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January 10, 2006

16:12

Iran Resumes Nuclear Work

Iran removed U.N. seals from at least one nuclear facility today in order to resume research work. Most of the international community, including the U.S., the U.K., France, and Germany, has expressed concern about the scope of Iran's nuclear program. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "We are profoundly concerned that Iran has decided to restart research and development activities related to uranium enrichment."

Mining Disaster Survivor Shows Signs of Brain Activity

The only survivor of the Sago Mine disaster, Randal McCloy, remained in a partial coma, but showed signs of brain activity. McCloy's condition has not changed significantly -- he remains in critical condition with a fever. Tests, however, have showed a lot of activity on both sides of his brain. Dr. Julian Bailes, a neurosurgeon, said "It is probably too early for us to tell what that means, but it is very important to us that he has a lot of brain activity."

Alito Fields Tough Questions on Abortion and Executive Power

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter began today's hearing by probing into Alito's beliefs on abortion. When asked how he would approach the abortion issue Alito said, "I would approach the question with an open mind." Alito said that the 1985 memo, in which he advocated the gradual overturn of Roe v. Wade, was written when he "was performing a different role." The first five Senators to question Alito all asked about executive power, Alito said that, "no person is above the law, and that means the President, and that means the Supreme Court."

Categories: Blogs
13:34

Jim Dean is the Chair of Democracy for America.

Happy New Year to all!

As many of you may know, I, along with representatives of Democracy for Connecticut, met with Senator Lieberman yesterday. The Senator had asked for this meeting to clarify his position on the activism and debate over the war in Iraq as per his previous letter to DFA which we posted on the blog last month.

The Senator opened the meeting to clarify some of the quotes in the media that had led to our petition drive in early December about debating the war in Iraq. While he has not changed his position on the war, he did make it clear that he believes in citizens' rights to debate and the importance of a national dialogue on this issue; contending that his prior statements in the media reflecting this view were not fully reported.

We had further discussions about the Alito confirmation hearings, the Patriot Act, and the Bush administration's use of the Senator to bolster its credibility.

Though we disagree with Senator Lieberman on the war, we asked him to take a position against the administration's rumored plan for permanent military bases in Iraq. We also asked the Senator to oppose the Alito confirmation—to the point of taking part in a filibuster if necessary. And we asked him to oppose the extension of the Patriot Act in its current form.

The Senator responded by expressing apprehension over Judge Alito's candidacy as well as certain provisions of the Patriot Act, but refused to take a public stance on either issue until a full evaluation of all the information has been conducted.

This was not a kumbya meeting, nor was it Gladiator with a tie on. I expected to come out of this with a better understanding of our respective positions but I did not expect anyone to change positions. And that is exactly how it went.

Senator Lieberman—if nothing else—is a gracious man and a listener. It matters a great deal to me that he was willing to have us into his office knowing that we have some major differences about the direction our country is headed in. Sadly, it matters because we are governed by a presidential administration that does not believe in debate and punishes dissent, but it matters nonetheless.

I fully expect these kinds of conversations to continue in Connecticut right through the Senator's re-election campaign. While we are likely to find ourselves in opposition on many issues—maybe even on opposite sides in a primary—dialogue is a good thing these days. Our thanks to the Senator for having us, and my big thanks to the DfCT folks who took the time to exercise their constituent rights today.

—Jim

Categories: Blogs
08:44

Ralph Miller is the Executive Director of Latinos for America. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.

Where will we be in 9 months? Where will we be in 24? That's what we should be thinking about. We need to focus our efforts now on taking back Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

We learned a lot during the 2004 Presidential. For many of us, it was the first time we stepped onto the political playing field. For many of us, the experience was bittersweet; for some, worse; for very few, better.

What we learned during the 2004 cycle was that we needed to be better organized; we needed to set up the communications mechanisms to help us to define first, the issues im-portant to us (on both local and national levels), then an action plan to implement with an ad-hoc force of poorly trained volunteers. Some of that has changed. The structures for discussing, formulating and refining the definitional aspects of the progressive movement have been largely established, with new groups coming online every day. A growing web of progressive dialogue embraces the free-flow of information, transcending tradi-tional vertical and horizontal boundaries. We are truly ad-hoc; we are truly grassroots.

That's the easy part it turns out.

