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February 5, 2006
This Week (ABC) - Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee chairman will be on the show for an exclusive interview on the GOP's ethics woes and its chances of holding its majority in 2006. Gen. Michael Hayden, deputy director of national intelligence, will be on the program to discuss the president's terrorism surveillance policy.
Face the Nation (CBS) - CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer will discuss eavesdropping and the State of the Union address with these guests: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) member, Judiciary Committee; Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) ranking member, Judiciary Committee; David Brooks, columnist, The New York Times; and Karen Tumulty, reporter, Time magazine.
Meet the Press (NBC) - This week on "Meet the Press," newly elected House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), joins Tim Russert in studio this Sunday to discuss his surprise victory to succeed Tom DeLay, and to lay out his vision for House Republicans. Then, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) will tackle the unanswered questions surrounding the NSA domestic spying controversy.
Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Chris will be discussing whether President Bush can make good on his State of the Union promises, as well as Rudi Giuliani's chances of capturing the hearts and minds of the voting South during his recent tour. Guests include; Kathleen Parker of the Tribune Newspapers, David Gregory of NBC News, Michele Norris of NPR and Andrew Sullivan of Time Magazine and New Republic Magazine.
Fox News Sunday (Fox News) - This week, Fox News Sunday will be talking to Gen. Michael Hayden, deputy director of National Intelligence, New House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D.
Late Edition (CNN) will tackle the question of the growing divide between the Muslim world and the West with guests Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) from the Foreign Relations Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Iyad Allawi, former Iraqi interim prime minister and Iraqi Parliament member, Mayor Bob O'Connor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle, Washington.
60 Minutes (CBS) This week's 60 Minutes will be pre-empted by a network special, Superstars, featuring interviews with superstar celebrities including George Clooney, Sheryl Crow, Hilary Swank, Bono and Sting.
February 4, 2006
Karen Felthauser is a longtime DFA member, Williamson County Democratic Party member, and community activist. Karen is a DFA-List candidate for the Texas State House in the 52nd District.
I am deeply honored to accept the endorsement of Democracy for America. My campaign is focused on supporting public education, public healthcare, and freeways not tollways.
Texas government has methodically stripped funding from our public school system. Texas has fallen to 40th in per pupil expenditures. We have a legislature which is intent on destroying public education through de-funding and privatization. Although our nation lags far behind other countries in science assessments, our Texas governor has announced in his bid for reelection that he supports teaching Intelligent Design as part of our science curriculum.
Did you know that, due to the sheer volume purchased, Texas, along with California, is the controlling market for textbooks in this country? That means that what Texas mandates in textbook subject matter affects what your students are exposed to. As the field director of the ultraconservative Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy puts it, "The bottom line is that Texas and California are the biggest buyers of textbooks in the country, and what we adopt is what the rest of the country gets." For that reason alone, I would ask you to please help me win this race.
Our legislators' support for health care is equally abysmal. Texas is last in the nation in the percentage of insured children. Our Child Protective Service has the highest workloads in the nation. More than 500 children in Texas died of abuse or neglect over a 2 ½-year period. Yet our representatives moved to privatize child protective services and further reduce the child protective workforce!
If they succeed in Texas to make most new roads into toll roads there are plans afoot to take this model nationwide.
I invite the DFA community to join me in this campaign to move Texas forward. www.karenfelthauser.com
Two days after the President's State of the Union speech, Senate Democrats on Intelligence Committee asked John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, pointed questions. The hearing was an annual meeting on national security threats. Democrats took advantage of the hearing to attack the NSA's domestic surveillance program.
In his opening remarks Senator John Rockefeller said:"I am deeply troubled by what I see as the administration's continued effort to selectively release intelligence information that supports its policy or political agenda while withholding equally pertinent information that does not do that,"
Senators Feinstein and Levin continued with tough questions and statements. Feinstein said the administration had engaged in "consistent stonewalling" to prevent Senate Committees from carrying out their oversight. Senator Levin accused the administration of giving contradictory accounts of the program.
Senator Feingold, in one of the hearing's tense moments, asked Mr. Negroponte if any other "intelligence collection" programs had not been revealed to the full Intelligence Committees.
Negroponte responded, "Senator, I don't know if I can comment on that in open session."
Much like the Alito hearings, Democrats asked tough questions and got few, if any, answers. Also like the Alito hearings, Republicans blasted Democrats for playing partisan politics.
