Archive for the ‘Progressives’ Category

>Progressive – it’s a good thing

June 25, 2010

>I guess I’m a little behind in this because this poll came out in May, but after considering the results I think its worth bringing everyone, including myself, up to date.

Progressivism is a good thing.

A Pew Research poll finds that 68% of Americans react favorably to the word “progressive” and only 23% react negatively.

This is a more favorable reaction than was found toward the word “capitalism” (52% positive, 37% negative).

Even among Republicans a majority (56%) reacted positive to “progressive.”

Now it could well be that respondents were thinking of Progressive spokesperson Flo when they answered the question.

Here is a surprising number that might help us to know what to expect in the future. The same percent of young people (ages 18-29) have a positive reaction to “socialism” (43%) as do “capitalism” (43%).

So what is it that progressives want to accomplish? The “progressive agenda” was put forth on Left in Alabama last month, and progressive bloggers got together to map out a course to accomplish some of these things.

On the national scene (these are not listed in order of priority because as progressives we believe that more than one problem can be tackled at a time):

1. Campaign finance and lobbying reform

2. Single payer health insurance, public option

3. Clean energy program, moving away from oil dependency

4. Immigration reform (secure borders, path to legitimacy for those here and who want to come here)

5. Infrastructure development program (public transportation, safety, national parks, historic reuse of historic buildings, energy reform and conservation)

6. Withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq

7. LGBT Equality

For the state of Alabama (not in order of priority):

1. A new Constitution

2. Ethics reform

3. Tax reform

4. Set and achieve higher educational goals

5. Infrastructure development program (energy conservation and green building)

6. LGBT equality

7. Moratorium on the death penalty

For the city of Bessemer (not in order of priority):

1. Establish a working relationship between the administration and the business community/ development board

2. Prioritize downtown development/historic preservation

3. Revitalize historic and other neighborhoods

4. Support community gardens project

5. Establish recreational opportunities (rec center, trail from Hall of History to Red Mountain Park using railroad trestle), public outdoor swimming pool

6. Improve and promote recycling options

For both state and local: Quit spending so much time on bingo!

What do you think of the progressive agendas laid out here, especially on the state and local levels? Elections are coming up, you know.

Another progressive posted What We Believe on Left in Alabama this morning.

This video from 21 years ago was recently rated most sexy video on some show I saw while searching for something worthwhile to watch. Chris Isaak – Wicked Game.

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>Time for a change in Bessemer

June 4, 2010

>Progressives

The recent election has made it clear to progressives in Bessemer that we need to get our message out. The Alabama Democratic Conference distributed a ballot of endorsements for our area, and the Concerned Citizens of Bessemer Cut-Off did as well.

Most of the progressives in the area are dissatisfied with some of the endorsements we saw.

With city elections coming up, (as well as the democratic run-off) we have decided its time to group together to evaluate and promote candidates based on their progressive platforms, their level of education, and their response to the pressing issues rather than on money given to the group, old friendships, pay backs and expectations.

Let me know, either through email, phone call, facebook or twitter if you want to be a part of the progressive movement in Bessemer.

Progressive voters have different interests depending on whether the issues are national, state, or local.

National (members of congress, president) – health care (with a public option), environment, LGBT equality, peace, national security, immigration reform, workplace equality for women, preserving a woman’s right to choose, and other issues.

State – ethics reform, tax reform, constitutional reform, environment, LGBT equality and others.

Local – historic preservation and restoration of neighborhoods, ability to work with the business community, plays well with others (ability for the council and mayor to behave like grownups), community garden support, finding a way to build a rec center for teens and seniors, and other issues.

Those are just some of the issues we will be evaluating candidates on.

Again, contact me if you want to be a part of a new direction in Bessemer.

Some of us, or people we know, fought for the right to vote. Some of us, or people we know or have written about, died for that right.

Picture credit- Bruce Davidson

People did not die so that those who came after them could behave in an embarrassing manner locally, tax the poor and reward the wealthy and pass money around secretly on the state level, or get elected and abandon those who elected you on the national (or any level). Elected officials, you know who I am talking about.

