Jul 28

The Democratic Women’s Club of Florida Makes Recommendations for the 2012 DNC Platform Committee

Earlier this month, the DNC named the 2012 Platform Committee.

Platform Drafting Committee
Former U.S. Rep. Tony Coelho
Tino Cuellar, attorney and official in Clinton and Obama administrations
Rep. Barney Frank
Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association’s Education director of policy and practice
Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East
Nancy Keenan, NARAL Pro-Choice America President
Heather Kendall Miller, staff attorney for Native American Rights Fund
Thea Lee, policy director and chief international economist at the AFL-CIO
Rep. Barbara Lee
Susan Ness, former member of the Federal Communications Commission
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
Carlos Odio, Latino Democratic activist
former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler
Christen Young, associate policy director for Health Care with the Obama campaign

Ex-Officio Platform Drafting Committee Members
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
DNC Secretary Alice Germond
Tom Wheeler

Full Platform Committee Chairs
Newark Mayor Cory Booker
Retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy

National Platform Director
Andrew Grossman, veteran political consultant

Shortly after naming the 2012 Platform Committee, the Democratic National Committee opened a portal for platform suggestions at Democrats.org and invited submissions:

The 2012 Platform Drafting Committee will meet on July 27-29 in Minneapolis, MN. If you or your organization is interested in submitting proposed language or a request to testify before the Platform Drafting Committee, please complete the form below. All submissions must be made by July 25, 2012. For more information or additional assistance, you may contact platform@dnc.org.

The following press release outlines recommendations submitted to the DNC by Democratic Women’s Club of Florida President Janet Goen:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Democratic Women Submit Platform Recommendations to the DNC”

Tallahassee, Florida – Democratic Women’s Club of Florida President Janet Goen announced the following recommendations would be submitted to the Democratic National Committee for inclusion in the Democratic Party Platform.
President Goen stated, “We’ve outlined three top issues that the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida considers to be 2012 policy priorities.” In the organization’s recommendations, the DWCF urged the recently appointed DNC platform committee to include the following issues as key components of the national Democratic platform for the 2012 election:
–Support and funding for Public Education
–Marriage Equality
–Reproductive Healthcare Access for Women
According to Goen, Democratic women in Florida favor increased support and enhanced funding levels for public education. Furthermore, she stated, “The members of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Inc., do not support efforts to undermine the nation’s schools such as “parent trigger” initiatives, vouchers, or other attempts to divert funds from public schools.”
President Goen stated that, “The Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Inc., believes that equality should not be dependent on geography. Marriage equality should be extended across the nation for all citizens.”
In conclusion, Goen asserted that, “Women need unrestricted access to affordable reproductive healthcare. A national platform must address women’s reproductive healthcare access.”
Finally, President Goen noted, “The Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, and by extension, the members of the Democratic Platform Committee are tasked with the awesome responsibility for charting not only a policy course for the nation but are charged with defining our party’s values for years to come.”
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May 23

The End of Florida Progressive Coalition

In 2004, after the re-election of George W. Bush, which was shocking to me, I was kind of at a loss as to what to do in terms of blogging. I had been blogging since 1998, mostly about national topics. But the national blogosphere was clogged and I wasn’t covering national politics from any kind of angle that others weren’t covering better than I was. And it was clear that I needed to try to do something that would have more of an impact, otherwise I wouldn’t feel satisfied with my place in the political world. So, after talking to a number of other bloggers around the state, Florida Progressive Coalition was launched. I shifted my focus to state-level politics, something that was being very poorly covered both by the mainstream media and by bloggers. FPC launched in 2005.

Two major problems were identified. One, that people didn’t have enough information about state and local politics. The media did a poor job of covering it and since state politics was drastically different from national politics, most of us, me included, didn’t have enough inherent knowledge about how things worked. In order to do a good job of covering Florida politics, bloggers needed to increase their knowledge of the players in the system, the rules of the system and the issues important to the state. A second major problem was that there wasn’t much money being put into covering politics, be it the media or blogging, and without some kind of influx of cash into the system, few, if any people, would be able to devote enough time to learning about the system to do it justice.

More than six years later, these problems have never been solved. Media coverage of state and local politics is much worse now than it was then. And because of silly laws like term limits, the system is so frequently changing that I’ve found, personally, that my knowledge of state politics is actually getting worse. And I don’t have the time or resources to fix that problem. Few state-level bloggers in the country have found models of funding that allow them to devote serious time to state and local politics. The overwhelming majority of bloggers from the 50 states that were invited to a state-level blogger summit in 2007 are no longer blogging about state politics. Only a few blogs that cover state and local politics can pay their bills, much less pay salaries to their writers.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t solve either of these problems. I’ve tried numerous different approaches to it and none of them have worked. Some of that is the difficulty of the problems, which are widespread across the country at the state level. Some of it is because of my own personal failings. Since 2009, I’ve been divided among numerous projects and have never been able to devote the time to FPC that I need to, usually because paying gigs have to take priority. And because other FPC writers also have to have paying gigs and I never found a way to pay them or a way to inspire them to work extensively for FPC for free (except for a few people over the years for periods of time), FPC never became what it could’ve been and what it needed to be. And I see no way that is going to change.

