Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
<u>St. Patrick's Day Edition!
NCAA Tournament (Skip this section if you don't watch college basketball)
I want to start today's edition by saying "thank you" to the basketball team at Syracuse University for totally wrecking my NCAA basketball bracket. I lost $5 because of you. ( j/k I am not involved in illegal office pool gambling) How a team can go on a winning streak, win their conference title, beat the number one ranked team in America, and then get beat in the first round of the NCAA tournament is beyond me.
Failure to Launch - Movie Review
I promise I will not write movie reviews often. In fact, I wouldn't even say this is a review, just a warning. Do not waste your time or money to see this film. Like everyone else who saw the movie, I was lured to the theater because Matthew McConauhey and Sarah Jessica Parker are both disturbingly beautiful. But, even watching those two prance around the screen scantily clad wasn't enough to save this incoherent, ill plotted, and just all around goofy film.
Jessica Simpson "loves the heck" out of Bush
Now for some commentary:
As a result of my recent undercover efforts at CPAC, I somehow got put on the ultra right wing Family Research Council e-mail list. Consequently, I get whack job e-mails, like the one below, on a daily basis. I was trying to think of commentary for this e-mail, but it really doesn't need any. If I am not mistaken, I think they are trying to make the argument that Russ Feingold doesn't support World War II?? Enjoy this e-mail and its totally incoherent thesis.
(I really enjoy the "scalded donkeys, oops, I mean scalded dogs" joke. What the hell does that mean?)
"Feingold: Crossing the Border?
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is perilously close to the border. I mean the border between loyal opposition and treasonous conduct. He has allowed his political ambition to drive him into ever more strident attacks on President Bush. Now, he has introduced a censure resolution in the U.S. Senate condemning the President for what he claims are violations of law in the National Security Agency surveillance program. In World War II, such an action by a Republican senator would have been viewed as treason plain and simple. FDR's administration opened every letter sent to or by 12 million members of our armed forces. Millions of personal letters were microfilmed, censored, and only the redacted copies were sent on. They were called V-Mail. If anyone then had said "FDR spied while GI's died" he would have been put in a straightjacket. That "V" stood for victory. Apparently, Sen. Feingold doesn't care about victory in America's war on terror. Feingold is so far out that even his fellow liberals have abandoned him. They ran like scalded donkeys, oops, I mean scalded dogs when Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) boldly called their bluff. Frist said, "OK, let's vote on the Feingold resolution." Feingold should be careful. The only President ever censured by the Senate was that great Democrat Andrew Jackson. Jackson's supporters were so outraged that they came roaring back, won the Senate, and then expunged the record. "
This letter by Lauryn Shipp, 2006 Fellow, was published in The Latern, the campus newspaper at Ohio State University.
To the Editor:
I am appalled that The Lantern saw fit to publish Alex Stechschulte's Feb. 10 hateful spiel against women, "Emergency contraception."
Responsibility, in Mr. Stechschulte's opinion, seems to mean that women should keep their legs shut until they're good and married. One wonders how using contraception of any sort can possibly be called irresponsibility.
Let's follow Mr. Stechschulte's argument to its logical conclusion. Suppose women who need emergency contraception after a broken condom should "shut up," as he demands, and "accept the possible consequences of sex." Obviously then, people with high blood pressure should also "shut up," do without medication, and accept the consequences of eating too many fatty foods, and people with lung cancer should "shut up," forego chemotherapy, and accept the consequences of smoking.
Crash your car lately under poor road conditions? Don't ask your insurance company to help you out: You shouldn't have been so irresponsible as to start it in the first place. What a wonderful society we'd live in, if only Mr. Stechschulte were able to punish everyone for their so-called irresponsibility.
Perhaps Mr. Stechschulte's overwhelming disgust over women's sexuality has blinded him to the fact that EC access is one of the cornerstones of the pro-choice movement. Mr. Stechschulte fails to realize that to be pro-choice is to support CHOICE, which includes the choice to prevent pregnancy before it occurs. Pro-choice activists support a full range of reproductive health care options, from sex education to birth control to quality prenatal care. The right to control one's sexual and reproductive health, including the right to access EC when necessary, is a fundamental human right.
