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August 31, 2005

Katrina's Real Name: Global Warming

Ross Gelbspan had a good editorial, titled Katrina's Real Name, in the Boston Globe day before yesterday, connecting the dots between Katrina and global warming. 

THE HURRICANE that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.

As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.

Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.

NWPT64

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 31, 2005 at 10:00 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

LCV's First Endorsement: Cantwell

So LCV (that's the League of Conservation Voters) made its first 2006 cycle endorsement today, and it was none other than our junior senator, Maria Cantwell.  Republicans are targeting her this time around, and she's definitely solid on the environment, so it's a pretty obvious endorsement for LCV.

You might think that as a professional environmentalist, I'd be excited about this.  But honestly, I'm sorta ho-hum.  I had big hopes for Maria when she knocked out Skeletor in 2000.  Young, articulate, Democratic -- what's not to like.  Sure, Maria's been great on the environment.  But her vote for the Iraq war truly broke my heart.  She knew better.  And if she didn't, if she honestly truly believed that the war was a good idea, then she's just not the leader I thought she was.  She was dead wrong on the most important public policy issue of the past six years.  So it's hard for me to get excited about her, even though she's a solid enviro, and even I know it's important to keep her seat in Democratic hands. 

And here's another curmudgeonly observation for you: LCV hasn't demonstrated much ability to wage strong grassroots mobilization campaigns on statewide campaigns.  I believe that the 2004 Presidential election was their first real foray into grassroots GOTV work.  They have little infrastructure in Washington, and not much of a membership base here.  So it remains to be seen what kind of grassroots wave they can mount.  At least they're starting early, though.  That's important.

So, yeah, I'll pull the lever for Maria.  But it won't be with much gusto.  She's not all that.  Sorry.

But enough about me... I'm curious what you think -- is it hard for you to get over Maria's war-mongering, too?  Or am I just being a grump?  Am I under-estimating LCV's grassroots mobilization prowess?

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 30, 2005 at 12:01 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

What the Discovery Institute is really up to

It continues to amaze me that so many in the mainstream media (hi guys!) are covering the Intelligent Design mouthbreathers as legitimate news or science, when in fact it's just an extremist PR strategy.  Don't believe me?  Take their own words for it -- read the Discovery Institute's 1998 strategy memo entitled The Wedge Strategy.  They were foollish enough to let it circulate.

The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a "wedge" that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the "thin edge of the wedge," was Phillip ]ohnson's critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe's highly successful Darwin's Black Box followed Johnson's work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

Let's translate: "We want the mullahs to decide what science is." 

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 29, 2005 at 10:43 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hot "Hot List"

Daniel Kirkdorffer, fellow blogger at the very excellent "The Road to 2008" has revised our Pacific Northwest Portal "Hot List".  If you haven't noticed, many of us, Evergreen Politics included, have a list on our blogs of all that has been written on a given topic of immediate interest so that you can read about important issues from several different viewpoints.  I'll let him explain. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 29, 2005 at 07:37 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2005

The Boston Globe Skewers Karl Rove

Today's Boston Globe has a none-too-flattering portrait of Karl Rove and his lies and machinations over the last 30 years in American politics.  I pointed out a couple of days ago that the Rove-Plame affair has only temporarily fallen off the radar screen.  U.S. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will likely be handing down indictments in September or October.  The Globe's article is a good primer of Rove's tactics so that whatever we learn in the indictments won't be such a surprise. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 28, 2005 at 10:22 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Upcoming Democracy School

Three of the writers of this blog have attended Democracy School here in Seattle and it’s been a powerful experience for all of us.  Democracy School was created by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and Richard Grossman, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD).

Jeff Reifman, one of those writers and one of the original sponsors of the School here in Seattle says,

At the most fundamental level, our weekend-long Democracy School addresses why democratic self-governance is impossible when corporations wield constitutional rights to deny people's rights, and how we are able to rectify these wrongs.

The next Seattle Democracy School will be September 30 – October 2nd. To learn more or register, click here.  Cost is $275. Scholarships for tuition are available to those with significant need.

Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote on this blog after I attended Democracy School in June:

Richard and his early collaborators, all of whom were involved for years doing various environmental, labor and/or community activism, came to understand that they were getting badly beaten time and again. Their organizing failed to protect their communities or the natural world. They came to realize that the power of law was on the side of the corporations and that the State was doing the heavy lifting of enforcing these laws that favored corporations. The regulatory agencies that have been set in place, presumably to safeguard the people in issues related to air, water, toxic chemicals, etc., had the effect of making people assume that these issues were being taken care of and that the system was working.

In fact all the environmental and community organizing was only modifying slightly the behaviors of the corporations. Occasionally an issue would break through and become what looked like a publicly supported winner for the organizers. We discussed the abolition of slavery, the Clean Air and Clean Water bills of the early 1970’s and the health and safety concerns that led to the curtailing of cigarette smoking in the 1990’s as examples. These issues, however, were few and far between and often wound up being watered down under the persistent nibbling away at laws and regulations by the ever-vigilant corporate attorneys (not to mention the wholesale giveaways of the past four and a half years).

To add insult to injury, taxpayers were subsidizing the corporate response to legal challenges. All expenses related to addressing regulatory lawsuits brought up by citizen groups were tax deductible. It was time to reframe the understanding of the problem. Richard and gang went back to look at the Constitution and then at the laws put in place since then.

Knute Berger, editor of the Seattle Weekly, wrote this article after taking the June school:

At the national level, corporate power is driving a massive restructuring of our society by dismantling public programs that are purely for the benefit of individuals. They've made declaring personal bankruptcies more difficult while failing to rein in corporate misbehavior or usurious interest rates. They've blocked real health care reform to protect the private lack-of-health-care system. They've permitted pharmaceutical companies to come to market with drugs that aren't fully tested, treating people like guinea pigs. They're requiring taxpayers to pick up the tab for mismanaged companies that won't fulfill their pension promises to employees, while, in the meantime, seeking to gut Social Security.

Democrats and Republicans alike have embraced the idea that America has a destiny to dominate the world through free enterprise and unfettered trade, regardless of the consequences to the American people, let alone anyone else. The official agenda is endless growth and expansion. These ideas are not simply ascendent, they are in our nation's legal DNA. Once upon a time, America had slavery, and the courts considered it constitutional. A social and political revolution led by reformers changed that, and most of us today would never think of going back. But that revolution planted the seeds of a new transformation. Starting not long after the Civil War, American corporations began to accumulate power, not only as separate entities but as individuals. The courts have seen fit to grant corporations all the constitutional rights that people have. Many of the civil-rights laws that were implemented to protect African Americans and other minorities have been used by corporate America to expand their rights. People were once property, now property is people. Individuals today have fewer rights than corporations.

Individuals are protected by the Bill of Rights, but an American corporation gets that and more. It can exist in perpetuity; it has limited liability; it receives enormous tax breaks and government subsidies we mere people can only dream of; it has a regulatory system designed to protect and enable it. (Clear skies! Healthy forests!) To top it off, corporations avoid the responsibilities of citizenship: It is their right to behave as selfishly as possible. They can betray the public that ostensibly sanctions their existence. The rights of man? They're nothing compared to the rights of corporate man, a Frankenstein of increasing power."


