Tuesday, 11/03/09, Public Square

imagesToday Virginia and New Jersey are choosing governors, voters in upstate New York and northern California are deciding who should fill two vacant congressional seats, and New York City and Atlanta are picking mayors. Maine will vote on whether to permit gay marriage while Ohio will choose whether to allow casinos.

The political ‘experts’ are saying this handful of elections will give hints about this country’s state of mind, provide lessons for both Republicans and Democrats, and shed light on answers to a few important questions a year before pivotal 2010 midterm contests.

  • Did President Barack Obama’s campaigning in Virginia and New Jersey persuade the diverse voting coalition that lifted him to victory in 2008 to turn out for Democratic candidates in 2009?
  • Did fickle independents stick with the Democratic Party?
  • Did the out-of-power GOP overcome fissures within its ranks to find a winning strategy?

Here’s what I predict — those and other very important questions will be asked and answered by political pundits and there will be at least as many answers as there are pundits asked to share their opinions.

fnord

54 Comments

Filed under The Public Square

54 responses to “Tuesday, 11/03/09, Public Square

  1. It has been awhile since the GOP has dominated an election day! Since there are so few races today maybe this will be THEIR TIME IN THE SUN. 🙂 Get prepared for some little pockets of victory to be exaggerated into numbers and support reaching into the bazillions.

    ————————
    The GOP’s Election Day Schizophrenia

    But the GOP’s ability to capitalize on Obama’s vulnerabilities is constrained by the fact that Republicans have managed to become even less popular than they were under President George W. Bush.

    In an even more historic drop, an anemic 20 percent of American voters identified as Republicans in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, the lowest percentage since 1983.

    The results Tuesday will provide the first real clue as to which narrative is closer to reality. With Republican or conservative candidates holding leads in the polls in Virginia and New York’s 23rd District and New Jersey’s Democratic governor on the ropes, a clean sweep could go a long way in demonstrating that the GOP can win local races even while the national party’s brand remains toxic.

    The reason they’re doing better in specific elections this year and looking toward 2010 is because they’re the only real alternative to Democrats.”

  2. If this is a “good” day for Republicans, it will prove two things:
    There’s one born every minute and most of them are Republican.
    If this is a “good” day for Republicans, it will hopefully accomplish one very important thing: To wake up President Obama to the FACT that his efforts to appease all are causing him to LOSE support from the people who put him in the White House. He needs to stop listening to political slimeballs and start listening to his own heart. Fire Rahm and go in a different direction before it is too late. The American People are looking for a leader who says what he means, means what he says and is willing to stand up for himself against the howling political winds.

    • “There’s one born every minute and most of them are Republican.”

      That’s good! You strung those words together perfectly!

      We know we’re political addicts paying careful attention. A majority of Americans hear soundbites and believe them. Who is yelling — the Republicans. So they get most of those soundbites. Add to that people really are hurting and this very long recession is wearing on all of us.

      I understand the sentiment of being ‘against’ the party perceived to be ‘in charge,’ and responsible for what’s going on. For that reason it seems logical the Republican Party (the only option) would get votes from Moderates and Independents. I think there will be wins in local races both today and in 2010, but the small pockets where Republicans can win won’t put them back in power.

      And then there’s their problem at the national level. 🙂

      • Anyone that has been paying the least bit of attention knows that most of the problems we are currently experiencing are leftover from eight years of being lead by the guy we wanted to drink a beer with. I think people have wizened a bit from those years and, if they are voting, they are looking at the issues at least a little bit more than they had been.

        I personally don’t trust Republicans or Democrats, but I know that things get a little easier on the little guy when Dems are in office, so I vote that way. We are in desperate need of at least two more political parties in this country, along with a major overhaul of campaign finance.

      • Paula,

        I speak with people often who don’t pay “the least bit of attention.”

        My Mother recently moved back to Wichita and I’ve spent lots of time with her. She is intelligent but ill-informed. If it doesn’t have to do with her family, her church, her quilting, her life (and trust me politics isn’t included) she falls for whatever. And some of those ‘whatevers’ are the blatant lies we all recognize as lies.

