Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Thursday
    Jun232011

    Marriage Equality the Upstate, NY edition 

    That title is misleading as not everyone in Upstate NY is as close-minded, ignorant and just plain silly as the person I am about to introduce you to. And yet...it is people like this gentleman that give the entire area north of Rockland County a bad rap. The rest of us have to go about defending our honor of being true, Upstate NYers equipped with a brain and the ability to both read and think. Possibly at the same time.
    As the debate over gay marriage continues to broil in Albany, one Clinton County legislator has made his position perfectly clear.

    Sam Trombley is against gay marriage.

    "I'm surprised the health department has not come out against this because we are going to have an HIV epidemic if this passes," Trombley (R-Area 2, Ellenburg) said at Wednesday night's legislature meeting.

    It gets better:
    Trombley went on to say that even the animal world understands that same-sex relationships are not natural.

    "You don't see two male dogs sleeping in the same dog house together," he said.

    Yes. Really.

    Over the past month and into this coming evening, Albany, the wee capital of New York State has been making headlines over the back and forth haggling between legislators on the issue of marriage equality. It’s a tale as old as time: Some want it, some don’t. We’re just sitting around obsessively refreshing the state Senate website and Twitter to see if this measure gets a fair shake via up or down vote. If so, New York would be the largest/most-populous state to allow same-sex couples to marry. I must say that being from Albany and living in walking distance from where all of this is going on, makes me At the same time, I cannot help but have in the back of my mind the knowledge that there are people like Mr. Trombley above who are so willfully uneducated and oblivious to reality. Of course one person’s asinine views will not keep me from being at least someone excited to be on the cusp of something so huge.

    I’m also loving the comments on this post from the Times Union’s Capitol Confidential Blog
    Monday
    Jun202011

    Audience Participation

    Let's play a game!

    I'm totally in favor of crowdsourcing (some) content because I am interested in giving what the people want. I could 'screw my readers! I'm writing a long diatribe on the behavior towards teachers in this country!' and then throw buzz words like 'pedagogy' and 'teacher quality' in the mix but do you really want that? I mean do you?

    This morning I was writing a master calendar for content and events for 2012. One that includes primaries and conferences and straw polls and the Iowa State Fair (Deep fried. Yay or nay?). While whistling while I work I saw a tweet from @BarackObama: As this campaign ramps up across the country, we want to know: what would you like to see us tweet about?

    Which brought me here to wonder the same thing of my small but passionate group of readers who I am trying like hell to get interested in the political process especially during this crucial upcoming Presidential race. What do you y'all want to hear about? Anything. Shout it out. Or do you totally not care and you just like when I write things (remind me to tell you how pretty you are).

    Let me know either here in the comments or via email Poliogue@gmail.com.

    And GO!
    Wednesday
    Jun152011

    Top Ten Moments of The World's Most Boring Debate!

    I watched Monday night’s debate in New Hampshire with rapt attention. Or as much rapt attention that can be mustered while watching a debate between a group of people who collectively make me want to stick (sharp object) into my (body orifice). The ‘attention’ quickly vanished by the second hour during which I found myself submerged in boredom and the same old rhetoric. We get it, you cannot stand the current administration or Democrats or, quite frankly, anyone that thinks differently than you and that’s why you’re running. Instead of feeling an overwhelming sense of things moving forward for 2012, I felt like these were seven people who are really good at saying what they’d like to do but when push comes to shove, nothing will come about. Then again, this cynicism is a manifestation of ten years of working in politics. It’s easy to make campaign promises until you get to the actual job at hand. I feel that this particular group of Republicans seeking the nomination to become the President of the United States are wholly lacking. Each is good at making a show and spectacle of themselves or others but I don’t feel leadership from them. Of course that can be debated based on party affiliation and other things but for now, let’s just say that so much was left to be desired after Monday night’s debate. And several things, well, those things should never be said outside of the comfort of ones home. Leave your bigotry at the door.

    Top Debate Moments:

    10. Education: I work in the education policy and politics field, as such I spend a lot of time wondering what a future candidate would do about the sad state of education in this country and educators who have spent the last year being beaten down. Nothing. Not a mention of an instrumental part of the future of this country. Interesting.

    9. This or That?: John King wanted for us to get to know the candidates better. I suppose hearing about something other than policy talking points might make a candidate more likable. Learning that Tim Pawlenty likes Coke instead of Pepsi, did nothing to make me think of him as approachable. Coke or not the man was a snooze-fest.

