Saturday, May 8, 2010

Masquerade Ball, A Republican Love Affair

cross-posted from Sum of Change

There is a pattern emerging amongst the radical right. Time after time, we find the conservative side engaged in an act, pretending to be authority figures, often times the same ones their base ridicules.

I will start with an example I saw on last night's Rachel Maddow show.

American College of Pediatricians? Religious, political activists pretending to be medical experts with the intent to mislead others into assuming some level of scientific or experienced authority on the subject. Want to know what the real American Academy of Pediatrics (you know, actual pediatricians and not political activists) has to say?

Official Statement:
Summary of Physician Guidelines

Pediatricians should be aware that some of the youths in their care may be homosexual or have concerns about sexual orientation. Caregivers should provide factual, current, nonjudgmental information in a confidential manner. These youths may present to physicians seeking information about homosexuality, STDs, substance abuse, or various psychosocial difficulties. The pediatrician should ensure that each youth receives a thorough medical history and physical examination (including appropriate laboratory tests), as well as STD (including HIV) counseling and, if necessary, appropriate treatment. The health care professional should also be attentive to various potential psychosocial difficulties and offer counseling or refer for counseling when necessary.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms the physician's responsibility to provide comprehensive health care and guidance for all adolescents, including gay and lesbian adolescents and those young people struggling with issues of sexual orientation. The deadly consequences of AIDS and adolescent suicide underscore the critical need to address and seek to prevent the major physical and mental health problems that confront gay and lesbian youths in their transition to a healthy adulthood.

From Pediatrics, Vol. 92, No. 4 (October 1993, pp. 631-34).
As for the "reparative therapy" that George Rekers suggested to them:
"Reparative Therapy"

The American Academy of Pediatrics in its policy statement on Homosexuality and Adolescence states: "Confusion about sexual orientation is not unusual during adolescence. Counseling may be helpful for young people who are uncertain about their sexual orientation or for those who are uncertain about how to express their sexuality and might profit from an attempt at clarification through a counseling or psychotherapeutic initiative. Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation." [Policy Statement: Homosexuality and Adolescence, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1993.]

Taken from The American Psychological Association Online Fact Sheet — Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel.

Let's move on. How about those Republican "census" mailers?

The Census Bureau? Pretending to be one of the bastions of big government?

And have you heard of Crisis Pregnancy Centers? This one's good, I promise.
These are fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion. They have a history of giving women wrong, biased information to scare them into not having abortions.
These are religious and political advocacy groups (anti-choice activists to be specific), masquerading as the very professionals their cohorts intimidate (pdf), harrass, kidnap (pdf), bomb, and shoot. There is no uncertainty about their objective. They are not there to provide women with expert, medical advice. They have one goal: prevent abortions by any means.

The radical right has a love affair with deceiving people into believing they are experts, often the very experts they ridicule. This is all part of a greater conservative campaign strategy ingrained in them early in their training: win by any means necessary. These examples are not out of the ordinary.

Karl Rove is famous for having impersonated a volunteer in order to steal campaign stationary and spread fake invitations around promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing."

This, sadly, is their proud tradition. I am going to end with this clip from the James O'Keefe scandal.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Maryland Leads the Way, Yet Again

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Sometimes, Maryland is the unrecognized progressive capitol of our country. The first affordable housing laws on the books, some of the nation's best public schools, a good living wage law, and one of the first states to write legislation protecting the right to access a clinic entrance.

Earlier this year, Baltimore followed in this fine tradition, becoming the first city to mandate that crisis pregnancy centers inform women that they do not provide abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers are religious activist organizations that prey on pregnant women. They impersonate medical centers and trick women into thinking they are experts of reproductive health care.

In truth, these religious advocacy groups have one goal: prevent women from having abortions by any means:

From now on, in Baltimore city, these organizations will have to be more honest about who they are. This is a good start.

Ouch, New Sestak Ad Props Specter's Republican Record

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Ouch. That one is going to hurt. Last summer, when we filmed Senator Arlen Specter and Congressman Joe Sestak at the Netroots Nation conference, I remember commenting to Mitch that Sestak seemed to have kid gloves on when it came to Specter's Republican credentials. We concluded that they were likely holding off until closer to the election. I would say we are officially closer to the election now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sue Lowden's Chickens Come Home To Roost

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Apparently, Sue Lowden is confident doctors will accept chickens as payment, but do not try to barter chickens to get into her campaign events or you will get shown the door:

That should put the final six thousand nails in the coffin of chickencare.

Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference: Public Transportation Reform

cross-posted from Sum of Change

I just finished listening to Ruth Otte of Veolia Transportation talking about real life examples of revolutionizing, from an energy standpoint, public transportation. I will run through the bullet points with you real quick.

She spoke about three locations where Veolia came in to make public transportation easier and more efficient; Nice in France, Limburg in the Netherlands, and Salt Lake City.

Nice, France:
From the Veolia website
Quiet, electric light rail vehicles, drawing power from the street below rather than unsightly wires above, run down grassy malls beneath canopies of trees in the city’s downtown center of commerce, tourism, and culture. Bus lines with tightly coordinated schedules act as “feeders” to the trains. Together they bring people from the farthest reaches of the area into the core of the city with ease, as well as to high-speed trains that travel all over France.
And here are some of the results:
• 5 minutes waits in peaks
• train extremely popular
• Bus ridership up 35%
• 92% satisfaction
• currently testing a system to allow people to pay for rides with their cell phone

The efforts here were similar to that of Nice, France. The one mission: make travel easy. As with Nice, there was an emphasis on scheduling busses to feed the trains. Taxi's are part of the fare, and riders can access real time info to help plan accordingly.

The results:
• 36% rail increase
• bus ridership up 30%
• less fuel/labor costs
• less government funding necessary

Salt Lake City:
One of the interesting things that was done in Salt Lake City, and is being tried in other cities as well, has to do with busses. Veolia added "bus rapid transit", or bus only lanes. The busses are also connected to traffic signals and receive priority (if they are coming up on a green light that is about to change, it will hold off and wait for the bus to get through). This leads to rapidly moving bus routes.

We'll be here for the next couple days and tomorrow I'll have my video camera with me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

[updated] Mayor Bloomberg's Office: Billboard is Accurate

cross-posted from Sum of Change

UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance. He told me that Titan 360 has now completely changed their reasoning for rejecting the ad. At first, they were going to work with the Drug Policy Alliance to place the ad with another landlord but have now decided that the ad goes against their policy and cannot be run anywhere. We are still trying to get in touch with Titan 360 for a comment.

Booze, strip clubs, breasts, and casinos. What do they have in common? All are billboards you will find along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE). But the following was rejected:

In their press release, the Drug Policy Alliance claims that an email from the billboard company, Titan 360, stated that the landlord rejected the ad for "political circumstances from the Mayor's Office." According to Tony Newman, that is the only explanation that has been given to them by Titan 360 at this point.

So what are the "political circumstances from the Mayor's Office"? We would like to know that too. The Gothamist is reporting that the Mayor's Office is flatly denying any involvement with the billboard. A spokesperson for the Mayor confirmed that with us, over the phone. When questioned about the accuracy of the ad, he stated that nothing about the content of the ad is inaccurate. That would seem to contradict the excuse Titan 360 gave to the Gothamist that "we have no way of knowing if Bloomberg in fact smoked marijuana."

Just for fun, here are pictures we found online, allegedly of billboards along the BQE:

From Best View in Brooklyn

From Scouting New York

NJ - 01 - Ass

And this from Titan 360's website (not on the BQE):