        Sadly, my Mother wouldn’t miss voting! It is her responsibility and her privilege (she grew up during WWII, the Depression…)! I’ve suggested knowing something about who is running and the issues is as great a responsibility as the voting. It’s one of those moments when even at my age I get ‘the look’ every child recognizes as that will be enough of that!

        I’m using her as an example of many others just like her!

        When Missouri voted against gay marriage she also voted against it — her church told her to! We’ve talked about that since and it’s a vote she regrets now that she understands. However, that regret and that understanding haven’t yet allowed her to see there are more issues, more candidates, more times that she votes how someone told her (usually her church), than just that one isolated case.

        By now I think my best bet might be to somehow be the person she listens to rather than her church. It isn’t what I prefer, I want her to use her good mind and make her own decisions. It just boils down to lack of interest! She isn’t going to spend the time to be informed. She wants to talk about something else when I try to casually steer the conversation. I’ve resorted to asking her what her church thinks of _______. That at least lets me know what I need to do to help her look at things from all angles.

        I don’t think she is an isolated case!

      • wicked

        fnord, I noticed that my lifelong Democrat mother began being dragged to the Right when she started attending church regularly. It’s funny how my Catholic dad and she were liberal for as far back as I can remember, until his death in 1987. After that, she inched her way to political blindness over the next 22 years of her life. Why? Church, beginning with the Baptists. I heard her say things in those last few years of her life that had my jaw dropping. If Reagan had returned from the bowels of Hell, she would have voted for him, and she despised him when he was president!

        Religion: Brainwashing of the masses.

        It’s too bad my dad didn’t live long enough to vote for and see Clinton in office. He would’ve gotten a kick out of all of it.

  3. I was totally sick of this loser long ago, and recently he has only reminded me why! Such a bought and paid for suck up! A perfect example of what is wrong! I wrote to Reid (another one who disappoints greatly) that this yahoos influence, chairmanships, etc. must be removed, and it was well-past time to treat him as a person the Democratic Party wants to associate with!

    ———————-

    Lieberman Won’t Filibuster After All

    A week after declaring that he would help a Republican filibuster of Democrat-sponsored health-care legislation if there were a public option, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has apparently signaled privately to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that he will not block a vote. Sources told The Hill that Lieberman has affirmed that he will vote with Democrats to end the debate, and his threat of filibuster is likely a tactic to “get some stuff for himself”—or his constituents, including several major insurance companies based out of Connecticut. Democrats want Lieberman’s support because it likely represents the necessary 60th vote that would end debate in the Senate, and many supporters of health-care reform say that he will vote with Democrats when the time comes, despite his statements to the contrary. Says Reid, simply: “I trust Sen. Joe Lieberman.”

  4. prairiepond

    I’m sure fux news and “the villagers” as Amato says, will try to read the chicken entrails today and make them say things they dont.

    Truth is, as a chicken farmer and butcherer, I’ve never heard chicken guts say anything! But I digress…

    I dont think these few elections mean much. Big surprise if the bigots win in Maine. They win ninety percent of the time. We should be surprised at one more?

    Big surprise after all the fuss if a wingnut wins in upstate New York. Obama has wisely stayed out of that fray. If a democrat loses in bumphuck Kansas, the pundit class and rove will blame it on Obama. Big surprise.

    And as for the NJ Governator’s race, Corzine is an ass and so is the Chris guy running against him. If Corzine loses, I’d say it’s more of a referendum on Goldman Sachs than Obama or liberalism. Jonny C is hardly a liberal.

    If you didnt see Jon Stewarts take on that NJ race last night, do yourself a favor and catch it today or on the internet. It was roll on the floor funny.

    These races today are mostly meaningless. But you cant tell that to the villagers who’s job it is to create meaning so they can interpret it.

    Jesus wept!

    • tosmarttobegop

      Perhaps you have not been putting your ear close enough?
      “OH GOD THAT GROSS I HAVE TO WASH MY EAR NOW!”

      Personally I am glad you have not heard what the Chicken enterers are saying.
      The next step after that is the neighbor’s dog telling you to kill people.

  5. prairiepond

    Lieberman needs to be swept out with the rest of the trash. Anyone in Conn got a broom? Doesnt appear so….