At the polling place the other day this was discussed among the supporters of different candidates who were there all day promoting our favorites. Though we were differing in opinions of who we wanted in office, we all agreed that people should be voting, and and voters should be informed.

Join our effort. Contact me.

>Health care reform; polls and such

December 22, 2009

>Brief note. AL-05 congressman Parker Griffith announced his intention to switch from the Democrat to the Republican Party.

This switch will have little effect since he votes like a Republican all the time anyway, and the Democrats will still have a substantial majority in the House.

Health care reform

Support for health care reform is stronger than has been reported. Many of those polled who indicated they do not support the current plan, said so because they feel it does not go far enough.

This memo shows the results of several polls, all graphed with cute graphics that I couldn’t copy. So I will describe. You can click on the link to see the graphs.

An Ipsos/McClatchy poll from November showed that 34% support the bill, 35% oppose, saying it goes too far, 12% oppose saying it doesn’t go far enough and 20% are unsure. That means that 46% really support it, if it comes down to it.

A CNN poll from November showed that the public strongly supports individual components of the plan. 75% support expanding Medicaid, 73% support a large and mid-size employer mandate, 67 % support income tax (increase) on the wealthy, 76% support subsidies for the middle or lower class, 60% support banning rescissions, and 60% support banning denial due to pre-existing conditions.

When the entire plan is presented, support is strong. This statement was presented:

This plan would require every American citizen to have health insurance
and require large employers to provide coverage to their employees. It
would require insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing
conditions and prevent them from dropping coverage for people who get
sick, while providing incentives for affordable preventive care. Individuals
and small businesses that do not have coverage would be able to select a
private insurance plan from a range of options sold on a National
Insurance Exchange. Lower and middle income people would receive
subsidies to help them afford insurance, while those individuals who like
the coverage they already have will be able to keep their current plan.

Louisianans supported this 57 to 38%. Seniors in Maine supported it 54-36.

All this leaves us feeling pretty good looking ahead to the 2010 elections, when more progressives need to be elected to avoid the effects of lone wolf types like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman.

>Learn the facts about Health Care Reform: The Manager’s Amendment

December 21, 2009

>Progress is always incremental, and as progressives, we have to accept that the changes we seek may come in stages.

Such is the case with health care reform.

The Senate is poised to pass the amended bill this week, and then after the holidays a conference committee of House and Senate members will reconcile the bill into a form that hopefully both houses will pass.

But every day I run into people who do not understand the bill and its provisions. Oh, there are those who don’t care that they don’t understand it, they just want to defeat it. The Waterlooers, I call them.

But most Americans want to understand the bill that the Senate will pass, and when they do, they are for it.

So here are some facts about the Senate bill which was modified with the Manager’s Amendment.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill, as presented in the senate, will reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the first 10 years. Further, during the second decade, the bill will continue to reduce the deficit up to one half of one percent of the GDP, or up to $1.3 trillion.

The bill will also increase coverage with up to 94% of all Americans under age 65 covered.

The bill provides for an immediate ban on excluding children with pre-existing conditions from coverage, and for all Americans in 2014.

Health insurers will have to abide by a set of provisions that protect a patient’s choice of doctors.

Annual limits on benefits will be restricted beginning in 2010 and completely prohibited by 2014. Lifetime limits are immediately banned (within 6 months).

Health insurance tax credits for small businesses begin in 2010 which make providing insurance benefits more affordable for employers.

Nationwide plans, at least one of which will be non-profit, will be administered by the Office of Personnel Management, the same agency that oversees the health plans for members of congress.

The quality of care for seniors will improve, as additional health care providers are reimbursed for services based on quality not quantity of the services they provide.

More children will be covered under CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

Community Health Centers will be expanded providing access to care to where it is most needed.

Funding for rural health care providers will increase.

New programs will be funded for fighting cancer, diabetes, children’s heart disease, and the Indian Health System, and will provide support for pregnant teens and victims of domestic violence.