Register here.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 28, 2005 at 11:10 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vashon Island Considers Going Green

I love the can-do, innovative spirit of the Northwest.  From this morning's PI, we get an AP story about Vashon Island's consideration of a plan that would enable it to become energy independent.

The Institute for Environmental Research and Education, an island think-tank with an impressive list of financial backers including the Bullitt Foundation and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen's investment firm, Vulcan Inc., figures the goal could be met by 2015.

In Stage one, a new public utility would be created that funds compact, fluorescent light bulbs, adds insulation, and buys new energy-efficient appliances for all island residences that require these, thus eliminating 70 percent of the island's energy consumption.

In Stage two, the public utility would install wind, solar and other renewable power solutions as well as biomass plants, and would be able to save money and occasionally pump energy back into the electrical grid for other statewide customers to use. 

Rita Schenck, the institute's executive director, also figures the program would create about 30 jobs. "In the field of sustainability, the Pacific Northwest rules. It leads. It's not just because of the resources; it's because of the people," she said.

Mike Richardson, manager of renewable energy for Puget Sound Energy - the company that provides electricity and gas for the island - helped write the report and said the project fits in well with the utility's efforts to promote conservation and renewable energy.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 28, 2005 at 10:05 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Women - Get Training to Run for Office

The White House Project is sponsoring "Go Run", a weekend-long training for progressive women on Bainbridge Island September 23-25.  It is dedicated to equipping women with the communications, fundraising and campaigning skills to run for office. 

It's time.  We need more progessive woman (and men) at all levels of government.  So, if you have ever considered running for city council or school board or mayor, sign up and get some good civic engagement skills and some encouragement and do it. 

Click here for more information.  Thanks to Progressive Majority for the tip.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 28, 2005 at 08:27 AM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27, 2005

Seattle-bashing: never out of style

Michael over at BlatherWatch offers a nice rant about how Washington State conservatives love to use Seattle as their bogeyman.

Every day they stoke the indignant backlash about the intolerant, selfish, elitist, Ivy-overeducated, sushi-eating, bus riding, extra-virgin olive-oiled, French speaking, irreverent, vegan, religion hating, wine-bibbing, peace-marching, brie-guzzling, hippy Seattleites who build their monorails, lesbian art museums and stadiums using taxes they shake down from the middle class of the rest of the state. They do this sitting in schmancy restaurants that serve expensive imported food that isn't cooked, while sneering at the little people's churchgoing ways.

This contradictory conglom of stereotypes describes no one we know in Seattle and that Seattle/Tacoma is an economic engine upon which the rest of the state depends for its revenues means nothing in this short-term, piss-in-your-pants-to-stay-warm partisanship.

...they split the state by enflaming rural, exurban, and suburban resentments against Seattle. It suits their immediate political needs; it's craven, and they're hurting America, as Jon Stewart would say if he were speaking to us.


Posted by Jon Stahl on August 27, 2005 at 09:14 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

The Lowdown on the Rove-Plame Affair

This timeline and story sums up what we know about the outing of Plame and how it relates to the lies about the need for the Iraq War.  Stirling Newberry writes on Blogging of the President and cross-posts on DailyKos - based on an article this morning in the L.A. Times by Tom Hamburger and Sooni Efron.

The timeline is instructive and it's interesting to see who they think might be involved.  The big picture as to why Plame was outed and and Wilson was attacked is summed up by this:

The threads of this story form one larger scandal, one which came to a head with Wilson, but which weave together four important strands.

  1. The early planning of the Iraq War
  2. The campaign of disinformation to create a case for war.
  3. The protection of 1 and 2
  4. The cover up of 3.

The Seven days were part of a coordinated attempt to protect disinformation already in place. Originally Wilson was not regarded as a threat, it was only when it was realized that he had sources inside CIA that went beyond his trip that he became a threat. This is because the standard response by the British and American executives at this time was "we have other sources". Now it turns out that those other sources were also fixed.

This story only appears to have died down.  The special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, will likely hand down his indictments in September and it is possible that all things political in this country will get turned on its head.  Interesting times.

 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2005 at 03:11 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Schweitzer Leads on Energy Independence

It's a great Democratic, big new idea, issue.  Jonathan Singer at Basie! picked up a set of talking points via Reuters from Brian Schweitzer, Democratic governor of Montana.  Schweitzer mentioned this at the PLAN meeting I attended last week but I couldn't write fast enough to get the details.  Great way to lead on an issue that's right on it's own and way out ahead of the Republicans.  One of the many reasons Schweitzer is hot in Democratic circles.

Here's the essence of it:

Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.

But with U.S. crude oil now hitting more than double that price, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's plan is getting more attention across the country and some analysts are taking him very seriously.

Montana is "sitting on more energy than they have in the Middle East," Schweitzer told Reuters in an interview this week.

"I am leading this country in this desire and demand to convert coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. We can do it in Montana for $1 per gallon," he said.

"We can do it cheaper than importing oil from the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks that we're bringing it from right now."

The governor estimated the cost of producing a barrel of oil through the Fischer-Tropsch method at $32, and said that with its 120 billion tons of coal -- a little less than a third of the U.S total -- Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2005 at 02:07 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Obama Discusses "The Ownership Society"

From a graduation speech that Obama Barach gave at Knox College, we get a great clarification of the purpose of government and a tear-down of "the ownership society" that Bushco and the right-wing have been pushing.  Here's an exerpt:

It ignores our history. It ignores the fact that it has been government research and investment that made the railways and the internet possible. It has been the creation of a massive middle class, through decent wages and benefits and public schools - that has allowed all of us to prosper. Our economic dominance has depended on individual initiative and belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we're all in it together and everybody's got a shot at opportunity - that has produced our unrivaled political stability.

Then he helps us dream about how it can be:

What if we prepared every child in America with the education and skills they need to compete in this new economy? If we made sure college was affordable for everyone who wanted to go? If we walked up to those Maytag workers and told them that there old job wasn't coming back, but that the new jobs will be there because of the serious job re-training and lifelong education that is waiting for them - the sorts of opportunities Knox has created with the strong future scholarship program?

What if no matter where you worked or how many times you switched jobs, you had health care and a pension that stayed with you always, so that each of us had the flexibility to move to a better job or start a new business?

And what if instead of cutting budgets for research and development and science, we fueled the genius and the innovation that will lead to the new jobs and new industries of the future?

Got it off a diary on DailyKos. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 24, 2005 at 09:32 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scientist Evolves Away from Intelligent Design

Scientist and doctor Bob Davidson, who has taught at the U.W. Medical School for 28 years was attracted to the Discovery Institute because he was seeking a place where people "believe in a Creator and also believe in science.  I thought it was refreshing," he says.  The more Davidson learned, the more horrified he became, calling the institute "an affront to both science and religion." 

He's concluded "When I joined I didn't think they were about bashing evolution. It's pseudo-science, at best ... What they're doing is instigating a conflict between science and religion."