    And dont you know, every day, Gore is asking himself “WTF was I thinking?”

  6. lilacluvr

    I’ m thinking that if the Social Conservatives win big today that it will only embolden them to think they are now in charge of the GOP and try to do more bullying within the Republican ranks.

    As I said yesterday, I think these elections today are not a referendum on Obama but a referendum on how the GOP is going to be structured from this point on.

    Will the Social Conservatives win big and take over even more than they already have? And if so, where do the sane moderate Republicans go? Some, no doubt, will stay with the GOP because that is their political home. But as we have seen in a few of the old guard Republicans – these powers to be are only too glad to use the Social Conservatives to bring out their dittoheads in great numbers but to actually let these Socials lead the party is another story.

    It will be interesting to watch – if the Social Conservatives win big today – watch for Sarah Palin to be pushed to the front line for presidential material in 2012.

    And maybe that is a good thing? If Palin is promoted as their front runner – then that should mobilize every Democrat, Independent, minorities, young and even women to organize and come back stronger than before.

    Palin is a darling within her own Social Conservative tribe but she still carries alot of bad baggage from her VP candidate days.

    And the Social Conservatives’ fangs will only come out further with every push back from those Americans who Palin and friends deem as ‘not real Americans’.

    Enough of that put down, phoney religious talk will be enough to sink the Social Conservatives with the general election – IMHO.

  7. Today’s victories may well embolden those who want to reduce the tent size of the party, but I think the debate on where the party is going, what they stand for and which leaders will represent them will take much more time to sort out.

    There aren’t enough people who believe the abortion, gay marriage, creation issues are the most important issues facing our country. That’s what I see those calling themselves Conservative are pushing. The Republicans we knew from the old-fashioned definition of Conservatives (that included me not long ago) are more appealing to the voters who identify with Moderates and Independents.

    So even if the wackos win an election here and there, most Americans know what belongs in government and what shouldn’t.

    Don’t they?

  8. Lilacluvr, I am concerned that if the Social Conservatives win today and are emboldened, even more money and effort will be expended by The Family, C Street groups and Dominionists to take hold of the governments in this country.

    It sounds like some kind of whacko conspiracy theory, but it is an actual movement of people who are coming together in ever greater numbers to try to turn this country into what they think it should be, which boils down to an authoritarian theocracy.

    I hope you are right that this will motivate the left and the middle, but I am not so sure. I laughed when I heard that George W Bush was the Republican candidate for President to run against Al Gore. It’s like running Alfred E Newman against Albert Einstein, I thought. But look what happened…

    • lilacluvr

      I share your concern also about the theocracy crowd.

      But George W. Bush had his daddy’s name to fall back on when people voted for him and Palin won’t have that luxury.

      I really believe that if the Social Conservatives win big today that we will see within the next 6 months how strong they really are. I am just hoping that they do run Sarah Palin in 2012.

      And let’s not forget the importance of the minorities voters. With the past history of Social Conservatives not exactly welcoming people of color or those without the color of green (money) attached to them – I think they will find it very difficult to find enough support to make any significant headway.

      And nothing turns off people faster than the phoney religious types. That, in my opinion, will be the biggest reason for a turnout against Palin if she runs in 2012.

      • lilacluvr

        Also, Paula, the election of Gore vs Bush was a close election – remember?

        It was the Supreme Court that made Bush the winner and that was after a recount in the state of Florida. And, as luck would have it, Bush’s brother was the Gov of Florida.

        Things that make people go hmmmm???

  9. Well, Paula, that’s putting it in perspective! A bunch of us laughed.

    We’re barely getting turned around from those abysmal years.

    Finally science is allowed to be science again. And if don’t start paying great attention to our environment we’ll have greater problems than we do today! We can make it so Earth doesn’t support life! Put it on ignore and it will happen.

    And, of course, the list is long of what government must be involved in and the solutions we must be working on.

    We might survive (as in live to see another day) if we become a theocracy and our thoughts our for caring about the unborn, but not those out of the womb; making sure every sperm is recognized as a living breathing person; knocking evolution into the dirt; ignoring our environment; and, keeping marriage sacred (according to the old barefoot and pregnant definition), but not for long.

