Help get AB 2097 off suspense

AB 2097 was put on Suspense by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill will have a second hearing on Wednesday May 24th, when its fate will be determined by the Chair of the committee, Assemblymember Judy Chu. This crucial piece of legislation will require that all technical details, including the computer source code (written by software programmers) of computerized vote tabulating systems by publicly disclosed by June 30, 2007.
Contact the members of the Assembly Appropriations committee before the May 24th hearing and urge them to vote this bill out of committee and onto the Assembly Floor. Let the members of that committee know Californians want a reliable, verifiable, trustworthy, and affordable voting system.
Why the need for AB 2097? There has been very little testing of current electronic elections systems. Independent testers even with limited access have found serious flaws in the current systems. AB 2097 will allow the public more access to scrutinize elections software and machines. If passed, it will ensure California won’t find itself in legal battles over elections fraud as seen in Ohio and Florida in past elections. This vital piece of legislation will save California from lengthy and expensive legal battles if the results of an election ever challenged.
AB 2097 is an important step in securing the validity of California Elections, and allowing the public more access and input of current and continuously evolving voting systems. Now is the time for people to Speak Out.

The ad we wish Phil would run

In our dream world, this is the ad the Angelides camp would run next…

[Slow walking shot of Mr Angelides, maybe walking through a fancy neighborhood or along a beach. Malibu, perhaps.] Mr Angelides: My opponent has accused me of wanting to raise taxes on working families. He says he thinks of taxes as “a last resort.” I and my advisors are very much aware of the difficulty of being middle class in this state and one of my objectives when I get in office will be to do everything I can to fix that.
I will not raise taxes on the middle class. But taxes are the dues we pay to live in a civilized society, not a last resort, and the big question we have to ask is who pays. Yes, I am going to ask those who have benefited the most from the investments those who have come before us have made to step up to the plate. Right now we ask poor and middle class families to pay almost the same amount in taxes as the rich. [cut to simplified version of the chart from this CTJ study] All I am proposing is that we fix that in the most equitable way possible.
I know no one likes paying taxes, but they are an investment in our future. Join me and we’re going to really rebuild this state.

We can hope, right?

Money, money, money….makes the ballot go round

With the June primary election only three weeks away, it is important to consider the source of the money funding the upcoming campaigns. A great deal of attention has been directed toward the funding sources for the Democratic gubernatorial race — reaching predictably into the multi-millions with Steve Westly again digging into his own very deep pockets to keep his race alive, and Phil Angelides calling on equally wealthy personal friends as well as the normal channels to compete with Westly’s coffers.
While all eyes are focused on this out-sized battle, with mud and allegations beginning to escalate to a potentially damaging fever-pitch, let’s not lose sight of Governor Schwarzenegger’s campaign fundraising while waiting in the wings for the emerging and possibly bloodied Democratic adversary.
Indeed, the Governor is continuing his shameless shake-downs of business interests throughout California and the country. No matter how he tries to spin his “bona fides”, this Governor is the corporate community’s Golden Boy and he’s making sure they pay big-time to keep him driving the Great State of California’s corporate gravy-train. So much so that down-ticket candidates, such as Tony Strickland (engaged in a mutually mud-slinging battle against Abel Maldonado for the Republican nomination for State Controller), have publicly complained that there’s nothing left for them after the Governor sweeps through with his vacuum-cleaner, sucking up all the eager and enormous Big Business campaign bucks.
While putting the finishing touches on our 2006 Primary Election Voter Guide, which will be available soon, we are focusing on Democratic races and who may be carrying the Progressive mantle; predictably, there are no Republicans under consideration in this election cycle. Therefore, we won’t concentrate on the Governor’s unrelenting fundraising activities. Instead, we will provide the best available information on the other side of the ticket for June. But for November, you’ll be amazed to learn how prolific this Governor has been milking his cronies and corporate allies for all the bucks he can squeeze out of them.
In the meantime, the battles for key statewide and legislative races illustrate more than ever that we must get the money out of the system or at least reduce its influence. Regardless of which party or campaign, anyone running to represent THE PEOPLE is discovering that it is either a rich person’s game or a place where principle has been sacrificed for political success. Progressive politics demand reform of the current system. Special interests simply are able to buy too much influence. And by “special,” we don’t mean those whose interests are the public, the environment and the consumer. By providing information, we’ll try to identify some of those players for the progressive voter anxious to move our state forward and bring the power back to THE PEOPLE. We deserve no less.

What would you do?

Some of the more substantive of the points brought up in the discussion in the comments recently is this issue of legality. It’s an important issue so I’m going to address it up here and try to keep the conversation going.
The first thing to keep in mind is the difference between morality and legality. I have a hunch that those who posted probably have a love for law and order that only extends so far, and maybe wouldn’t include issues with a President who has decided to ignore 750 someodd laws over the past six years. There is an imperfect overlap between what is moral and what is legal. Take the civil disobedience during the first civil rights movement: illegal acts, but not immoral ones, although there were certainly those who disagreed with their morality at the time.
But beyond that, there’s a simple but important question that has to be considered in thinking about this issue…

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Foundations: interdependence

[Crossposted on dailykos]
About a year ago, I came across a couple of references to conservative thinker Russell Kirk. His ten conservative principles, first published in 1957 and last updated in 1993, was reportedly a great influence on the thinking of Barry Goldwater and others at the dawn of movement conservativism.
Apparently, no one on our side ever wrote a response. I’d like to be proven wrong, but if someone did, it isn’t showing up on google.
I’ve drafted the first part of such a response, a ten progressive principles approach that answers Kirk point by point. But I want to start with just one principle…

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Today without an immigrant

A day without an immigrant is like a day without??? That seems to be the question that today’s activities is designed to raise, if not answer. What the answer is will probably take a great deal of time and level-headed action to determine. The question, though, is whether we are capable of dealing with the subject of immigration in a reasoned, dispassionate way–to accurately address the benefits and challenges of millions of people coming to this state and country for pretty much the same reasons our parents and grandparents came here—for the promise of a better life, filled with opportunity and success if we work hard and play by the rules. Immigrants today want the same things our immigrant ancestors wanted— a better life, an escape from hardship, human rights abuses and poverty. Those were among the primary motivators for most of our families—and still are today.

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Convention pics

I’m off to go register voters at the big march that’s happening, but I wanted to share a couple pictures from the convention:


Congratulations to Treasurer Angelides for picking up the party’s endorsement, we’ll have more on this later. Frank has lots more convention coverage over at CPR today.