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To start off, check out today’s video message to help you “get started” for your new adventure!

When I did the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart in January, I had wished for a more comprehensive list of food items to have in order to be prepared for the program.  They provide a list of ‘staples’ to stock up on, but quite honestly I didn’t find it very helpful or directly related to the first week of meals. They also don’t give you the next week’s menu until a couple days prior which is sort of short notice for those of us who need to plan our grocery shopping trips further ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s baaaaaaaack! Yes indeed, folks, the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart is making its third foray into the refrigerators and lifestyles of anyone interested in improving their health, helping our environment AND fellow sentient beings. As some of you may know, on April 11th I will have been a vegetarian for 17 years! For me it’s ALWAYS been an animal rights issue, and once I finally made the decision to become vegetarian I have not looked back or even ONCE missed being a meat-eater.  There are SO MANY delicious and healthy alternatives, never mind the fact I could never, ever, EVER again bite into something that had once been living. Read the rest of this entry »

Chargers 50thYup, it’s that time of year again: CHARGERS time!  Seems like it’s been much longer than a few months since delving back into the blue and gold, but all that matters now is that it’s training camp time, with the official season just around the corner.  Woo-hoo!  Larry English’s contract was signed Saturday morning, just in time for him to then get the “newbie” treatment from veterans later at his first training camp practice,  Shawne Merriman is working his mohawk and ready to play, and early camp word is that things are looking VERY good all around.  Anxious, anxious, anxious for this season to get under way, and would LOVE to have Chargers talks with the City of Oceanside come to fruition, but I’ve seen far too many ventures at the old Valley Drive-In site fall through over the years.  Fingers crossed, though! Read the rest of this entry »

Walter CronkiteThis is one of those times where something so moves me (yes, tears in my eyes) that I head right over here and put forth my thoughts, not really caring if they make sense to anyone else, if there are typos, or what others think, but just feeling the intense need to put them out there. Read the rest of this entry »

Meant to post about this earlier, but I never seem to get over here as much as I should.  Bad me, bad me.

San Diego Pride created the Equality Torch Relay to help raise awareness of the equality cause by bringing together all areas of the San Diego region.  The relay will simultaneously take place in the north county and the inland area, and from the south bay to the east county, with all torch bearers converging this evening at the San Diego County Administration Building for a 6PM rally, which everyone is invited to attend.

San Diego Pride "Equality Torch Relay" stop in Oceanside, CA

San Diego Pride "Equality Torch Relay" stop in Oceanside, CA

Read the rest of this entry »

Koko Taylor

The incomparable “Queen of the Blues”, Koko Taylor, has passed today due to complications from a recent surgery to correct a gastrointestinal bleed, according to her website.  Any lover of the blues, such as myself, is most definitely suffering a serious case of the blues upon hearing this terribly sad news. If you do not have Koko in your musical library, do yourself a favor and include some, if not all, of her recordings.  This is a voice, and woman, who cannot be replaced and will most definitely be missed.  RIP Koko Taylor 1928-2009. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s an extremely inspiring video of various religious, labor, and civil rights  leaders (including Eric Lee of SCLC) as well as those who worked so hard to put the powerful “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” march and rally together (Robin McGehee) yesterday.  This video is from just prior to the 14 mile march from Selma, CA to the MITM4E rally in Fresno, CA.  Big thanks to Unite the Fight for these videos, as well as getting the live feed of the rally on ustream. Read the rest of this entry »

Unite the Fight will have a live feed from the “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” rally in Fresno, CA, today at 1pm PST on USTREAM. You can also see videos from the 14 mile equality march from Selma, CA to Fresno, CA on Unite the Fight’s qik site. To see these folks marching for 14 miles in over 90 degree heat is pretty darn inspirational to me, and makes me very proud of them. Saw San Diego in the house, as well as Planned Parenthood, in this video. Also great to see folks representing us straight allies!

You can also follow “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” by putting #mitm4e in the search box on Twitter for up-to-the-minute tweets.

Best of luck to everyone involved in today’s equality rally and march!