  10. tosmarttobegop

    Let me take you on a time trip, set back and imagine being a German in the mid thirties.
    You are seeing the raise of a Political party that you can not agree with and see as a threat to the country.
    They seem so irrational, so mentally imbalanced yet theirs strength seems to be growing daily.

    The average person, your neighbor does not seem to see the threat and when you speak out they see you as delusional at times. They are not seeing the harm or how this party is dangerous after all they are saying many things that are truly wrong with the country. The people of the party are explaining the cause and those responsible for the cause. This is something the neighbor has seen as wrong too but have not came to a conclusion as to the cause or those responsible.

    And of course it is not imaginable that the people would let this party go too far in leading the country to such wrongs. But then in such thing often it is too late once they do to stop them then.

    People depend on the Government to be in the best interest of the country and the people.
    Otherwise saying they depend on others to be the stops and check points of the danger.

    even you have trouble truly believing that it could happen, perhaps out of wishful thinking rather then a real knowledge of it could not. You know of it happening in other countries, but this is not those countries.

    What do you do?

    You feel like the stone in the middle of the rushing stream, you try to stand strong, fight the flow.
    But then can not help but think is it me who is wrong thinking since so many seem to be drawn to this Political party and their ideology.

    • You see similarities, as do I.

      But we can’t talk about them, because we cannot compare the rise of these hate-filled, ideology-crazed, embittered people to the Nazis. It’s not allowed.

      What did the German citizens do? Some stood up and were silenced. Some went along, quietly disagreeing, but survived. Some fled to tell the world. But none were able to stop the flow. I do fear for this country sometimes…

      Unfortunately for me, I am not the type to run or hide my beliefs.

  11. lilacluvr

    But we are not even talking about another factor here. What about Newt and the rest of the old guard Republican males?

    If Sarah Palin gets pushed up to the stratosphere of Social Conservatism presidential candidate, then I’m sure that Newt and his Gang won’t take that smackdown too lightly.

    And remember – in that NY 23 election, little Miss Sarah dared to go against Newt and Newt’s candidate bowed out of the race. That has got to make Newt mad.

    I’m sure Newt is not going to sit back and say ‘oh well, if they want Sarah then they can have her’. Newt is planning his own run for president and I’m sure his plans do not include little Miss Sarah.

    This entire situation is building up to be a ‘Grand Old Party’ but I’m not sure who is going to be dancing with whom and what backroom deals are going to be made.

    Newt can play like he is a Social Conservative (isn’t that why he converted to Catholicism?) but when it comes right down to it – Newt will throw them over the side like last week’s garbage.

    • Yes, but Newt doesn’t have the power he once did.

      I certainly don’t think it would be the end of the world if some republicans won today. But I would rather prefer to see these particular republicans stomped flat never to return.

      • lilacluvr

        You’re right – Newt is not as powerful now but I just cannot believe that Newt and his Gang of old male Republicans are going to sit back and let Sarah come in and take over.

        I think the powers to be in the GOP know that the religious Social Conservatives have such a negative image in the general election that there is going to be a nasty fight come presidential primary time.

        Oh, God help us all. If we thought the last primary campaign season was too long – just wait until we see the next cycle if we have all these Republicans on television 24/7 fighting amongst themselves.

        The late night comics and SNL are going to have sky-high ratings!

      • She would just be a tool, much as bush the lesser was.

  12. lilacluvr

    Paula – what do you think about Mitt Romney’s chances of getting in this time around?

    He is certainly another old guard Republican that doesn’t like these Social Conservatives.

    Romney is religious also – but his being a Mormon doesn’t set too well with the Evangelical Social Cons.

    Like I said, the Grand Old Party is going to be something to watch. But I’m afraid alot of the show is not going to be pretty.

    I heard it was Romney that outed John Ensign and Mark Sanford in their affairs. If that is true, then Romney is not above digging up dirt on Sarah and any other rivals to bury them.

    • It’s the people that have affiliations with this C Street group and the power and money behind it that are stepping into the spotlight in the party. You know what they say, follow the money. Romney is not in the loop.

