« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 31, 2006

Dem Voters Enthused About Voting This Year

Usually off-year elections bring our far few voters than elections held in Presidential years.  Because of that, the voters who care and show up to vote can make a difference.  So far, it looks like that means committed Democrats will make up a larger percentage of the voters in this election than in other elections.  Jonathan Singer over at MyDD has gathered together some polling figures from two polls, a June Pew Research Center poll and a recent Cook Political Report poll.  From the Pew Report:

Democrats are more enthusiastic about the upcoming election than was the case in 2002, 1998 or especially 1994, when they were particularly ambivalent about going to vote. By comparison, far fewer Republicans say they are looking forward to voting this November than in recent midterms. Just 30% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than usual, down from 44% four years ago; 41% in June 1998; and 45% prior to the 1994 midterm election.

The heightened Democratic enthusiasm is particularly notable among liberal Democrats, 53% of whom are more interested in voting this year than usual. The partisan gap in enthusiasm is even visible among independents - those who lean Democratic are considerably more eager to vote than those who lean Republican. Overall, 47% of voters who plan to vote Democratic this fall say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared with just 30% of voters who plan to vote Republican.

Although Singer is clear in saying that he knows of no proven correlation between voter enthusiasm and likelihood to vote, he also says that "the major Republican victory in 1994 was presaged by a big GOP enthusiasm lead in October that year and the narrower Republican victories in 1998 and 2002 were also foreshadowed by their narrower GOP enthusiasm leads during the summer of those years".  And from the Cook Report (available only on pdf):

According to the latest Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll, 67 percent of Democrats are highly interested in this year's midterm elections (those who, on a scale of 1-10 -- 1 being not at all interested in November's elections, 10 being very interested -- responded 9 or 10) while just 61 percent of Republicans are. Digging into the cross-tabs (.doc), we find that extremely high interest voters (those who answered 10) favored the Democrats by a whopping 55 percent to 37 percent margin over the Republicans in the generic congressional ballot question. High interest voters (those who responded 9 or 10) favor the Democrats by a similar 53 percent to 38 percent margin. In an election with generally low turnout, which may be the case this November, such leads in voter enthusiasm and preference among the likeliest voters could prove insurmountable even for the highly sophisticated GOTV machine implemented by the Republican Party.

Although this is hopeful, there is no room for complacency.  The Republicans will pull something out of their hat and we need to be vigilant and persistent in continuing to raise the interest of Democrats in voting this fall.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 31, 2006 at 09:06 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thank You, Mr. Olbermann

Keith Olberman courageously frames the real Donald Rumsfeld and the real Bush Administration.  Olbermann has been standing up to the crazy right-wing commenters and spokespeople for a while now.  In this MUST-SEE video-clip from his show on MSNBC, he lays out what it is that Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration are doing to our nation.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 31, 2006 at 08:46 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 30, 2006

What We Could Have Done with $1.7 Trillion

That's the amount of money it would take to fix up America's crumbling infrastructure according the the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  $1.7 trillion is also a rough estimate of what the Bush Administration's unnecessary, preemptive war against Iraq will wind up costing the American taxpayers now and in the future.  Having so thoroughly destroyed Iraq, we will probably be forced by our conscience and the international community to pay the equivalent of reparations to Iraq to fix up what we've destroyed there.

Coolaqua has the charts and figures that ASCE has posted on their 2005 Report Card for American's infrastructure.  A decade and a half of Republican control of the pursestrings and a penchance for corruption over governing has given us a "D" for infrastructure upkeep.  An unnecessary war has insured that we won't have the money to rectify the situation.  Pathetic.  It will take Democrats, backed by a more educated, committed public, a couple of decades to rebuild our democracy, our infrastructure and our ability to lead in the world.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 30, 2006 at 09:11 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Writers for James Webb

Fellow authors Stephen King and John Grisham will headline a campaign event for U. S. Senate candidate Jim Webb, running against George Allen in Virginia.  Turns out that Webb is a first class fiction and non-fiction writer in addition to being a celebrated Marine veteran of the Vietnam Era, an attorney, journalist and military consultant. 

Webb has written six best-selling novels including "Fields of Fire", considered to be one of the best books on the Vietnam War.  A short story he wrote, "Rules of Engagement", was made into a best-selling movie.  He is also considered to be the foremost expert in the world on the Scotch-Irish migration into the United States.

I think it's going to be hard for George Allen to run against someone as authentically accomplished as Jim Webb once the voters of Virginia see the difference between the real deal and the fake one. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 30, 2006 at 08:48 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 29, 2006

Mayor and Council offer lip service instead of significant funding for transit in Seattle

I intend to support the Seattle transportation measure, slated for the ballot this November.  However, I’m deeply disappointed with the lack of leadership by the Council and Mayor in crafting a pro-transit and pro-environment package.

The Seattle transportation proposal is heavily focused on basic road and bridge maintenance, and lacks significant funding for creating corridors that will give priority to transit and other modes of travel.   This car focused proposal comes at the expense of an environmental focus that funds transit and other choices.  I’m pleased with the provisions that do fund transit and other alternatives, but it’s simply not a big enough piece of the package.

As we move forward as a city there must be a focus on moving people, not cars. Seattle needs to invest in the infrastructure that will allow people to move safely and quickly through the city without a car by giving buses, bicycles, and pedestrians the priority they need.

The Seattle Transit Plan is just one example of what the city could do to focus on improving transit service in Seattle, with or without the funding from the transportation proposal.  Yet, the plan is gathering dust on a shelf at city hall, with Mayor Nickels and all nine councilmembers taking the easy and typical road by focusing new transportation resources on car-centric improvements.

Cross Posted on Urban Transit

Posted by EzraBasom on August 29, 2006 at 06:41 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Peter Goldmark Reports from the Amber Wave Tour

Peter Goldmark called to talk about what he is finding as he tours the rural parts of the 5th CD.   I had suggested to the campaign that they blog about what they were finding as they talked and listened and visited with folks in the small towns of the Okanogan and Methow valleys, then down through Spokane and Pullman and into the southeastern-most parts of the state on his Amber Wave Tour.   They suggested I interview him instead so I got to talk with Goldmark from the tour and hear first hand his impressions of the situation in our rural areas.

He told a story about a group of conservative Republican cattlemen who’d come to hear him in Wauconda a day earlier.  They asked him a bunch of questions and nodded at his answers.  At the end they said they agreed with everything he said.  Then they asked him, “So, how come you’re not a Republican?” 

Goldmark said, “The Democrats work for the little guy, the folks getting the dirty end of the stick.  The big guys don’t need help.  It’s the little guys hurting.” 

They said he had an interesting point.

Peter added to me, “If they hadn’t been unhappy with the way things are going, they wouldn’t have come to listen to hear me talk.  Contrary to myth, some Republicans think.”

Before I go to the actual interview, David Goldstein wrote yesterday about Congressional Quarterly’s upgrading of Peter’s race in the 5th.  It went from  “safe Republican” to “leans Republican”.  Goldy says:

This is HUGE, as it represents the first national recognition that Peter Goldmark actually has a shot at winning. And given the Democratic wave we all are hoping for, and sufficient financial resources to get his message out, Goldmark can do it.

Goldmark is getting a lot of blogger press these last couple days.  Douglass at McCranium also has an interview up with Goldmark.  It is a wide-ranging interview that was conducted several days ago.  I had a chance to read that before I talked with Peter today so I stayed away from what Doulass had discussed with Peter and went for new territory, which was pretty easy because I am really interested in what is going on in rural Washington and Peter was ready to talk about it with me.  Douglass’ interview is definitely well worth a read, especially if you want a fuller picture of Goldmark’s thoughts on the campaign, his opponent, his own qualifications and his thoughts on the war in Iraq.   

N in Seattle put up a nice piece as well over at Peace Tree Farm which summarizes the other pieces up on Goldmark over these last couple days.

Before we go over the fold, I should add that money is particularly important in Peter’s race because he is not getting much PAC money and no money from the national Democrats, having not hit their radar screen yet.  He is at the point in his campaign that Darcy was several months ago.   We helped work magic there.  We can do it here.  So, if you can do it, contribute at his website.  Stop by to see his great ads as well. 

LA: So what have you been seeing and hearing as you meet with folks in the rural towns in your district?

PG: I’ve been traveling across the Okanogan and Methow valleys, up in the flats where there have historically been lots of family orchards, producing fruit for the region, the nation and the world.  Two-thirds of the farms that have been there for 80 years or so are gone.  This decline has been going on for a15-20 years but it has accelerated in the last 7 years.  The farms are lying idle and there is nothing in their place.  It is alarming and even more alarming that people aren’t up in arms about it.

I was talking to a 2nd generation orchardist there today.  They grow cherries, apples, and pears.  It’s been a hard year for them.  There was hail at a critical time in the growing cycle.  It didn’t ruin the fruit but it damaged it so it could only be used for juice.  Now in the past, the price per ton of concentrated apple juice was somewhere between $120 and $240.  Now it’s available from China at $60, $70, $80 per ton.  It is unlikely that farmer will be able to even pick the fruit for that price.

The only way the orchard is still functioning is because this farmer draws no salary and his wife works off the farm.  It’s still touch and go.  One of his neighbors, whom I also met, is likely to go out of business this year. 

This decline has happened incrementally.  People aren’t recognizing the enormous amount of change but it is unmistakable when you step back.  The direction we are going in with losing farmers and farms is universally agreed to be wrong and yet no one is doing anything about it.  Have to take a look at the underlying policies that are leading this destruction. 

We have to change the direction of this country.  I’m determined to be a part of it and I’m determined that alternative energy policies will be a part of it.

LA: Let’s talk about that.  You had a great analysis on your website on this subject, talking about three crises with one solution.  (Note: it’s not on the website in this same way now so I’m reproducing it here from the earlier post.)

Enlightened energy future includes renewable solutions today

    Crisis One: Families face losing farms to high fuel and low crop prices.
    Crisis Two: America becomes more dependent on foreign oil.
    Crisis Three: Global warming threatens dramatic climate changes.

    Three crises--one solution, according to Peter Goldmark.

"Biofuels represent an opportunity to turn around the economy of Eastern Washington, to move toward energy independence, and to provide a fuel that is carbon neutral," Goldmark said.

PG: The energy crisis is creating an opportunity in the new renewal resources economy.  There is conservation, wind, biofuels and more.  I want to help farmers grow biofuel crops instead of wheat.  Canola and other oil-rich crops, and biomass converted into propane or ethanol.

Ethanol is a bridge technology.  The energy yield is slim.  You get 30-40% more energy that you put in, maybe not even that.  Nothing is as good as biodiesel which yields 3-4 times what you invest in energy.  And it offers a great opportunity for farmers to be part of the solution and to make a living off it.

LA: I think that this issue creates an opportunity for urban and rural folks to come together on an important issue where our interests merge.

PG: Yes.  I think urban people in western Washington would be ecstatic to have eastern Washington farmers supply the fuel that we need.  As it is now, 60-70% of the money that runs our gas economy goes overseas.  With the new alternative fuel economy, it is a closed cycle both economically and biologically.  The use of biofuels is a closed carbon cycle.  There is no more energy or heat released after we use the fuels in our cars and factories than before.  No additional carbons are released into the atmosphere.  The same is true of dollars.  The money stays in this country.

LA: So what do you think about the plant being constructed by Imperium Renewables in Grays Harbor for refining palm oil from Malaysia for use as biodiesel fuel?

PG: I worry about the location of that plant in Grays Harbor.  There are five plants currently being built in eastern Washington but I don’t think any of them are as large.  There is a lot of cost, both in energy and dollars, expended in getting the raw materials from eastern Washington to Grays Harbor.  And, I have issues with the use of palm oil.  I’d like to know more about the economics of the palm oil being converted and about the damage to the forests where the palm oil is coming from. 

I’d like to put people together on this to see what we can do.  I understand there will need to be a transition from where we are today.  We have to get to a point where our farmers can grow the crops needed for our own fuel supply.  I’ve listened to the people at WSU talk about this.  We need to get our heads together about our longer term goals here.

Back in Congress, it’s still idle talk.  President Bush’s original budget had only $60 million allotted for the development of alternative energy.  I think it’s been raised since then but not by nearly enough. 

LA: You said that you don’t consider yourself a traditional Democrat.  What does that mean to you?

PG: The Western Democrats have a refreshing approach to some age-old issues that Democrats haven’t woken up to.  There is a way to talk about the environment that’s positive and that resonates with rural people.  They want to enjoy the great outdoors and go hunting and fishing and camping.  They know that their ability to do that is dependent on conserving their resources. 

Second amendment rights of gun ownership are important in the West.  For people like me and Brian Schweitzer, governor of Montana, who’ve been ranchers all our lives, guns are an important tool and an integral part of their lives.

(Note: Schweitzer will be coming to Spokane for a campaign event with Goldmark on 9/9 – see the campaign website for more information)

LA: McJoan, front-pager at DailyKos, has a description of the new rural Western Democrat that she thinks fits you in a post she wrote called, “The Revolt in the Rural West”.  Does that make sense to you?

PG: Yes.  There are lots of upset citizens out there and that people are talking about taking their country back all the time.  I talk on the campaign trail a lot about bringing honesty and integrity back to Congress.  Most foreign governments don’t trust us anymore and people here are also tired of the lies.  Clean Skies.  No Child Left Behind.  The government is telling them one thing and doing another.  It’s a continuing nightmare when you get to that place where you can’t trust your government. 

The assessments in “No Child Left Behind” are punitive according to both parents and teachers.  The government didn’t fund it fully even at the beginning and now they’re taking even that money away.  People are figuring out the bait and switch.  We were lied to about the Iraq war.  There are not many folks who don’t know that.  It’s a continuing nightmare when you get to the spot where you can’t believe your own government. 

Thanks for taking time out of your tour to talk with me.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 29, 2006 at 12:45 PM in Candidate Races, Interviews | Permalink | Comments (6)

August 28, 2006

Goldy Nails It

Goldy has a great post up today on the clever framing inherent in McGavick's revelations about his DUI in 1993, among other things.  It's a great read.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 28, 2006 at 02:54 PM in Candidate Races, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1)

Doorbelling for Darcy, #2

Yesterday I headed over to Bellevue to do another afternoon of doorbelling for Darcy’s campaign.  This time we were canvassing in the Lake Hills area of Bellevue, a middle class area with a range from upper middle class homes to the lower end of middle class homes.  I made it to all 50 homes on my list although I’m not sure how coherent I was there at the end.  Even with more shade on the blocks I was walking, it was a pretty hot day.   

This was the second run through this precinct so I was going to homes where people had not responded earlier.  It meant there were a lot of blocks where I was only hitting maybe three houses out of ten.  It made for more walking and more driving between neighborhoods but at least a lot of folks were home this time.  That makes the walk up the steps or down the walk to someone’s home far more rewarding. 

The list was also more accurate than the one I’d used a month ago in Renton.  I maybe found three homes where the person on the list had moved or wasn’t known by the current occupant. 

I was in a great mood and happy to talk with everyone, of whatever political or non-political persuasion.  Although, of course, it is always great to find those Democrats who were already tracking Darcy’s progress or didn’t know her but were definitely against Reichert.  One woman just shook her head in disgust talking about him.  She said, “I didn’t like him as a sheriff and I don’t like him as a Congressman.” 

These folk were pleased to find out more about Darcy.   To a person they said they’d vote for her.  I even talked to one woman who was interested enough that I suggested she attend a women’s luncheon that Chris Gregoire will host for Darcy in the next few weeks. 

That Darcy’s name recognition was higher here than I’d found a month ago makes a lot of sense given the introductory TV ad that’s been running and the increase in general focus on the election in the media.  It may have also been partly the difference in the area.  Bellevue is definitely trending Democratic and voted for both Gore and Kerry in the Presidential elections. 

Whatever it was, it was a good sign. 

I found a number of people who clearly identified as Republicans and weren’t interested in hearing anything about Darcy.  One man, however, was willing to rouse himself from watching golf to commend me and the campaign for canvassing.  He said right off that he was a Republican and happy to be one.  But, he said that any campaign that had good people out canvassing was doing well.  The interaction was a bit odd but it gave me a lift nonetheless.

The most memorable talk I had was with a young mother who identifies herself as a Christian woman and said she was quite conflicted and didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as a Republican.  She had heard of Darcy and liked her story.  When I asked her what her key issues were she said the environment and abortion.  I was quite straight with her.  I said that Darcy supported a woman’s right to choose but like all of us, wanted abortions to be as rare as possible.  I also suggested she go and listen to Darcy sometime if she got a chance.  Later, I said that the issue of abortion must be a very heart-felt issue for her.  She appreciated my acknowledgement of that and we left on very good terms.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she wound up voting for Darcy in the privacy of the voting booth.

I was able to have one conversation with a young father who identifies as a Republican but really doesn’t like what Congress is doing.  He was a real talker and I didn’t want to interrupt him but when he took a break from talking, I reminded him that Congress was Republican dominated.  I had had time during his monologue to remember that Chris Bowers of MyDD fame says that the #1 thing that people need to know if they don’t like what’s going on in Congress is what party it is controlled by.  It is the most likely thing to influence their vote. 

This time I found several people who refused to say who they would vote for or what their political inclinations were.  Most of them allowed me to give them a brochure for Darcy but some weren’t even willing to go that far.  In this age of intrusions into people’s privacy, I could understand their position although it wasn’t much fun to talk with them.

The hardest conversations for me are with people who consider themselves independents and clearly don’t know much about the differences between the two parties.  It’s just hard for me personally to talk with people who pay so little attention that they don't understand the massive differences between the two parties now.  The nice thing about doing this doorbelling regularly is that I can see how I can get better at working with people over time.  I think next time I’ll remember to ask these folks what their particular interests are and to take more time in listening to them if they are amenable. 

I’m sure the campaign would be happy to have more volunteers.  And money.  It’s well worth it. 

