Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WV Dem stops anti-gay amendment

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"I'd hate to see discrimination put into the Constitution," Del. Joe Talbott (D-Webster County).

We won a battle for equality and it went unnoticed.

On Feb. 2, mph2005 had an excellent diary, WV Dems propose Marriage Protection Amendment.

The bill appeared nothing more than an incredibly stupid effort to appeal to bigoted homophobes.

It was a gift to the WV GOP in an election year.

The GOP delegates loved the measure so much they wanted to bypass all of the usual rules and procedures (no surprise) and demanded an immediate up or down vote.

"Courts throughout the country are attacking statutory enactments on the definition of marriage," said Delegate Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, who led the effort. "It's very important that we do this."

When introduced the measure was sent to the Constitutional Affairs committee and then assigned to the Judiciary Committee for review.

Del. Joe Talbott, chairman of the Constitutional Affairs committee, refused to bow to the GOP demands.

All bills have to be reviewed by committees.

The GOP forced a vote to bypass Talbott's decision. Here's how the Human Rights Campaign described it: Gay Marriage Amendment Fails.

CHARLESTON--The House of Delegates rejected a bid Wednesday to advance a proposed constitutional amendment that targets same-sex marriage, which is banned under a 2000 state law.

With two absent, a largely party-line vote of 35-63 defeated an attempt to have the necessary resolution bypass the House's Constitutional Revision Committee.

So I talked to Del. Talbott today and that's when he said that line I used at the beginning. He's not a proponent for same sex marriage. But he told me he does believe in liberty and people should be free to live as they want as long as it doesn't interfere with others.

He's been targeted by the religious right for killing this bill. They also hate him for his support of reproductive rights.

He represents a very rural West Virginia county. I ask that you take a moment and thank him for stopping the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment."

Write a letter to

Joe Talbott

205 East

State Capitol Complex

Charleston, WV 25305

or email

or fax 304-340-3351.

Please remember: he helped us win a battle. We need allies like him to win the struggle.

P.S. Steve M has a nice email for those not sure what to say:

Mr. Talbott,

I just wanted to take the time to drop you a note and thank you for your courageous act in blocking the cynical GOP maneuvers on the "Marriage Protection Amendment."

It really doesn't matter what any of us think of someone else's marriage. America is supposed to be about equality and tolerance and as long as we remember those values we can't go wrong. I married a lovely woman last year and I do not feel that our marriage is the least bit "threatened" by anyone else's gay or straight marriage. Even if someone chooses to marry a Republican, I still don't feel that would threaten the wonderful institution of marriage in the least. We can all agree to let other people's business remain their business.

Thank you again for doing the right thing.


Steve M

Friday, February 17, 2006

Meet Mr. Robb

** Richie Robb will speak at
Berkeley County Democratic Association
Monday, February 27
Hoss's on Edwin Miller Boulevard in Martinsburg
Dinner about 6:30; program 7:20. All are welcome!

** Unable to attend Monday eve.?
Contact Lynn Yellott to arrange meetings with Richie on Sunday, Feb. 26, late afternoon and evening.

** Arrange for Richie to speak with your organization
March 11-15,

** Political reality: it takes money to raise money.
Richie Robb seeks 2500 people to donate $25.
Send your contribution to:
Robb Congress
P.O. Box 8747
South Charleston, WV 25303

We've got fine candidates running to take on Shelley Moore Capito.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Democracy Bonds

New feature added to the site. You can contribute to the Democratic Party through the button at the top or the meter on the side. Most of those listed as contributors probably already contribute, but if you don't already please consider doing so.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Corporate Capito and Abramoff????

From Comcast news:

Friday's filings by prosecutors refer to a third member of Congress, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va. Her name appears in e-mails that suggest she was trying to help Abramoff secure a GSA lease for land in Silver Spring for a religious school.

Capito claims to know nothing about the effort. "The action taken by her former chief of staff was done without her knowledge, approval or consent," said her spokesman, Joel Brubaker. "She was not aware of any contact with GSA of any type on this matter."

We all know she took campaign money from Delay and is nothing but a vote for corporate America over us real Americans but now it seems the corpution is coming to her front door. Will West Virginia's 2nd district and especially the Eastern Panhandle wake up and vote out Shelley Moore-Capito before it is too late???

