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December 9, 2005


Today, new governor-elect Jon Corzine named Rep. Robert Menendez as his successor in the United States Senate. Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, supported Howard Dean for president and was among the hundreds of Democracy for America supported candidates in the 2004 election cycle.

Menendez will serve the remaining year of Corzine's Senate term. Other candidates up for consideration as Corzine's successor included Rep. Robert Andrews and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.

Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, will be the first minority to represent New Jersey in the Senate. Dozens of Hispanic groups lobbied heavily for Corzine to select Menendez. He will join Sens. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. and Mel Martinez, R-Fla. as the Senate's only Hispanics.

All of us here at DFA would like to extend our "congratulations" to Mr. Menendez. We are confident you will serve with the interests of the people first.

Categories: Blogs

The signatures and personal notes for Senator Lieberman are pouring in. Here are few samples from around the country:

I am a 74 year old retired military veteran who doesn't think we should have been in this war from the very start. For you to tell me to shut up about this truly Un-American war is outrageous and is completely unacceptable coming from an elected Democrat. —Dick, CA

If you don't want to listen to what people have to say about the state of our nation, you shouldn't be a Senator in the first place. —Benjamin, RI

If you knew in your heart that Bush [was] going down a terribly wrong path, would you still consider it patriotic to keep silent? Would you consider it patriotic to stifle your own inner voice in the light of pressure from others? —David, KS

I actually voted for you in 2000. I'm amazed. —Brian, TX

Give my regards to Zell Miller, okay? —Keith, WA

And here are a few from Joe's (and Jim Dean's) home state of Connecticut:

Precisely because President Bush will be the Commander in Chief for the next three years, those of us who doubt his wisdom and are concerned for the future must speak up loudly and effectively or suffer the consequences and I am not simply referring to the insurmountable financial debt. —David, CT

Our nation is already in peril. —Joan, CT

Your recent support of holding prisoners without the right of habeus corpus also greatly disturbs me. In addition, it is not at all clear to me why you believe Bush has any credibility. —Priscilla, CT

I'm disappointed that I helped to elect you. —Jennifer, CT

It is time that you start representing your constituents, or you won't have any. —Tek, CT

If you haven't co-signed Jim's letter to Joe, you can do it here:

Categories: Blogs

December 7, 2005


In September, DFA launched the "DFA Grassroots All-Star Competition," an online vote by the grassroots for the first DFA-List congressional candidate endorsement of 2006. Now, Sen. Russ Feingold’s PAC, the "Progressive Patriots Fund" is hosting a similar competition with many of the same congressional contenders. Below is a message from Andrew Savage, a DFA-Link leader in Vermont.

Peter Welch, Vermont's Democratic congressional candidate, was selected to be one of 11 congressional candidates nationally to participate in an online vote hosted by Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund. The election runs through next Wednesday night (December 14th) and we need your vote now!

What do we get if we win? A $5,000 contribution and the recognition as the very first "Progressive Patriot" nationally.

Senator Feingold is a highly respected leader in Congress, best known for his effort in achieving campaign finance reform. Like Peter has done in Vermont, Senator Feingold is a tireless leader in bipartisan efforts to restore fiscal discipline in Congress and reduce the federal deficit. He is also a consistent voice for progressive causes in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Feingold wants to help elect more leaders like himself to Congress and that is why he wants to help our campaign. To read learn more about Peter and his campaign, please visit: (but don't forget to vote!)
This past Monday, Dick Cheney headlined at a high-dollar fundraiser in Texas for indicted leader Tom DeLay. The reason: to help DeLay maintain his grip on power. Let's show the Republicans in Washington that the grassroots are ready for real change in the United States Congress.

Please vote now for Peter and encourage your friends to do the same!

—Andrew Savage

Categories: Blogs

In September, DFA launched the "DFA Grassroots All-Star Competition," an online vote by the grassroots for the first DFA-List congressional candidate endorsement of 2006. Now, Sen. Russ Feingold's PAC, the "Progressive Patriots Fund" is hosting a similar competition with many of the same congressional contenders. Below is a message from the winner of the DFA Grassroots All-Star Competition, John Courage.

Dear DFA Members,

Thanks to your support, we are off to a great start with our campaign in a changing district. Lamar Smith, also known as "Tom Delay's best friend...," is going to have a serious run for his money in TX-CD21.