Here’s the link to my previous post on doorbelling for Darcy a month ago.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 28, 2006 at 02:15 PM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (2)

Despite Tunnel Closure, Faster Travel Times Through Downtown

Found this little tidbit stashed at the bottom of a Seattle Times article:

When the downtown Seattle bus tunnel shut down last year, many predicted gridlock on city streets. But a new report from Metro says downtown traffic times are actually improving.

It found the average time on Second Avenue through downtown Seattle has improved by one minute in the morning peak and two minutes in the evening peak. Third Avenue times improved by a minute in the northbound direction and slowed by a minute southbound compared with a report released earlier this year. Travel times also decreased on Fourth Avenue South.

While about 95,000 bus riders traveled through downtown Seattle each weekday in the fall of 2004, before the tunnel closure, that number grew to 103,000 a day this past spring.

To me, this seems like evidence that supports the People's Waterfront Coalition's contention that the downtown street grid may have more capacity than we realize, and that if we can live without the Viaduct for the years it would take to build something new, maybe we can just live without it and keep our money in our pockets.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 28, 2006 at 07:32 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 27, 2006

The Cheney Presidency

Cheney's control of the government will be one of the big stories uncovered by history.  Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the American Prospect, has an article in the Boston Globe today arguing 1) that Cheney in fact runs all major aspects of the government and 2) that "if the man actually running the government is out of the spotlight, the administration and its policies are far less accountable".   Here's an exerpt:

Cheney is in a class by himself. The administration's grand strategy and its implementation are the work of Cheney-- sometimes Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sometimes Cheney and political director Karl Rove.

Cheney has planted aides in major Cabinet departments, often over the objection of a Cabinet secretary, to make sure his policies are carried out. He sits in on the Senate Republican caucus, to stamp out any rebellions. Cheney loyalists from the Office of the Vice President dominate interagency planning meetings.

The Iraq war is the work of Cheney and Rumsfeld. The capture of the career civil service is pure Cheney. The disciplining of Congress is the work of Cheney and Rove. The turning over of energy policy to the oil companies is Cheney. The extreme secrecy is Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

If Cheney were the president, more of this would be smoked out because the press would be paying attention. The New York Times' acerbic columnist Maureen Dowd regularly makes sport of Cheney's dominance, and there are plenty of jokes (Bush is a heartbeat away from the presidency). But you can count serious newspaper or magazine articles on Cheney's operation on the fingers of one hand.

America's President has always served two roles.  He (so far it's always been he) governs the country and also handles most of the ceremonial aspects of the role.  What we got this time was a split in duties, only we haven't noticed it yet.  So we go on following what Bush says and does without realizing it's rather like following what Queen Elizabeth is doing rather than what Tony Blair is doing.   

Hat tip to my sister, Nancy.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 27, 2006 at 10:50 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schweitzer to Stump for Goldmark

I'd like to see the two of them together.  Charisma central.  This pivotal event is scheduled for Sunday the 9th at the Caterina Winery in Spokane from 12:00 - 2:00 if you care to see and hear Peter Goldmark and the popular governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer.   A diarist at DailyKos, sowinso, wrote a nice piece about it earlier today.  If you really want to go, you can RSVP to Wendy at the campaign. 

Goldmark is on what they're calling the "Amber Waves Tour" now, stopping to talk with, listen and visit with folks all over the rural parts of the 5th CD.  He rode in the Colville parade on Saturday.  He was at a concert in Liberty Lake the evening before and then stopped at three meet and greets, one each in Republic, Wauconda, and Tonasket today.   Tomorrow he's in Omak and Wilbur and Davenport.  And so it goes through the week.   I would sure like to hear him discuss what he sees and hears with Schweitzer and have them compare notes about what they've seen and what they have and might do about it. 

McJoan wrote a great piece last week on DailyKos asking whether we might be seeing a rural revolt in the West.  She cited political reporter Randy Stapilus, writing at Ridenbaugh Press who in turn cites Kevin Taylor in The Inlander, Spokane's alternative weekly.  They all three consider Peter Goldmark to be the poster child of a person who might really be able to 1) make a difference in Congress on behalf of rural America and 2) convince the generally conservative voters in his district that he could make a difference for them.  It certainly seems like it might be time.   There's also Larry Grant, running for Congress in Idaho's 1st CD and Gray Trauner, running for Congress in Wyoming's only CD, both giving the Republicans conniptions in conservative Republican districts no one would have considered to be on the table even six months ago.  Add in Brian's Schweitzer's win as governor in Montana a year ago, along with the return of  a Democratic legislature in Montana and Jon Tester's race against Conrad Burns for U. S. Senate there.  And Texas.  For heaven's sake, there's a seemingly similar rural revolt going on in Texas.   The Democratic candidate for Attorney General in Texas, David Van Os, wrote a lengthy comment on DailyKos laying out a rural revolt there that he hopes to ride into office.

I like the term "Amber Wave Tour".  It connotes a Western piece of the Democratic "wave" that we all think might be possible, even likely, this fall.  Thanks to Schweitzer for coming over for Peter.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 27, 2006 at 10:18 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 26, 2006

Wanted: subjects for important scientific study

Dr. Goldstein needs your liver for some important politico-medical research; namely, just how drunk are you when you're blowing a 0.17 BAC like Mike! did?


If I was anywhere close to 200 pounds, I'd offer myself as a subject.  But I guess I'll just have to settle for "participant/observer."  Drinking Liberally, Tuesday night, Montlake Alehouse.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 26, 2006 at 08:11 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

A New, Blacker Darkness

The story of a 50-year old, burka-clad grandmother who organized the murder of 16 people made my hair stand on end.  Wabila Felehi Hussein, took bloody justice into her own hands after one of her sons was killed by neighbors.   Paul McGeough of the Sydney Morning Herald has the story of this amazing woman who has been pushed about as far as any human being could be.  Her story tells us a lot about the real state of the people of Iraq:

Until now, all the blood-letting has been laid at the door of organised insurgency cells, religious militias, death squads that operate within the national security forces and tribal gangs. But this woman is being hailed by thousands as the Shiite mother who spectacularly - and brutally - avenged her son's death.

US officials tick the boxes as they try to build a civil society - they have written a constitution, there have been elections, and new police and military services are in training. But it all collapses in a meaningless heap at the feet of Wabila Felehi Hussein. Iraq's democracy dream is being strangled at birth. Wabila Felehi's home town, Hoorijab, is near the gateway towns to an insurgency stronghold to the south-west of the capital that has been dubbed the Triangle of Death.

Up until just recently, the mixed Shiite and Sunni town of Hoorijab was withstanding the sectarian tear in the fabric of Iraqi society pretty well.  Shiite and Sunni neighbors shared tea and meals.  Then, the family says, the word "alasa" - traitors - began to be thrown around as Shiites accused former Sunni friends of fingering them to the insurgents.  On July 31st, Wabila's 4th son,  Huthanna, was abducted from the shop he ran.  The next day the family was shot at.  They fled with just the clothes they were wearing.   

Wabila tells the story from there:

We searched for 10 days before someone told us that Muthanna's body had been dumped in the river at Arabjabour [which is inside the Triangle of Death]. I asked the police to get him back. They said it was too dangerous. The Iraqi Army and the Mahdi Army [a Shiite militia] refused to recover him, so I had to do it myself.

Her adult sons feared for their lives so she organized 16 other men and got the cars and the guns.  Riding in the first of five cars, Wabila talked her way through the last checkpoint before the river.  They found Muthanna's body, along with five others, floating face down and identified him by two tattoos.  "His hands were tied behind his back, there were two bullet wounds to the back of his head and he had been beaten." 

Suddenly, as the evening light faded, they were under attack.   They loaded his body into a pick-up as they began firing mortars back, and escaped back to Hoorijab.  Wabila got her sons to call around to find out who had given Muthanna's name to the insurgents. 

A neighbor takes the story from there:

They got the name of the son of a local tribal sheik who lived near their house, he says. When she sent the boys, she insisted he must be brought back to Sadr City alive, because no one was to be killed unless they had proof of their involvement in Muthanna's death.

He was interrogated and gave up nine more names. Eight of them were abducted and brought back for interrogation … and then they killed them with guns, knives and by bashing some of them. Adel killed six; Saad killed three.

The remains of the family, 16 in all, are camping out in one room in a friend's house in the Shiite slums of Sadr City.  Wabila's take on it:

This is not democracy … we have no stability, no future. It would be better if we all were dead … get me out of Iraq.  Tears streaming down her face, she hit bottom. We were happy when the Americans came. They lifted the Saddam darkness, but now they have led us into a new, blacker darkness.

Hat Tip to CoolAqua.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 26, 2006 at 09:21 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (7)

A Few Thoughts on Drunky-Driver McGavick

Mike! McGavick's cycnical attempt at outing himself as a drunk driver this week isn't going to work.  It's not some courageous clearing of the air.  It's a shameful admission of Mike!'s disregard for himself, his wife, the public at large and the law.

Driving drunk is incredibly dangerous -- both to oneself and others.  (If Mike! is filled with self-loathing, well I can't blame him -- with his track record I'd be pretty down on myself, too.  --Ed.)  But to put his wife -- and the public -- at risk suggests a profound lack of common sense and good judgement.  And since we're hiring Senators primarly for their ability to make good decisions, this seems like a pretty major disqualifier right off the bat.

Like many people, I drink sometimes.  Once in a while I even get... well, drunk.  But I'm a reasonably intelligent person with reasonably good judgement, and I've never had a problem not driving while I'm tipsy.  It's just not that hard to have designated driver, or to simply not drink -- if you actually respect yourself and others enough to care.

And that's Mike!'s real problem.  His actions suggest that he just doesn't respect himself, us or the law enough to exercise some self control.

I guess that's another thing he shares in common with George Bush.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 26, 2006 at 08:48 AM in Best Practices | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 25, 2006

Boston's Big Dig Firms Donate to Seattle Tunnel Proposal Fund

The pro-tunnel campaign in Seattle is being funded almost entirely by companies with a stake in replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.  The biggest donors have contributed indirectly, according to an article by Angela Galloway in the PI earlier this week.  Parsons Brinkerhoff, a lead design firm in the Boston project, gave $10,000 to the Washington Engineers' PAC to donate to Citizens for a Better Waterfront, the organization that has raised nearly $80,000 for a pro-tunnel campaign.  Another Boston contractor, Hatch Mott MacDonald, gave $5,000 in the same manner.  Other donations, made directly to Citizens for a Better Waterfront, came from developers with land holdings near the Viaduct, unions representing street pavers and electrical workers, and from a company that sells concrete and cement.

As the campaign heats up, know that any ads and PR are being paid for by the people who will benefit.  That's not unusual nor is it illegal.  But it's worth paying attention to.  The article has a list of all contributors. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2006 at 09:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Help Improve Seattle's Bicycle Infrastructure

If you use a bicycle in Seattle or would like to, consider completing the Seattle DOT Master Bike Plan Survey and/or participating in a public meeting to help determine what we do to improve the bicycling experience in Seattle.  SDOT has begun the creation of a "Bike Master Plan" to guide SDOT as they work to improve the somewhat fragmented bicycle network in the city.  A planning and engineering company, Toole Design, has been hired to survey Seattle's arterial streets, bike facilities, bike policies and the maintenance of all that.   As part of the development of the Master Plan, Toole Design has been meeting with the public and members of Seattle's transportation and bicycle clubs.  Cascade Bicycle Club, in particular, is working with Toole Design and the city on this project.

Taking the survey allows you to have input into this process.  You can provide information on streets, bicycle paths and signs that works and those that don't.  There is also a Bicycle Master Plan Public Meeting this coming Tuesday, Aug. 29th, 6:30 - 9:30 at Gould Hall at the UW campus, 3949 15th Ave. NE. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2006 at 09:47 PM in Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

Burner within Striking Distance of Reichert

Given that Darcy has little name recognition yet with her constituents, she's got some pretty good poll numbers going.  Although she'd done a phenomenal job of reaching the base over this last half year, Darcy is only now going to the voters of the 8th district.  She's put up one TV ad a few weeks ago and has done one mailing.  When I went doorbelling for Darcy 4 weeks ago, no one knew who she was.  (I am going again this weekend so should have a fresher perspective after that.)

According to a poll just released by KING-5 TV, Reichert leads Burner 54% to 41% with only 6% undecided.  There are a lot of qualifiers on the type of poll and the company doing the polling so the numbers may not be wholly accurate.   Goldy has more:

Burner supporters can also be buoyed by the crosstabs, which show only 35% support for President Bush, significantly lower than SurveyUSA’s national average. Those who approve of President Bush’s job performance choose Reichert by an overwelming 93% to 4% margin. Those who disapprove choose Burner 66% to 27%.

The task for Burner seems clear. She needs to improve her name ID while persuading voters to identify Reichert with President Bush’s failed policies. Given the time and the resources, both can be achieved, and fortunately for Burner she has plenty of both.

For this time of year, with a campaign as determined and smart as Darcy's, these are good numbers.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2006 at 09:30 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2)

Interview with a National Security Expert

Are we safer than we were five years ago?  In an interview at Harper's Magazine online, Michael Scheuer, former chief of the bin Laden unit at the CIA, answers questions on this topic posed by Ken Silverstein.  Scheuer also wrote both Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror and Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America

There is a lot of value in the six questions and answers that constitute this article.  I will just note a couple of the responses that I think are most important.  In response to the interviewer's question about whether the country is safer or more vulnerable to terrorism at the five year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Scheuer says that on balance we are more vulnerable and that "for the most part our victories have been tactical and not strategic"; then he says:

In the long run, we're not safer because we're still operating on the assumption that we're hated because of our freedoms, when in fact we're hated because of our actions in the Islamic world. There's our military presence in Islamic countries, the perception that we control the Muslim world’s oil production, our support for Israel and for countries that oppress Muslims such as China, Russia, and India, and our own support for Arab tyrannies. . . . We use the term “Islamofascism”—but we're supporting it in Saudi Arabia, with Mubarak in Egypt, and even Jordan is a police state. We don't have a strategy because we don't have a clue about what motivates our enemies.

When asked why there hasn't been an attack on the United States in the past five years, he says that they're not ready to do it yet.  And basically, why interfere when we are damaging ourselves so badly, losing the hearts and minds of the Muslim world all on our own?  About the long-term impact of our war in Iraq, he says:

Iraq is in the Arab heartland and, far more than Afghanistan, is a magnet for mujahideen. You can see this in the large number of people crossing the border to fight us. It wasn't a lot at the start, but there's been a steady growth as the war continues. The war has validated everything bin Laden said: that the United States will destroy any strong government in the Arab world, that it will seek to destroy Israel's enemies, that it will occupy Muslim holy places, that it will seize Arab oil, and that it will replace God's law with man's law. We see Iraq as a honey pot that attracts jihadists whom we can kill there instead of fighting them here. We are ignoring that Iraq is not just a place to kill Americans; Al Qaeda has always said that it requires safe havens. It has said it couldn't get involved with large numbers in the Balkans war because it had no safe haven in the region. Now they have a safe haven in Iraq, which is so big and is going to be so unsettled for so long. For the first time, it gives Al Qaeda contiguous access to the Arabian Peninsula, to Turkey, and to the Levant. We may have written the death warrant for Jordan. If we pull out of Iraq, we have a problem in that we may have to leave a large contingent of troops in Jordan. All of this is a tremendous advantage for Al Qaeda. We've moved the center of jihad a thousand miles west from Afghanistan to the Middle East.

Not that either Afghanistan or Lebanon have been helpful either.  All in all it's not a pretty picture.  The interview ends with Scheuer's response to a question about what we should do now.  His response boils down to "tell the truth".  It's interesting because I have been struck in the last few weeks at how much our Democratic leaders are doing just that.  It appears that there may be a convergence between what is the right thing to do and what will win the election.  Here's what Scheuer says:

This may be a country bumpkin approach, but the truth is the best place to start. We need to acknowledge that we are at war, not because of who we are, but because of what we do. We are confronting a jihad that is inspired by the tangible and visible impact of our policies. People are willing to die for that, and we're not going to win by killing them off one by one. We have a dozen years of reliable polling in the Middle East, and it shows overwhelming hostility to our policies—and at the same time it shows majorities that admire the way we live, our ability to feed and clothe our children and find work. We need to tell the truth to set the stage for a discussion of our foreign policy.

At the core of the debate is oil. As long as we and our allies are dependent on Gulf oil, we can't do anything about the perception that we support Arab tyranny—the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, and other regimes in the region. Without the problem of oil, who cares who rules Saudi Arabia? If we solved the oil problem, we could back away from the contradiction of being democracy promoters and tyranny protectors. We should have started on this back in 1973, at the time of the first Arab oil embargo, but we've never moved away from our dependence. As it stands, we are going to have to fight wars if anything endangers the oil supply in the Middle East.

What you want with foreign policy is options. Right now we don't have options because our economy and our allies' economies are dependent on Middle East oil. What benefit do we get by letting China commit genocide-by-inundation by moving thousands and thousands of Han Chinese to overcome the dominance of Muslim Uighurs? What do we get out of supporting Putin in Chechnya? He may need to do it to maintain his country, but we don't need to support what looks like a rape, pillage, and kill campaign against Muslims. The other area is Israel and Palestine. We're not going to abandon the Israelis but we need to reestablish the relationship so it looks like we're the great power and they're our ally, and not the other way around. We need to create a situation where moderate Muslims can express support for the United States without being laughed off the block.

Hat tip to DailyKos diarist Yoss

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2006 at 08:26 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 24, 2006

Conversation on Transformational Candidates

Kid oakland put up a diary today on MyDD integrating his thoughts on the "netroots wave" and my ideas on "transformational candidates".   After giving me a shout-out for my post on transformational candidates from a couple of days ago, he builds on the idea:

What I like about transformational candidates as a term is that it interacts with another key aspect of the 2006 mid-term elections: the potential for a single netroots race to energize grassroots Democrats for an entire region and create a netroots wave. A transformational candidate does this by running a campaign that:

  # develops local netroots infrastructure
  # energizes statewide grassroots activism
  # impacts other races in the state
  # serves as a national focal point for a politics of contrast


Transformational candidates are the essential starting point for building a netroots wave.

