ACTION: Courage Campaign / Prop 8

Passing along a Courage Campaign email / video. Please watch the video, follow the link, sign the peition, send it to friends, you know what to do!


Email text:

This video will break your heart.

And Ken Starr is to blame.

Yes, THAT Ken Starr. The prosecutor who led the campaign to impeach President Bill Clinton has filed a legal brief -- on behalf of the "Yes on 8" campaign -- that would forcibly divorce the 18,000 same-sex couples married in California last year before the passage of Prop 8.

News broke Tuesday that the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 5, and will then make a decision within 90 days on the validity of Prop 8 and these 18,000 marriages.

When Starr's legal brief went public in December, the Courage Campaign immediately launched the "Don't Divorce..." campaign, asking our members to send us pictures with a simple message for Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund.

Those pictures, and the heartfelt messages on them, inspired blogger Paul Delehanty (also known as "kid oakland") to send us a suggestion: Would Regina Spektor allow us to put your pictures to the words and music of her hit song "Fidelity"? So, we asked her and she said yes, very enthusiastically.

Regina Spektor's song, in concert with your pictures, shines a beautiful light on the 18,000 couples that Ken Starr wants to forcibly divorce.

Click here to watch "Fidelity," the heartbreaking music video inspired by your pictures and words, and then tell the Supreme Court not to divorce 18,000 California couples. Tell the Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr's case, and let loving, committed couples marry. DEADLINE: Valentine's Day:

Everyone who cares about marriage equality needs to spread the word that this isn't just a court case.

The lives of your spouses, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers and your family members hang in the balance.

Please watch this video and then, if you feel as we do, please share it with your friends. The more people that see this video, the more people will understand the pain caused by Prop 8 and Ken Starr's shameful legal proceeding:

Thank you to the amazing people who sent us these wonderful pictures. Thank you to Paul for his inspired idea and Regina for her beautiful song. And thank you for taking action to support the love of 18,000 couples across California.

Rick Jacobs

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Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20) As Possible Replacement for Sen. Clinton

Since the speculation has started regarding Hillary Clinton leaving the Senate and who Gov Patterson should tap to replace her, I'll throw my preferred hat in the ring as well... Rep Kirsten Gillibrand.


My family lives in NYC but we own a second home in the Hudson River Valley in Gillibrand's district. I've always been super impressed by her. I've seen her campaign and also heard her speak at an Eleanor Roosevelt luncheon for women in politics.

She's got reams of political promise, is telegenic, appealing, charismatic and lots to recommend her. In my opinion, she's a rising star for our party. I believe she could potentially go "all the way" and be our first woman President. She's young (41), smart (graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1988, law degree from the UCLA School of Law), experienced for her young age (both public and private sector). She served as Special Counsel to Andrew Cuomo (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) during the Clinton Administration. She has also served as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and as a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner where she worked on a wide range of legal and policy-related issues.

NY-20 contains many very rural counties and communities where Republicans predominate (due mainly to conservative social views on "moral" issues and gun control). She won her first race (a very grassroots effort) in 2006 against the formidable 4-term GOP incumbent John Sweeney by a 6% margin (an upset victory). She was the first Democrat to win the seat in almost 30 years and the first woman to represent the district. She just defended her seat in a tough race against Sandy Treadwell to win her 2nd term (62% to Treadwell's 38%).  

She has 2 young sons, Theo aged 4 and Henry who was just born in May.


Yesterday there was this article in the NYTimes ("In a Roomful of Representatives, Perhaps a Senator in Waiting") with the following snip: on/20paterson.html

People who are familiar with Mr. Paterson's thinking on the matter have said in recent days that while the governor had not made a short list, he has discussed several names -- including Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, Representative Kirsten E. Gillibrand of Hudson, Representative Brian Higgins of Buffalo and the Bronx borough president, Adolfo Carrión Jr.

Mr. Paterson would prefer to have a candidate who is from upstate or is a woman or is Latino, according to people who know the governor's preferences but requested anonymity so they could speak openly about his thinking.


