Author Archives: Nina Bhattacharya

Quote of the Day | Sen. Scott Brown

“When people find people like me at that young vulnerable age, who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is, they make you believe that no one will believe you.” – Sen. Scott Brown (R-MS)

Talking about his upcoming book with 60 Minutes, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown reveals that he was sexually abused repeatedly by a camp counselor in his youth. Though the abuses occurred at age 10, this is the first time the senator has spoken about the experience — to the public and to his family. Considering the slew of outrageous legislation pouring out of Congress these days, I’m generally loathe to say anything nice about a Republican. But it takes some serious courage to talk about sexual abuse. As an excellent Feministing post points out, Brown’s personal story helps create a “cultural space” for survivors, especially men, to come out themselves.

More than anything, though, this highlights the critical need for appropriate, well-funded support systems and outlets to assist victims of sexual abuse. Guess what that means? It means investing in local and state community health structures and sex education that does not denigrate sexuality — that’s the larger lesson that needs to be learned.

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White House Flickr Photo of the Week

via reuters photos

Okay, I’ll admit it — this isn’t from the White House Flickr, but I’m saying it is anyway. Last night, the Obama family lit the Christmas tree. As usual, the pictures are amazing. Right here, the Obama family reacts after Sasha turns on the lights. Literally, you should go through all the pictures right now. They are such an adorable family.

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The Post-Election, Progressive Pick-Me-Up

Weatherproof: Just like the Democratic Party.

After eating too much chocolate and staring dolefully at my bedroom ceiling for the last few days, I have finally dragged myself to the computer to write this post. None of us — especially those of us who invested countless hours into campaigning — want to acknowledge the Republicans’ sweep on Tuesday. While a GOP majority in the House doesn’t bode well for substantive policy over the next two years, it’s critical for us, as progressives, to recognize some of the positive things that came out of November 2, 2010.

Legalizing weed got more votes than Meg Whitman: Yes, you read that right. While Proposition 19 — the legalization of marijuana — failed to pass in California, the measure still received 321,439 more votes than GOP gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman. The corporate candidate shattered campaign spending records with a cool $160 million, including $141.5 million of her own funds. (That could pay my college tuition a couple times over, you know.) And despite her general election flip-flopping and heavy investment in wooing Latino voters, her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown cruised to victory with support of 64 percent of Hispanic voters.

People still have to be born in Colorado: In Colorado, Amendment 62 would have “would have outlawed abortion at every stage of gestation, would have outlawed all forms of hormonal contraception, and would have made it difficult if not impossible for pregnant women to receive medical treatment if there was any chance of harming the pregnancy.” Such legislation, which values the survival of a fertilized egg over a living woman’s, is part of the supposed “personhood” movement. It’s genuinely crazypants legislation, so as a whole-hearted pro-choice advocate, I am relieved that the Amendment failed (for the second time around!) by 72 percent to 28 percent, at last count.

But don’t worry, they’re going to try a third time in 2012.

Democrats did win — some tough races too: We don’t have to go very far to find one competitive race that Democrats won — just look at MI-09, where Gary Peters beat Rocky Ralksjdfa;ksdf-something despite the Republican party throwing thousands of dollars in negative everything. In Colorado, Democrat John Hickenlooper won the governorship over Palin-backed Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and Republican Dan Maes. Moreover, Michael Bennet won the Colorado Senate seat over Republican Ken Buck — man who said he should be elected over his primary opponent because he “doesn’t wear heels.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed to a victory over Sharron Angle. Pat Quinn in Illinois won the governor’s race over Bill Brady, despite series of polls leading to the election indicating otherwise.

Proposition 23 fails resoundingly in California: Delivering a decisive victory to environmental activists and the state’s clean energy economy, Prop 23 failed by an overwhelming 61 percent to 39 percent. Prop 23 — naturally filed by the oil industry — would suspend provisions of California’s greenhouse gas law until until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below for four consecutive quarters. (As the current rate is 12.4%, the wording seemed to trick voters and many worried that it would freeze California’s regulations cutting carbon emissions indefinitely.)

It’s hard to look for the good in the post-election  drudgery, but it is nonetheless important for us to keep our heads up. There’s a lot of good happening in lots of places, and 2012 is just around the corner.

- Nina Bhattacharya

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RNC Falls Short Of Fundraising Goals — Again.

Michael Steele knows what’s up.

While this may not be a surprise to you or me, the Republican National Committee (RNC) fell a cool $4 million short of it’s $13.5 million fundraising goal for September. This is the second month in a row that the RNC has failed meet its fundraising goals. (They were $1.7 million short last month. It’s really reassuring to see that the RNC is really upping the ante!) Moreover, reports The Hill, this fundraising fail has led RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen to open a $5 million line of credit to hopefully make up for the shortfall and placate the panic:

“As Treasurer, I greatly appreciate the authorization to add $5 million.  We will need it,” he wrote in the private email. “I say this because fundraising in August and September was less than planned in the revised budget you approved in August.”

Just for a little contrast, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) pulled in $16 million in September — more than 80 percent of which came from online and direct-mail donors. Needless to say, this is a strong showing just a few short weeks before the November midterms. While this is may just be an indication of the Democrat’s base finally showing up, I’d like to think it’s more a result of the Republican Party’s out of touch rhetoric and political fumbles.

Earlier this week on MSNBC, the RNC’s lackluster leader Michael Steele couldn’t even name the minimum wage. And only the week before, a former housekeeper for Meg Whitman, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in California, “alleged in a press conference with a high-profile lawyer that she was subject to financial and emotional abuse for the nine years she was employed” because she was an illegal immigrant. Of course, we can’t forget Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell who — despite her entrenched evangelical views — admitted to dabbling in witchcraft.

But hey! If this is the future of the Republican Party, I think we’re in a pretty good place. A combination of renewed Democratic enthusiasm and out-of-touch Republican rhetoric gives me hope for a happier November.

- Nina Bhattacharya

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