Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Progressive Update--04/06/2010

Tickets!—I have tickets to next Friday’s (April 16th) 23rd RD Spaghetti Dinner and Auction (from 5:30-9pm at www.uufn.org). Tickets are a steal at $10 each. Let me know how many tickets you would like. They’re going fast. The next US Senator from Delaware, Chris Coons, will be leading the auction. The food is good, the auction is fun, and you will get to meet a lot of wonderful Democrats, including many elected officials and candidates.

Delaware’s US Senate Race—New Castle County Executive Chris Coons is running for US Senate, against Republican Mike Castle (who has been Delaware’s lone Representative for ever). See the attached response to Mike Castle’s opposition to the Health Care Reform Bill that was recently passed. This response was created by DUSRS, Democrats United to Set the Record Straight. Rep. Castle has misled our state, claiming to be a moderate, while in the past two years doing the Republican Party’s bidding on vote after vote. His opposition to the Health Care Reform is inexcusable, as is his appearance for photo ops at programs created by the stimulus bill that he voted against (along with his fellow non-moderate Republicans).

Chris Coons’ campaign (www.chriscoons.com) needs your time, talent, and treasure. My friend Carol Boncelet, who was running for the 3rd district of New Castle County Council, has backed out in order to be the volunteer coordinator for the Chris Coons for US Senate campaign. To find out how to help that campaign, send her an email at carol@chriscoons.com. To donate money, go to https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/coons.

Progressive Democrats of Delaware—I am co-chair of the endorsement committee of the PDD (http://www.progressivedemsdel.com/). I am very excited about the current committee, and our plans to build upon the strengths of our efforts in 2008. We meet tomorrow night at 7pm at DelDems HQ to discuss the endorsement process and to obtain input from our members of what issues are most important.

National Update—I have not been on top of these issues, but let’s recognize that President Obama has reversed the economic meltdown, stopped the growth of the jobless rate (162,000 new jobs created in March), and was able to get a health insurance reform bill to become a law. While the law is flawed, recognize that tens of millions of people are being covered who were not before the law’s passage. Also recognize that this was done despite the unified Party of No, despite the bill having tens if not hundreds of features that Republicans claimed they support. This was done while detailing the wind-down of our occupation of Iraq, and while conducting a much better considered strategy in Afghanistan. It was also done without burning bridges that will be necessary to institute meaningful energy policy, and education reform.

State Legislature—There is much going on in Dover in the coming months. The budget is the issue that the General Assembly is spending the most time on, however there are also other issues which really matter (such as the wonderful HB 357 handgun bill written by the NRA and not read by the Republican sponsors—sorry Adkins is a Republican in my book). I like the regular run-down of issues before the General Assembly that is posted at www.delawareliberal.net. That is a great place to go to stay abreast of such issues.

I am working on two initiatives, Senate Bill (SB) 20 (http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS145.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+20?Opendocument) would end the insane district gerrymandering, by establishing a non-partisan commission to update our state legislative districts. This would TREMENDOUSLY improve our government, by making our representatives much more responsive to their constituents, by ending the ‘safe seats’ that many now occupy. The main stumbling block are, surprise, surprise, incumbent legislators who fear the loss of their seats (and livelihood). Following a good meeting with Senator Blevins and Representative Kowalko and others, Common Cause executive director James Browning has created a one-page talking point sheet on why Delaware needs this bill. Note that at this time, the best that we can likely hope for is that the 2011 meetings during which districts are redrawn will be open to the public (but still partisan), but that an independent bi-partisan commission is created for the 2021 process.

House Bill (HB) 10 (http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis145.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+10?Opendocument) would provide benefits to domestic partners the same way that benefits are provided to spouses. In Delaware (at this point), same gender partners are forbidden from being ‘married,’ which makes such benefits unavailable to them. This is simply unfair. Until we permit marriage equality, we need to provide this equality of benefits to state workers. HB 10 has hit a wall, as it has a cost (a fiscal note), and bills with fiscal notes are mostly DOA in Dover this season. I have met with a state-wide coalition of organizations pushing for true equality, including one meeting last week with Governor Markell. A compromise is being struck to make health care benefits available in a COBRA-fashion to state employee’s domestic partners, and in this manner have the fiscal note removed. Stay tuned, and prepare to ask your state legislator to support passage of the modified HB 10.

Equality for All, Relationship Equality—With Washington DC’s recent law to permit same-sex marriage, we are closer to bringing relationship equality (likely through civil unions, domestic partnerships, or same-sex marriage) to Delaware. The coalition mentioned earlier is very focused on this. Let me know if you’d like more information. Two groups that I really like, due to their work on this area is www.hrc.org, and www.aclu-de.org.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)—It appears that this is close to moving forward (repeal of DADT). There is a petition at http://votevets.org/pages/?id=0026. A bill is in the works in Congress. This awful policy is WAY overdue to be eliminated. I hear that the word could go out in the coming months (perhaps after the Defense Secretary Gates concludes his year-long review), at which time WE all need to speak up immediately and LOUDLY to help repeat DADT.

Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)—This bill will permit same-gender partners to sponsor their partner to become a US citizen, in the same way that an opposite gender partner can currently sponsor their partner (spouse) to become a US citizen. Visit http://www.immigrationequality.org/template.php?pageid=2 Contact your Congress members and urge them to support the Uniting American Families Act in immigration reform. Make a donation to Out4Immigration or Immigration Equality so others can be informed of the issue and encouraged to work for fairness. Check with Tom (tptierney914@yahoo.com) if you are able to help bring equality to our immigration policy.

Newark—Univ of DE Bookstore—The University has proposed a new bookstore downtown. I have no problem with the concept, however the actual proposal is bad—really bad. I went to a planning commission meeting to testify against it, and the commission refused to approve the plan. The UD is revising the plan. I am skeptical that they will improve it enough to solve its serious flaws. If you live in Newark, and you care with how the downtown area looks, I urge you to learn more about the plans, and to let your city council people know how you feel.

Keeping Up with Paul—It is much easier to update Twitter than to send out these emails. You can find me at http://twitter.com/PBaumbachDE, and if you’d like, you can ‘follow’ me, and get my postings emailed or text’d to you. I have posted 13 tweets since I last blast-emailed, nine weeks ago. My tweets are predominantly interesting links, notice of an imminent event, etc. I do not tweet about stuff like my favorite flavor of Rita’s water ice.

I continue to post all of these blast emails to my blog, http://paulprogressive.blogspot.com/, and I also post there at times without sending emails, since sending blast emails is quite time consuming. There were six such posts since the last blast email (of January 26th).

I also am a regular reader of www.delawareliberal.net, and a frequent contributor. This website is dynamite for keeping readers informed on primarily state, but also national, issues, from a liberal perspective. The primary contributors are GREAT (the conservative trolls are mostly annoying but sometimes amusing/pathetic). I have begun VERY infrequent reading of www.dailykos.com, which is a national liberal site. My (thus far only) posting can be found at http://www.dailykos.com/user/GrapeSodaMan. When life slows down for me (right), I’ll post a few more.

I therefore expect to stay in this current mode for now, posting regularly to DelawareLiberal (PBaumbach is my name there), Tweeting occasionally (once a week?), adding to the blog (weekly?), and sending a blast email (every other month)? Given that, consider how you would like to be kept in the loop, if at all.

See you on the 16th at the spaghetti dinner and auction!

Email me at paul@mallardadvisors.com to be added to the email list

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