The hard part is putting all our thinking into action, to structure our engagement on local, state and national levels. Individual views, conditioned by heritage, must reflect a broader social-cultural reality to be relevant. The new role of constituencies is not repre-sentational on a quadrennial cycle, if we're lucky, biennial, but should rather be a perpet-ual effort, ingrained in the overall process.

For example, by Summer 2007, we will all be scattered in a dozen directions, supporting a Presidential candidate of our liking. We'll know, however, that in the end only one candidate will be left standing as the national candidate. Once that happens, we need to not repeat the learning curve that we experienced in 2003-04; we need to be prepared to instantly reconfigure into a coherent national force; our rapid response mechanisms in place; new funding channels and technology support engaging at just the right time.

We can see sweeping progressive victories over the next three years, but we need to agree to cooperate as much as agree to disagree sometimes.

To me, training plays a big part of this on-going effort, especially with Latinos/Hispanics, who are beginning to participate seriously in the American political process. I'm curious what others think.

—Ralph

Categories: Blogs

January 9, 2006

21:50

For the past few years the Democratic Party in Marion County, Oregon has been very inactive. But, that's all changing now. The Marion County Democrats is launching a twice-monthly luncheon series -- DemoForums -- with political speakers in hopes of challenging Republicans, who hold a similar luncheon just down the road. The Democrats membership has grown immensely since the 2004 election as Claudia Howells, a local leader, noted, "It was getting to the point where we had standing room only."

A local article by Steve Law attributes the credit for the rebirth of the Marion County Democrats to Democracy for America:

Democrats trace the local party's upsurge to the 2004 elections, which inspired many new volunteers. Democrat Howard Dean's presidential campaign inspired new and young activists, and after the election, it morphed into an organization called Democracy for America.

To learn more about the DemoForum and other happenings with Democracy for Marion County, visit: http://www.dfalink.com/group.php?id=469.

Categories: Blogs
16:15

Doctors Begin to Bring Sharon Out of Coma

Doctors began bringing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon out of a medically induced coma today. Sharon was able to breathe on his own and showed some movement in his limbs in reaction to pain stimuli. Dr. Felix Umansky, who headed the operation team, noted that it will take a "number of days" to examine how much damage Sharon's brain suffered.

More Violence in Iraq

Monday was a very violent day in Iraq. The bloodiest attack came at a National Police Day celebration. Two suicide bombers disguised themselves as police officials and passed through three checkpoints before detonating bombs that killed at least 29 people. There were numerous other attacks killing at least 11 Iraqis, one of them an investigative judge.

Senate Judiciary Committee Begins Alito Hearings

Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy began Judge Alito's Supreme Court hearings by promising him a fair hearing before deciding how they would vote. Both Senators, however, soon expressed concerns they have about him. Leahy said he wants to make sure that Alito will not be a "rubber stamp" for President Bush. Specter said he would press Alito on a 1985 memorandum opposing the Roe v. Wade decision. The committee's other Democrats vowed tough questioning, while most Republicans expressed praise for Alito.

Categories: Blogs
10:50

Liz Herbert is the Editorial Director of the Rapid Response Network. The Rapid Response Network offers guest commentary at Democracy for America every Monday.

The ink wasn't dry on Jack Abramoff's plea deal before conservatives rose together to sing in unison, the president-on-down-to-the-dogcatcher, the same ole, same ole tune. . . la, la, la "equal money dispenser," la, la, la "both parties," la, la, "glass houses," LA, LA, LA"will Democrats return the money?"

Now, if you've been closely following along with our story, boys and girls, you'll know that there has been - oh - a journalist or two who've been known to pick up a catchy tune and sing right along, in stories such as this one: (Emphasis added where I want you to pay real close attention.)

The lobbyist and Indian tribes contributed $2.9 million to Republicans and $1.5 million to Democrats in the past five years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Republican National Committee spokesman Tucker Bounds accused [Senator Harry] Reid of engaging in "doublespeak."

(This might be the correct time to ask if you knew that between Katharine Hepburn and myself we have won four Best Actress Oscars? That's right, this is an absolutely factually correct statement.)

Just yesterday morning, Wolf Blitzer asked Howard Dean this question: "Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff... give that money to charity or give it back?"

Way back in the spring of 2004, there was also plenty of ink given to another tune those Swift boat Veterans for a-fibbin' were a-whistlin'.