Wal-Mart's policy not to carry emergency contraception is not just in violation of Massachusett's law, it is an affront to human dignity. Approximately 3 million unintended pregnancies occur every year in the United States. It is estimated by women's health experts that widespread access to EC has the potential to cut that number in half, and to prevent hundreds of thousands of abortions a year. Given this fact, advocates on both the pro-choice and the anti-abortion sides of "the debate" should unite on this issue; so far, no anti-abortion organizations have shown support for EC access.
More than 70 major medical organizations support access to EC without a prescription. EC is available without a prescription in 38 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, and South Africa.
Nonetheless, EC is still a mystery in much of the U.S. Studies of college women who have had abortions reveal that, on average, only one in three was aware that EC was available. Many hospitals neglect their responsibility to offer EC to sexual assault survivors as an option for reducing the risk of pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood and its student outreach program, Vox, work tirelessly in the area of prevention. We urge all people to educate themselves about reproductive health and rights, including EC.
Mr. Stechschulte says he has an idea for women: Shut up and quit having unprotected sex. I have an idea for Mr. Stechschulte: Keep your nose out of our bedrooms and mind your own business.
Voices for Planned Parenthood at OSU
Well, I did it again. I missed another day. And yes, one person e-mailed me to complain. I want to thank that loyal reader and let you know that today's coffee is a shot of espresso, to make up for yesterday's absence.
<u>NCAA Tournament - </u>I had a great time in Philly this weekend, even though my UK Wildcats didn't pull off the upset, it was still a great game to watch. Other than that, of course my tournament bracket was shot to hell when UNC got beat Sunday. However, I am currently in 2nd place in the office pool. But, since I had UNC in the championship game, I won't be there long.
James Carville and Mary Matalin </u>are starring in a reality show where they will help advise candidates running for high school class president. I love James Carville, but seriously.
<u>Check this out:</u>
A new study claims that whiny children grow up to be conservatives. (not really news to anyone)
<u>2008 Presidential Politics</u>
Mitt Romney's face is everywhere these days. Even BBC is buying into his candidacy.
And now, to a side of commentary:
Marriage: $100 Million Stronger</u>
This article is pretty unbelievable. I can't understand why the media hasn't been covering this total waste of money.
Conservatives everywhere are celebrating because the Federal Government is setting aside $100 Million dollars to "strengthen marriage."
What exactly does that mean? Apparently, the government will invest some of the millions into a public ad campaign promoting marriage.
I am having a hard time understanding the actual objective of this program. Don't get me wrong, like everyone else, when two people love each other and want to profess their love and commitment through marriage, I am happy to celebrate that relationship. But, I don't understand the value of a program that encourages people to marry each other, whether they want to or not. The only thing this campaign will really succeed in is pissing away $100 million dollars to make wing-nuts on the right feel good while sitting atop their moral high horse.
The Washington Times columnist Michael J. McManus celebrates this development and informs readers that this money is not new but is just a reallocation of poorly spent money.
Perhaps by poorly spent, he means money that would otherwise be spent funding Medicare, Medicaid, and the No Child Left Behind Act.
Today's coffee is going to be a little watered down as I am leaving the office early today to attend a Voting Rights Reauthorization forum in New York. The forum is going to be at the SEIU Local 32 BJ - 101 Avenue of the Americas (at Grand St.) . The forum is from 4-9 so feel free to stop by if you are in NY and have some time.
I found this yesterday in the NY Times</u>
Contest for college students to win a trip around the world with Nicholas Kristof!! I really wish I could apply.
<u>Check out this ridiculousness</u>
Southern Baptists: You are either with us, or your with the devil!
P.S. Check out some of the ad campaign ideas people came up with yesterday as in response to the government's new $100 million marriage promotion campaign. You can find them in the comments section of yesterday's blog. Hmm...I smell a campaign contest.
This is the last report from secret operative number 1 on forums held at this year's CPAC conference.
