The Very Large Man Who Will Make Rick Warren Look Very Small

the man who will make Rick Warren look very, very small at the inauguration -- the civil rights giant who will deliver the benediction, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery. On February 7, 2006, the pro-equality Lowery bid farewell to Coretta Scott King, another icon of the civil rights movement who was a long supporter of LGBT rights.

The video and transcript:

REVEREND JOSEPH LOWERY: What a family reunion. Rosa and Martin reminiscing, they had just begun to talk, when Martin seemed not to listen. He started to walk. The wind had whispered in his ear. "I believe somebody is almost here. Excuse me, Rosa," Martin said as he did depart, his soles on fire, he just couldn't wait. His spirit leaped with joy as he moved toward the pearly gates. Glory, glory, hallelujah. After forty years, almost forty years, together at last, together at last, thank God Almighty, together at last!

Thank you, Coretta. Didn't she carry her grief with dignity? Her growing influence with humility? She secured his seed, nurtured his nobility she declared humanity's worth, invented their vision, his and hers, for peace in all the Earth. She opposed discrimination based on race, she frowned on homophobia and gender bias, she rejected on its face. She summoned the nations to study war no more. She embraced the wonders of a human family from shoulder to shoulder. Excuse me, Maya.

She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions. We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew, and we know there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance, poverty abound. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.

Well, Coretta had harsh critics. Some no one could please. But she paid them no mind. She kept speaking. As we get older, or so I'm told, we listen in to heaven like the prophets of old. I heard Martin and Coretta say, "do us a favor, Joe, those four little children I spoke of in 1963, they are fine adults now, as all can see. They already know but tell them again. We love them so dear. Assure them we will always be near. Their troubles to bless and sanctify to them their deepest distress. Tell them we believe in them as we know you do. We know their faith in god and their love for each other will see them through. Assure them at the end of the tunnel awaits god's light and we are confident they will always strive for the right. Tell them don't forget to remember that we are as near as their prayer-and never as far and we can rest in peace because they know who and whose they are."

What a family reunion. Thank you, Lord. Just the other day I thought I heard you say Coretta, my child, come on home. You've earned your rest, your body is weary. You have done your best. Her Witness and character always strong. Her spirit, her melody from heaven's song, her beauty warms like the rays of the sun. Good night, my sister. Well done, well done.

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Fort Lauderdale – Ron Mills, Broward Democrats Area 9 leader serving Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach, announced his campaign for reelection to the post.  The election, to be held February 17, 2009, is open to precinct committeepersons from Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach and parts of unincorporated Broward County.


Mills was elected in 2007 for a two-year term.  Since then, he has nearly doubled precinct representation; held six all-day voter registration drives and five all-day training sessions; brought in Florida Democratic Party experts to train committee people on using the Party's Voter Access Network (VAN); and facilitated coordination among district leaders and the Obama-Biden campaign's regional organizers.


During the past election cycle Mills held numerous weekly phone banking sessions on behalf of local candidates Rep. Ron Klein (FL-22), Linda Bird, Chris Chiari and Scott Israel.  He also held weekly campaign coordination meetings with key staff of those campaigns prior to the election.  Mills is the only Area Leader to establish a website for communications and training .


If reelected, Mills plans to focus on building the Democratic Party in Broward, as well as zero in on electing Democrats at all levels in 2010, especially Governor and US Senator.  He will continue registering Democrats in Area 9; fill all remaining precinct committee slots, with the help of district and precinct leaders; facilitate better tools for district and precinct leaders; hold online town hall meetings; improve canvassing and phone banking methods; aggressively focus on Vote By Mail drives; and help local Democratic clubs grow their memberships.


A Fort Lauderdale resident, Mills is a national and local blogger, writing for Http://  and .  He is a longtime Democratic activist and is a members of the Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) from precinct 114R.  He's a member of the National Stonewall Democrats and Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus; past vice president of the Dolphin Democrats; and has been a delegate to the last three Florida Democratic Conventions.  He is co-founder of Progressive Democrats of America and Broward founder of Democracy for America.

Mills' campaign work includes Gore/Lieberman 2000; Janet Reno for Governor Broward Steering Campaign 2001-2002; McBride for Governor coordinated campaign 2002; Dean Trantalis for Fort Lauderdale Commissioner 2003; Howard Dean for President Broward Chair and State Co-Chair 2003-2004; Kerry/Edwards GLBT GOTV campaign 2004; Barry Sacharow for State Legislature 2006; Ken Keechl for Broward County Commission 2006; and Jim Davis for Governor Steering Committee 2005-2006.