However, just because a candidate receives national netroots attention it does not mean that their campaign will automatically pull together the other aspects needed to build a netroots wave: grassroots energy, netroots and local blog development, support for downticket races, forging a politics of contrast that wins the attention of the national press.

It takes synergy and deliberate effort to build a netroots wave. And while that synergy can't be manufactured, it also does not happen by accident. It takes coordination, focus, strategy, and planning all executed on the local level. It takes the coordinated development of a local netroots infrastructure.

At the moment, it's just he and I discussing our synergistic terms in the comments section.  Feel free to jump in.

Also, let me know if you have thoughts on legislative candidates, incumbents or challengers who fit the bill.  I want to get a better picture of who fills that role at the next level down. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 24, 2006 at 01:33 PM in Candidate Races, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ask Murray and Cantwell to Boot Lieberman

Natasha must be back from Costa Rica.  She's kicking butt.  Let's help her.  Here's what she says over at Pacific Views:

Joe Lieberman is now campaigning with Republicans. He's using a Republican pollster.

If you're here in Washington, please call Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and ask them to petition Minority Leader Harry Reid to strip Lieberman of his committee assignments and caucus privileges. If you're in another state, find your Senators here.

Some may express the worry that this will cause Holy Joe to bolt the party. Umm.

Murray in D.C. - (202) 224-2621

Cantwell in D.C. - (202) 224-3441
Cantwell's toll-free in-state number - (888) 648-7328

Come to think of it, look up your House representative, too. Lieberman's campaigning with Republican House candidates and actively threatening the ability of Democrats to regain control of the House.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

Good News on Emergency Contraception Front

The FDA, under pressure from Senators Hillary Clinton and our own Patty Murray, approved over-the-counter sales of the emergency contraception pill for women 18 and older.  The drug, called Plan B, is manufactured by Barr Laboratories.  It is currently only available by prescription and then only if the pharmacy and pharmacist are willing to fill the prescription.  With any luck, much of that controversy will go away. 

Over-the-counter distribution of the drug has been held up for three years under three different FDA commissioners as a result of the opposition of anti-abortion groups.  Since the pill prevents fertilization, there is nothing resembling abortion involved.  Abortion rights advocates have pushed to get over-the-counter status in order to prevent more abortions, contending that the use of Plan B would sharply reduce the nearly 1 million abortions performed every year.   The differing stances by these groups brings up the interesting question of who really is trying to prevent abortion and who is just posturing.   

The New York Times, in their article on the approval this morning, documents a lot of pressure from the White House on doctors working with or at the FDA to stop or slow this decision, purely on political grounds. 

The director of the agency’s office of women’s health resigned last year to protest what she said was the “abortion politics” behind the delay in approving Plan B. An investigation by the Government Accountability Office concluded that top agency officials had decided to reject the initial Plan B application months before a scientific review was complete.

Sworn depositions show that some of the agency’s science staff members were convinced that no amount of scientific evidence would have persuaded the agency’s political appointees to approve the application.

It took some muscle by two of our female Senators, and is this ever an argument for more Democratic women in positions of power.  Here's the story from the NYT article:

Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat from New York, and Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington State, became so concerned about the delays surrounding Plan B that they placed a legislative hold on Dr. Crawford’s nomination last year as F.D.A. commissioner.

The senators lifted the hold after Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt promised that the F.D.A. would act on the Plan B application by Sept. 1 of last year. Dr. Crawford was confirmed.

The agency then announced a further delay in the application, something Ms. Murray said in an interview amounted to “the worst double-cross I’ve ever seen in my time in the Senate.” Mr. Leavitt responded that the delay amounted to “an action.”

When Dr. Crawford unexpectedly resigned weeks later, the senators said that they would not be fooled again. They have held up Dr. von Eschenbach’s nomination to become commissioner, saying that this time they want a Plan B decision first.

This morning's announcement came one hour before Dr. von Eshenbach's nomination was scheduled to come up again before the Senate.  Nice work, ladies!

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 24, 2006 at 10:50 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 23, 2006

The Netroots Turns Conventional Wisdom on its Ear

The netroots makes incumbency a handicap.  How's that for a new way of thinking?  Patrick, an occasional front-pager on Firedoglake, has a great post up about how the ToobzRoots, the name he uses for the netroots (in honor of our Internet-illiterate Senator to the North), diminishes the value of what have traditionally been seen as advantages for the incumbent: name recognition, fund-raising and the warm feelings that come from benefiting from getting constituent services and pork barrel projects.  He discusses how the netroots are eroding these advantages and then he lays out what he calls the New Rules for Incumbents:

  1. Your largest donors are not your constituency.  They’re your mistress.  The voters know this (and if they don’t, plan for your opponent to tell them).  MoveOn.org and ActBlue are making it easier than ever for rank and file voters to support candidates.  This blunts the edge of special interests to run Capitol Hill.  This is democracy in action and it scares the hell out of a lot of very powerful people.
  2. Don’t run against a reform candidate by beating on your "experience" and your "record."  This is like campaigning against an alligator by announcing that you’re actually a smoked turkey.  Also, don’t send your corporate lobbyist homeboys out to campaign for you.  It doesn’t really enhance your image.
  3. The voters aren’t stupid.  Individually, you may find that they have gaps in their knowledge and their experience, but collectively they fill each other in.  While Americans may not congregate over barbecue grills and at Church Camps like they used to, they sure do meet and talk here.  I lurk in the comments here all day, and I watch the conversations happening.  I am sure that people log off from FDL and Daily Kos only to carry their newfound knowledge to supper tables and barber shops, hunt cabins and the break room at work.  You can’t fool all of the people any more, especially now that they’re pissed.
  4. Black voters are not a windup toy, and they remember Katrina.  Do not condescend to them.  I found the overt race baiting of the Lieberman Campaign to be profoundly offensive.  I imagine that People of Color were REALLY pissed.  The race gambit is getting a little threadbare, even in places like Virginia .  It’s time to engage Black voters as American voters and it’s time to stop trotting out tired old stereotypes to manipulate voter behavior.
  5. Poor people aren’t stupid and they’re pissed.  The gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly, now even more so due to the rising cost of energy.  There is one group of people in this country who do not know this.  These people are rich.  See #1.  It’s not class warfare, it’s gas warfare.  All of this is happening while the Petroleum Industry is ROLLING IN CASH.  Look, no one is going to vote for Friends of Scrooge McDuck in 2006. 
  6. Do not speak to the voters (or on the record with media) about blogs. You may as well talk to the public about astrology or hieroglyphics.  Nobody reads blogs.
  7. Do not talk privately to the media and pundits as if blogs don’t exist, because they are all reading them.  Everybody reads blogs.
  8. The race for your career will not take place in DC.  You cannot campaign from the floor of the Senate or the House, unless you have kept #1 in mind since 2001.  Most of you have not.  Go home and talk to the voters.  Go early, go often.  Also, see #2 and #3.
  9. Stop listening to losers about how you should campaign.  AND STOP PAYING LOSERS TO GIVE YOU ADVICE.  No one should ever listen to Bob Shrum again.  Ever. About anything. 

I would argue that it's not only the netroots eroding the traditional advantages, although the impact of the netroots is immense and growing.  However, it's that people who've been successful doing things one way are generally reluctant to change whereas newcomers have less to lose.  That's why in times of change there are opportunities created for clever, creative people who can see what the change means. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 23, 2006 at 07:36 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 22, 2006

Dan Scores

The Eastside chapter of Democracy for America (DfA)  takes a page out of Ned Lamont's playbook.  Dan at "On the Road to 2008" has a great video-clip up of citizens of the Bellevue talking about their Congressman, Dave Reichert.  It's great.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 22, 2006 at 07:10 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Goldmark Post Up at DailyKos

Peter Goldmark has a post up this morning at DailyKos and is occasionally responding to comments.  The paragraph in the post that stood out for me was this one:

From the first day of my campaign, I have pledged to accept no money, no gifts, no meals, no travel, nothing of value from lobbyists. I have urged my opponent to take that same pledge. So far, she has chosen not to do that.

I wrote about transformational candidates a couple days ago and said I think that both Darcy and Peter belong in that category.  One of the criteria for me is "incorruptibility" and I think this paragraph of Peter's speaks to that trait admirably. 

There are lots of calls on our money this season and we are responding well as a progressive community so it's hard to ask for more but Peter will win this race if he can get out to enough of his voters.  Here's his website.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 22, 2006 at 10:21 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goldmark to Post on DailyKos Again

Peter Goldmark must have enjoyed his posting experience on DailyKos last Friday.  He discussed biofuels and there were 110 comments, people going back and forth about the issue with Peter and each other.  If you didn't see it and want to, it's here.

He will be back up at about 9:30 this morning.  I haven't heard the topic.  But check it out when it comes up. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 22, 2006 at 07:15 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 21, 2006

Darcy at the DNC

Nice video-clip of Darcy speaking at the DNC up at MyDD.  Take a look.  If you haven't seen her speak in person, this gives you a nice picture of who she is and why she is such a great transformational candidate.  (See previous post.)

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 21, 2006 at 07:29 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 20, 2006

Transformational Candidates

Ned Lamont.  Jon Tester.  Jim Webb.  Jack Carter.  In our state, Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark.  There is a new crop of folks running for office whom I describe as transformational.  These are generally people who did not plan on becoming a politician.  Rather they had other lives; they were successful in one or more areas of business or service - farming, ranching, high-tech, the military, teaching, writing, the law, something, and have come to politics because of what I might speak of as "a calling", a sense that their nation needs them. 

Ned, Jon, Jim, Jack, Darcy, Peter and many more like them have been successful in other parts of their lives and they want to help us turn this country around so that they and we can be proud of it once again and so their children and ours will also have a great country to grow up in.  A great many others of us have made similar commitments - to organize a precinct or county or write on a blog.  And we are coming together to support the people who will help us take our country back.   

I've been talking about "transformational" candidates to friends and mentioned it a time or two on this blog in reference to something else.  Over this time, I have developed five criteria for what makes a candidate "transformational": 

  • They work for a progressive agenda.  This condition is a given.  But many people whom I don't consider transformational also work hard for a progressive agenda or at least key parts of it and we are grateful for their efforts and we support them.  Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton come to mind, as does Barack Obama and Maria Cantwell. 
  • They are uncorruptible.  They are not going to become beholden to special interests.   This is particularly important at this time of our national life.  After a dozen years of the Republican-dominated K-Street Project, and several decades of both Republican and Democratic over-cosiness with monied interests, it's time to work directly for the people.  Matt Stoller has a terrific post up today at MyDD entitled "Dismantling the Liebermachine".  It's about, among other things, the insidious impact that Democratic consultants who are also working with corporations, have on Democrats in Congress.  Stoller astutely suggests that it is very difficult to get out of the group think of the incestuous insiders - staff, lobbyists and politicians - and to think for oneself.  I think this is why there are so few incumbent politicians we would call transformational at this time.  They are already too caught up in the web of institutional Washington life.  With a few exceptions - Russ Feingold, Chris Gregoire come to mind - you pretty much have to come from the outside to be transformational.  Al Gore had to step out of that insiders' circle to become transformational. 
  • They are willing to kick ass, to say what is and to go after the people who are in the way of taking back our country, Republican or Democrat.  Georgia10 has a great post up today at DailyKos about the origins of the donkey vs. elephant symbols.  It's called "Embracing our Inner Jackass".  In a nutshell, Andrew Jackson took a populist symbol thrown at him in derision and used it to back his campaign to "let the people rule".  Then toward the end of the Grant era, the Republicans got tagged with the elephant as a symbol of "Caesarism" or what today we would call an "imperial Presidency".  Georgia is saying it's time to bring back that feisty little jackass again, kicking the imperial elephant. 
  • They are leaders.  This means they have vision, are articulate, and are able to work well with others to get things done.  They have all been successful in other careers because they know how to help a group of people find a common agenda and then work together to get that agenda implemented.
  • They are supported by the Netroots.  The candidates who are able to get the netroots behind them are protected from the need to cosy up too much to either corporate interests or the professional politicians.  The easiest way to find our Netroots candidates is to go to the Act Blue page and see who is netroots endorsed.  The netroots have come together to get the word out on these folks because they are good.  There are however, candidates supported by the Netroots not yet on the Act Blue page.  Jack Carter has a slew of local blogs that support him.  Peter Goldmark is getting great buzz from blogs outside his district because there aren't more than a small handful of blogs in his district.

Heaven knows our national political institutions are in need of transformation.  We are headed into one of the darkest and most difficult times in our nation's history - cleaning up after this corrupt and thoughtless administration - and doing it without any money since this same corrupt and thoughtless administration has pretty much poked holes in the treasury that let out all our national money - right into the mouths of the people who support them.  We need people who can move us through to where we need to go quickly and who can lead this country out of the morass we are going into. 

This is one of those times in our nation's history when the people seem to understand that we need courageous outsiders, people who are not professional politicians.  We will only know for sure if this is the year of the transformational candidates in November but I think it will be.  I had done most of the thinking and writing for this post when I saw a diary up at DailyKos by kid oakland entitled "The Netroots Wave".  Kid oakland is one of my favorite writers; this time he is saying much of the same thing I'm saying here.  He talks about a wave rising up across our nation.  And, he uses our own Darcy Burner as his prime example.  After talking about not underestimating the power of the Republicans, he says:

But there's one thing Darcy Burner has going for her that the GOP has no answer to: Darcy Burner is the face of change in Washington State. Darcy Burner represents visibly and personally where the Democratic Party and our nation are headed.  Darcy Burner stands for fresh leadership.

We will work for almost all Democrats but we will work hardest for our transformational Democratic candidates. 

Now we know, most of us anyway, who our national and statewide transformational candidates are.  I'm going to work next on who our more local transformational candidates are.  I will be putting up a post sometime soon describing who I see as our legislative transformational candidates and why.  I've love for you to think about who you see and let us know your thoughts about who they are and why they will be our leaders.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 20, 2006 at 11:02 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (10)

Supporting Maria

Maria Cantwell

U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Congressman Jay Inslee
Congressman Jim McDermott
Congressman Adam Smith
King County Executive Ron Sims
Mayor Greg Nickels

invite you to join them as Seattle Unites for
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

featuring performances by:
Will Wakefield & The Congress Hotel
The Bradbury Press
Ellen Says No

Monday, August 21, 2006

5:30 p.m. - Private Reception
6:00 p.m. - General Reception

Tractor Tavern
5213 Ballard Avenue NW
Seattle, Washington


$25 - General Admission$250 - VIP

R.S.V.P. online at www.cantwell.com/seattle821 

For more information call Sam Christensen at (206) 217-2006 or email schristensen@cantwell.com.



Posted by Lynn Allen on August 20, 2006 at 08:03 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Second Goldmark Ad Up

The Goldmark campaign has a second ad up on TV.  YouTube has it as well.  You've got to love a candidate who is genuinely comfortable on a horse.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 20, 2006 at 07:47 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Keith Olbermann on Terror Alerts as Cover

George Bush and the Politics of Terror.  That's the topic of a 12-minute video-clip of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, one of the only media critics of this administration.   From Larry Johnson of the national No Quarter blog comes this introduction:

Just watch the Keith Olbermann's brilliant presentation - which shows conclusive, indisputable evidence that George Bush and his minions have used bogus terrorist threats to distract public attention from embarrassing political news - and you too will become a member of the reality-based community (thanks to John Amato at Crooks and Liars for posting this up).

Ten. Count em. Ten separate incidents where the Bush administration issued public warnings of imminent attacks that subsequently turned out to be non-existent or misleading. George Bush is the boy who cried Wolf, Wolf, Wolf, Wolf, Wolf ... and no end is in sight.

Olbermann deserves an Emmy and a Pulitzer for this report. He's done a public service. He has blazed a trail the rest of the media, print and electronic, ought to follow. Just as Edward R. Murrow confronted the red-baiter Senator McCarthy, Olbermann has performed a similar service to America by standing up to the fearmongering of Bush. Please ensure your friends and relatives see this piece.

Hat tip to Howie

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 20, 2006 at 07:21 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 19, 2006

A Round-up of Great Posts

My fellow bloggers have been writing some wonderful pieces lately.  It's truly amazing to see the quality of what we all do and how we've challenged ourselves and each other over the last year or two in a way that has made our local blogosphere a great place to get in-depth news.  Here are a few of the pieces I've enjoyed the last few days:

Darryl put up a couple of posts earlier this week on the interview that Dave Reichert did with Steve Scher on KUOW about, among other things, Reichert's bottling up of critical Homeland Security bills in his subcommittee in the House:

The Adventures of Scher and the Sheriff, Part II: Ignorance that Might Kill
The Adventures of Scher and the Sheriff

Noemie has an amazing piece up on Florida House candidate Clint Curtis and his allegations of voter fraud in Florida in 2000:

Steve Zemke is reminding us that the BIAW is focused like a laser on the PRIMARY race for two of their hand picked judicial candidates.  They are contributing over 70% of the money for these races and paying little or no attention to the rules regarding contribution limits.  This is very important information.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 19, 2006 at 08:38 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 18, 2006

An Early Vote for Darcy and Peter

Let's help Darcy Burner win a "Candidate for Change" Contest that the DCCC is having.  Cast your vote for Darcy and then write in Peter Goldmark.  The three folks with the most votes will receive a money boost for their candidacy.  The winners will receive the following:

  • A fundraising email from Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi or DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel to our list;
  • A phone bank run out of the Democratic National Headquarters for their campaign;
  • The feature spot on our Web site to get their message out, with a link to their campaign contribution page;
  • An online chat with the DCCC community to exchange ideas on the campaign and the future of our country.

