Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Thursday, June 30, 2011

kentucky independents call for congressional hearings

Independent Kentucky

Pennsylvania Headed Toward Open Primaries

Will Pa. Ever See Open Primaries? (By Judith Ayers, PoliticsPA) Independents are joining third parties in pressing Pennsylvania’s closed primary system. On the forefront of this growing movement is State Rep. Eugene DePasquale’s introduction of of a four-bill reform package, known as the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA).


  • Cuomo must make good on redistricting promise (EDITORIAL Democrat & Chronicle) Unfortunately, since Cuomo's campaign victory last fall, creation of an independent commission to draw new district boundary lines somehow fell off the governor's must-get-it-done-now list.
  • Council Restores Watchdog's Funds (By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL, Wall Street Journal) The City Council blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg from slashing the budgets of the city's top government watchdog and the borough presidents, preventing what the mayor's critics called a political power play.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sarah Lyons: Seeing New Things, Past and Present

Seeing New Things, Past and Present
By Sarah Lyons

I went to hear Dr. Omar Ali speak at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem the other day.  He was there to present his latest book In the Lion’s Mouth: Black Populism in the New South

In his opening remarks, Dr. Ali told the audience that the book would not have been possible absent his experience working as a political organizer. 

He said being an activist had allowed him to see things differently so that when, as a graduate student, he approached the subject of black political history in America, he saw gaps in the existing scholarship and unattended clues.  He then began a process to uncover and piece together the largely unknown and untold story of black populism in America—the largest independent black political movement prior to the civil rights movement.
When it comes to independent voters and their location in American politics, a lot of people are seeing things in a new way.  
Dr. Ali's book is a success. So much so that Charles Postel, author of The Populist Vision which won the Bancroft Prize—the highest award given for works of historical scholarship—drew upon his work in a reshaping of the history of populism in the late nineteenth century.

When it comes to independent voters and their location in American politics, a lot of people are seeing things in a new way.  That’s because the American people—all of us—are collectively going through the experience of our country becoming more independent, whether we’re affiliated with a party or not, politically active or never voted. One impact of that process is that what was once common, becomes questioned.

Take for example a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “New Law on Ethics May Face Challenge.” It reports on a controversy in New York surrounding who would be allowed to serve on a newly formed ethics body with the power to investigate state officials who run afoul of ethics rules.

The fact that power on the board was divvied up evenly between Republicans and Democrats raised sharp objections from leading First Amendment scholars and constitutional lawyers prompting them to warn that the new ethics body may be destined for legal challenges in federal court if the possibility for independents to serve on it was eliminated.

Where once an equitable power sharing arrangement between Democrats and Republicans would be welcomed and applauded as fair, it has become suspect. That’s the power of a 40-year trend towards political independence making itself felt and allowing things to be seen in new and unexpected ways.

Sarah Lyons is the Director of Communications for, a national association for independents with organization in 40 states. She is based in New York City. She can be reached at 212-962-1824 or

Contradictions of Our Flawed Democracy: What Can Be Done?

Libertarians Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie have written a new book "Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America." (See the article in the conservative below) 
"(W)hen you get independent from politics, things are going great because people can experiment, they can innovate. ... We should squeeze down the (number of) places where we need a consensus to the smallest area possible, because all the interesting stuff happens outside of that."

While I completely agree with people experimenting and being innovative and "squeezing down where we need consensus," frankly, I don't believe that libertarian politics can fix anything, never mind "what's wrong with America."

For one thing, I don't think there is a "fix" for what ails us:  it's a historical problem. And for another thing, I don't think there's anything "wrong" with America.  The contradictions in our flawed democracy are quite real and very active. That's the stuff of revolution and it's up to the people to move us forward. Yes, the history of our country that has produced the current entrenched partisan structures needs to be changed. There won't be any real change unless there is development, unless we the people move beyond a narrow partisan agenda. And that is happening!

Fortunately, there is a new developmental movement growing throughout the country that is organizing independents and addressing core American values of democracy and fairness., for example, has launched a national campaign to lobby Congress to hold hearings on the structural discrimination in our electoral system against independent voters. See also Jackie Salit's keynote at the national conference of independents last February, now available as a documentary on DVD "Can Independents Reform America?")

I recommend reading Death of the Duopoly in the WSJ last week, penned by our libertarians Matt and Nick:
 -- "Fortunately, a more efficient system is finally on the doorstep of America's most stubborn, foot-dragging, reactionary sector—government at the local, state and especially federal levels—and its officially authorized, customer-hating agents, the Democrats and Republicans. As the number of independents rises, voters who are free from party affiliations are more inclined to view political claims with due skepticism. By refusing to confer legitimacy on the two accepted forms of political organization and discourse, they hint strongly that another form is gathering to take their place."

More on this:

  • A New Day in Politics (John Stossel, Town Hall) Most Americans used to call themselves Republican or Democrat. These days, more call themselves independent. What does that mean for American politics? A lot. "Independents are everywhere, and they're becoming the largest single voting bloc in the country," Reason magazine Editor Matt Welch says. " (T)hey can determine every national election and every ... election for state office. So independent voters -- people who refuse to say, 'I'm a Republican or I'm a Democrat' -- that's where all the action is."
  • Iowans offered conflicting assessments of Obama’s record on the economy (BY STEVE TRAINOR & LYNN CAMPBELL, Missouri News Horizon) Strawn said Democrats once had a 113,000 voter registration advantage over Republicans, but that has shrunk by nearly two-thirds. As of June 1, Iowa Democrats had a 36,342-person advantage over Republicans. The state had 609,500 active Republicans at 29.1 percent, 645,842 active Democrats at 30.9 percent and 698,516 active independents at 33.4 percent among Iowa’s 2.1 million registered voters, according to the Iowa secretary of state’s office.
  • Americans Broadly Favor Obama's Afghanistan Pullout Plan (by Lydia Saad, Gallup) The vast majority of Democrats and independents, as well as half of Republicans, favor the outlines of Obama's plan, according to the June 25-26 Gallup poll.
California’s new independent redistricting process could endanger 5 Republican House seats (Washington Post) Republicans account for roughly 31 percent of California’s voters and 36 percent of its congressional delegation — at 53 members, the nation’s largest. Democrats comprise 44 percent of the state’s voters and 62 percent of its congressional delegation. About 1 out of every 5 California voters declines to declare a party preference.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


marian rich

Arizona Independents Told to Pick a Party to Vote; California Politicians Conflict of Interest in Drawing Their Own Districts