Given my interest in civil liberties issues, I was particularly excited to attend the Preserving Civil Liberties in the Fight Against Terrorism forum held at this year's CPAC.
Unfortunately, the forum basically served as a sales pitch for the destruction of the civil rights and civil liberties that make this country great. To start the forum, Viet Dinh, a Georgetown Law professor, essentially argued that anything the executive branch of government does is legal, with the excuse being that it was done to protect America. What was the law professor's legal argument for spying on Americans? He stated that if Al-Qaeda was talking about plotting against America, he wants someone to know about it.
Well, Mr. Dinh, so do I and so do all Americans. However, digging through Aunt Betty's e-mails and listening to phone conversations with grandma won't get you that information. It will, however, get you fourteen hours of conversation about bundt cake and control-top pantyhose.
Mr. Dinh, you and other conservatives like you, are the real cowards in the war on terror. Everytime the President starts fear mongering, you would rather throw up your hands and surrender rather than defend our nation's commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.
Spying on Americans is a dangerous precedent, and more importantly it is illegal. No one is above the constitution, and no form of fear pandering is going to change that.
Good morning boys and girls. This morning's coffee is being served with a side of cheese steak (mmm) as I am in Philadelphia this weekend for the first Young People For Regional Conference. The conference is being co-sponsored by Center For Progressive Leadership. Lucky for you, that means this weekend will be the first ever edition of Café Con Leche....Con Weekends.
If you are in the Philadelphia area, or feel like traveling this weekend to learn how about voter registration, get out the vote efforts, or just to experience the great bar scene - feel free to drop by. You can sign up here!
<u>NCAA Tourney:</u> YEAAHHH!!! DUKE GOT BEAT. That really screws my tourney bracket, but I am happy to make that sacrifice.
Entertainment: </u>I know I am behind on this, but I can't believe they kicked the nerdy guy off of American Idol. I mean seriously, no talent-country singing "Bucky" stays on and they kick the cute little 16 year old guy off. What is this country coming to?
<u>Politics : </u>I found this really interesting article in the Times this morning about how a large number of women are campaigning for office this year.
<u>Cheney's list of demands: </u> This is an article about Cheney's list of demands for when he is traveling. Interestingly enough, Cheney only reads the newspapers that he claims are part of the "liberal media." But, he of course only watches Fox News.
<u>Immigration:</u> The right wing is in a tizzy over Bush's immigration policy. Xenophobic conservatives are battling the ultra-greedy conservatives over what to do on immigration. I love when conservatives bash conservatives.
<u>Gun Control: </u>The governor of Kansas vetoed a state bill allowing citizen's to carry concealed weapons. The legislature overrode the veto claiming the bill is "about making citizens safer."
And now for a heaping helping of commentary:
2008 Presidential Race </u>
This is not meant to make a coherent case, but here are just a few things that I have noticed over the past few weeks and it's worth thinking about:
* Condi For President had a very strong presence at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
- Laura Bush, who like her husband follows very scripted talking points and only says exactly what she is told, has said on numerous occasions that she thinks Condi would be a great President.
- This week, Condi began to distance herself from the White House by producing a paper that highlighted the dismal conditions in Iraq.
Is a Condi '08 run a real possibility? Maybe, but until this point the only people fueling this "movement" have been ultra right wingers who like the fact that Condi, although intelligent, has been nothing more than a thoughtless cheerleader for right wing policy initiatives. If Condi starts actually using her brain like she did this week with her report on Iraq, she will kill her campaign before it ever really gets started.
Forget Corruption! The Problem with Corporate America: The Environment and Women. (According to Cons
Because there was too much to blog about, and because I couldn't get out of town fast enough, I was unable to fully describe my experience at last weeks Conservative Political Action Conference. Here are some more of the details. Read them if you dare.
When I attended the CPAC's conference only session on corporate responsibility, I naively thought it would be a forum focusing on the corporate corruption that has been plaguing America over the past few years.
Silly me, I should have known better. The conservatives were out in force to tackle the big problems: environmentally friendly organizations and corporations that hire women.