And here's what the DCCC says about the fall races: 

We have the strongest chance in over a decade of winning a Democratic majority in the House that would provide a progressive agenda for America and accountability for the Bush Administration. And the DCCC is the only organization solely committed to helping elect these Democratic candidates to the House.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 18, 2006 at 02:14 PM in Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goldmark to Blog on Kos Today

Word has it that Peter Goldmark, cowboy candidate extraordinaire and Democratic challenger in the 5th, will post on DailyKos this afternoon on the topic of biofuels.  Supposed to occur about 2:00 and he will be around for a couple hours to respond to comments.  He is really, really good on this topic.  I wrote about what he has on his site a few weeks ago.  He pulls together energy security issues, alternative sources of income for farmers in dire need, and preventing global warming better than anyone I've heard. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 18, 2006 at 11:22 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (3)

Lamont and Edwards Together

John Edwards is the first national Democrat to stump in Connecticut for Lamont.  It is a sight to behold to see these two incredible men together talking about the real issues in this race - poverty, the war in Iraq, for example.  Here are a couple of video-clips, the first of Lamont talking, the second of Edwards talking, in a joint appearance in New Haven.  (If you aren't able to play videos on your computer, a report of the Lamont-Edwards event is here at Daily Kos.)

Part One: Lamont

Part Two: Edwards

It's clear that the unprecedented attacks on Ned Lamont have not slowed him down a bit.  And Edwards is making his way up my list of people to support for President as well.

And, since I'm on the topic of Ned, I want to pass along a link to Ned's recent editorial at the Wall Street Journal, speaking directly to businessfolk about why they need to be supporting true entrepreneurs, for themselves and for the country.  It's brilliant.  Here's the core of the article. 

Here are the four lessons of my business life that I talked about every day on the campaign trail, and that have resonated with Connecticut Democrats:

First, entrepreneurs are frugal beasts, because the bottom line means everything. In Connecticut, voters are convinced that Washington has utterly lost touch with fiscal reality. We talked about irresponsible budget policies that have driven the annual federal deficit above $300 billion and the debt ceiling to $9 trillion. Meanwhile, the government is spending $250 million a day on an unprovoked war in Iraq while starving needed social investment at home. I am a fiscal conservative and our people want their government to be sparing and sensible with their tax dollars.

Second, entrepreneurs invest in human resources. Our business strives to pay good wages and provide good health benefits so that we can attract employees that give us an edge in a competitive marketplace. Well-trained and well-cared-for people are essential for every business these days, particularly in a global economy. It's getting harder and harder for American businesses to compete on price, but we innovate and change better than any economy on the planet. The quality of our work force is one of America's competitive advantages--if our education system fails our children and our employers, we'll lose the future.

That's why I talked about my work as a volunteer teacher in the Bridgeport public schools, which can't afford to be open later than 2:30 p.m., schools that send children home to an empty house. That's why my campaign offered a strong alternative to standardized tests and No Child Left Behind. That's why I believe in an employer-based health-care system that covers everyone, and providing tax benefits to small businesses so they can provide insurance without risking bankruptcy.

• Third, in a market-driven economy, entrepreneurs can never lose touch with what customers, suppliers and workers are saying. A great strength of our campaign is that we embraced the grassroots and netroots, suburbs and inner cities, and used the most advanced technology to empower our door-knockers and activists. We listened hard and respectfully to what voters told us, and gave them the confidence to trust someone new.

Finally, entrepreneurs are pragmatic. Unlike some politicians, we don't draw a false strength from closed minds, and we don't step on the accelerator when the car is headed off the cliff.

Then, Ned doesn't say, "These are the reasons to vote for me", although certainly they are.  He say, "These are the reasons to get out of Iraq."  This guy is good.  No wonder the Republicans are going all out to prevent him from winning this seat.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 18, 2006 at 08:56 AM in Candidate Races, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 17, 2006

Pick a Fight and Lay the Iraq War on Bush

Chris Bowers lays it on the line for our Democratic candidates.  Everything he says concretizes what Kos and Jerome wrote in "Crashing the Gate".  This is brilliant work.  Chris Bowers is what Karl Rove would be like if he had a heart.  He is a master strategist who works both at the detail level and at the conceptual level.  He is a political scientist in the best sense of the phrase.  Okay, enough praise.  Let's see what he's done this time:

To: Democratic Congressional Challengers
Re: CA-50 Post-Special Election (Busby-Bilbray) Polling Memo

Fall Election Environment Overview:

This fall, you will face a grotesque political environment, one that requires strategic knowledge, great courage and fortitude to successfully navigate. Facing low approval ratings, Republicans will introduce you to the voters as a flip-flopping, gay-loving, liberal terrorist coddler who wants to cut and run from Iraq, all at the behest of self-absorbed Hollywood moguls and liberal elites.

The establishment Democrats have proven ineffective at combating this positioning, introducing empty slogans like `Together we can do better' that no one repeats or remembers, and policy proposals that few voters believe Democrats are capable of enacting. Most of the polling and advice you'll get from DC insiders and journalists will largely rehash bad information, false choices and irrelevant answers to poorly framed questions. If you take their advice, you will not make significant headway in convincing voters you are best to represent them. And when you lose, it'll be you who ran a bad campaign, not "them." Just ask Francine Busby how that works.

Perhaps worst of all, you will probably face some form of October surprise from the Republicans and your opponent: a game-changing event or message stream. And you will be blind-sided because establishment Democrats will be caught off-guard. Again. And you and your campaign will pay the price of their failure.

Realistically, when it comes to developing a winning position and messaging, you are on your own. Or rather, you are on your own, except that the voters - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike - agree with the outrage that you feel towards the political system and agree that Republican leadership is the problem. Yet, voters will only vote for change if they know you can deliver on that change once elected.

He tells us why the data from CA-50 is so important:

Bowers tells us that Francine Busby ran on the "culture of corruption" theme.  Makes sense.  She was running for "Duke" Cunningham's open seat which is open because he is in jail for taking millions in bribes.  The Republican in the race, Brian Bilbray is a former Republican lobbyist.  She lost even though the DCCC spent more than $5 million on this race and she had the help of the best Democratic consultants.  She lost because she ran a policy-heavy campaign.  Bilbray focused on cracking down on illegal immigrants.  Neither candidate got the Independent voters.  They didn't much vote for either major candidate because neither one of them had defined themselves well.  Since it was a right-leaning district, the Republican won.

Bowers did a great deal of polling this summer to find out what the voters think about the country and what is going on right now, along with the information on why they did or didn't vote for Busby.   Bowers learned what I shared with you the other day on its own; Republicans are deeply split over the situation in Iraq.  The details:

  • 63% of Republican voters believe that Bush has made some or a lot of mistakes in Iraq.
  • 34% of Republican voters believe that Bush has definitely or probably not told the truth about the situation in Iraq.
  • 34% of Republican voters believe that Bush should probably or definitely be held accountable for the situation in Iraq.
  • 40% of Republican voters believe that the Democratic Party is more likely to hold Bush accountable for mistakes in Iraq.

His analysis is brilliant, which I guess is another way of saying, "I agree with it."

While the country is open to the idea of partial or total troop withdrawal, according to our data in CA-50 existing withdrawal messaging loses badly to Republican `cut and run' counter-attack messaging. This suggests that voters are seeking a set of actors in Congress who will tell the truth about the war and hold Bush accountable for mistakes. This is in contrast to an immediate end to the conflict and /or yet another withdrawal plan that Congress cannot enact. Voters intuitively understand that Congress doesn't run the military, and that regardless of the outcome of the 2006 election, Bush will be in charge of the military until 2009. As such, framing the election as a choice between rival Congressional military plans sacrifices the credibility of Democratic candidates who can only legitimately promise to hold hearings, restore congressional oversight of military matters, locate and identify blame, and serve as a check on a widely disliked and distrusted President.

His recommendations:

Candidates should run aggressively on accountability and the war in Iraq. Here are six specific `rules of thumb' we recommend you use for planning purposes.

1. Iraq must be central in your campaign and you must blame Republicans for it Ignoring Iraq, downplaying its significance, or accepting Bush's framework by not blaming leaders is a sign to voters that you are weak, unlikely to bring change, and not addressing the main issue of the day. Regardless of how you approach the policy going forward in Iraq, the key trait that voters seek is a willingness to hold failed leaders accountable for the debacle. Be willing to uncover the truth, place blame, and demand consequences.

2. The debate on whether Bush is a competent, trustworthy President is over. He is considered among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents a leader who makes mistakes and then won't tell the truth about those mistakes. This is not about competence. This is about massive failure of leadership with no end in sight.

3. Republicans cannot run against Bush and Iraq. Voters do not think that Republicans are willing to hold Bush or other administration figures accountable for those mistakes, so Republican Congressional dissent on the war is unlikely to help Republicans. But dissent will, in fact, work to Democratic candidates' advantage. It shows strength and, most importantly, principle and personal values.

4. `Terrorism' scares only work in the absence of strong accountability messaging, since Republicans are no longer trustworthy on issues of war and peace. Voters know Republicans will let mistakes slide and they want accountability in the face of that.

5.  Oversight beats withdrawal. Journalists or other messengers who frame politics in terms of a need to have an alternative plan in contrast to Bush are insulting voters, and should be taken to task aggressively for framing false choices and misrepresenting the role of Congress. Congress primarily serves as military oversight, not military policy. Voters know that.

6. Pick a fight, any fight. Voters need to be convinced that Democrats can credibly challenge Bush. Whether the fight is over de-funding Cheney's personal staff, attacking John Bolton's confirmation, impeachment hearings, or stopping war profiteering with a new `Truman Commission', Democratic candidates must demonstrate strength through aggressive confrontation where the term "accountability" is more than just an abstraction or corporate lingo. It must be made real through a fight you plan to pick.

When presented with squeals from journalists and Republicans over your fight, a resolute willingness to not back off in the face of criticism is key. Your willingness to hold Bush accountable must be made real. For example, demand that the president and the party in power come to account for having squandered lives, security and treasure while enriching CEOs of major corporations such as Halliburton.

Here's a real-world example of this dynamic from US history: Harry Truman became vice president because as a US Senator, he had the backbone to demand that major figures in the American economy either give back money stolen in the provision of shoddy materiel for World War II, or go to jail for treason.

In sum, whatever fights you pick, whether specific local issues or national ones, our poll shows that accountability regarding Bush, Congressional Republicans and your opponent is crucial to building the credibility you need in order to break through with a majority vote in November. Democrats, Independents and even many Republicans want this to occur. Do it.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2006 at 09:22 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

Visionary Portland

Car use is the growing at the slowest rate anywhere in the U.S. in our friendly neighboring city to the south.  Portland has been investing in public transportation for 10 years.  Over this time, use of public transportation has gone up by 65% and they've avoided a predicted 40% increase in congestion.  They've eradicated over 62 million car trips a year in the process.  The BBC has a series on the best public services in the world and they are highlighting Portland for the ease of public transportation and the vision to develop high-density residential and business communities around light-rail stops and transit centers.

Portland's Transportation Commissioner, Sam Adams, puts the city's success down to 3 main factors: the marriage of transportation and land use issues, public and private partnership, and clear results.

Cycling traffic has increased by 257% in the city over the last ten years.  Cyclers consider the city to be bike friendly.  Heck, I keep my bicycle in Portland and use it a lot when I'm there, which is fairly frequently.  In addition to being less hilly, it is just a lot safer to cycle in Portland.  Once I get my leg muscles built up, I'll probably buy another bike for Seattle and just learn to deal with having to mix with car traffic but it sure could be easier.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2006 at 09:06 AM in Best Practices | Permalink | Comments (5)

Extraordinary Forward Thinking on Healthcare

Washington State is planning on providing health care for all Washingtonians by 2012.  Gov. Gregoire and Chair of the Committee, Senator Pat Thibaudeau, announced that the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Costs and Access is currently accepting proposals to improve affordability and increase access to health care for all Washingtonians by 2012.  Any individuals or organizations interested in responding can find information on the Commission's website.  (It's buried but it's there under "Request for Proposal - Announcements")  A press release has more information:

“We have a responsibility to insure that all Washingtonians have access to quality health care that fits within their budget,” said Governor Gregoire.  “The current system is not working for many of our citizens and we want to learn what Washington citizens think should be done to address this problem.”

The Legislature formed the Blue Ribbon Commission in May 2006 to find ways to provide accessible, affordable, quality health care for all Washingtonians.  The commission will recommend to Governor Gregoire and the Legislature by December 1, 2006, a sustainable five-year plan to improve access to affordable health care for all Washington residents.

In a meeting in July, the Commission identified what the Washington health care system should look like in five years.  The Commission is soliciting proposals from the public on how to reach these goals.

I find it extraordinary both that the Governor is planning this for completion only six years from now and that they are asking the public for suggestions.   I definitely like living in a blue state. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2006 at 08:23 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Register to Vote/ Get Friends to Register

The deadline to vote in the Washington primary election is this Saturday, August 19.  That's 30 days before the primary. Because that falls on a Sunday this year, your form must be postmarked by Saturday. Click here to register via national Act for Change site.

Already Registered? Your friends may not be. Pass this message on to some friends!

Hat tip to Howie.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 17, 2006 at 08:04 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 16, 2006

Kris Kristofferson Chimes In

Kris Kristofferson has a video up featuring his new protest song, "In the News".  Nice piece of music, nice video.  Just wish we weren't back here again.  Sigh. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 16, 2006 at 02:25 PM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gregoire’s Town Hall Meeting in Everett

Chris Gregoire came to Everett Monday evening to listen to her constituents, 500 of whom were interested in sharing their thoughts and complaints and solutions with her.  This was the fifth and last of this series, although both Gregoire and the folks in the room seemed to get so much out of it that Gregoire promised there would be more.  Prior to this, she had been to Spokane, Pasco, Vancouver and Puyallup. 

Gregoire opened by saying, “We are preparing our budget and would like to listen to you about where you think tax payer dollars should be spent.  Secondly, how would you define success?  For example, if you say you want ‘better education’, does that mean more students going to college, trade school, or the ability of our graduates to get good paying jobs?  What does it mean to you?”

She stood on a dais in the middle of the room, pivoting regularly to listen to people from every side or ask a follow up question or, when she couldn’t help herself, to offer an explanation.  Mostly she listened and then asked an aide to take a person’s name or written statement.    

A moderator, Steve Becker of Spokane, called on person after person and stood with them as they read their statement or asked a question or offered a suggestion for getting to the point. Occasionally he would prod them a bit to move to answer the question of the evening, “What would success look like to you?”  It was a smart question; it moved the requestor toward the solution rather than the problem and allowed the questioner to be a part of the solution. 

I was humbled and moved by what people talked about and by Gregoire’s responses.   People were totally respectful and sincere.  Many began by praising what Gregoire had already done – in beginning to work on cleaning up Puget Sound or in getting a start on providing healthcare to all the children of Washington State.  But they wanted more.  The fact that their governor was coming to listen to them brought out the most basic of requests for a government that functioned better. 

I came away with a strong sense that people believe in government and its ability to make a difference in their lives; they just want it to function better.  More after the fold.  Also, more in the Everett Herald in a piece by Jerry Cornfield.

There were several consistent themes.  At least three times, people stood to talk about their difficulties in getting the various levels of local government to observe the tenets of the Growth Management Act (GMA).  One woman who co-chairs a citizen group to preserve a wetlands area around Lake Stickney, said that her group had been diligent in working to prevent irresponsible development and had been successful so far but didn’t think they could continue to hold off development in the face of a lack of funding from local government to buy up the remaining open land.

Gregoire asked the woman and the group of people who had accompanied her if the GMA is working for them.  They said that the zoning requirements of the GMA were good but it didn’t work when the developers can target a particular piece of land and change the zoning on it.  Another person who brought up the GMA issue said, “success looks like getting what GMA says needs to be in place before the developments are built”.

The governor broadened the question out to the audience, asking how many people thought that the GMA was working.  One person raised his hand.  She asked how many thought it wasn’t.  Maybe 60% of the people in the room raised their hands. 

A couple speakers talked about salmon preservation and the need long term for sufficient quantities of clean water.  They praised the governor’s leadership on the Puget Sound Initiative and reiterated the need to continue.  Gregoire mentioned that 97% of the people they’d asked, said that we need to leave Puget Sound as clean as healthy as we found it.  But most people don’t know how sick it has become.

There were several different people who spoke about the difficulties in getting state help for children with developmental disabilities.  Each person spoke of their personal tribulations and of what would be helpful to them in dealing with children or grandchildren with special needs – programs for older children and nurses in the schools to dispense medication, for example.

Gregoire said she understands and has been asking what can be done, given the constraints of the budget.  She said that she has a cousin who is developmentally disabled.  She is her guardian.  She will see what the agencies can do.

A woman with a son with a disability said that there is not sufficient federal funding to support “No Child Left Behind” Act.  It was very clear that Gregoire wanted to discuss the difficulties of dealing with the federal government’s unfunded mandates but she reminded herself that her job this evening was just to listen.

There was a lot of concern from several different people in the room about the Monroe Correctional Facility.  The mayor of Monroe, Donetta Walser, talked about the need to have a vibrant early education program to prevent young people from winding up in a correctional facility.  It was just such a waste of a young life and of the money it takes to keep young ones there.  One woman who had retired said that the pay was way too low.  They couldn’t keep good people.  Another woman, who happened to be sitting right next to the first, spoke about the shortage of nurses there, again, because of the low wages.  People simply didn’t stay long.

Gregoire agreed, saying that the State paid 42% under the going rate for nurses.  She has been focused on raising pay for nurses, correctional officers and highway safety officers.

Later, a man who identified himself as a guard there, said that, in addition to the low pay, the facility had closed the sleeping quarters for the guards, something they needed desperately when they pulled double shifts. 