      But, if they want to sling and roll around in the mud, nothing would make me happier than to watch that. It’s not because I disagree with them. It’s because I despise hypocrites.

      • lilacluvr

        I see basically two types of Republicans – one is the old guard that is all about money and power and the other is the Social Conservative group that combines religion, money and power.

        I would rather see the money and power people in charge of the GOP than those religious types. The religious types don’t care if the end of the world comes – in fact, they welcome it. Then that would prove their theory correct that Jesus will return and smite all us heathens to Hell.

        But, fortunately, I think the C Street people don’t hold much power over the general election. The more these people are shown on television news as to how crazy they sound, it will only make their numbers less .

        And if not, then it is up to rest of us to make sure that their hypocrisy shown in the daylight to be exactly what they are – hypocrits.

  13. lilacluvr

    I guess I would more afraid of Sarah Palin if I knew that she had the backing from all women of both parties and independents.

    I’ve often said that if all the women in the country would band together and settle on one woman candidate – we would have the first woman president. (of course, my husband just laughs at that)

    But each time Palin opened her mouth, it was quite obvious to everyone that she was not even in the ball park of being qualified to be president.

    Women of all political beliefs are anxious to elect a woman president, but we don’t want someone who is not up to the challenge. We want someone who is smart and won’t take any crap just because they are a woman.

    I sometimes wonder what the current political scene would be like if it had been Hillary in the White House and not Obama.

    But I think Hillary is doing a very good job as Secretary of State. She is do alot more good in that arena than as President – but that is just my opinion.

  14. I wonder about that too. PrairiePond will have the right to say, “I tried to tell you!” I was worried about her baggage, I worried about the bush/clinton/bush/clinton regime question. I think I worried about all the wrong things!

    You do know (ALL intelligent women know) we women are better at eating our own than helping them up the ladder. Oh, we talk a good talk, but we don’t walk a good walk!

    • lilacluvr

      You may be right about women eating our own rather than helping push up the ladder.

      But on health care reform, if it was left up to the women to vote – there would be no doubt something would get passed.

      I think it is because women are the natural caregivers. It is in our nature to be the one that sees to it everyone in the family is taken care of. And that means health is a primary goal.

      • Oh yes! You are absolutely right on this one. If we could motivate all women to vote. But sadly, they are as apathetic about the political process as any other group.

        And then, there’s the fact that we’re represented on this issue along with so many others. It doesn’t matter whether we voted or not, we’re represented.

        I’ll bet you feel as well represented as I do by Brownback, Roberts and Tiahrt.

  15. lilacluvr

    Ha,ha – I feel as well represented as you do fnord.

    You know that I am absolutely astounded by Sam, Pat and Todd. I am completely mesmerized by their wisdom in all things that pertain to my well being and that of my family’s well being.

    Sarcasm/defnintely off!

    My daughter was invited to our local tea party. Someone must be leaving flyers in people’s mailboxes. I wonder if this person realizes that leaving flyers in someone’s mailbox is a federal offense? Something about it not being actual mail and all???

    But, of course, these are the tea partiers and they are against everything connected to the government – everything but their own government check and Medicare benefits provided by actual taxpayers, that is.

    • Great point. If they are so against government, maybe they should be skipped on the mail run. The Post Office is always trying to save money and all…

      I am represented by the same Senators, of course, but I also find my Congressman on the wrong side of the issue, and he’s a Democrat! (Blue Dog, if that counts). None of us is really represented well.

  16. The Rude Pundit on today’s election results. (all the warnings about language, etc.)

    The Rude Pundit

    “Today’s Vote Will Tell Us Nothing About Barack Obama

    Or, to put it simply, moderate is no longer conservative enough for the GOP. Conservative is moderate. Scrawl-with-your-own-shit crazy is conservative. So, essentially, the only way to be fringe on the right is to want to blow shit up, and even then it depends on what the target is.”

    • Okay, it’s bad poetry set to the melody of an old British drinking song. And it’s been butchered by every professional and amateur singer who’s opened a game since Jose Feleciano shocked the World Series in Detroit in 1968.

      I’ve come to make little bets with myself when standing at attention about weather the singer will reach the high note in “…Land of the Free…” (hint: if they hit “…gleaming,” they’ll never make it to “Free”; I’ve got a system).