These are not all of the provisions that progressive Americans wanted, but its a start.

And it shows the strength of Harry Reid that he was able to bring this about.

>Random thoughts on a cloudy morning

October 16, 2009

>This is really going to be random.

Balloon boy. I’m sure you’ve heard about the giant Jiffy Pop balloon and the boy spilling the beans last night on the Larry King show, and spilling his breakfast (or something) on cue on two different morning shows this morning. Yesterday afternoon I was driving when the boy was located in the cardboard box, and had the radio on the Lee Davis show. Davis is a certified right wingnut whacko, but he said that finding the boy in his attic was a “miraculous” ending to the story.

Huh? A miracle would have been if the boy fell from the balloon and landed on an albatross that glided him to safety or something like that. Saying that finding him at home is a miraculous ending is like saying it’s a miracle I wasn’t hit by a train on a morning that I didn’t cross any railroad tracks.

Emails. Let me just say that I feel I have a moral obligation to respond to and correct the lies about our president and health care and other issues that I receive through emails. And if you have included my email address in a mass emailing with such lies, I will “respond to all” so that everyone you spread the lie to gets my response. If that angers your friends, then either quit sending me those hateful lies and don’t include my email address in your mass mailings.

Defeating the right wing. How it’s going to be done and who will do it. Here, on Examiner.

Support. Is it normal for a newspaper or magazine that one writes for to continue week after week printing letters that demeans the columnist? While I don’t mind seeing letters that offer opposing views, four weeks of letters by the same author attacking my character just seems a little much. Especially when the letter writer is nuts. Would you continue to write for a paper that offered no support? Am I egging it on by responding to the ludicrous assertions? For those of you who haven’t read the letters, I will soon post them on Facebook along with the columns that they are in response to.


Helen Keller. I will be posting some info about her and the National Cathedral within a few days. Did you know she was a big supporter of the ACLU, in fact helping to found the organization?

America the Beautiful. The words to this song were written by a lesbian, Katharine Lee Bates. After her partner Katharine Coman died, Bates wrote, “So much of me died with Katharine Coman that I’m sometimes not quite sure whether I’m alive or not.” That is not the only evidence of their committed relationship.

>Western Tribune Column November 5 2008

November 5, 2008

>My column for Wednesday November 5, 2008. It was difficult to write a column in advance with the election this week. I chose to address the major criticism of Barack Obama, by addressing a comment made about me.

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The latest stone tossed my way was the label of “liberal, socialist Democrat” by a letter writer to this paper. If one must assign a label and liberal or conservative are the only choices, then yes, I am a liberal. But oddly enough, social democrats are by definition more to the center of the political spectrum, than, say, democratic socialists, who are more to the left.

So words and labels can be confusing. Positions are a better way to categorize people.

Yes, I believe in social justice. I believe that all people, regardless of their race, age, religion or sexual orientation should be afforded the same rights and responsibilities. Civil rights legislation (which was signed by a Democratic president) aims for social justice.

I believe in the social programs of today, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These also began under the leadership of Democrats. Most elderly people and their family members believe in these programs also. In fact, without these programs the health and well-being of many of our elderly would be compromised.

I support the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which was passed during the Clinton Administration and allows funds to be used to help provide coverage for uninsured children. Without this program, many children are at risk of poor health or death.

I support public education as long as the potential for quality education is distributed equally to all students. Traditionally, equality in education is supported by Democrats. A well educated individual is more likely to live a healthy lifestyle.

I have stated before in this column that healthcare is a right and that its provision is a moral issue. I look forward to the day when the quality of one’s health care does not depend on one’s income, possibly during the next administration.

Most of these programs began during my lifetime, and I have observed first hand that the quality of life for individual Americans improved with each. Most social programs either directly or indirectly affect the physical or mental health of individuals. As one who is trained in Public Health, I believe that elevating the health of Americans is one aspect of the greatness of our country.

I prefer the term “progressive” to describe my positions on the issues because U. S. policy is dynamic. To be conservative is to resist change, in spite of so much in need of change.