It was a touching experience, over and over again.  I had planned to ask the governor about something myself but I could not bring myself to interrupt the flow of very personal needs from the many dozens of people who wanted to speak, to talk about something as conceptual as campaign finance reform or citizen-sponsored legislation, important and relevant as I believe those to be.

The mayor of Monroe had also spoken about the dangers of Highway 2.  There had been a double fatality on a stretch of the road near Monroe that very day.  When pressed for what success would look like, she said, “I don’t want to look in the newspaper and find that someone has been killed on Highway 2.”  She and the Governor talked about the increase in traffic that would surely occur when the Olympics are held in Vancouver in 2008. 

A man talked about the need for more good jobs in Snohomish County so people wouldn’t have to drive into King County.  Gregoire said she’s been working on bringing more jobs into the area with her trade missions but also said we need rapid transit along the I-5 corridor through Pierce, King and Snohomish counties to help alleviate the congestion.

A blind man talked about the difficulties of walking and busing without sufficient walking paths, sidewalks and buses.  The Governor agreed and talked about the need for more bus lanes, more HOV lanes, more attention to pedestrian needs and more rapid transit.

Several people talked about the need for better healthcare in the state.  Two different people used the Governor’s success, while Attorney General, in obtaining the National Tobacco settlement as a model.  Much more needs to be done about any number of other healthcare issues.  When asked, one man said, “Success looks like sufficient healthcare for every one in this state.”  The Governor agreed.   She said her goal was to make sure every citizen has access to quality healthcare.

Several people talked about the difficulties that people living in mobile homes had when the mobile home park was sold, which has been happening with increasing frequency lately.  One man, President of a small mobile home part association, talked about the difficulty for the owners of the individual mobile homes in those cases.  There is state money provided for relocation expenses but not nearly enough.  It can take 3-4 years to get relocation money from the state. 

Gregoire agreed, saying the state legislature will have to step up and provide more money for that fund.

It went on and on, way past the designated time to end.  There was a woman who talked about the Falun Gong movement and human rights issues in China.  An advocate of single-payer healthcare spoke of the lower costs for such a national or statewide program.  A long-time medical practitioner talked about the need for acceptance of holistic health practitioners and the need to have a different commission for medical doctors than for holistic medicine practitioners.  The manager of a residential home talked about how difficult it is to hire and retain residential home care workers. Another member of a citizens’ group, this time for St. Andrew’s State Park in Snohomish County, said that the Parks Commission is considering putting up a hotel in the 316 acre open green space. The man said that, “success would be a letter from her office asking for a postponement for two years to rethink this plan.”  Gregoire took his name, saying that her husband, Mike, who was in the audience along with his mother, had told her the same thing a few days earlier.

Homecare givers, wearing SEIU-purple shirts, asked for the Governor’s support for legislation requiring better training for homecare givers.  A woman from tribe where Everett is now located asked that information on Indo-Americans be placed back in state history books.  As she had with many folks before, Gregoire thanked the woman for coming and agreed that it was time to provide more recognition of the history and  language of the native Americans. 

Lee Lambert, the President of Shoreline Community College, asked that there not be another 4-year college here or anywhere, Snohomish County being one of the next likely places to put one.  There is not enough money to go around to all the state educational institutions as it is, he said.  Gregoire said that Washington State is #5 in the nation in the number of graduates from trade and community colleges but only #26 in the number of graduates from 4-year colleges.  She said that we would have to change that if we are going to educate the number of students for technical jobs that we would like.  Then Gregoire turned to the audience and asked how many of then wanted another 4-year college, this time in Snohomish County.  About half the audience raised their hands.

Near the end, a man asked about the Governor’s thought on I-933, the initiative on the ballot that would instill utter confusion into the planning process statewide.  Gregoire said that the initiative had been patterned after a similar one in Oregon, although the one here was broader and more vague and could cause difficulties not just with real property but with any kind of property, intellectual or real.  She went on to say that Oregon has lawsuit after lawsuit over the requirements of the initiative.  She said she doesn’t want to spend valuable taxpayer money on fighting those suits.  “I am absolutely opposed to 933.”  There was wild applause from the audience.

Lastly, Governor Gregoire asked people to indicate which of three priorities was most important to them.  The three were healthcare, education and jobs.  Each person can only vote once.  As she called out the possibilities, it looked to me like it was about 45% for healthcare, 45% for education and 10% for jobs. 

The Governor then thanked folks for attending and said she appreciates how active the citizenry is in this state. “We’ve turned the economy around.  We’re beginning to invest.  We’ve got a distance to go.  I love this state.  What we want will happen only if we as citizens stay involved.  Thanks.” 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 16, 2006 at 08:29 AM in Best Practices, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 15, 2006

Peter Goldmark is on the air!

Goldmark I'm glad to see that Peter Goldmark is hitting the airwaves.  It's a 30-second biographical ad, starring his (rather photogenic) adult children.  It's low key, informal, perhaps paced a little too quickly, but all in all, a very solid effort.  And he's on the air early.  Which is good.

This may be a heresy, but I'll say it anyway: I think Goldmark vs. McMorris is even more critical and exciting than Darcy Burner vs. Sheriff Hairspray. Darcy is well on the way to victory in a district that Kerry won in 2004.  She is doing a great job and should be able to win it without too much difficulty.  (Not that we should take it easy and assume she can coast!)

The 5th is a tougher, redder district and winning it would be a much, much bigger deal.  And it's going to be harder for Goldmark to raise the money he needs to knock off an incumbent.  But he's a strong candidate, with a great biography and a list of accomplishments as a rancher, environmentalist, scientist and public servant that as long as your arm.

So, fellow Washington progressive bloggers: I challenge you to bring your enthusiasm and energy to bear for Peter Goldmark, just as you have for Darcy Burner.  And let's take back two seats in Congress this fall. 

You can contribute right here.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 15, 2006 at 10:29 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3)

How Clean Is Too Clean?

Looks like there's an interesting local initiative fight brewing up in Bellingham.  The Bellingham City Council just voted 6-0 to file a lawsuit to keep the Healthy Bay Initiative off of the November ballot, claiming it would commit the city to taking the about-to-begin cleanup of mercury and other pollutants on the old Georgia-Pacific mill site to an "undefined extreme."

Here's the language of the intiative, which is being backed by the Bellingham Bay Foundation:

Bellingham that the paramount concern for the Bellingham Bay waterfront is permanent cleanup of mercury and other persistent toxic contaminants. The City shall use all reasonable means available to persuade the Department of Ecology and other stakeholders to approve a cleanup plan that permanently removes the maximum amount of contaminated sediments, including mercury, from the Whatcom Waterway and establishes that the former mill site south of the Whatcom Waterway shall be cleaned to unrestricted cleanup standards, unless technically impracticable. The City shall not in any way advocate for or support a cleanup plan that leaves behind significant concentrations of mercury or other contaminants in the Whatcom Waterway or that cleans the former Georgia-Pacific mill site south of the Whatcom Waterway only to an industrial standard.

Doesn't seem that extreme to me.  After all, there is no such thing as a "safe" amount of mercury, especially for children.  But these kinds of cleanups are indeed complex issues.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 15, 2006 at 10:12 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (3)

Reading the Republicans

New polls are showing a  split developing amongst Republicans around the war in Iraq.  Chris Bowers at MyDD writes about netroots-funded polling from the CA-50 CD done to determine why Democrat Francine Busby lost to Republican Brian Bilbray in the much-watched special election earlier this summer.  Chris analyzes the latest polling and says:

In an important development paralleling the Vietnam-era split in the Democratic Party base, a split is developing among Republican Party base voters around the war in Iraq and the credibility of Republican Party leaders who initiated the war. In post-election polling done by Courage Campaigns and MyDD.com in the Republican-leaning California 50th district, we found that only 19% of Republican voters believe that the Republican Party will hold Bush accountable for mistakes made in Iraq, versus 48% of Republican voters who believe that the Democratic Party will hold Bush accountable.

He goes on to summarize the findings.  63% of Republican voters believe that Bush has made some or a lot of mistakes in Iraq.  34% believe that he has definitely or probably not told the truth about the situation in Iraq.  34% believe that he should probably or definitely be held accountable for the situation in Iraq.  And, 48% believe that the Democratic Party is likely to hold Bush accountable for mistakes in Iraq, versus only 19% who believe that the Republican Party is likely to hold him accountable.  These are Republicans, mind you.  Bowers' analysis continues:

It is clear that a substantial minority of Republican base voters no longer trust their leadership on issues of war and peace, and that President Bush’s lowered credibility has lowered the credibility of Republican Party leaders in general. At the same time, without skillful exploitation of these vulnerabilities on the part of Democratic candidates, Republican candidates can hold on to their voters, as Brian Bilbray did in his special election victory. A previous polling memo showed that both withdrawal messaging or ignoring the war allows Republican candidates to solidify their voter base and depress turnout among independents.

Voters and likely voters in the bright red California 50th Congressional District believe that George Bush made mistakes with regard to the conduct of the war in Iraq, is not truthful about that war and that Democrats, not Republicans, are the only force that can hold him accountable.

This poll demonstrates clearly that the occupation in Iraq matters to voters and that progressive candidates have the obligation to assure that Congress will be in charge of holding the president accountable.

There is more after the fold and the details at Chris' post on MyDD.

Here is further analysis by Chris and Rick Jacobs, who directed the polling efforts.  Kudos to them for asking the right questions and obtaining the netroots funding to get this done.  If you are inclined to assist in further polling of this nature, donate here.

Chris Bowers of MyDD:

Our first poll showed that the culture of corruption message did not work for Busby, that the district was not right-wing on immigration, and that the famous Busby "gaffe" did not swing the election. Instead, Busby lost because Independents turned out at low rates, and those who did turn out voted for third-party candidates. This follow-up, however, shows that communicating a message to hold the Bush administration accountable for mistakes in Iraq should find wide-ranging appeal. Even large numbers of Republicans believe that Bush has not told the truth, that he needs to be held accountable for his mistakes, and that a Democratic Congress is the most likely way that he will be held accountable. The key for challengers this year will be to focus on accountability, not policy fixes voters do not believe anyone would be able to enact.

Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign:

The message is very clear. North San Diego County is very Republican by registration and heavily military by background. People do not trust George Bush on his conduct of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They believe that a strong opposition party, the Democrats, is the only viable means by which true oversight and thereby accountability can be injected into a bloated government run amok. This poll shows Democrats a clear path by which to talk about Iraq, to demand an independent oversight role similar to what Senator Harry Truman led in World War II. The people of San Diego country, more generally conservative than the nation as a whole, want answers. A new majority in Congress is their only path to those answers. It's not a laundry list of policy aspirations. It's not pointing fingers. It's adults in the room who will ask the tough questions.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 15, 2006 at 08:06 AM in Inside Baseball, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 13, 2006

There's Our Message

Lamont hit the message/ball out of the park today while being interviewed on "Fox News Sunday".  I didn't see the program but the transcript was put up by a diarist at DailyKos, atomicskunk.  Lamont said that there is a difference between the war on terror and the war in Iraq. 

Chris introduces a video-clip of Joe Lieberman by saying, "After the primary this week, Vice President Cheney said that your victory as an antiwar candidate encourages the Al Qaeda types. And Joe Lieberman picked up on that same theme after word of a terror plot in England. Let's take a look." 

In the video, Joe says, "If we just pick up as Ned Lamont wants us to do and get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes and this plot hatched in England."

Wallace asked Lamont, "Does your victory show that at least some Americans are weakening in their will to fight the War on Terror?"

And Ned says,

No, I think on the contrary. What this election showed is that a lot of people in Connecticut think that the invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with our War on Terror. It's been a terrible distraction.  Here you are talking about the failed terrorist plot today. It originated in Pakistan, goes through London, and here we have 132,000 of our bravest troops stuck in the middle of a civil war in Iraq.  I think it was that disconnect that a lot of people focused on in Connecticut.

I'm pleased to say it goes on like that.  Lamont just keeps saying the truth.  He talks about alternative energy, the current polls, Lieberman.  I didn't see the show so it may have come off differently but it sure seems as if we have a champion out there, someone to carry our standard.  And I caught parts of Russ Feingold today on one of the other shows and of Howard Dean on another.  Wes Clark is always good.  These guys are doing putting out articulate, cohesive messages.  Thank you all.  Please, please keep it up.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 13, 2006 at 10:17 PM in National and International Politics, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (2)

Watch the Bolton Nomination Vote Closely

Matt Stoller at MyDD has an important post up about the deep-pockets influence of the neoconservatives and what he calls the "Bloomburg Democrats", which I believe he would describe as Israel-backing, technocratic Democrats.  Stoller has just begun looking at the influence of right-wing neo-conservatives and the money put into the campaign coffers of both Republicans and Democrats to keep American foreign policy behind Israel, right or wrong.  Matt discusses the likely impact of the Lieberman loss on foreign policy:

While one would think that the Democratic Party will become more progressive on foreign policy in response to the loss, there are counterbalancing forces that suggest that leading Democrats will actually move to a more right-wing posture, while making a few limp symbolic gestures to the progressives.  Calling for Rumsfeld's resignation is one such gesture, since Kerry did it in 2004 and it is another version of the 'incompetence dodge'.  The political calculation is that Lieberman didn't lose because he was right-wing, he lost because he was a singularly awful politician.  As such, there's no need to move leftward since it's fairly easy to avoid a Lieberman-esque political backlash.

Matt wrote after the Lamont victory about AIPAC, the largest of the neocon money machines, and it's confusion over the Lieberman loss. 

The $1.3 million Lieberman took in over the final two weeks came from a few sets of donor communities, and one of them was the Bloomberg Democrats.  Now, AIPAC doesn't lose.  It just doesn't.  Except that here, it did.  Now the loss was quiet, and Lamont is pro-Israel, so the policy implications aren't clear.  But make no mistake, AIPAC's champion got completely spanked.  That's a big deal, and we'll see how big a deal as the Bolton nomination heats up.  We're in a weird place with AIPAC, since it's impossible to oppose Bush's foreign policy without coming into contact with the corrupt Israel lobby and a thicket of accusations.  That's a new and puzzling space for many of us on the left, especially since I grew up imbibing the 'Israel is always good' mantra in Hebrew school. (update: Sure enough, the Republican Jewish Coalition weighs in with the 'don't be a traitor to your religion line')

So, it looks like AIPAC and the Israeli Lobby was caught off-guard on the Lamont-Lieberman race and will be regrouping and quickly.  Bolton who was appointed UN ambassador as a recess appointment by Bush after being filibustered by the Senate in 2005.  It was a great humiliation for Bush.  Now, Matt says that both Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton may vote for Bolton this time.  Follow us after the fold.

Here's what he says:

This neocon PAC money is incredibly pervasive among both parties, and that it's now being used to push Bolton significantly changes the battle lines of his renomination.  Israel wasn't a factor in Bolton's first nomination; now Bolton and Israel are seen as the same thing, and the AIPAC neocons have moved in their artillery behind his nomination.  Schumer's amazingly successful DSCC fundraising has come at least in some part from this neoconservative money, and Senator Clinton is making  the rounds.  Her latest fundraiser was with Norpac, a neoconservative Israel-focused PAC that has lent support to Bush/Cheney '04, Rick Santorum, Jon Kyl, Mike Ferguson, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Steny Hoyer, Conrad Burns, Bob Menendez, and Nancy Pelosi.  Even though you might think that the Lieberman defeat would embolden the Democrats, the Bolton fight and the Lieberman loss have been linked together explicitly by neo-conservative PACs, and prominent orthodox right-wing Jewish leaders are calling on Jews to abandon the Democratic Party for being insufficiently supportive of Israel's failed war in Lebanon. 

The sad hijacking of Jewish political activism by right-wing neoconservative crazies is complete.  If you're not with Lieberman, if you're not with Bolton, if you're not with the far right of the Israeli political spectrum, you're not pro-Israel.  I have to say, it's pretty frustrating.  Every time I find a political obstacle to a more progressive American posture abroad, it seems like there's another more hidden and intractable one behind it.  It's shocking to me that there are no effective progressive Jewish groups focusing on foreign policy.  The only ones I've seen are pathetic, wonkified, and largely unwilling to deal with the reality of a crazy domestic right-wing leadership structure. 

Anyway, with the war in Lebanon ending and Lieberman's defeat showing that there's a political constituency for a sane multi-lateral approach to foreign policy, the Democratic Party has a real opportunity on its hands to stake out a progressive foreign policy path.  That starts with Bolton.  Or rather, Bolton will show which Democrats really understand what Connecticut Democrats were trying to say, and which ones are only listening, despite all the populist outrage in the hinterland, to the Beltway elite.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 13, 2006 at 09:14 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Insider's View of the Chaos in the Air on 9/11

A new-to-me local blogger has a great post up on DailyKos reviewing and adding to an article on Vanity Fair about the massively inept air defense responses to 9/11.  Paul at A Blue Eyed Buddhist works at the FAA here in Seattle and has an insider's knowledge about the workings of the FAA and NORAD and the bureaucracy and institutional lack of ability to consider new possible kinds of threats that kept the two from even knowing where to start on that pivotal day nearly five years ago.

The Vanity Fair article is written by Michael Bronner, a producer working on the movie, United 93, who had total access to the 9/11 NORAD tapes.  The on-line article also has links to video from NORAD.  Paul builds on that and adds his knowledge of how the FAA works.  One of his purposes in the post is to debunk any thought that the U.S. Air Force shot down United 93, which is apparently one of the conspiracy theories floating around.  Basically, they couldn't have because they didn't know what was going on until it was too late.

Personally that's more believable than any conspiracy theory and also scarier in some ways.  With the complete incompetence of the Bush Administration in these last five years, coupled with the massive drain on our resources from the combination of the Iraq War and the tax cuts for the wealthy, it's hard to see how we are going to be able to meet the real threats posed by real enemies.      