We've hired a campaign director and volunteer coordinator from Democracy for Texas, and will soon be launching the "Team Courage" campaign. We want our volunteers to know how important they are, what a critical role they will play and how this is a campaign for the people, which can only succeed with teamwork.

Today as the DFA Grassroots All-Star I am asking for your help. I was recently selected as one of 11 Congressional candidates who are up against Republican incumbents by the Progressive Patriots Fund (Senator Russ Feingold's PAC) for the "Progressive Patriot Award." The winner will receive $5,000 as well as national name recognition, which is something we need in order to receive national assistance.

This is a winnable race against Lamar Smith, and every little bit helps. I was completely honored to be named the DFA Grassroots All-Star, and if I were to be the Progressive Patriot as well, both would really compliment each other.

It will only take a minute to vote by clicking here:

...and will go a long way for Team Courage in our campaign to defeat Lamar Smith.

Thank you much,

John Courage

Categories: Blogs

December 6, 2005


Jeeni Criscenzo joins us to share her story of Thanksgiving from California.

On the day after Thanksgiving, on a picture perfect day in Carlsbad, CA, in a quiet, non-violent expression of opposition to a senseless war that is ravaging our sons and daughters, our future, and the people of Iraq, the silence was deafening! The words most often spoken at our Thanksgiving memorial for our troops on Friday were, "Thank you".

I know that I said it hundreds of times as I walked nearly 1 1/2 miles to personally thank over 900 participants standing in silence along Carlsbad Blvd. I was grateful that each of you had chosen to give part of your precious day off to show gratitude to our fallen troops and to urge our government to bring their buddies home. I am moved by how many people responded by thanking me for putting the event together. As their words and what their eyes said as they spoke them, echo in my heart, I fully comprehend the responsibility that comes with my decision to run for Congress.

Only six months ago, I too was praying for someone to stand up against the tide of greed and lies that has overtaken our government. I am reminded of a volunteer appreciation breakfast I attended in Tampa almost two years ago. It was the day after the Florida primaries and we had failed to get enough votes to garner delegates for Dennis Kucinich. I was heartbroken, and asked Congressman Kucinich, "What do we do now?"

He replied, "This isn't about me. You haven't been working for me. You've been working for all of us. Don't stop."

It was at that moment that I realized that we must all take personal responsibility for the world that we live in. We can't ask, "Where are the leaders these times demand?" We must, each of us, in whatever way we can, be the leaders we want.

On Friday, when over 900 people stood with me to say, "Bring their buddies home," each person was participating in the freedom those troops we were honoring had signed up to defend. For many, this was the first time they had done something like this. For most, it will not be the last. The times demand that we, the people, become the government we want. Nothing else we do matters more. We can't leave this task to someone else.

To my incredible volunteers who worked so hard to organize this event, to everyone who wanted to join us, but couldn't make it, and to all of you who stood with me on Friday, I give you my heartfelt gratitude. With your help, we will continue to work toward our dream of America!

In peace,

Categories: Blogs

Looks like David Brooks [no relation] just threw the best bat mitzvah ever [emphasis added]:

History will forever record Elizabeth Brooks' bat mitzvah as "Mitzvahpalooza."

For his daughter's coming-of-age celebration last weekend, multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks booked two floors of the Rainbow Room, hauled in concert-ready equipment, built a stage, installed special carpeting, outfitted the space with Jumbotrons and arranged command performances by everyone from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Aerosmith.

I hear it was garish display of rock ’n' roll idol worship for which the famously irascible CEO of DHB Industries, a Westbury-based manufacturer of bulletproof vests, sent his company jet to retrieve Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from their Saturday gig in Pittsburgh.

I'm also told that in honor of Aerosmith (and the $2 million fee I hear he paid for their appearance), the 50-year-old Brooks changed from a black-leather, metal-studded suit — accessorized with biker-chic necklace chains and diamonds from Chrome Hearts jewelers — into a hot-pink suede version of the same lovely outfit.

The party cost an estimated $10 million, including the price of corporate jets to ferry the performers to and from. Also on the bill were The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh performing with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks; DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiance); rap diva Ciara and, sadly perhaps (except that he received an estimated $250,000 for the job), Kenny G blowing on his soprano sax as more than 300 guests strolled and chatted into their pre-dinner cocktails.