***Live feed for “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” just went up @ 12:40pm PST…they’re welcoming the 14 mile equality marchers. :)***

Dear GLBTQ community,

Please know that not everyone in California thinks the way those who voted Yes on Prop 8 do. Please know that the illogical decision handed down by the Supreme Court of California WILL be challenged. Please know that you have countless straight allies, such as myself, out there who are ready, willing, and able to continue to fight with you to gain equality in every aspect of the law.  Please know that you ARE valued individuals (not second class citizens), that who you love should NOT matter, and the fact that you continue to stand firm in your love in the face of this ignorance is still truly amazing to me.  Don’t be discouraged for too long,  don’t look at every person and wonder how they voted, don’t think that things will never change, and don’t give up hope.  Everything is just going to take a bit longer than anticipated or hoped for, but change WILL come and I look forward to being right there with you when it does.

Much love and admiration,

Laura Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been meaning to post a review of the opening night of the New York Dolls “‘Cause I Sez So” tour, with The Cliks opening for them,  from last Wednesday night (5/20/09) at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA, but haven’t gotten around to it.  Short review: GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!  Especially if you’re on the west coast and get the great opportunity to see The Cliks (“Snakehouse” and “Dirty King”) open for the New York Dolls!!!!  I figured if I don’t at least post these videos now, I might not ever get around to it. 😉 (Laziness ensues…) I’ll try to write more later, especially on the main reason I went to the show, the incredibly talented The Cliks, whose new CD “Dirty King” is fantastic, and available at the show, as well as various online options such as iTunes for $11.99, “Snakehouse” for $9.90. Read the rest of this entry »

What a great tribute Keith Olbermann gave to his mom, Marie Olbermann, on Countdown tonight. She passed away this past Saturday, April 4th, from cancer. I’m not really quite sure how Keith made it through without losing it (I know I was shedding a few tears, along with the laughs), but in his incomparable Keith style he was able to make us all feel like we knew his mother, Marie. After watching the segment, it’s plain to see that Keith is the male version of the very witty, sarcastic, and endearing Marie. What a character she apparently was, and how obvious it is that she’ll be missed by not only Keith and their family, but by many others. Our thoughts are with you, Keith.  R.I. P. Marie Olbermann.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

President Obama’s weekly address hit upon one of the more troubling aspects of our government right now: the total failure of the FDA to keep us, our children, and our pets safe in the knowledge that what is consumed will not harm any of us.  He has named a new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency, Dr. Margaret Hamburg (go ahead, giggle as I did at her last name being Hamburg(er)–I blame the cold meds I’m taking), and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein (nope, no food-related funny with his last name) as Principal Deputy Commissioner.  Obama is also creating a new Food Safety Working Group which ultimately sounds like it will be making sure that the left hand of government agencies involved with food safety know what the right hand is doing–what a concept!

And as an animal welfare advocate I am THRILLED with the short, but oh-so-important sentence President Obama stated, “As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply.”  Please read Wayne Pacelle’s email sent out this afternoon in response to this fantastic decision.  Thank you President Obama, and thank you to everyone who helped put an end to the horribly abusive downer cattle issue!

Great news from President Obama on farm animals

March 14, 2009


Our investigation thrust a global spotlight on abuse of downed cows.

Dear ******,

It’s been a long fight, and today, we closed another chapter on it. Since the mid-1990s, The HSUS has been working hard to stop as a matter of public policy the abuse of downer cattle — animals too sick or injured to walk. And today, President Obama himself announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was officially putting a stop to non-ambulatory cattle being mishandled in order to get them into slaughter plants. He made the announcement along with two top selections for the Food and Drug Administration and a series of other statements about food safety.

I invite you to read my blog post for today about the food safety crises and horrifying investigations that led up to today’s announcement.

The length of time we had to persist and what our investigations revealed are sad, but today I celebrate this news. And I hope that it is a harbinger of a far more serious attitude toward food safety and animal welfare from the new Administration. I am personally looking forward to working with Secretary Vilsack — a man of great integrity — on a wide range of issues. And I express my gratitude to him and his team today for his decisive action.