I wish I were exaggerating this story.
Ed Hudgins began the forum with his assault on pro-environment organizations by talking about how ridiculous it is to save wetlands, um, I mean "mud holes," as he referred to them. That was only the beginning. He tag teamed his partner in crime Steve Malloy, of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, to continue his attack on the environment. Saying, "we don't know that humans are adversely impacting the environment," Malloy started his rant on global warming. He continued by saying that global warming can't be proven and that "no new science on global warming," exists.
To his defense, Mr. Malloy's subscription to the newspaper ran out two decades ago.
Just when I thought Malloy's comments were going to win the award for most outrageous of the day, he tags back to Hudgins who tells the audience that it is morally irresponsible for corporations to hire a diverse group of people, women in particular, because those people, "can't make money." Yes, you read it right! Mr. Hudgins told people to get off their "moral high horse," because most of the people who know how to run a business and be business executives happen to be men.
Only right wing conservatives can take a forum on corporate responsibility and turn it into an attack on women and the environment.
I was just involved in one of the scariest experiences of my life: (besides a really horrifying snake incident when I was 12) I was just in a room of about 1000 raging conservative extremists going absolutely nuts while listening to Ann Coulter spew racist hate speech. The place erupted as Ms. Coulter came to the stage, and was just as loud and approving when Ms. Coulter referred to all Muslims as "ragheads." Even more unfortunate, when a proud conservative Muslim American stepped to the microphone to ask that she not call him a "raghead," she essentially blamed him for attacking America.
Basically the entire presentation, which lasted about 30 minutes, was nothing more than Ms. Coulter making outrageous racist and xenophobic statements meant to grab headlines. Even more disgusting, her conservative audience loved it. I swear to you, some young random conservative girl next to me said " I don't know who I idolize more, Ann Coulter or Phyllis Schlafly." I made my exit.
Philadelphia Regional Conference
Well folks, as you know, this edition of Café is coming to you from Philadelphia. That's right, this mornings coffee is flavored with brotherly love. (what does city of brotherly love mean anyway?) Sorry, the coffee would have been served earlier (as I have been up since 7:00 AM) but apparently the Marriot hotel has something against wireless internet and they are charging $10 for 30 minutes of wireless. No thank you. So, each time I blog I will have to come back to my hotel room to do so. But, for you, my loyal readers, I am happy to do it.
This morning about 50 students, activists and trainers from all over Pennsylvania and the northeast gathered for the first YP4 Regional Conference being co-sponsored by Center For Progressive Leadership and the United States Student Association. The conference is designed to train student leaders and community members on voter registration and get out the vote mobilization techniques and strategies.
The conference opened with a really interesting skit and speech by Marco Ceglie, the National Co-Chair of Billionaires For Bush. You probably heard of this group because of their activities before the 2004 Presidential election. Dressed in a tuxedo to drive home his point, Ceglia made some very interesting and powerful statements about the state of political corruption, and he did it through a very humorous medium. I found him to be very effective and getting his point across in an entertaining way. Very creative guy.
Well, that's all I'm going to give you because today Café is honored to have guest blogger Ezra Temko of Oberlin College who will be blogging about the conference. Stay tuned to read what Ezra has to say because *$^%'s going to get crazy.
Now the conference is going into the breakout sessions. My session is being led by Monica Higgins of the United States Student Association.
To start the session, everyone was told to name their favorite cookie. (come on - don't judge, there is no such thing as a good ice breaker) I am actually a passionate advocate for Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies. Some people call them Peanut Butter Patties. Whatever you call them, they are great, and they help me keep a nice sized belly.
In this session, Monica is talking about how to work with your campus administration in doing VR work. She told the crowd about a little known provision in the Higher Education Act that actually requires campus administrations to make a "good faith effort" to work towards registering voters and supporting voter registrations campaigns. Interesting.
Now we are brainstorming ways to work with campus administration and the tools that the administration can provide to students.
Some things we came up with:
* Event space
* Campus mailings
* Access to Dorms