"Hey, that guy looks like Kenny G," a disbelieving grownup was overheard remarking — though the 150 kids in attendance seemed more impressed by their $1,000 gift bags, complete with digital cameras and the latest video iPod.

Bulletproof-vest making: nice work, if you can get it. Now, for those who couldn't get the Army to provide a vest — lucrative as they are to make — life looks different [emphasis added]:

Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.

Soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won’t provide. One U.S. senator said ... he will try again to force the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement law it opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said he will offer amendments to the defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress, to take the funding issue out of the hands of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and give control to military unit commanders in the field.

Good for Senator Dodd, and shame on any senator not standing behind him. But the larger picture here — a defense contractor the dough to all but send his kids on a Kilimanjaro safari, complete with a few hundred guests, while parents of our boys and girls in Iraq still have to scrape up change to buy their kids' body armor — is totally screwed up.

To take a moment for us here: really, folks, this looks ridiculous. Pardon our French, but for our troops' sake, when in the h––– will this administration get its act together? Wait — don't answer that ...

Categories: Blogs

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

"What is important to Latinos?" I get asked this question quite frequently, as if the answer that is expected is supposed to be some miraculous revelation of the inner workings of the Hispanic-American mind. Well, please don't be disappointed. The answer is really quite simple: Latinos/Hispanics care about the same things that you do. We are not a monolithic bloc of voters marching in lock-step to a common set of moral or ethical or social values. We are, instead, a diverse group with widely differing opinions about what's important to us, our families and our nation. This does not mean that there is no "Progressive" set of opinions, or regressive ones. There are. But it does mean that the Latino/Hispanic culture is a rich tapestry of opinion, experiences, and life.

We believe in families. Families are at the cornerstone of our culture and society.

We believe in education for our children. Hispanics living in the USA share the great American dream of seeing our children getting a better educations than we did, advancing further than we did. The issue of education for Hispanics is no longer simply the issue of affordable primary education – it is about affordable secondary and graduate education.

We care for our seniors. They live with us when they can. We want what's best for them and they are an integral part of our lives. Intergenerational linkage is a key component of our culture.

We want affordable health insurance and value a woman's right to choose her own healthcare. A growing number of women, while valuing family and children, are opting for smaller families in recognition of the economic and social realities of our time.

We are opposed to the war in Iraq. While we are not afraid to fight to defend America, we expect honesty from our leaders and believe in the fight for justice and moral values, not for oil or political greed. We are defenders, not marauders. We have paid the price for being Americans, by taking on the greatest sacrifice, the taking and giving of life in war. Hispanics have shouldered a great share of the burden of this war, and we want a voice in bringing it to an end.

We care about the judicial system, seeing it as the cornerstone of our civil society, and are deeply concerned about potential judicial activism in the areas of civil rights, immigration and entitlements. We are troubled by what we see as a backlash against Hispanics around the country, a trend that is seemingly bolstered by the Courts. Many of us are against the nomination of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court for these reasons.

Most importantly, we want to be respected as valuable members of American society, as contributing members to our American dream. What's important to Latinos? Being Americans and being treated equally and with fairness by other Americans who may have just happened to have beat us to America's shores by a hundred or two hundred years. We are no different from you (unless you are a Native American, as many of us in the western United States are, having been driven from our ancestral lands in California, Nre Mexico, Arizona and Texas by America's westward expansion, in which case we share that as well).

This post marks the beginning of a series of weekly posts by members of Latinos for America to discuss issues that are important to us. You will see, as you read from week to week, that we don't all necessarily agree with each other or with every position each of us takes. We do, however, strive to respect each other's right to have and to express our opinions. This is what it means to us to be Americans. This is what it means to us to be participating members of our society. This is what it means to us to be members of the progressive movement.

—Ralph Miller

Categories: Blogs

Ted Nixon was a DFA-List candidate for County Legislature in Rochester, NY.

When I was chosen as a member of the DFA-List, I was excited and honored. What I didn't realize at the time was how much help DFA was going to provide me in my run for the Monroe County Legislature. They provided generous financial support, but it was the man and woman power of the five people they sent to upstate New York the weekend before the election that was really impressive. The five volunteers (all staff from DFA headquarters) drove out on Friday from Burlington, arrived just before 6:00pm and went right to work. They didn't slow down until they left on Sunday.