Today's Seattle Times has the article.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 24, 2005 at 12:04 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

The Emerging Progressive Blogosphere

Two weeks ago we progressive bloggers got an up-to-the minute report about ourselves.  Chris Bowers of MyDD.com and Matt Stoller of Blogging for the President did research on the impact of the political blogging communities on the current political scene for the New Politics Institute.  The report is called "Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere: A New Force in American Politics".  In it, they discuss the differences between the progressive blogging community and the conservative blogging community and the impact of those differences.  And then they talk about how progressive Democratic leaders and elected officials at all levels could develop a good Internet communications strategy in order to engage the political power available on-line. 

This is a summary of the 24 page report.  The first 8 pages are the report and the remaining pages are the Appendix which includes “Engaging Bloggers in a Local Campaign?, “Progressive and Conservative Netroots Advantages?, “Top Progressive Political Blog and Netroots Sites?, “Top Democratic Institutional Blogs? and “Top Conservative Blogs and Netroots Sites?. It is an invaluable set of research and analysis and well worth a read.  It is available on a pdf file through the New Politics Institute. And, if you are not quite up to reading the entire thing, this is the five page version.  I end with my recommendations for leveraging this information as Northwest progressives.

Overview

Bowers and Stoller tell us that “the total number of blogs has grown from 7.8 million to 14.2 million? between March and August 2005, a mere five month doubling.  He says:

Blogs are consistently viewed through the traditional lenses of politics or media, rather than as the communal social phenomenon that they are.  Real political power and influence is now being wielded through on-line communities comprising millions of people.  And trends suggest that this is only the beginning.  Indeed, what we have seen to date are the outlines of a new politics.

There are key differences between the way that the progressive and the conservatives use the web to communicate.  In the first years, conservatives dominated Internet politics and used the right-leaning blogs as a part of their overall infrastructure and “reflected the top-down, coherent messaging structure that characterizes the conservative movement.?

Dean and MoveOn.org stimulated a new way of doing online activism: the blogosphere.

Unlike their conservative counterparts, progressive Internet activists have not relied on an existing set of institutional relationships.  They have instead forged a new constituency group, a new set of leaders, and a new forest of social relationships.  The strengths and weaknesses of each blogosphere are reflected in their origins.  Understanding these blogospheres and how to interface with them effectively is critical to succeeding in 21st century politics.

More on the flip.

The blogs are a forum for active public engagement that “holds such potential for those campaigns and individuals who are prepared to engage with it appropriately.? 

Impact of Progressive and Conservative Blogospheres

They report results of a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project that indicate that “33% of Americans have looked for political information online and 15% of Americans have read someone’s blog? and contends that the netroots “will play a major role in providing money, support, organizing and media exposure in the 2008 presidential contest.?  The Pew Report also reported that 49% of Internet users get political information online.  That’s 66 million people. (Their emphasis.)

Bowers and Stoller then go on to list recent progressive netroots successes including the campaign to defeat John Bolton’s nomination, the Paul Hackett campaign, the Rove Affair, the war in Iraq and the Republican corruption scandals, especially the scandals surrounding DeLay.

The right-wing blogs on the other hand “created major messaging problems for Democratic Senator Tom Daschle, chummed the Swift Boat for Veterans story, led to the firing of Eason Jordan at CNN, and of course, led the charge against Dan Rather.

In other words, the conservatives behave just as you think they would.  They’ve extended the right wing attack and disinformation campaigns into the Internet.  They are petty, attack-oriented, tow-the-line dissemblers of information generated by those vaunted conservative think tanks.  They see their job as manipulating media coverage.  And that is their weakness.

The right wing tends not to build independent online communities, using their existing offline communities to generate web sites that reinforce their politics and their ideology.

Progressive blogs, on the other hand, “build communities of activist and generate new political activity online.  Blogs and online organizations offer forums where people can actively engage in progressive politics.?  They show an illustration of a front page off Daily Kos and a couple of items off the Comments section.  They contend that:

The degree to which progressive blogs encourage active engagement in political dialogue has fueled their rapid growth over the past several years. 

The single most important difference between the blogspheres is this: the progressive blogosphere is introducing new actors into the political scene.  The right-wing blogosphere is facilitating further organization of what was already a fairly coherent political world.

A July 2003 study, the first ever coherent study of the blogosphere, reported that “the conservative blogosphere was between two and three times as large as the progressive blogosphere, and held a commanding lead in terms of overall traffic. But in both cases, blog traffic was concentrated in the top tier blogs. 

Currently

In the last two years the political dynamics of the Internet have reversed themselves. According to research conducted by MyDD.com, as of July 2005, the ninety-eight most trafficked progressive blogs totaled an amazing 15,181,649 page views per week, and average of over five times the size of the entire political blogpshere just two years ago. 

By way of comparison, the top one-hundred and fifty conservative blogs had less than ten million page views per week during this period, and just over one million unique visits a day.  In less than two years the progressive blogosphere had grown from less than as big as the conservative blogosphere, to nearly double its size.

Then as an example, they stated that Instapundit was three times larger than any other blog two years ago and is still growing, almost doubling the size of its audience in the last two years.  However, DailyKos, “now easily the largest political blog in the world, has increased its audience nearly thirty times over.?

In their brief look at this same NPI paper, the Huffington Post pulled out these statistics for the top progressive and conservative blogs.

Progressive:
1. Daily Kos: 3,836,836
2. Democratic Underground: 1,563,608
3. Raw Story: 1, 053,974
4. Talking Points Memo: 1,003,788

Conservative:
1. Free Republic: Undisclosed
2. Instapundit: 916,976
3. Little Green Footballs: 744,717
4. Michelle Malkin: 633,187

Bowers and Stoller again:

It is crucial to note, that the rapid growth of online political communities is not confined to the progressive blogsphere.  On the contrary, over the past two years, the traffic to the top 1,000 political blogs – both progressive and conservative – has risen from 500,000 unique visits per day to over 3,000,000.  While these visits remain clustered at the most popular blogs, 409 blogs have more than 1,000 unique visits per day, as compared to fifty-one two years ago.

The Authors End with Concern for the Local Progressive Blogospheres

What is concerning about the current distribution of traffic is that the smaller conservative blogs are much more numerous than the smaller progressive blogs.  MyDD analysis showed that while progressives have an edge in overall traffic, there are more conservative blogs in the top 250 blogs. 

Among the top forty blogs, progressives maintain a decided advantage – twenty-four to sixteen.  However, among the next 210 blogs, conservatives hold a whopping 133 to 77 advantage.

The authors then add:

While progressives may have a marked advantage in overall blogosphere discourse, it could also be argued that conservatives are taking a decisive lead in the sort of targeted blogging that will provide them with real, tangible benefits in the 2005-2006 elections and beyond.

They say that this is a serious problem that progressives must confront. 

If they do not invest time, energy and resources building a local blog infrastructure superior to that currently possessed by conservatives, the comparative advantage of progressives’ overall traffic lead will be significantly reduced.

More in the Appendices

Appendix I, Engaging Bloggers in a Local Campaign, is a call for state and local politicians to take advantage of the online progressive communities.  The authors list 8 ways to do this.  This is very critical for progressive politicians at every level and should be a must read.

Appendix II, Progressive and Conservative Netroots’ Advantages, lists five progressive advantages, including the partisan nature and political activism of the progressive sites, and four conservative advantages, including the local focus and the tendency of the mainstream media to quote them. 