No-party adherents are told to pick one (Rhonda Bodfield, Arizona Daily Star) There is no independent primary. But since 1998, independents have been able to vote in the various party primaries. They just have to pick which one they want to vote in. For an all-mail election, the notice telling them to pick a party is the equivalent of walking into a polling place and telling the poll worker which party's primary you want to vote in.

Letter: Supervisors shouldn't draw districts (Chico Enterprise-Record) When will politicians like Wahl get the message that it is a conflict of interest to be drawing their own lines?


  • Obama needs to court Latino vote (By: C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in Winnipeg Free Press) In 2008, Obama relied heavily on the votes of blacks and independent voters to carry him to victory. However, in the mid-term elections, uneasy about the economy and high unemployment, both groups preferred the couch to the voting booth. This, however, was not the case for Latinos, who set a mid-term election record with a turnout of more than six million. 
  • Obama’s drawdown plan ‘about right,’ poll finds (By Scott Wilson and Jon Cohen, Washington Post/Checkpoint) Obama has been courting independent voters for months, and 40 percent of respondents who identified themselves as independents said his withdrawal plan is “about right."

From Confusion to Fusion: Union Survival in the Age of Christie (By John D. Atlas/NJ Voices, Star Ledger) If the union movement wants to break out its dilemma it better build some kind of independent political party capable of winning power or it will face a future between a rock and a hard place.

Before Passing Marriage Bill, Senate Extended Rent Regulations and More (by David King, Gotham Gazette) According to a study by Common Cause/NY, New York City, real estate interests donated almost $10 million to local and statewide races in 2009-2010 -- a sum nearly double what was spent by the real estate industry from 2007-2008. Fifty-two percent ($5,114,665) of that cash went to Democrats, while 24 percent ($2,351,924) went to Republicans. The remaining 24 percent was spread throughout third parties and ther groups, with the largest amount -- more than 9 percent -- going to the Independence Party… One major issue that the Senate chose to ignore was independent redistricting. During the 2010 election season, former Mayor Ed Koch and his NY Uprising group won pledges from a majority of legislators on both sides of the aisle to support independent redistricting.

Poll: Fewer Californians follow political news (The Associated Press, Sac Bee) The 25 percent who say they follow news of government and politics "only now and then (or) hardly at all" is up from 20 percent in 1999 and 16 percent in 1979. Voters who consider themselves independents were the least likely to say they follow political news closely: Only 30 percent of nonpartisan voters said they paid close attention to political news, compared with 41 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Huntsman to Follow John Anderson Example? Does Tea Party Take Over Repubs?


  • Handicapping the Republican Field: Part II, the Wild Cards (By NATE SILVER, NY Times/FiveThirtyEight) Or perhaps the better comparison for Mr. Huntsman is  Representative John B. Anderson in 1980 — a moderate who beat expectations in the Republican primaries and then ran as an independent against a very weak Democratic incumbent in Jimmy Carter and a very conservative Republican candidate in Ronald Reagan. If Mr. Huntsman is on the ballot in November 2012, I find it almost as plausible that it will be as an independent  than as the head of the Republican ticket.
  • In the Spotlight: Et tu, Brute? Obama’s liberal base in Congress fires away (By Dana Milbank, Sac Bee) On top of that, Obama has little to show for his intramural squabbles. Clinton's heresies earned him the support of independents (the expanding economy certainly helped) but, according to the latest Bloomberg poll, only 23 percent of likely independent voters support Obama's re-election, while 36 percent say they will definitely back another candidate.
  • Can The Tea Party Survive A Debt Ceiling Deal? (Benjy Sarlin, TPMDC) But unlike many Tea Party lawmakers and activists, every top Republican is against default and facing heavy pressure from their friends in the bond business to come up with a plan before they get anywhere near the ledge. If their choices are between a default crisis that could wreck their standing with independents, a short-term fix that satisfies nobody and boosts the Democrats, and a deal that achieves most of their goals while alienating the Tea Party, then it's a lot easier to pick the latter if they know that the right will oppose any deal, period.


  • New Ethics Rules, Same Old Albany (By Larry M. Elkin, CPA, CFP®, Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC) Independent oversight would be a good thing, but the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will not be independent. As  a result, it will most likely provide little oversight.
  • MacKay offers observations on gay marriage (by James M. Odato, Albany Times Union/Capitol Confidential) Chairman Frank MacKay of the New York State Independence Party is wandering the Capitol with aide Tom Connolly.
  • If gay marriage fails in New York, Mayor Bloomberg's money is partly to blame (BY ALEX PAREENE, Salon) While the "independent" mayor selectively donates to politicians on both sides of the aisle, Bloomberg clearly intended Republicans to retake the Senate, giving almost a million dollars to the Senate Republican campaign just before the election.

Friday, June 24, 2011

rainy day nyc

sandy friedman

Who Supports Election Reform? The People Do

One test of the popularity (emphasis on popu - of the people) of electoral reforms like National Popular Vote is the gathering storm from the right wing... See Roger Stone's view below...