    8. Tim Pawlenty: Prior to the debate, I thought that T PAW had it in the bag. I am also one of those assholes who thought that Barack Obama would never win against a Clinton. DO NOT ASK ME TO HANDICAP A POLITICAL RACE. That said, he showed up and that’s about as exciting and enigmatic it got with the person who everyone is trying to like. It’s hard to like a candidate who makes watching paint dry seem entertaining. Not only was he lacking charisma (and let’s face it, looks) but when it came down to John King asking about a specific statement he made about one of his opponents he hemmed and hawed instead of saying “Yeah, I said it”. We all know how you feel about Mitt’s health care plan ‘fess up.

    7. Foreign Policy: Foreign policy was saved for the last fifteen minutes of the debate. Interesting given the current predicament the country is in with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia and Yemen. Minus 10 points to CNN for perpetuating American ignorance on foreign affairs.

    6. Michelle Bachmann:
    She’s running for President and she wasn’t terribly crazy during the debate. She even fell in line when the subject of same sex marriage. She hates the gays just as much as everyone else on that stage. Yay!

    5. Obamneycare: Quote from John King after asking Tim Pawlenty about his “Obamneycare” remark; “If it was Obamneycare when in the comfort of a Sunday who why isn’t it Obamneycare when he’s [Mitt Romney] standing right next to you?” Take that, Governor! I love how what will continue to be a source of contention for Republicans will be what Mitt Romney did with health care in his state of Massachusetts and how it compares to what President Obama did with health care. Both implemented a similar system which some believe to be towards “socialized medicine” or a “single-payer system” both of which deserve more of a discussion than a paragraph. The point is that Mitt Romney is going to get screwed on this as health care costs and the Affordable Health Care Act have a direct tie to jobs and the economy and whether or not people can afford health care in general. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming months but right now Mitt Romney is King of Backtracking.

    4. Right to Work:
    I found the subject of Right to Work compelling as a lead into a conversation on state’s rights as well as seeing just how staunchly anti-labor these candidates are. Also interesting because - in full disclosure - I have spent the last three months working on the Right to Work as it pertains to New Hampshire and trying to prevent a veto override. This will be something that they will have to campaign on in New Hampshire as they will be asked about it so why not make it a national issue of how terrible the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is and while we’re at it let’s get rid of collective bargaining and any sort of wage related fairness for public employees. I can totally picture Newt Gingrich being all, “Fuck a living wage! Inflation is in your imagination.” That all of the candidates agreed on getting rid of the NLRB made me spend the rest of the evening thinking of the state of labor in this country.

    3. Jobs: A topic that should have been up there with foreign policy and yet it remains but a distant memory. Something about “trickle down” and something about how they all want to be just like Reagan when they grow up. But what people are dying for now is some sort of plan from someone that leads the country back to prosperity and to have an unemployment rate of 5% again. That’s what is leading to voter angst towards the current administration and that is what will drive the 2012 election. All anyone anywhere cares about are the jobs. Where are they and how are we going to get them back.

    2. The 10th Amendment: The 10th Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It’s the basis for states right as delegated by the constitution which Conservatives and Republicans (which are not interchangeable) like to adhere to. “Why is the federal government sticking its nose in the business of the states?” is the question asked by many on the right who feel that the federal government should be serving the states but not necessarily legislating for them. Which. Fine. Ok. Of course there is always an exception to the rule. So while each of these candidates said that the federal government shouldn’t be telling the states what to do they would like for the federal government to tell the states how people should get married and what women should do with their bodies. On social issues it’s ok for the federal government to butt in. First it was that it isn’t the role of a President to go into states and interfere with their state law BUT a President should have a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Why you ask? Because according to Rick Santorum, the best way to raise children is with one mother and one father. This went on for several minutes just so each candidate could say yup, I’m a bigot! Just like the rest of ‘em! It was a sad moment in the debate but not the saddest...

    1. Muslims in the administration: None of the candidates would hire a person of the Muslim faith to be in their administration because we don’t know what kind of Muslim this individual could be. I mean, look at all the evil Muslims out there waiting to get us? WHAT IF I HIRE THAT MUSLIM? And then Newt Gingrich is all, “We didn’t hire Communists so we can do the same thing for Muslims.” And then I was all, “Remember what we did with the Japanese during World War II? We could totally turn Texas into a giant interment camp! YES! That makes sense!*" Let us go back to our 1940’s sensibilities. This was the saddest part of the debate that there are people so close-minded willing to run a country. They say that they want to make the country great again and yet, one of the things that has made this country what it is, is its diversity. In a 10 minute interval, these seven ‘candidates’ took us back by about 100 years. With that one question, I felt like anything that could be the ‘future’ of the country is for naught. You can’t hope to move forward while looking back.

    So, did you watch the debate? What did you think?

    *I did not really say that. I feel like I need to clarify that there's some serious sarcasm going on here