US Midterm Predictions

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As promised yesterday, here are some predictions for the US Midterms.

Senate

In the senate the Republicans need to win 10 seats to gain control of senate. I think they will pick up 12 seats including: Nevada, Florida and Illinois. I think Fiorina will just lose out to Boxer in California, but I am hoping to be wrong on that one!

House

In the House I think the Republicans will end up with between 225 and 235 seats. This could be conservative, but the house is a lot harder to predict.

Govenor

In the various races for the Statehouses, California returning to Democratic control is a foregone conclusion. I think Illinois and Ohio will go Republican. I think Lincoln Chafe (ind) will win in Rhode Island.

Have you any predictions to share?

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US Midterm Elections

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So Tuesday is the first electoral test faced by President Obama, since his election in 2008. That year also saw much celebration by the Democrats as they won many seats in the Senate and House of Representatives as well as a number of state houses. This year that could change. The Republicans look set to win a number of Senate and House seats, this could be because of or despite of the Tea Party.

Senate

There are a number of very interesting Senate races this year. They are mainly in the west. Two that I will be watching closely will be Carly Fiorina’s bid to unseat Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer in California. Most of the polling have Boxer retaining her seat, but not by a very wide margin. Most give Ma’am Boxer a margin of between 3 and 8%, so this could be an interesting race.

The other race I will be watching closely will be Senate Majority Leader’s Harry Reid’s attempt to hold his seat against Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada. This is a loss that will be a great victory for the republicans, but if he hangs on, there wont be much for the Republicans to gloat about.

Of couse their are other races to watch. They include the race for Obama’s old seat in Illinois. It looks like that will be a very close one. Republican Mark Kirk looks set to win the seat and defeat the Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, as he has fallen behind in recent polling.

Other races that will be interesting are Florida, West Virgina and Alaska. It will be interesting to see how Christine O’Donnell does in Delaware. The big question here is, will Republicans get a majority? I think they will get a bare majority of 51 to 49.

House

The US House of Representatives is always interesting as the entire house is up for re-election. Here there is set to be a big change. The current state of play is the Democrats have 256 seats and the Republicans have 179. The Republicans need to gain 39 seats to gain control. Most forecast have them winning 40-60 seats so it is expected to see a good few seats change hands. And of course the results of this election will give us a better view of Democratic’s position across the country.

Some of the races to watch are Arkansas’s 1st District, Delaware’s At-Large District, Florida’s 2nd, 8th and 22nd Districts and Idaho’s 1st District.

Governors

39 state governorships are up for grabs also on Tuesday. A few of these are very interesting. In Rhode Island, independent Lincoln Chafee is leading the race to become senator. He was a former Republican senator but endorsed Obama in 2008 and this has led to an interesting race.

In Vermont, Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin are in a close battle for the Governorship. In current polling there is a 1% gap!

In Florida, Democrat and Chief Finance Officer of Florida, Alex Sink is locked in battle with Republican and Health Care Activist Rick Scott. In some polls there is no difference between them!

Other states that will be interesting to watch include Obama’s home state of Illinois, where the Republicans could gain. Other states I will be watching Ohio, Oregon and Minnesota.

So I will be getting up early on Wednesday morning (as I have work) to catch up with what has happened and see how it may pan out. Should I make predictions? Maybe tomorrow!

Have you got any tips before I make them?

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Me and Gay Marriage (Again)

So the Gay Marriage debate continues apace heightened since all the happenings since the passing of Prop 8 in California.

Maman Poulet has two excellent posts on some mistakes been made by groups here in Ireland looking for gay marriage and I have to agree whole heatedly with her. She gives some advice and this should be required reading for LGBT Noise and Marriage Equality activists. On one point that I must stress is that where Maman stresses

Don’t talk about segregation and apartheid – see here. Find your/our own language to use in this situation and stop using the very different experiences of others.

She is correct. A phrase that is far more useful us “Second Class Citizens” and is something that resonates more with people. Its something that people understand more in the context of gay rights.

GayPatriot.net got me thinking of the political make-up of those campaigning for gay marriage, but the one thing they continually over look is a question that is posed over on Gaypatriot.net

With a leadership which well represents its left-wing donor base, how do gay groups reach out to social moderates and conservatives whom we most need to move?

In short, the gay groups need to reach out to people who are least like themselves. They need to communicate with people who speak a different (cultural) language than they do.

That is something LGBT Noise, Marriage Equality and others need to sit down and try to answer. Slogans will get you so far but you need persuasive arguements.