So what's different now, you say?

The Democratic response then:

The Democratic response now (watch it, it's fun):

Dean: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff. Not one. Not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican, every person under investigation is a Republican, every person indicted is a Republican, this is a Republican finance scandal, there's no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money and we've looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that's true.

Blitzer: But there... but... but... through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.

Dean: ...There's no evidence for that either... they took money from Indian tribes, but they aren't agents of Jack Abramoff... I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared, they should be scared. They haven't told the truth, they have misled the American people and now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this."

Blitzer: Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, we've got to leave it right there...

I suppose you could say that now another song is being sung. "So gather 'round people wherever you roam... the times they are a-changin'."

Liz Herbert (FL)
Speak up. Join Rapid Response.

Categories: Blogs
10:00

Hi everyone! Before we start, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for everything that you are doing to take our country back. Over the past two months, we've recorded some huge victories.

- DFA led the fight to hold Tom DeLay responsible for his ethics violations. Yesterday, he announced that he would not run again for majority leader of the US House.

- We've organized hundreds of vigils and other events to keep the pressure on for Congress and the President to develop an exit strategy from Iraq.

- We've grown the DFA community by thousands of people. In December alone, over a thousand new people signed up for DFA-Link!

- We're going to announce DFA's first 2006 endorsements this month. Over the next 8 months, we plan to endorse at least 100 candidates at all levels of government.

I'm happy to take any questions about DFA-Link, DFA's endorsement process, or anything else about our field program!

Categories: Blogs

January 8, 2006

20:31

Marilyn Mackay from North Stonington, CT is a member of the southeastern Connecticut DFA. Her letter to the editor, published in New London, CT's newspaper, The Day ties national events to local politics:

Oil companies are doing very well these days. The Associated Press reported about their fourth-quarter reports, that "analysts are expecting huge profits." Meanwhile, the citizens of the 2nd Congressional District are suffering from high gas prices, and the fear of struggling through a cold winter with the thermostat turned down.

To add insult to injury, Congress passed legislation (HB 3893) which relaxes environmental standards and gives the oil industry huge tax breaks. U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, despite our huge budget deficit, toed the Republican line and voted for it.

As Democrat Joe Courtney says, "This bill gives even more tax breaks to oil companies at a time of record profits, weakens environmental laws designed to protect public health and safety, and strips state and local government of their powers to regulate land use. It is completely out of tune with the needs of the 2nd District that wants the price-gouging to stop and to develop a balanced energy policy that reintroduces conservation and alternative energy sources as a solution to our energy needs."

The southeastern Connecticut Chapter of Democracy for America agrees with Joe Courtney—Rob Simmons, like the George W. Bush White House, does not represent the people of the 2nd Congressional District.

Great job, Marilyn! If you've published a letter to the editor in your hometown paper, let us know and we'll feature it for the DFA community to read and learn from!

Categories: Blogs
13:42

Next week, several DFA staff members will be on hand during the noon hour to discuss the upcoming 2006 plans for our organization and our community. Please join us at the following times for a one-hour, interactive Q&A with those of us in Burlington!

Monday, January 9th - Chris Warshaw, Field/Political Director
Wednesday, January 11th - Arshad Hasan, Training Academy Coordinator and Heidi Summerlin, Training Intern
Thursday, January 12th - Tara Liloia, Technology Director and Luigi Montanez, Deputy Technology Director

All live discussions will take place at noon Eastern time on Blog for America. See you there!

Categories: Blogs
06:17

This Week (ABC) - "Watch "This Week" Sunday to see Sens. Edward Kennedy, (D-MA), and Sam Brownback, (R-KS), discuss the upcoming Alito hearings, the Abramoff lobbying scandal, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Middle East peace process. Additional guests include; George Will, Cokie Roberts, Fareed Zakaria and David Brooks.

Face the Nation (CBS) - CBS Evening News Anchor Bob Schieffer will be discussing the Alito Hearings, wiretapping and the Abramoff lobbying scandal. Guests include; Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-PA), Chairman, Judiciary Committee; Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT), Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee, Jan Crawford Greenburg, Legal Analyst, Chicago Tribune.