      But this stirred my red-white-and-blue American heart.

      • I hope I fixed it, that’s what I intended.

        Beautiful! If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re just not paying enough attention!

  17. After reading The Rude Pundit I’m thinking when these pockets of idiots are elected today, and probably more of them in 2010 mid terms, the voters in those places will have adequate time for ‘voter remorse,’ and to tell stories of their mistakes before the 2012 races.

    Remember what an excellent ambassador for the Democratic Party ‘bush the lesser’ was?

  18. If you feel like singing a song
    And you want other people to sing along
    Just sing what you feel…
    Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong

    And if you’re trying to paint a picture
    But you’re not sure which colors belong
    Just paint what you see
    Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong

    And if you’re strung out like a kite
    Or stung awake in the night
    It’s alright to be frightened

    When there’s a light (what light)
    There’s a light (one light)
    There’s a light (white light)
    Inside of you

    If you think you might need somebody
    To pick you up when you drag
    Don’t loose sight of yourself
    Don’t let anyone change your bag

    And if the whole world’s singing your songs
    And all of your paintings have been hung
    Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on

    And that’s not wrong or right
    But you can struggle with it all you like
    You’ll only get uptight

    Because there’s a light (what light)
    There’s a light (one light)
    There’s a light (white light)
    There’s a light (what light)
    There’s a light (one light)
    There’s a light (white light)
    There’s a light (what light)
    There’s a light (one light)
    There’s a light (white light)
    There’s a light (what light)
    There’s a light (one light)
    There’s a light (white light)
    Inside of you

  19. Iggy,

    I meant to mention to you — my youngest grand daughter attends the same middle school your children did when they were younger, the one near your house. The 53-year old woman who died of H1N1, talked about in this morning’s newspaper article, was my grand daughter’s language arts teacher at that school. Probably taught both of yours too.

    It is difficult to know for sure as incubation periods and such make it impossible to know, but it seems this woman who did have underlying health concerns contracted the H1N1 flu in the hospital. And she died quickly after that.

  20. Thanks for the fix, “fnord.”

    You probably have to fix this one, too.

    I’m posting the wrong link or something.

    I’d rather have baseball games start with this —

  21. Eco&EvoBio

    I’d like to share a story of why insurance companies are, in general, scummy.

    I have a 9 month contract with the state that starts August 1st. My state requires insurance coverage for anyone working 20 hours a week.

    Long story short, my paperwork got “lost” by the insurance company, even though the state institution has four different fax confirmations and certify that my coverage began 8/1. Since I never received my insurance info (and the company never had records of me), I paid out of pocket for a number of medications, as well as a hospital visit in August (don’t worry, I’m fine).

    Every single claim has been denied! Because I didn’t go to a proper hospital (I was out of state), they didn’t receive a call within 48 hours (they did, but I wasn’t in their system) and my drugs weren’t filled by the proper pharmacy (Kaiser only has one pharmacy in the city, and you can’t get prescriptions filled unless you’re a member, which they had no record of).

    Nevermind that I didn’t have proof of coverage because a mistake on THEIR END…apparently it’s my fault I slipped through the cracks, despite me making phone calls nearly every week for three months.

    It’s a nightmare. I never had problems like this with Aetna (my dad’s family insurance plan). I can’t stand that the whole entire purpose of a health insurance company is to ensure that their members get as little compensation as they can get away with. It’s wrong.

    • Hey, paperwork is lost is a good fast excuse, until they can get their rescission department working on some / any reason to deny or cancel.

      Insurance companies have proven they will not conduct business in an honorable way. That’s why spending government money and regulating insurers is the only way to make a health-insurance market that works for everyone.

  22. David B

    fnord…

    I wrote you a check to cover all of your medical bills.

    But my cat ate it. Sorry.

    • I love cats, but I think yours wont be my favorite any time soon. 🙂

      I went to Robinson Middle School tonight for performances of their orchestras. I’m telling you those 11, 12 and 13 year old talented students (6 – 8 grades) blew my socks off! It was amazing!