On top of that, one of the key reasons, as I mentioned above, that I moved my focus to state politics was that my voice wasn’t adding to the national conversation. Now that I have been writing for Crooks and Liars on labor issues (and other topics) for nearly nine months, that’s not true any more. Thousands of people read my national writing each week and I regularly see my posts get picked up by other blogs and websites. And there are only a few national bloggers focused on labor issues. And there are a lot more labor stories that we need to cover than are currently covered. And labor issues are truly one of the key battlegrounds in American politics these days and one of the most important battles we have to win.

So, I have decided that I am ending my time as executive director of Florida Progressive Coalition and, barring someone else stepping up to take over, the blog will end. I’m not going to take the site down, but I won’t be publishing any future content. I’m willing to entertain offers from others if they are interested in taking over and maintaining FPC in whatever way they see fit and I’m certainly hoping that someone will pick up on the wiki and continue to add content to it, since it is a valuable resource for Floridians. One thing I know is that I can’t do it anymore and I have to shift my time and efforts more fully to the battles that I know more about and I have more of a chance to successfully pursue. FPC no longer fits that description.

The last things I will post here will be the continuation of the 2012 Florida Netroots Awards, and after that I will entertain offers to take that over, too.

It’s been a great few years and I’ve learned more than I ever expected and met more great people than I could’ve imagined, but it’s time to move on to other projects.

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May 17

2012 Netroots Awards

It’s that time of year again, the 2012 Netroots Awards are about to begin. Before we get to the nomination process, I want to open up the categories a bit for discussion. A few things first. The awards are are no longer sponsored by the now-defunct Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition, they are sponsored by FPC. They are still going to be nominated democratically and voted upon the same way. The awards will not be given out by me, but by the readers of the blogs and the followers of the campaigns. I will not decide who is progressive enough and will only disqualify Republicans and anyone else on the right (including Libertarians). Liberals, progressives, leftists, socialists, Democrats (even moderate ones) are eligible for nomination. If you don’t think someone is progressive enough, it’s up to you to vote against them and to recruit others to vote against them. I will not red flag them for you. The other rules from the past are still in effect, particularly the rule about not winning the same award two years in a row. I’ll be setting up a more formal way to make nominations this year to help avoid problems that came up last year. Beyond that anything else is up for discussion, publicly or privately and I’ll make a decision based on what makes sense and is fair.

Below is the list of last year’s categories, which might need some adjustment. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, e-mail them to me at quinnelk@hotmail.com or leave them in comments.

1. Best National Blog: Blogs written by Floridians that covers primarily national politics.

2. Best State Blog: Blogs about statewide politics in Florida.

3. Best Local Blog: Blogs about city/county/regional politics in the state of Florida.

4. Best Media Blog: Blogs written by professional journalists at Florida publications.

5. Best Professional Blog: Blogs written by state or local political parties, candidates or party operatives in Florida.

6. Best Party Website: Best Florida-wide website associated with a political party or political party unit (such as a caucus or coalition).

7. Best Candidate Website: Anyone running for statewide or local office in Florida can win this one.

8. Best Local Party Website: This one is for Florida DECs, clubs or local chapters of statewide caucuses or coalitions.

9. Best Interest Group Website: Any Florida-based nonparty activist, charitable or grassroots group.

10. Best Writer: Anyone whose writings is published at any of the above websites is eligible for this one. Winners should have one or more of the following qualities: good grammar and presentation, provides original reporting, has a good sense of humor, shows creativity, has a strong personal touch, or has an effect on the real world because of their writing

11. Netroots Candidate of the Year: The Florida candidate at any level who has best incorporated the Netroots into her/his campaign and done the best job of treating Netroots activists as valid constituents and not just another group of people to exploit.

12. Netroots Activist of the Year: The individual who has done the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida.

13. Rookie Activist of the Year: The individual who has doe the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida who is relatively new to Netroots activism in the state. Anyone who has been previously nominated in ANY category or has more than three years Netroots-related experience in Florida is ineligible for this award.

14. Netroots Organization of the Year: The organization that has done the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida.

15. Best New Blogger: This one should go to the best blogger who has been blogging about Florida politics for no more than a year and a half.

