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.
Thanks Shawn. Shawn decided to turn over blogging to me for today and this is some good coffee. I had no idea.
After the morning session, we broke out into larger groups, where I learned how to apply social guerilla warfare to politics.
Jay Woodson of the National Hip Hop Political Convention led my first break out session. He is someone who tries to engage people in politics even if they do not want to be involved in electoral politics. Jay looks at hip hop and the politics thereof - deconstructing it and looking at issues of materialism, sexism, heteronormativity, or the influence of capitalism on a movement that was originally a communal response to social marginalization. We learned was that it is a lot of hard work to motivate youth to vote and become engaged, but that hard work is the only successful mechanism to do this.
* Weird aside. Some guy came here to promote the Libertarian movement and passed out his business cards.
One excellent point that was brought up was that political elitism does not sell to people who are disengaged. People that are already involved in politics tend to talk about things on a certain engaged level, and concern themselves about party strength and weakness, messaging, framing, taking back congress, etc. However, people should remember that people who are disengaged often have not even made the connection that politics necessarily has an implication on their life.
Another quick aside. Unfortunately Shawn is in charge of music. He refuses to play anything but Michael Jackson. Okay, I have to run tomy next session, but I will leave you some more closer to the end of the day.
Mmm.....Friday's coffee always seems to taste better! It's early, and already I am working on my second cup.
Weird aside: Just curious. Did anyone apply for that free trip with Nicholas Kristof from the NY Times that I mentioned last week?
Right Wingers afraid of the big bad progressive 527 Groups! Although wingers were happy to let their ultra-conservative groups help defeat a Presidential candidate with swift boat attacks, now that they think 527s will hurt them they want limits on contributions.
Check this out! Markos gave a shout out to YP4 Fellow Adam Conner on the front page of Dailykos. YP4 is sponsoring the book tour of Crashing The Gate by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas. Adam organized the event!
Fight Club - It seems that U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney has taken a page from the playbook of super model Naomi Campbell. McKinney, congresswoman from Georgia, will probably be arrested over her incident yesterday with Capitol Hill security. Fortunately for McKinney, the incident was not caught on tape.
The debate over presidential censure continues. Former Nixon counsel endorses censure. No matter the story, it's never good when a Nixon official calls you unethical. Honestly, I had no idea they were still having hearings on this.
New poll out shows that just 51% of Americans oppose gay marriage. That is down 12 points from just two years ago. This number suggests a pretty even divide among the country, with those in favor of equal rights gaining ground. We all know that this is an issue that will take time, but inevitably, equal rights and gay marriage will win. So, why are so many politicians happy being on the wrong side of history?
It's all yours.
It's that time of year again folks...yep, it's GUEST BLOGGER WEEK here on the Cafe.
Enjoy this mornings Cafe with Drew Courtney, Communications Specialist for People For The American Way:
Don't Let ABOR Happen to You!
If you haven't heard about ABOR, you're probably not alone.
ABOR (the "Academic Bill of Rights" to the wingers and the "Academic Bill of Restrictions" to people who care about . . . um . . . truth) is legislation that's being pushed under the radar by right-wing extremists in Congress and legislatures all over the country. It's the brainchild of David Horowitz (neo-con of African-Americans-should-be-grateful-for-being-kidnapped-and-enslaved fame) and it's pretty terrible.
Horowitz has been pushing ABOR along with his most recent screed against campus liberals, The Professors. Apparently, while no one was looking, radical liberals have invaded universities and have begun brainwashing innocent college students. Horowitz seems to be unsure as to whether these professors are communists or terrorists, so he plays it safe by assuming that they're both. (Note -- This make me feel old. I remember my college professors as being mostly, well, Jesuits.)
Never one to let facts stand in his way, Horowitz has mounted a campaign to pass legislation banning professors from discussing controversial topics like elections, the war, global warming, and evolution. Apparently his definition of "controversial" is the same as his definition for "politically inconvenient."
Apparently the era of big government is back. Conservatives who want to force their way into classrooms across the nation have gotten ABOR in front of a dozen or so legislatures, and watered down ABOR language is close to passing in the House.