Check it out at either DailyKos or A Blue Eyed Buddhist.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 13, 2006 at 08:08 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 12, 2006

Up Front and Personal with Computerized Voting Fraud

We still have a significant threat to both our democracy and our ability to take over Congress when we have uncertainly around computerized voting.  A new group, Citizens to Stop Computerized Voting, is holding a fundraiser to support Clint Curtis, a candidate for Congress in Florida.  (Thursday, Aug. 17th, 7:00 PM, Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave., Seattle.  Suggested donation $25)

Curtis has quite a story about computer fraud, a story that propelled him to run against the man who was formerly his boss.  Curtis was working as a programmer for then Florida State Representative Tom Feeney in September 2000 at a Republican-controlled technical company, Yang Enterprises, when he was asked to write software that could alter vote totals on touch-screen voting machines without begin detected.  He made this claim in sworn testimony before John Conyers' House Judiciary Committee as part of the investigations of voter fraud in the 2004 Ohio elections.  Tom Feeney is now Representative to Congress from Florida's 24th CD.  Clint Curtis is running against him as a Democrat in the general election. 

Now that should be a race to follow.

Thurday's fundraiser will include a showing of the yet-to-be-released documentary,  : "Murder?  Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story".  For those interested in reviewing Curtis' testimony before the Conyers' Committee, that is available here and is quite interesting. For more information, contact Citizens to Stop Computerized Voting at 206.228.9890 since their website may still be under construction.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 12, 2006 at 08:36 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 11, 2006

A Conversation with the Governor

Governor Chris Gregoire has been holding Town Hall conversations with Washington State residents around the state over the last month or so.  She has been in Spokane, Vancouver, Pasco and Puyallup already.  This next Monday she will be in Everett and her office invites citizens who would like to meet with her to join her at 7:00.  For space considerations, folks are being asked to RSVP on her website.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 11, 2006 at 07:21 AM in Best Practices | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cathy McMorris - A Congresswoman in Conflict?

Is Cathy McMorris conflicted by the contradictions between her duties as a Congresswoman from Washington's 5th CD and her religious schooling and current membership in a congregation that believes in the rapture?   Or about the strict Standard of Conduct for members of the church she belongs to and her acceptance of campaign funds from  alcohol and gambling interests?  Or does she do the same hypocritical compartmentalizing that Ralph Reed does when he uses his religious right lists to line his own pockets?

A diarist at DailyKos, peagreen, is asking these questions after poking around a few minutes on McMorris' congressional website and then following the links about her unaccredited, fundamentalist undergraduate college, Pensacola Christian College, and about the current church she attends, Grace Evangelical Free Church.  It raised a lot of questions for peagreen, a constituent of McMorris' in the 5th CD.  Peagreen covers a lot of territory and her questions are both heartfelt and extensive.  Here's one set:

But does she, herself, live up to the strict teachings of her school and church?

Continuing around the college site, I went to the school's Miscellaneous section: Standards of Conduct. In the third paragraph I found this:

The Christian must endeavor to avoid practices that cause the loss of sensitivity to the spiritual needs of the world (1 Cor. 8:9, 12-13; 10:32) and loss of the Christian's physical, mental, or spiritual well-being (1 Cor. 9:27). In today's society this includes avoiding such practices as gambling, dancing, profanity, obscenity, abuse of drugs, the use of tobacco and alcohol, and attendance at movie theaters.

I have been following the money McMorris receives for a while. So now I wonder: Is there a difference between receiving $6000.00 of PAC money directly from R. J. Reynolds  company and the use of tobacco?

Is there a difference between receiving $10,000.00 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC and the use of alcohol?

Is there a difference between receiving money from Abramoff via Delay,  Ney, and Doolittle and the practice of gambling?

Bottom line, does receiving such Republican leadership PAC money and other special interest Pac money, and being part of this corrupt leadership,  "cause the loss of sensitivity to the spiritual needs of the world"?

I am also reminded that McMorris gave Cheney a warm reception when he visited Spokane recently. Very practiced in profanity and obscenity is he.

Interesting questions indeed.  Read the entire post and send it along to others you know, especially anyone in the 5th CD out there in Spokane and the rural areas stretching along our eastern border from Canada to Oregon.  Out there in the areas where they have an incredible alternative this year in Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 11, 2006 at 12:00 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 10, 2006

YouTube - Darcy Burner Campaign Commercial 1

Darcy Burner's first TV ad is up on YouTube.  It's a solid, well-made 60 second biographical spot.  Heavy on her military ties, which I'm sure is a smart move to innoculate her against the inveitable "Democrats are soft on terra-ism" charges to come.

(Why The Stranger is posting political ads to YouTube, I can't say, but I also can't say that I disapprove.)

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 10, 2006 at 09:27 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (13)

Behind the Numbers on the Lamont Victory

Progressives are on track to win in November.  Chris Bowers at MyDD, who has made it his mission to crunch numbers and derive meaning from them says the primary results indicate we are on track to 1) excite the base, 2) provide a clear Democratic message that resonates with the voters and 3) establish Democratic Party unity.  The turnout in Connecticut was 43%, a phenomenal number for an August primary and 22,000 unaffilated voters switched their registration to Democrats in three months.  Joe Lieberman's fate at the hands of the netroots/grassroots has brought other Democrats into line.  Fewer will be lining up with the Republicans or dissing Democrats.  Bowers says:

Up and down the line, the Democratic leadership came through and did the right thing. By endorsing Ned Lamont and the primary process, Democratic leaders endorsed party democracy, and the will of the people they represent. This is how we keep our coalition from flying apart: by using mutually agreed upon, democratic mechanisms to settle our disputes. I now see no reason why the Democratic establishment and the progressive movement will not be able to work together for the foreseeable future. Our combined electoral capabilities should be a sight to behold.

Then he says (and believe me Bowers is no optimist):

A more unified, energized party with improved messaging and fewer pro-Republican narratives in the conventional wisdom. Long term, this victory will be of tremendous benefit to both the Democratic Party and the progressive movement. No wonder I am still walking around in a giddy daze. Our future is so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Now, let's add to this already cheery outlook.  Three incumbents lost nation-wide on Tuesday.  In addition to Lieberman, Cynthia McKinney, firebrand House Democrat lost to a more moderate black Democrat, Hank Johnson, in the primary in Georgia-4, because she was not paying attention to the needs of her constituents.  Joe Schwartz, moderate Republican from Michigan's very conservative 7th CD lost to a very conservative evangelical minister, Tim Wahlberg.   And a couple of down ballot incumbents lost in Connecticut in addition to Lieberman. 

It looks to me like this is not a good year for incumbents who are not paying attention to their constituents.  Hear that, Dave Reichert?  Cathy McMorris?  "Doc" Hastings?  BTW, there's a great new Reichert informational site up that clarifies just how far Reichert is from his constituents.

Markos points us to an article by Chuck Todd of the National Journal (which leans Republican) on the primary results.  He says:

The turnout among the sometimes casual suburban liberal should make Democrats happy. If these folks show up in big numbers in the fall, there are at least 10 House seats Democrats will pick up east of the Mississippi. The angry suburbanite is the difference between Democrats winning control of Congress or just coming close.

Have a great day!


Posted by Lynn Allen on August 10, 2006 at 12:39 PM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 09, 2006

Breakfast at the NARAL Corral

The Pharmacy Board issue was the topic at the NARAL Pro-Choice Washington breakfast last Wednesday.  NARAL brought together a diverse group of folks to talk about where we are on the Pharmacy Board ruling and why we find ourselves having to defend something so basic as a woman's right to contraception.  The panel included Representative Dawn Morrell of the 25th LD, a nurse and Vice Chair of the House Health Committee; Senator Karen Keiser of the 33rd LD, who is Chair of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee; Vandana Slatter, a pharmacist and also a member of NARAL's Board; and Marc Brenman, Executive Director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

Karen Cooper, Executive Director of NARAL in Washington started off providing the big picture.  She reminded us that Washington is a good state for women; we passed our version of Roe in 1971, a year before the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade.  Yet, the attacks keep coming, both nationally and here in the state.  There's the ban on abortions in South Dakota, the paucity of abortion providers in many state and rural areas, official attempts to provide medically inaccurate information (my favorite ridiculous idea is the attempt to link incidents of breast cancer to abortion). 

Here in this state we are having to fight a threatened rule by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy that would allow individual pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions if they decide it is against their beliefs.  It looks like the ruling may not be passed by the Board now that the Governor has made her views known persuasively but the fact that a sneaky, national campaign for a "pharmacist's right of refusal" could get this far in Washington State is unnerving.  See earlier posts here and here.

Dawn Morrell spoke first, saying how much she appreciated the governor's working so effectively with the Board to reach what seems to be an understanding about withdrawing the ruling in question.  She said it was hard to imagine what we'd be dealing with if Gregoire had not won the gubernatorial race.  Dawn then reminded us of how much our pharmacists know about us.  There is a relationship between pharmacists and their patients and it should be a relationship of trust that the pharmacist has our best interests in mind.  She also said that twenty-eight legislators had signed a letter to the Pharmacy Board asking them to rethink their earlier position.

Senator Karen Keiser, long a friend of NARAL and women in the state, spoke next.  Karen said that she appreciated the support of the people in the room.  She said we are in a battle and referred us to an article in the New York Times magazine section this spring entitled "The War on Contraception" which laid out the strategy that the right-wing has adopted to whittle down the right of women to contraception in this country.  (Article is behind the NYT subscription wall.  Planned Parenthood has a good summary of it here.)  There is an intentional strategy to make contraception the next big fight.  They are determined to equate a fertilized egg with a living being, thus making the use of contraception an abortion.  This is fuzzy thinking. 

She said that pharmacists are professionals.  They already have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions on professional medical grounds, i.e. because of a combination of drugs that don't work together or other medically related difficulties.  It is also alright for a pharmacy that serves elders, i.e., not to stock medicines for children.  However we will not allow them to refuse to dispense drugs based on ethical decisions.  Ralph's Thriftway in Olympia, for example, is not stocking Plan B at all. 

We need to reframe this as an issue of discrimination against women.  We will pass a law the revokes the license of any business that refuses to dispense medication based on ethical preferences.  And, she again reminded us that we would be in a world of hurt had Gregoire lost the last election.  Nevertheless, we might not always have a friend in the governor's office.  That's why we need the legislation.

If we need to, as Chair of the Health and Long-Term Care Committee in the House, Keiser said they would hold up the nominations to the Board, none of which were finalized last year.

Keiser went on say that this is what educators call "an educatable moment".

Next up was Marc Brenman, new to the discussion of women's health in this state.  Brenman said that he is a bureaucrat, not a politician.  He is with an agency that enforces the state laws against discrimination and has jurisdiction over all employers in the state with more than 8 employees.  He said that he was recently talking on a conference call with folks from other states that do what he does.  They were talking about civil rights legislation and how this idea that pharmacists have a "right to refuse" was creeping across the country.

Brenman was clear that in his mind there is no freedom to impose one's religious beliefs on others.  He also said that Governor Gregoire has made it quite clear that this Pharmacy Board is not following her guidance and she is prepared to take steps to deal with it if necessary.  He went on to say that early on the Human Rights Commission wrote a letter to the Board saying that they saw this potential ruling as discrimination against a class of women.  That letter is available on their website.  The "right of refusal" is a very slippery slope.  Who's to say what other reasons a pharmacist might have to decide to refuse to fill a prescription? 

Brenman also sees this as a consumer protection issue and has contacted the Attorney General asking him to consider it as such. 

He ended his talk saying that he has learned that there is a lot of backsliding on human rights issues, even in this state.  He said we have to prevent the rise of an American Taliban and have to be on guard against the imposition of some version of Sharia law here.

Vandana Slatter, a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington said that she never expected to be in the position of having her work life and Board interests intersect so closely.  She said she was joined by other pharmacists at the Pharmacist's table at the event, all there to fight for a woman's right to choose. 

Slatter said that the role of the pharmacist has long been considered critical.  Pharmacists have always placed the needs of their patients first.  This new idea of "right of refusal" is the work of a few people and is a deliberate attempt to further the agenda of the religious right.  It is not the majority view.  She said that Washington State pharmacists have been leaders in dispensing emergency contraception and have dispensed 200,000 prescriptions since 1997.  She said that emergency contraception prevents unintended pregnancy and will not interfere with or harm an established pregnancy.  It therefore does not cause an abortion.  It is generally used when the primary form of birth control for a woman has failed or for woman who have been raped.  Every patient should receive respectful service.  It is the pharmacist's responsibility to protect the public's safety, not to further their own personal bias or belief.  She said she believes that most pharmacists are able to separate their personal beliefs from their professional duties.

Karen Cooper wrapped up the panel by saying that NARAL had send 9000 messages to the Pharmacy Board and that Planned Parenthood had sent another 7000.  The Board has really heard from the citizens of the state as well as from a large contingent of legislators and elected officials.  She said that choice is the wedge issue that differentiates candidates and that NARAL is hard at work helping out the candidates that will stand with us.

She reminded us that NARAL is the organization that does this work and that they cannot do it without the support of the folks in that room.  There are challenges crashing in on us and contraception is under attack in this state.  Help them out if you can. 

The last person to speak was Darcy Burner, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 8th CD.  Darcy said that she is running against one of the most anti-choice candidates in the country.  She said our founding fathers decided that there would be a sphere of liberty that could not be interfered with at any level.  There are rights reserved to individuals and those rights are incredibly important.  Freedom of religion is one of those and is a fundamental right in this country.

It was a great event and I applaud Karen and the NARAL folks for pulling together such a diverse group to proclaim such a critical message. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 9, 2006 at 01:18 AM in Taking Action, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 08, 2006

The Political World is Changed Forever

"Whatever happens with the election results today, this election has been a wake-up call for a number of folks in and out of the DC Bubble."  Christy Hardin Smith has a great post up at Firedoglake talking about the impact of what is happening in Connecticut.   She continues:

We see it in the flummoxed expressions of the national media covering the race, who are struggling to come to terms with the fact that ordinary Americans are fed up with the status quo in politics right now.  We see it in the real questions that Senators were asking just last week of Donald Rumsfeld — real, honest questions for once.

You think that would have happened had Joe Lieberman not faced the fight of his political life?  And you think the American public isn’t hungry for more of that?  On any number of issues?  I know I am, and I’m sure a lot of you are as well.  It’s called balance of powers, and Joe Lieberman has had his thumb on the scales, skewing the weights toward the Bush Adminstration for long enough, while trying to cloak himself in the veneer of a false bipartisanship.  Well, I say enough.

And whether or not Lamont or Lieberman are ultimately the winner today, notice has been served on every member of Congress and on the Bush Administration that we are not content to sit back and allow them to take care of us any longer.  We are watching what they do in Washington, and we are not happy with their decided lack of results.  Fear does not work any longer as the single motivating factor — and whether it is anger or disgust or sorrow at where our country has been heading, we are not going to sit passively by and hope for the best any longer.

We the people…are going to BE the change.  Get used to it, get on board, or get out of the way.  Because we have had enough.


We want accountability.  We want honesty.  And above all else, we want them all to remember that they work for us — not the other way around — and they forget that at their peril.  Because ultimately, it is the American public that holds the cards in this poker game…and we are NOT folding, whether we win this hand or not. 

Imagine what it would be like if we saw the kind of energy we are seeing in the Connecticut race all over the country this fall.  It would be a revolution against the big money being spent to keep the status quo in place.  Chris Bowers has organized a project over at MyDD to track how much money has come in to the Lieberman campaign in the last 15 days: $1,343,350. 

The netroots/grassroots could gear up for that.  The establishment would be hard pressed to fight this everywhere.  Even they don't have that kind of money. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 8, 2006 at 07:31 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 07, 2006

Joel Vs. Goldie (sic)

Joel Connelly steps to the plate, intent on delivering a resounding thwack for "more civil" politics, and, uncharacteristically, whiffs.  Joel's got a beef with the shareholder lawsuit against Mike(!) McGavick.  And he takes it out on Goldy.

But Joel is way, way, way off base.  First, the lawsuit against McGavick isn't character assassination.  It's not about his personal life -- it's about his professoinal conduct.  It's not even mean -- it's about whether he committed fraud.   Goldy's hardly a deep-pocketed political operative.  And he's only peripherally involved in the lawsuit.

But Goldy is more than able to defend himself against Joel's bluster with wit.

See, I can forgive Joel for conflating unflattering facts and snark
with character assassination. I can forgive Joel for lumping me in with
some of the evil masters of the Republican attack machine. I can even
forgive Joel for publicly accusing me of being wrong about Mike!™’s
reputation as a political operative.

But there’s one final transgression for which I’m not quite sure I can ever forgive Joel.

It’s spelled “Goldy” with a “y.”

with an “ie” is the feminine spelling, and as a nom de guerre for an
evil, political muckraker like me, that would just plain look silly.

Now, there's a serious question about whether a lawsuit against McGavick is likely to succeed, but there's I think it's good hardball politics that attacks Mike(!) right on his strong suit -- his allegedy-successful record as CEO of Safeco.  Joel might disagree, but if so, his beef is with plaintiff Emma Schwartzmann and her attorney, Knoll Lowney.

But I suppose that attacking Goldy is just more fun.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 7, 2006 at 07:53 PM in Candidate Races, Inside Baseball, Media, The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (1)

Election Eve in Connecticut

A round-up on the Lamont-Lieberman race for the Democratic primary for Senate: 

First a new poll by Quinnipiac University released today shows the race tightening.  Likely primary voters back Lamont over Lieberman by 51-45 as compared to an Aug. 3rd r Q-poll which showed it 54-41 for Lamont.  Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq is the main reason for 36 percent of Lamont voters, while 54 percent say it is one of several reasons.

Which brings us to pollster John Zogby's article on the Huffington Post discussing the impact of Lieberman's impending defeat.

