Category Archives: Progress
Over the past few months, AcaDems, our committee on education policy, has been working on a policy proposal for how to fully fund higher education. On Tuesday, they will head up to Lansing to show this proposal to our legislators and encourage them to stop the cuts to higher education.
The full report is now online (you can read it here). For more information about AcaDems, email co-chair Zach Martin (zamartin @ umich.edu) and Amanda Caldwell (ahcaldwe @ umich.edu).
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.
Our friendly neighbors to the northwest are trying hard to pass the Silver Line Millage on Tuesday. The millage is necessary to bring stimulus money to the Grand Rapids area, where they’re trying to build an incredible new bus line that’s fashioned more like a light rail system. Here’s how such a line would work:
But they need our help. For one thing, they are canvassing on Saturday, and if anyone is in the Grand Rapids area, or can make it there, they would love your help. For more information, head over to the RapidYES website.
Secondly, the opposition is doing well on jumping in on all online media posts with their message. Below is a list of media links that we should be going to. When you get there, search for “Silver Line”. At the end of each story, there is a comments area. Please talk up the millage – information you may need can also be found on the RapidYES website.
Thanks for all your help in getting this necessary millage passed!
Although we all knew that he had won for quite some time, Scott Murphy has officially won the NY-20 congressional race after Republican Jim Tedisco dropped the legal challenges to his victory.
This is significant for several reasons. First, there’s another Democratic vote in the House. Always a good thing. But maybe more importantly than that, it shows that Democrats are viable in even stronly Republican districts, even without Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. NY-20 is a R+2 or R+3, depending on who you ask, meaning that it is about 2-3 points more Republican than the average district. A Democratic victory in a R+3 district is a good sign for Democrats in the future.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s been 171 days since November 4, and we still have no Senator from Minnesota.
All graduating policy wonks who aspire to blog should apply – more info here, at ThinkProgress.org
Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, in response to Republican calls for a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in response to the Iowa State Supreme Court’s recent ruling:
[L]ast Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know Ive been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.
Full transcript and video here.
As much as I love the courts, and their ability to protect the rights of those who most need protecting, I’ve never thought they’re the best way to achieve our goals here.Â Remember, our goal should not just be the legal right (which is obviously important), butÂ also widespread public support for said right.Â We’re getting close, but we’re not there yet.
That said, the fact that a court ruled this way – unanimously – in a relatively socially conservative Farm State is fantastic.Â Massachusetts, California, and Vermont are states that opponents of equal marriage rights like to deride as being full of liberal elites, whose views don’t represent Middle America.Â They’ll have a hard time making the same claim about Iowa.Â I don’t want to sound too optimistic here, but still – I think this really could be a turning point.Â It sounds cheesy, but when I read this this morning, it actually made me feel good – it was sort of uplifting, in a way few court rulings are.Â This reinforces what I’ve believed for a while now – that, by the time our generation is fortunate enough to have children of our own, they will allÂ grow up to have full legal rights to marry their partners – regardless of their sex.
This hasn’t even been picked up by Kos yet. SUCK IT KOS! KAAA RULEZZZ!!!!!!!11
UPDATE: I just saw the dems.core email. whatever.
Anyway… The Iowa supreme court earlier this morning upheld a lower court decision allowing homosexual couples to marry. In the unanimous decision, the justices ruled that only having civil unions violates the equal protection clause of their state Constitution
Here is an excerpt from the ruling, followed by an article from the Des Moines Register:
“The US embargo on Cuba is a 50-year failure, and lifting the ban on travel is a good first step toward a more rational policy.” -Myron Brilliant, US Chamber of Commerce
I have always wanted to travel to Cuba. A few years ago my Aunt, Uncle and cousins took advantage of a program that allowed them to vacation there, open only for a short period of time. It was an incredible vacation, they said there was always music playing in the streets, the people were friendly and quaint and the country has not become over run by tourists. It’s a strange paradox, when I travel I am usually disgusted by the presence of other tourists and find them to be quite obnoxious. Thus for that reason, Cuba really attracts me. I also love Cuban food. La ropa vieja y platanos son deliciosos. However Americans are currently only permitted to travel to Cuba under very specific circumstances. If you are going for an academic conference, studying there for at least 3 months…. there are a couple other but none of them fall under the “leisure and interest” category. Since 1962 we have had a trade embargo with Cuba, at which time travel restrictions were also enforced that have prevented us to travel there. Recently there have been changes to allow Cuban Americans more opportunities to travel there with the purpose of visiting family but as I am not Â Cuban those changes haven’t helped me.
However, yesterday senators Byron Dorgan (South Dakota-D) and Mike Enzi (Wyoming-R) introduced a bill that would allow Americans to travel to Cuba for leisure, appropriately called the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act”. 20 other senators are co-sponsoring the bill and Â the house has 121 cosponsors. Hopefully we’ll see some change!
New Hampshire came one step closer to be the third state (after Massachusets and Conneticut) to allow homosexuals to marry today after a narrow victory in the state House. The bill, which is an extension of the Civil Union law passed last year, only passed narrowly, 186-179. [Source]
It’s fate is uncertain, however, as it must move on to the NH Senate and then Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who opposes Gay Marriage (although is a strong proponent of civil unions) but has yet to specifically say that he veto the bill. It also faces opposition in the senate, as the Republicans plan on doing everything in their power, despite being in the minority, to ensure the bill does not pass. Senate Republican Leader Peter Bragdon said GOP senators will work to kill the legislation. State Republican Party Chairman John H. Sununu agreed with Bragdon, criticizing the House vote as an “attempt by the liberal Democrats in the Legislature to impose their San Francisco agenda on the state of New Hampshire.”
In related news, the Vermont Senate passed a similar bill this week, although the governor has expressedly stated that he will veto the bill should it pass the House as well.
On a side note, while researching this bill I found a really interesting graph detailing the rights of homosexuals throughout the country. Not surprisingly, Michigan rated one of the worst.