Luckily for free thinking people everywhere, YP4 Action has jumped into the campaign to keep campuses free from legislative gag orders. We've joined with the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition ("Free Exchange" to its friends) to keep ABOR away from colleges and universities everywhere. So far, it's been defeated in South Dakota and Arizona, and thanks to concerted efforts by the coalition it looks like ABOR is dying a slow death in Pennsylvania as well.
Check out the Free Exchange website for updates. I post over there from time to time.
Is it just me, or is the radical right getting scarier?
Please accept my profuse apologies for the absence of the blog yesterday. I realize that tens if not twenty people waited anxiously all day to read the blog, and it never came. For that, I am sorry.
But today, the blog is back, and about the same as ever!!
On to the news:
The NCAA Tournament starts today, and guess who has tickets to the first round in Philly!!! I am going to watch Kentucky dominate! This is the year baby! After spending a butt load on tickets, I would appreciate if someone in the greater Philly area would be generous enough to offer up a free room for the night? Any takers?
Jessica Simpson snubs the President.
And a side of commentary:
Please check out this story, it is absolutely incredible.
The city of Kalamazoo, Michigan is offering FREE college tuition to any student who attends four or more years of public school in the city. A group of anonymous philanthropists are making an investment in the city and its future by offering local students free tuition to any public college or university in the state, including community colleges.
The city of Kalamazoo will provide a strong testimonial for progressives who constistently have to battle wing nut lawmakers on the right who try to cut education funding. Not only will more students be attending college, but in the short time since the announcement of the new plan the city has already started to see an increase in the local economy and housing market.
Café Con Leche
Guest Blogger Week continues after a few headlines. Today's guest blogger will be YP4 Fellow Eileen Denny.
But for now, some of the stories that I think are ridiculous:
AHHHH.... What is Cynthia McKinney doing? I am not commenting on the incident at all, but she is all over TV. I think I counted her on four different morning talk shows this week. Doesn't she know she is just drawing more negative publicity to herself? And, I don't know why people are talking about her hair, I actually think she has great hair.
I don't know why, but for some reason I love Katie Couric. Wonder who her replacement on the Today show will be? Oh no, I already dread the long drawn out "goodbye" episode that NBC will try to cash in on.
Massachusetts: Looking to become the first state with almost universal healthcare. It will be interesting to see how this works. It will also be interesting to see how Mitt Romney campaigns on healthcare having signed this bill.
BREAKING NEWS TO ABSOLUTELY NO ONE:
New study out says the tax cuts passed by ultra conservatives benefiting the rich. Did anyone think this tax cut was actually for working class people?
A judge in San Francisco just ruled that Google has to turn over some of its data to the Department of Justice. This is a disturbing precedent that could potentially lead to the government tracking what online users search.
Just in case you are keeping a tally, the government can and will:
- Listen to your phone calls
- Do sneak and peak's on your house without telling you
- Find out what you have been reading at the library
- See what you are searching for on Google
YP4 Program Associate Rachel Burrows takes a stab at the blog...
At Penn State University College Republicans proposed a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" on campus. And I'm sure this is not the first time a group of conservative students on a college campus illustrated their extreme positions with extreme actions. It's ok, because this time events like "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" are overshadowed by the millions of people who are demanding equality and opportunity for all. Millions of Americans have taken to the streets in recent weeks to say "no" to anti-immigrant and xenophobic forces.
This is truly a grassroots movement and on April 10th a coalition of immigrant, labor, faith, civil rights, community groups and allies across the nation will rally together for a National Day of Action. Students are actively engaged in the fight for immigrant rights and are leaders on this issue. YP4 Fellows are organizing events from Chicago to Pennsylvania, Minnesota to Texas, and California to New York. For more information about events happening near you check out www.pfaw.org and www.april10.org. Be a part of history! Join a National Day of Action Immigrant Justice event coming to a town near you!
-posted by TJ
(Shawn's out with his momma, fresh off the plane from the big KY)
From Guest Blogger Drew Courtney, Communications Specialist at People For the American Way Foundation:
As you may remember, YP4 was featured in a cover story in The Nation not too long ago. The Nation now has a "Student Resources" section with some interesting stuff to check out. Check out this link: http://www.thenation.com/student/. There's also a discussion of the article you should definitely take a look at (click on The Big Question). Poke around for a bit. It's pretty neat.
The discussion is pretty impassioned over there. There's some chatter about a lack of diversity in these groups, which doesn't mesh with my impression of YP4. You should definitely chime in and share your experiences with the program.