Ron Mills


10 Policies We Can All Agree On

What Americans Really Want: 10 Policies We Can All Agree On

By Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine. .

Here is an agenda that the majority of Americans support, whether they vote red, blue, green or something else.

President-elect Barack Obama faces huge challenges when he takes office. But he's got one asset that is rarely mentioned. Large majorities of Americans agree on some of the most important issues of the day, from health care to foreign policy. These "Ten Policies for a Better America" shows an agenda a majority supports -- whether we vote red, blue, or some other political color.


  • Repair and rebuild neglected bridges, railroads, schools, and other infrastructure, designing for climate change & a post-petroleum world.
  • Extend unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Provide tax relief to middle- and low-income families, and reinstate fair taxes on high-wealth individuals and corporate profits.
  • Adopt the Employee Free Choice Act to increase opportunities to unionize.

67% Favor public works projects to create jobs.

55% Favor expanding unemployment benefits.

73% Say corporations don't pay a fair share of taxes.

76% Support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.

71% Say unions help their members; 53% say unions help the economy in general.



  • Our Own Agenda: Families. A YES! Take on What Americans Want. YES! Magazine graphicMake the minimum wage a "living wage" adequate to keep working families out of poverty.
  • Provide everyone vacation and family leave.
  • Provide gay and lesbian couples with the legal protections afforded to straight couples.
  • Make bankruptcy and foreclosure laws protect families first, not predatory lenders.

80% Support increasing the federal minimum wage.

59% Favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.

75% Want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.

64% Are not confident that life for our children's generation will be better than it has been for us.

65% Believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions.



  • Fully restore habeas corpus for all people in U.S. custody.
  • Protect our right to privacy and freedom from warrantless search and seizure.
  • Keep the internet free of corporate and government censorship and obstruction. Protect "net neutrality."
  • Restore the balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

70% Support restoring habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo.

58% Believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.

59% Would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.

68% Believe the president should not act alone to fight terrorism without the checks and balances of the courts or Congress.



79% Favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.

76% Believe that oil is running out and a major effort is needed to replace it.

90% Favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.

75% Favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.

72% Support more funding for mass transit.




  • Our Own Agenda: Health Care. A YES! Take on What Americans Want. YES! Magazine graphicOffer all Americans the option of joining a single-payer national health insurance program, paid for with tax dollars.
  • Break the drug companies' monopoly and lower drug prices by allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs abroad.


73% Believe our health care system is in crisis or has "major problems."

64% Believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.

55% Favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.

69% Believe the government should make it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries.




  • Lead a global effort to abolish nuclear weapons.
  • Rule out unilateral attacks, deploying weapons in space, and torture.
  • Phase out U.S. role as global police, and instead work through the U.N. and other international agencies to develop and enforce international law.
  • Work with other countries to improve global health and environment.


81% Oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.

76% Say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.

79% Say the U.N. should be strengthened.


73% Favor abolishing nuclear weapons, with verification. 80% favor banning weapons in space.

85% Say that the U.S. should not initiate military action without support from allies.





63% Want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.

47% Favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.

57% Say going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision.

67% Believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.






  • Provide public financing for elections campaigns.
  • Bring back the Fairness Doctrine and get broadcasters to open the people's airwaves to free campaign information.
  • Require voter-verified paper ballots that are audited and can be recounted.
  • End partisan districting and voter-roll purges.
  • Fully implement the Voting Rights Act and enforce existing laws against vote suppression.
  • Restore voting rights to ex-felons who have served their sentences.


86% Say big companies have too much power.

74% Favor voluntary public financing of campaigns.

66% Believe intentional acts are likely to cause significant voting machines errors.

80% Say ex-felons should have their voting rights restored.







65% Believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.

87% Support rehabilitation rather than a "punishment-only" system.


81% Say job training is "very important" for reintegrating people leaving prison. 79% say drug treatment is very important.







56% Believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.

64% Believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country.

80% Favor allowing undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes.




Sarah van Gelder is Executive Editor of YES! Magazine where you can read her blog.


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Did My Vote Count?

