You may have thought that I dropped off the face of the earth, as I haven’t issued a progressive update for almost four months. It took awhile for me to return from cloud nine. Progressives had a slew of victories last November, however it is time to get back to work.
I asked two friends to share some information on the presidential candidates that they are helping, with their reasons, and with an invitation for how you can help:
Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is the most progressive candidate campaigning for the Presidency. More important, he is the only candidate so far to respond with definitive answers to the crisis that
In the middle of the recent snowstorm, two dozen hardy souls gathered at the first Delaware For Obama meeting. The immediate goals of Delaware For Obama are to publicize the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama for president, to connect with the national campaign, and to begin fundraising. For more information about Senator Obama and his innovative approaches to the challenges facing our nation, visit www.barackobama.com To find out about Obama events in our area, Sign Up and join in!
There are a host of top issues in
Wind Power—Protests of ‘skeptic’ state climatologist notwithstanding, Delawareans know that global climate change threatens the planet, and we can make a giant step forward, with the possibility of approving a large wind-power farm off the DE seashore rather than yet another natural gas or coal plant. A public hearing is set for 7pm on Thursday the 8th at the Carvel office building (and also 7pm on Tuesday the 6th at Legislative Hall) for the Public Service Commission to discuss the three proposals. The decision is in the hands of three state agencies, and this could be your last chance to be heard on the issue before the decision is made.
Open Government—As a supporter of John Kowalko, I feel the need to respond to the accusations that John opposed open government by voting against House Bill 4. Knowing John, when I heard that he voted against an open government bill, I concluded that either 1) John lost his mind, or 2) the bill is not an open government bill. Looking at the details, I was comforted that John is still on the top of his game, and that HB 4 is what Republicans call an open government bill, just as President Bush has provided Clean Air and Iraqi Freedom and an act for patriots—yeah, right. House Bill 4 does not open a single meeting to the public—it is a feel-good bill, not a do-good bill. John voted against it to maintain the pressure on the legislature to pass real open government laws. Shame on the media, and most especially shame on a few blogging progressives for falling for the Republican spin—just because Republicans call HB4 ‘open government’ doesn’t mean that it is, and recognize that if HB4 was passed in January, it would enable the Republicans to resist any true open government legislation later this year..
Yesterday the House Republicans introduced House Bill 60, which rambles for four pages of legalese, and is supported by fewer than half of the House Republicans. Of course the House Democrats wrote the one-sentence House Bill 70 weeks earlier. This wonderful bill simply removes the exemption that the General Assembly has from the Freedom of Information Act. This is true open government bill, and is sponsored by two Democratic state senators and every single House Democrat, but not a single Republican. Please urge your state representative and senator to push for the passage of House Bill 70.
Lobbying Reform—The Wilmington News Journal has been reporting on the egregious state of lobbying in
Equality—Senate Bill 10 would provide health and retirement benefits to domestic partners of state employees. Given that
Prison Reform—House Bill 71 today emerged from the House Judiciary Committee, and is designed to return the discretion of proper sentencing to the sentencing judge, repealing mandatory sentencing for drug law offenders. Mandatory sentencing was well-intentioned, however it has resulted in prison overcrowding, and the inability of the system to direct the best solution for each person (some need to go to prison, some to substance abuse programs, etc). For more information, go to www.surj.org. Please urge your state representative and senator to push for the passage of House Bill 71.
Holding Elected Leaders Accountable—
I’ll close with comments from Villanova professor Matt Kerbel, who offered the following comments to me after January’s State of the Union speech (he gets points for being able to watch Bush speak for so long without vomiting): Hi, Paul. Good to hear from you again! If Bush didn't have to speak last night, I'm sure he would have avoided it. He had nothing new to say about the one issue people are most concerned about and no accomplishments to flaunt. His speech, like his administration, was fundamentally dishonest. How can you talk about the state of the union in 2007 without putting
I thought Jim Webb's response was on point. He essentially said the Republican Party has lost its bearings and if Bush doesn't change course, the Democrats will do it for him. It was a nice contrast to Bush's unrealistic statement that the state of the union is strong, and it foreshadows strong Democratic leadership in the months ahead. The new political balance of power was on display last night, and -- although we're about to enter a dangerous and difficult period -- it bodes well for a progressive future.