Then come back and share your opinions over here. We miss you when you're gone.
-posted by TJ... Thanks, DREW!
I have had a few people express some concern about the morning coffee with Shawn. Just to totally clear up the issue, the coffee I am serving is 100% fair trade.
I realize the coffee is a little cold this morning, as I am running behind schedule.
No real news, except to say that last night on Hannity and Colmes I swear to you they ran a news ticker across the screen reading "George Clooney: I am a liberal"
Now, to a good ole' serving of commentary:
Department of Justice: Party Like It's 1959
I found this article in the Times this morning and it's very disturbing. Affirmative action is a controversial issue and no one denies that. But, no matter your stance on that issue, everyone should be outraged to find out that colleges and universities are being forced to completely open scholarships that are designed to target women, students of color, and students from a variety of backgrounds. The Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are intimidating universities by threatening legal action unless all scholarships and fellowships are open to all students.
Scholarships and fellowships designed to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to attend college are a fundamental tool in creating equal opportunity education. These scholarships are not designed to be exclusive or to give an advantage to any particular race or gender, only to increase diversity and encourage students who are traditionally underrepresented on college campuses to seek higher education.
This is a racists initiative that hurts everyone except for students from upper class families. First generation college students serve as a good example. No one can intelligently argue that first generation college students are on equal footing with students who are third generation Ivy League college students. However, opening scholarships will put these two undeniably different classes of students into the same applicant pool, inevitably creating even less opportunity for a class of students already disadvantaged.
This disgusting intimidation of colleges and universities by the DOJ and DOE only work to create an even more elitist and exclusive educational environment in this country.
Recently I was enjoying a frosty malted beverage with one of my conservative friends (yeah, I know...), he proceeded to tell me of his brush with fame. It seems that his favorite conservative talk show host, the irrepressible Rush Limbaugh had decided to sell a T-shirt poking fun at the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Of course, he and his crack staff could only come up with something along the lines of "My terrorist parents went to Gitmo, and all I got..."; you get the idea.
Jerry refined the slogan to something a bit more fun, but still crass. Here it is, in case you see someone strolling down the street advertising their sensibilities, or lack thereof.
"What happens in Gitmo, stays in Gitmo."
I have to admit it...I laughed, if only for a second.
It got me thinking about the Republican mindset, though. You know, the one that promotes the suffering of anyone we deem fit to incarcerate. Not too much different than many conservative's view on the death penalty, facilities and rehab for domestic inmates, and police tactics; the popular view on Gitmo (and Abu Ghraib) is that torturing these people is ok as long as it serves the overall goal...to punish anyone with a cultural connection to the 9/11 attackers...and maybe get a bit of unreliable intelligence along the way. Admittedly, Jerry is not this bad.
I'm not kidding that much about this, the comments of (Abu Ghraib officer) during his court martial evidence this sadism. "The Christian in me says it's wrong...but the corrections officer in me loves to make a grown man piss himself." remarked Army Specialist Charles A Graner Jr. during his court martial hearings. Now there's someone working for peace. In fact Silja Talvi writing for <u>In These Times</u> suggests that we all share a guilty subconscious for the transgressions of our executive branch. The suggestion is that the national outrage (and compassion) of Americans over the Terri Shaivo case is something of an emotional release valve for this pent up regret for what we've allowed our leaders to perpetrate. Perhaps for Republicans, but for Dems its merely outrage...at the apparent hypocrisy of wanting to save a dying woman in place of hundreds of foreign men.
Respecting humanity is supposed to be a universal thing. Idealism aside, how can we blatantly flaunt international law and expect to be the "moral" leaders in a post-modern world. The solution to this conundrum is simple, they are prisoners, and should be treated as such...given basic facilities (food, bed, toilet...etc.), some entertainment (the Korah would be fine), and maybe the company of their fellows (if they are good). It doesn't have to be "Club Gitmo" as Rush would suggest, but torture is right out...even in the name of National Security.
So when Dubya re-sold this latest installment of the War on Terror to us the other night, I never lost sight on what he is willing to do to convert others to our way of life. Lying, killing, stealing, torturing...I'm sure the Iraqi citizens can see the appeal. Maybe he should be reading the Center For American Progress' suggestions on Gitmo...he might sleep better at night.