16. Best Online Campaign: This is an award for the best use of the web and related technologies to achieve some kind of goal, such as fundraising, fighting legislation or other activism.

17. Best Use of Twitter: Any Floridian who uses Twitter and whose posts incorporate the following qualities: good use of the language, original reporting, a good sense of humor, creativity, a strong personal touch and an effect on the real world because of their writing.

18. Best Overall Use of Social Media: The best use of the various social media sites (Twitter, Facebook and other similar sites) in accomplishing political goals.

19. Best Post: The best-written post since last year’s awards.

20. Best Ongoing Series: The best regular feature that incorporates at least five posts since last year’s awards.

21. Best Online Multimedia Post: The best progressive/liberal/Democratic online audio, radio or video production — this is for one-shots.

22. Best Online Ongoing Multimedia Project: The best progressive/liberal/Democratic online audio, radio or video production — this is for ongoing series.

23. Most Creative Work: This is for the progressive/liberal/Democratic online writing/music/art/multimedia that shows the most creativity and artistic merit.

24. Florida Progressive Coalition Progressive Hall of Fame: FPC is sponsoring a virtual “Progressive Hall of Fame” that should be awarded as sort of a lifetime achievement award to a person or organization (amateur or professional) that has made a significant contribution towards making Florida a bluer, more progressive state. This award may have more than one recipient.

25. Progressive Courage Award: Florida politician or political activist who has been a leader on a particular progressive issue in the last year, making a difference in the lives of Floridians.

26. Best use of E-mail: We’re all inundated with e-mail from campaigns and organizations. This award goes to the liberal, progressive or Democratic organization or candidate that best uses their e-mail list. “Best” is obviously a subjective term, but we’re talking about a balance of an acceptable frequency of sending e-mails and quality of the e-mails sent.

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May 17

Status Update

Sorry about the lack of posting this week, between being really sick, still working my paying jobs and preparing for my show on Friday night, I just haven’t had time. Regular posting to return next week and in the next few days, be on the lookout for the first step in the 2012 Florida Netroots Awards…

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May 11

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Political Hurricane

Trotter’s Editorial: Scott Randolph can give Florida Democrats our “Yes We Can!” moment:

Since 2010, many progressives have stated that the way for the Democratic Party to get back on track is the dump this Clinton-era DLC type of thinking and become true liberals. We have seen the Republicans do this on the right, and many think that the way that we can win is by doing the exact same thing on the left. As my co-editor Kartik Krisnaiyer hinted, the voters that “swing” the election aren’t those in the middle, but instead the base turnout. Many in the Democratic Party agree with this philosophy.

Using the example above in Illinois, Republicans were able to rally their base around a crazy candidate and win a Congressional race because of two things. First, moderate or “independent” voter turnout is much less in mid-term elections. Therefore rallying your base is essential, because that is all that shows up. Second, Democrats weren’t motivated to vote. This is partly Obama’s fault for trying to please Republicans. But it was also Bean’s fault for not motivating voters. Therefore, those on the far right, and I argue that those on the left, can win so-called “swing” district.

So let’s move away from Illinois and focus on Florida. Of course, over the course of the last few weeks, a lot of people are wondering if Scott Randolph is going to run for his State House seat or Florida Democratic Party chair, or even both. Of course, we will find out soon enough.

What is interesting is that we are in a unique position with Scott Randolph. Because the Republicans have gerrymandered the State House map, specifically to split Winter Park liberals into three districts, they have made Rep. Randolph’s district more of a Democratic-Republican split seat than a pure Democratic seat that Randolph was safe in previously.

There’s more…

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May 10

Campaign Diaries — Before You Run

It’s kind of important that a candidate for office being thinking about and preparing for a campaign long before they actually jump into a race. A candidate who hasn’t prepared for the race before filing their candidacy is almost certainly going to lose. Key things that you have to do before running…

1. Establish a massive network. If you don’t have a extensive network of political activists, interest group operatives, party members, family, friends, coworkers and social media contacts, winning will be almost impossible for you. I personally don’t think I have a big enough network to run for office and I have over 4000 Facebook friends and 2000 Twitter followers. My personal network of people I can get on the phone is smaller than that. None of these is big enough to run for a significant office. If your network is smaller than mine, then you haven’t done enough work to be running. In certain circles and if you have enough money, you can be plugged into pre-existing networks, but they aren’t nearly as good as networks you establish on your own and have earned. Long before you run for office, you need to have a business card and social media profiles and you need to be constantly expanding them, gathering business cards from others and making as many serious connections as possible. You need to treat everyone you meet as someone that you will have to ask for money, volunteer hours and other important things because they all are. That’s the life of a candidate.