Meet the Press (NBC) - Coming up on "Meet the Press," a Sunday exclusive with the author who broke the story about President Bush approving the eavesdropping on U.S. conversations without court approval: New York Times reporter James Risen. Risen will join us to talk about his controversial article and his new book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration."

Then, high-powered lobbyist and fundraiser Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty this week to three felony charges. What affect will his plea deal have on Washington and on Congress? To answer those questions and to preview the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearings of Samuel Alito, we will have an exclusive interview with two key members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Chris will be discussing wire taps, the Alito hearings, Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. Guests include; Elisabeth Bumiller -- New York Times; Pete Williams -- NBC News; Gloria Borger -- CBS News; Howard Fineman -- Newsweek Magazine.

Fox News Sunday (Fox News) The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the confirmation hearing process for Alito next Monday. FNS will discuss the upcoming hearings with two key senators on the Judiciary Committee: Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), and Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA).

Late Edition (CNN) will be discussing how Ariel Sharon's health crisis affects Israel's political future and peace efforts. Wolf Blitzer is live from Jerusalem. Tune in at 11 a.m. ET.

60 Minutes (CBS) One of the two ex-New York City detectives accused of being Mafia hit men vehemently denies the charges in his first interview. Ed Bradley reports. Can new Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer help return the venerable electronics giant to its former place at the head of the pack? Lesley Stahl reports. Unorthodox, some would say unsafe, U.S. skiing sensation Bode Miller will do it his way when he pursues gold medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Bob Simon reports.

Categories: Blogs

January 7, 2006

19:07

Ofer Inbar (aka Cos) is a DFA organizer in Massachusetts. He comes to us today with a report from this week's DFA-Boston meeting with DFA-List candidate, Sam Yoon. Look for an update from the meeting in the coming days.

I first met Sam Yoon about one year ago, at the January 2005 meeting of DFA-Boston. He and another city council candidate, John Connolly, were the first of many to talk to our group and seek our endorsement. We had a long, interesting, wide-ranging session of questions and answers. Over the course of the year, Sam Yoon came back to DFA-Boston three more times, more than any other candidate. He earned our support and endorsement, and became one of three Massachusetts candidates on the 2005 DFA-List, Democracy for America's national endorsements (the other two were Pat Jehlen and Gibran Rivera).

This week, Sam Yoon was sworn in as Boston City Councilor at-large. Now that the campaign season is over, he's coming back to DFA-Boston for an extended Q&A. We'll find out what his priorities are, how we can help him achieve some of them through grassroots organizing; we'll let him know some of the things we'd like to see; and we'll learn more together about how Boston works and what issues we need to explore.

DFA-Boston meets on the 1st Wednesday of every month, at the USES Harriet Tubman House, 566 Columbus Ave @ Mass Ave. The full meeting agenda is posted online at DFA-Link—read it here.

—Cos

Categories: Blogs
11:15

Today we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the ethically-challenged former House majority leader, Tom DeLay. It was released today that he will step down permanently from the post.

DeLay is battling campaign finance charges in Texas and was forced to step aside temporarily as majority leader last fall after he was charged in his home state. He has consistently maintained his innocence and said he intended to resume his leadership post once cleared.

His about-face came amid growing pressure from fellow Republicans who were concerned about their own political futures in the wake of this week's guilty pleas by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Republicans seeking re-election this year (DeLay included) have a lot to worry about. Karma, anyone?

Categories: Blogs
08:03

Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, is scheduled to deliver the National Democratic Radio Address today at 11:06am EST. She plans to discuss the growing ethical crisis in Congress and the need for honest leadership in Washington:

"Clearly, the Republican Culture of Corruption touches all Americans. We can't afford to go on like this. The time for reform and change is now. Together, America can do better."

You can hear Rep. Slaughter on most major radio networks, including AP, ABC, NPR, CBS Radio, CNN Radio, C-SPAN, Armed Forces Radio Network, American Urban Radio Network, Voice of America Radio Network, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Categories: Blogs

January 6, 2006

22:31

Kos from DailyKos served up a dose of the National Journal's Hotline for those of us not privvy to a paid subscription. It's of particular interest to the Dean-based DFA community—the piece lauds Governor Dean for his first-year work as Chair of the Democratic National Committee:

"Howard Dean has turned out to be the biggest surprise of the season. He's a good man. And he truly gets it." Those are the words of Charles Soechting, the TX Dem chair who when Dean announced his bid for DNC chair had Soechting grtting his teeth. At the time, the Texan worried that Dean didn't get the problems parties grappled with and certainly didn't possess the regional sympathy to figure out how to win elections in the South.