A Plan to Reform the Electoral College (by Roger Stone, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government) The proponents of a constitutional amendment that would mandate a direct popular election would hand our elections over to union-funded operatives who engage in voter fraud and vote stealing. Andrew Breitbart has accurately highlighted the incredible electoral frauds perpetrated by ACORN and I have written extensively about the shady and illegal voter fraud activities of New York’s left-wing Working Families Party (WFP).

The Note: 2012 Focus Remains On ‘Nation Building’ At Home (By MICHAEL FALCONE and AMY WALTER, ABC News/The Note - Washington's Original and Most Influential Tipsheet) But the Bloomberg numbers also showed that an embrace of the Rep. Paul Ryan budget plan is a huge turn off for independent voters. Americans by a 57 percent to 34 percent margin believe they would be worse off with the Ryan Medicare plan, including 58 percent of independents.

A response from Joel Klein on status quo apologists (By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post/The Answer Sheet) No, Professor Pallas, I don’t think knowledge resides in kids and, like iron ore, all we need to do is carefully extract it.  What I do think is that our schools, and especially our teachers, need to do a much better job of educating our kids – that is, teaching them the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful in the 21st century.  As I put it in my piece, “teachers matter, big time.”

Right to be nominated (By Mo Jihong (China Daily) Every citizen with political rights can be legally elected as a deputy to the people's congress at county and township level. The new round of local people's congress elections at the county and township level is approaching and has attracted widespread public interest. There's a heated discussion in the media and among netizens about the so-called independent candidates.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

foggy morning

marian rich

MSM Confusion About Independent Voters

When it comes to independent voters (now 38% of the electorate) all parties are confused, especially the MSM which makes its living these days by making up stories about indies. Rush Limbaugh is no exception! And apparently this confusion is seeping into Jon Huntsman's nascent presidential campaign - he is skipping Iowa, going heavy into New Hampshire and worried but optimistic about South Carolina, all because of his perception of indies and ideology... For a good read on this confusion, see Sarah Lyons' article "Independent Voter" Does Not Mean Moderate.

Complaint from an Independent (TRANSCRIPT The Rush Limbaugh Show) RUSH: I can understand why you would think that, and I said earlier in the program long before taking your call that my real complaint is not so much with the independents. I mean, you're who you are. My real beef is how you are portrayed; it is how you are characterized. You are characterized as unique and special. You're the smartest voters around.

  • OPEN PRIMARY PRE-CLEARED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) The Department of Justice pre-cleared California’s top two open primary under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, thereby opening the way for the implementation of the new primary system statewide in next year’s elections. 
  • In work on recalls, elections chief Kevin Kennedy battles charges of partisanship (JESSICA VANEGERENThe Capital Times: Your Progressive Voice - Madison WI) KK: People want to know how it is legal. But in Wisconsin, we don’t require that voters register by political party so you don’t have a mechanism for tying a candidate to a political party. The political parties really don’t control who runs on their ballot. There is no requirement that you have to be a member of a political party to run. And that goes back to the Bob La Follette era and the creation of open primaries.
  • Poll: 3 in 10 sure they'll vote Obama According to a new poll, 3 in 10 Americans say they are certain they will vote for Obama. (By JENNIFER EPSTEIN, Politico) Among likely independent voters, 23 percent say they are certain they will vote for Obama, while 36 percent say they are sure they will seek out another candidate.
  • Indy voters bailing on O in new poll (POLITICO in Seattle Post Intelligencer)
  • Soft-Spoken Huntsman Enters the GOP Race (By JONATHAN WEISMAN, Wall Street Journal) He won't contest the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, traditionally dominated by social conservatives. Instead, Mr. Huntsman will vie for the New Hampshire primary, where he believes independent voters will flood the polls for him.
  • Mr. Independent (POLITICO in Seattle Post Intelligencer) In an interview with POLITICO, Huntsman made clear that he plans to capitalize on election rules in New Hampshire and South Carolina that allow independent voters to cast ballots in the GOP presidential primary.
  • Huntsman sees independents as key (By: Kasie Hunt, Politico) But Huntsman’s focus on South Carolina puts a twist on that state’s primary, where the winner has gone on to be the GOP nominee in every presidential year since 1980. With its large number of social conservatives, South Carolina could prove to be hostile to Huntsman, whose moderate record and Mormon roots might prove difficult to overcome among evangelical Christian activists. His focus on independents who can vote there, however, could blunt both disadvantages at once, particularly if he can make inroads into the Low Country region around Charleston—the area targeted by both McCain and Romney in 2008.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Harlem NY: Dr. Omar Ali at Schomburg with Dr. Lenora Fulani

Please check out the latest conversation among independent activists at the latest "happening" in Harlem -- Omar Ali and Lenora Fulani at the Schomburg.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

War is a Racket

Major General Smedley Butler July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940

"A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

Resuscitating Labor: Putting an Independent on the NLRB

Resuscitating Labor: Putting an Independent on the NLRB

By Aaron Welt

Even by historic standards, the past year has been a bad one for the American labor movement. High-profile political defeats in numerous state capitals, and organized labor’s failure to strongly influence the party that supposedly guards its interests (the Democrats) have illustrated that workers cannot rely on partisan political jockeying to achieve revitalization. A rare exception to labor’s woes came when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) initiated legal action against the Boeing Corporation for allegedly punishing its local engineer and aerospace employee union by threatening to move production to right-to-work state South Carolina. The issue will be worked out in the courts over the coming months, but the case paints a clear picture of how partisan interest have usurped federal agencies and severely hampered their ability to properly enforce our laws.