2. Consult with family and work. I’ve seen marriages break up over political campaigns. If your family isn’t fully on board with you running for office, you have a legit chance of not only losing the election, but alienating and possibly losing your family. Is it worth it? Similarly, how are you going survive financially while you are campaigning? If you can’t take significant time off from work, then you can’t win. If you think you can work a full-time job and do a good job as a candidate, you don’t understand campaigns.

3. Do your homework on the job you are running for and the district you are running in. I don’t mean, by this, that you should gather up a bunch of research in the few weeks before you declare and cram. I mean that you need to spend a significant amount of time — years even — to familiarize yourself with the community and the job you are running for. Effectively a campaign is a job interview and you aren’t likely to get the job if you don’t understand what it is. If you are running for county commissioner, you should regularly be attending the meetings, getting to know the issues, the people and the procedures that are relevant.

4. Establish a public presence in the community long before you decide to run. If you declare you are running for office and then you suddenly start showing up at community and activist events, people will see through it and think you are pandering to them, which you will be. You need to establish yourself as a person of interest in the community (or, more accurately, communities) that are relevant to public office long before you decide to run. You need to honestly participate in those communities and then they will support you. People don’t like being used, so don’t use them and don’t wait until you need them to offer them your service.

5. Do your homework on the issues that are important to the district. Again, I’m not saying campaign research here, I’m talking life research. You need to know what’s going on in the district — the issues, the history, the scandals, the players. Be certain that voters will know a lot of this stuff and if you don’t, they’ll think you aren’t serious and haven’t done your homework. Voters, generally speaking, what to know that you know more about what’s going on than they do. If not, why would they vote for you? If you are going to represent a district, you need to understand it from years of participation and study of that district.

6. Do some serious soul-searching on your values and issue stances. The most important thing for a candidate to win over a voter is that the voter trusts the values of the candidate. Even if they don’t agree with them, they will vote for someone who they feel the understand and know where that person stands. If you don’t know what your own values are, how can you expect voters to know? And you can’t take a list of issue stances and have that substitute for your values. You have to know what your values are, you have to have conviction in them and you have to be able to communicate those values to a variety of different people. If you can’t do this, you might as well not run, because it’s going to be hard for you to win.

It’s possible that you can win public office without doing any of these things, particularly if you have a lot of money. But most candidates, particularly early in their career, don’t have a lot of money. And, more importantly, why would you want to be in office if you didn’t care enough to do these things in advance. Grassroots candidates — who I guess I’m more addressing in these diaries — need to actually be a part of the grassroots, which isn’t something you can buy and it isn’t something you can do overnight.

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May 10

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Beach Peanuts

Official: “Bigger Fish To Fry” Than Actually Prosecuting In “Preventive” Florida Voter Purge:

From the Department of Phantom Voter Fraud, Republicans in Florida have made sure that the Florida Division of Elections is hard at work enforcing their new election laws that restrict voters from getting to the polls. Certain voters, that is.

There’s more…

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May 09

The Return of Campaign Diaries

So I haven’t written one of these in a long time, but I think that this might be the most important topic for me to write about in the next few months. There are lots of reasons that Democrats, despite having a majority in partisan voter registration in the state are a tiny minority in state government. Some of these problems are big — poorly run state and local party entities, massive money disparities, gerrymandering, massive out-of-state interest group spending — but, despite those problems, a lot more left-wing candidates should be winning in Florida than actually do and that’s something that I want to focus on in the next few months. First I want to get a few general principles out of the way:

1. Just because a candidate wins doesn’t mean that they ran a good campaign. Name recognition, money, districts, incompetent opponents, lack of opponents, etc., all play a role in the outcome. Many candidates win despite running terrible campaigns because other things become more important. If better campaigns were run by their opponents, many of these candidates would lose.

2. The conventional wisdom on campaigns among Florida Democrats is almost all wrong. What do Democrats control in Florida? Not much, right? Then why are we relying upon the wisdom of people who have been running losing campaigns for years? Why are we running campaigns the same way they’ve always been run? The last campaign I worked on (and quit), the candidate wanted to do everything the traditional way and the candidate listened to all kinds of people who have never run a winning campaign. What do you think is going to happen on election day?

3. Winning campaigns is more of a science than it is an art. To run better campaigns, it is important that we actually scientifically study what works and what doesn’t work. Then we have to abandon things that don’t work and try new things. The good news is that people are doing this research. The bad news is that candidates and consultants usually ignore it.