Many of you joined us in demanding change on this issue, so this is your victory as well as the animals’. Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. Did you know you can easily subscribe to receive my blog daily by email or RSS? Look for the links to subscribe on the right side of my blog, www.waynepacelle.org. I write daily about pressing issues like farm animal abuse, so it’s a great way to stay in touch.

You’re a better person than yours truly if you can really grasp all that is (and hopefully will be) the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Here is President Obama’s weekly address regarding the topic, along with a link to the White House blog discussing it.  I’ve also added a link in my blogroll to Recovery.org, the website which lays out, it all its transparent glory, details of the Recovery Act, the entire bill for your reading pleasure, as well as a timeline of where the money is going.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed on this one, and our politicians held to task.

Yup, it’s me.  I’m really back…well, for the most part.  I moved in early December and was without cable/internet until 1/16.  (Yes, it IS humanly possible to NOT be connected to the internet; I just don’t recommend it.) And a big fat “Screw you AT&T”  for claiming to service my area with U-verse, having me wait WEEKS upon weeks for an installation appointment, then the day of installation notify me that ‘ooops’ you don’t service my area!!!  And Cox isn’t doing much better since for some annoying reason I can’t get the internet to be connected if I’ve got the TV connected…argh!  And I just don’t have the patience to deal with the customer service runaround I get each time I call, so until I do, I have to unscrew the TV cable if I want to connect to the internet.  Obviously very annoying (TV cable is behind a bunch of stuff), so it goes without saying I’m not popping over to the web very often.  (Hmmm, does anyone say web anymore?)

Anyhooch, what amazing things we’ve had happen since I’ve been gone, most notably inaugurating our new President of the good old USA!  Now you just KNOW this big time Obama supporter made damn sure she had cable in time for all the inauguration hoopla.  Heck, I even took a vacation day off of work to plop my fanny in front of the TV all day.  But if that wasn’t enough, I made sure to hang my US flag up in the window AND wear my Obama/Biden shirt.  Yes, I’m a geek, but I don’t care. 🙂  Let’s just say that the tears started when I was watching the Whistle Stop Tour, continued that Sunday with the Inaugural Concert on HBO, and were out in full force on Inauguration Day.  Is it not absolutely INCREDIBLE to actually be (dare I say it?) PROUD to be an American again?!?!  And yes, despite this annoying BS back-and-forth debate about the stimulus package, I AM still proud and thrilled with our country and our democracy.  I do want to kick the majority of the Republicans in their collective stubborn elephant asses, but will try desperately to retain even the slightest of grips on that olive branch Obama really wants us all to extend.  Let’s just say my grip is quickly slipping away and I’m just about ready to use that branch to start knocking some common sense into some noggins, but…

Okay, enough with that–for now.  How about that Adele and her two Grammys on Sunday night?  Who’s Adele you say?  Well gather round my friends, and let me introduce you to one of the most powerful, unique, soulful, and incredible voices I’ve heard in quite some time.  I first became aware of Adele when she appeared on Saturday Night Live mid-October, last year.  Of course I was watching SNL hoping the Sarah Palin appearance would be worth it (read that as Tina Fey really sticking it to her), and wasn’t too interested in the musical performer I’d never heard of before.  But the minute Adele belted out those first notes I stopped what I was doing, turned my attention to the TV and was instantly mesmerized–and hooked!  This girl can sing, and I mean S-I-N-G!  I was so excited when they announced her name as the winner of the Grammy for Best New Artist two nights ago, and was hootin’ and a hollerin’ (did I just go hillbilly on ya?) and making sure Rudy (yes, he’s my dog…told you I’m a geek) was as excited about her win as I was.  This gal has got a powerhouse voice that you just know is going to withstand the test of time.

Catch Adele on her tour which happily begins in my area on 3/9, but sadly is already sold out.  Don’t let that happen to you, so buy your tickets NOW!  Here’s her SNL performance for you to (hopefully!) enjoy as much as I do.

g

 

join-the-impact1

Join the Impact  (Click the image or link to find protest locations near you.)