Worker unions are protected from certain managerial actions under the National Labor Relations Act of 1934, including punitive decisions by employers designed to expunge employee representation at the workplace. The agency created to oversee New Deal worker protections, the NLRB has, like almost every other executive body, been stymied by the partisan interest during subsequent Democrat and Republican administrations. When the hyper-partisan Bush administration was at the helm, the NLRB consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, consequently issuing a number of pro-business decisions, a strange trend for an agency designed to enforce laws protecting worker’s rights. The Obama administration has turned the tide back, with Democratic appointees. The legitimacy of this Board’s decision will be worked out in the courts, but it is clear that this back and forth between preceding Democrat and Republican administrations has tarnished the agency’s credibility as a fair arbiter in the crucial debates over labor policy. The stakes for the labor movement in reinvigorating the NLRB could not be higher, as it becomes increasingly obvious that the Democrats will give token gifts back to established labor leaders while taking the labor vote for granted, and will face a harsh backlash against the next Republican Administration, which will surely and callously have an ax to grind against unions once it is “their turn.”

Like so many federal agencies, the path to restored credibility will come when independents finally get a seat at the table. Only independents enjoy the freedom to make decisions free of political obligations and with judicial rationality, a necessity for any law-deciding body to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of voters. Therefore, for labor decisions to deserve good standing among the body politic, an independent must be appointed to the NLRB for their rulings to possess assured merit. Without independents on the Board, labor proceedings can only be a banal dance in which the major parties dole back gifts to the interests that put them into power. And as is the case in so many of the political dead ends and stalled reforms that make Washington a laughing stock for the rest of the country, it is independents that can push the political tide beyond partisan politics as usual.

E.J. Dionne: Attack on Right to Vote is Underway Across the Country

How states are rigging the 2012 election (By E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post/Opinions) An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper… In part because of a surge of voters who had not cast ballots before, the United States elected its first African American president in 2008. Are we now going to witness a subtle return of Jim Crow voting laws?

Kentucky gubernatorial campaigns say religion isn't an issue (By Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald Leader/ Their stances come as former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson apparently is the first person of the Jewish faith in Kentucky to run for the office of lieutenant governor. He is running with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who is seeking re-election… Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith, who is trying to get enough signatures to run this fall as an independent candidate for governor, said he does not expect religious affiliation of any of the candidates to be an issue in the race.

Why American students lag in test scores - Unlike the U.S., high-performing nations have clear, shared standards and pay their teachers well (By Marc Tucker and Jerry Weast, Baltimore Sun) The top-performing countries differentiate their educational spending to give the hardest-to-educate students more resources and support than other students. The U.S. is alone among industrialized countries in providing the most money for the students who have the most advantages.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Schomburg Center Tuesday: In the Lion's Mouth - Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900, with Dr. Omar Ali

In the Lion's Mouth: Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900, with Dr. Omar Ali
In the Lions Mouth: Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900, presents the fascinating history of the largest independent political movement in the South prior to the modern civil rights movement. The book tells the story of the rise and fall of this lesser-known movement of black farmers and sharecroppers in the late 19th century, locating their struggle within the broader history of independent black politics in the U.S. from the Abolitionists of the 1840s to the black and independent alliance that helped to elect President Barack Obama.  Dr. Ali will be introduced by Dr. Lenora Fulani, the first woman and first African American in U.S. history to appear on the ballot in all 50 states in her run for President in 1988.

Omar H. Ali is Associate Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University under the supervision of Eric Foner.  Ali is the author of In the Balance of Power, named "a landmark work" by The National Political Science Review. He is a board member of national association of independent voters--and has appeared on CNN and NPR discussing the rise of political independents in the United States.
Check out Dr. Ali's interview from this morning on WBAI's Wake Up June 20th -- the 15 minute interview comes about 9 minutes, 30 seconds into the program, just after the "this day in history" note about Muhammad Ali being stripped of his heavy weight title for refusing to serve in Vietnam. Ahh... the meeting of the Ali's!

Death of Duopoly: Independent Voters on the Rise


  • Death of the Duopoly -Being binary is bad for business, so when will politics cure its bipolar disorder? Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch on the lessons Washington should learn from the real world. (By NICK GILLESPIE and MATT WELCH, Wall Street Journal) As the number of independents rises, voters who are free from party affiliations are more inclined to view political claims with due skepticism. By refusing to confer legitimacy on the two accepted forms of political organization and discourse, they hint strongly that another form is gathering to take their place.
  • More SD voters say ‘independent’ (By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic) There were 88,450 independents registered as of June 15, according to the latest numbers from the state elections office. That is a record number.
  • INDEPENDENT VOTERS MUST TAKE TO FACEBOOK TO GROW THEIR MOVEMENT (by Christopher A. Guzman, CAIVN) As the 'mainstream' media airwaves are often charged with heated and polarizing rhetoric, many citizens are looking for an alternative. In light of Pew's findings, the time is ripe for Independent voters to effectively spread their message to their disillusioned peers regarding which candidates and issues they believe deserve a chance to be heard.

REGION: Prop. 14 will bring as much change as legislative redistricting (By MARK WALKER, North County Times) Minor-party candidates have little chance of appearing in general elections because members of the Green or Libertarian parties, for example, rarely command enough votes to finish first or second in votes cast in the primary.

University of Michigan Press is About to Re-Publish Error-Plagued Election Data Book (Ballot Access News) It does not include any Libertarian presidential candidates, not even Ed Clark in 1980 who got 921,299 votes. But it does include Lenora Fulani’s vote in both 1988 and 1992, even though in 1992 she placed fifth (with 73,714 votes), behind not only Ross Perot (who is included) but also behind Andre Marrou (the Libertarian, who received 291,627 votes, but who is not included) and Bo Gritz (the Populist Party nominee, with 107,014 votes, also not included).