Did your (provisional) vote count? You can check

Posted: 10 Dec 2008 11:00 AM PST

Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes is announcing a new "did my vote count?'' system. Voters who had to fill out provisional ballots can look on her website to determine whether their vote ultimately was counted, and if not, why. The system also can be used to check a voter's eligibility or look up an absentee vote. Provisional ballots are used when a voter's identification or eligibility is in question at the polls. According to Snipes' office, in order to look up your vote, you must have your provisional ballot receipt number. If you don't have website access, you can call for help. I'll post the phone numbers on the jump page. To look up your vote, go to and click on "Check Your Registration, Absentee Ballot, or Provisional Ballot Status.'' Here's the direct link.

5 Disastrous Decisions That Got Us into This Economic Mess

By Joseph Stiglitz, Vanity Fair

We are at a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future economic policy is a debate over history -- here are the major mistakes that got us here.


There will come a moment when the most urgent threats posed by the credit crisis have eased and the larger task before us will be to chart a direction for the economic steps ahead. This will be a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history -- a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it's crucial to get the history straight.

What were the critical decisions that led to the crisis? Mistakes were made at every fork in the road -- we had what engineers call a "system failure," when not a single decision but a cascade of decisions produce a tragic result. Let's look at five key moments.

No. 1: Firing the Chairman

In 1987 the Reagan administration decided to remove Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and appoint Alan Greenspan in his place. Volcker had done what central bankers are supposed to do. On his watch, inflation had been brought down from more than 11 percent to under 4 percent. In the world of central banking, that should have earned him a grade of A+++ and assured his re-appointment. But Volcker also understood that financial markets need to be regulated. Reagan wanted someone who did not believe any such thing, and he found him in a devotee of the objectivist philosopher and free-market zealot Ayn Rand.

Greenspan played a double role. The Fed controls the money spigot, and in the early years of this decade, he turned it on full force. But the Fed is also a regulator. If you appoint an anti-regulator as your enforcer, you know what kind of enforcement you'll get. A flood of liquidity combined with the failed levees of regulation proved disastrous.

Greenspan presided over not one but two financial bubbles. After the high-tech bubble popped, in 2000-2001, he helped inflate the housing bubble. The first responsibility of a central bank should be to maintain the stability of the financial system. If banks lend on the basis of artificially high asset prices, the result can be a meltdown -- as we are seeing now, and as Greenspan should have known. He had many of the tools he needed to cope with the situation. To deal with the high-tech bubble, he could have increased margin requirements (the amount of cash people need to put down to buy stock). To deflate the housing bubble, he could have curbed predatory lending to low-income households and prohibited other insidious practices (the no-documentation -- or "liar" -- loans, the interest-only loans, and so on). This would have gone a long way toward protecting us. If he didn't have the tools, he could have gone to Congress and asked for them.

Of course, the current problems with our financial system are not solely the result of bad lending. The banks have made mega-bets with one another through complicated instruments such as derivatives, credit-default swaps, and so forth. With these, one party pays another if certain events happen -- for instance, if Bear Stearns goes bankrupt, or if the dollar soars. These instruments were originally created to help manage risk -- but they can also be used to gamble. Thus, if you felt confident that the dollar was going to fall, you could make a big bet accordingly, and if the dollar indeed fell, your profits would soar. The problem is that, with this complicated intertwining of bets of great magnitude, no one could be sure of the financial position of anyone else -- or even of one's own position. Not surprisingly, the credit markets froze.

Here too Greenspan played a role. When I was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, during the Clinton administration, I served on a committee of all the major federal financial regulators, a group that included Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Even then, it was clear that derivatives posed a danger. We didn't put it as memorably as Warren Buffett -- who saw derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction" -- but we took his point. And yet, for all the risk, the deregulators in charge of the financial system -- at the Fed, at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and elsewhere -- decided to do nothing, worried that any action might interfere with "innovation" in the financial system. But innovation, like "change," has no inherent value. It can be bad (the "liar" loans are a good example) as well as good.

No. 2: Tearing Down the Walls

The deregulation philosophy would pay unwelcome dividends for years to come. In November 1999, Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act -- the culmination of a $300 million lobbying effort by the banking and financial-services industries, and spearheaded in Congress by Senator Phil Gramm. Glass-Steagall had long separated commercial banks (which lend money) and investment banks (which organize the sale of bonds and equities); it had been enacted in the aftermath of the Great Depression and was meant to curb the excesses of that era, including grave conflicts of interest. For instance, without separation, if a company whose shares had been issued by an investment bank, with its strong endorsement, got into trouble, wouldn't its commercial arm, if it had one, feel pressure to lend it money, perhaps unwisely? An ensuing spiral of bad judgment is not hard to foresee. I had opposed repeal of Glass-Steagall. The proponents said, in effect, Trust us: we will create Chinese walls to make sure that the problems of the past do not recur. As an economist, I certainly possessed a healthy degree of trust, trust in the power of economic incentives to bend human behavior toward self-interest -- toward short-term self-interest, at any rate, rather than Tocqueville's "self interest rightly understood."

