Madison Will March Saturday To Oppose Prop 8, Anti-Gay Marriage Vote

Anger over the California election results from Proposition 8, which overturned a court decision allowing gay marriage, has rightfully reverberated around the nation.  Placing discrimination into the state constitution, and the denial of civil rights to gay couples, has not only energized people in California, but around the nation.  Outrage over this vote will be heard coast to coast on Saturday, as marches will occur in numerous cities in every state, all at the same time.

Madison, a city with a proud tradition of taking to the streets to demonstrate the feelings of the citizenry, will be one of the ‘voices’ that will be added to so many others this weekend.  It is not hard to understand the degrading manner that gay couples in California are now being treated.  In addition, it is imperative that these hard won rights in other states not be taken away.  Collectively we must say, “NO TO BIGOTRY!”

Madison’s march will take place Saturday, November 15th starting at 12:30 P.M. Central Time at the Library Mall on the UW-Campus, and proceeding to the State Capitol.  I strongly encourage readers to spread the word.  Call a friend, grab a neighbor, and link this post to other sites.  Get the word out. 

Gay people are the last segment of the population to have rights denied to them based on who they are.  The issue of marriage has been used as a political weapon, and I know I am not alone when I say I am damn tired of it.  The tide is turning with gay civil rights, and those who have groundless and irrational fears about gay marriage are fighting harder as they see history turning a page.  As a counter-response to their shameful display of bigotry it is time for thoughtful and enlightened voices to join together and recognize that this issue is about our family, friends, and communities. 

Other communities around the state having marches on the 15th, all starting at 12:30 P.M. include….

Milwaukee…….City Hall – 200 E. Wells Street
*NEW change of location

Duluth/Superior….MN Power Plaza at Lake Ave. & Superior St. in Duluth

La Crosse…..400 La Crosse Street, La Crosse

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Economic Crisis Might Give Back National Identity

I found this story interesting.  Great reporting.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —Emiratis have fretted for years over the loss of their culture, as social norms became more a product of the newcomers than of the nationals. Now, some are pinning their desires for a cultural salvation on the global economic downturn, which they hope will reduce the number of foreigners pouring into their country and give them a chance to reassert their customs and way of life.

“This is a blessing; we needed it,” Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a political science professor at United Arab Emirates University, said of the fiscal crisis. “The city needs to slow down and relax. It’s good for the identity of our country.

“The city reached the summit, but we knew every time we got closer to the top, we got closer to the edge, too,” he added. “That’s the feeling inside each Emirati. When we felt like we had it all, we also felt like we will lose it all.”

The sudden cold snap in the economy, more than in societies in the West and the Far East, has forced a collective rethinking of the country’s direction. Perhaps the most difficult question is being asked by Emiratis themselves, who want to know where they fit into their own country. In an odd case of role reversal, the minority of nationals fear they are becoming like colonial lords in their own country.

“I’m not just concerned about my future, I’m concerned about the future of my country,” said Rashid Ali, 24. He and his friend Fahd Muhammad, 25, were the only Emiratis seated in a crowded city mall last week. “I’m concerned about our national identity,” Mr. Ali said.

He and Mr. Muhammad embody the challenges and contradictions that have roiled this country, forcing a top-to-bottom reassessment in the face of a financial crush that has cut off the easy money that was the lifeblood of the development boom.

The local population has largely been pacified by the largess of a gilded welfare state. For Mr. Ali and Mr. Muhammad, that meant free tuition and expenses for their university studies in Britain, including a monthly stipend of $1,258 while abroad.

Returning from school this year, they were given government jobs that pay $3,600 a month, which like all income here is tax free. When they plan to marry, they said, the government will give them each a piece of land free and about $200,000 to build a house, plus access to a 10- or 20-year interest-free loan.

That generosity is a problem now, as the government faces the prospect of having to control spending, raise revenue and encourage its own citizens to move into industries like finance and banking, which are now controlled by foreigners. Locals make up only 3 percent of the private work force, experts here said, with Emiratis opting for the shorter workday and higher pay of guaranteed government jobs.

The problem is that many like Mr. Ali and Mr. Muhammad say they enjoy what they get from the growth — the luxury villas and fancy cars — but not the costs in terms of social change. If the economy slows too much, however, the fear is that the costs may ultimately outweigh the benefits.

“Most people worry now, where is the welfare government?” said Salah Al Halyan, a financial consultant in Dubai, who explained the concerns of Emiratis. “Where is all the comfort? Where is my country? Who are all these people coming? The problem is the attitude of the nationals. They want to live on food stamps.”

As the two men walked amid a sea of foreigners in the mall, they alternated between pride in the development and anger about what they called a loss of control of their national identity.

“We are Bedouins, developed Bedouins, but we still have our traditions,” Mr. Ali said. “It’s all changing and disappearing.”

And then with deep sarcasm, he said, “What’s up, dude?” a phrase as alien to his culture as blue jeans and, now, as common in his city as blue jeans.

Senator Baucus Unveils Sweeping Healthcare Plan

The time has come.

I hope that the millions who worked and supported Barack Obama now take the next step, and stay focused on what the election was all about.  Governing.  For The People.  It is time to demand the ones we worked for, gave money to, and voted for create the policies we need.

With that said, the first massive attempt to direct the nation towards a more sane health care plan was unveiled today by Senator Max Baucus.

Under the Montana Democrat’s plan, all Americans would be required to hold a health insurance policy, going one step further than President-elect Barack Obama’s plan. Individuals could keep their existing health plans or join a nationwide insurance pool to buy coverage, the price tag of which would be reduced with government subsidies. Insurers would not be allowed to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, a centerpiece of Obama’s plan.

Baucus’s plan comes after Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), who chairs a key health committee, and other top Democrats have sent clear signals that the 111th Congress will attempt to enact a sweeping healthcare plan — despite the skyrocketing national debt. Obama has listed healthcare as a priority on his agenda, but he has suggested that a big push may wait until after the financial system stabilizes.

“President-elect Obama applauds Chairman Baucus’s work to draw attention to the challenges of the health system and looks forward to working closely with the chairman and other congressional leaders, as well as the American public, to make quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans,” said Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Under Baucus’s approach, coverage would be expanded under Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which would ensure that children below 250 percent of the federal poverty level would be covered. People between the ages of 55 and 64 would be eligible for a Medicare buy-in, and the plan would phase out the current two-year period where individuals who have disabilities have to wait for Medicare coverage.

His plan will likely generate opposition from Republicans who say government should take a more limited role in the healthcare system. Legislative language has yet to be released.

Baucus argues that failing to act would double the national healthcare costs, which currently stand at $2 trillion.

“In short, we all must realize that the costs of inaction, both in human and financial terms, will eventually be far greater than any initial outlays,” Baucus said.