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BREAKING: Same Sex Marriage LEGAL in CT!

Sorry for the short diary... just sharing the great news! Aa8ndmg7Q4uXQeYsPNEPkEAD93NNVMG2

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.

The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

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The Northern Forum

An interesting tidbit in the NYTimes today in an article about Palin which discusses her short tenure as Governor of Alaska...

This information about Palin's relationship to The Northern Forum jumped out at me as a major missed opportunity in the area of International Exposure and Experience... and highlights Palin's limited focus on (and experience limited to) regional, Alaskan concerns. Had she actually participated in the Northern Forum, her claims of Foreign Policy experience due to Alaska's proximity to Russia would not seem so far-fetched. Instead, this information contradicts that argument.

Arguably, focus on one's own state is perhaps an admirable quality in a Governor, but certainly such a narrow focus is a liability / limitation for anyone with National and International aspirations (such as being VP). Palin's predecessor, Governor Murkowski recognized the benefit of interacting with other regional governments on economic, environmental and political issues pertinent to all Northern regions, including Alaska. Apparently, Palin did not. itics/02issues.html?ref=todayspaper

Ms. Palin does not appear to have made any trade missions since taking office, and former state officials said the state's trade staff had been reduced under her watch.

Alaska has also sharply reduced its role in the Northern Forum, an association of state and regional governments from countries including Canada, Russia, Japan and China that works on common issues in northern regions like economic development, flooding and global warming.

Under Mr. Murkowski, Ms. Palin's predecessor, the state sent senior administration officials to the forum's meetings and contributed $60,000 to $100,000 to the forum each year, according to the forum's executive director, Priscilla Wohl.

Under Ms. Palin, the state has reduced its spending to the base-level membership dues, $15,000, and the administration has not attended any forum meetings, including one last fall in Russia.

"Had she participated, in the last 18 months she would have met ambassadors, governors, heads of the European Union's programs, of United Nations programs," Ms. Wohl said.

Delving further... an article in The Seattle Times: tionworld/2008174647_palinrussia12m0.htm l

Opportunities abound for Alaska governors to engage in Russian diplomacy, with the state host to several organizations focusing on Arctic issues. Anchorage is the seat of the Northern Forum, an 18-year-old organization that represents the leaders of regional governments in Russia, as well as Finland, Iceland and Canada, Japan, China and South Korea.

Yet under Palin, the state government -- without consultation -- reduced its annual financial support to the Northern Forum to $15,000 from $75,000, according to Priscilla Wohl, the group's executive director. That forced the forum's Anchorage office to go without pay for two months.

Palin -- unlike the previous administrations of Gov. Frank Murkowski and Gov. Tony Knowles -- also stopped sending representatives to Northern Forum's annual meetings, including one last year for regional governors held in the heart of Russia's oil territory.

"It was an opportunity for the Alaska governor to take a delegation of business leaders to the largest oil-producing region in Russia, and she would have been shaking hands with major leaders in Russia," Wohl said.

Here is information about The Northern Forum: tent/about_the_northern_forum.html

The Northern Forum is a non-profit, international organization composed of sub-national or regional governments from eight northern countries.

Northern regions share characteristics that set them apart from other areas of the world.

- These include -

  • economies based upon the extraction of natural resources
  • lack of internal capital resources
  • limited infrastructural development
  • harsh climates and vulnerable ecosystems
  • diverse and relatively strong indigenous cultures
  • sparse populations

Such complex factors create unique challenges for regional Governors and other executives. From throughout the North, the Northern Forum brings these leaders together to address common political, environmental and economic issues.

In today's world, where climate change and globalization create new challenges for the Northern regions of the world, the ability of the Northern Forum to bring together these regions and find new partners at the international level, such as the UNDP and the UNEP and networks of regions around the globe, opens new horizons for its members.

