Green, Libertarian VP candidates to visit Bay Area

The veeps are coming, the veeps are coming!

No, not Biden and Ryan – Honkala and Gray. Just as the Green and Libertarian presidential candidates barnstormed the Bay Area a few weeks ago, their running mates will be in town next week to meet the masses.

Green vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala, an advocate for the homeless from Philadelphia, from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday will be at Silicon Valley De-Bug, 701 Lenzen Ave. in San Jose, joined by hip-hop artists and community educators DLabrie, Rahman Jamaal of RonDavoux Records, and Metafizix.

On Monday, Honkala will be at a voter awareness month rally at De Anza College in Cupertino from noon to 2 p.m., and then from 4 to 5 p.m. she’ll attend a screening of “Brooklyn Castle” at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland, co-hosted by the Hip Hop Chess Federation. After that she’ll take part in a radio panel discussion hosted by Davey D, and she’ll finish the day with a rally and fundraiser at the headquarters of Berkeley Green mayoral candidate Kahlil Jacobs Fantauzzi from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at 1551 University Ave. in Berkeley.

Libertarian vice presidential candidate Jim Gray, a drug reform activist and former Orange County Superior Court judge, will speak at 6 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Oberndorf Event Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 641 Knight Way on the Stanford campus.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green presidential candidate Jill Stein will take part, along with other third-party candidates, in a debate at 6 p.m. PDT Tuesday in Chicago. Most TV networks are ignoring the event, moderated by Larry King, but it will be streamed live on the Internet at Ora TV, Russia Today, and the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.


3 things to remember about Romney’s binders

All joking aside, there are three points about Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment at Wednesday’s debate that shouldn’t get lost in all the fuss over the Internet meme.

1.) He didn’t actually answer the question.
Audience member Katherine Fenton asked, “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” In response, Romney talked about going the extra mile to find women to serve in his Massachusetts gubernatorial cabinet; about providing flexible work schedules so women can meet their family obligations (as if men don’t have those too?); and about strengthening the economy to create more jobs. He said nothing about pay inequity.

2.) The binders thing isn’t entirely true.
The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project was compiling this information and reached out to the gubernatorial candidates before Romney was even elected – they went to him, not vice versa. The Globe also reports:

Midway through his four-year term, 42 percent of his 33 new appointments were women, according to a study done by the UMass Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy using some of the data collected by MassGAP.

But over the next two years, women made up only 25 percent of the 64 new appointments Romney made. By the end of his term, the number of women in high-ranking positions was slightly lower than it was before Romney took office.

3.) Regardless of who went to whom, he made an amazing admission.
Romney said:

“An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.”

“And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.’ They said, ‘Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?’”

It sounds as if Romney set a policy in which he took gender into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group in employment, as a means of countering the effects of a history of discrimination.

There’s a name for that: affirmative action. But he was panned for his affirmative action record as Massachusetts’s governor, and it’s not a concept that’s popular with a lot of conservatives.


Lawmaker to show support for gay former Scout

A former Boy Scout who was denied his Eagle Scout award because he’s gay will be accompanied by an East Bay lawmaker as he delivers more than 400,000 petition signatures to the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council tomorrow in Pleasant Hill.

The issue might be near and dear to Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who is the mother of a lesbian daughter.

“Ryan worked hard to earn a merit status that is being denied to him solely because he is gay – that’s unacceptable,” Skinner said today. “In speaking out, Ryan and his family have displayed incredible courage and we all need to support people who are willing to stand up and demand fairness, tolerance and equality.”

The Boy Scouts of America this summer re-affirmed its national policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from leadership. Ryan Andresen of Moraga came out as gay, and though he had participated in Scouting for 12 years and satisfied all of the many requirements to attain its highest rank, Troop 212’s leaders denied him his Eagle award. The local council subsequently kicked him out of Scouting entirely.

Andresen appeared last week on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”


‘Mood meter’ says Obama won debate on Twitter

President Barack Obama kept Twitter users happier than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney through most of last night’s debate, according to a Silicon Valley company’s analysis.

NetBase, a Mountain View-based firm that “delivers the enterprise social intelligence platform that global enterprises use to monitor, understand, and engage with customers in real time,” has created a Mood Meter: a dial updated every 10 minutes that captures and measures sentiment expressed by Twitter users about the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Here’s a screen-grab from a short while ago:

NetBase Mood Meter screen grab

NetBase’s natural language processing engine analyzes each tweet about the candidates using its technology that understands how humans speak, including profanity and slang, according to the company’s news release. So the dials represent a moment in time, a cumulative group of tweet sentiment over the past 10 minutes – a real-time look into Tweeters’ opinions.

Here’s how it stacked up during last night’s debate:

NetBase mood meter

Keep in mind that this only surveys those who are actively Tweeting – a younger-skewed demographic – and not the entire debate audience.


Online voter registration continues to surge

More than 544,000 Californians submitted voter registration applications online in the new system’s first month, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said today.

“Given all of the important issues on the November ballot, I am delighted so many Californians want to make their voices heard,” Bowen said in a news release. “Since registering to vote is easier than ever with the quick online option, there is no excuse for not being ready to vote on Election Day!”

Californians must register to vote by October 22 if they want to participate in the November 6 election. Postmarks count for paper applications, but online applications must be submitted – not started – by midnight that day.

Many more Californians have submitted paper applications in recent weeks, but county elections officials still must verify eligibility and check for duplicate records before adding someone to the official voter roll. And many of the online applications are registration updates and not first-time registrants, so this doesn’t mean there’ll be 544,000 new voters. Final, official statistics for all registrations will be available Nov. 2.

Online voter registration is available at RegisterToVote.ca.gov; paper applications are available at post offices, public libraries, many government offices, and other locations.