In relation to my view on gay marriage, I find myself in complete agreement with a number of people. Firstly I agree with Queer Conservative when he states

Personally I think the whole argument boils down to semantics, i.e. the word “marriage.” Well fine, don’t call it marriage. Exempt religious institutions from having to recognize it. As long as the rights, privileges, and duties are the same I don’t care if we call it Blueberry Sherbet.

This has been an arguement of mine for awhile. I don’t like the word marriage and I am perfectlly happy with Civil Unions/Civil Partnerships. I mightened be so happy with Blueberry Sherbet

Secondly I also find myself in agreement with GayPatriotWest when he states:

They trying to change the type of relationships states privilege by calling them marriages.

Note the verb I use in that last sentence, “privilege” because that’s what states do when they call a particular kind of union, “marriage,” they privilege it. I’ve been saying that for years.

Again this is something I have stated before to friends. An article byThomas Sowell backs up that arguement.

The politically clever way to get special privileges is to call them “rights”– especially “equal rights.”

Thirdly I find myself completely agreeing with Sowell when he states:

Marriage is not a right but a set of legal obligations imposed because the government has a vested interest in unions that, among other things, have the potential to produce children, which is to say, the future population of the nation.

Gays were on their strongest ground when they said that what they did was nobody else’s business. Now they are asserting a right to other people’s approval, which is wholly different.

None of us has a right to other people’s approval.

(I do recommending reading his full column as like Maman Poulet he points out the problems with using segregation in relation to the campaign for gay marriage)

Strong stuff but wholly accurate.

The campaigns, not just in California and Ireland, but around the globe for Gay Marriage need to look closely at what they are agruing for and try and phrase it so that they get the maximum support. Until they can do this they are not likely to get mine or many other conservatives support for gay marriage.

Equality California considers Prop 8 Passage a "Mob Vote"


In a letter that is posted on the Gay News Blog, Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California says the result should be thrown out due to the “outrageous lies and questionable tactics by the other side, be thrown out. We know our rights cannot be taken away by a mob vote.”

I am amazed he calls it a mob vote? Is not California a democracy? Is it not the job of Equality California and others against Prop 8 to highlight the lies and the tactics used by its proponents. If it passed because of lies and tactics then it shows the incompetence of the “No on 8” Campaign. The route they are taking now, more legal action asking that the results of a legal democratic election “be thrown out” is outrageous!

I am also very questioning of the protests against the Mormon Church. So what if they supported Prop 8? Aren’t they allowed as a interest group to participate in politics? Parading signs like “Vile Mormons” is not going to get you any more supporters!

If those that were deicted to the cause actually stopped doing and started thinking they would do what is suggested over on GayPatriot and see where they went wrong. One of the writers there has also written an excellent piece on Pajamas Media on Making the Case for Gay Marriage. There is no point in blaming others when you failed as you must take some of the blame yourself.

I hope the California Courts have learned that they cannot go against the wishes of the MAJORITY of the people and through the results out.

Prop 8

I stayed largely away from the Debate on Prop 8 going on in blogosphere apart from one post about Google supporting it (which I regret btw), but the actions of people since the passing of the proposition makes me wonder if I would have voted no considering my position gay marriage. I kind of have to agree with gaypatriot.net in calling them sore losers. The people of California have voted 52.5% to 47.5% (results from Ballotpedia)

Now I am all in favour of democracy and think the fact that the PEOPLE overturned the decision of the Court to be a good thing. BUT what about all the same-sex couples who did get married, what happens to them? They are in a legal limbo. It is these people I feel sorry for.

The actions of the sore losers is what will not gain gay marriage any more supporters in fact it will harden the stance of those against it. The idea of bringing yet another court case will also harden the stance of the opponents as you are ignoring the will of the PEOPLE.

I think they should wait another four years as they can but another amendment forward. Why four years? Exit pools showed that young people supported the measure by a large majority so maybe that is the tactic they should be thinking of.

Google ‘hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8’

Yes, that’s right, that evil company Google are taking a stance on Proposition 8 in California. For those of you who don’t know Proposition 8 is the following: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. Basically the proposition is to make In re Marriage Cases (2008) [76 Cal.Rptr.3d 683, 183 P.3d 384] (PDF), which made Gay Marriages legal in California, illegal again. Obviously if I had a vote in California I would be voting no, but as I live in Ireland I don’t. It is heartening though to see a big corporation, like Google, taking a stance on it.

What I wonder is will this backlash on Google or will it further cement their position? Only time will tell.