I was fighting an uphill battle against a 9-year veteran county legislator. He was the majority leader and had the full backing of the State Republican Committee. Republicans have a 45-30% registration advantage in my district, yet, with the help of the DFA- Five making phone calls, going door-to-door and doing lit drops, I garnered 45.4% of the vote. I am a first-time candidate, inspired by Governor Dean, and I almost won. I'll have another shot in two years, my opponenet is term-limited, and I am hoping that I'll be standing next to my friends from DFA.

—Ted Nixon
DFA Rochester (NY)

Categories: Blogs

December 5, 2005


Congratulations on breaking our bat to beat Tom DeLay! With a last-minute push via email and blogs (Thanks, Teresa!) the bat has been filled!

People from all walks of life have contributed to this week's bat; there were many familiar names and (excitingly) many more who are unfamiliar. The list included architects and doctors, students and teachers, a starving writer and even a "domestic goddess" (would you like to come to my house?).

Some gave hundreds of dollars, and some gave just the few that they could spare—every single dollar makes a difference in our support for candidates, and each one made our goal that much closer.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed. And thanks also to those who support DFA in other ways. Our goal is to offer support for progressive candidates to help create 29 new leaders to take on the corruption that has infested the Republican Party. Now that the bat is broken, don't forget to recommend a candidate for the 2006 DFA-List. Are you in?

Categories: Blogs

"Congressman Tom DeLay has been an exceptional leader on Capitol Hill and Vice President Cheney looks forward to helping his re-election effort."

Think about that. Tonight Dick Cheney goes to a ritzy district in Houston to host a fundraiser for Tom DeLay—in spite of DeLay's felony indictment in a Texas court. Regardless of our disgust at the wave of indictments, investigations and resignations among Republicans in the last few months, for DeLay and Cheney it's business as usual.

And what a business it is. According to the Houston Chronicle, "for $4,200, a donor gets an invitation to a VIP reception, a photograph with Cheney, and recognition at the event. For $2,100, attendees can rub elbows at a 'congressional reception' and have their photo taken with DeLay."

DeLay and Cheney make it clear that money is the only language they know. So it's time for us—working together—to raise their cost of doing business. DeLay and Cheney use money to maintain their corrupt hammerlock on Washington, so to beat them we have to match them candidate for candidate.

When we brought the bat back last week, you responded overwhelmingly, raising over $20,000 in a day. But we're not done.

DeLay has funded 29 candidates for Congress this year. Once we raise $34,800, we can tell DeLay and Cheney just how we feel about that—to the tune of $1,200 each for 29 progressive candidates of our own. Make it happen:

Is this a momentary lapse in Cheney's judgment? Not a chance. Right now, his ex-chief of staff faces spending the rest of his life in jail on perjury charges. So Cheney riding to the rescue of Tom DeLay arrives as no surprise. The two are peas in the same, ethically challenged pod.

His mission to support a man under indictment sends a message that top Republicans don't care about the law. They only care about power, and about the money that makes their hold on power possible.

But guess what? We have power in numbers. By coming together we can break their hold on power, and give this country the ethical, progressive leadership it deserves.

So let's get started. Swing the bat:

Thank you,
Tom Hughes
Democracy for America

Categories: Blogs

Four award-winning photojournalists show the world truths (up close and personal) about the war in Iraq. Working independently, they have run the risks and spent the time it takes to build rapport with Iraqi civilians and insurgents alike, and their lenses report with a depth and eloquence uncommon in the chaotic, fast-paced environment of war.

In contrast to the sound-bite depth of most news coverage from Iraq and the limited reports of its embedded reporters, Unembedded offers a nuanced perspective. This is not the view from the top of a tank or the backseat of a Humvee. These images document issues often underreported by mainstream media: the insurgency as seen from inside the separate resistance movements, civilians affected by the violent battles between the U.S. and insurgent forces, growing conservatism and fundamentalism and their effects on women, and the devastating effects of civilian casualties.

These photographers take viewers with them as they go where few dare, crossing front lines and cultural barriers, "unembedded" into the lives of a nation in crisis.

Join Kael Alford, Thorne Anderson and Rita Leistner for a live discussion about their incredible work in Iraq.

