Climate Change Video: “Not Reality TV”

dnc2016Tonight, the Democratic National Convention Committee will release a new video on climate change, called “Not Reality TV.” The video was produced by James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm and is narrated by Sigourney Weaver. It features former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Black, Don Cheadle and America Ferrara from “Years of Living Dangerously,” the Emmy Award-winning series on climate change. [Read more…]

Clinton Adviser Responds to Trump Press Conference

At a press conference in Florida, Donald Trump was asked about the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. His response spurred the release of the following statement from Jake Sullivan, senior policy adviser to the Clinton campaign:

This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Below is a video of the Trump press conference. The remarks begin at time marker 35:35, and the especially controversial ones appear at time marker 44:00.

Day 1 and You Are There

Day 1 started with the news that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed by her own delegation at the Florida breakfast. Not dissuaded, I tried to take SEPTA into Philadelphia, but because of the heat, there were long delays (beyond the already abbreviated schedule), and so I took my very first Uber ride. It was delightful.

Photo Jul 25, 10 53 12 AMThe logistics of the Philly convention are somewhat challenging. The morning starts for all of the delegates at 7 a.m. when they need to pick up their credentials for the day at their hotels, some of which are 30 miles from the city. For the rest of us needing daily credentials, the day starts at the Philadelphia Convention Center (PCC), where people are milling about and attending meetings, caucuses and training sessions.

Ralph Rodland, DNC delegate.

Ralph Rodland, DNC delegate.

The first person I met today was a Hillary delegate from North Carolina,  Ralph Rodland. We had a fantastic chat about House Bill 2, North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill,” requiring individuals to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. Rodland believes that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s days are numbered. Although he is thrilled to be here as a Hillary delegate, Rodland did ask whether it was always this hot in Philly, since it’s actually cooler and less humid back home in North Carolina right now.

Then it was time to get on the media bus and go down to scope out the arena. Although the city is much less closed off than it was when the pope visited last year, it was still a long walk from the drop-off point to the arena. For those not familiar with Philly, it’s less of an arena and more of a conglomeration of multiple sports facilities. If you know my knowledge of sports, you know I don’t know who plays what where, but I’m sure someone will tell me. Again.

One of the first things I scoped out was the part of the convention no one really shows you. Below are some pictures of where the work actually gets accomplished.

All food in the stadiums is owned and operated by Aramark. It’s a monopoly, which is how they charge $4.50 for a 16.9 ounce bottle of Aquafina tap water.

All food in the stadiums is owned and operated by Aramark. It’s a monopoly, which is how they charge $4.50 for a 16.9 ounce bottle of Aquafina tap water.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s go upstairs. Facebook has a nice lounge where it is possible to sit, tweet, and hey, post to Facebook. One of the nicest things is that the lounge is filled with charging stations, all of which have multiple options for various electronics. A few charging areas are also stationed around the arena, and all are brought to you courtesy of AT&T. Twitter has a table too. Both places have tons of swag.

I tweeted out pictures of the arena all decked out, and posted some to Facebook. The real excitement happened when the gavel came down. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake replaced Rep. Wasserman Schultz in presiding over the opening ceremonies, and was cheered when she came out — possibly because some people were surprised. She was poised and did a good job speaking, and then realized, she didn’t have the gavel. She got it, banged it, and the place went wild. Then, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale gave the invocation, and the train came off the rails. Everything was okay until she said “…and we are here to select Hillary Clinton as our nominee for president of the United States.” The booing was louder than the yays. That was a theme for a while. Everything was fine until Clinton, or Clinton and Kaine, were cited as the nominees prior to names being entered into nomination or the vote being taken.

When Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) took over as head of the convention, she tolerated the booing for a while. And then, she let loose, chastising the audience. It was not our finest hour.

State Senator Andy Dinniman.

State Senator Andy Dinniman.

I decided to take a walk, and ran into my state senator, Andy Dinniman. There’s something really heartwarming about talking to your elected official who knows you — where you live, what you do — no need for an aide to hand him a file card. Andy is a great guy who fights tirelessly for “the right thing” for our community, and amongst the noise and the politics, it was fantastic to talk to someone who, day after day, does the work of government in a way that is decent and worthwhile.

Finally it was time to call it a day. The arena was getting overcrowded, on a day when the heat index hit 108. Walking across the security zone, I ran into John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and former candidate for U.S. Senate.  We talked about meeting at Netroots Nation back in 2009, his campaign this year, his former opponent Katie McGinty, and the work he is still doing every day in Braddock. Again, a public servant who, day in and day out, works tirelessly for his people.

John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, PA. and former candidate for U.S. Senate.

John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, PA. and former candidate for U.S. Senate.

There’s a lot of fun in politics, a lot of intrigue, a lot that’s sexy. But people like John and Andy understand that politics is poetry and governance is prose. It’s not just getting elected; it’s working for the good of one’s constituency.

Tomorrow, I’ll be downtown all day attending various seminars, lectures and meet-and-greets. I’ll be tweeting and Facebooking all day, and will have a wrap-up in the evening.

Live Blog: The Democratic National Convention Begins

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is on site this week at the Democratic National Convention. Publisher Dan Loeb, President Bonnie Squires, Vice President Ken Myers and writer Jessica Weingarten will be providing reports, photos and updates. Follow below from most recent to earliest.