Appendix III, Top Progressive Political Blog and Netroots Sites, lists the top national progressive blogs.

Appendix IV, Democratic Institutional Blogs, is just what it says it is.

Appendix V, Top Conservative Political Blogs and Netroots Sites, lists the top national conservative blogs.

My Postscript: The Northwest Progressive Blogosphere

Looking at the results of the blog traffic for the top progressive political blogs and sites in relationship to our own corner of the world, we see the following national standing for NW Blogs:

#27 is Jesus’ General, a satirical progressive blog reputed to be operating out of the Northwest somewhere (91,811 weekly views)

#52 is Orcinus, operated by David Neiwert on Orcas Island (26,437 weekly views)

#67 is Blue Oregon, a group blog coordinated by Kari Chisholm out of Portland (18,559 weekly view)

Looking at the same for conservative sites, nationally we see:

#51 is Sound Politics, originally a group blog, now down to Stefan Sharkansky (41,827)

(Excuse me if I’ve missed any Northwest blogs on either list.  For my own peace of mind, I simply don’t pay all that much attention to the right-wing.)

Given that Jesus’ General is truly a national blog, not particularly focused on local or state politics, we could use some bolstering on our end.  We have a particularly useful aggregate portal for the Northwest progressive community which will probably gives us a considerable leg up on the conservatives here once we get a larger collective readership. 

The Northwest Portal, developed by Andrew Villeneuve and his pals at the Northwest Progressive Institute, with assistance from David Goldstein of Horses’ Ass, is a wonderful way to get a general sense of what is going on in our community – of what we think is important, of what we are railing against, of who we are supporting.  Just as the national progressive community has made critical differences in recent issue campaigns, so have we.  Our impact will increase. 

If any politically astute and financially healthy Democrats are reading this, it may be time to consider investing in your local progressive blogosphere.  A lot could change in our impact if we had financial support for key bloggers to work more full time.

And, if any politically astute progressive Democratic leaders are reading this, it is time to bridge back to the progressive blogging community.  We support you.  We can make all the difference in getting the energy and smarts of the progressive community to work with you.  So, work with us.  Develop an Internet communications strategy.  We will be thrilled to assist you.  We know this world and we are basically working for the same things and we have access to a kind of power that you need. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 23, 2005 at 10:15 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Progressives Start to Get Organized

Last week I attended the formal launch of PLAN, the Progressive Legislative Action Network.  This is a new, very practical, national organization aimed at helping reform-minded legislators at the State level develop and pass a cohesive progressive agenda.  Dedicated to the proposition that progressives can make a difference at the state level at a time when the national agenda has been captured by right-wing extremists, PLAN will serve as a clearinghouse for ideas and provide information and staff as needed.  It is specifically aimed at serving as a counterbalance to the corporate-funded ALEC, the legislative network that has poured money for decades into efforts to influence both Republican and Democratic state legislators and other state elected officials to support corporate interests. 

This launch occurred in Seattle to take advantage of the annual National Conference of State Legislators meeting here last week. At least 300 state legislators, staff and other attendees from at least 40 states were in attendance.  We started with lunch, heard from the PLAN co-chairs David Sirota and Steve Doherty, and then Montana Governor Brian Scheitzer and Senator John Edwards.  The first panel was on “Jobs, Wages & Growth? and the second was on ?Legislative Strategies to Increase Voter Participation?.

As the afternoon went on, I recognized that they will be another important component of the new progressive infrastructure aimed at combating the entrenched party interests.  Progressive Majority helps find and train and support progressive candidates.  MoveOn, one of the sponsors of this launch, provides money and flexible grassroots support.   SEIU, another sponsor, and other progressive labor unions provide more organized financial and grassroots support.  PLAN will give legislators the resources to fight corporate interests to pass bills that address issues that affect regular folks, thus creating a cohesive progressive agenda in the states and combating the corruption that runs rampant through most of the country.

Andrew Villeneuve, over at NPI’s blog, wrote up a great overview of the afternoon launch session.  I’m going to focus on a couple of items that particularly struck me – the excitement of hearing and meeting Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana and the importance of the Apollo Alliance.

Before I delve into both those, I want to say that it was lovely to attend an event where bloggers got special treatment.  Those of us who identified ourselves as bloggers when we registered got special attention from the organizers, bloggers from the Montana blog “Left in the West?, and didn’t have to pay.  Andrew and I were there from the Seattle community and Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon came up from Portland.  Bob Brigham was there from Swing State Project.  There were probably others as well that I didn’t get an opportunity to meet.   

As for Brian Schweitzer, he is star material, a breath of fresh air, every bit as compelling as Barach Obama, another more well-known shining hope.  Schweitzer is one of those politicians, like Reagan and like Clinton, who can tell stories that pull the listener in and make a point at the same time.   I felt sorry for Edwards, whose messages I always applaud, that he had to follow Schweitzer.  Edwards gave his current standard speech.  This one was on poverty, a great subject and one that we should be glad that someone continues to put in front of us.  It clarified how Schweitzer separates himself from other political speakers and why he is making such an impact on those who see him.

 

Schweitzer is someone who can help people see what he wants them to see, in this case that it is possible to retake a conservative state like Montana from the conservatives, it is possible and desirable to bring native Americans in to the state governing process, it is possible to become self-sufficient in energy production while providing jobs for rural Americans, and it is possible for state legislatures to do what is right and to fend off corporate corruption.

And Schweitzer wore jeans and cowboy boots with a sports jacket.  Very cool.

The other agenda item that really made me sit up was listening to Joel Rogers of the Apollo Alliance.  People had been telling me about the Apollo Alliance for about six months but I had not taken the time to really look at it.  Wow! This is, in high-tech business terms, the next big thing. 

These are my first reactions.  I’ll be writing more on the Apollo Alliance in the next couple of weeks as I dig more into it.  This proposed project, for want of a better word, is huge.  It is about making the U.S. energy independent, providing livable wage jobs for hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers, revitalizing our national infrastructure, and re-taking technical leadership in the world.  In the process, it combats the increasing differential between the corporate wealthy and the workers who enable that wealth.  Joel calls it “taking the high road?.

Were progressives to unite behind the Apollo Alliance and explain it to the electorate, we would not only take back state and national government, we would lay the groundwork for a sustainable economic future for this country, something that is otherwise likely to slip out of our grasp before we even know what happened. 

More on this later. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 22, 2005 at 08:01 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

Elizabeth Edwards' Eloquent Letter

Another mother with a great loss supports Cindy Sheehan and what she is doing and what she stands for.  Elizabeth Edwards wrote a letter to supporters that got picked up over at American Prospect on-line by Garance Franke-Ruta.  Lovely and touching.

NWPT61

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 18, 2005 at 09:04 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Horsey on Iraq

Gosh, it's good to have David Horsey back from vacation.  Here's the PI's cartoonist meandering along on a stroll with Bush and Rice. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 18, 2005 at 08:22 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005

Cantwell, Gregoire Riding High

TJ of AlsoAlso, a neighborly blog to the South, scoops us on the latest poll numbers for Cantwell and Gregoire.  Sounds good.  We'll see how they hold up and how they hold up against the real candidates. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2005 at 11:15 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Bush Losing It?