Images from Kael Alford:

Images from Rita Leistner:

2004-08-06-Sadr City, Iraq - Supporters of Muktada al-Sadr take to the streets of Baghdad. Clashes in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City between Medhi Army supporters of radical cleric Moktada Al-Sadr and American and Iraqi Army forces following August 5th end of ceasefire brought on after American forces surrounded Moktada Al-Sadr's compound in Najef. Both sides blame the other for breaking the ceasefire agreement.

2004/04/15 - Baghdad, Iraq – Patients at Baghdad's Rashad Psychiatric Hospital had few activities to occupy them. One was watching television, which included the Coalition Provisional Authority's daily live broadcasts and updates to the press. On this day, General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was fielding questions on how he proposed to address the rising insurgency, especially Muktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Myers underplayed the threat of the insurgents. A few months later, the hospital grounds would shake from nearby bombs, and mortars would land in its courtyard as Coalition Forces fought the Mahdi Army right outside the Hospital gates.

Categories: Blogs

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

We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men... —Edward R. Murrow, "See It Now"

Last weekend I finally caught Goodnight, and Good Luck before it left the big screen. We left wondering who the Edward R. Murrow of our generation was. We had more success making a go of who it isn't.

Looking for someone to drop-kick you "by fear into an age of unreason"? Hard to do better than Bill O'Reilly. The perfect anti-Murrow inexplicably was invited last week by the Today Show to give "commentary" on President Bush's Iraq speech. We'll let RR uber letter writer Ben Burrows (PA) stand in for Murrow... sarcasm on-the-house:

I am at a loss to explain the presence of Fox News infra-pundit Bill O'Reilly as an objective interpreter of Bush Iraq policy. That he was unaccompanied by the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad, or contortionist yoga by Jack Abramoff, was also disappointing. Let me know when you get Muktada al Sadr or Ibrahim al-Jaafar as an appropriately balanced alternative source, too. I am sure Katie Couric's witty repartee will draw him out of his shell, though I can't imagine what she would wear to the interview that would ever be considered "appropriate dress."

Murrow surely couldn't have fathomed an O'Reilly when he said "[i]t is not necessary to remind you that the fact that your voice is amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other does not confer upon you greater wisdom or understanding than you possessed when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other."

Murrow saw a battle "to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference" in which television could be a tool, but "only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box."

Just when it's looking like ignorance and intolerance are gaining on us, enter the "American public" who Murrow felt "is more reasonable, restrained and more mature than most of our industry's program planners believe." Murrow could have meant Pennsylvania RR coordinator Stephen Rozov who wrote O'Reilly last week after learning he made an enemies list of media outlets that supposedly traffic in "defamation" (pot, kettle):

Dear Mr. O'Riley,

I understand that you are compiling an enemies list. Please include my name on your list.


Stephen Rozov

PS: Merry Christmas

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

Categories: Blogs

December 4, 2005


Roger Lund is the vice-chair of the Gettysburg Area Democracy for America group.

Luke Norris, 20, was one of 32 Americans awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and one of 85 world-wide. Beginning in the fall of 2006, he will study at Oxford University in England.

Luke is the chair of Gettysburg College DFA which served as host for the PA For Democracy DFA conference in September—he was on the steering committee for the event.

Luke will be doing research on how international relations have changed now that "non-state actors," such as terrorists, figure in the relations between nations.

"I'm particularly interested in the changing structure of the international system, post-Cold War," said Norris. He also wants to study "Democracy Peace Theory," which is based on the premise that democracies tend to form economic bonds with other democracies, which raises the costs of war. Norris believes, "Democracies are accountable to the people, so they're less likely to invade and pillage other (democracies)."

Luke has done volunteer work in orphanages in Argentina as well as working with people with AIDS in New York City. "It's my passion—social justice, that is," said Norris.

Luke will spend 2 years in Oxford working on his masters degree in International Relations. This is the first Rhodes Scholarship to be awarded to a Gettysburg College student since 1917.

We are proud to know Luke and wish him the best. "Luke Norris" will be a name to look out for in the decades ahead.