This election is something I obviously felt quite strongly about, not only on the presidential level, but especially with some California propositions I took to heart; Prop 2, Prop 4, Prop 8.  One would think that with my choice for President, Barack Obama, being swept into office, and two of the propositions I felt strongly about all going the way I had hoped, I would be running to my blog, sharing my happiness and thanking everyone who voted the same way I did.  But the joy at seeing my beloved country make the historic choice it did for President, was unfortunately overwhelmingly deflated when I realized that the majority of my fellow Californians who took the time to vote on Proposition 8 (defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, thereby stripping away the civil rights of the GLBT community to marry the person they love) voted to support this antiquated, hateful, and discriminatory proposition. 

This has affected me in a profound and extended way which admittedly has surprised me.  I’m not gay.  I’m not married, and don’t have any mad desire to be (have already traveled down that road).  But why should I have rights my friends and neighbors don’t have just because I was born straight?  Why should my love for someone else be deemed “appropriate” and “legal” just because as a female I may want to wed a man and not a woman?  I don’t get it folks, I really, really don’t.  I don’t get how someone thinks that they have the right, usually based on their religious beliefs, to legislate who someone else can spend their life with, who they can love and be with.  I don’t get the hate–and yes it’s hate so don’t try to sugarcoat it–that people have for others who believe in something different from what they might believe in. 

And where is this unbelievable hell that we are all supposed to descend into if gay people are allowed to marry?  They’ve had the legal right in California for several months now, and I’m not seeing the heterosexual marriages needing protection from that.  I’m not seeing the marriages of straight folks falling apart any faster than they already were.  And have your children come home from school over the past months, suddenly preaching “the gay lifestyle” because they are being indoctrinated into it at their public school?  Hmmm, the sky has not been falling Chicken Little?  Say it ain’t so! 

How ridiculous all of this is.  Ridiculous that this proposition even made it to the ballot, especially considering our State courts have already stated that disallowing gay marriage is unconstitutional.  This is definitely going back into the courts which is only going to extend the divisiveness, the hate, and the pain being inflicted upon members of the GLBT community who have to face each day knowing that other human beings are considering them to be second class citizens without the right to love the person they choose and have that love be acknowledged legally in marriage.

Do any of you that voted yes on Prop 8 REALLY think that you will be keeping gay marriages from being legal for all time?  Really?  Do you really feel so strongly about the issue that you are willing to spend your time fighting against equality for all?  Is there nothing you could be spending your time on more productively?  Really?  How sad it is that you choose to spend even a second of your life fighting against love.  I feel for you.  I really do.  What a sad little life you have if needing to strip away the rights of others is a priority for you.  Sad and pitiful.  Shame on you, narrow-minded, hateful person, shame on you.

Transcript of Keith Olbermann’s “Special Comment” on gay marriage

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop-8.  And I don’t have a personal investment in this: I’m not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble.  You’ll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn’t marry?

I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage. If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

“I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam,” he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love.” 

Considering some of the extremely ridiculous and far-fetched things that have been asserted by McCain and Palin during this campaign, it wouldn’t have been that surprising if McCain had decided that Obama was to blame for the “redistribution of daylight” with DST going into effect on Sunday.  However, due credit for that hilarious line must be given to Seth Meyers from tonight’s Saturday Night Live Weekend Update.  Was everyone else as shocked as I was that the entire show (well, at least 90% of it!) was actually, really, really good tonight?!  A lot of the credit has to go to Ben Affleck who really stretched himself and became each character he inhabited. (What a hoot he was in the German coat and Target sketches!) 