Please refresh this page frequently or follow our twitter feed for updated content.
[Read more…]

DNC Statement on Released Emails

Democrat-donkeyOn behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again.

“We are embarking on a convention today that — thanks to the great efforts of Secretary Clinton, her team, Senator Sanders, his team, and the entire Democratic Party — will show a forward-thinking and optimistic vision for America, as compared to the dark and pessimistic vision that the GOP presented last week in Cleveland. Our focus is on electing Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Democrats across the country, thanks to Democratic Party that is strong, unified, and poised for victory in November.”

Donna Brazile, Incoming Interim Chair
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary 
Andrew Tobias, Treasurer 
Raymond Buckley, Vice Chair, ASDC President 
Maria Elena Durazo, Vice Chair 
Mayor R.T. Rybak, Vice Chair 
Henry R. Muñoz III, National Finance Committee Chair 

Lessons for Democrats from the RNC

RNC 2016The most important takeaway is that the GOP is now Donald Trump’s party. This may seem minor, but it’s critical to understanding what will be necessary for the upcoming general election cycle: the rules are different.

You may have noticed that the mainstream media referred to the Republican National Convention as “Donald Trump’s Convention” instead of “The Republican Convention” or “The RNC Convention.” Next week is not “Hillary Clinton’s Convention” — it is “The Democratic National Convention.” No convention has ever before been personalized this way. The importance relates to how the cycle will be covered, and intimates that Donald will continue to be covered differently from anyone ever.

Note that the first night of the convention, while the mother of a soldier lost in Benghazi was speaking, Donald called into Fox, and they preempted her speech to speak with him.

Zachary Taylor, People's Candidate for President and Millard Fillmore, Whig Candidate for Vice-President (N. Currier, June 1848)

Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, Whig Candidates for for President and Vice President, respectively. (N. Currier, June 1848)

A cautionary tale for the party comes from more than 150 years ago. Read about Zachary Taylor. Seriously, read the link. Read it now. It’s really important.

Welcome back. Now you know the future.

Plagiarism is not a big deal to the Trump campaign.

I don’t blame Melania. She read off a teleprompter. She’s likely done very little, if any, public speaking and thus the speechwriters had nothing to work from relative to inclusions or tone.

But they could have Googled the speech, line by line, to check it. Plagiarism will get you tossed out of school: it’s a big deal. Intellectual property still matters.

The campaign is too green, too unprofessional to know any better. Then they spent 38 hours being unable to answer properly to the problem. Finally, they blamed an employee of the Trump organization.

If she was the one who wrote the speech, and she did it on company time, that’s an FEC violation. Campaigns cannot commingle monies or paid personnel between a company and the campaign, nor political offices and the campaign.

Speaking of breaking laws…

New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro said in an interview that Hillary Clinton “should be put on the firing line and shot for treason.” The Secret Service is investigating. Baldasaro is a veterans’ adviser to Donald, who in no way distanced himself from the quote.

There was a lot of Hillary bashing at the RNC, and very little “Donald-is-good-because-XYZ” (except from his kids!!!) or “I support Donald because he stands for ABC.” The crowd in the arena, who are his voters, loved it.  Going forward, this means they’re for him, not his positions, nor his actions. It doesn’t matter to them, which makes our job that much harder.

Ted Cruz isn’t coming around.

Ted Cruz spoke, didn’t endorse, and was booed. More importantly, Ken Cuccinelli had to walk Heidi Cruz off the floor because she was in danger of being physically assaulted. Shows you what kind of people are Trump supporters.

Only 23 people were arrested.

There are 5,500 law enforcement types around the convention, but only 23 people were arrested. This compares to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia where over 300 people were arrested. This is probably due to the huge security area around the arena keeping people far away from cameras.

What does this all mean?

First, the Democrats are not running against the Republicans; they are running against Zachary Taylor, and that didn’t work well for the good guys. (Except Millard Fillmore, who was a terrible president, but great in many other regards.)

It means every Jill Stein defection is a vote for Donald Trump.

It means they need to campaign differently up and down the ballot.

It means “I’m too busy” is not a valid excuse this September, October and November.

It means someone with no interest in running the country will end up running the country after having campaigned on no platform other than banning Muslims and building a wall.

Senator Barbara Boxer Speaking in Philadelphia

Barbara Boxer (r) and Bonnie Squires (l).

Bonnie Squires (L) and Barbara Boxer (R).

Sen. Barbara Boxer visited public media station WHYY in Philadelphia to launch her latest book, “The Art of Tough,” a memoir of her decades of service in both Congress and the Senate. For the first time since 1976, she may not be running for election, but she doesn’t plan on going away. She represented California in Congress from 1983 to 1992. Then in ’92, she entered the U.S. Senate. Next on her agenda as a private citizen is to create a political action committee (PAC).

Sen. Boxer announced that she will be a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Then she launched into a spirited defense of Hillary Clinton, saying, “Hillary is authentic, the smartest person in the room. She’s shy. But she is just herself, ever since she was in college.” While she had a few choice words about Donald Trump, she repeatedly described Hillary as “authentic.” [Read more…]