| April 10, 2006 - 4:38 pm

Mmm.  The Southern Pecan coffee from yesterday actually amazing!  So much so, I am having another cup this morning.  Join me as we drink (pronounced "draank" in Southern) another glass of Southern Pecan goodness.

I swear to you I was so inspired by that I wanted nothing more than to go home last night, put stuff on my cat, and share pictures.  Unfortunately, I got in so late I was forced to go straight to bed.  Tonight is the night! Look for pics tomorrow. (or not, depending on how weird I feel while trying to take pics of stuff on my cat) Perhaps we can have an internal stuff on my cat competition. YEAH!

<u>On to the news: </u&gt

By the way, this news section is not meant to be a comprehensive source of news.  This section is only meant to highlight stories that are either funny, or relevant to the progressive movement.    Sometimes I intentionally leave out news stories that other people may consider to be important.  Consider yourself warned.  For all of you who read Café as your exclusive news source, and I know that's a lot of you, please do look for other sources of news.

This is an example of a funny story.
 Wing-nut Scalia tries to get away with making inappropriate gestures.  To be fair, I am not an expert in how to give the middle finger in Sicilian.

HIV prevention drugs.
Apparently, there are promising drugs being tested on humans that can potentially prevent people from contracting HIV.  Of course there seems to be both positives and negatives to this story, so read carefully.

The Senate continues their debate over immigration
.  This weekends protests are proof that people coming together can actually make a difference in the way legislation is shaped.  Keep up the good work!

<u>On to Commentary:</u&gt

You know, I really like the way yesterday went with the open dialogue and commentary about immigration.  Granted, the "stuff on my cats" section received a lot of attention, but the open dialogue about immigration was substantive.  

Today, I want to open the dialogue back up -  not because I am too lazy to type and editorialize- because I came across this story yesterday saying that Bill Clinton supports compulsory HIV/AIDS testing.  I genuinely don't know how I feel about this.  My initial reaction would be to oppose compulsory testing. With that being said, it is certainly easy to see the other side of the argument.  

Read the article, and make your argument in the comments.  (And, if you have room, then comment about the cats)  


| April 10, 2006 - 4:37 pm

Wow, the coffee always tastes a little sweeter on Monday mornings.  Especially after a refreshing Voter Registration conference in Philly.  

Man, I have been spending a lot of time in Philly lately. First for the NCAA conference and now for the Voter Registration conference.  The city is really starting to grow on me.  Don't get me wrong, it's no New York, but still a good time.  Anyway, I am babbling....on to the important stuff.

NCAA Tournament:  I want to send a special thanks go Florida and George Mason.  Both have helped me be in 3rd place in the office pool.  Now, I just need UCLA to lose, and I will maintain my ranking and finish in 3rd place.  

I found a compilation senatorial approval ratings in a junk e-mail someone sent me - How popular is your senator? Mine is not doing so well. Only 3 senators have net disapproval ratings, and my state of KY is one of them.

I found this story about the Dixie Chicks, the country music group who came out against the Iraq War.  I don't really know why I am putting this on here other than I just can't believe this story.  Maybe someone should send the country music stations the latest approval rating on the War.  


I want to start today's commentary with an O'Reilly style "I told you so."  All you have to do is look to the bottom of this blog and read the commentary from the Conservative Political Action Conference I attended a few months ago to see that I predicted immigration as being the new conservative wedge issue. (Maybe it was a late prediction, but accurate nonetheless)

Conservatives plan on rushing into the 2006 elections fear mongering against hard working immigrants who play an important role in American society.  They made clear that they plan on dividing this country by attacking immigrants with fear mongering hate speech.  Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, who gave a virulent anti-immigrant speech at the CPAC conference, will serve as Head Wing-Nut Fear Monger.  

But, this weekend, immigrants and those who believe in equal opportunity for all people pushed back in an unprecedented fashion.  The protests in L.A. and across the country over the weekend should send a signal to conservatives that Americans won't allow politicians to demonize hard working people searching for opportunity.  Although conservatives will continue to push this issue, if immigrants and progressive keep up the good fight that was started this weekend, politicians will eventually get the message.

Keep up the good fight!


| April 10, 2006 - 4:37 pm

Mmm.....drink with me, won't you?  Coffee that is.

My cat made it through another edition of Café without being exploited, but only because the batteries in my digital camera were dead last night.

On to the News:

American Idol:

Who keeps voting for "Bucky?"  His presence on the show upsets me more and more every week.

America's Next Top Model:

Am I the only person who watches this?  If you watch it, leave me a comment, just so I know I am not alone.  Thank god Gina was kicked off, now we can focus on kicking off Jade.

Bill Frist : My job is "terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible," for running for President.

I love it when politicians get into fist fights:  Cynthia McKinney vs. Capitol Hill Police

Bush blames Saddam Hussein for mess in Iraq.  This headline needs no comment.  

This story is about how India has cut the HIV infection rate by one-third in its worst hit cities through sex-ed programs.


Today's commentary is open........take your pick.........maybe you want to see stuff on my cat, or the more likely scenario, you want me to stop talking about the stupid cat website. Or, just maybe you want to talk about how Saddam Hussein made a mess of the War in Iraq.  Up to you.

Cafe Con Leche.....Philly Style

| April 10, 2006 - 4:37 pm two is now underway.  I am happy to be serving you another helping of coffee, brotherly love style.  

You won't believe this, but I actually found an internet connection after the hotel swore I wouldn't, and tried to charge me $10 for 30 minutes.

Things are getting started this morning and we have a some really interesting speakers this morning.  Now, Malia Lazu is speaking.  Malia is the director of the Racial Justice Campaign.  In addition to her incredible work, Malia was a candidate on the Showtime reality series American Candidate.  In the show participants campaign for President and she actually won 2nd place in a national vote call in.  

Malia is talking to the crowd about the importance of voting and the important role that voting, and the right to vote, plays in our country.  

She is a really dynamic speaker, I understand how she did so well on that show.

Good News!! Ezra is back and ready to blog today, although I will admit he looks like he really enjoyed the city last night.  

PA Conference

| April 10, 2006 - 4:37 pm

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.



| April 10, 2006 - 4:36 pm

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.

Guest Blogger Week!

| April 10, 2006 - 4:35 pm

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?

-Drew Courtney


| April 10, 2006 - 4:35 pm

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.  

George Clooney and Ariana Huffington are in a spat over an anti-war blog.  

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.  


| April 10, 2006 - 4:35 pm

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:

(BTW - It is snowing in New York.  Yes, that's right snowing on April 5, 2006)

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.

Todays Commentary:


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?


Another Afternoon, Another Violation of Privacy

| April 10, 2006 - 4:35 pm

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