—Roger Lund

Categories: Blogs

The president faces growing doubts about his leadership, or lack thereof — and in the New York Times, a reporter documents the breakdown in support for the White House one voter at a time:

Leesa Martin never considered President Bush a great leader, but she voted for him a year ago because she admired how he handled the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Then came the past summer, when the death toll from the war in Iraq hit this state particularly hard: 16 marines from the same battalion killed in one week. She thought the federal government should have acted faster to help after Hurricane Katrina. She was baffled by the president's nomination of Harriet E. Miers, a woman she considered unqualified for the Supreme Court, and disappointed when he did not nominate another woman after Ms. Miers withdrew.

And she remains unsettled by questions about whether the White House leaked the name of a C.I.A. agent whose husband had accused the president of misleading the country about the intelligence that led to the war.

"I don't know if it's any one thing as much as it is everything," said Ms. Martin, 49, eating lunch at the North Market, on the edge of downtown Columbus [Ohio]. "It's kind of snowballed."

Her concerns were echoed in more than 75 interviews here and across the country this week, helping to explain the slide in the president's approval and trustworthiness ratings in recent polls.

... Several of those interviewed said that in the last year they had come to believe that Mr. Bush had not been fully honest about the intelligence that led to the war, which he said showed solid evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

"I think people put their faith in Bush, hoping he would do the right thing," said Stacey Rosen, 38, a stay-at-home mother in Boca Raton, Fla., who said she voted for Mr. Bush but was "totally disappointed" in him now. "Everybody cannot believe that there hasn't been one shred of evidence of W.M.D. I think it goes to show how they tell us what they want to tell us."

Quite right, Mrs. Rosen — and for what it's worth, we can't believe it either.

Categories: Blogs

This Week (ABC) - George Stephanopoulos sits down with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Rep. John Murtha, (D-PA). Plus, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gives a firsthand look at what some are calling a forgotten city.

Face the Nation (CBS) - Topic: The War in Iraq; Politics with Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Foreign Relations Committee

Meet the Press (NBC) - With less than two weeks until the Iraqi elections, the debate over U.S. involvement in the region has intensified. How long should American troops stay in Iraq? What progress is being made in training the Iraqi forces? MTP will ask key member of the Armed Services Committee and Vietnam veteran Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Then, more than four years have passed since the September 11th attacks. What have we learned? Are we more prepared than we were in 2001? We will ask the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, former Gov. Tom Kean (R-NJ) and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) in an exclusive, joint interview on this Sunday's "Meet the Press with Tim Russert." The chairmen will preview their final status report on terrorism & U.S. preparedness, "The 9/11 Commission Report: The Unfinished Agenda."

Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Guests include: Katty Kay of the BBC, David Gregory of NBC News, Elizabeth Bumiller from the New York Times, amd Andrew Sullivan from New Republic and Time Magazine. Topics include: THE PRESIDENTS DIGS IN HIS HEELS ON THE WAR. CAN HE THWART THE MOVEMENT TO WITHDRAW U.S. TROOPS? IS THE PRESIDENT SUFFERING FROM LBJ-STYLE ISOLATION? IS HE CUT OFF FROM THE COUNTRY?

Fox News Sunday (Fox News) - Speaking to an audience of students and faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Bush stressed that Iraq is the terrorists' "central front in their war against humanity" and said U.S. forces can come home once Iraqis can defend themselves and once an effective government is installed. But the president's speech did not stem the criticism by Democrats that the Bush administration does not recognize that Iraqis want U.S. troops out of Iraq.

"When 80 percent of the people say we want America to withdraw and when 45 percent of the people in the country we're fighting for believe it's OK to kill Americans to help us get there, the president is not dealing with a certain kind of reality that's important to the lives of our troops," said Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA)Mass.Is the president's strategy for victory in Iraq a winning formula or nothing more than a glossy version of the status quo? We'll get a fair and balanced debate from National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-CA).

Late Edition (CNN) - Wolf Blitzer will dissect the president's strategy for victory in Iraq, timetable for U.S. troops to come home, and a check up on the war on terror. Guests include: Stephen Hadley, National security adviser; Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-IN); chairman, Foreign Relations Committee Indiana; Sen. Joseph Biden, (D-DE), Foreign Relations Committee; Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi foreign minister.