Official Google Blog – Our position on California’s No on 8 campaign

Me Not Meth – New Campaign in Ca

MeNotMeth.org
Via gay news blog

California drug officials launched an $11-million barrage of billboards, bus wraps, cable TV ads and a website Thursday aimed at discouraging gay men from using methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant linked to risky sexual behavior and the spread of HIV.

The Website is an excellent resource and the TV ad is very good. I’ve posted about Cystal Meth, or ‘TINA’ or whatever you want to call it, before and again these are worth a look.

Of course the most interesting and horrify part is the stories of people affected of the drug. Please take the time to look at this website

Meth Facts
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that affects the body’s central nervous system. Commonly known as “crystal,” “speed,” “meth,” or “Tina”, methamphetamine is an off-white, odorless crystalline powder that tastes bitter and easily dissolves in water. Methamphetamine may be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed.

Meth FAQ
What are the short-term effects of methamphetamine use?
Methamphetamine increases energy and suppresses appetite. It slows digestion and increases alertness and concentration. The effects last from 6 to 12 hours or more. Depending on how much or how long one uses, one can become easily agitated, which can sometimes lead to violent behavior. Methamphetamine, like cocaine, strongly activates the reward and pleasure systems of the brain, particularly three important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result, methamphetamine elevates mood, induces euphoria, increases alertness, reduces fatigue, increases energy, decreases appetite, increases movement and speech, and/or provides a sense of increased personal power. However, the drug eventually “hijacks” this reward and pleasure system. Methamphetamine increases blood pressure, heart rate and sweating, and causes anxiety, irritability, insomnia, paranoia, and sometimes even psychosis. Once the high wears off, mental and physical exhaustion set in, often with a deep depression that sometimes includes thoughts of suicide.

What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine use?
Methamphetamine causes long lasting changes in brain chemistry, particularly in the pleasure systems of the brain. These changes impact abilities such as memory, judgment, and reasoning. Other long-term effects include extreme cravings for the drug and dreams of use. These brain changes do not disappear quickly after you stop using methamphetamine and are important factors leading to relapse. However, these conditions improve with extended discontinued use of the drug through treatment. The sooner a user gets into treatment, the better, and the longer a user stays in treatment, the greater the chances that treatment will be effective.

What are some physical signs that someone is using methamphetamine?
Common signs that someone is using methamphetamine include teeth grinding, obsessive picking of the face or body, hallucinations (in what one sees and hears), euphoria, extreme energy, inability to sleep for days, dramatic weight loss, paranoia and violent behavior.

Is it possible to overdose from methamphetamine?
Yes, one can experience overdose from methamphetamine use. Death from a methamphetamine overdose is associated with kidney failure and collapse of the circulatory system. A large percentage of patients who die usually have symptoms of coma, shock, inability to urinate, and muscle twitching.

In addition, methamphetamine use can cause an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and vascular constriction. These symptoms may cause heart problems, stroke, and kidney failure.

How is methamphetamine produced?
The process for making methamphetamine is potentially explosive and produces toxic byproducts. The main ingredients used in the process are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are chemicals found in common cold and allergy medicines. Methamphetamine is manufactured using toxic chemicals such as lithium from batteries, bleach and drain cleaner, paint thinner, lye, red phosphorous and iodine crystals.

What can one expect when coming down or withdrawing from methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine withdrawal, or “crashing,” symptoms can last from days to weeks and involve loss of energy, depression, fearfulness, prolonged sleep or difficulty sleeping, shaking, nausea, sweating, hyperventilation, increased appetite, irritability and drug craving.

Why is there an association between methamphetamine and HIV?
The association between methamphetamine and HIV transmission is related to 1) the tendency of users to engage in unprotected and uninhibited sex while under the influence of methamphetamine among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (G/B/MSM) and 2) the risks associated with injection drug use for those who inject methamphetamine.

In terms of sexual transmission, many G/B/MSM who are methamphetamine users may not use condoms and may have sex with many different partners while experiencing the effects of the drug. Sexual activity on methamphetamine can be rougher and can last longer. This increases the likelihood that a condom breaks or a sexual partner experiences injury during intercourse, which in turn increases the risk of HIV infection.

Another contributing factor is that G/B/MSM who use methamphetamine have a higher rate of HIV prevalence than those who do not use methamphetamine. Different studies have found that gay men who use methamphetamine are two to four times more likely to be infected with HIV. For those infected with HIV, methamphetamine use can lead to a lapse in HIV medication regimens, weight loss and vitamin depletion. Use also decreases the sleep essential to maintaining the immune system and causes a drop in T cells and NK cells.