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What Bush Really Said

Let us go through the speech and see if I got anything right and also let’s look at what some of the speech would have looked like if Bush would have been allowed to write it.
My points will be in parenthesis and Bush’s version will be in brackets.

…Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King. (Ding, Ding, Ding #5)

…In a system of two parties, two chambers and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone. And our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger.
To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another. And I will do my part. (Let’s just see if Bush calls people names.)And I will do my part.

…Tonight the state of our Union is strong,(Ding, Ding, Ding #1) and together we will make it stronger.

..We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. (Your with me or against me)

..We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. (My way or the highway)

..In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism (name calling) may seem broad and inviting, yet it ends in danger and decline.

…Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal: We seek the end of tyranny in [the rest of the world and the continued growth of it here] our world.

…On September the 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country.(Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but we invaded Iraq)

…Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. (The Palestinian election a great example of this respect for thy neighbor.)

…At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran (Uh Oh, Axis of Evil has new members)

…And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam; the perversion by a few of a noble faith [even if you are all going to hell unless you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior] into an ideology of terror and death.

…Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously.(you know like Bin Laden wants to attack inside United States and Arabs taking flight classes but could care less about taking off and landing)

(I have figured out why Bush has not caught Osama and why Osama was allowed to escape out of Afghanistan. Bush and Osama need each other. Each individual’s ability to recruit is helped by the other. Every time Osama puts out a tape Bush’s poll numbers go up and every time Bush does anything the terrorist network grows by leaps and bounds.)

…Their aim is to seize power in Iraq and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. [but instead we have gained control of Iraq and Afghanistan and will continue to send up our unmanned bombers to blow up unsuspecting women and children in the name of the War on Terror.]

…Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear.[just like we republicans did in the last election.]

…But they have miscalculated. We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.[Even if I have to eliminate American’s freedom and liberties to do so.]

…But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender [our oil] to evil.

…America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps,[and started a few,] and helped raise up democracies and faced down an evil empire.

…We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory.
First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased and the insurgency will be marginalized.
Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. [Our majority in Washington may be corrupt, but we will not allow Iraq to be corrupt.]
…Third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. (Dind, Ding, Ding #2)

…The road of victory [in Iraq] is the road that will [send our troops to Iran.] take our troops home.

As we make progress on the ground and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels. But those decisions will be made by our military commanders,[as long as they agree with me], not by politicians in Washington, D.C. [other than me]

…In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice. Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success and defeatism (more name calling sounds like he is really willing to reach across the aisle) that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure.

…With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. [again as long as you do not disagree with me or my attack dogs in the press will tear you a new asshole you defeatist, unpatriotic bastards]

…Members of Congress, however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies and stand behind the American military in its vital mission. (not by giving them the adequate numbers like other Generals have suggested or by giving them adequate armor or supplies, but just by giving them lip service and not asking the question when will the mission actually be accomplished.)

…Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices[that I was unwilling to make]and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear.

…We are grateful to all who volunteer to wear our nation's uniform.[and now we are looking outside our borders for people who want to defend America because we can not reach our recruitment goals any longer.]

…Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, and protection of minorities,(like we did in the aftermath of Katrina…”you’re doing a heckuva job Brownie”) and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.

…The Palestinian people have voted in elections. And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace. (or what)

…Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform. Now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts. (watch Syriana it shows what happens to people who really want reform in the middle east)

…Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies; it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. (Who the hell is for isolationism????? He keeps using this term. Is wanting to control our own borders an isolationist??? Is wanting a level playing field for American workers an isolationist??? Who is he talking about???)

(It is true)--It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to Al Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.

…So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected Al Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. (I am going to give myself a ding, ding, ding here #4 in my list and I want to know why we are not arresting them, charging them and convicting them or at least kicking them out of our country.)

…Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have (all before 1978 when Congress, the law making body of government required Presidents to get warrants from a secret FISA court) and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. (but were not allowed to comment, disagree, or tell anyone about it.)