But now, closing in on Dean's 1st anniversary as DNC chair, Soechting has seen enough to convince him that Dean "knows what it to makes Texas truly competitive."

...

Dean promised he'd repair the relationship between the party and its state affiliates. In large measure, he did. (Soecthing says today that the state party feels more connected to the DNC than ever before.)

Dean's defenders say he's making good on his pledge. The DNC has trained 136 new organizers and sent them to 30 states, and by the end of 3/06, party officials say every state's precinct training program will be up and running. In WV, the party now employs four full-time organizers. Recalcitrant county chairs are warming to their presence; one small county that had zero precinct captains in 2004 has twelve today.

"That may not seem like a huge step," says Parag Mehta, the DNC's director of training, "but in that party of West Virginia, where Democrats were afraid to put up yard signs for fear of being taunted, suddenly, there's a Democratic presence."

A 50-state strategy takes time—and at the one-year mark we're starting to see some early fruits of Governor Dean's far-reaching plan. Who's ineffective now?

Categories: Blogs
16:20

Sharon has Another Surgery

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent another emergency brain surgery Friday. Doctors said that after the five hour operation Sharon showed "significant improvement." Dr. Schlomo Mor-Yosef, the hospital director, said after the surgery that "there is no active bleeding and the intracranial pressure has returned to normal."

Bush Confident About the Economy

The President today shrugged off a report that showed weaker-than-expected job growth in December declaring that "the American economy heads into 2006 with a full head of steam." The report showed that U.S. payroll expanded by 108,000 jobs in December, nearly half of expectations. Bush also took a jab at critics of his tax cuts. "Just as this economy is getting going, there are some in Washington who want to take the money out of your pockets."

Military Announces the Deaths of Six More Troops

The military released information revealing the deaths of six more soldiers in Iraq yesterday, bringing the total to 11. The military also said that two soldiers were killed today after their vehicle was attacked by a roadside bomb.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs
12:00

DFA is tracking down old friends from the Dean for America and early Democracy for America days. To join our "Where are they now?" series, please email [email protected].

Greetings DFA Headquarters!

I'm not sure if I count as a "where are they now" DFA member; but the winter of 2003 changed my life forever.

I am Martha Powers and I live in Dubuque Iowa with my husband and two children, as well as our three cats. I became a volunteer for the Dean for America campaign after attending an Campaign Office/Open House in honor of Gov. Dean's birthday back in November of 2003. It was hard work, lots of fun, and great memories. Even my husband and daughter volunteered their time and all four of us attended the caucus to show our support for the Governor.

I traveled to northern Wisconsin and Madison to lend my voice and support before the Wisconsin primaries in February. After the presidential race was set, I turned my energies to welcoming (peaceful protest) Bush & Co. during one of his stops in our town, helping out with some local races, as well as working at a Kerry event held here after the convention.

After much disappointment, I have turned my energies now to NCLB legislation, including the little known section about military recruiters having access to high school students names, addresses, etc. from school districts across the nation who receive federal funding. I also traveled by bus to Washington DC this past September to participate in the "Bring Our Troops Home" rally. It felt so good to be in the company of hundreds of thousands who believed in the same message; I was home again.

If it hadn't been for Gov. Dean and his passion for speaking the truth, working for change and believing that we all can make a difference...I wouldn't be writing to you at all.

Thanks for the opportunity to share and remember a turning point in my life and our world. Carry on DFA!

—M. Powers

Categories: Blogs
07:24

Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at www.nationalnurse.org.

We are now six days into the New Year and most likely there are many of us who have set 2006 as the year to get fit. This will take an effort by the entire family especially those with children. Schools have cut physical fitness from their curriculum because of budget cuts, so our kids spend most of their day sedentary. Another contributing factor is that the most popular Christmas toys this year included dolls and computer/video games and neither encourage young people to go outside and play. Adults find themselves too busy with work both away and in the home to even consider stepping outdoors.