The most important consequence of the repeal of Glass-Steagall was indirect -- it lay in the way repeal changed an entire culture. Commercial banks are not supposed to be high-risk ventures; they are supposed to manage other people's money very conservatively. It is with this understanding that the government agrees to pick up the tab should they fail. Investment banks, on the other hand, have traditionally managed rich people's money -- people who can take bigger risks in order to get bigger returns. When repeal of Glass-Steagall brought investment and commercial banks together, the investment-bank culture came out on top. There was a demand for the kind of high returns that could be obtained only through high leverage and big risktaking.

There were other important steps down the deregulatory path. One was the decision in April 2004 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, at a meeting attended by virtually no one and largely overlooked at the time, to allow big investment banks to increase their debt-to-capital ratio (from 12:1 to 30:1, or higher) so that they could buy more mortgage-backed securities, inflating the housing bubble in the process. In agreeing to this measure, the S.E.C. argued for the virtues of self-regulation: the peculiar notion that banks can effectively police themselves. Self-regulation is preposterous, as even Alan Greenspan now concedes, and as a practical matter it can't, in any case, identify systemic risks -- the kinds of risks that arise when, for instance, the models used by each of the banks to manage their portfolios tell all the banks to sell some security all at once.

As we stripped back the old regulations, we did nothing to address the new challenges posed by 21st-century markets. The most important challenge was that posed by derivatives. In 1998 the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born, had called for such regulation -- a concern that took on urgency after the Fed, in that same year, engineered the bailout of Long-Term Capital Management, a hedge fund whose trillion-dollar-plus failure threatened global financial markets. But Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, his deputy, Larry Summers, and Greenspan were adamant -- and successful -- in their opposition. Nothing was done.

No. 3: Applying the Leeches

Then along came the Bush tax cuts, enacted first on June 7, 2001, with a follow-on installment two years later. The president and his advisers seemed to believe that tax cuts, especially for upper-income Americans and corporations, were a cure-all for any economic disease -- the modern-day equivalent of leeches. The tax cuts played a pivotal role in shaping the background conditions of the current crisis. Because they did very little to stimulate the economy, real stimulation was left to the Fed, which took up the task with unprecedented low-interest rates and liquidity. The war in Iraq made matters worse, because it led to soaring oil prices. With America so dependent on oil imports, we had to spend several hundred billion more to purchase oil -- money that otherwise would have been spent on American goods. Normally this would have led to an economic slowdown, as it had in the 1970s. But the Fed met the challenge in the most myopic way imaginable. The flood of liquidity made money readily available in mortgage markets, even to those who would normally not be able to borrow. And, yes, this succeeded in forestalling an economic downturn; America's household saving rate plummeted to zero. But it should have been clear that we were living on borrowed money and borrowed time.

The cut in the tax rate on capital gains contributed to the crisis in another way. It was a decision that turned on values: those who speculated (read: gambled) and won were taxed more lightly than wage earners who simply worked hard. But more than that, the decision encouraged leveraging, because interest was tax-deductible. If, for instance, you borrowed a million to buy a home or took a $100,000 home-equity loan to buy stock, the interest would be fully deductible every year. Any capital gains you made were taxed lightly -- and at some possibly remote day in the future. The Bush administration was providing an open invitation to excessive borrowing and lending -- not that American consumers needed any more encouragement.

No. 4: Faking the Numbers

Meanwhile, on July 30, 2002, in the wake of a series of major scandals -- notably the collapse of WorldCom and Enron -- Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The scandals had involved every major American accounting firm, most of our banks, and some of our premier companies, and made it clear that we had serious problems with our accounting system. Accounting is a sleep-inducing topic for most people, but if you can't have faith in a company's numbers, then you can't have faith in anything about a company at all. Unfortunately, in the negotiations over what became Sarbanes-Oxley a decision was made not to deal with what many, including the respected former head of the S.E.C. Arthur Levitt, believed to be a fundamental underlying problem: stock options. Stock options have been defended as providing healthy incentives toward good management, but in fact they are "incentive pay" in name only. If a company does well, the C.E.O. gets great rewards in the form of stock options; if a company does poorly, the compensation is almost as substantial but is bestowed in other ways. This is bad enough. But a collateral problem with stock options is that they provide incentives for bad accounting: top management has every incentive to provide distorted information in order to pump up share prices.