Senator Roberts, the Chairman of the committee, accused Democrats of derailing the discussion:"I am concerned that some of my Democrat colleagues used this unique public forum to make clear that they believe the gravest threat we face is not Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, but rather the president of the United States."
Clearly Roberts is wrong. Democrats recognize the dangers posed by terrorists. However, we also recognize that giving up our civil liberties is essentially letting the terrorists defeat us. Democrats must remain strong and continue to question the Republican abuse of power.
February 3, 2006
Trial for Libby Set for January
The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Cheney, will start next January, a federal judge said today. District Judge Reggie Walton said jury selection will begin January 8, 2007, two months after the Congressional elections. Libby's attorney said the date will "permit us the time we need to prepare Mr. Libby's defense."
Pentagon Unveils 21st Century Strategy
The Pentagon announced plans to beef up special operations forces and counter bio-terror today. The plan comes just before President Bush sends Congress a 2007 budget that will seek a nearly 5% increase in Defense Department spending. The new plan, called the Quadrennial Defense Review, will increase special operations by 15% and a one-third increase in troops assigned to psychological warfare and civil affairs units. There will also be a new $1.5 billion program to develop medical countermeasures for bioterrorism threats.
Senate Intel Chair Supports Domestic Spying
A day after Senate Democrats in his committee grilled an intelligence panel, Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, came out in support of the domestic spying program. Roberts wrote a 19-page letter to Senators Specter and Leahy of the Judiciary Committee saying, "Despite legal analysis by some critics, I am confident that the president retains the constitutional authority to conduct" to conduct such spying.
Hello! My name is Joe Black (sorry, I have not seen the movie) and I will be the interning at Democracy for America for the next few months. I am from Westborough, Massachusetts but I go to school at the University of Vermont right down the street from DFA.
I am currently holding down two internships while taking my final semester of classes so I can get my degree in May! Besides working with DFA, I am interning with the local Progressive Party (the most active third party in the country) helping their progressive candidates with various elections throughout the city of Burlington.
I will be working with Arshad Hasan, DFA's Training Coordinator (go to a DFA Training Academy, you will love it, trust me). Arshad has me doing location specific research, trainer recruitment, trainer logistics, training host reporting and helping out in any other way that I can.
I am really thrilled to be here at DFA and I know this will be a great opportunity to learn even more about the political process!
Jessica Falker is a longtime DFA supporter and Organizer of Rutland DFA, Democracy For Vermont Steering Committee, as well as Finance Director of My Vote is My Voice.
Rutland DFA kicked off its candidate forum series last night with three candidates for Vermont's only US House seat; Peter Welch (D), David Zuckerman (P), and suprise guest Mark Shepard (R).
February 2, 2006
Yesterday, House Republicans narrowly passed a budget plan that would reduce spending by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The cuts will affect student loans, crop subsides, and Medicaid, the government's insurance program for the poor.
In other words, Republicans cut government support for those who need it the most. Where is the compassion in that? Apparently Republicans want to see more of America's poor go uninsured and uneducated.
The bill passed by just two votes, 216 to 214, which is further evidence that Democrats need to win back seats in House. With just a few more Democrats in the House, we would have been able to defeat this bill and insure that America's poor get the best care the government can give them.
Incidentally, this bill passed as the Senate is considering tax-cutting measures that would benefit the rich. Now we see the compassion, it's reserved for the rich. Republicans are cutting taxes for the rich at the expense of spending for the poor. It should be the other way around, and electing a Democratic majority would make sure of that.
Boehner Elected House Majority Leader
House Republicans elected U.S. Rep. John Boehner from Ohio as majority leader today. Boehner defeated Tom DeLay's temporary replacement Rep. Roy Blunt by just 13 votes, 122-109. Blunt was the front-runner going into today's meeting. Boehner is an eight-term congressman from the Cincinnati area who offered himself as a reform candidate.
Bush to Request $70 Billion More for War
A day after Congress cut nearly $40 billion in spending on student loans and Medicaid, the White House told Congress to expect requests for about $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The funding for Iraq is in addition to $50 billion approved in December and should be enough to conduct the war through September 30, when the fiscal year ends.
Iran Vows to End Cooperation if Reported to U.N.
Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency today that it will stop all "voluntary" nuclear cooperation with the agency if the agency reports Iran to the United Nations Security Council. In various public statements, Iranian officials have threatened to end voluntary cooperation, however this is the first time that the threat has been delivered in writing.
Blog for America features highlights from DFA-Link groups around the country each week. Jeff Gardner from NJ for Democracy writes about the Northern half of the U.S. on Thursdays. You can see more local DFA actions going on at www.dfalink.com.
It may have been a tough week for DFA members who mourned the loss of Coretta Scott King, opposed the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito, and watched a State of the Union address short on truthiness, but Local DFA groups are nonetheless forging ahead, still leading the way toward taking back our country!
State of the Dis-Union: Call them parties, call them vigils, Local DFA groups gathered across the country to watch, listen, boo, hiss and commiserate during the SOTU address. But for NJforDemocracy, when Congress left the building, the action just begangroup members from every corner of the state were joined live from Washington, D.C., by not one, but two members of Congress, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) for an online discussion and live blog in response to the president's speech. Pallone's message: " Together, America can do better." So true!
Candidate Forums: Doing better means changing the leadership in Congress, and with that in mind, the dates are approaching for the candidate forums planned for New Hampshire and Michigan and Illinois (http://www.dfalink.com/group.php?id=228 ) and Vermont, to name just a few of the dozens DFA groups have in the works across the country.
Taking our Seats: 2006 is the year for DFA members to stand up and take a seat! (And not just in Congress.) That's the message Philly for Change has for its members as it seeks to fill th e hundreds of empty committee seats in Philly. Are there seats at the table just waiting to be filled in your area?
Until next week, keep fighting for better tomorrows!
Elesha Gayman, a member of Democracy for America-Quad Cites, is a DFA-List candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives in the 84th District.
In 2004, I was proud and honored to represent Iowa and Howard Dean at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. The convention administered a shot of activism through my core. I came home more charged up than ever before, quit my job, and hit the campaign trail.
February 1, 2006
A few weeks ago, when Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar was endorsed by the right-wing Club for Growth, people started asking if he was planning on switching parties. After all, for two years Congressman Cuellar has been steadily advocating a conservative agenda; voting with Tom DeLay and the Republican administration more often than all but a few other Democrats in the House.
As Congressman Cuellar continues to embrace the agenda of the Republican party, he has been embraced right backto the extent that the President singled him out for attention at last night's State of the Union address. His 2006 opponent, Ciro Rodriguez is running a strong campaign to get his seat back not only for the working men and women of South Texas, but for the Democratic Party. You can read more about Ciro Rodriguez at http://www.cirodrodriguez.com.
Bush Argues that U.S. is Strong Despite Worries
President Bush said today that even though the state of the union is strong, he understands why some Americans are worried. "I understand there's anxiety about the time of war . . . That's natural," Bush told an audience at the Grande Ole Opry. Bush went on to say that the U.S. economy is the "envy of the world" yet competition with India and China has created uncertainty among Americans. "In uncertain times it's easy for people to lose confidence in the capacity of this country to lead and shape our future."
Congress Extends Patriot Act for Another Month
A day after President Bush called for the renewal of the Patriot Act, the House was set to extend the act until March 10. This would be the second time the act has been extended, it was due to expire December, 31 2005, but Congress extended it until February 3, just before its Christmas break.
Hussein Refuses to Attend Trial
Saddam Hussein and four other defendants, and their attorneys, refused to attend their trial today. The defendants are calling for the removal of the chief judge Rauof Abdel Rahman, who they claim is biased against Hussein. The judge pressed on without them and appointed defense lawyers for the three defendants present.
This year, we have an opportunity to turn back the radical Republican agenda and set our country on a new course. But we need to find candidates who share our values and then build a grassroots network to put them over the top.
Over 40 DFA groups have organized forums to meet local candidates in their communities this week. These forums are the first step to victory in November.
You can find an event in your area at:
After candidate forums, the next step toward victory is to build a grassroots network to get out the vote and elect our candidates. Thanks to you, we're on pace for the biggest recruitment week in the history of DFA-Link. Over 350 people have joined DFA-Link since our membership drive kicked off Monday morning. The only way to keep growing the DFA-Link community is to invite your friends to get involved. You can get started at:
And you can check your progress at:
The membership drive statistics will continue to be updated throughout the week. The top 3 individual recruiters will all receive a personal call from DFA Chair Jim Dean as well as a DFA T-shirt. Additionally, the ten largest groups and the two groups with the largest growth will receive a DFA banner for use at public events.