The benefits of exercise are many, but keep in mind they will not appear overnight or even in a week. The American College of Sports Medicine found that more than half of us who begin exercising end up dropping our exercise program within three to six months. Health experts want us to remember that exercise may add three years to our lives, allow us to enjoy our work and improve our productivity, decrease heart disease and diabetes, improve our backs, and help rid our bodies of that unnecessary and dangerous fat.

For progressive activists who want to see Congress turn blue in 2006, how about walking on behalf of a DFA-List candidate? Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), the head of the Senate Democrat's campaign efforts, is targeting seven states, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, and Arizona to win. If you happen to live in these states, grab your kids and head to your local Democratic Party headquarters. Children often end up role modeling their parent's activism—just ask "listener" whose daughter served as Chair of the Kennebunkport Democratic Committee this year. Ask party officials for a walking list and head out the door—this should give you plenty of exercise and you will be helping to take back your country at the same time.

—Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP
Democracy for Oregon

Categories: Blogs

January 5, 2006

21:08

Herb Chasan, of Democracy for America - Massachusetts, was published this week in the Metro West Daily News with this letter to the editor, chastising the "right=wing zealots" of the current administration and demanding that the checks and balances intended in our goverment continue to be respected:

We're less than one year away from the 2006 Senate and House midterm elections, and every fair-minded American will have the chance to turn the tide in American politics. Democracy For America is launching a massive campaign to oust radical Republican ideologues and elect members of Congress who will fight for equality and justice for all of us. We are looking for people who will stand with us to help take back Congress from the right-wing in 2006. Will you join us?

Herb also includes the contact information for the DFA-MA group—if you're in the area, why not stop by one of their meetings and let him know you saw his excellent LTE!

Categories: Blogs
17:03

Sharon Could be Sedated for Three Days

After suffering a massive stroke yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent emergency brain surgery last night. Sharon's doctors have said that Sharon could be sedated for up to three days in order to reduce the pressure in his skull. By law the vice premier, Ehud Olmert, became acting Prime Minister and will remain so for 100 days, at which point an election will be held. Aides close to Sharon have said that they do not expect him to return to office.

Another Deadly Day in Iraq

Violence continued in Iraq today as blasts killed at least 130 people and wounded hundreds more. Five American soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing, the military reported. In Ramadi, where 1,000 people were waiting to enlist for the new Iraqi police force, a bomb was detonated, killing 80 and wounding dozens more. General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "I think that what you're seeing now is a continuing attempt to disrupt the proper formation of the Iraqi government, and I'm confident they will fail."

Politicians Hurry to Rid Themselves of Abramoff's Money

President Bush and a number of other politicians have quickly dumped campaign donations linked to Jack Abramoff. All told, three dozen lawmakers -- 75% of them Republicans -- have announced plans to return money. Among those returning money are former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, current House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) said, "I wish it hadn't happened because it's not going to help us keep our majority."

Categories: Blogs
11:32

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.

After recovering from New Years Eve celebrations, Local DFA groups got straight to work on making 2006 DFA's most important year ever, with monthly meetings already taking place, and plans to hit the ground running:

Town Hall Meetings: Already this week, Fairfax Democracy for America is promoting a town hall meeting with special guests, Congressman Jim Moran and Congressman Jack Murtha, to discuss our ongoing involvement in Iraq. And Morris County DFA hosts its Out of Iraq Public Forum.

Next week, New Haven DFA and representatives from Local DFA groups throughout Connecticut will be meeting with U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman!

Candidate Forums: DFA's initiative to find, develop and nurture great candidates is taking root across the country. Just a quick sampling shows Candidate Forums planned or in the works from Bellingham, WA to Oak Park, IL to Long Island, NY, even to good old South Burlington, VT. Yes—even Vermont needs a candidate forum!—start planning yours today!

Training: The DFA Training Academy makes the long trip to Central Vermont for a late January installment of the powerful, fun, effective, and affordable grassroots training that's reminding thousands of activists around the country why they still have the power to take back our country. And mark your calendars for upcoming February editions in Saratoga, NY (2/4) and Philadelphia (2/25-26)

Plus, Fairfield County DFA in Connecticut is promoting the Campaign-Smart Alliance Grassroots campaign training, with guest speakers Jim Dean, and Congressional Candidates from around the state.

Until next week, on with making this New Year truly happy! Keep fighting for better tomorrows!

—Jeff

Categories: Blogs