4. Progressives can win anywhere in the state. I will repeat this line ad nauseum until people get it. Political science research has shown for decades that the overwhelming majority of voters do not vote based on issues. A huge percentage of voters have no idea what the issue stances of the candidates are. Party orientation and candidate orientation dwarf issue orientation in terms of how voters decide. If a voter doesn’t trust a candidate, they won’t vote for them. If they don’t know where the candidate stands and the candidate won’t speak about their values and stick to them — regardless of what they are — they won’t trust the candidate. Extreme right-wing Republicans win office all over the country. Why? Is it because we are a conservative country? Not if you look at any polling of what Americans believe. The reality is that conservative candidates talk about their values, they

5. There is never an excuse to not run a professional campaign. Professionalism is about principles of proper campaigning, not about money. If you say you are running a ‘grassroots campaign’, you can’t let that mean that you are running a bad campaign, which it does mean 95% of the time. Even the smallest campaign should be very professional if they want to win. Go read David Axelrod’s book about winning the 2008 election. Remember that Obama came out of nowhere to win that election. One of the key reasons was that it was the most professional Democratic campaigns in recent decades. You should attempt to emulate as much of that campaign as you can.

6. Mastery of voter data is the key to victory. A good knowledge of the voters in the district and good tracking of your interactions with those voters is the key to winning, even against a better funded opponent. Well-funded candidates are often lazy. Hard-working candidates often lose because they aren’t working smart. Elections are about data. If you aren’t heavily focusing on the data and if you aren’t paying someone specifically to focus on the data, then you’ll probably lose.

7. Message is vitally important, too. Mastering the data won’t mean much if you don’t communicate a clear message to the voters that they connect with. This isn’t a very difficult thing to do, but it is a very difficult thing for people to stick to. A good candidate repeats their message so often that they get sick of hearing it. Yet they continue to repeat it, with conviction, until they retire or the message changes because the real world changes. Repetition — in message, analysis, data mastery, etc. — is the essence of campaigning.

More later…

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May 09

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — LGBT Floridians/Buchanan

Winner: LGBT Floridians — The first president to endorse marriage equality for all Americans is a major landmark in the struggle for the rights of LGBT citizens. People will teach about this moment in history classes (well, good teachers will).

Loser: Vern Buchanan — The investigation into Florida’s most corrupt member of Congress widens.

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May 09

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Beach Peanuts

I just did a lot of research on this Mourdock guy, so good to see coverage of the connection between him and Marco Rubio.

Endorsements: Time To Embrace The Crazy:

Yesterday, one of the last of a disappearing breed, commonly known as a M-o-d-e-r-a-t-e R-e-p-u-b-l-i-c-a-n was sent packing from his long held seat in the U. S. Senate, Richard Lugar of Indiana. He was beat by a Tea Bagger candidate who seems to be in a hurry to cash a taxpayer funded paycheck for doing absolutely nothing if he’s elected.

The candidate, Richard Mourdock (T-eaBagistan) said this about his views on how to get things undone in Washington…

There’s more…

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May 07

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Political Hurricane

Senate Race Ratings: May 7, 2012:

Beginning today, we will update these ratings every week and will begin House ratings weekly after qualifying. We will also provide a digest each Monday of new happenings in the Senate races across the state.

Based on today’s projections the Democrats would win 14 seats, the Republicans would win 25 and 1 race is a toss up. The only incumbent to be defeated would be Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff who is running in a heavily Democratic district against a sitting Senator Maria Sachs. We however, refer to Bogdanoff as the incumbent in this race because a much larger percentage of her old Senate district is in the new SD-34.

There’s more…

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May 06

Florida Democratic Party Small County Coalition Luncheon to Feature Omar Khan

Crawfordville, Florida – Wakulla County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Rachel Pienta announced today that Omar Khan will be featured as the luncheon keynote on Saturday May 12th during the 2012 Small County Coalition Conference, “We’re very excited to be able to host Omar Khan. He has deep Florida roots and his current role in national Democratic politics makes him a great speaker for us to highlight during this critical election year meeting of Democrats from across the state of Florida.”

Omar Khan has been serving as Associate Political Director for Obama for America since August. Khan joined the campaign after serving as an appointee in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations. Prior to that, Khan served on the Obama ’08 campaign in several states before coming back home to Florida for the General election in 08. He served as one of the Deputy Political Directors in the FL 08 Campaign. In this role he was one of the regional leaders for the West Florida region that consisted of the 11 counties that comprise the Tampa Bay Media Market. Before joining the Obama campaign, Khan was the Nevada Field Director on Vice President Biden’s presidential campaign.

Khan’s political roots began in Florida with an impressive list of affiliations, including Student Body President and Board of Trustees Member of the University of South Florida. He continued his active participation in political organizations, presiding over the Florida Young Democrats, serving as the Deputy Political Director for the Florida Senate Victory Committee in 2006. During that cycle, Khan played an integral role in Charlie Justice’s State Senate victory in which Justice was outspent by Republicans 3 to 1.