60 Minutes (CBS) - CHASING THE FLU – Steve Kroft tracks the bird flu authorities fear could change into a human pandemic in which millions could die. MS-13 – Now in 33 states and in four other countries, the MS-13 gang is dangerous enough for the FBI to create a task force to combat it. Dan Rather reports. HOWARD STERN – In a rare interview, the controversial radio jock talks about his personal life and his new business venture in satellite radio. Ed Bradley reports. SWIMMING WITH SHARKS – The rising business of shark tourism, in which people are brought into close contact with them, is making the sharks more used to people and therefore more dangerous to surfers and swimmers, say critics. Bob Simon reports.

Categories: Blogs

December 3, 2005


I've been home for fifteen days in post-Katrina New Orleans. And a single one of the many sites, sounds, smells should be enough to break one's heart. The scenes I've seen and stories I've heard are horrific.

But, strangest and scariest of all is the new attitude the city holds—a distinct perspective on life that isn't normal.

Here are some situations that my fellow New Orleanians (the few that have returned) have faced or described with some degree of flippancy.

  • Two hour lines in the grocery store

  • Eight hours in the post office

  • No mail for three months

  • Paper plates and folks at fancy restaurants (it's great that the restaurants are finally open)

  • Leaving Orelans parish and sometimes the greater New Orleans area if you actually want something quickly

  • Waiting in a driveway for forty-five minutes while a truck (finally) picks up some (but not all) the garbage in the median

  • Being stuck behind a garbage truck for an hour and instead of cursing the truck driver out, thanking him and his crew profusely

  • Holding onto moldy, flooded furniture in case FEMA arrives

  • Taking out anger on Michael Brown by scrawling "This stinks just like Brown" on a discarded, smelly refrigerator.

  • Responding to an unhelpful insurance adjuster by creating a hit list (painted on plywood)

  • Introducing a house guest as someone who swam out of her house.

  • "My family has no place to stay after December 16th" (from a tenth grader)

  • The downstairs flooded—we're staying upstairs

  • Commonly heard in the street: "We only had wind damage—no big deal."

    This is the new norm—they come from those who were "spared" most of Katrina's wrath. The worst is impossible to put down in words.

    The capacity for humans to adjust amazes me. But I do not want my city to adjust to its current state—a state that makes any area in the developing world look advanced. We need help and lots of it. Please, ask Congress for us.

Categories: Blogs

December 2, 2005


Michael Kinsley said it best in his op-ed column on Friday:

It used to be said that the moral arc of a Washington career could be divided into four parts: idealism, pragmatism, ambition and corruption. You arrive with a passion for a cause, determined to challenge the system. Then you learn to work for your cause within the system. Then rising in the system becomes your cause. Then, finally, you exploit the system—your connections in it, and your understanding of it—for personal profit. And it remains true, sort of, but faster... There is no better example of this "career path” than former House majority leader Tom least the last two parts: ambition and corruption.

Yet another example from The Washington Post:

Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.

So let’s get this straight, Tom DeLay and his allies intensively pushed to redraw the congressional boundaries in Texas to strengthen the GOP control of the U.S. House. He’s been indicted on state felony counts for illegally funneling corporate money into state elections; and he’s one of the most powerful politicians in the Republican Party, even after his indictments.

It seems pretty clear that the Republicans have no intention of putting an end to this culture of corruption, which means we must take the matter into our own hands. Hit the bat today and help us take our country back by electing responsible leaders to office in 2006!

Categories: Blogs

Building for a Progressive Future

This upcoming cover story in The Nation, which profiles the wealth of progressive organizing going on across the country:

"Infrastructure" is a word so resolutely unsexy it makes "think tank" sound erotic. These days, though, you can't get five minutes into a conversation with a strategist, activist or donor without the word cropping up. Since the infrastructure last year was built, like a refugee camp, for a short-term purpose, you might think that a year later the camp has been struck, with the equipment rolled up and stored away for the next election. That's partly true--America Coming Together announced this past summer that it could raise only enough money to continue as a skeletal research organization, and dozens of the grassroots groups founded last year have folded as well.

But it's striking just how much has carried over. Democracy for America meetings in cities from Austin to Cincinnati draw hundreds, and there are small, informal progressive groups meeting at this moment in some of the most conservative counties in the country. None of this existed just three years ago. Dozens if not hundreds of activists who worked on last year's election are now running for local office, and the big institutional players like the labor and environmental movements continue to build power through grassroots organizing. "It wasn't a blip," says Robert Kraig, political director of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Wisconsin. "It was part of something that's seriously going on, on the left."