The idea of creating an organization of northern regional governments was raised in 1974 by the government of Hokkaido, Japan, during the first of a series of international conferences on northern issues. The Northern Forum developed from a Northern Regions Conference held in 1990 in Anchorage, Alaska, attended by more than 600 delegates from 10 countries. The Forum was formally established in November 1991.

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Hillary Sent Me!


I think this is a terrific idea. Sorry for the cut-and-paste diary... just wanted to get the word out. /clinton-unveils-new-pro-o_n_127852.html

Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped up her efforts Friday to swing her supporters behind Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, her former rival for the nomination.

In an outreach dubbed "Hillary Sent Me," the New York senator invited her primary-season partisans to get involved directly in Obama's campaign and to donate to it. As part of that, she urged them to travel to a specific battleground state each weekend, beginning with New Hampshire on Sept. 27, when she will be campaigning for Obama in Michigan.

"Today I am asking all of you to stand up with me, to hit the road and spread the word that we must elect Barack Obama president and send a Democratic, filibuster-proof majority to Congress," Clinton told supporters in a conference call Friday. "This is a call to action, a must-do. We all have a role. And there is not a moment to lose."

Starting Saturday, Clinton's political Web site will offer backers information about Democratic campaign events and grassroots efforts.

Clinton said the outreach "continues the historic journey that you have made with me."

"I like to tell people this is a twofer," said former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, who is challenging Republican John Sununu for his Senate seat in that state and also took part in the call. "You can come up. You work in the presidential race, you can work in the Senate race."

The effort was organized with the Obama campaign and state Democratic parties nationwide. Its goal: to engage the former first lady's donors and voters - many of whom are still sore over her loss to Obama in the epic primary contest - to put that firmly behind them and help in battleground states.

The New York senator has already campaigned for Obama in Ohio, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico and raised more than $5 million for his campaign. "Hillary Sent Me" is her first explicit pitch to her grass roots supporters to get involved, Clinton aides said.

Here's the info from HillPAC:

Hillary Sent Me! is a volunteer grassroots program designed especially for you!

As Hillary campaigned across America, her grassroots supporters, dedicated travelers, and volunteers were critical to her historic accomplishments.

The stakes in this year's historic election could not be higher. We cannot afford to let the McCain/Palin ticket and the Republicans continue squandering the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

The Hillary Sent Me! program will mobilize Hillary's supporters around the country to work on behalf of this year's critical races, help send Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the White House, and get America back on track.

Now is the time to pack up the car and travel to battleground states because we must help ensure victory in November! Hillary is already on the road for the Obama-Biden ticket and Democrats across the country. If you haven't yet, it's time to stand up, hit the road and spread the word. There is not a moment to lose!

We are going to be focusing on key battleground states including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada and more to help Democrats this fall.

Sign up today to be part of our Hillary Sent Me! program, and find out about how you can get involved in a state near you!

September 26-28, 2008: Head to New Hampshire for the Obama-Biden ticket, U.S. Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen and all of the great Democrats running there, or you can head to Michigan where Hillary will be campaigning for the Obama-Biden ticket!

October 12-13, 2008: Head to Pennsylvania, where you can join Hillary who will be campaigning for the Obama-Biden ticket! Great Democrats from PA need your help including Congressman Paul Kanjorski from Hillary's hometown of Scranton; Congressman Chris Carney; Congressman Joe Sestak; Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and many more!

November 4, 2008: Election Day - Stay Tuned!

More dates coming soon...


Pro-Clinton blogger Taylor Marsh was on the conference call yesterday, here is her post at HuffPo... sh/ ml

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ACTION: Planned Parenthood Petition / HHS Regulations ampaigns/240.htm


His Attack On Women's Health Care

The Bush administration's proposed Health and Human Services regulation poses a serious threat to women's health care by limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate health information and services.

On August 22, 2008, the Bush administration proposed a regulation to allow providers to withhold critical health care information.

On September 19, 2008, the New York Times published an op-ed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund president, Cecile Richards that blasted Bush's proposed rule.