And being the HUGE  fan of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” that I am, I was loving the ‘hilarious for the most part’ take-off on Keith and the show.  Keith had mentioned on his Friday Countdown show that he had been invited over to the SNL studio to see Ben rehearse the skit, but Keith wasn’t sure if it would make the cut since skits are really up in the air until practically air time.  Thankfully the skit DID make it, and Ben did a fantastic job, especially with the expressions Keith is famous for, although the voice could have used some work.  It really showed that those who put that skit together are fans of Keith’s show because they had the camera angles down pat, as well as the staging.  Only thing that could have made it even more perfect was if the camera was in a lot closer on Ben as it always is on Keith.  Very funny stuff, VERY funny.  I’ll try to dig up a video of the skit.  It will be interesting to see what my boy Keith has to say about it on Monday’s Countdown.

**ADDED: Look what NBC finally posted!  Woo-hoo!  This one gets better each time I watch it.***

But for now I’ve got the two John McCain appearances for you.  First up is the opening skit with the always dead-on Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and John McCain, as, um, John McCain. (What casting! ;))  I have to say that the skit WAS pretty darn funny, especially when Sarah/Tina went all “rogue” and hawked her “Palin 2012” t-shirts–of course, asking potential buyers to please wait until November 5th to wear them.  Cindy McCain could definitely fulfill a Vanna White-type role if she’s ever hard up for money. (Like THAT will ever happen. ;)) 

The second video is when McCain was on Weekend Update (you could hear some boos from the audience),listing the various forms of “Maverickiness” he could enlist.  Have to say I thought the “Sad Grandpa” one was the funniest.  All in all, John McCain’s SNL gig was MUCH more enjoyable than his “Maverick” counterpart’s was.  Enjoy the videos!

So the Yes on Prop 8 folks are at it again–lying, and distorting the truth to meet their low standards!  Guess that’s what a campaign resorts to when they know their issue is flawed, discriminatory, and based on nothing but hate.  This time they targeted African-Americans attempting to have them believe that Barack Obama supports California’s Proposition 8, which he and Joe Biden most definitely do not.  I’ll include the NO on Prop 8 press release with the portion of the statement from the Obama/Biden campaign in blue.  Magic Johnson also says NO on Prop 8 and has recorded a phone message for California voters.  I’ll post the text of the message at the end of this blog.  But first, here’s the newest video from the NO on Prop 8 campaign titled “Divisive”, with words from Barack Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Teachers Union, leading California newspapers, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  (Thankfully he’s right on this issue, but SOOOO wrong on backing McSame/Failin’…sigh.)

No on 8 Reveals New Ad Showing Obama, Schwarzenegger, Feinstein Joining Together Calling for Defeat of Unfair Initiative
Ad Answers Proposition 8’s Dishonest Flyer Targeting African-American Voters

SACRAMENTO – Hours after the Proposition 8 campaign admitted it had mailed a flyer to African-American voters that lies about Sen. Barack Obama’s position on the initiative, the NO on 8 Campaign launched a statewide television ad reminding voters that Sen. Obama, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as well as the state’s leading newspapers, have all called for the defeat of Proposition 8.

Using the words each of these leaders has used to describe the unfair initiative, the new ad makes clear that Sen. Obama has called Prop 8 “divisive and discriminatory,” that Gov. Schwarzenegger has said “it should never happen,” and Sen. Feinstein closes by telling voters: “No matter how you feel about marriage, vote against discrimination, and Vote NO on 8.”

No on Prop 8 Campaign Slams Dishonest Mailer Targeting African-American Voters
Mailer Misrepresents Sen. Obama Who is Opposed to Proposition 8; Misleading African-American Voters is Clearly the Goal of Deceptive Prop 8 Campaign

SACRAMENTO – The NO on Prop 8 campaign today condemned an official Proposition 8 mailer clearly targeted to African-American voters that completely misrepresents and lies about Sen. Barack Obama’s position on Proposition 8. In fact, the Obama campaign felt compelled to release a new statement tonight making it absolutely clear that he and Joe Biden oppose Prop 8 in the strongest terms.

The mailer, from the Proposition 8 campaign, twists Sen. Obama’s comments about marriage to suggest support for the unfair initiative — when just the opposite is true. In a June 29 letter to the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, Sen. Obama wrote that he opposes the “divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution.”