Connecticut Democrats will go to the polls on Tuesday and the choice will be a defining moment for both the Democratic Party and the nation. While I will stop short of a precise prediction, let me suggest that polling evidence shows that Senator Joseph Lieberman will lose the Senate primary to businessman Ned Lamont by a substantial margin.  Enough of a margin, in fact, to convince his Senate colleagues and friends that he should forego a promised independent run and bow out gracefully. We already see good friends like New Jersey's Frank Lautenberg suggesting that Lieberman will have to drop out and the pressure will build.

At the same time, we have seen Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton begin the process of pulling away from her aggressive pro-war stance in last week's compelling confrontation with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Referring to the Bush administration's policy in Iraq as a "failure" was a big change for Hillary who has been booed in recent months by fellow Democrats for her support for the President.

Zogby goes on to provide his latest numbers on the war:

Let's just look at the numbers from my most recent national poll (July 21). Overall, only 36% of likely voters told us that they agree that the war in Iraq has been "worth the loss of American lives", while 57% disagree. But the partisan splits are more revealing: only 16% of the Democrats polled said the war has been worth while 82% disagree and only 26% of Independents agree the war has been worth it while 72% disagree. On the Republican side, 64% said the war has been worth it, while 23% disagree. The war has been the principal cause of the nation's polarization in the past three years. The polling evidence shows the degree to which Iraq has become a Republican war. And these latest numbers are also noteworthy in that they show that about one in four Republicans have now pretty much given up on the war.

And more for the future, (assuming Lamont wins):

Meanwhile, look for Ned Lamont, who is running a strong antiwar campaign, to be the new face of the Democrats in 2006 and perhaps beyond. And look for Democratic voters to push harder for even more clarity on where Democrats stand. Lieberman will be gone and Clinton will be distancing herself from her previous stand. But calling an obvious failure a failure will not be enough. The next step in offering voters some clarity on Iraq will be to develop an exit strategy.

That is what leadership is all about and Democrats, fresh from sending the pro-war Lieberman a clear message, will be looking very closely.

And, lastly, directly from Connecticut we have an opinion piece in the Hartford Courant by George Jepsen, former chairman of the state Democratic Party and state Senate majority leader from 1996 to 2002:

I like and respect Joe Lieberman. Opposing him publicly is one of the most difficult choices I have ever made in politics. But these are not ordinary times and there is too much at stake.

On too many issues, Joe has equivocated or stood with President Bush and Republican conservatives in ways I believe are both wrong and out of touch with the vast majority of Connecticut voters, not just Democrats. I do not question Joe's sincerity. Equally sincere, however, are his many critics.

For example, Lieberman sided with religious conservatives in keeping Terri Schiavo alive against her will, and in allowing hospitals to deny morning-after pills to rape victims; he would not filibuster the Alito nomination to the Supreme Court, and he was the only New England senator to vote for the Bush administration's energy bill, which gave it siting authority for a natural gas facility in Long Island Sound (taking it from the states); at a time of spiraling deficits he defends budget earmarks and even voted against an amendment that would have eliminated the notorious "Bridge to Nowhere"; finally, Joe opposes marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The list goes on.

Above all, there is the war in Iraq, a war tragically of choice rather than of necessity. More than a costly, miserably implemented, strategic blunder, the war has squandered America's moral mandate in the wake of 9/11 to unite the world against terrorism. It has empowered Muslim extremists, united our enemies, fostered terrorism and destabilized the Middle East.

There should be more accountability in our political process. Incumbency is not by itself a qualification for re-election. Those who led us into and now champion the war need to answer to the electorate, pure and simple.


Our Connecticut Democratic ticket in November will be stronger with Ned Lamont on it because he will drive Democratic turnout. Thousands of Democrats who would otherwise feel voiceless will go to the polls for Ned, helping in turn every Democrat on the ticket.

Unlike Joe Lieberman, Ned is committed to supporting the winner of the Democratic primary regardless of its outcome. He will not split our party by running as an independent. Even if you plan to vote for Joe Lieberman in the primary, I encourage you to call on Joe to do the right thing by running as a Democrat or not at all.

Together, we can send a message to America in August and in November. The message is that there are issues and values worth fighting for, and that Connecticut Democrats are not afraid to fight. Get to know Ned Lamont as I have. He will be the positive voice for change that we need. You will be proud you helped send him to Washington.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 7, 2006 at 09:39 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3)

Another Republican Bites the Dust

Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio, who has been tied to Jack Abramoff's corruption schemes, is abandoning his reelection bid.   Roll call is reporting that the Justice Department is asking questions related to an interview Ney gave to Senate investigators about his relationship with Abramoff.  The Democratic challenger, Zack Space, director of a legal agency, has been running a good challenge, evidently preparing for just this pull-out.  Nevertheless this is a conservative district and Ney has already asked another conservative Republican, Ohio State Senator Joy Padgett, to run in his place according to a report in the New York Times this morning. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 7, 2006 at 09:02 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 06, 2006

Congestion Pricing

David Roberts thinks that we oughta look at Stockholm's successful (and controversial) trial run of congestion pricing, as reported by Alan AtKission at WorldChanging.

Last year, the politics around the planned "congestion tax/environmental fee" got so heated that Stockholm's normally calm radio channels began to sound more like America's whiniest call-in shows. Friendships strained under the divide between the "Ja" and "Nej" side of the equation, and many commentators predicted that Stockholm's currently left-leaning city government would experience a crushing defeat on the strength of its support for this issue.

There were even open calls for civil disobedience from car-owner support groups, who made it possible for members to purchase special license-plate "protectors," plastic covers that would foil the cameras designed to snap a picture of your car's license plate and ding you for the toll.

All that is behind us now.  Because the toll works.  And the people like it. 

And it has been discontinued. 

Discontinuing the toll was actually the plan all along....

And of course, it was wildly successful. 

The very next day, traffic jams reappeared on the major arteries that had, magically, been free of such jams for the previous half-year.

Here are some of the early results from the Stockholm Trial, which involved a tax of between US $1.50 and 2.75 or so per car, depending on time of day and prevailing exchange rate:

1. The Trial reduced traffic even more than expected. Planners expected 10-15% reduction, and they got about 22% -- nearly a quarter, on average.

2. Mobility improved significantly. The data showed this, and everyone talked about it: it was a lot easier to get around, and you could more reliably predict that you would arrive at your destination on time.

3. Carbon dioxide emissions were reduced 2-3% overall in Stockholm County, just as a result of this one policy. Reductions were around 14% in the inner city, compared to pre-toll levels.

4. Particulates, NOx, and other noxious pollutants were also (rather obviously) reduced, and science-based cost-benefit calculations show the policy would save a number of people from early death with this policy -- in fact, it would save about 300 cumulative life-years. Probably about 25 people were spared the agony of a traffic injury, as well, just during the short period of the trial.

5. Public transport use increased by about 6% (but about 1.5% of that is credited to higher fuel prices during this period). And we got new buses.

6. At the start of the trial, 55% of Stockholmers thought the trial was a "bad decision." That number fell to 41% after just a few months, as people experienced the effects directly, and the number calling it a "good decision" of course rose. Even those whose travel habits forced them to pay the toll showed an increase in approval for it.

I'd support any plan for replacing the Viaduct that paid for it with congestion pricing fees.


Posted by Jon Stahl on August 6, 2006 at 11:08 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Not Ready to Make Nice

The Dixie Chicks get a rousing response in NYC in concert for their hit single - Not Ready to Make Nice.  Hosted by ABC's Good Morning America?  Sometimes the contradictions of our media are too much to get my head around.  Nevertheless it's a great video-clip.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 6, 2006 at 10:30 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

All the Lamont News You Could Wish For

Howie was up early this morning and has gathered together a bunch of great articles on the impact of the likely Lamont win on Tuesday in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, starting with a great long piece from Dan Balz in the WAPO.  Short version: this will change the Democratic Party.  As I skimmed over the other articles that Howie has linked to, it is clear that the Hartford Courant is having fun being the center of the domestic political universe for a few weeks.  Among other things, they say that 11,493 people have rushed to register to vote in the Democratic primary this week.  I suppose this could be Republicans transferring to vote for Lieberman.  But I expect it is more likely a new group of voters wanting to get involved to vote for a really good person to represent them in the Senate.  Gee, maybe the trick to getting more people to vote is getting really good candidates who will be accountable to their electorate and not to big donors.  Go Lamont.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 6, 2006 at 08:10 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 05, 2006

Doorbelling for Darcy

I gathered three friends together and went doorbelling for Darcy last Sunday.  I had a lot of varied responses to the experience.  I enjoyed talking to strangers and figuring out how to size up what would be most useful to say to this particular person.  And people were unfailingly civil and often friendly, no matter what their response to my intrusion into their Sunday afternoon.  Much as I had heard otherwise, the campaign was not wildly organized.  The voterlists were terrible, i.e. we found addresses of people where there was not a house and no chance a house had ever been there.  Other people had moved away years ago.  These are what I've come to see are the usual difficulties with the Democratic lists. 

Most amazing to me, not a single person I talked with had heard of Darcy.  That alone told me how important the doorbelling is.

"It's good to be away from the bubble, isn't it?"  Zach Silk, Darcy's campaign manager, said when I bumped into him at a NARAL breakfast mid-week.   And indeed is was.  We were in a working class neighborhood in Renton, which is considered sort of middle ground in the campaign.  The Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island voters are likely to go for Darcy and their goal there is to get as many voters out as possible.  The Auburn, Enumclaw, Sumner areas tend to go Republican and the Burner campaign has poured a lot of resources in there to talk with voters about Darcy.  Their goal is to get a higher percentage of people voting for her there than Dave Ross received in 2004.   

Even though no one had heard of Darcy, about half the folks definitely did not want Reichert re-elected.  Our job there was to familiarize folks with Darcy and her background and urge them to vote and to talk with their friends.   With the ones who were clearly Republican, it was possible that our enthusiasm for Darcy would at least open a possibility for them.  And there were many who seemed not to be interested in politics at all. 

My fellow doorbellers were pretty trusting of me.  They had heard me talk about Darcy and this race once before agreeing to come doorbell.  I sent them some posts from Evergreen Politics to read ahead of time.  The campaign folks gave them a packet of information on Darcy and on her stands on the critical issues and how they differed from Reichert's stands.  When they asked for more, I gave them the briefest of pep-talks about Darcy before we headed out.  I told them that I believe that Darcy is a "transformational" candidate, one of those people like Ned Lamont, Jon Tester, and Jim Webb, netroots-supported candidates on the national scene.  These are people who will move a progressive agenda forward, are not likely to get caught up in the corporate back-scratching, and will lead on the major issues of our day.  As our elected officials are faces with dealing with the mess that the current administration has created, these are the folks we will need in the lead. 

Then I told two stories about Darcy that I think go a long ways to clarifying who Darcy is.  Darcy has made a pledge to list on her website all meetings that she or her staff have with lobbyists.  That is huge and the first time I've heard of anyone making that promise. The second occurred in Darcy's childhood.  She tells the story of how she begged for a computer when she was a youngster.  Her parents were pretty poor but relented and got a basic computer for her at Christmas when she was 12.  But they couldn't afford any software.  So Darcy wrote the programs she needed to use the computer!  That pledge and that story seem to deepen people's awareness of why we want Darcy to be the next Congresscritter in the 8th in place of a Bush clone like Reichert.

After a couple of hours of walking, my partner and I talked with our other two friends who were walking a different precinct.  They were headed back to the park we'd met at and that meant we needed to get back there as well - what with the carpooling we'd done and all.  It turns out that one of the other pair had decided this walking was not worth her time given the manner in which we were asked to work.  She was willing to take on more clients and give more money but not to walk again.  She had done a lot of doorbelling in previous years when she lived in Montana.  At that time they just walked in pairs, one on each side of the street, talking to anyone who was home in every single house.    It did not make sense to her to have this list of folks to talk with which meant we would maybe have four people to talk with on a block out of ten houses.  And then of course the lists were relatively inaccurate on top of it.  We had a cup of coffee and split some sandwiches afterwards at the nearest coffee shop and talked a bit about it.  The organizers had told my friends that the lists we had were focused on those folks who were most likely to vote.  And, I said I expected they may have gone through once before so some folks had already been contacted. 

But my friend's disappointment stuck with me and I've thought about it on and off all week.  The conclusion I've come to is that the Democratic Party voterlists were allowed to deteriorate over decades and building them up again so they are accurate and useful will take some time.  It is also absolutely critical.  If we had the money that the Republicans have, we'd pay college-aged students to walk around and update the lists.  But we don't so it's up to us to upgrade the lists as we get back into the habit of talking to our neighbors again.  So, I've decided I will assist in this chore on a regular basis.  I've signed up to run for PCO in my own precinct in Seattle.  I've already walked my neighborhood and the lists are bad here too and most people have not been contacted in ages.  I decided that I will be a part of this most basic activity that all of the rest of what we do is built on.  For now I'm going to go to the 8th and work on those voterlists while I talk to people about Darcy.  I'll work on my own precinct later.

The Burner campaign needs people out doorbelling.  Sign up and bring a friend.  It makes a world of difference just having someone else across the street whom you can talk with occasionally and trade stories with. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 5, 2006 at 09:38 AM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (3)

Two Great Interviews : Darcy and Gregoire

"Wicked smart" is how the brothers Matthew and Peter Slutsky describe Darcy Burner in their introduction to an audio-clip that showcases Darcy's phenomenal grasp of the issues of the day.  Then they have an audio interview with Governor Gregoire and highlight her incredible negotiating skills and the seemingly intractable issues that she has managed the get resolved as governor.

Hat tip to Will at Pike Place Politics for turning me on to the Doublespeak Show.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 5, 2006 at 07:57 AM in Interviews | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Constitution in Crisis

Congressman John Conyers just released a final report that compiles the evidence - in 350 pages - that the Bush Administration has been ignoring the Constitution and our laws.  Here's what Conyers says in a post introducing the report that he put up at both DailyKos and the Huffington Post:

We have seen so many transgressions by this Administration that it is easy to forget last week's scandal amid this week's new outrage.  I am hopeful that compiling all of these events of the last few years will help wake all of us up to the gravity of these matters and the cumulative damage to our country.

The well-documented report includes damaging information indicating:

  1. The administration knew that Iraq had no WMD
  2. Intelligence officials disputed claims of collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda
  3. The administration engaged in a concerted effort to discredit and defame anyone who disputed their claims, i.e. Joe Wilson, Eric Shinseki, Paul O'Neill and others
  4. The war on terror was used as an excuse to eviscerate the basic protections of the Constitution
  5. The Republican Congress has sat idly by and allowed this to occur

I am reminded of how important we all thought the rule of law was as the Communist east came crumbling down a decade and a half ago.  We kept saying that establishing a rule of law was the single most important thing that a country could do to move toward democracy.  So, much as most of us are familiar with the "Constitution in Crisis" issues that Conyers points out in this report, it's unnerving to see them all gathered together in one place.  It also points us toward the kind of investigations we can probably expect to see if Democrats like Conyers are in the majority next year.  The Party in the minority can write reports.  The Party in the majority can conduct investigations.


Posted by Lynn Allen on August 5, 2006 at 07:19 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 04, 2006

Great Message: Three Crises, One Solution

A new diarist over at Washblog, peagreen, has written on both DailyKos and Washblog about the great numbers that Goldmark got in a newly released poll.  Here's the nub of what he says:

With enough resources to communicate Goldmark's strong messages, inform voters about McMorris' voting record, and drive home the potent contrast between Goldmark's priorities and Cathy McMorris' special interest agenda, this seat is winnable.

  • In the initial ballot, incumbent McMorris receives less than a majority of the vote against Goldmark despite a vast name recognition advantage. After both candidates get their messages out, Goldmark pulls into a virtual tie with McMorris--37% for Goldmark to 39% for McMorris.
  • Bush's favorability rating is only 44% (very or somewhat favorable) versus 53% (very or somewhat unfavorable) with a plurality (42%) giving him a very unfavorable rating, making Bush a liability for McMorris in the district.
  • McMorris' own job performance rating is low. Just 44% rate McMorris' job rating as good or excellent versus 47% who say it is just fair or poor, for a net negative job performance rating (-3%).
  • McMorris has certainly not sealed the deal on her reelection, as just 38% are ready to re-elect her. The remaining 62% of the electorate would consider voting for someone else (24%), vote to replace McMorris (20%), or aren't sure (18%).

That took me to Goldmark's site which someone has been doing some nice work on. Looking good.  And to the best message on the energy situation I've heard anywhere.  Here it is:

Enlightened energy future includes renewable solutions today

Crisis One: Families face losing farms to high fuel and low crop prices.
Crisis Two: America becomes more dependent on foreign oil.
Crisis Three: Global warming threatens dramatic climate changes.

Three crises--one solution, according to Peter Goldmark.

"Biofuels represent an opportunity to turn around the economy of Eastern Washington, to move toward energy independence, and to provide a fuel that is carbon neutral," Goldmark said.

Let's see if we can help Goldmark win this seat in the 5th.  He would be a welcome addition to the  renewed Democratic team.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 4, 2006 at 11:32 PM in Candidate Races, Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Attention on Richard Wright Please

Jim MaCabe over at McCranium in the Tri-Cities has a post asking why the eastern Washington papers don't report on the Wright campaign against "Doc" Hastings, the wildly corrupt Republican Congressman in the 4th CD.  Burner is surging in the 8th, Goldmark is the 5th is beginning to get some good numbers that tell us a win for him is possible if he can get the money to really compete.  Both of these challengers are being covered - first, in the blogs and then in the media.  Richard Wright is not.  He does not have the star power of either Darcy or Goldmark.  But he is a fine candidate.  Star power is lovely but it is not a necessity. 

Wright is with us on the critical issues of the day.  Hastings is every bit as bad as Reichert and McMorris for towing the Republican line on everything.  And, he is Chair of the ridiculously conflict-adverse Ethics Committee in the House, an ethics committee that has been MIA on the most corrupt set of Republican legislators in living memory. 