    • Truth is, David, I’m never ill, never see a doctor and have no medical expenses. Take no medications. I think I’m too ornery and scare the sick bugs away! Also a tiny bit stubborn. I’m a chubby chick and if I don’t take some of this extra weight off I may not be able to brag about excellent health for long… Always something.

  23. David B

    Now you need new socks, too?

  24. prairiepond

    Have I mentioned lately how very much I miss Austin? They have a bumpersticker there “On Earth as it is in Austin!”

    “City of Austin expands same-sex benefits Updated at 11:04 PM

    Austin City Manager Marc Ott notified the Austin City Council today that COBRA-like benefits will be made available to the same-sex domestic partners of City employees. This benefit will make available healthcare coverage to same-sex partners of City employees in case of the employee’s termination, divorce, or death.

    “I want to offer my deepest thanks to City Manager Marc Ott, the Human Resources staff, and everyone who worked hard so that we could extend this benefit to all our employees. I appreciate the way the staff recognized immediately that this was the right thing to do, and made it happen so quickly when I brought it to their attention,” said Council Member Spelman.

    The partner of Spelman’s former employee raised the issue with Spelman after his partner, who was still a City employee, passed away. When his partner attempted to access COBRA benefits, he discovered he was ineligible. This is the first known instance of a same-sex domestic partner requiring COBRA benefits and being denied because of federal rules.

    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is federal legislation requiring employers to extend health care coverage to employees and qualified dependents for certain qualifying events. Since COBRA is a federal program, it uses the definition of “spouse” from the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines “spouse” as a husband or wife of the opposite sex. Thus, COBRA coverage is not extended to same-sex domestic partners. The City will instead extend a similar benefit without using COBRA.”

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs

    Hell YEAH! Keep Austin Weird!

  25. prairiepond

    and in other news, from DU about HOUSTON….

    “Houston Mayor: 92% counted, openly gay Annise Parker leads with 30.5%

    Edited on Tue Nov-03-09 11:34 PM by Richardo

    Houston Mayor In: 92%

    Annise Parker 30.5%
    Gene Locke 25.6%
    Peter Brown 22.6%
    Roy Morales 20.3%

    http://www.chron.com

    A sure runoff – as it stands now, between lesbian City Controller Parker and African-American Locke.

    Diversity in texas!

    Good on Texas.

    And that’s what’s the matter with Kansas.

    It’s not TEXAS! 🙂

  26. I agree, Pond, IF only we can keep America – not weird, but wholesome,in our treATMEMT OF OTHERS…

  27. prairiepond

    Man, I miss Austin some days. Like today.

    “Keep Austin Weird” is a slogan started by Bookpeople Bookstore to encourage people to shop in Austin’s mom and pop shops. Mostly run by DFH’s. They are “weird”.

    It’s now the unofficially official slogan for the city.

    Kansas could never DREAM of being so righteously weird…. And that’s what is the matter with Kansas. It’s groundhog day here every damn day.

  28. prairiepond

    I get so tired of seeing the same white bread faces every day eating the same white bread and mayo sandwiches.

    One of my classmates came back here for a visit and brought his teenager. After about three days here, the kid finally asked “Dad, where are all the black people?” Dad looked at him puzzled. The kid said “you know, where are the black people and the hispanics and asians. I’ve only seen white people here.”

    My friend was amused and sad by turns as he explained “those people” were not somewhere else. They just werent here.

    I miss Indian food and real Mexican food and sushi and Pho, etc. I miss seeing a queer in every checkout line, and I miss soul food and authentic bbq. And GOD I miss the blues. Live music every night. Hell, I even miss Mariachi music and the Day of the Dead.

    I miss Austin.

    • I wake up at 4:00 am and long for the pizza place that delivered ’til 7:00 am, seven days a week. Or had to choose which place to call for Thai take-out.

      That was Los Angeles.

      But I agree with you about Austin. The only thing wrong with it is it’s surrounded by Texas.

      An old high school friend keeps a house there. He’s journalism professor at Cal-State Fresno but flies home nearly every weekend. In a former life he managed bands in Austin (while serving as City Editor of the Statesman-American). He used to drink with Molly Ivins before it was cool.

      He says between Austin being the state capital & a college town, the stories write themselves.