Limited tickets are available for Saturday’s luncheon at the Bistro at Wildwood Resort. The Wildwood Resort is located at 3896 Coastal Highway (Hwy 98) Crawfordville, FL 32327. The lunch is scheduled for 12:30 pm on Saturday May 12th.

For additional information and to purchase luncheon tickets, please visit the Wakulla Democrats website http://wakullademocrats.org/.

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May 03

Florida Democrats to Meet in Wakulla May 11 -13

Crawfordville, Florida – Wakulla Democratic Party Chair Rachel Sutz Pienta announced today that the Small County Coalition of the Florida Democratic Party will hold their annual meeting at the Inn at Wildwood on Highway 98 in Wakulla County the weekend of May 11 – 13.

The weekend’s events include a Friday night welcome reception, workshop sessions on Saturday, and a fish fry on Saturday evening featuring Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith; elected officials from throughout the state; Democratic candidates from Congressional District Two and State House District Seven. The May 12th “Turning Florida Blue” Fish Fry will mark the first time that the Democratic candidates for Congressional District Two will be featured together. The Democratic candidates for House District 7 will also be highlighted during the program. The new State House District 7 is comprised of Madison, Lafayette, Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla, Franklin, Liberty, Gulf and Calhoun counties with a small portion of Leon.

The Florida Democratic Party Small County Coalition is an organization created to stimulate active interest in political and governmental affairs in Florida counties with fewer than 35,000 registered Democratic voters. The annual Small County Coalition Conference weekend also draws participants from larger counties across the state.

For additional information about Small County Coalition Conference events or to purchase fish fry tickets, please visit http://wakullademocrats.org/ .

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May 02

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — Obamacare/The Gaetz Clan

Winner: Obamacare — Looks like the law is already helping Floridians with millions of dollars to make our health care better.

Loser(s): Don Gaetz and Matt Gaetz — Standing up for a pointless law that serves no legitimate purpose AND is killing people is about as bad as one can get. I hope those checks from ALEC/NRA clear for you, boys.

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May 02

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Progressive Professor

Six Months To Presidential Election Of 2012: No Signs Of Strong Third Party Movement!:

With six months to go to the Presidential Election of 2012, there are no signs of a strong third party movement occurring, which would have any dramatic effect on the election results.

Third parties in the past have had significance in election results, although never able to win the election.

This certainly proved true with the Free Soil Party of 1848, the Progressive Party of 1912, the American Independent Party in 1968, and the Reform Party of 1992.

And even in small ways, as in 2000, the candidacy of Ralph Nader, and even that of Pat Buchanan, had an effect on the race, particularly in Florida.

There is no such danger at this point, and with Mayor Michael Bloomberg making clear he is not running as an Independent, and instead allowing himself to be courted by both the Romney and Obama campaigns, there should be a major sigh of relief in both camps.

Yes, there will be third party candidates, but no one seriously is seen as a major figure, although it sometimes has seemed that Jon Huntsman, the former Utah Governor, might run, and Ron Paul, still technically in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, has been rumored as a Libertarian Party candidate, as he was in 1988.

There’s more…

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May 02

The Gender Wage Gap Is Real (Ammunition)

I was sad to see a few of my liberal friends buy into the conservative talking point that there isn’t a wage gap between men and women. This is where science if your friend, when controlled for all known factors that could affect the gap — including all the ones conservatives talk about — the gap, while smaller, still exists, and it is significant in terms of real money.

Changes between 2009 and 2010 in the real median earnings of men and women, aged 15 and older who worked full time, year round, were not statistically significant. In 2010, the female to-male earnings ratio was 0.77, not statistically different from the 2009 ratio

An April 2007 report by the American Association for University Women (AAUW) titled “Behind the Pay Gap” conducted a regressive analysis of full-time earnings for men and women one year after graduation, and discovered a 5 percent pay gap between men and women.

AAUW’s Study Took Into Account Numerous Factors, Including Hours Worked Per Week, Occupation, Industry, And Workplace Flexibility.

In January 2009, the Bush administration’s Department of Labor published a report written for the department by CONSAD Research Corporation. While downplaying the existence of wage inequality, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Charles E. James stated in a foreword to the CONSAD report that after controlling for several variables, there was “an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.”

The report looked at the following factors in determining an adjusted gender wage gap: “occupation, human capital development, work experience, career interruption, motherhood, and industry sector.”

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May 01

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — SOG City Oracle

The Concealed Carry Dream World:

Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano wrote an opinion piece the other day on concealed carry entitled, Get ready for new face of gun owners. Romano’s article elicited a spirited debate between my bride and me. I suggested that this was a typical mainstream media piece of crap, because it didn’t address what I believe are the vitally important issues involving concealed carry.

The Belle of Ballast Point took the position that the thrust of the article was just that we are becoming a society of scaredy cats (my term, not hers, or his) and that, according to Romano, “it isn’t all rednecks and bikers. It isn’t all weekend warriors and criminals. It isn’t all machismo and ego.” In today’s world it is, “The teacher. The widow. The student, the homemaker and the businesswoman” who are buying guns and signing up for concealed weapon permit (CWP) courses.

Well, fine said I! But, my point is that all these articles, like Romano’s, do is to encourage more people to start packing heat with the mistaken belief that a gun will somehow, in their world of dreams, make them safer.

There’s more…

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Apr 24

Women Set to Say “Enough is Enough” on April 28th – in a city near you!

Tallahassee, Florida – Women across the nation will participate in “Unite Women” events on April 28th. Tallahassee Coordinator Diane Wilson announced today, “Women and men who support women will gather on the steps of the Old Capitol from 12 to 2 pm on Saturday, April 28th to stand for women’s rights.”

Women across Florida have coalesced around a call to unite initiated by fledgling organization “UniteWomen.org”. UNITE Women’s (UniteWomen.org) is a national grassroots women’s organization founded in February 2012 to protect and advance women’s rights in all areas of women’s lives across the lifespan.

Wilson said, “UNITE Women is calling on Americans to join together and denounce ongoing legislative and political at tacks on women from the extreme right, while honoring the diversity and continued fight for the freedom of women to
choose their own destinies.”

Examples of legislative proposals, government
regulations, and political rhetoric include the following initiatives:

An Arizona bill would make the use of birth control without employer permission an offense for which a worker could be terminated.

The state of New Hampshire Medicaid program stands to lose $1 billion in federal funds under abill that outlaws public spending by any health care provider who directly or indirectly performs abortions.

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott, used a line-item veto to cut funding to the state’s rape crisis centers —in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Unite Against the War on Women is the Facebook home of UniteWomen.org, which was launched on Facebook February 19, 2012 with a call to march and rally on April 28, 2012 in every state to say “Enough is enough” to the legislative attacks on women and women’s rights across the nation.

Priority Areas of interest identified by the “Unite Women” effort to defend and advance include: Women’s Rights and Civil Rights, Women’s Reproductive rights, Women’s Economic Equality and Workers’ Rights, Protecting women and children from violence & abuse, Voting Rights, and Women’s Wellness, Health and Safety

The Tallahassee rally will feature the following speakers:

Opening Remarks by Diane Wilson, host

Invocation by Rev. Della Fahnestock, Alliance of Faith & Feminism

Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum

League of Women Voters Jessica Lowe-Minor, Executive Director

Samantha Gordon NARAL National, Associate Director

Ion Sancho Supervisor of Elections Leon County

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

Nancy Argenziano former FL Senator, current Citrus County candidate

Anita Davis Civil Rights activist and TV personality

LisaAnn Benham Florida Tallahassee President ACLU

Alma Gonzalez AFSCME Special Counsel

Donna Slutiak Florida President NOW

Emily Caponetti Statewide Legislative Director Planned Parenthood

Amanda James Equality Florida

Amy Coenen National Women’s Liberation

Susan Smith Democrat Progressive Caucus of Florida

Jodi Renee Thomas Writer and Mom

Tabitha Frazier Leon County Hispanic Caucus

Barbara Devane Florida Alliance for Retired Americans

Dr. Rachel Sutz Pienta Florida Democratic Women’s Club
and

Senator Arthenia Joyner

After the rally, all participants are invited to enjoy Tallahassee hospitality at one of our four open houses from 2:30 to 5 pm hosted by the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Oasis Center for Women and Girls, AFSCME Florida Council 79 and the Florida AFL-CIO, and the Living Luna Center.

Living Luna Center is pleased to offer an Open House on Saturday, April 28th from 2:30- 5:00 pm in conjunction and support of the Unite Women march.

Living Luna Center is a sanctuary embodying the Feminine in the heart of Tallahassee, offering Services, Film Screenings, Women’s Circles, Community.

Co-Founders Licia Berry and Teresa Husband have a personal devotion to being of service and empowering women through consciousness-raising and support services. Services include women’s circles, film screenings, discussions, workshops, classes, retreats, massage therapy, healing, and individual consultation. Their connective and integrative dedication to the healing process as well as to the supportive evolution of consciousness makes a loving container in which to create an alliance utterly respectful of the feminine way.

Living Luna mission statement:
We Choose…
• to surrender to the incredible force of labor as the new is being born
• to trust the intuitive, innate wisdom present in the body, emotions, mind and spirit
• to follow the wisdom of our hearts
• to offer a place for those who are ready to access information, guidance and support in their evolution

Living Luna is located at 511 Beverly St., near the corner of Park and Meridian. For more information call Licia Berry at 850-661-9370

AFSCME Florida Council 79 and the Florida AFL-CIO is pleased to offer an Open House on Saturday, April 28th from 2:30-4:30pm in conjunction with and support of the United Against the War on Women Rally.