The proposed regulation jeopardizes a patient's right to know her options. This rule would completely disrupt the nation's health care delivery system at a time when more and more families are uninsured and under economic assault. Here's why:

   * The HHS proposed regulation is intentionally vague. By leaving the term "abortion" undefined, the regulation creates a dangerous space for ideology and political views to be inserted into medical practices, emergency rooms, and clinics all across the country, and when that happens, women suffer.
    * The proposed regulation complicates the law instead of clarifying the law. The new regulation lets health care providers define abortion, which could threaten broader reproductive health care, including contraception.
    * The fact that HHS took out the definition of abortion that was included in an earlier draft is a red herring because this proposed regulation -- even more than the previous leaked version -- leaves health care services and information open to personal interpretation and political agendas.
    * This rule will allow anti-choice extremists to receive federal funds for so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" -- anti-choice facilities whose purpose is to deceive and dissuade women from accessing birth control and abortion information and services.

This is just one more example of how the Bush administration puts politics in the exam room. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund will not stand by and watch the Bush administration deny quality, affordable health care and accurate information to women, and you can help us take action.

Now that the new rule has been issued officially, we need you to speak out during the official 30-day comment period before the rule can go into effect.  Please submit a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services before the official comment period ends on September 25.

Link to the Submit Comments form / Petition at Planned Parenthood: adv1

OpEd by Hillary Clinton and Cecile Richards (President of Planned Parenthood) in today's NYTimes: n/19clinton.html?ref=todayspaper
Blocking Care for Women
Last month, the Bush administration launched the latest salvo in its eight-year campaign to undermine women's rights and women's health by placing ideology ahead of science: a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would govern family planning. It would require that any health care entity that receives federal financing -- whether it's a physician in private practice, a hospital or a state government -- certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable.

Laws that have been on the books for some 30 years already allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further, ensuring that all employees and volunteers for health care entities can refuse to aid in providing any treatment they object to, which could include not only abortion and sterilization but also contraception.

Health and Human Services estimates that the rule, which would affect nearly 600,000 hospitals, clinics and other health care providers, would cost $44.5 million a year to administer. Astonishingly, the department does not even address the real cost to patients who might be refused access to these critical services. Women patients, who look to their health care providers as an unbiased source of medical information, might not even know they were being deprived of advice about their options or denied access to care.

The definition of abortion in the proposed rule is left open to interpretation. An earlier draft included a medically inaccurate definition that included commonly prescribed forms of contraception like birth control pills, IUD's and emergency contraception. That language has been removed, but because the current version includes no definition at all, individual health care providers could decide on their own that birth control is the same as abortion.

The rule would also allow providers to refuse to participate in unspecified "other medical procedures" that contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions. This, too, could be interpreted as a free pass to deny access to contraception.

Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of "other medical procedures." Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?

The Bush administration argues that the rule is designed to protect a provider's conscience. But where are the protections for patients?

The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule runs until Sept. 25. Everyone who believes that women should have full access to medical care should make their voices heard. Basic, quality care for millions of women is at stake.

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The Power of Choice Project

I am writing this diary to spread the word about a valuable, outstanding resource for clearly and powerfully communicating to pro-choice voters what is at stake in this election.

The Power of Choice Project

About the Power of Choice Project
The Power of Choice Project is a group of concerned citizens who share the goal of educating the public and activating supporters of reproductive freedom through film. Our films each hold a Creative Commons license under which they can be shown, broadcast, and copied without charge.

We invite you to use the films to:

- Inform others about the need for safe legal abortion by bringing to life the danger of the back-alley days.

- Inspire action using this vivid portrayal of the passionate heroes who helped provide access to safe abortion care, and who fought to make abortion legal.

- Spark concern by documenting the steady erosion of reproductive rights today.