The incentive structure of the rating agencies also proved perverse. Agencies such as Moody's and Standard & Poor's are paid by the very people they are supposed to grade. As a result, they've had every reason to give companies high ratings, in a financial version of what college professors know as grade inflation. The rating agencies, like the investment banks that were paying them, believed in financial alchemy -- that F-rated toxic mortgages could be converted into products that were safe enough to be held by commercial banks and pension funds. We had seen this same failure of the rating agencies during the East Asia crisis of the 1990s: high ratings facilitated a rush of money into the region, and then a sudden reversal in the ratings brought devastation. But the financial overseers paid no attention.

No. 5: Letting It Bleed

The final turning point came with the passage of a bailout package on October 3, 2008 -- that is, with the administration's response to the crisis itself. We will be feeling the consequences for years to come. Both the administration and the Fed had long been driven by wishful thinking, hoping that the bad news was just a blip, and that a return to growth was just around the corner. As America's banks faced collapse, the administration veered from one course of action to another. Some institutions (Bear Stearns, A.I.G., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) were bailed out. Lehman Brothers was not. Some shareholders got something back. Others did not.

The original proposal by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a three-page document that would have provided $700 billion for the secretary to spend at his sole discretion, without oversight or judicial review, was an act of extraordinary arrogance. He sold the program as necessary to restore confidence. But it didn't address the underlying reasons for the loss of confidence. The banks had made too many bad loans. There were big holes in their balance sheets. No one knew what was truth and what was fiction. The bailout package was like a massive transfusion to a patient suffering from internal bleeding -- and nothing was being done about the source of the problem, namely all those foreclosures. Valuable time was wasted as Paulson pushed his own plan, "cash for trash," buying up the bad assets and putting the risk onto American taxpayers. When he finally abandoned it, providing banks with money they needed, he did it in a way that not only cheated America's taxpayers but failed to ensure that the banks would use the money to re-start lending. He even allowed the banks to pour out money to their shareholders as taxpayers were pouring money into the banks.

The other problem not addressed involved the looming weaknesses in the economy. The economy had been sustained by excessive borrowing. That game was up. As consumption contracted, exports kept the economy going, but with the dollar strengthening and Europe and the rest of the world declining, it was hard to see how that could continue. Meanwhile, states faced massive drop-offs in revenues -- they would have to cut back on expenditures. Without quick action by government, the economy faced a downturn. And even if banks had lent wisely -- which they hadn't -- the downturn was sure to mean an increase in bad debts, further weakening the struggling financial sector.

The administration talked about confidence building, but what it delivered was actually a confidence trick. If the administration had really wanted to restore confidence in the financial system, it would have begun by addressing the underlying problems -- the flawed incentive structures and the inadequate regulatory system.

Was there any single decision which, had it been reversed, would have changed the course of history? Every decision -- including decisions not to do something, as many of our bad economic decisions have been -- is a consequence of prior decisions, an interlinked web stretching from the distant past into the future. You'll hear some on the right point to certain actions by the government itself -- such as the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires banks to make mortgage money available in low-income neighborhoods. (Defaults on C.R.A. lending were actually much lower than on other lending.) There has been much finger-pointing at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two huge mortgage lenders, which were originally government-owned. But in fact they came late to the subprime game, and their problem was similar to that of the private sector: their C.E.O.'s had the same perverse incentive to indulge in gambling.

The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal. Looking back at that belief during hearings this fall on Capitol Hill, Alan Greenspan said out loud, "I have found a flaw." Congressman Henry Waxman pushed him, responding, "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right; it was not working." "Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan said. The embrace by America -- and much of the rest of the world -- of this flawed economic philosophy made it inevitable that we would eventually arrive at the place we are today.  is making this material available in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


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Broward Democratic Party Organizational Meeting

Sunday December 7th 1 p.m.

The election of the new leadership for the Broward Democratic Party. Pre-registration at 1 p.m. with the formal meeting to begin at 2 p.m.

Voting will be by elected members of the Democratic Executive Committee. Please have photo identification with you. Members may be represented by proxy by another registered Democrat from the same precinct as the elected DEC member.