The mailer drew a strong reaction from San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

“It is despicable that the Yes on 8 campaign would send out a last minute mailer to the African American community in a clear attempt to mislead voters about Senator Barack Obama’s position on Proposition 8,” said District Attorney Harris. “The leadership of this campaign should issue an immediate retraction and apology for this transparent attempt to deceive the public.”

The Obama letter reads in part:

“As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law…And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states. For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. This is no less than a core issue about who we are as Democrats and as Americans.”

Tonight, in response to the mailer, the Obama campaign released the following statement:

“Senators Obama and Biden have made clear their commitment to fighting for equal rights for all Americans whether it’s by granting LGBT Americans all the civil rights and benefits available to heterosexual couples, or repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” said a statement issued by campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “Senator Obama has already announced that the Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Senator Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans.”

SACRAMENTO – Magic Johnson, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame after winning five NBA championships as a Los Angeles Laker, and three Most Valuable Player awards, has lent his voice to the chorus of those calling Proposition 8 wrong and unfair.

In a recorded telephone call to California voters, Johnson says:

“This is Magic Johnson calling to ask you to join me and Barack Obama in opposing Proposition 8.

“Prop 8 singles out one group of Californians to be treated differently – including members of our family, our friends, and our coworkers.

“That is not what California is about. So this Tuesday, vote no on Proposition 8. It is unfair and wrong. Thanks.”

The telephone message from Magic Johnson will reach millions of California voters in the final days, urging voters to reject this discriminatory and unfair initiative.

For more information on NO on Prop 8 please visit www.noonprop8.com.

The NO on Prop 8 Campaign has put together some great informational television ads, and has the endorsement of logical and forward-thinking groups, businesses, and individuals from all walks of life, but is now in DIRE NEED OF MONEY in order to push back against the massive influx of finances from those who are supporting discrimination: the backers of Prop 8, led in large numbers by Mormons. Please donate as much as you can afford (and as quickly as you can) to help make a bold and powerful statement on November 4th that California will NOT go back in time and tolerate discrimination of ANY of her citizens.  Thank you! (ADDED: Shout-out to my friend Jeanne who read this blog, then donated to the NO on Prop 8 campaign–and she doesn’t even live in California!  WTG, my friend, wtg! :))

Here is my previous posting on Prop 8, and the following is the latest from the NO on Prop 8 web site

New No on Prop 8 Ad Calls Upon Californians to Reject Discrimination
Ad is Narrated by Samuel Jackson

SACRAMENTO – The NO on Prop 8 campaign today announced a dramatic new television ad, narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson. The ad calls upon Californians to reject discrimination, and Vote NO on Prop 8.

The full text of the ad follows:

“It wasn’t that long ago that discrimination was legal in California.

“Japanese Americans were confined in internment camps.

“Armenians couldn’t buy a house in the Central Valley.

“Latinos and African Americans were told who they could and could not marry.

“It was a sorry time in our history.

“Today the sponsors of Prop 8 want to eliminate fundamental rights.

“We have an obligation to pass along to our children a more tolerant, more decent society.

“Vote No on Prop 8 it’s unfair and it’s wrong.”

The ad places Prop 8 in its appropriate historical context as a measure that would discriminate against certain Californians and treat people differently under the law.

“We believe it is important in the final days of an unfair initiative attacking individual rights, to remind voters that there have been other times in our history when we stood at this threshold of fairness,” said Patrick Guerriero, NO on 8 Campaign Director. “We know that most California voters do not want to wake up Wednesday morning to learn that we’ve taken a step back to a darker time. That’s why we believe on Tuesday, voters will resoundingly reject Prop 8.”

“Proposition 8 would take away fundamental individual rights, and I believe the historical analogies presented by the NO on Prop 8 campaign are completely appropriate,” said Congressman Mike Honda (D-Campbell). “I am opposed to Prop 8, and I hope my fellow Californians will reject it.”

