An Open Letter To Anyone That Plans On Voting Republican - Ever

Dear Future Potential Republican Voter:

You might not have caught this last night - which is forgivable, it's been a busy past couple days - but there was a major filibuster that took place in the Texas state legislature.  One Democratic senator, Wendy Davis, held the podium for 13 hours, and ended up killing a vote on State Bill 5.

You probably are thinking right now, "that must be one hell of a bill for someone to want to spend 13 hours on their feet trying to kill it".  So did I.  And we're both right; it is one hell of a bill.

SB5 would have imposed easily the toughest restrictions on abortion in the country.  It would have made abortion illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and would have put in place regulations that would have ended up closing almost every clinic that could perform an abortion.

This shouldn't be too difficult to believe.  After all, the republican party membership has spent the last few years trying to force mothers that want to get an abortion to receive a transvaginal ultrasound or be subjected to doctoral shame and humiliation, dismiss concerns about pregnancy from rape because "the body just shuts that thing down" or "rape kits clean all of that out", or differentiate "forcible rape" from...umm...whatever "non-forcible rape" is.  They're trying to move towards removing the rape & incest exceptions that only the least humane among us would deny a woman.

(I could go on about how their attacks on Planned Parenthood - which only derives a small fraction of their business from abortion services - are going to have horribly detrimental effects on women's health, but that's another story for another day.)

People have all sorts of reasons for deciding to vote one way or the other.  But, if you're seriously considering voting republican in any election at the state level or above, you need to accept this:

The Republican party is going to do everything in their power to strip away a woman's right to choose.  This is not a threat; they are not screwing around.  If they end up becoming the majority party, this will be their top priority.  You might disagree with a Democratic candidate on their economic or foreign policy, their views on health care, the 2nd amendment...whatever they are, you're entitled to them.  But, if you vote for a Republican, you're going to be putting someone in office that will put in regulations that are going to directly affect you, your wife, your sister, your daughter, your girlfriend, or your best friend's right to choose.  And you had better be ok with that, because if they get the chance, they're going to do it, and you're not going to get a chance to take your vote back.

So, before you vote for a candidate with the R next to their name, just think about this and make sure you can accept the results.  And if you do, and then don't like the outcome...don't say I didn't warn you.



If it's not the time to have a conversation about guns, let me know when that time will be

I've dealt with such a range of emotions over the last 24 hours - shock, horror, sorrow, anger, among many others - that this post could have taken many forms. Given that, this is about the best I can do to write up something vaguely rational.

We used to be a rational country when it came to guns. People owned them. They used them on their hunting trips, and some had them around the house for protection. By and large, however, we kept them at home. And every now and again there would be a "mass" shooting where a couple people died, and there would be calls for gun control. Sometimes they gained traction; sometimes they didn't.

Somewhere over the last several years - and by several I mean somewhere in the last 10-30 years, given your definition of when everything hit the fan, I don't feel the desire to get into arguments of when the exact moment was - we completely lost that rationality. Gun control has been replaced by gun rights. Concealed carry laws were passed in just about every state. The NRA - who as of the time of this post has said nothing on Twitter since the Sandy Hook massacre - has demonized any sort of effort to regulate gun usage or ownership. Every republican (as well as many Blue Dog and other Democrats) has cowtowed to them at every opportunity.

And this is how we get to where we are. The point where we can't even have a rational discussion about assault weapons, carrying guns into bars, closing gun show loopholes, or passing tougher laws to prevent people with mental disabilities from obtaining guns. The point where any discussion of these topics leads gun owners to scream that the 2nd amendment guarantees their right to bear arms, though the part about a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state is usually omitted.

(Never mind that the 2nd amendment was written during a time when they could not have envisioned the idea of a weapon that held clips that contained tens of rounds of ammunition, any more than they could envision talking with someone from the other side of the world, or keeping meats in a chilled box so they didn't spoil in a day, or being able to take a pill - whatever a pill is - that ensured that strep throat or an infected cut would not be a death sentence.)

We have just accepted that guns are just going to be everywhere. We've resigned ourself to accept that things like Stand Your Ground Laws and Castle Doctrines are just how things are going to be. We are powerless to fight against local and state judiciaries that, after being packed by local republican parties over the past 30 years, have struck down just about any sort of legal impediments to carrying a gun wherever and whenever people want.

But yesterday's massacre (and yes, it was a massacre)...this has to be the tipping point. We have to start having a real conversation about our gun culture. We have to start asking ourselves what can be done to preventing something like this from ever happening again.

And I refuse to tolerate arguments that "it's too soon to talk about this" from the same people whose intransigence on this issue has allowed for tragedies like this to continue to occur. And I don't want to hear how this would politicize the issue, and use the families of the dead as political pawns, when I'm certain that every one of them wishes that we had "politicized" this issue a long time ago. I don't want to hear that we just need to handle crazy people and that will take care of everything, because the great majority of people that feel that is the magic solution probably also believe that Obamacare is socialism. And I will not dignify the position of "guns don't kill people", because its just senseless anymore. Guns just make it easy to kill a bunch of people really quickly - feel free to provide the laundry list of times when 25 people died because one person delivered a mass beating, or mass stabbing.

Understand, I'm not in any way saying that we need to get rid of guns, but there's room to discuss things like assault weapons, multiple round clips, improved mental health care, among others, in a civilized manner. But it needs to happen. And if you're going to say that it's just too soon to talk about guns, then it is imperative upon you to provide me with a date and time when you will feel it's ok to talk, or what will get you to that point. Because I need to know, if something like yesterday's massacre won't make you at least consider that something needs to change, what exactly will get you that point. It's no longer acceptable to say that this conversation is for another day. You have to commit to when that day will be.