Jimmy's post is great.  I also ran across an earlier post that Jimmy put up - an interview with Wright.  And, of course, Wright's campaign website.

icard Wr

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 4, 2006 at 11:21 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 03, 2006

Vote to Get Edwards to Come Support Darcy

Like many of the 2008 potential Democratic candidates for President, John Edwards is determined to help take back the House and Senate for Democrats.  He has already raised $6.65 million for candidates across the country.  Now, he is asking us to vote on the next two candidates that he will headline fundraisers for.  Darcy is on that list.  You can vote for two.  Do it.  It would be lovely to have him come to the 8th CD for Darcy.  Maybe he'll bring Elizabeth as well.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 3, 2006 at 07:43 PM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (1)

Welcome Maria

Maria Cantwell has a post up at the NPI blog on the reasons she plans to vote against the odd combination tax bill that lowers the estate tax, raises the minimum wage and essentially imposes a minimum wage penalty on folks who rely on tips for part of their wages.  She focuses on the later part of the bill as the reason for her decision.  Turns out she was a waitress once upon a time.  She says:

I cannot support what amounts to a minimum wage penalty for over 122,000 Washington minimum wage earners. Why would the federal government work to lower the maximum wage rather than setting a minimum protection?

I am not buying this cynical Republican ploy.

Maria has taken a lot of grieve for her position on the war and well she should.  But the other reason we in the netroots have not warmed to her is her lack of participation here.  Nice to see her come play in our sandbox.  I think she will like it and I know we will. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 3, 2006 at 07:36 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 34th LD Goes East to Assist the 15th

Irrepressible Ivan, Chair of the 34th LD, has a great post up at both DailyKos and Washblog on a "sister district" relationship that the 34th LD, in the West Seattle area, is establishing with the 15th LD in the Yakima region.  This very active Democratic group is helping to re-elect Cantwell and providing assistance to the Burner campaign in the absence of competitive races for the seats currently held by Jim McDermott and Adam Smith. 

The district organization's First Vice Chair has a cousin in Sunnyside in Yakima County.  The two got to talking about Tomas Villanueva, the incredible Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 15th LD.  Villanueva is running to unseat Jim Honeyford, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus and one of the most conservative Republicans in the Legislature.  Here's more about how they are approaching this project:

Members of the 34th had met with Tomas Villanueva and 15th District chair Wendell Hannigan at the state Democratic Convention in Yakima in June. Last Saturday eight of us went over again, to the 15th's fundraising dinner, at the Filipino Hall in Wapato. There, over grilled salmon, chicken adobo, pancit, salads, and fruit pies, we got to know our fellow Democrats, heard speeches from candidates, watched dancers from the Yakama Nation and the Filipino community, and talked strategy.

The 15th lacks some of the organizing and campaigning tools that we take for granted in the wired, tech-savvy Seattle area. We are helping them set up a Web site and an effective e-mail list. It was suggested that we conduct Precinct Committee Officer training and help with voter registration.
Unlike more densely populated areas, meeting places and community organizing revolves around the individual small towns. Still, a precinct is a precinct, and many of the same tactics apply. We'll be picking people's brains to find out what works in the 15th and what doesn't, and helping our fellow Democrats to maximize what they have used successfully.

But such nuts-and-bolts organization building, necessary though it might be, is just an adjunct to the real task at hand in the 15th District--organizing and mobilizing Latino voters and giving them something concrete to work toward--and making sure that they, just like all other voters in this country, get a return on their investment in the political system.

In Tomás Villanueva, they undoubtedly have a candidate with the vision of where the Latino community has been and where it needs to go. In an incredible interview with the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, Tomás tells the story of his life as an immigrant from Mexico, a farm worker, a union organizer, a lobbyist, and now, a candidate, and lays out his vision for the future.

Way to go, 34th.  Ivan has promised to keep us updated on this great partnership.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 3, 2006 at 08:17 AM in Best Practices, Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2)

Vigil for Peace in the Middle East - This Evening

The Middle East Peace Camp for Children is sponsoring a vigil for peace this evening at 8:00 at the Middle East Peace Sculpture at the Broad and 4th side of Seattle Center - next to the Fun Forest.

Popular song leader Mary K. McNeill and her chorus, Arab and Jewish peace leaders, teens speaking for peace, a candle-lighting vigil, and writing messages of hope to people under siege in the Middle East are the main programs for this healing gathering. 

The Middle East Peace Camp for Children (MEPC) was established in 2002 serving Arab and Jewish families around Puget Sound.

The Middle East Peace Sculpture was created in the spring of 2003, under the direction of local artists Amineh Ayyad and Sabah Al-Dhaher.  Children from Seattle's Arab and Jewish communities
worked together to create the inspiration and image of the Peace Sculpture which was permanently installed in the Seattle Center Peace Garden on October 23, 2003.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 3, 2006 at 07:41 AM in Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

Big Mo for Lamont

The widely anticipated Quinnipiac University poll has Lamont ahead of Lieberman 54-41 among likely Democratic primary voters.  Prior Q-poll was 51-47 Lamont.  Eighty-five percent of voters say their mind is made up.  Why?

Among Lamont supporters, 65 percent say their vote is mainly against Lieberman.

Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq is the main reason they are voting for the challenger, 44 percent of Lamont voters say, with 50 percent who say the war is one of the reasons.

Give the people a chance to vote on the war and . . .

I know.  I know.  There are lots of components of this vote but . . .

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 3, 2006 at 07:28 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 02, 2006

Sanity Returning to Kansas

Kansas Republican voters swapped out a couple of conservative incumbents for a couple of moderate candidates for the State School Board.  Since the Democratic candidates are also moderates, this means that the State School Board will return to having science standards that actually have to do with science.  They will go from being 6-4 in favor of a curriculum that promotes Intelligent Design to 6-4 being in favor of curriculum that teaches science and history in a manner consistent with the norms of the academic world.  The School Board will likely revisit every recent decision related to the teaching of evolution - and who knows what other subjects (Health Ed, anyone?).  The NYT has the details.

I think this vote can be traced to two factors, both highly positive.  First, the American public is catching onto the idiocy of Intelligent Design and people who live in jurisdictions that vote for ID are faced with ridicule.  Every single attempt to impose ID through school boards in the last 18 months has failed.  The Panda's Thumb. a blog that monitors the ID movement, put a brief history of the recent wins in a post yesterday.  Here's the summary:

The ID movement has been pushing the “intelligent design” strategy for 16 years now, and what has it accomplished? What has the Discovery Institute got to show for the several million bucks it has spent on ID each year for the last 10 years? In three very different forums (court, board politics, and elections), their approach has been rejected. Despite a lot of propaganda claiming they are doing research, the ID movement has nothing but a handful of articles, all of which, upon inspection, fail to be (a) peer-reviewed, (b) original research, and/or (c} actually supportive of ID.

Again and again, people eventually figure out that ID is not really science, and that instead it is a shell game that really has no substance or mission other than to push the specific religious view of special creation in the public schools. And the predictable results followed.

Secondly, I think that this vote is related to the "purpling" of Kansas.  This historically populist state has been under the sway of the right wing of the Republican Party like few others.  Slowly, over the last couple of years, we've been seeing a transition that is encouraged by Governor Kathleen Sibelius, a remarkable Democratic governor who has  pulled some key moderate Republicans over to the Democratic Party recently.   

Here's a piece of a post by Pete Ross over on the Emerging Democratic Majority blog:

Paul Harris of the Guardian Unlimited Observer reports on the resignation of the Kansas GOP Chairman Mark Parkinson and his candidacy for Deputy Governor --- as a Democrat. Writes Harris:

His defection to the Democrats sent shockwaves through a state deeply associated with the national Republican cause and the evangelical conservatives at its base. Nor was it just Parkinson's leave-taking that left Republicans spluttering with rage and talking of betrayal. It was that as he left Parkinson lambasted his former party's obsession with conservative and religious issues such as gay marriage, evolution and abortion.

Sitting in his headquarters, the new Democrat is sticking to his guns. Republicans in Kansas, he says, have let down their own people. 'They were fixated on ideological issues that really don't matter to people's everyday lives. What matters is improving schools and creating jobs,' he said. 'I got tired of the theological debate over whether Charles Darwin was right.'

Later in the article he pinpoints one of the main reasons.

Democratic Governer Kathleen Sibelius seems to be the high powered leverage point in Kansas politics inspiring Democrats to take the fight to the GOP. 

..she has impressed by reaching the middle-ground voters in a startlingly successful first term. Shunning the hot-button social issues, she has focused on education, jobs and health. This has earned her approval ratings touching 68 per cent in a state that was overwhelmingly pro-Bush in 2004.

Sibelius has cracked the political holy grail: persuading heartland Republicans to vote Democrat. 'Her style works here, and then bringing over Parkinson to the Democrats has been the coup of all coups,' said Professor Bob Beatty, a political scientist at Washburn University near Topeka.

The 2006 Democratic Party slogan in Kansas is "Hope in the Heartland".  Yep.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 2, 2006 at 05:48 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Who is a Friend of Israel?

Let's think about this support of Israel differently.  I've been horrified that both the Democrats and the Republicans have lined up behind Israel in this insane war in Lebanon.  What good can possibly come of this?  And the downside is considerable.   The rest of the world feels pretty strongly that this is an Israeli-American War on Islam.  We are managing to get the Shiites and Sunnis lined up together, something that is near impossible to do.  Against us.  The "street" in the Sunni nations like Saudi Arabia, is forcing its rulers to respond with some support for Hezbollah.  Typically Saudi Arabia quietly supports Israel over the more unruly Shiite nations of Syria and Iran.  Meanwhile, the world takes its eyes off Iran, which may be building nuclear weapons.  We are not paying attention to Iraq which is sinking into civil war.  Our allies are distancing themselves from us further.

The difficulty is that we in America (possibly excepting President Clinton) don't think well about Israel. 

So today, a front-pager at Firedoglake, Pachacutec, writes this incredible post addressing the issue as well as I've ever seen it addressed.

He begins with discussing the reaction of a friend with dual Israeli-American citizenship and family still in Haifa, the worst-hit city in Israel in this recent bombing.  Here's what Pach says about the friend's thoughts about this conflict and Pach's own realization of what it means:

He feels vaguely, not quite viscerally that Israel had to defend itself somehow, yet is nagged by the sense that Israel is making matters far worse.  The sense I get is that the position you describe is reflexive, not actually reflective or even strategic.  When I mentioned to him that the strategy Israel is pursuing has served to eliminate any group that could possibly be a negotiating partner lo these last decades, leaving none but the more extreme, he ruefully agreed.

Then Pach looks at the larger picture:

The simple fact is, superpowers are in some ways obsolete:  using a powerful state military against an entrenched and locally popular guerilla force is the best way to destroy said military.  Having a powerful military is, in this context, a liability, because having it tempts you to use it, thereby furthering the ends of your guerilla or terrorist attackers.  Al Qaeda and Hezbollah know this.  It’s about time we, and Israel, figured this out.

Sun Tzu recognized that when you are fighting on unfavorable ground and outnumbered, the best thing to do is retreat and shore up your alliances.  This simply represents strategic good sense.  Fighting wars of occupation against poor people whose populations largely support guerillas means fighting on just such unfavorable ground.  As counter-intuitive as this may seem, the best strategic choice is not to take the bait, but to stand firm within your borders, look to your defenses and shore up your alliances.

And then the real kicker, the bright new idea on a topic that we've had a hard time thinking about:

I consider it a mark of loyalty, a mark of patriotism, to point this out to my own country when we are grinding our own military into the dust, or perhaps I should say, into the sand.  I consider it the act of a friend to help my friend avoid making the same mistake.  I’m an American progressive, and just as I consider it imperative to criticize the acts and choices of my own country at times, so too do I see it as an act of friendship to do the same for a state like Israel.

George Bush and the Republicans lack the sense or the will to do this, and so they are not friends of Israel.  Bush and the Republicans lunge from international calamity to military catastrophe, leaving naught but carnage in their wake, destroying our alliances and our fighting forces all at once.  We on the left value human life and the survival of free people, and so we are willing to say to Israel, stand down, for your own survival.  Shore up your alliances; look to your defenses.  Israel cannot win the population war in the region and is only acting so as to solidify the strength of its enemies into the next few generations, risking the viability of the state of Israel through the current century.

Republicans are not friends of Israel. On the contrary, we progressives are friends of Israel.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 2, 2006 at 05:36 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 01, 2006

President Clinton and Jim McDermott

Nobody can touch Clinton for clarifying issues in a manner that is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying.  He said over and over again last night that the Republicans believe that the source of America’s greatness lies in the big corporations and the Democrats believe that the source of America’s greatness lies in ordinary citizens living their lives in the best way they can.  That is the reason the Republicans believe in the concentration of wealth and power and we believe that government should be open and empowering of people.  They have an ideology; we have a philosophy.  And if you favor ideology, facts are irrelevant and argument is the providence of weak minds.  We favor an inclusive community and try to set it up so people can get together and figure out what to do.

Clinton was in town for yesterday for three events, two public.  The first was a fundraiser for Maria Cantwell, which I’m sure was lovely but was a bit more expensive than I chose to pay.  Andrew shared some about it over at the NPI blog.

I went to the less expensive McDermott event at Benaroya Hall and it was lovely.  We were in the position of having to wait for our main speaker who is notoriously late but the set-up worked for me.  Taking advantage of the acoustics at Benaroya Hall, they opened with four wonderful musical groups: the Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble, the Garfield High School Alumni Duo, Stanley Jordon on the guitar, and Children of the Revolution.  Thom Hartmann was emceeing and he took the opportunity before introducing Jim McDermott to discuss the history of the freedom of speech from the signing of the Magna Carta through the inclusion of the Bill of Rights to well, Jim McDermott.

When McDermott came on he said that he was so excited about the entire program that he momentarily considered calling his Republican friends and thanking them for making this all possible.  He said, “I’m trying to defend the people’s right to know and I needed a little help from my friends.”

I had only had a sketchy picture of McDermott’s legal difficulties before yesterday.  Between the information provided in the program and Jim’s talking about it on stage, I understand the importance of what he has done on behalf of all of us.

Here’s the short version:  Jim McDermott was on the Ethics Committee in 1994 back when that committee was still a functioning committee in the House.  Newt Gingrich, then Speaker of the House, was under investigation for a number of transactions, including a multi-million dollar book deal with Rupert Murdoch.  At McDermott’s insistence, a special counsel was appointed to investigate the charges.  A fine of $300,000 was imposed on Gingrich.  The agreement included a promise not to orchestrate a media response to downplay the importance of the violations.

Shortly after, a tape of just such a phone call orchestrating that response was provided to McDermott because of his role on the Ethics Committee.  John Boehner was on a trip to Florida with his family and was on the call from his car outside a pancake house while the rest of his family was in eating breakfast.  A couple with a police scanner picked up the call, decided it might be important and taped it.  When McDermott listened to the call, he recognized Gingrich’s voice and understood that Gingrich was manipulating the message to the press in direct violation of his agreement with the Ethics Committee.

McDermott thought the public ought to know about this and provided the tape to the New York Times.  The ethics charges and Gingrich’s violation of his agreement were a significant part of the reason for his forced resignation in November 1998.   

The Republicans in turn pressed the Justice Department to investigate McDermott for illegal activities, which they did but found nothing to prosecute.  So John Boehner sued McDermott in civil court, the first time in history that one member of Congress has sued another.

That was nine years ago.  The case has bounced back and forth up to the Supreme Court (where McDermott won) and back to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, which is notoriously conservative where McDermott has been required to pay some of Boehner’s court costs.  There have been minimal attempts to settle out of court but nothing has been offered by Boehner that has made sense to McDermott.  The next hearing is set for October 31, 2006.

Well, sorry.  I guess that wasn’t the short version, maybe the medium length version. 

As McDermott said in his closing remarks before turning the stage over to Clinton, “I can’t let my country down; I can’t let my constituents down; and I can’t let the Constitution down.”

McDermott introduced Clinton with the famous words from Clinton’s first inaugural address: “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” 

This wouldn’t be a bad rallying cry for this upcoming election, something that Clinton focused a lot on when he spoke.

He started by reminded us of how little can be done when the Republicans have both Houses of Congress and the Presidency.  It’s no wonder that it looks like it’s hard to hear a strong Democratic message.  It doesn’t get play.

That’s when he talked about the differences between Republicans and Democrats that I wrote about at the top of the post.  He provided several examples of what happens when you govern by ideology rather than basing decisions on reality.

He talked about one that potentially impacts Seattle big time – protecting our ports.  The 9/11 commission strongly recommended that the US check a minimum of 20-30% of incoming cargo ships.  That is the minimum that actually serves as a deterrent for terrorists to try to slip arms and bombs in by that means.  Currently we check 5%.  Before the 2004 election, the Democrats introduced a bill to double the amount of ships to be checked to 10%, a good beginninng.  They were going to pay for it by reducing the increase in the tax cut for the wealthy.  No go.  It was more important to the Republicans to give the top 1% of wealthy Americans $5000 more each in tax cuts per year than to make 300 million Americans safe.  That is ideology. 

Clinton had many more examples, in better healthcare and clean energy, more biofuels, greater conservation, better public transportation, fighting global warming, addressing bird flu and on and on.   

He closed with a reference from a book that Ron Suskind wrote recently, entitled “The 1% Solution” where he documents the Republican leadership talking derisively about Clinton and Colin Powell and others being trapped in the “reality-based world”.  He said that as a kid from a troubled family, he had fought to get into the real world and he wasn’t about to agree to get out of it.

It was a great talk and a great evening.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 1, 2006 at 11:10 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ned on Colbert

Jane was with Lamont's campaign folks on the way to the Stephen Colbert Show in NYC.  She has the YouTube clip up on Firedoglake. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 1, 2006 at 09:27 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)