Reports of Bush's temper tantrums with his staff have filtered out of the White House lately.  CoolAqua links to an article by Doug Thompson of the Capital Hill Blues that is quite unnerving.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2005 at 08:43 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush's Tanking Approval Rates

State by state polling shows Bush's disapproval rates an average of 14% higher than his approval ratings, weighted by population.  That's a 41% approval on average by state and a 55% disapproval.  SurveyUSA out of Verona NJ, which tends to lean Republican as far as polling goes, has the figures.

Washington State gives him a 40% approval and 57% disapproval; Oregon gives him a 41% approval and 56% disapproval; and Idaho gives him the highest approval in the nation, 59% vs. a 36% approval rating.  Now we know what our fellow progressives in Idaho are up against. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2005 at 08:06 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

Ads attacking Senn ruled illegal

The Seattle PI reports that the Chamber of Commerce's anonymous, sleazy attack ads against Deborah Senn last fall were in fact illegal.

A King County judge has ruled that an advertising blitz last fall against Democratic attorney general candidate Deborah Senn was illegal because the ads attacked her directly but didn't disclose who was paying for them.

Representatives from the local committee, which accepted a single, $1.5 million contribution from the U.S. chamber, maintained that they were not subject to state election finance law. The Public Disclosure Commission disagreed, saying the group must file reports of its contributions and expenditures. The agency and Senn filed suit in King County Superior Court.

What sad here is that justice came months after the damage was done.  I hope the judge in the case imposes a very significant fine in order to deter this kind of criminal behavior -- perhaps $1.5 million, the amount spent on the ads, would be appropriate.

What would be even better would be if our state legislature would consider banning or sharply limiting corporations from funding any kind of election-related advertising during election season.  After all, corporations are created by We The People, and thus we have every right to define what they can and cannot do.  Worth noting: our neighbors to the north passed some pretty tough campaign finance reform in 2004.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 16, 2005 at 08:11 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

TJ on WA State Party Funding Woes

Posting at AlsoAlso, TJ compares the post-gubernatorial fund-raising letters of the Democrats and Republicans.  In addition to being illustrative of each party's internal myths, it's a hoot.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 16, 2005 at 07:11 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2005

Interview with Newly Elected National YDA Secretary, Rob Dolin

Rob Dolin of Seattle was elected Secretary of the Young Democrats earlier this month at the national Young Democrats National Convention in San Francisco.  The overall winner in the convention appeared to be reform and positive, intelligent action although there are contradictory reviews of some of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering during the voting.  There were two slates of candidates, one led by Chris Gallaway, the incumbent, the other led by Alex de Ocambo of the Unity party.   The slate led by Gallaway won narrowly except for the post of Secretary which went to Seattleite Rob Dolin, who had been a part of the Unity slate. 

“Share information and leverage technology? was Dolin’s slogan in getting elected and remains his mantra as he moves to assist the YDA to do just that as general webmaster and technology go-to guy for the organization.  I interviewed Dolin last week after he’d returned from the convention and was very impressed with his goals and his skills, both political and techo-visionary.  I felt like whatever issues arose at the convention will be dealt with behind the scenes as the YDA gears up to take a lead in how the Democrats reclaim this country.  I believe these young people are likely to be the cavalry coming to our rescue as a Party, what they seem to be doing is that significant. 

My optimism was echoed in a diary post written by Charlie Eaton over at mydd after the convention:

Many YDA chapters have a hard time thinking of themselves as much more than social clubs for young people who are interested in Democratic politics. But as I discovered at the convention, there are also a great deal of YDA leaders who recognize the potential of our organization.  They agree that YDA should be a diverse group of young people who want to improve our lives by electing Democrats who will fight for young people -- especially young working people. The Action Caucus resolution points the YDA in that direction by pledging to elect progressives who will do just that.

At the convention, the dominoes fell in favor of those who would like to see the YDA take a bolder progressive stance, and put action behind it.  Single-payer healthcare, withdrawal from Iraq, immigrant rights, and improved union organizing rights all made it into the new YDA platform.  And the Action Caucus resolution passed unanimously. 

The interview with Rob Dolin is after the fold. 

Q: What brought you to this place? How have you been politically active in the past? 

RD: When I arrived in Seattle four years ago, I called up Judith Hines in the 36th LD, went to a meeting and became Membership Chair right off the bat.  It went on from there.  I am passionate about using cutting-edge communications for the Party and I helped develop the Communications systems currently in use in the YDA in Washington as well as the King County Democratic Party.  I was Communications Director of the Washington State YDA and am currently First Vice Chair of the King County Democrats.  Before that I was involved with politics in High School and with the College Democrats during college. 

(For more background information on Rob, check out his election web-site.)

Q: What prompted you to run for national office in the Young Democrats?

RD: I’d been part of the College Democrats and attended an earlier YDA convention even before moving here.  The Washington State folks were friendly. At the time, James Apa of Washington State was Executive Vice President and had been state YD President and he was encouraging. 

I believed that the national Democrats could do a better job of sharing information and leveraging technology.  In college, I’d been on-line editor of the newspaper; I’ve been webmaster for both the state YDA and the King County Democrats.  I knew there was a lot more we could do.  In my day job, I’m a project manager at Microsoft.  It’s just what I do.

Q: What do you hope to see happen in the YDA nationally?

RD: I am helping build a “contact management tool? that will collect and use contact information of people who sign up.  Then we can find out what issues people are interested in, plug those folks into groups they want to be involved with, and get them involved volunteering where they’d like to do so, whether that’s in the newer areas of communication or the more traditional organizing.  I want to make this information available at the national, state and local levels.  The national YDA has put out a proposal and we will be developing a tool to do these things.

I also think there is a lot of talent from the Young Democrats available to the Democratic Party and I want to see that made use of.  Like me, many other people have stepped up to being active in the general Democratic Party and become heavily engaged as well.  For example, Katie Kirking, also a YDAer, is now Chair of the Spokane County Democrats. 

Also, one of our key roles is to offer a place where young folks can come together and find people with similar interests.  It’s important for people to have a peer group like the Young Democrats where they can hang out together, be sociable with like-minded people, and have an entry point to get involved with the Democratic Party.  We want to be open and engaging so people want to be a part of this.

Q: How are you going to use your position to help out the Washington State Young Democrats?

RD: My job will be to help all Young Democrats.  I am thankful for all the support I received from the Young Democrats in Washington State.  I will likely learn a lot in service to the national YDA and I expect to be able to share that and bring that knowledge back.  For example, in Chicago, the Young Democrats do a lot of community service.  I made the suggestion to the King County Young Democrats that they do the same.  Also, some YDA groups are using text messaging to reach young people and there will be lots of opportunities to share best practices using text, which is something young people do a lot more than older folks. 

There are lots of ways that the national organization can share with the folks at the state and local levels.  I want to make certain there is a program of sharing ideas and best practices.   

Q: Anything else on the horizon for the YDA?

RD: We are exploring peer-to-peer networking.  There is a big opportunity for us to reach out to our peers at clubs and bars.  In our demographic, we need to be more involved in what people are already doing because so many of them don’t see politics as relevant to them.