Arizona schools look at Florida as reform model (by Pat Kossan, The Arizona Republic) But the question is, will such reforms produce the same positive effects in this state as they did in the other? Florida enacted reforms before the 2007-09 recession, which gutted state coffers nationwide. Arizona lacks the money to fully implement Florida's reforms, such as training for teachers, bonuses for schools that improve or free preschool.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Show us slowly slowly... dance us to the end of love ... never done

A shout-out to Fred Newman on his 76th B'Day -- Dance us to the end of love ...  we'll never be done. What would be the end of love? The end of humanity. Not on our watch...

Thanks for your efforts, FN, and all. This isn't the right song, but the right song hasn't yet been written for us. We'll keep trying! xoxo

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
And dance me to the end of love
Yeah dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Oh let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Oh and dance me to the end of love
Yeah dance me to the end of love

La la
La la la
La la
La la la
La la
La la la

Oh dance me to the wedding now
Oh dance me on and on
Oh dance me very tenderly
Oh and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love
We're both of us above
And dance me to the end of love
Oh won't you dance me to the end of love

La la
La la la
La la
La la la
La la la

Friday, June 17, 2011

American Voters Need Open Primary to Overcome Partisan Destructiveness

Randy's Ramblings: Recent shenanigans aren’t a reason to abandon the open primary - Some conservative bloggers are gloating over the Republican Party’s use of Wisconsin’s open primary system to play shenanigans with the upcoming state Senate recall elections. (By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer)

Third Parties Face Stiff Hurdles in PA (By Judith Ayers, Politics PA) Libertarian Lou Jasikoff stated that they were approached by the Republicans lawyers and told that their signatures to get on the ballot were “no good.” “You have an hour to drop out voluntary or we will sue you for the cost to look up the challenges,” he says he was told... The Green Party has had its own ballot access problems. In 2006 Carl Romanelli ran for the U.S. Senate against Rick Santorum and Bob Casey. Fearing he could siphon votes from Casey, Democrats filed a challenge to his petitions with Commonwealth Court. Romanelli is still facing more than $80,000 in court costs over the matter.


  • Joel Klein vs. those status quo apologists (By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post/The Answer Sheet) The rhetoric here is, to my ear, quite remarkable. It doesn’t place children and their development in the foreground; rather, the emphasis is on what schools can extract from kids. It’s a dangerous rhetorical twist, because it points to accountability systems that can decouple school-performance measures from student learning. There’s little persuasive evidence that such systems can promote lasting achievement.
  • Theater on W. 42nd Street Holds Free Day of Classes - Students can take improv, hip-hop, or even meet with "development coaches" during the All Stars Project's Opening Day Saturday. (By Meredith Hoffman, Manhattan Local News)
  • ESEA Reauthorization: A Crucial Step to Improve Schools - CAP Event Looks at How to Strengthen American Education Through ESEA (Center for American Progress Action Fund) Two expert panel discussions followed, the first featuring Rep. George Miller; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; former U.S. Secretary of Education and current president and CEO of her eponymous company Margaret Spellings; as well as moderator John Podesta. The second expert panel featured Rep. George Miller; American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications of the Education Trust Amy Wilkins; and moderator Cynthia Brown, the Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Don't Give Up: Mississippi Goddam - Go Slow for all us and WE will Bring you Home

Nina Simone takes us home:

Mississippi g-dam.

Pennsylvania On the Way to Open Primary

Nonpartisan participants - Not sold on independents voting in primaries (EDITORIAL The Tribune-Democrat - Johnstown PA) But we oppose [open primaries] because it would undermine the purpose of primary races, which is to set the field by political party for the November general elections.

Blurry Lines - California’s redistricting commission draws an uncertain map of the Golden State’s electoral future. (JOHN J. PITNEY, JR., City Journal)
Dan Walters: The big stakes? Two-thirds margin (Modesto Bee) Combined with the new "top-two" primary system, more swing districts would probably mean more moderate legislators who would not move in lock-step with right- or left-wing pressure groups.

Redistricting reform, now (by Jay Jochnowitz, Editorial page editor, Albany Times Union) Here, in case any of them misplaced their pledge, is what they signed on for: “Ensuring that redistricting pursuant to the 2010 Census be constitutional and fair … the creation of an independent, non-partisan Redistricting Commission to draft advisory maps for the Legislature to review and approve.”

Ron Paul says appeal to independent voters gives him an edge (JENNIFER JACOBS, Des Moines Register/2012 Iowa Caucuses) At the Stone Cliff Winery in the riverfront area, Paul drew whistles and hearty applause from a crowd of about 160, a more robust crowd than expected for a weekday, his staff said… Paul said he is especially attractive to independents “since Obama’s not trusted on the economy. And actually the progressives are very annoyed with him, too, because he was really supposed to wind those wars down.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Can We Get Out of the Partisan Trap?


  • Notes on Getting Out of the Partisan Trap (By Harry Kresky, This post was co-written by Michael Hardy, Huffington Post) For us, this raises the issue of getting past, or outside of, the institutions that organize special interest politics. Chief among these, of course, are the political parties, which control the Congress and, notably, dictate the terms of the political game. Obama has tried to rise above this, only to be sucked back into a partisan grid. How do we get out of that trap? That is a complicated, long term proposition. But there are steps that could be taken now.
  • To survive, state GOP must reinvent itself (By Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times) Labor unions, which are Democrats' biggest allies, say the combination of the "top-two" primary system and the new political maps creates unprecedented opportunities for them to influence Republican races. Last week, the Service Employees International Union launched a political action committee aimed at helping moderate Republicans be elected to the Legislature.
  • California Set to Become Even More Democratic (By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones) But in 2008 and 2010, voters (including me) approved initiatives that took redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and gave it to an independent commission charged with creating compact, nonpartisan district lines.

