YDATL Blog
NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

They're coming out
They want the world to know, got to let it show. (Okay, lame, but I am terribly sleep deprived.)

The new Atlanta Stonewall Democrats will be hosting their 2006 kickoff event on Thursday January 26th at 6pm at Red Chair in Midtown. Please plan on being a part of this fun and energetic group working to support fair-minded Democrats in Georgia.



What: Atlanta Stonewall Democrats Kick-off Happy Hour

When: Thursday, January 26th, 6-8pm

Where: Red Chair, Amsterdam Walk in Midtown

Who: All fair-minded Democrats

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posted by Aerodad at 1/26/2006 01:18:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

30-something Dems speak out on Bush student loan cuts
From the YDA mailbag, a press release that neatly lines up with our issues for this session (sorry it didn't come with a clear attribution):
Members of the House Democrat's 30-Something working group were troubled by the President's dismissal of the $12.7 billion student loan cut in the Republican budget at a Kansas State University Q&A earlier today.

"This year's Republican budget cut $12.7 billion in funding for student loan programs over the next five years and if President Bush doesn't understand that, then either he doesn't understand the true impact this will have on American families or he doesn't care," said Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). "With tuition sky rocketing out of reach for American students and families, Congress should be increasing student loan programs, not cutting them."

This year's Republican budget cuts $12.7 billion from student loan programs over five years. The cuts eliminate all government spending to administer the loan programs, charge students higher loan fees, and raise the interest rate on parent loans from 7.9 to 8.5 percent. The Bush Administration is the first to cut Department of Education funding since 1988.

"The President's remarks show how disgracefully out-of-touch he is to the concerns of average Americans. Either President Bush doesn't know the Republican budget cuts student loans by a record amount, or he knows it and chooses to deny it. Regardless, students across America are depending on the President and the Republican Congress to stand up to the special interests and work with Democrats to restore this vital funding to the student aid program," said Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH).

The President claimed that the number of students receiving Pell Grants is growing, but did not address the fact that, for the fourth year in a row, the Republican-led Congress has failed to raise the maximum value of the Pell Grant scholarship - now set at $4,050 - even though it is worth $900 less in inflation-adjusted terms than it was in 1975-76.


The 30-Something working group is a collection of 13 Democratic Members of the House of Representatives who are under the age of 40. The group is committed to young Americans' concerns with today's government and political process.
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posted by Aerodad at 1/24/2006 09:36:00 AM 1 comments links to this post

Monday, January 23, 2006

Let's GO, People!
I am still soaking wet - SOAKING wet. Nearly an hour ago, I walked from my car in a parking lot by World of Coke on MLK two and a half blocks to the Legislative Office Building. If you know the geography down here, you know that I had to walk by the front of the Capitol. If you know what's going on down here today (I didn't) you will know that in so doing, I walked through HUNDREDS of Georgians standing in the pouring rain to make their voices heard to their state legislators and stage a march. Who are these stalwart souls? What has so stoked the fires of activism that these people would take the day off work, forego their own personal errands and agendas and gather by the gold dome? And did I mention the POURING RAIN? What brave Americans they are! How much we should admire their commitment and their perseverence! We can be glad they are standing up for what they believe in, right?? Guess what, people, they are the anti-choice rally. And I reiterate - they are here in the hundreds. THESE are the voices the legislators are hearing. THESE are the pictures that will be shown across Georgia on the news tonight. THESE are the citizens getting out to stand up for their agenda. I ask you, are you going to let THESE voices outnumber ours? They care about the life of unborn children - so much so that they did whatever it takes to get out here today. They didn't come out of caves - they left their lives on hold to get out here and be counted. Will you do the same? How much do you care about the vulnerable in our society? As much as they care about fetuses? What's it worth to you to stand up and add your voice to those calling for opportunity and security for the PEOPLE of Georgia, not just the corporations? For ALL Georgia's citizens, not just the rich and the lucky? Is it worth taking a day off of work? Is it worth a few minutes of your time to make a phone call once a week? Write a letter? People, do they care more than us?

The last I heard, we had TEN people on the Action Alert list. This, my friends, is not going to do the trick. Sign up here:
http://www.fultonyoungdems.org/act.html

ALSO. Mark your calendars, request your time off, do whatever it takes, but make plans to join the Young Democrats of Georgia at the capitol to lobby the legislators. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 9:00 am. We will meet across the street from the Capitol in the main meeting room of Central Presbyterian Church. Please, honestly - these people took time off work - is it more important to them? Do they care more about the society they live in than we do? Do they believe in their values more passionately than we do? I think NOT! Let's show them, Young Dems! Let's show Georgia just how much we care!

This is so new, there is not a picture up yet, but in the meantime, get a sense of what I experienced, the "sea of anti-abortion supporters."
http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/georgia/entries/2006/01/23/abortion_foes_b.html

A SEA!! A SEA of anti-abortion supporters. Can we make a sea? Make a commitment to be there. And ask one friend. And ask them to ask one friend. Let's at least shoot for a LAKE!! Right now we're on track for a puddle, and Georgia deserves better than that. We can do it! It will be excellent.
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posted by Emily at 1/23/2006 01:35:00 PM 2 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Let MARTA do its job
For those of you who have a soft spot for public transit (huh? what's that?), here's a good post by Robert at Bloglanta:

With the Legislature now in the second term of its session, now is the time to really get MARTA to act like a business.  Businesses get to use their revenue as they see fit and are not mandated by law as to how they allocate their budgets. 


Now is the time to push for the passage of Senate Bills 115 and 114.  These bills will give MARTA more control over their budget.  Right now, MARTA will only be able to use 50% of its revenue for operations.  SB 114 gives them the option of using up to 55%.  Really, they should be able to use any percentage their board  deems fit.  Give them that flexibility and a lot of the deficits MARTA anticipates will be greatly reduced.  SB115 lets MARTA recapture some capital income as operating revenue again relieving some of the pressure on the system. 


These bills have already passed the Senate and are now bottlenecked in the House. Here's the problem.  No one knows who's on the Committee that will decide this fate.  Speaker of the House Richardson could have simply created a Legislative Committee for MARTA made up of Legislators whose districts included MARTA service and Members of the MARTOC Oversite committee, however, he has not chosen to do that.  He has not made it easy for anyone to find out who will vote on these bills on the House Side.  Nothing is posted on the Committee List in the House


So... how to get some actual movement on these bills?  First, E-mail the Speaker and ask who is on the Special Committee for MARTA Legislation.  Second, find out who represents you in the Georgia House and urge them to pass SB114 & 115 unamended.


We have 7 weeks to get this done.  MARTOC Chairwoman Chambers was walked a tough line in getting lots of information out about MARTA and how it works.  She has been dillegent in seeking out wasteful practices and tried to get information to the public about labor negotiations and budgets.  Now is the time, however, for her to inform her collegues about the importance of a strong MARTA. It may not be the easiest sell, but it's important to let them know that this 5% makes a difference and will result in better MARTA service for everyone in Metro Atlanta. 

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posted by Aerodad at 1/22/2006 03:24:00 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 20, 2006

We're #1! (For a moment at least)

leftyblogs, originally uploaded by atlantayoungdems.

Just some self-serving horn-tootin'. Way to go us! And thanks to LeftyBlogs for the cool aggregator. Our traffic more than doubled in the past day; however, almost half our hits from yesterday came from BlogforDemocracy, so clearly they're still way cooler than we are, but it's a start.

Now if you people would just comment more!

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posted by Aerodad at 1/20/2006 11:34:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Eat your heart out, YRs

Democratic ladies
Originally uploaded by atlantayoungdems.
See, don't you wish you came to The Future is Blue?
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posted by Aerodad at 1/19/2006 01:55:00 PM 0 comments links to this post

WTFWJD?
So three Democrats in the Georgia Senate have proposed a bill authorizing local school boards to offer, at their own discretion, an elective course teaching historical and literary analysis of the Bible, because whatever you say about the divinity of its authors' inspiration, it is at the very least one of the oldest and most widespread artifacts of human culture. Naturally, the Republicans call horsepucky:
But Republicans criticized the move as simply pandering to faith-based voters in an election year.

"The Democrats are learning this year what Republicans for decades had to realize: When you are completely shut out of control, you have to play on the margins," said Matt Towery, a former GOP lawmaker who now runs an Atlanta political media firm. "This is reminiscent of many of the things we — when I was a Republican state legislator — had to introduce when we were in the minority."


Is it really pandering? Or is it a legitimate move by Democrats to point out, in a period when our party is consistently and mercilessly attacked as "godless," "atheist," and "anti-religion," that we are not as a rule an irreligious bunch of God-haters? Could this be the Democrats' way of saying, "Look, just because we have been opposed to your attempts to teach creationism in the science classroom doesn't mean we're trying to eradicate God from the whole fabric of society," considering the only time you ever hear the words "religion" and "Democrat" in the news they are placed wholly at odds?

I personally don't see a big problem with a cultural/sociological study of the Bible in public schools (and our guest speaker for tonight, Maggie Garrett of the ACLU, seems to agree), although I think I'd still feel more comfortable with the concept if the syllabus also included the important literary influences from other religious traditions, both from a "constitutional safeguard" perspective and from a "Americans are ethnocentric enough already could we PLEASE acknowledge something from another worldview just once" perspective.
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posted by Aerodad at 1/19/2006 12:22:00 PM 2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

YDAtl Podcast 4 - MLK Day with Alisha Thomas Morgan
A belated Happy Martin Luther King Day, Young Democrats. I hope you find this episode worth the wait, as I got a chance to bring one of our most inspiring (and apropos enough, our youngest) Georgia Representatives, Alisha Thomas Morgan, onto the show to talk about her weekend -- the upbeat parts celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the not-so-upbeat parts involving SB84, the latest Voter ID disenfranchisement law from our local Republican Party. If you've just been reading the blurbs in the papers, you might be thinking that SB84 fixed all the problems that landed HB244 in federal court; fear not, Representative Morgan will set you straight. There is also a cameo appearance by a marching band and some of the best grilled meat I've found in Atlanta.

I would sincerely like to thank Rep. Morgan for being so giving of her time, especially considering that I interrupted her dinner last night, and I think I even woke her up this morning. She's just that awesome. And she wants YOU to help us out in fighting the good fight, so be sure to sign up for our Action Alerts.

Right-click download here for you non-podcatchers (14.1MB / 128kbps).
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posted by Aerodad at 1/18/2006 01:06:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lies about guns
Coming from a large, very Republican extended family like I do, I am often subjected to right-wing propaganda email forwards that get passed along like the common cold in a college dormitory, and much more often than not I can quickly debunk it as lies, lies, vicious lies, using verifiable online data as below. Sometimes I ReplyAll with the truth; other times, like today, when it's just not a good idea to pick a fight with my family, I blog it. So in case you all happen to see the same right wing lies as I do as this nasty virus flies around the interwebs, I have your response ready to go. (And let me point out as a disclaimer to the 2nd Amendment Rightwingnuts that I in fact own 3 guns myself.)

Here's the original email from the Right Wing Scheme Machine, complete with annoying fonts:

FACTS TO PONDER:
(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.
Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Now think about this:
Guns:
(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.
(Yes, that's 80 million..)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
Statistics courtesy of FBI

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do."

FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT
ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.
We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Out of concern for the public at large, I have withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention.


Sounds pretty convincing, eh? (Not to mention hi-lar-i-ous. Yawn.) What with their "actual data" provided by the FBI and HHS? WOW!
But here is The Truth, which will otherwise languish in my Drafts folder b/c I'm tired of fighting with my relatives about politics, so I share it with you:
Actually, that number could be pretty high (probably because it's made up BS). According to the CDC, there were only 762 accidental firearm deaths in 2002, only about half what this email suggests. Even if you include the firearm deaths of "unknown intent," the number only goes up to 1005, and only 1305 if you include all the stupid criminals shot by cops.

On the other hand, there were 11,829 firearm homicides that year.

Compare that with the 2,843 deaths caused by adverse effects of medical care, ALL medical care, INCLUDING side effects of prescription drugs, and suddenly, I want to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights on whoever makes up this bogus propaganda.

You can download the data for yourself at http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate.html

The moral of this story is, IF SOMEONE HAS TO SHOUT SOMETHING AT YOU, THEY'RE PROBABLY TRYING TO SELL YOU SOME CRAP.


Honestly, the blatant lies coming out of these fascist weirdos makes blood squirt out of my eyes. They know that if they just repeat the lies over and over and over again, morons will believe it unquestioningly. I say we just start making stuff up and sending it out. Isn't that the takeaway Kate and I got from the "Worldview" workshop at GPS2006? I saw all these examples of right-wing lies being "effective messages," so screw it, I say we play their game. *GRRRR*

Just for kicks, I looked into the data a little bit more.