Democracy for America features highlights from DFA-Link groups around the country each week. Dave Reiter is a member of DFA Miami-Dade. You can see more local DFA actions going on at www.dfalink.com.
Candidate Forums continue as we stage anti-Alito rallies, get active in our communities, and see the State of the Union address.
DFA Pasadena called their membership to action when a local developer decided to ignore community-approved design plans for a local shopping center. One year after the community fought for a small, intimate shopping center in their neighborhood, they discovered that the development was missing key design features that were crucial elements within the community-approved plans. Leaders of the group are urging members to attend the Committee meeting and speak in their opposition to the developer changing the originally agreed upon plans. The land was purchased with 85% tax payer dollars.
DFA Orange County held a State of the Union House Party! After the speech and the Democratic response, members were treated to a conference call with speakers that included Democratic Party Leader, Howard Dean. DFA Nashville had a State of the Union party at their local hangout where all had fun poking holes in Bush's empty promises.
The DFA Film Club recommends a new documentary on Howard Zinn, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train." The film highlights the impact Zinn's activism had on the progressive movement and the struggles he endured along the way. The Group joined with Global Justice Ecology Project to hold a pot-luck viewing of the movie last week.
Candidate endorsement time is around the corner, and groups will be reaching out to work on their candidate's campaigns. DFA members from all over the country are running for every level of government. We continue to grow, and this campaign season is shaping up to be a big victory for DFA candidates. The more we work to rebuild the system, the more our voice will be heard.
January 31, 2006
"[She was] truly the first lady of the human rights movement. The only thing worse than losing her is if we never had her." Rev. Al Sharpton
When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, his wife, Coretta Scott King, kept fighting for equality. Soon after the assassination she said, "I'm more determined than ever that my husband's dream will become a reality."
In 1969 King founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which has become deeply involved in issues like hunger, unemployment, voting rights and racism.
King suffered a stroke earlier this year that prevented her from attending the King Holiday celebration in Atlanta earlier this month. Coretta Scott King died last night in her sleep.
As poet Maya Angelou noted, today is a bleak day because:"[M]any of us can't hear her sweet voice but it's great because she did live, and she was ours. I mean African-Americans and white Americans and Asians, Spanish-speakingshe belonged to us and that's a great thing."
We extend our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones of Mrs. Coretta Scott King.
What is stunning about the President's speech is what he didn't say tonight.
I did not hear a concrete plan to bring our troops home from Iraq or to allow the Iraqi people to take charge of their own future. The President did not mention the cost of this war or what programs he will continue to cut to pay for it.
We did not hear a plan for simplifying and effectively implementing the Medicare prescription drug program or a plan to get health care for every American.
The President may have recently discovered that we have an energy problem, but I didn't hear him explain why he has continued to give tax cuts to the oil companies that are reaping record profits while he cannot find sufficient funds to help those who cannot afford home heating oil.
The President's priorities are not Vermont priorities, and I don't think they reflect the priorities of the majority of Americans.
If the President won't address these issues, then we must do everything in our power to elect leaders who will.
We will not agree on everything that needs to be done or how we will get it done. But if we come together and put our political force behind electing new leadership in Washington, we can begin to work on the problems left unsolved by the Republican leadership with its surplus of rhetoric and its deficit of substance.
I look forward to discussing these issues with you tonight. If you would like to see what I have been up to, please visit: www.welchforcongress.com
As President Bush's fifth State of the Union address begins, there are two roads he can choose to go down: he can give an extremely divisive speech, speaking to the causes of the extreme right; or he can give a uniting speech and promote bipartisanship.
As much as we hope for the latter, our confidence is closer to his current polling numbers. (ba-da-bump!)
What's more likely to happen is that President Bush will prove himself to be a creature of habit, and promote a polarizing agenda. He'll call for the continuation of tax cuts which will contribute to even more staggering deficits. He'll show off the newestand one of the most controversialJustices, Samuel Alito. And in the end, prove himself to be a divider, not a uniter.
This State of the Union should be a call to arms for progressives around the country. We need to take back seats in the House and Senate and put an end to the President's one-sided grip on Congress and the Supreme Court. But results won't come from complaining about tonight's speechyet taking action against it will. It's time to hit the ground running.