You can stream the films online, download them, purchase them, or share them. lms.html

Share the Films
By sharing these inspiring documentaries with your friends and community, you are honoring the heroic efforts of those who struggled to achieve the reproductive rights we have today. At the same time, you are doing your part to preserve and expand reproductive rights for women everywhere.

Information on this site can help you to:

  • host your own screening
  • offer the films to your local TV station
  • recommend the films to your friends and family
  • link to our web site from yours

Download the Reproductive Rights at Risk booklet: let.html

"For a woman not to be counted as able to make adequate decisions...medical, spiritual, moral, about her family, about herself, is a denial of a woman's basic humanity, basic God-given rights."

Pastor James Lawson, Civil Rights Activist

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Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton Discuss Women's Issues

They discuss:
VAWA / Domestic Violence / Abusive Relationships
Healthcare / Women's Health / Pre-existing Conditions
Economic Security / Social Security / Retirement
Balancing Family and Work / FMLA / Flexible Hours
Choice / Roe v Wade / Contraception
Pay Equity / Discrimination
Supreme Court

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SIENA: Obama down from 18 to 5 pt lead in NY

John Kerry won NY in 2004 by 18 points. Al Gore won NY in 2000 by 25 percentage points. NY's 31 electoral votes should be a sure thing.

NY is solidly Democratic, with 5.5 million registered Democrats and 2.9 million registered Republicans. But, as stated in the polling synopsis, "New York's overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage is not reflected in how voters tell Siena they plan to vote."

Honestly, I'm not trying to be a concern troll. But seriously, what is happening here?!? I live in NYC and I do believe that Obama will carry NY State and its 31 electoral votes. But why is it so close, why is it tightening? There are still 13% undecideds, how does Obama hold them / keep them from swinging McCain? _id=562&id=19322

Siena New York Poll:
With 50 Days Left, New York Is Far From True Blue
Obama's Lead Falls to 5 Points; Down From 18 Points in June
Obama Seen As Stronger Than McCain on 4 of 6 Issues;
Voters See McCain As Better Than Obama on 4 of 6 of Attributes

Seven weeks until Election Day, the race for President has tightened in New York, with Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) leading Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 46-41 percent among likely voters, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll released today.  Obama's five point lead is down from eight points in August, 13 points in July and 18 points in June, when he led 51-33 percent.  On a series of  six questions concerning current issues in the campaign - economy, Iraq, terrorism, health care, America's position in the world, and education - likely voters believe Obama will do a better job on four.  Conversely, out of six attributes voters often look at in choosing a candidate - compassion, patriotism, experience, intelligence, integrity, and leadership - New York's electorate gives the edge to McCain on four.

"Although New York has long been regarded as a `safe' state for the Democrats in presidential politics, likely voters in the Empire State are currently only giving Senator Obama a five-point cushion," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena New York Poll.  "The conventions are over.  The running mates are set.  And as voters begin to focus on the race, New York's overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage is not reflected in how voters tell Siena they plan to vote."

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Fellow Parents: A Small Call to Action

This is admittedly a small thing. But every little positive thing we can do helps. I firmly believe that.

My sister has started a campaign in Denver to get fellow parents there to have their babies and children wear Obama T-shirts. She's spreading the word, they are spreading the word... and so on. So I am spreading the word to all of you here. Pass it on, tell a friend, buy a shirt for a baby or child in your life.

I bought my sons the Obama/PeaceDove T-shirts:


They both wore them to pre-school yesterday (9/11). I live in NYC, so I'm mainly preaching to the choir... but in places which are swing states, seeing an adorable child in an Obama T-shirt may resonate with someone who sees it. It is a simple, clear, quiet, positive reminder about why elections matter. Even if it makes ONE person stop to think or smile or reconsider, that is something.

Here's a general link for Obama kid T-shirts. If you buy from cafepress, they let you email a $5 coupon to some friends... a great way to keep the ball rolling. ma_kids-and-baby-clothing

There are also many nice ones under obama+peace.

Some examples, there really is something for everyone...


For THEIR future...


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