Pam Spaulding's blog

North Carolina's constitution is under attack -- 2008 edition

(UPDATE: As California celebrates its marriage equality victory, freeper and fundie heads are exploding. If only Tar Heels could celebrate equality here. Makes me think about packing my bags sometimes.)

Here we go again.

Will gubernatorial candidates Pat McCrory and Beverly Perdue weigh in on Sen. Jim Forrester's (R) latest attempt to enshrine discrimination into my state's constitution? Senate Bill 1608 was introduced by the Gaston lawmaker one day into the legislative session. Clearly he has different priorities than most of NC's residents. Equality NC:

Just one day into the 2008 legislative session, Sen. Jim Forrester (R-Gaston) once again filed an anti-LGBT, anti-marriage state constitutional amendment. A similar bill is expected in the state House. Equality North Carolina is working to defeat these attempts to write discrimination into our state constitution.

The proposed bill mirrors those introduced in the last four sessions, which Equality North Carolina and our allies have successfully blocked.

"We can't let our guard down this year," said Ian Palmquist, Executive Director. "The far right would like nothing better than to put this amendment on the ballot and turn out radical conservative voters for the 2008 elections. We can't let Sen. Forrester and his cronies play politics with our lives, our rights, and our families."

The amendment would not only prohibit same-sex marriage-which is already not recognized in the state under current law-but would also ban any other form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. In fact, the language is so broad it could prevent private companies from offering partner health benefits.

Equality North Carolina is actively lobbying against the amendment and is calling on supporters to contact their legislators.

You can send a message to legislators through Equality North Carolina's web site:
http://eqfed.org/campaign/amendment08

The sponsors of Senate Bill 1608 are below the fold.

My latest endorsement from the anti-gay movement

For those of you who aren't regular readers of my blog, you might want to see the quality of the radical right whackjobs who read my posts, then foam at the mouth at their blogs, usually as a drumbeat to do a bit of fundraising. People like Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth Against Homosexuality are full-time, "professionals" who spend day and night doing "research" on The Homosexual Agenda, funded by misguided followers and wingnut welfare. Below the fold, a taste of what I deal with on a regular basis.

More fun in post-racial America

As we've seen this election cycle, there's a desperation seen in the MSM talking heads and newpaper columnists, even some blogs, to declare Barack Obama's success a post-racial triumph in this country -- that racism is rapidly becoming a distant memory.

First, take a look at this lovely T-shirt being sold at Mulligan's Bar and Grill in Marietta/Cobb County, Georgia (h/t Jeremy from Cobb).

Marietta tavern owner Mike Norman says the T-shirts he's peddling, featuring cartoon chimp Curious George peeling a banana, with "Obama in '08" scrolled underneath, are "cute." But to a coalition of critics, the shirts are an insulting exploitation of racial stereotypes from generations past.

"It's time to put an end to this," said Rich Pellegrino, a Mableton resident and director of the Cobb-Cherokee Immigrant Alliance. It was among the organizations planning to gather outside Mulligan's Bar and Grill Tuesday afternoon to protest the "racist and highly offensive" shirts.

Just down the street from Marietta's famous Big Chicken, Mulligan's has carved a provocative niche in an increasingly multicultural area, thanks to its owner's ultra-conservative political views. If you live in Marietta, it's impossible not to know what's on Norman's mind, as he posts his views on signs in front of Mulligan's. Among his recent musings: "I wish Hillary had married OJ," "No habla espanol — and never will" and the standard "I.N.S. Agents eat free."

"I'm saying out loud what everyone in this town whispers," Norman said.

...Norman said those offended are "hunting for a reason to be mad" and insisted he is "not a racist." Why picture Obama as Curious George? "Look at him . . . the hairline, the ears, he looks just like Curious George," Norman said.

Not a racist. I guess he doesn't do Klan night riding on the weekends, so in his mind he's free and clear of that label. Even sadder, he's donating the proceeds to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I wonder what the MDA thinks of this?

More below the fold.

Cleaning out the think tank

It was pretty clear to me that the threadjacking of the Kay Hagan thank you post went completely off the rails on several fronts, spurred by the reposting of my "infamous" questions from her April liveblog by Linda.

It was a case of Bizarro World and deja vu for me, so I decided to put the questions back out there, and examine some of the exchanges and my interpretation of them from the thank you thread, and asked readers outside of the BlueNC think tank to give their feedback.

http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2008/05/12/nc-dems-party-like-its-2004/

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=5340

Feel free to come back and comment here.

Elizabeth Dole's response to petition: I'm powerless to stop the NC GOP

So does the clock at left stop? I didn't receive a response from Sen. Dole's pitiful Constituent Services Letter GeneratorTM. No autopen-signed missive to help me pretend that I heard from my senator.

What I did receive this afternoon was a fax from Communications Director Hogan Gidley of the Elizabeth Dole campaign regarding the petition that I delivered last Friday on behalf of 1265 readers of Firedoglake, Pam's House Blend, and BlueNC who signed the petition. The petition requested that the North Carolina senator ask Linda Daves of the NC Republican party to stop running the color-aroused anti-Obama ad called "Extreme," which tries to draw some sort of connection between Dem gubernatorial candidates Bev Perdue and Richard Moore (both endorsed Obama) and Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

What was Dole's response? I have no idea, since the response is from Mr. Gidley, there's no way for me to know whether my senator actually read the petition. The letter I received is an exercise in predictable spin; it doesn't address the NCGOP's ad or her party's involvement and endorsement of playing to people's biases.