On this and many other issues, I am hopeful that we can lead.  A lot of what Howard Dean showed us can be done, not just the fundraising but building activist networks. 

People should go to the YDA website that we are working on.  Development is under way but much of what we want should be available very soon.

What’s it been like for you after winning the election?

There have been lots of positive emails and phone calls.  There is a good cadre of people who want to help. 

Thank you.  I find this quite exciting and wish you well.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 14, 2005 at 11:27 PM in Interviews | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 13, 2005

Go Rich

Frank Rich writes a great opinion piece in the New York Times this morning, "Someone Tell the President the War is Over".  He says,

Only someone as adrift from reality as Mr. Bush would need to be told that a vacationing president can't win a standoff with a grief-stricken parent commandeering TV cameras and the blogosphere 24/7.

He, like those of us in the blogosphere who followed it, says that the turning point was the Hackett race in Ohio on August 2nd.  He ends with this:

The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 13, 2005 at 09:31 PM in Media | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why We Need to Win Back Congress

For those of you who don't see a difference between Republicans and Democrats or who have friends who give you that lame line, there is an article in the current edition of Rolling Stone that will curl your toes.  Matt Taibbi was given the opportunity to hang out with Representative Bernie Sanders of Vermont for a month during which time the Energy and Transportation Bills passed and much else that will be hanging around our necks for years to come took place.  It's a long article and more discouraging than we could even dream about but well worth the read.  Here's one his summary paragraphs:

Congress isn't the steady assembly line of consensus policy ideas it's sold as, but a kind of permanent emergency in which a majority of members work day and night to burgle the national treasure and burn the Constitution. A largely castrated minority tries, Alamo-style, to slow them down -- but in the end spends most of its time beating calculated retreats and making loose plans to fight another day. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 13, 2005 at 01:51 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2005

What is the Noble Cause?

Cindy Sheehan has hit a nerve with the country.  No matter how many "Moms for War" go on the news to counteract the effect of this one courageous and distressed woman camped out for five weeks in a miserable make-shift camping area in Crawford, Texas, in the middle of a scorching summer, it does not work.  People can see the difference between the customary spin and the pain of this mother. 

Digby has summed up the place the nerve hit and why she's driving the Republicans crazy.  He starts with what Cindy said following the President's lame attempt to deal with her yesterday.

I said I want the president to explain what was the noble cause that my son died in, because that's what he said the other day when those 14 marines were killed. He said their families can rest assured that their sons and daughters died for a noble cause. And I said, "What is that noble cause?"

Then he sums up the place we find ourselves as a nation now:

It is not an academic exercise for her. She lost her son --- and she'd like to know why. Nobody can explain to her -- or to any of us --- why we invaded Iraq and why people are dying. They said it was to protect us -- but it wasn't a threat. Then they said it was to liberate the Iraqi people, but Saddam and his government are a memory and yet the Iraqi people are still fighting us and each other. Our invasion of iraq has inspired more terrorism, not less. Oil prices are higher than they've ever been. The country is swimming in debt. People are being killed and maimed with the regularity of the tides.

And everybody knows this. Deep inside they know that something has gone terribly wrong. We were either lied to or our leaders are verging on the insanely incompetent. That's why when Cindy Sheehan says that she wants to ask the president why her son died --- in those simple terms --- it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It's not just rhetorical.

She literally doesn't know why her son had to die in Iraq. And neither do we.

In a related piece, Washblog has a great interview with Lietta Ruger from Washington State who went down to join Cindy in her protest.

NWPT61

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 12, 2005 at 10:12 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

Liars

Here's a cartoon for the dog days of summer from Andrew Wahl.  It's a good reminder to keep our eyes on the big picture -- we're being lied to, and we need to hold the liars accountable.

Liars

(click on the image for a larger version.)

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 11, 2005 at 01:08 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 10, 2005

Monorail Has A Posse

PosseJust when all the monorail naysayers were really starting to get me down, I got word of 2045seattle.  They're a brand new bunch of young, progressive activists who are sick and tired (like me) of the Seattle Way of "politely standing still while the rest of the world builds around us."

2045seattle is working to bring a youthful, positive voice to the increasingly shrill and negative conversation (if you call it that) about the future of the Monorail.  Their message is simple

The plan is good.  The price is good.  The financing needs fixing.

Monorail opponents are using the current financing shortfall as an opportunity to say that everything is wrong, that everyone is corrupt and it must be shut down, just as they have all along. They couldn’t be more wrong. Our problems have not changed. Traffic is still terrible and will be worse tomorrow. Between now and December we have a contract on the table. Let’s fix the financing and let our city council know we want it signed.

Now that's my kind of posse.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 10, 2005 at 09:59 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

How to Win Friends and Influence Your Legislator

Correspondant Peter Orths, the new Legislative Chair for the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter, writes with news of an upcoming training he's putting together on how to lobby your elected officials.  Surprisingly enough, grassroots lobbying doesn't involve playing golf or writing big checks, just taking the time to make an appointment to see your representative (they work for you!), and having a few things to say about an issue you care about.

Mad as hell? Don't want to take it anymore?  Attend this training:

Introduction to lobbying your government: Making positive changes happen in
your community.

Date:
Tuesday Sept 20, 2005       
6:15 to 8:30 PM                           

Location:
Bellevue Regional Library,Room 1
1111 110th Avenue Northeast
Bellevue, Washington 98004
425/450-1765
(map)

Subject:
Lobbying your government, including the state legislature, county councils, city
councils, school board, Sound Transit, and others.

Description:
Molly Ivins and I hear the same thing about our elected officials. "Those people don't care what I think", and "what I think doesn't matter".  Well those people do care, and they want to hear from you.  Those people are members of our community, our neighbors, and our friends.

Give your values a voice.  Elected officials want to hear from people like you.   Many share our values and want to do the right thing.  City and county councilmembers, school board members, mayors, and state legislators all have families, want to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and don't want to reward polluters. But they can't lead if they're not sure we are behind them.

What are some issues that you might want to lobby your representatives about?  Eliminating pesticides and herbicides in schools and parks, restoring salmon creeks, limiting sprawl, funding mass transit,  and providing incentives for fuel efficiency are some examples.

All elected officials and lobbyists started out with no experience, just like me and everyone else, so don't be bashful.  Program speakers will include local  elected officials, professional lobbyists, and volunteer lobbyists.  There is no cost, but an RSVP is required by Sept 15.  There is a size limit, so
register early by email to Peter Orth at:
Legislative-Chair@cascade.sierraclub.org.

Logistics and Agenda:
Sound Transit Route 550 serves the downtown Bellevue area near the library. It is about 5 blocks (0.3 mile) from the library to the Bellevue Transit Center.  There is Route 550 stop 1/10th of a mile from the library at  NE 10th St & 109th Ave NE.  The route runs every 30 minutes in the evening.  The Taphouse Grill is very close to the Bellevue Transit Center. There is plenty of free parking at the library.