Millennium Middle School
5803 N.W. 94th Avenue
Tamarac FL 33321 (Map)

Ron Mills Broward County Democrats Leader


For Immediate Release NOV. 25, 2008
Contact: Robin Rorapaugh

A coalition of Democratic Party activists known as BROWARD FOR CHANGE announced its slate of candidates for the upcoming Democratic Executive Committee organizational meeting on December 7. "The Obama campaign proved that neighbors talking to neighbors is the key to electing Democrats," said Ron Mills, a Democratic area leader and member of the Broward For Change coalition. "We are working to elect new leadership that believes in this model and will continue building a local party that will be an asset for local and national campaign efforts," Mills said. President Elect Obama's campaign efforts in Broward County delivered a record-breaking plurality for the campaign. Broward For Change candidates hope to build upon the grass-roots gains made by the Obama organization through better transparency, more aggressive outreach to potential Democrats and and expansion of the club system to bring the Democratic Party back to the neighborhood level. The coalition includes activists from organized labor, the Democratic Executive Committee, the Obama local organization, the GLBT community and former candidates.

The Broward For Change candidates are:

CHAIR: Peter Deutsch, former six term Congressman from the 20th Congressional District and five term state reprsentative. Peter is also the founder of the Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood Florida.

: Marta Prado, Former Chair of the Broward County YMCA an acknowledged expert on health care delivery issues. Marta served on President Clinton's Commission on Quality Health Care and
Governor Lawton Child's Medicaid Reform Commission.

Ron Mills, current Democratic Area leader, Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach and co-founder of Progressive Democrats of America. Founder Of Democracy For America- Broward

: Linda Bird, former candidate for State Senate seat 25 and advocate for
women in business and child protection issues.

TREASURER: Valerie Pigatt, Controller for the National Federation of Public and Private Employees and treasurer for the National Black MBA Association.

Alexander Johnson, an attorney and founder of Broward4Obama, a local Obama support group that sponsored over 90 events during the '08 campaign.

RECORDING SECRETARY: Donna Greenberg, former Executive Director of the Broward Democratic Executive Committee and Chair of the Florida Chapter of Leadership for America's Children and
Families PAC.



Build on the model of the Obama Campaign by registering voters,
reactivating voters, and reaching out to the forgotten corners of
Broward with a Democratic community organizer in EVERY
neighborhood. The Broward Democratic Party must be accountable to
ask for a vote every two years by being visible, accessible and
responsible to all democratic voters in the county.

Instill transparency and accountability at all levels of the DEC
through written minutes and Treasurer's reports available to DEC
members, a functioning committee system, access to the bylaws, a
member directory and clear rules of ethics. The Broward Democratic
Party must do a better job of listening to those it wishes to lead and it
must lead by good example.

Better assist Democratic Clubs, Area Leaders, and DEC members by
making available centralized data services for dues notices,
bookkeeping, member tracking, calendar of events, and voter files.
With all the technology available, the Broward Democratic Party
must step into the 21st century.

Establish a training program to mentor potential Democratic
candidates, appointees, activists, and future Democratic leaders in
organizing and campaign winning methods.

Re establish the DEC's relationship with local and state elected
officials by engaging them on the issues with the DEC membership.

GLAAD/Harris post-election survey: Americans favor adoption and partner rights for same-sex couples

And they support inclusive hate crimes laws and the ability of gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. The voters in California, Florida and Arkansas clearly aren't on the same page as most Americans when it comes to extending rights to gay couples.

A national survey conducted in November, "The Pulse of Equality" by Harris Interactive that was commissioned by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is out today. The survey is the first national snapshot after election day to poll U.S. adults' overall attitudes towards LGBTs on several key issues. Read The Survey

Source: Pam's House Blend

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Mel Martinez To Retire

Fla. Sen. Mel Martinez figured to be a top target for Democrats in 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez (R) has decided against seeking a second term, a decision he will formalize shortly in the Sunshine State, according to an informed party source.

Martinez's decision was based on a desire for more free time and a less scheduled life, said the source. The first term senator also was an almost certain Democratic target in two years time although those familiar with Martinez's political prospects insisted his strengths in South Florida, coupled with his political base along the I-4 corridor, made his path to reelection possible.

Martinez's retirement ensures a competitive and costly open seat race in Florida. State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, widely seen as Democrats' strongest potential candidate, has apparently decided that she would not run but may well reconsider that decision given Martinez's expected announcement today. Democratic Reps. Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek as well as state Sen. Dan Gelber are likely to consider the open seat race.

On the Republican side, there may well be a push to recruit former Gov. Jeb Bush into the contest although that seems like a long shot. State Attorney General Bill McCollum will almost certainly be mentioned as will state Senate President Jeff Atwater and former state House speaker Marco Rubio. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Connie Mack also may consider a run.

