Caf

| April 10, 2006 - 4:39 pm

Mmm...my Tuesday morning coffee is brewin' in the kitchen and man does it smell good.  It's actually a new flavor called "Southern Pecan."  I'll give it a shot and let you know how it turns out.  

Philadelphia Conference:  I can't believe I forgot to tell you what happened to me this past weekend.  As you know, I was in Philadelphia for the first YP4 Regional Conference.  On Friday night I decided to do some laundry (because I was too lazy to wash my clothes before I left) in the laundry room at the hotel.  

Well, after leaving my clothes in the dryer for too long, I went to the laundry room to find them folded on top of the dryer.  In the corner sat a women - scruffy voice, dressed to kill, smoking a cigarette, really romantic scene, you know - in her sexiest voice she informed me that one of the guys from Extreme Makeover Home Edition told her to tell me he was sorry, but he just had to have the dryer.  So, he folded my clothes.

That's right folks, I have celebrities folding my clothes.  Later, I actually confirmed that the crew from the show was staying in the hotel, but I don't know which guy from the show actually folded my clothes. (including my red bumble bee boxers - not kidding) I am crossing my fingers that it was Ty.

Check out this website, it is hysterical: Stuff + Cats = Awesome. Kelly Rolf, our Administrative Manager suggested it.  This will give you a little insight into how Kelly spends her day.

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On to the News:
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Bush-Blair War Memo: Bush having war come hell or high water! (Another colloquialism that I often employ, yet don't understand)

Immigration became the hot button issue almost over night it seems.  Last night I had to listen to right winger Sean Hannity and all the other conservative talk show hosts bash immigrants and describe the proposed guest worker program as "amnesty."  The debate in the senate should be interesting.  



Man, French students really know how to protest!!



<u>

Commentary:
</u&gt

Today, I leave the commentary to you.  Day in and day out I post to this blog, with little reply from you, the readers.  So, today I am asking you to do the commentary.  You tell me what's on your mind.

Go.

Same Tired Plan, New Scare Tactics

| April 10, 2006 - 4:39 pm

Sorry about the late entry, but the conservatives are hogging all the internet service and I wasn't able to post this last night. Here's a wrap up from yesterday's events.  I will write about my scary experience with Ann Coulter in just a minute.  

*This blog was written by YP4 secret operative number two, who was dressed in his most conservative outfit to blend in with the crowd.  

The Politics of Fear

Using a new facade for old themes, the 33rd Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) opened this weekend with smiling conservative faces bringing the same old message to young conservative minds: be afraid anyone who doesn't look, act, or think like you.

By lending nearly two hours of the day's agenda to topics concerning immigration, the CPAC conference laid out what is sure to be the conservative's next scare tactic.  Which prominent authority on immigration did CPAC get to come and discuss the topic? None other than Chris Simcox, the founder of the "Minutemen Civil Defense Corps."  During his rant, Mr. Simcox compared immigrants to terrorists, called for the building of a fence across the southern boarder of the U.S., and according to the Southern Poverty law center was once quoted as saying "They [Mexicans] have no problem slitting your throat and taking your money or selling drugs to your kids or raping your daughter and they are evil people."

Mr. Simcox presentation was only the beginning of the two hours of mostly hate filled rhetoric.  He was followed by the ultra conservative Ms. Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum who continued the anti-immigration diatribe by saying that immigrants "only cause problems."

Later in the day, the bigotry continued with what the audience found to be a rousing speech by Senator Rick Santorum.  The speech was disappointing, though not surprising.  As expected, the Senator followed the hate filled agenda by suggesting that gay Americans and their families are second class citizens.

As if all these speakers weren't overwhelming enough for one day, CPAC sponsored an organization fair.  Apparently, only the scariest and most radical organizations were allowed to attend, including one organization call "PFOX."  PFOX stands for Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays. This group claims to know how to "heal" and "treat" gay people back to heterosexuality.  Need I say more?

Man, I have had all of the radical right that I can take in one day.  It's a good thing too, because neither my colleague nor I have enough money to pay for the reception that CPAC is throwing tonight with Vice President Dick Cheney. It is sure to be a fear mongering good time. Hopefully we can sneak away from this conservative bastion long enough to recharge for another full day tomorrow.  Stay Tuned!

Gay Hate Rally: Recovering Gay Calling the Cheers

| April 10, 2006 - 4:38 pm

A session that was supposed to analyze and celebrate anti-gay legislation turned into a full fledged anti-gay hate fest with the Founder of Exodus International Mr. Alan Chambers leading the rally.  Mr. Chambers is a "recovering" gay who started Exodus International as a treatment center to help people heal themselves back to heterosexuality.  After comparing homosexuality with child molestation, Chambers, in his completely unscientific and un-research opinion, explained to the audience that homosexuality is a result of unmet childhood needs.  So, if your kids come down with a bad case of homosexuality, rush them to Mr. Chambers who knows how to "treat" the disease.  

Next cheerleader at the hate-rally: State Senator Alex Mooney of Maryland.  The Senator made the argument that gay people who love each other and have spent their lives together should not be able to visit one another in the hospital because "those rights are for married people."  Awww.... The Senator doesn't want to share his rights. Later in the program the Senator got in a fight with another panelist because he was "looking at him funny."

Caf

| 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 stuffonmycat.com 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)  

Caf

| 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.  



Commentary:


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!

Caf

| 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.

Commentary:

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

Wooohoooo.....day 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.

EZRA TEMKO

Caf

| 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?

Commentary:  

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