6:15 to 6:30  sign-in, light snacks, drinks.
6:30  Why do we need to lobby? How do you find out who to lobby?
7:00  How do you lobby?
8:00  Practice- Role playing
8:30  Wrap-up and goodnight
8:45  Refreshments at the Tap House Grill located at: 550 106th Ave. NE
ph.  425-467-1730


Posted by Jon Stahl on August 10, 2005 at 09:42 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Congressional Letter to Bush Re: Cindy Sheehan

This is just the beginning.  It is hard to imagine how Bush could contain the outrage at his refusal to meet again with the Mom of a man killed in the Iraq conflict.  He is starting to look like Johnson or Nixon at their worst. 

Here is a letter sent by 38 of our most liberal Congressionfolk, including our own Jim McDermott, to President Bush:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to respectfully urge you to meet with Cindy Sheehan and other relatives of fallen soldiers who request a meeting to discuss their deep concerns about the war in Iraq. We also request that you help ensure that Ms. Sheehan and her colleagues are not arrested as long as they continue to wait for a meeting with you at their location in the peaceable and legal manner that they have maintained thus far.

Since the loss of her son, Ms. Sheehan and other families have been committed to helping family members of other soldiers who have been lost in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan, in fact, founded Gold Star Families for Peace, a support organization for families of fallen soldiers. For several days now, she has been waiting outside your ranch, hoping to meet with you about the loss of her son and the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan has indicated that she is planning to continue her vigil for the entirety of your vacation at your Crawford complex if necessary.

Given the recent tragic loss of American lives in Iraq, and the many deaths and injuries American troops have sustained since the beginning of the war, we hope that you can appreciate why the family members believe it so important that they exercise their rights as citizens to petition their government. We believe it would send an unfortunate message to other relatives and soldiers if grieving parents were arrested while exercising their constitutional rights.

Thank you very much for you assistance with this matter. We hope that you will be able to make time to meet with Ms. Sheehan and her colleagues and also ensure they are treated fairly while awaiting this important appointment.

Sincerely,

Reps. John Conyers, Jr.

George Miller

Maxine Waters

Corrine Brown

Dennis Kucinich

Carolyn Maloney

Jim McDermott

Jim McGovern

Barbara Lee

Zoe Lofgren

James Oberstar

John Lewis

Bernard Sanders

Bob Filner

Mike Honda

Raul Grijalva

Jan Schakowsky

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Frank Pallone

Major Owens

Xavier Becerra

Lynn Woolsey

Danny Davis

Jerrold Nadler

Elijah Cummings

Hilda Solis

Gwen Moore

John Olver

Pete Stark

Sam Farr

Julia Carson

Sheila Jackson Lee

Diane Watson

Chris Van Hollen

Lloyd Doggett

Betty McCollum

Henry Waxman

Peter DeFazio

Hat tip to Jack Smith   NWPT61

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 10, 2005 at 09:36 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Paul Hackett Race Mattered

Basie has the word from Charlie Cook.  We knew this but it's nice to have confirmation from one of the best political analysts in the country.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 10, 2005 at 06:30 AM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Support for Cindy Sheehan

"The moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."  So says Maureen Dowd, back on the job at the opinion page of the New York Times.  She is talking about Bush's failure of humanity (and political instincts) in not talking with Cindy Sheehan, camped out on his doorstep at the ranch.  Tip to Bush: one of the reasons the Soviets were forced to leave Afghanistan in 1988 was the refusal of the mothers of the dead soldiers to pretend that nothing was going on in their "secret war". 

There will be a gathering of support for Cindy Sheehan at the Federal Building in Seattle, from 5 to 7 PM, today, Wedneday, August 10th.  The gathering will be to show solidarity with Cindy and support for all those persons and organizations inside/outside that are calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq. 

NWPT61

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 10, 2005 at 05:57 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 09, 2005

McDermott to Attend Drinking Liberally

Hot Tip - Jim McDermott will join the intrepid liberal drinkers at the Montlake Ale House this evening at 8:00.  I'm afraid I can't make it; I have a prior appointment with my 21-month old niece.  And I know that Goldy is out of town.  But those of you who can, what a great opportunity.

Congressman Jim McDermott has been jumping into the new methods of communication more than just about any other elected official.  He's been bloggin on DailyKos.  He's been holding a lot of informational meetings and puts out a great email newsletter.  His folks called to let me and a few others know he'd be at Drinking Liberally.  It is very cool.  This also tells us that the communications channels are opening up between the elected officials and our NW blogosphere.  Let's keep building that bridge.   

UPDATE: I heard that over 20 people showed up for the evening and that McDermott enjoyed himself tremendously. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 9, 2005 at 11:44 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 08, 2005

It Will Make My Mother Cry

Ken Tomlinson's Reign of Terror at PBS is documented over at Pacific Views.  It's a great summary of the right-wing devilry that Tomlinson has been up to. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 8, 2005 at 10:02 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Writing Bush's Speeches

We all know how much Bush hates hard work. So two of our progressive friends have kindly decided to write a couple of Bush’s speeches for him. Billmon writes a speech for Bush discussing our economic situation. Here’s an excerpt:

Fortunately, the minor casualties sustained in Iraq over the past week have not materially affected the fantastic economic progress being made by the wealthier members of our great society! Corporate profits continue to grow at double-digit rates, while retailers catering to the luxury market report record sales. In more affluent regions, home prices are soaring -- a trend which is enriching real estate speculators and encouraging millions of upper middle-class Americans to borrow heavily against the skyrocketing values of their suburban mini-mansions. As a result, the personal savings rate has fallen to zero, and household debt levels have reached yet another all-time high. Clearly, the prosperity of our socioeconomic elite now rests on a sound and stable footing.

True, the latest economic reports also show a modest share of this prosperity is finally trickling down to America's working families. But rest assured: the Federal Reserve is on the case, and will raise interest rates as high as necessary to nip this dangerous inflationary trend in the bud. America's true heros -- the CEOs and billionaires who control our giant multinational corporations -- deserve no less. We must not fail them in their hour of obscene prosperity, and as long as I am president, (sobs) we will not.

And Paul Begala, writing at the Huffington Post, predicts the speech that Bush will give when it comes time to pardon Karl Rove. This is so good and so likely that I post most of it after the fold:

That is why I was so angry when the name of one of our CIA agents was revealed two years ago. I vowed then to cooperate in every way to bring the wrongdoers to justice, and I have done so. But what started as an investigation into national security has gone off track. Those who seek to undermine me politically are now pursuing a course that will harm America's security and could invite another September the 11th, 2001.

Let me put this as plainly as I can: the charges against Karl Rove are false. He is an innocent man. He was a strong and steady presence at my side on September the 11th, 2001. And he has a right to defend himself, his good name, his lifetime of service to our country and his wonderful family. The charges that have been filed against him are the result of a secretive grand jury proceeding in which Karl has not been shown the evidence against him, has not been able to confront his accusers, has not even had a lawyer present when he was questioned -- a right every murderer in every police station has.

 

But now that the secret grand jury proceedings are over, more than anything else, Karl wants to stand up in the cold, clear light of day and defend his good name.

 

But here's the problem. If Karl were to explain how and why he is innocent; if he were to offer his strong and compelling defense in public, it would reveal even more of our nation's secrets. The terrorists have CNN, you know, and Karl's trial would give them a daily tutorial in just how we fight the war on terror. They would learn lessons from the trial that might allow them to attack us here at home, just as they did on September the 11th, 2001.