Martinez's retirement creates the second open seat of the 2010 cycle for Republicans. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) is expected to leave the chamber to run for governor. Republicans must defend a total of 19 seats in 2010 as compared to 16 for Democrats.

Martinez's rapid rise through the Republican political ranks began a decade ago when he was elected Orange County (Fla.) Chairman. President George W. Bush then named Martinez to head the Housing and Urban Development department in 2000, where he became the first Cuban-American to hold a Cabinet-level post. After initially demurring, Martinez decided to run for the Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Bob Graham (D). He defeated Democrat Betty Castor in that contest. Two years later, Martinez served as stint as general chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"He's had a charmed political life in the best sense, completely unplanned, and totally motivated by wanting to give back to a country that has given him so much," said Phil Musser, a former senior adviser to Martinez at HUD. "In an era where most spend careers plotting their next move up, Mel's heart has always guided him, as it does today, and that's one of the things that makes him so special."

President-elect Barack Obama's victory in Florida last month coupled with Martinez's ties to the unpopular outgoing president made him a major target for Democrats heading into the 2010 cycle. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted last month showed 36 percent of Florida voters though Martinez deserved a second term while 38 percent did not -- troubling numbers for any incumbent. In that same survey roughly three in ten (31 percent) of voters had a favorable impression of Martinez while 28 percent had an unfavorable view of the Florida Republican.

By Chris Cillizza |

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Invitation from Peter Deutsch for a Town Hall meeting

It is with great honor that I extend to you an invitation from Peter Deutsch for a Town Hall meeting Thursday, December 4, 2008, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, at the Broward County AFL-CIO, 1700 NW 66th Ave. #100, Plantation, FL 33313. If you wish to RSVP, please visit the Peter Deutsch Town Hall Meetup Group.

The purpose of this meeting is for you to ask questions of and to share your ideas with the candidates for change, for leadership of the Broward Democratic Party with Peter Deutsch as Chair. The election will be held with registration beginning 1:00 pm, Sunday, December 7, at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac. At the Peter Deutsch Town Hall meeting on Thursday evening, December 4, elected DEC members can meet Peter Deutsch, candidate for Chair, and the entire Broward for Change slate.

Complete information about the Dec. 7 DEC Organizational Meeting and the election of officers is at including proxy information, Broward for Change candidate information, duties of Officers, platform statement, list of all DEC members, answers to frequently asked questions about the DEC, and the official press release of Broward for Change.

In the interests of transparency and unity within our Democratic family, I am sending this invitation to all elected DEC members for whom I have email addresses, including candidates on the competing ticket and those whose votes we have not yet earned. If you know of any DEC members who do not have email or who may not have received this message, please extend our invitation from Peter Deutsch for all DEC members to attend this Town Hall meeting.

This is our time, Broward, to take our Democratic Party to the next higher level by electing former US Congressman Peter Deutsch for Chair of the Party, and electing the entire Broward for Change leadership slate.

Democratically, with Thanks for the blessings received,

Phil Busey,
Broward Democratic Committeeman
Precinct T027, 837 SW 120th Way, Davie, FL 33325 or 954-579-3932

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On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, President- elect Barack Obama is expected to have over 4 million people attend his Inauguration. We are using our best efforts to get the volunteers and supporters- who supported and elected Sen. Obama for President to the inauguration in Washington, D.C.
During our exploration to offer an Inauguration Cruise to the public, we feel that the "Yes We Can"- 2009 Inauguration Cruise" can be the one stop travel and lodging solution for thousands of President-Elect Obama's staff, volunteers and supporters. We are offering an alternative proposal to the severe shortage of hotel and flights accommodations- within Washington D.C., Virginia, & Maryland.

The costs of the cruise starts at $1,100.00 per person and that includes sailing from South FL to Maryland, food, beverages, entertainment, a quick stop in the Bahamas and lodging. ( Prices are subject to change based on availability).

For More Info

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Volunteer On A Day Without a Gay Day
We are calling for a nationwide strike and economic boycott by all members of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community AND OUR STRAIGHT ALLIES on December 10th, 2008, International Human Rights Day.


Because LGBT workers, business owners, consumers and taxpayers contribute over $700 billion to the U.S. economy each year and should not be treated as second class citizens. See

Because general strikes and economic boycotts are a powerful weapon in the history of non-violent protests. See For many of those protesters, their actions came at a cost, but they understood that we must be willing to make sacrifices to fight for equal rights, including the right to marry.