By Senator Peter Welch. Join Senator Welch tonight at 10:00pm EST for a live online discussion of tonight's State of the Union address.
When George Bush ran for President in 2000 he told us he would be a uniter, not a divider. When he won the 2004 presidential election, we were then told his victory was about values.
As you listen to President Bush give his State of the Union address, ask yourself:
Narges Niedzwiecki is an LFA supporter. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.
In 1897 W.E.B.Du Bois stated,"We are Americans, not only by birth and by citizenship, but by our political ideals and our religion."
In the early 1900s, newly naturalized Irish-Americans were categorized as a separate race by American Anglo-Saxons who viewed these new Americans as detached and disconnected, thereby creating an environment that fostered inequality and discrimination. American Anglo-Saxons characterized the race of the Irish-Americans in terms of big hands and feet, dark skin, pug noses and a genetic propensity for violence and alcoholism. By 1960, these stereotypes transitioned into a "voting block" whereby the Irish identity transversed with developed socialization to create a monopolistic group. The shared identity of Irish-Americans united voters by way of the Catholic Church.
Ethnic identity is not the only explanation for the powerful Irish-American "voting block" that dominated politics in the 1960s. The Irish-American electorate also correlated with a candidate whose shared values, cultural heritage and religion affirmed a distinct identity. John Kennedy became President of the United States in 1960 principally as a result of the intersubjective identity of Irish-American constituents.
Formulating on the theories of minority empowerment, recent political speculation has branded Latinos as the "New-Irish," implying that Latino voterslike Irish-American votersare predictable. The conception of individual identity is derived from who we are as defined by race, ethnicity, culture, tradition, conditioning and history. Identity then becomes a theoretical commitment encapsulated in self-definition.
Candidate and ethnic identification are the profound key elements in predicting voting behavior. There are four common characteristics that all Latinos share: the Spanish language, Spanish imperial/colonial influence, and experiences in immigration and ethnic discrimination. Important predictors of Latino voting patterns are ethnic voter outreach programs, issue-based voting over party affiliation and candidate identification.
According to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), nearly 1000 more Latinos held public office in 2004 than in 1994. Ethnic candidates focus resources on mobilizing ethnic voters, thereby creating a "voting block."
There is a natural cleavage to the identification of "Latino" which creates a variance from within. Latino voters are heterogeneous and fluid, arising from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The key to uniting the Latino electorate is to focus on shared identity. The unifying factors in 1960 were Catholicism coupled with historical inequities. Anti-immigration legislation, racial stereotypes, attacks on bilingual education and the halt of Affirmative Action programs have alienated Latino voters. These recent trends have created a shared experience of isolation and discrimination among Latinos.
These are the unifying factors of the Latino experience in America. As the fastest growing minority group in the US, the Latino voter can no longer be ignored, stereotyped or isolated. According to Louis DeSipio,"...With each presidential election, the media and the punditocracy discover Latinos anew."
The time for enfranchisement and inclusion is now, lest we lose an extraordinary opportunity in bringing about unity and real political transformation.
January 30, 2006
Meredith Adams is a Communications Department intern at Democracy for America headquarters in Burlington, Vermont.
The spring semester only began a few weeks ago, and GenerationDFA groups across the country are already showing a lot of progress. Brandeis University's group held their first meeting of the semester last night, which was attended by fifty people! It was plugged as the biggest meeting of the year, and the campus certainly responded well.
Franco Caliz-Aguilar, organizer of the Coral Park Young Democrats in Miami, was interviewed by the Miami Herald about a petition he drafted asking school officials to distribute military recruitment opt-out forms to parents and students of Coral Park Senior High. The petition was signed by 200 of Franco's classmates! The petition was part of a united effort among grassroots groups in South Florida to deter aggressive military recruiting efforts.
Soon, GenerationDFA's agenda for the rest of 2006 will be available on generationdfa.com/resources.php and groups will begin planning their candidate forums, and making endorsements. Search for a GenerationDFA group in your area by going to www.generationdfa.com. If there's no group in your area, sign up to start one yourself.
Help Needy Monterey Families and Children
Children's Services International is a unique and wonderful local non-profit that serves homeless and low-income families and children throughout Monterey County.
Call to participate 3-6pm PT:
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