 

I cannot allow this to happen. I cannot jeopardize the lives of our fighting men and women -- no matter how much I love Karl and no matter how badly he wants to clear his name. I have not forgotten the lessons of September the 11th, 2001. And I will not allow anything to happen that makes another September the 11th, 2001 possible. And so, in an act of selfless patriotism, Karl has agreed not to offer any public defense. He has agreed to keep secret all the evidence that clears him. And he has agreed -- at my insistence -- to accept a full, free and absolute pardon.

 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 8, 2005 at 09:18 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One State's Pork . . .

The transportation bill was reported out of the House and Senate at the end of July.  From the New York Times, we hear that about 8 percent of the $286.4 billion bill consisted of what are called earmarks, special funds for specific projects inserted by lawmakers, inserted sometimes just to get enough votes for passage of the bill. Washington did pretty well as did every other state in the Union. 

Of the total of 6000 earmarked projects, Washington has a total of 111 projects to be funded for a total of $523 million and Oregon did even better with 97 projects totaling $566 million. 

USA Today reports that legislation passed by Congress this year will add $35 billion to next year’s budget deficit, sending the federal deficit soaring.  Added tax revenues from a rebounding economy had halted earlier upward deficits but that is being reversed.  In addition to the transportation bill, Congress passed an energy bill and a veterans’ health care bill these last few weeks, no doubt hoping to be seen as having done something in this session.  These bills are on top of spending on the war and emergency aid for victims of the tsunami last December.

"Republicans are spending at a rate not seen since Lyndon Johnson's presidency," said Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union. Added Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense: "They're legislating as if deficits don't matter."

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 8, 2005 at 02:28 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2005

An Attack on Judge Coughenour

The right-wingers have apparently been attacking U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, a Reagan appointee for comments he made after sentencing Ahmed Ressam, the armed, border-crossing jihadist recently.  Here's what he said that so enraged them:

Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.

Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.

Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.

The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.

It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Both Corrente and DailyKos have picked up the right's recent attacks on Judge Coughenour.  It's not pretty. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 6, 2005 at 09:01 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 05, 2005

Hot Topic on DailyKos

Right now on DailyKos there is a great conversation on the top Recommended Diary about fighting the 912 Initiative.  Get in on it.

Update: It's still up there and has garnered 80 comments, well-worth the read.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 5, 2005 at 11:29 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 03, 2005

Indoor smoking ban makes the ballot

It's official.  I-901, the "drinking without stinking" initiative, (aka the indoor smoking ban) will be on ballot.  Congrats to Katherine and the rest of the team there who worked on gathering signatures.  No official opposition so far.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 3, 2005 at 09:47 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Brief Primer on Afghanistan/Iraq

The incredible Juan Cole has a brief primer on how we got to this place in our relationship with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.  This thorough and illustrated history is a must read.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 3, 2005 at 07:22 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

What I Don't Understand About Southwest's Proposed Move to Boeing Field...

...is why the sovereign people of King County (via our elected leaders) don't just tell Southwest that it has a simple choice: either fly out of SeaTac, or leave the Seattle air travel market to their competitors. 

Unless I'm missing something, We The People own both SeaTac and Boeing Field, and we have the right to decide how they should be best used.  Not some corporation in Dallas.  We The People have chosen SeaTac as our major regional passenger airport.  We have chosen to invest our tax dollars in so that it has decent facilities, light rail, etc.   Southwest Airlines' choice is simple: fly into SeaTac or don't serve the Seattle market.

We should expect our elected leaders to show some backbone here.  We The People get to decide how our airports and skies get used.

Let's not even get started about the cost of security for two major airports.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 2, 2005 at 10:23 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Getting Youth Involved

Politics is a four-letter word; culture is what happens when you get out of bed.  That was the title of a post by prank monkey raised from the diaries on mydd about getting youth involved in Democratic/ progressive politics.  It’s a long post so I’ve taken the liberty of culling what I saw as key paragraphs.  The whole thing is well worth the read though.

At its most root level, it is a matter of perception, world-view, framing (or whatever term you want to assign it).  For the majority of "young" Americans, politics isn't important in the same way it is for us junkies. In fact, politics is a dirty word. This seems like a no-brainer, but the manner in which "youth outreach" programs of the Young Democrats, College Democrats, DNC, and ACT work illustrate that this fact remains deeply unabsorbed. It is a constant that is always in people's minds, but never fully comprehended or accounted for during planning sessions, retreats, and daily meetings.

This should come as no surprise.  Politicians and political groups are particularly inept when it comes to operating outside the realm of the established norms of the beltway - canvassers on campuses, "bar nights" where younger folks have to pay to meet a politician seeking their vote (how insane is that - asking an apathetic or apolitical college student or young professional to pay for the pleasure of hearing an earnest pencil pusher or a smarmy egomaniac speak platitudes?!?!?!), if we're lucky, the occasional road trip may crop up.

The problem here, as Leighton pointed out, is that many of the people running these programs view "youth outreach" as basic training for the big leagues.  What the entire Democratic infrastructure needs to realize is that voters under 30 need completely different programs to increase their participation, not a beta-version of a real campaign, run by an endless series of ladder climbers looking to get to the next rung in their political career.  

If we want to build a progressive majority, our coalition cannot be composed solely of folks who drink the Kool Aid. We need to tailor our activities so we can involve the greatest amount of people, and use this larger pool to gradually move people up a ladder of participation that gets increasingly political in nature the higher up you get.  This should be the goal of "youth outreach" programs, and this idea should be the basis for every ground campaign and recruitment program geared towards younger voters.  The rub here is that we can't force these people to conform to our world-view.  99.9% of them will never be as politicized as we'd like them to be.  So in order to succeed, we've got to adapt our own assumptions and ideas into their worldview. This was the realization that made Music for America so successful.

That was the simple idea behind all of MfA's successes (as well as that of groups like Drinking Liberally, Punk Voter, Head Count, Concerts for Kerry/Change). We took politics, which was a topic of taboo in youth culture - an automatic badge of unhipness - and, by integrating it into the cultural fabric, changed the entire frame through which our generation perceived it.  For the kids we reached, politics wasn't a freakish entity floating at the margin of their lives anymore. It was about going to good shows and hanging out with their friends, seeing a good band or having a beer.  And somewhere in all that socializing and normalcy, they register to vote and get a little bit more informed. After more than 2400 shows across the county, politics became part of a typical Saturday night out.

The active left needs to recognize that it's OK - no, its VALUABLE - to have a large pool of voters who are mildly informed and involved through their everyday activities, even if they never pariticpate in any of your "boots on the ground" activites.  Our job is to organize enough events with mass appeal to keep a large majority of folks interested and informed at the most basic level.  Simultaneously, we should use these informal settings to find people who can be "brought up to the next level."  Give people the opportunity to become involved at their own pace and do your damndest to keep them loosely connected until they do decide to increase their participation..

We need to shift our "youth organizations" focus away from career building for the big leagues and get them to start teaching the next generation in American Politics how  to Live Liberally.  This needs to happen through culture - in concert halls and comedy clubs, bars and coffee shops.  If we don't, the new Baby Boom that began in 1990 might just end up destroying the so-called Emerging Democratic Majority. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 2, 2005 at 04:40 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack