Calif Prop 4 -- Another anti-choice ballot initiative ... and what you can do

Cross-posted at DailyKos

Proposition 4 on California's general election ballot is an initiative measure to amend the California State Constitution to impede a minor's ability to obtain an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.  If you think this is familiar, you are right.  Twice in the past three years, Californians have narrowly defeated two similar measures -- Propositions 73 in November, 2005 and 85 in November, 2006.  But this time, the measure is in danger of passing.  A poll (caution: .pdf file) conducted by the well-respected Field Research Corporation has it at Yes 49, No 41, with 10 percent undecided as of September 26th.  All of this in a state that is 71% pro-choice.  

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Iraq and Defunding -- Round Two, Step One: the FY2008 Defense Budget

For all of us who are frustrated over the outcome of the FY2007 Iraq supplemental that passed when Congress acted like the co-dependent spouse of an alcoholic and are being told "wait until September", here is something to consider: September will be too late because the FY2008 budget will be done by then. In fact, the House of Representatives voted 397 to 27 on May 17, 2007 to approve H. R. 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which authorizes defense spending for FY2008, including Iraq. (Select option 3, the version of the bill that passed the House, then scroll down to "Title CC--Authorization of Additional Appropriations for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom", about three-quarters of the way down the page.)

To add insult to injury, the bill wound its way through the sausage factory beginning on March 20, 2007, while the debate to force an end to the Iraqi Occupation by cutting funding by defeating the supplemental was in progress. You can see the rollcall vote for H.R. 1585 here. Also, the DoD budget request is on line. To see the details of what the Pentagon requested and their justification, click here, then follow the links. (Caution: the link leads to many pdf files and lots of "green eyeshade" reading.) Keep in mind the links are to the budget requests from the services and DoD, not necessarily what Congress will approve. It is also important to remember that H.R. 1585 is the defense authorization bill, not the appropriations bill. An Authorization is "permission" to spend money. An Appropriation is the actual allocation of cash. Nevertheless, this isn't good. We should have had a lot more than 27 NO votes.

We need to highlight what has happened and apply pressure to influence what happens next. Let's keep our eyes open for the Appropriations measure in the House and both the Authorization and Appropriations measures in the Senate. From The Republican Plan For 2008 Begins Today, by Thom Hartmann:

It's difficult to watch Democrats play checkers while Republicans play Chess with Iraq. It's particularly difficult on Memorial Day as more Americans and Iraqis die.

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Steal These Resolutions: What You can Do To Bring Big Telecom Under Control

Bumped. I'd like to see us start thinking about the 2008 Democratic Party platform. - Matt

All of us are familiar to one degree or another with the evils of media concentration, corporate ownership, and deliberate misreporting/bias against elected leaders of the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates, and liberal ideas.  There are multiple parts to this problem but, since power flows from the grass roots up, it is necessary for us to push for action through our Party structure.  Below the fold are six resolutions you can introduce and support in your local Democratic club, county central committee, and state Democratic Party caucuses to help bring about constructive change:

- A Resolution in Support of the Free Flow of Information

- A Resolution in Support of Net Neutrality

- A Resolution in Support of Returning the Fairness Doctrine, Equal Time Provision, and News and Public Affairs Requirements

- A Resolution in Support of Copyright Reform

- A Resolution in Opposition to Funding of California Elections by Corporations

- A Resolution in Opposition to "Personhood" for Corporations

    These resolutions, as written, conform to the California State Democratic Party requirements.  Your state requirements may vary.  Three of the resolutions -- the first two listed above and the second from the end of the list -- will be reviewed by the Resolutions Committee at the California State Democratic Party Convention in San Diego this weekend (April 27th-29th).  I invite you to join me in supporting them. <!--break--> Have your local club or central committee endorse them or adopt them as your own.  Just replace "[insert your club/central committee name here]" with the name of your organization.  Also, get active locally by joining your local Democratic club and/or getting on the Democratic central committee in your county.  Form your own club if none exist in your area.

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      McNerney projected winner in CA-11 on SF Chronicle website

      CA-11 McNerney projected winner over Pombo.  Source: 6/11/07/CA/c/h_u_s_house/h_11_district_1 1/g_general/c/california.shtml

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      How to Identify Infrequent Voters

      In my county, we have identified infrequent voters by using the voter history portion of the voting rolls.  Here's how:  After feeding the text file of voter information obtained from the county registrar of voters into a set of spreadsheets, we first wrote two sets of "if-then-else" spreadsheet code.

      The first set of code computed whether or not a voter was eligible to vote in an election by detecting whether or not a cell was blank.  A blank cell in the spreadsheet would indicate non-eligibility for that particular election and be assigned a value of zero.  All other cells has either a Y (yes), an N (no), or an A (absentee) and we were assigned a value of 1. All the ones were then summed up to obtain the number of elections in which each voter was eligible to vote.  The second set of code sorted out the Ys, As, and Ns and assigned a value of 1 for a Y or an A and assigned a value of 0 for an N or a blank.  These sets of ones were then summed up to compute the number of elections in which each voter actually voted.  Then the number of eligible elections was divided into the number of elections in which each voter actually voted and multiplied by 100.  The result was the percent of eligibile elections in which each and every voter in our county voted.

      The entire voter file can then be sorted by the voting percentage in ascending order so that the low scores show up first and these voters can be contacted first.  Two minor glitches:  (1) a voter registered after the last election will have an "infinite" score (zero votes divided by zero eligible elections) and show up after the voters who vote in every election (100% score), (2) sometimes the voter history portion of the text file from the county registrar of voters has to be cleaned up, i.e. "Yes" entries converted to "Y", blank spaces removed, etc.  KEY OBSERVATION:  The number of Democrats who are infreqent voters is higher compared to the GOPigs.  Get-Out-The-Vote efforts matter a lot!   Hope this helps.

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      Steal This Idea! Fast!

      (Original version posted at DailyKos on Saturday, September 16th)

      The California Republican Assembly (CRA) has a website that seems to function as a virtual headquarters for precinct work:

      Here a politically active person can volunteer without having to wait for party leadership or county central committee help, which may or may not be coming.  A special feature of the site is the screen where a volunteer can register and get a list of 10 voters in their area to contact.  When they have been contacted, the volunteer can come back for 10 more, and keep coming back as often as one likes.  I suspect they have a list of voters from every county in the state and that the names are from the voter lists from each of California's 58 counties.  I am curious as to what other data has been matched with it.


      After my original post, it was pointed out that most of the major California GOPig statewide candidates have this technology embedded on their websites.  

      I also suspect that:

      1) the site looks up the name of a person requesting information and only forwards it if the requester is a GOPiger,

      2) the site tracks the names and locations of the volunteers who request information and constructs a data base for future growth of the party, and

      3) the CRA put together this web site to reach their base and GOTV because they are unhappy with Schwarzenegger.

      Note that S+13's name is missing from their candidate/issues list.  That indicates how upset the California wingnuts are at him.  It seems that the California Republican Assembly expects a fair number of GOPigers to skip over his name on the ballot.  

      Finally, note that the site has professional looking flyers, mailers, and post cards (with space for a personalized, handwritten note) on it.  A motivated volunteer can downkload the digital files and have them reproduced at a print shop in just the amount needed.  

      As I said, LET'S STEAL THIS IDEA!

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