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

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Please Join the Young Democrats of Atlanta for our 2nd Annual "Future Is Blue" Fundraiser featuring Dr. Joseph Lowery
The Young Democrats of Atlanta need your help to plan an evening of Vision and Purpose. We believe the best days of the Democratic Party are ahead of us. The Future is Blue...

Please join the Young Democrats of Atlanta for our 2nd Annual "Future Is Blue" Fundraiser. This year we are honored to host Dr. Joseph Lowery, an icon of the Civil Rights movement. Hear the story of a man who has been at the forefront of the Progressive movement for many years and continues to be a fighter for human rights to this day.

The Future Is Blue
Monday, May 14th 2007
7pm - 9pm
Maestro's - Castleberry Hill
170 Northside Dr SW
Suite 96
Atlanta, GA 30313

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online! (preferred method)

Let us know your are coming! RSVP today!

The Young Democrats of Atlanta Thank our Future Is Blue Sponsors!

Yellow Dog - $250
Catherine Smith and Jerry Tyler

Host - $100
Jason Bogart

YDAtl Stewards
Emily Schunior
Aaron Karp

Become a Future Is Blue Sponsor today!
Make a contribution online or contact our Finance Chair, Nicolette Allen at finance@atlantayoungdems.org or by phone at 404-538-7262.
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posted by Nicolette at 4/26/2007 08:58:00 PM 0 comments

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pet food recall, more than just a US problem.

Every since the recent pet food recall I have been following the story very closely. My cat, Frosty, was eating the brand of food who voluntarily recalled their food this past weekend, Natural Balance. This not only threw me for a loop, but the animal community as well. Melamine has been confirmed to be in not one, but three ingredients: Wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate, and corn gluten.

The wheat gluten caused the massive scare roughly a month ago when Menu Foods pulled more than 100 brands of food. Frosty was actually eating then one of the brands that had been recalled. Luckily, she was eating only dry food, and I switched, not so much because of the recall, but because of a food allergy. While this recall has been the most widely reported due to the shear amount of food, it was the expanded recall this last week that has caused the most surprise.

Natural Balance is a highly regarded food company and when they recalled their food, every one knew this problem would be much larger than previously thought. Rice Protein Concentrate has now been confirmed to have melamine in it, and this particular ingredient is a so called human grade ingredient. After this ingredient was linked to China as well reports are surfacing that China may have laced the ingredients purposefully in order to defraud sellers in to thinking the protein content is higher than would otherwise be. Click here to read a story regarding the charges I have just mentioned.

The last ingredient, corn gluten, is the scary one. It is found in many products, like wheat gluten, but unlike wheat gluten, it is also found in dry food. In the US there have been no confirmed cases of contaminated corn gluten; however, this is not true in South Africa. At least 30 dogs have been killed due to contaminated corn gluten which has also been traced to China.

Thousands of animals have been affected by these recalls, not only our pets, but our food supply as well. There are reports of melamine reaching the food supply of hogs, and tests are being done to determine whether or not this contaminant has reached the human food supply. Whether or not China purposefully introduced this chemical to these ingredients for monetary gain has yet to be, and probably will never be, determined. What is true is that we haven’t seen the last of pet food recalls. Fortunately, my beautiful cat of nearly 15 years of age is doing fine.

Please check your food supply for these three ingredients, especially the last, as it has not made headline here yet.
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posted by Allison Layton at 4/20/2007 12:16:00 PM 2 comments

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Urban Development Happy Hour Webcast
Howdy kids!

With a little luck and a lot of wi-fi, I'm going to try to webcast tonight's panel on urban development LIVE from Madison Grill, for those of you at home tending to babies or stuck workin' for the man and such. Tune in around 7:15 or so and click the play in the widget below.

Update: The webcast worked! And thanks to the 3 of you that tuned in to provide feedback. Those of you who missed out can get just a wee taste of how it looked in the short recording below (future events may be recorded in their entirety, we'll see.)
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posted by Aerodad at 4/19/2007 06:35:00 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Neal Boortz and the Wussification of America
Today's blogger"How far have we advanced in the wussification of America? I am now under attack by the left for wondering aloud why these students did so little to defend themselves. It seems that standing in terror waiting for your turn to be executed was the right thing to do, and any questions as to why 25 students didn’t try to rush and overpower Cho Seung-Hui are just examples of right wing maniacal bias. Surrender — comply — adjust. The doctrine of the left."

So says Neal Boortz, referring to the Virginia Tech killings. Boortz is a tough subject - a commentator so given to intentionally overblown invective that he, like Ann Coulter and others, is probably best left unanswered. A lot of people listen to him, and that's troublesome, but in most cases, any kind of response just gives him more attention and will be spun into proof of his point. In this instance, I certainly can't say that my response won't have precisely the same effect, but I feel the need to respond, nonetheless.

I think it's fairly hard to make a case that Boortz's words were not, at the very least, intemperate (a word he actually uses to characterize them, though in a way that's a bit dismissive for my tastes). It's possible that someone with a gun could have stopped the killings at Virginia Tech. It's possible that a group of unarmed people could have done the same. At the same time, it's possible, even probable, that the people who were in the situation, in the moment were simply afraid and too shocked to react defensively. We've all been raised on imagery of superheroism and self-sacrifice, but it's hard, probably even impossible to know how we'd react in a situation where those things are needed. I'm sure everyone would want to bravely throw themselves at the attacker to save others, or to use their wits to save the day, but when the utterly mundane normalcy of their class was suddenly destroyed in a burst of intense violence, it seems unfair to expect their minds to be clear and ready for action. We don't have the right, sitting here at keyboards without guns in our faces, with no professor lying dead a few feet away, to second guess the behavior of the people who lived (or did not live) through it.

Boortz goes on to say "The statistics are clear. Crime rates are lower where qualified law abiding people are allowed to own and carry guns. If this is true in virtually every community in which it has been tried ... why would it not be true on a large college campus? Rational answer, anyone?" Well, let's start with the fact that the guns used by the Tech shooter were purchased legally. It is true that students are not allowed to carry guns, even those they are legally permitted to have, on the campus of Virginia Tech. This issue was tested by a specific case at Virginia Tech, which prompted legislation in Virginia to change carry laws on campus. The legislation failed, and Tech remained nominally gun-free. Boortz asks for a rational answer to why his statistics (mentioned but not provided) wouldn't hold true on a large college campus. Leaving you to judge my rationality, here's my take - at the heart of this incident is a college student with a gun. Yes, this gun was carried onto the campus illegally, but it was purchased legally. Cho had spent time in a mental hospital, but he purchased the gun legally. A woman contacted police, feeling that Cho was stalking her, but the gun was purchased legally. In both of these cases, arguments can be made for mitigating circumstances. Is anyone who spent a night in a mental institution forever branded as damaged goods? As the woman declined to press charges, can we assume Cho was guilty and therefore someone to keep an eye on? Should the professors and fellow students who balked at his violent writings have had some massive Big Brother system to contact to say "Mark this guy for scrutiny?" Of course not. Still, the ease with which almost anyone can purchase guns points up the problem. There were warning signs with Cho Seung-Hui, but not necessarily the kind that would show up on a background check.

More directly to Boortz's argument about a large, well-armed campus being a safe campus, let's all take a moment to think about our college experiences. Many look back at college as the best years of their lives, sure, but it may be more accurate to call them the most intense years. They are a heady mixture of incredible stress, newfound freedom and its accompanying excesses, and dizzying emotional discoveries and revelations. College is where many of us found and lost first loves, drank ourselves stupid weekend after weekend, experimented with drugs, explored our sexuality, and worked like mad to stay on the happy side of academic probation. It is a crazy, sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed time fueled by lousy food, caffeine, and all manner of other chemicals. It puts students through an emotional grinder unlike much they've faced to that point. It certainly did that to me - after the breakup of my first serious relationship, I stopped going to class. I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. Eventually, at the urging of my family and friends, I got help, and after a lot of work, I got better. I don't think I was ever a danger to others, but I am utterly certain that for a while, I was a danger to myself. I probably wouldn't have owned a gun even if I had been allowed one on campus, but I'm sure there are plenty of people in similar straits who would, and that line between hurt self/hurt others is horribly thin. Boortz wants to add guns to that mix? I can't speak to his statistics, since he doesn't offer them up, but common sense tells me that the idea of arming students lacks, well, common sense.

The debate over gun control is a very difficult one. The argument that the populace should be able to defend itself against a government off its moorings is powerful, but I simply don't fear the government enough to believe that guns should be so easily obtained (and the last few years have given me ample reason to fear the government). Statistics can be quoted that purport to show that gun ownership greatly increases the likelihood of being hurt or killed by a gun, but others can be quoted to argue the exact opposite. I don't know the answer, but I do know that a legally purchased gun killed 33 people two days ago, and that Boortz's questioning of the bravery of the victims is every bit as inappropriate as an honest national evaluation and discussion of our legal and moral stance toward guns is appropriate and necessary.

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posted by Aaron Karp at 4/18/2007 04:07:00 PM 5 comments

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Trip to Convention is Carbon Neutral, How About Yours?
Today's bloggerHi, Young Dems! I hope that you, like me, are looking forward to some fun and education by the sea at convention this weekend. I am proud that over 25 people from our Atlanta chapter will be making the trip, and I know there are many other metro, UGA, GT, etc etc etc Young Dems going. There will be a veritable caravan of passionate do-gooders heading down 75 come Friday. And besides furiously debating Barack vs Hilary and poking much fun at the idiotic parade of Republican presidential candidates, you know what that caravan will be doing?? Emitting carbon dioxide!

Yes, that's right, a very large contingent of young blue-green activists is going to participate in the destruction of the planet. But wait! Before you cancel your reservation or begin contemplating how long it would take to roller blade to Jekyll Island, read the rest of this post. All is not lost. If you have just 5 minutes and a credit card with at least $12 left on it, you can neutralize the environmental impact of your trip to state convention.

It's easy.

If you explore the Carbon Calculator on climatecrisis.net, you will find out your average emissions per year, in tons. Depressingly, I am actually over the national average (seems like it's due to air travel.) There are numerous tips on how to reduce your impact by doing simple things such as keeping your tires properly inflated and accelerating more slowly. But you can also go ahead and purchase certificates to offset your trip. It's very cool. After you calculate your annual impact, navigate to Native Energy by clicking the links near the top of the page. What I just did was to scroll down and click on Try Our Travel Calculator. There you will find a point to point driving calculator. I entered a starting point of Atlanta, GA and an ending destination of Jekyll Island, GA. I then clicked to add another segment and added the return trip. When I clicked DONE, the calculator said I would emit less than a full ton of carbon (thank God) and rounded me up. For $12, I was able to purchase certificates for renewable energy that will displace the demand for energy from fossil fuels - I opted for a 50/50 blend of farm methane and wind energy. This will be enough to offset the environmental impact of my trip. They are going to send me a pdf certificate to prove I'm carbon neutral and also a bumper sticker so I can let others on the road know how to join the green revolution.

The Native Energy site is packed with information about offsetting, whether it actually works and why, along with other tips about how to live green.

Please consider making your trip to our YDG Convention Carbon Neutral.

See you on the beach!!

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posted by Emily Schunior at 4/09/2007 12:41:00 PM 1 comments


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