Death rate per 100,000
Gun violence:
    White - 2.21
    Black - 15.55
Medical care:
    White - 0.93
    Black - 1.60
Total deaths:
    Gun violence, white - 5,185 (population 234.5M)
    Gun violence, black - 6,285 (population 37.7M)
    Gun violence, all - 11,829 (population 288.0M)

So, it's bad enough that black people apparently get 70% crappier health care, but they're 7 times as likely to be killed with a gun. (And I didn't include cop guns.) I hesitated even to blog this last bit, because I know it will only serve as the worst kind of "You see???" justification of racism amongst the "They got what they deserved for not leaving New Orleans" crowd. And maybe Pat Robertson has a few theories about that as well....
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posted by Aerodad at 1/14/2006 05:11:00 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 13, 2006

For the MP3 crowd
This little tip comes way too late in the game, but I only tripped over it myself this morning when I decided to peruse the "News & Politics" category of the iTunes Podcast Directory (note to self: harass Apple to put us in there) (note to self: start making more frequent podcasts first). The Alliance for Justice has been producing quite regular (and now, with the hearings, daily) podcasts with panel commentary on the latest news from the Senate and points beyond. It's about a 20-30 minute show, so if you're trying to stay up to date on Alito but just can't find the time to read and watch all the blogs/news/circuses, download these daily briefings to your MP3 player and listen to them on the elliptical. :-)

http://allianceforjustice.libsyn.com/
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posted by Aerodad at 1/13/2006 11:51:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 09, 2006

Republicans to try again on voter ID
Remember the voter ID bill? Republicans are ready to rock, again (from the AJC):

[House Speaker Glenn] Richardson said the new bill, which could reach the House for a vote as early as this week, would allow Georgians who don’t have either a driver’s license or state-issued photo identification card to get a free “voter ID” card at their county voter registration office. The bill also would change state law so driver’s license offices can issue free state IDs to people who cannot afford them, he said.


Being honest here, someone is going to have to point out to me what problems with the last bill are not fixed by this bill. I just don't see how we can credibly attack this one.
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 1/09/2006 06:39:00 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Latest polls not all bad
The AJC has commissioned a Zogby poll of 501 likely voters in Georgia. Among the results:
  • Sonny Perdue has a job approval rating of 61 percent and a 70 percent favorability rating - big numbers. According to the poll, he beats Cathy Cox 53-37 and beats Mark Taylor 56-31. It's still way too soon to panic, though - neither Cox nor Tayler has really ramped up the attack on Sonny, and anything can happen between now and November.

  • In the lieutenant governor's race, Casey Cagle beats a generic Democrat 35-30, but Ralph Reed loses to the unnamed Democrat 36-33. In case you're wondering, Jim Martin and Greg Hecht are our two candidates to be that unnamed Democrat. I almost hope Reed wins the primary, because he'll be easy to beat - Casey Cagle may not be.


Cox's campaign manager was quoted with a mantra Democrats need to repeat, and repeat, and repeat: "Folks think Perdue's a nice guy, but they also know he hasn't gotten the job done."
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 1/07/2006 09:45:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Everything you wanted to know about Voter ID
From the mailbag:
Georgia’s Voter ID Law: Will the Next Step Be Forward or Backward?

January 17th – 6:15p.m. – 7p.m. = reception with food and drink
7p.m. – Program begins
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
1911 Cliff Valley Way
Atlanta, 30329

Speakers confirmed to date include:

Rep. Nan Orrock
  • Opponent of bill, talk about legislative efforts to kill any proposed compromises
  • Can give great background and history on photo ID bill
  • Talk about why its bad for GA Voters

    Rep. Jill Chambers
  • Proponent of bill, talk about legislative efforts to reform or address concerns
  • Defend merits/purposes of requiring ID

    Neil Bradley, ACLU
  • Opponent of bill, update on where the lawsuit is
  • Talk to constitutional arguments
  • Tie into need for reauthorization of VRA

    Claud “Tex” McIver
  • Proponent, talk about how this law addresses the purported instances of voter fraud
  • Talk about new legislation to address problems

    We are waiting to confirm one additional panelist as well as our moderator. The format will be similar with plenty of time for audience questions and the idea is that all in attendance will get an update on the rewrites that are being proposed to this bill during the 2006 session. As always, email or call the LWVGA office if you have any questions.

    www.lwvga.org
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    posted by Aerodad at 1/04/2006 11:04:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Blanco raids the bank-o
    There's just no good way to spin $500,000 in office renovations while Louisiana is laboring under a $1 billion budget shortfall. I see a tough re-election battle for Kathleen Blanco...
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    posted by Ataru Atlanta at 1/02/2006 09:51:00 AM 1 comments links to this post

     

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