AFSCME is a union comprised of a diverse group of people who share a common commitment to public service. For us, serving the public is not just a job, it’s a calling. An important part of our mission is to advocate for the vital services that keep our families safe and make our communities strong. We also advocate for prosperity and opportunity for all of America’s working families. We not only stand for fairness at the bargaining table — we fight for fairness in our communities and in the halls of government. AFSCME Florida is the second largest union in Florida with 90 locals representing approximately 110,000 employees of the state, state universities, cities and counties, school boards and private nonprofit hospitals.
The Florida AFL-CIO is a state federation of approximately 500 local labor unions and labor councils, representing 500,000 workers, retirees and their families. We are construction workers, health care professionals, classroom teachers, agricultural workers, hotel and restaurant employees, transportation workers, firefighters, law enforcement and correctional officers. Wherever people work in Florida, across a broad range of trades and professions, you will find our members.
We work to provide better lives for all of Florida’s working families, through political and legislative action, grassroots mobilization and organizing new workers into Florida’s labor movement. We also provide a wide range of community services working to build stronger and healthier communities.
Join as at the Florida AFL-CIO 135 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301 (use downstairs side entrance on College Avenue).
For additional information about our work or location, please feel free to contact Alma R. Gonzalez, AFSCME Florida Council 79 at (850)222-0842 or via email at AGonzalez@afscmefl.org

The Oasis Center for Women and Girls is pleased to offer an Open House on Saturday, April 28th from 2:30-5:00pm in conjunction with and support of the Unite Women march.

The Oasis Center for Women and Girls is a nonprofit community-based women’s center whose mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support”. We are focused on personal, professional, and economic concerns facing women, girls and their families. We are committed to addressing these issues individually through the provision of direct services and collectively through community dialogue and awareness raising. At Oasis, we believe that offering increased opportunities for women and supporting girls in developing expansive visions of who they can be and what they can do strengthens the entire community. Our current services and programs include services for women, services for girls and community programs.

Join as in our home located at 317 E. Call St. Tallahassee, FL 32301 to learn more. Our location is on Call St. between Calhoun and Gadsden.
The League of Women Voters of Florida will be hosting an open house at our headquarters, a historic house within walking distance of the Capitol, from 2:30 – 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 28th. The event will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn more about the League and enjoy fellowship with smart, politically engaged women and men from throughout Florida.

Complimentary refreshments will be served, and League merchandise will be available for purchase.

About the League: The League of Women Voters of Florida was established in 1939 and is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The League’s office is located at 540 Beverly Court, near the intersection of Park Ave. and Franklin Blvd. For more information, please call us at (850) 224-2545.

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Apr 24

As UNITE Women grows, new names step forward to endorse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2012

Contact: Karen Teegarden: Karen@unitewomen.org
Laura Walker: laura@unitewomen.org

BIRMINGHAM, MICatholics for Choice and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
have joined UNITE Women, officially endorsing the new organizations April 28 nationwide
events.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice was founded in 1973 to safeguard the
newly won constitutional right to privacy in decisions about abortion. Its founders were
clergy and lay leaders who worked with women and provided referrals to safe abortion
services before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade.

Today, the Coalition comprises national organizations from numerous major faiths and traditions,
affiliates across the country, and individuals who support reproductive choice and religious
freedom. Rev. Matthew Westfox, RCRCs Director of Interfaith Outreach, said RCRC is
honored to be asked, and would be happy to endorse this powerful event.

Catholics for Choice (CFC) was founded in 1973 to serve as a voice for Catholics who
believe that the Catholic tradition supports a womans moral and legal right to follow her
conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health. Headquartered in Washington,
D.C. CFC works with sister organizations in Latin America, and maintains a presence in
the European parliament and throughout Europe.

ABOUT UniteWomen.org: UNITE Womens (UniteWomen.org) is a national grassroots womens organization
founded in February 2012 to protect and advance womens rights in all areas of womens lives across our
lifespan. Working with members in all 50 states, we identify our common concerns and develop action
programs to address them, in partnership with other groups that share our mission and our vision of a better
life for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

National Endorsers Of UNITE Women

A is For · Advocates for Youth · Catholics for Choice · Center for Inquiry
Coalition of Labor Union Women · Code Pink · Coffee Party USA
Feminist Peace Network · Ihollaback · Katrina vanden Heuvel – Editor & Publisher, The Nation
The National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance · National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National League of Latin American Citizens · National Organization for Women
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice · This Slut Votes

Follow Unite Women on Facebook, or Twitter

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