2012: The Post-Gut Election: A Victory for Facts

Nate Silver nailed it.  Andrew Tanenbaum nailed it.  Sam Wang nailed it.  Josh Putnam was close.  So was TPM Poll Tracker.  All of them used polls and/or statistical modeling to predict the outcome of the election.  And they were right.

Peggy Noonan?  She thought "the vibrations were right" for a Romney win.  Dick Morris?  Landslide for Romney, because "we got to know Mitt - and we liked him".  Joe Scarborough?  He told Nate there was no way he could be so sure of an Obama win, because it just felt like it was too close to call.

This is 2012.  There is no excuse for not knowing something anymore, or for going with your gut feeling despite all evidence to the contrary.  And the numbers people won.  Big.

So next time around, pay attention to the people that show their work.  Don't listen to a pundit that tells you that a 3% lead with a 3% margin of error is a dead heat, because they don't understand statistics.  Don't listen to reporters that declare a race too close to call when 90% of the polls don't support that statement.  Don't listen to a guy that "unskews" polls, because they just don't look right.  And for the love of God, don't listen to anyone that quotes a Rasmussen poll.

Reading Liberally Invitation for Republic, Lost

If you are interested in joining a reading group for Larry Lessig's book Republic, Lost, please contact us.

Reminder: Drinking Liberally Keystone Hyde Park is tonight at 7PM.

Volunteer Opportunities

 The Norwood/Oakley team of Organizing for America 

is looking for canvassers and other volunteers to help get out the vote for Barack Obama . If you can help please contact Field Organizer Jenn Hoyer at (513) 417-7610 (Email

Current schedule includes:
Thurs 10/25, Tues 10/30,
Thurs 11/1 at 5-8 pm Canvassing -- meet at Whole Foods

Wed 10/24 Fri 10/26,
Wed 10/31, Fri 11/2 at
5-8 pm: Phone Bank at the Roselawn office -- 7364 Reading (intersects with Section)

Sat 10/27 at 9:30, 1:00and 4:30 Canvassing - meet at 4100 Reading Road (Old Armory)
Sun 10/28 at 9:30, 1:00and 4:30 Canvassing - meet at 4100 Reading Road (Old Armory)
Sat 11/3 at 9:30, 1:00and 4:30 Canvassing - meet at 4100 Reading Road (Old Armory)
Sun 11/4 at 9:30, 1:00and 4:30 Canvassing - meet at 4100 Reading Road (Old Armory)
Mon 11/5 at 9:30, 1:00and 4:30 Canvassing - meet at 4100 Reading Road (Old Armory)
Tues 11/6 ELECTION DAY -- at 9:30, 1:00and 4:30 -Canvassing - meet at 4100 Reading Road (Old Armory)
Note: – The old Armory at 4100 Reading Road is now the Hope Events/Hope 4 Change building. It is the blue building by the police station just south of intersection with Victoria Pkwy and Sherman.

The Mt. Auburn/Clifton Height  Get-Out-The-Vote Operation

This election will come down to turnout in Ohio. We absolutely have the better turnout operation -- we just have to work it!    We have a few key positions still open that we need to fill for the FINAL GOTV PUSH, which is next weekend (11/3 - 11/4), Monday (11/5) and Election Day itself (11/6).

In a perfect world, a person could work all four days in a particular position. But I know that's not possible for most people. I'd be thrilled to have someone who could work a given position for at least 2 days ... but any help is welcome.

I've got descriptions of the various jobs we need to fill below. You do NOT need to be a registered voter or an Ohio resident to help.

Please contact me ASAP if you can help in some way ....

Thank you!
Debby deborah_herman (at) earthlink dot net
(C) 513-258-4960

This is the logistics team. Their primary functions are: On all four GOTV days, do confirmation/turnout calls for the scheduled volunteers; and  (2) on Election Day itself monitor polling locations and help ensure that voters don't leave the lines.

Team members: Captain, Runners, Callers

White Team Captain: Help with turnout calls, keep track of what's been done, report that info to Staging Location Director (that's me). On Election Day, get info by phone from runners relay info and problems to Staging Location Director.

Callers: Make confirmation/turnout calls to scheduled volunteers; if necessary, make calls to known volunteers to ask them to work a shift

Runners: Visit 1 - 3 polling location in our neighborhoods (Mt. Auburn/Clifton Heights). How long are the lines?Does the line reach outside the building so that people are having to stand in the cold? Is it taking a long time for people to get into the building and vote? Do they seem to be getting restless? (we don't want them to leave --- pass out snacks and hot drinks if this is a problem -- runners are provided with these items by the campaign)

This is the voter turnout team. Its sole function is to go door-to-door to ensure that our voters (and we know who they are) get to the polls. THIS REALLY REALLY MATTERS. It has the added plus of being easy to do.

Team Members: Blue Team Captain, Canvassers

Blue Team Captain: Help get canvassers signed in to the Staging Location; separate them into "experienced" and "inexperienced" groups. Give the experienced canvassers their materials and sign out those materials properly Give those who need it a 10-minute training session; then sign out their materials.  (This is all a lot easier than it might sound, and I can coach anyone into this position who's organized, reliable, and not afraid to talk to people. )

Canvassers: These folks go door-to-door to identified Obama voters in Mt. Auburn and Clifton Heights.

This is the polling numbers team. Its sole function is to check in at the polls at certain points during Election Day and report certain publicly posted information back to the Staging Location. 

Red Team Captain: Do confirmation calls to make sure scheduled red team volunteers are coming in for their shifts. Get polling information from red team members, collate and organize, give to Staging Location Director

Polling messangers: Check in at the polls at certain points during Election Day and report certain publicly posted information back to the Red Team Captain. (Polling messangers work Election Day only)

Drinking Liberally Northern Kentucky on Dutch TV

Fast forward to about 6:00 to see some familiar faces.