Mildred Loving of Loving v. Virginia passes away

Those of us eagerly waiting for the day when same-sex marriage is finally legalized across the land owe a debt of gratitude to Mildred Loving, whose 1967 case (Loving v. Virginia) resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision that broke down a major social and legal barrier - interracial marriage.

Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday.

Peggy Fortune said Loving, 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford. She did not disclose the cause of death.

...Richard Loving died in 1975 in a car accident that also injured his wife.

In a rare interview with The Associated Press last June, Loving said she wasn't trying to change history — she was just a girl who once fell in love with a boy.

"It wasn't my doing," Loving said. "It was God's work."

Video: Jim Neal's Pre-Election party in Durham

This afternoon I served as one of the co-hosts of the Jim Neal for U.S. Senate Pre-Election Party, held at the Broad Street Café here in Durham. I was there with fellow Host Committee Members Sharon Thompson, former member of the NC State House, Mandy Carter, former Campaign Manager NC Senate Vote '90 and Barbara Wujciak, LGBT Liaison for Jim Neal US Senate Campaign.

It was a great affair; most of the key roadweary campaign staffers were there, but they were pumped up about Tuesday. I also got to meet Jim's younger brother and enthusiastic booster Kelly, who worked one of the early voting precincts yesterday.

This U.S. Senate race is still up in the air, as nearly half of voters are undecided at this point, and know little about either Jim Neal or Kay Hagan. One of the amazing things that has occurred during this final stretch is that the one-to-one contact volunteers have made with voters waiting to cast their ballots (lines have been long) is that they were easily won over to vote for Jim Neal by simply drawing the distinctions between the two, as Jim is the clear progressive choice. Most of the support for Hagan is very soft, based almost solely on the fact that she has run TV ads. That she has not closed the deal with many voters is a good sign that there could be a runoff. That's why working the polls has been so critical and successful so far.

The presidential race has sucked all the air out of the room when it comes to downticket candidate races. It seems that a lot of early voters went in to cast their vote for either Clinton or Obama, and didn't bother with the rest of the ballot, which is unfortunate, given we're electing a governor, lieutenant governor, several commissioner slots in various counties, school boards, you name it. Positions that affect the daily lives of residents.

Jim gave a short talk, and again, he reiterated the fact that while he strongly represents the people and the core values of the Democratic party, he's had to battle not only his opponent, but the party power structure.

Video below the fold.

The candidate bleeding a key demographic is...

...Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, according to the numbers. The mainstream media has been focused like a laser beam on Barack Obama's slippage in the blue collar white working class vote because of results in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It's part of the assessment of the electability factor.

The curious thing is that little attention has been paid to the support of black voters for Hillary Clinton, which has fallen off the cliff. This piece puts the hard facts out there. (NYT):

Have white Democrats soured on Obama? Apparently not. Although his unfavorable rating from the group is up five percentage points since last summer in polls conducted by The New York Times and CBS News, his favorable rating is up just as much.

On the other hand, black Democrats’ opinion of Hillary Clinton has deteriorated substantially (her favorable rating among them is down 36 percentage points over the same period).

While a favorable opinion doesn’t necessarily translate into a vote, this should still give the Clintons (and the superdelegates) pause. Electability cuts both ways.

If Hillary Clinton should defy the odds (and the current math) and secure the nomination, she would be hard-pressed to defeat John McCain without the enthusiastic support of black voters, stalwarts of the Democratic base.

And the collapse isn't because of the affinity factor -- blacks voting for Obama solely because he's black. When a majority of whites abandoned the former president during Monicagate, blacks were among his most steadfast supporters. In this election cycle, that loyalty has only garnered a perceived slap in the face. More below the fold.

Your petition on the NCGOP's race-baiting ad is delivered to Elizabeth Dole

This morning I delivered a petition to Senator Elizabeth Dole's Raleigh office. It was signed by 1,265 concerned citizens -- including more than 300 North Carolinians -- all requesting that Senator Elizabeth Dole use her considerable clout in her party to tell the North Carolina Republican Party's Linda Daves to stop running the race-baiting anti-Obama ad called "Extreme."

The bottom-feeding ad is currently running on four TV stations in the state (New Bern, Asheville, Winston-Salem and Wilmington). It attempts to draw a tenuous-at-best connection between Dem gubernatorial candidates Bev Perdue and Richard Moore (both endorsed Obama) and Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It's crude and reflects the pathetic state of the GOP here, a party in embarrassing decline, longing for the days where everyone knew their place.

The reason Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, the crew at BlueNC and I wanted to do this is because John McCain doesn't have the cojones to go toe-to-toe with the apparently omnipotent Linda Daves. He denounced the ad from afar but couldn't even pick up the phone to express his dismay directly.

We figured that perhaps Elizabeth Dole, with all her party connections here, would have the gravitas necessary to take on the likes of Linda Daves. Surely she must care that fossilized Republican party in North Carolina is running racist dog whistle ads is not what he approves of. Unfortunately, her initial response wasn't very encouraging.

"I am concentrating on getting my work done here in the Senate, and I'm just not going to get into refereeing a third party political ad that has nothing to do with my race," she said.

So that's where the petition effort came in.

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