“California used to ban people of different races from getting married under the law. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now,” said Fabian Nuñez, Former Speaker of the California Assembly. “Proposition 8 is a lot like that unfair ban on interracial marriage. And even though people may feel differently about marriage, everyone ought to agree unequal treatment under the law is a bad thing.”

“Proposition 8 eliminates equal rights for one segment of the population while continuing to grant that right to others,” said Maria Armoudian, an Armenian-American radio personality on KPFK in Los Angeles. “We Armenians have had to endure a century of discrimination. Let us now stand together calling for an end to discrimination for all people. Vote NO on Prop 8.”

Using historical footage, the ad reminds voters of three particularly bleak periods in state history:

— Japanese American Internment: Authorized by President Roosevelt in 1942, the Army ordered all people of Japanese descent, whether citizens or non-citizens, living in CA to be interned in permanent “relocation centers.” Those centers remained operational until the end of the war. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was California Attorney General at that time, later wrote that the internment was “not in keeping with our American concepts of freedoms and rights of citizens.”

— California’s Ban on Interracial Marriage: In 1948, California became the first state in the nation to wipe away a state law banning interracial marriages. In the 1967 case of Loving vs. Virginia dealing with the remaining state bans, the United State Supreme Court ruled that: [T]he freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”

— Racially Restrictive Covenants: These covenants were widely enforced in the early 20th century to discriminate against African Americans, Jews and other ethnic groups by prohibiting the lease or sale of property. The covenants were widely used in the Central Valley against Armenians. They were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948.

In 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia decision, Mildred Loving wrote: “I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving and loving, are all about.”

Okay, so maybe real relief, and the ability to feel the possibility of change and happiness won’t truly arrive until Barack Obama has been declared the winner of that glorious process we have in America called voting, this Tuesday, November 4th.  But darn if it didn’t feel great to experience the teenie-tiniest bit of a smile creeping onto my face while watching Barack’s thirty-minute ad which aired in prime time at 8PM this evening (full video posted below).  I knew this election and all the hate, fear tactics, and outright lies that have been drudged up and thrown about were really starting to get to me, but I honestly didn’t realize just how much until I felt the tingling of a strange sensation occur during the mega-ad and realized it was one I had not really experienced for far too long: the feeling of hope. 

Hope.  Hope that things can change.  Hope that maybe this cloud of increasing stress and strain might be lifted from over most Americans.  Hope that someone (a politician, no less! ;)) was really looking out for us.  Hope that Americans would not fall prey to the same old Republican, Rovian tactics, and that they would see right through them and right into what Barack Obama is offering us.   Hope that someone IS on our side, that someone IS going to move us in the right direction, and hope that THIS TIME (unlike the last two presidential elections)my fellow Americans will put that incredible gift of the democratic process to good use and place their vote for someone who WILL do right by us: Barack Obama.

I’m far from naive about the always-simmering racial tensions that sadly exist in our country, but to see the pot stirred so intensively by the McCain/Palin campaign (and ultimately by some of their wingnut followers) in a constant and unbelievably overt fashion as well as via hidden/code meanings and words, with no concern or acknowledgment on their part of the immediate and long-term ramifications such hate brings about, has just saddened and dismayed me beyond belief and quite often had me embarrassed as a white person.  “Country first”, McCain?  Really?  Hardly, I’d say.  Certainly not MY country that you’re “putting first”, and that’s too bad because contrary to the desires of many of your believers, this country is filled with people from ALL political, religious, economic, and ethnic perspectives out there, and bringing them TOGETHER is what MY country and MY beliefs are about, not dividing the country and instilling unease of anyone who might not look just like you, practice the same religion you do, or believe the same political agenda you do.

Come on, America, now is the time for you to not become complacent and assume “others” will do the job for you.  You MUST get your fannies out to the voting booth on Tuesday (click here to find your polling place), or better yet VOTE EARLY if it’s available in your area.  Let’s elect a president and vice-president that will help us return to a government and a country we can ALL be proud of.

Obama for America web site

Barack Obama’s 30 minute ad: American Stories, American Solutions

Sniffin’ out the info

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