With embattled Weiner all but certainly out of running, NYC mayor's race suddenly shifts (SAMANTHA GROSS  Associated Press, The Republic) Thompson has some catching up to do. As of January, Weiner had raised $5.1 million, Quinn had raised $3.2 million and Stringer had raised $1.1 million. Liu and de Blasio trailed with $513,000 and $393,000, respectively.

School reform’s new generation (By Joel I. Klein, Washington Post) What they have in common is recognition that the status quo in public education is broken and that incremental change won’t work. They are ready to challenge the heart of the educational establishment rather than tinker around its edges, which has been the hallmark of past, failed reform efforts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Political Reform: No Party Affiliation

Galbraith claims no allegiance to party (By HAWKINS TEAGUE, Murray Ledger & Times) The Lexington attorney has run for governor in the Democratic primary three times – 1991, 1995 and 2007 – and once in 1999 on the Reform Party ticket, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal… “I’m an independent candidate for governor,” Galbraith said during a stop at the Murray Ledger & Times office Tuesday. “My running mate and I have no party affiliation whatsoever. We don’t want one. The problem with Kentucky and the reason we’re dysfunctional as a state government in Kentucky is because both parties have their horns locked up like two bull elk fighting over territory while the business of the people lays dead in the dust.


  • Election 2012: On the trail of the moderates (CAPITOL WEEKLY, By John Howard) And in addition to the new strategies, there is uncertainty over the real impact of two new, voter-approved electoral features – the top-two primary and the boundaries drawn by an independent redistricting commission.
  • Calif. gets look at political maps drawn by citizens panel set up by voters to reduce gridlock (JUDY LIN  Associated Press, Daily Journal) "I think a big factor in the low registration and low voting rates in California among some communities is disenchantment with the political process. And a big source of that disenchantment is the fact that people feel that politicians have chosen their voters instead of the other way around," said Maria Blanco, a commissioner from Los Angeles. "The measure of success will be whether we see more people ... willing to participate in the political process."

Nevada Bill Passes, Eliminates the Easy Method for a New Party to Qualify for the Ballot (Ballot Access News) AB 81 also tells parties that nominate by primary that they cannot invite independents to vote in their primary. Only the Democratic and Republican Parties nominate by primary in Nevada. They have not been letting independents vote in their primaries recently anyway, but previously, the law was silent on whether independents can vote in primaries. AB 81 bars a party from inviting independents to vote in its primary.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Courts, Congress have sabotaged our right to pursuit of happiness

Courts, Congress have sabotaged our right to pursuit of happiness (Letter to the Editor, Reform restrictive voting requirements that exclude our citizens from participating in elections. We need open primaries, a paper trail, easy-to-get-to voting places, extended voting days, recall privileges and term limits for Congress.

Members to Get First Glimpse of New California Map (By Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call) That will complete what is likely the most open redistricting process in the state’s history — one that incumbents at the state and federal levels have been cut out of.


  • Forget those Republicans for now, Obama's real 2012 opponent is The Economy (LA Times/Top of the Ticket) The polls now show Obama's job approval on the economy tanking, even among Democrats and, ominously, among independents so crucial to his 2008 victory coalition.
  • Americans' Distrust in Democrats, GOP Hits 25-Year High (KGO AM 810 San Francisco)  Among political independents, rejection of both parties rises to 34 percent. That result marks the public’s long-running economic discontent and a concurrent retreat from party loyalty.  Independents have outnumbered self-identified Democrats or Republicans steadily since September 2009, by far the longest run of its kind in 30 years of ABC/Post polling.
  • Tensions Flare as Afghanistan Drawdown Nears (KGO AM 810 - San Francisco) Nearly 80 percent of independents said Obama should withdraw a "substantial number" of troops from Afghanistan this summer and barely more than a quarter felt the war is worth its costs. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

'Independent voter' does not mean moderate

I picked this article up from the Muskegon Chronicle and thought it was worth repeating.

By Sarah Lyons
sarahlyons.jpgSarah Lyons
Pew Research Center released a survey last month which was encouragingly called "Beyond Red vs. Blue." Encouraging, that is, for the growing number of Americans eager to find a way out of the partisanship which has come to dominate public policy making at nearly every level of government.
The study — a 150-page analysis — was quickly digested by reporters eager to get a leg up on the latest political trends just as the Republicans held their first televised presidential debate in South Carolina which, notably, holds both an early primary and an open primary in which independents are allowed to vote.
"Voters More Complex than Red/Blue" wrote ABC political director Amy Walter. "The Misunderstood Independent," echoed Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post.
The fifth study of its kind conducted by Pew since 1987, the survey aims to give a broad overview of the character of electorate and sorts Americans into eight cohesive groups based on values, political beliefs, and party affiliation.
Three of the eight classifications that emerged from this year's study were dedicated to independent voters — up from 2 classifications in the 2005 survey. More importantly, the presence of independents was evident across all five of the remaining classifications including those meant to define Democratic and Republican voters. In those groups, independents comprised 15 to 34 percent of their total makeup. Independents are everywhere it seems.
Pew acknowledged this in their report stating, "In recent years, the public has become increasingly averse to partisan labels. There has been a sharp rise in the percentage of independents — from 30 percent in 2005 to 37 percent currently."
The survey also encouragingly pointed out that contrary to much theorizing that independents comprise "the center" of American political life, they remain a diverse lot with strong opinions. "The growing rejection of partisan identification does not imply a trend toward political moderation, however. In fact, the number of people describing their political ideology as moderate has, if anything, been dropping," wrote Pew, acknowledging that while independents have come to played a central role in the last three national elections, this does not a "center" make.
Pew's findings amplify our own, discovered not through polling, but through the activity of organizing independents over the course of two decades. Independents are not in the middle between Democrats and Republicans. Rather, they want to move beyond the confines of parties altogether.
Perhaps more so than any other group of American voters, independents are attuned to the fact that partisanship is not a behavioral issue, it is a structural one. Since partisanship is produced by the structure of politics, addressing the issue of partisanship meaningfully means changing the political structure. That's why reforms like open primaries and nonpartisan elections are so popular among independents.
Sarah Lyons is the Director of Communications for, a national association of independent voters and activists based in New York City.

