gravity of the situation.