…Our economy is healthy and vigorous, and growing faster than other major industrialized nations. In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new (low paying) jobs (and eliminated 4.6 million higher paying jobs)
…So we're seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists (more name calling, but who is he talking about?) want to escape competition,(I think they probably just want fair competition) pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy.

…In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American [corporations and my wealthy friends] workers, investors, small businesses and families.

…Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years.
I urge the Congress to act responsibly and make the tax cuts permanent.(Ding, Ding, Ding #3)

...Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending. And last year you passed bills that cut this spending.
This year my budget will cut it again and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. (like college education grants and healthcare for the poor)

…By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. [We will also only have 6 billion dollars in Iraq go unaccounted for down from 9 Billion in 2003 on track to cut it in half by 2010.]

…Congress did not act last year on my proposal to [scrap] save Social Security...

... yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away.

…And with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.(Bush and his Republican allies pushed through congress on of the most expensive and poorly run entitlement programs in history , Medicare Part-D, a program that was nothing but a give away to the drug manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers with nothing to control the cost or any way to pay for it.)

…So tonight I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
This commission should include members of Congress of both parties (Lord knows Republicans can not solve this problem) and offer bipartisan solutions.

…With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out- produce or out-compete the American worker.[, but my corporate allies tell me the American worker is too expensive at $5.15 an hour.]

...Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility.[by forcing people off the Medicaid rolls and sending them to free clinics. I hope a liberal starts one up in a community near you soon.]

…And because lawsuits are driving many (BAD) good doctors out of practice (and insurance companies are driving many GOOD doctors out of practice. Bush proposes to penalize the lawyers and reward the insurance companies with medical liability reform.)

BUSH: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.(which he made unstable)

(I am going to skip most of Mr. Bush’s INITIATIVES, since we all know that they are just pretty names with no substance.)

America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat [our friends. So with the help of the Republican congress we have eliminated bankruptcy protection for real Americans and protected predator lenders, my contributors]one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.

[We have kicked half the people off welfare and doubled corporate welfare.]…Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade.

BUSH: There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades. (of course this has nothing to do with the availability of the morning after pill or all the education during the Clinton years)

…The Supreme Court now has two superb new members -- new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito.
BUSH: I thank the [Republican] Senate for confirming both of them.(Ding, Ding, Ding #6, and that completes my list) I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the [Christian Right and Corporate America .]law.

May God bless America. [and no place else.] (Bush stole this line from a Chris Rock movie)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

WV-2 candidates

We have two strong candidates running to take on Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia's 2nd District.

One, Mike Callahan, is a former federal prosecutor and Department of the Environment secretary.

The other has served as the Republican mayor of South Charleston for 30 years. He was one of the state's five presidential electors and he threatened to withhold his electoral vote from President Bush. He switched parties three months ago.

From an email:

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday Feb. 11 7:30 PM   Place: TBA                                    

Meet Congressional candidate Richie Robb who is opposing Rep. Capito.

Come find out more about Richie Robb who

  • has been mayor of South Charleston, WV for 30 years;

  • is a Vietnam  war veteran;

  • wrote and shepherded through the South Charleston City Council a resolution calling for the end of the war in Iraq;

  • left the Republican Party, in part, because of the war;

  • came in 4th out of 10 in the last primary (Republican)  for governor

  • supports a woman's right to choose.

Information on some of his other positions will be included in the upcoming message announcing the place for Saturday Feb. 11's gathering.

Article announcing his candidacy can be found here

The other candidate is Mike Callahan, a federal prosecutor for 9 years and Gov. Bob Wise's Department of the Environment secretary

He was at our county Democratic Association meeting recently touting his role putting coal mine operators in jail for safety violations when he was a federal prosecutor.

There's a lot to like about Callahan. When asked about his position on reproductive rights he said without hesitation he's pro-choice. When I asked -- I'm paraphrasing -- if he was willing to get as nasty as the Republicans will in order to fight back he said he goes to the same church as Shelley Moore Capito. He said he was her son's mentor at the church. When I said it didn't sound like he would use all the weapons the GOP has handed us with the corruption scandals, he said that bringing that up wasn't personal that it was political and he'd use all the political tools.

He talks like a genuine Bubba. He grew up at a home where he could fish in the stream in the front yard and hunt in the back yard.

Action alert

Details here.