Gov Cuomo: "Indies Don't Exist" Ha Ha!

  • New Law on Ethics May Face Challenge (By JACOB GERSHMAN, Wall Street Journal) By enshrining into law the perpetual dominance of Republicans and Democrats in overseeing ethics codes, Mr. Cuomo and lawmakers could be infringing on the rights of unaffiliated and minor-party citizens… There are about eight million active registered Democrats and Republicans in New York. An additional two million voters aren't enrolled with a particular party, while several hundred thousand are members of minor groups, such as the Conservative Party and Working Families Party.
  • Fred Thiele: Above the law? (by Jimmy Vielkind, Albany Times Union/Capitol Confidential) But there is currently one lawmaker who is an enrolled Independence Party member: Fred Thiele, of Suffolk County, a Republican turned Independent who now caucuses with the majority Demcorats.
  • POLL: Obama Has Some Work To Do With Independents (Richard Kreitner, Business Insider) The president's re-election ultimately hinges on whether he can secure roughly 50% of self-described "independent" voters. The Washington Post/ABC News Poll indicates that it won't be easy.
  • Obama’s approval gains among young and independents disappear (By Scott Clement, Washington Post/Post Politics)
Dan Walters: New California legislative maps make good on promise of reform (By Dan Walters, Modesto Bee) An increase in swing districts would mean that right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats would no longer be assured of winning seats after nomination. The state's new "top-two" primary system would, at least in theory, also work against ideological rigidity. Together, they could create new and perhaps decisive blocs of moderates from both parties.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Neal Receives Independent Spirit Award from NYC Independence Party

Rep. Joe Neal - Independent Spirit Award

Constitutional attorney Harry Kresky introduces Dr. Lenora Fulani who introduces South Carolina Representative Joseph Neal, "a black leader who stood up and said open primaries are fundamental to the political rights of black folks". Rep. Neal was honored with the Independent Spirit Award at the NYC Independence Party Manhattan Spring Chairman's Reception hosted by Cathy Stewart at Tribeca Grill on Monday, June 6, 2011.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Growing Number of Americans Defy Partisanship


  • Tuesday Elections Primarily a Formality for Local Madison Candidates (By Stuart Chirls, Madison Borough NJ Patch) Incumbent council member Sam Cerciello will vie for a second term as an Independent in the November general elections, after ending his earlier announced bid for mayor, also as an Independent. Voters can only vote in the party's primary in which they are registered. A flood of write-in votes notwithstanding, the primary is uncontested based on the candidates on the ballots. 
  • Not much drama in upcoming NJ primaries - Most districts have same incumbents (Written by Michael Symons, My Central Jersey | Statehouse Bureau) Independent voters can register as a member of the Democratic or Republican parties at their polling place. 
  • Uncontested Races Dominate Upcoming New Jersey Legislative Primaries (By Ballotpedia, Sac Bee) But with only 24 of 160 primaries requiring voters to choose between multiple contenders, 85% of candidates will automatically advance to the general election.

Harry Kresky on South Carolina Federal Court Victory for Open Primaries

Attorney Harry Kresky talks about the recent Federal Court victory in South Carolina for open primaries at the NYC Independence Party Spring Chairman's Reception held at Tribeca Grill 6/6/11.

Honored at the event this year were three distinguished leaders from South Carolina: State Representative Joseph Neal; Attorney Fletcher Smith, Jr.; and Chair of the SC Independence Party, Wayne Griffin. All three played important roles in the fight to preserve open primaries.

Jackie Salit at New York City Independence Party Spring Chairman's Reception Celebrates South Carolina Open Primary

Jackie Salit, president of the national Committee for a Unified Independent Party ( gave opening remarks.

Cathy Stewart hosted NYC Independence Party Organizations 13th annual Spring Chairman's Reception in celebration of the recent Federal Court victory in South Carolina for open primaries.

Honored at the event this year were three distinguished leaders from South Carolina: State Representative Joseph Neal; Attorney Fletcher Smith, Jr.; and Chair of the SC Independence Party, Wayne Griffin. All three played important roles in the fight to preserve open primaries.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Open Primaries for Pennsylvania, Independent Governor for Kentucky, Non-Partisan Redistricting Process for California

Former Calif. assemblyman, senator call for elimination of partisan political data in redistricting process (San Diego News Room) The language of the Initiative specifically excludes any criteria related to political party registration. There is therefore no reason for the Commission, its staff, or its consultants to access or otherwise make use of any data associated with partisan registration.


  • Johnson not invited to CNN GOP debate - Rep. Michele Bachmann, who hasn't declared she'll run, will debate (By Matthew Reichbach, New Mexico Independent) “I respect the right of CNN and the other sponsors of the June 13 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate to apply their own criteria and invite who they choose,” Johnson said in a statement Friday. “It is, however, unfortunate that a significant segment of the Republican Party, and more importantly, millions of independent voters who might be Republican voters, will not have a voice on the stage in Manchester.”
  • Undeniably bad news for Obama (By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post/Right Turn) And finally, the election now becomes less ideological, I would argue, and hence more perilous for Obama. The Republican challenger doesn't have to attack him as a left-wing radical (a loser message with nonideological independent voters); all the GOP opponent needs to do is point to the horrid results obtained by Obama’s policies.
  • Obama seeks reshaped image for 2012 run (By Susan Page, USA TODAY) His strength is his base: In combined Gallup polls taken in May, he held the approval of 88% of African Americans and 57% of Hispanics, 88% of liberal Democrats and 58% of those under 30. His vulnerabilities: His approval rating sinks to 42% among whites, 44% among seniors, 38% among independents who don't lean to either party.