Because Civil Unions are only legal in the state that offers them. Civil Unions don't include the 1100 marriage rights and benefits provided by the Federal Government. Separate but not equal is discrimination.

Because every couple in America has to get a marriage certificate from their state, whereas religious ceremonies are optional. No church or religious institution has or ever will be forced to marry anyone.

Because marriage should be a Right for all Americans, regardless of gender, race OR religion.

Because until ALL are equal, NONE are equal.


Strike: call in gay, shut down your business, take the day off.

Boycott: don't buy anything or spend money.

Participate: visit for a list of volunteer and/or protest opportunities.

Communicate: we need everyone's support!

Our co-sponsors include:
GAYS ON STRIKE (on Facebook)

WHY THE NAME "A DAY WITHOUT GAYS"? The name was inspired by the film A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN and the nationwide strike in 2006 called A DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS, protesting proposed immigration laws.

Anyone interested it the facts regarding Proposition 8 should go to:

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement regarding the state's latest revenue forecast:

"The Republicans' tax policies of the past decade are a big reason why Florida is in this economic tailspin. We cannot continue to give away billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest Floridians while increasing property taxes on average Floridians to pay for the many needs of our state.

"I am glad that Gov. Crist opened the door this week to discussing increasing revenue. However, every option should be available for discussion so we can begin to develop a more equitable tax structure for the middle class.

"These discussions must begin now and be dealt with in a special legislative session next month."

Download Release

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Miami GOP Hit Man Regrets Helping Bush

Roger Stone, the notorious political hitman who helped George W. Bush prevail in the 2000 Florida recount, tells The Daily Beast that he wishes he hadn't.

Roger Stone is one of the last guys on Earth one would expect to feel guilty over an episode of rough and tumble politicking. As a self-admitted hit man for the GOP, Stone has had a hand in everything from Nixon's dirty tricks to Eliot Spitzer's resignation to spreading discredited rumors of a Michelle Obama "whitey" tape during the 2008 Democratic primaries. You might call Stone the Forrest Gump of scandal, popping up to play a bit part in the most notorious negative campaigns in recent history.

The capstone of Stone's career, at least in terms of results, was the "Brooks Brothers riot" of the 2000 election recount. This was when a Stone-led squad of pro-Bush protestors stormed the Miami-Dade County election board, stopping the recount and advancing then-Governor George W. Bush one step closer to the White House. Though he is quick to rebut GOP operatives who seek to minimize his role in the recount, Stone lately has been having second thoughts about what happened in Florida.

When I look at those double-page New York Times spreads of all the individual pictures of people who have been killed [in Iraq], I got to think, 'Maybe there wouldn't have been a war if I hadn't gone to Miami-Dade.' Read More......

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Broward Dem chair to face Peter Deutsch

Broward Democrats fired up about Barack Obama and smarting from losing the sheriff's race and two key state legislative contests say it's time for a shake up at their own party headquarters.

Former Congressman Peter Deutsch will challenge Mitch Ceasar for the position of chair of the Broward Democratic Party, according to active Democrats supporting Deutsch.

Deutsch couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon but Robin Rorapaugh, his former chief of staff, said he plans to run in the Dec. 7 election. Rorapaugh is the spokesperson for a coalition of organized labor, GLBT leaders, and other active Democrats who say after 12 years it's time for Ceasar to go.

"There is a lot of new blood in the county, a lot of opportunity like the governor's race upcoming, the U.S. Senate race upcoming. All of those need Broward County to be the vote producing machine,'' she said. "At this point doing things the same old way is not going to get the party and candidates across the finish line.''

Some of Deutsch's other supporters include Michael Albetta, a board member of the Dolphin Democrats, and Dan Reynolds, AFL-CIO president.

Ceasar, an attorney and lobbyist, said he's heard the rumors for months that Deutsch planned to challenge him for the four-year unpaid gig. He says he shouldn't be blamed for Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti's victory or for Republicans Jeff Atwater and Ellyn Bogdanoff keeping their seats in the state Legislature.

"They were all incumbents,'' he said. "They raised unbelievable amounts of money.''

Deutsch will run on a slate along with Linda Bird who lost the senate race to Atwater, Marta Prado, wife of former Attorney General Bob Butterworth and activist Ron Mills.

Since losing the U.S. Senate primary in 2004 to Betty Castor who later lost to Republican Mel Martinez, Deutsch launched a charter school that teaches Hebrew in Hollywood.

On Dec. 7, about 900 members of the Broward Democratic Executive Committee will vote for a chair.

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