Jury of Your Peers?

President Bush has been called up for jury duty in Texas—he has been scheduled to appear on Monday; however, he has asked for the date to be resheduled. It looks likely that Bush will complete his duties, in an attempt to repair his crumbling public image. "I love it," said Robert Hirschhorn, a Texas-based jury consultant. "I think he should show up. It would show that no American should ever shirk their duty or responsibility to serve on a jury, even a president."

Ten Marines Killed in Falluja

The U.S. military announced today that ten U.S. Marines conducting a foot patrol outside the Iraqi city of Falluja were killed in the explosion of a homemade roadside bomb yesterday. Eleven other soldiers were also wounded in the insurgent attack.

Categories: Blogs

Hi everyone!

I wanted to start off with a big THANK YOU for everyone who has hit the bat in the last 24 hours. When I first heard about our vice president going to a fundraiser for Tom Delay... I was outraged. Let's show everyone that we can match Delay's giving, but we don't need to match his corruption or his ties to Cheney...

If you haven't hit the bat yet.. it's not too late. I just contributed about an hour ago (and it was fun!).

I'd be happy to answer any questions about DFA's fundraising, or more general questions about DFA or my experience here.

I started at the Dean Campaign as a volunteer in July of 2003. Soonafter, I moved to a staff position as front office manager, as the lead receptionist and supervising a fantastic group of 50 volunteers who answered the phones (8 at a time). I was part of the transition team to DFA2; and last year was Gov. Dean and Tom McMahon's assistant, and later, did Gov. Dean's and the campaign staff scheduling for the DNC Chair race.

Dina Wolkoff
DFA Finance Director

Categories: Blogs

Jeremy Bird is the Field Director for

Cozy Relationships with DeLay, Cheney & the Bush Administration lead to morally bankrupt business practices

Tom Hughes' email yesterday was right on the money: "Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney need to hear that we're sick of their corrupt and shameless" policies and actions. I agree. But, it isn't just limited to corrupt politicians. We also need to hold accountable the morally corrupt businesses, like Wal-Mart, who benefit and contribute to this corruption.

Here are a few examples of Wal-Mart and right-wing Republican ties:
1. Wal-Mart and Tom DeLay. Nearly 80 % of Wal-Mart's PAC money goes to Republican candidates, most shockingly Tom DeLay... after he was indicted. That's right. Wal-Mart actually gave Tom Delay money—a $5,000 contribution—two days after he was indicted. This was not the first time the company donated to DeLay and it won't be the last time it gives money to corrupt politicians. (You can sign on to our DeLay petition here:

2. Wal-Mart and Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney refers to Wal-Mart as one of his favorite companies, saying that Wal-Mart "exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country." Coming from Dick and Halliburton, nothing more needs to be said.

3. Wal-Mart and George Bush. Just weeks ago, Bush's Department of Labor revealed a shocking fact. Wal-Mart actually helped write its own sweetheart deal for repeatedly breaking child labor laws. Yes, Wal-Mart lawyers actually wrote part of the settlement that gave the company a slap on the wrist for breaking child labor laws in the United States in 2005.

Why would the Bush Administration allow this to happen? These facts make it clear:

  • Wal-Mart's PAC gave a higher proportion of its donations to Republicans than any of the top 25 corporate PACs during the two years preceding July 2004.
  • Wal-Mart's top three managers donated the individual max to President Bush.
  • Nearly 80% of Wal-Mart political action committee contributions go to Republicans (Political Money Line, 1/05).

    Corruption in Washington is a complex web where corporations fund corrupt politicians who in turn allow corporations to break the law with little recourse. Wal-Mart is fast becoming the poster child for this cycle of moral and political corruption. View's shocking ad about this culture of corruption. And, please sign on to our DeLay petition.

    So, while Tom, Dick and Wal-Mart toast at their surf-and-turf dinners, let's listen to Mr. Hughes and utilize our largest asset: thousand of people who are willing to stand up to multi-billion dollar corporations and their special interest lobbyists.

    It's been a pleasure working with DFA activists on the ground, and we hope to continue to do so as we fight against this culture of corruption, greed and irresponsibility.

    —Jeremy Bird

Categories: Blogs