Independent Candidate for Ky. Governor Could Revitalize Frankfort Politics - Gatewood Galbraith Eyes Kentucky Governor Mansion (Tyler B. Yandall, Yahoo! Contributor Network, Associated Content)

Primary changes weighed - Bill would allow independents to participate (Tribune Democrat) House Bill 958, introduced by state Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-Beaver, would require independent voters to register with the polling place 30 days before the primary election.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Interviews by a Black Independent: Lenora Fulani Interviews Roscoe Orman in Harlem

Each month Dr. Lenora Fulani interviews movers and shakers in the development community with a diverse audience of independents, progressives, and neighbors in the 2nd floor Gallery at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem (125th Street).

Roscoe Orman, the actor who plays the beloved "Gordon" on Sesame Street, lit up the room on June 3, 2011, speaking about the history of black theater in NYC, the Free Southern Theater, and this special performance of a scene from Matt Robison's controversial one-man play about Lincoln Perry called "The Confessions of Stepin Fetchit" created for Mr. Orman in 1993 on Broadway.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Interviews by a Black Independent: Lenora Fulani Interviews Roscoe Orman in Harlem Friday June 3rd

In case you missed this offbeat wonderful Uptown New York City monthly cultural event (please get this event on your calendar!) here's a snip-it of the wonderfully produced, humanistically developmental, historical and down-right down-home outta-'da-park conversation between Dr. Lenora Fulani and South Bronx born and Harlemite actor Roscoe Orman, "Gordon" on Sesame Street, for 37 years and counting.

Arrive at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Harlem State Office Building -- on 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (take the #2 train or the A or C train to 125th St. and walk over) and step onto Fulani Street -- a lovely neighborhood stoop where adults are allowed to create new things!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Independents Ted Downing and Janelle Wood Named to Arizona Elections Review Committee

Independents named to Arizona Elections Procedures Review Committee (Sonoran News - The Conservative Voice of Arizona) Jackie Salit, President of, a national association of independents with organization in 40 states, congratulated Janelle Wood and Ted Downing, encouraging independents to roll up their sleeves and seek out appointments to positions that will help them create a level playing field in their State's election processes for independent voters and candidates.

  • Dissenters in GOP rethink Electoral College Popular-vote pact picks up steam (By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times) Republican leaders attribute the sudden, surprising GOP enthusiasm for NPV to the involvement of Tom Golisano. A billionaire and three-time Independence Party candidate for New York governor, Mr. Golisano joined the movement in February and has dedicated himself to seeing the compact implemented.
  • California's not so non-partisan redistricting (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) However, the Commission’s progress to date has demonstrated the difficulty of taking the politics out of an inherently political process.  For instance, in March, when it came time to determine the firm that would be charged with actually drawing the map lines, the Commission was faced with a choice between two organizations with long-standing, though indirect, ties to the Democratic and Republican parties – Q2 Data Research and the Rose Institute, respectively.
  • CalChamber, others try to lobby Redistricting Commission (By Malcolm Maclachlan, Capitol Weekly) At issue is the hiring of an outside consulting firm to help the 14 commissioners with the technical process of actually drawing the lines. The Commission’s selection of Berkeley-based Q2 Data and Research has irked many Republicans, including the new chairman of the California Republican Party, Tom Del Beccaro. Del Beccaro has been on a public campaign against the choice, which he said was made in a “no-bid” contract after the Commission “staff significantly lowered the experience qualification standard” in order to hire the firm — as he wrote in an April 19 editorial on the conservative Fox & Hounds political blog.
  • Last Ditch Push On Redistricting (Gotham Gazette/The Wonkster) Cuomo promised to veto any district lines drawn up by the legislature. Cuomo has not however made independent redistricting a major part of his state-wide tour.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Acme political cartoon

Open Primaries, Independent Redistricting - America Needs Structural Political Reform

  • The will of the people? (LETTER Wellsboro Gazette - IL) Finally, we should consider open primaries. Given that these changes would empower voters while eroding control by political machines, I’m not holding my breath. Until ballot access is reformed, I’d advise all challengers to do what I’m doing; run as an independent and avoid the primaries.
  • Election competitiveness far from impossible (KEN CLARK AND ROBERTA VOSS, Arizona Daily Sun) Your editorial asserts that other reforms, such as open primaries, will do more to reform Arizona lawmaking than redistricting. However, we are certain that better redistricting is the key reform from which all others flow, like a fountainhead.
  • President Obama's New York Approval Rating Highest Since February 2009: Quinnipiac Poll (BY Celeste Katz, Daily News/Daily Politics) New York State voters approve 60–35% of the job President Obama is doing -- his highest score since February 19, 2009, one month after inauguration.  Predictably, independent voters split 47–47%, Democrats approve 89–7% and Republicans disapprove 76–19%, the survey found.
  • Romney: 'Barack Obama has failed America' (By PHILIP ELLIOTT, The Associated Press, Atlanta Journal Constitution) It's a pitch tailored to the conservatives who hold great sway in picking the GOP's presidential nominee in Iowa and South Carolina — and the independents who are the largest politic bloc in New Hampshire. And it is as much a thesis on his viability as it is an indictment of Obama's leadership.