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March 9, 2006
The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) is holding an online chat with their Executive Director, John Lapp, tomorrow morning. He'll be taking questions about the upcoming primary season, so if you just happen to have anything you need to get off your chest about the DCCC, here's the place to do it:
What: Online Chat with DCCC Executive Director John Lapp
You can start submitting your questions at that url now, or drop by and ask while the chat is in progress.
"Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship, DP World has decided to transfer fully the U.S. operation of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity," DP World's chief operating officer, Edward H. Bilkey, said in the statement that Warner relayed to other senators.
The move came as the White House, facing a Republican rebellion in Congress, played down President Bush's veto threat and said he was trying to find a compromise to resolve the uproar over the Dubai-owned company's plan to take over significant operations at several U.S. sea ports.
In addition to the security concerns over U.S. port control, it's amusing to hear that President Bush was surprised by the citizen uproar over handing control of U.S. ports over to a state-owned Arab company. Why, we ask, should the president be surprised?It was Bush, after all, who detained hundreds of Arab Americans, spied on thousands more and initiated a pre-emptive attack on Iraq under a maxim that nothing was more urgent to the nationor his presidencythan the fight against terror.
It's as if Americans were somehow systematically coached to be categorically afraid of Middle Easterners, regardless of their historical alliances with our country, prior goodwill or current intentions.
Gee... I wonder how that happened. *Ahem.*
We've added several new features and enhancements to DFA-Link this weekchanges that will improve how you communicate through DFA-Link:
1) Email Personalization - Organizers can now personalize emails sent to a group by using special variables in the messages. It's great for addressing your members by their first name, or adding a personalized city to the message.
2) Support for Microsoft Word formatting - You can now copy and paste text from Microsoft Word without worrying about those ugly special characters that used to appear in your emails!
3) More transparent links - Previously, in DFA-Link blogs, a hyperlink was simply displayed with the word "Link". Now, the first 24 characters of the URL are displayed.
4) Automatic Previews - Before sending group emails (or making group blog posts), you are automatically given an opportunity to preview before hitting the submit button.
5) Instant Email Sends - In the past, organizers of larger groups have experienced a delay when sending emails to all members of a group. Now, DFA-Link sends emails in the background while you continue browsing the site.
We'll be adding more improvements over the next week. Check the Organizers' blog for updates as they come:
We also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has joined DFA-Link so far. Last week, we reached member number 15,000it feels great to know that there are so many committed activists ready to use our online tools to make offline action possible. Haven't joined us yet? Come on in and kick-start the membership drive toward 20,000!
As always, you can send suggestions and bugs to [email protected].
March 8, 2006
Governor Dean voted yesterday in Burlington, VT's local elections. The ballot was a mix of issues and candidates, with Burlington's Mayoral race taking center stage. We caught up with Governor Dean at his voting station where he cast his ballot.
IRV allows voters to choose multiple candidates on the ballot and rank them according to their preference. The first candidate to break 50% wins, otherwise the candidate with the lowest vote total is eliminated and the second choice vote on their ballots is added to the total vote count for the remaining candidates. By elimination, a winner is eventually declared. IRV has many proponents because it allows for a third party to enter the election without facing either party declaring them a "spoiler".
Progressive Bob Kiss won Burlington's mayoral slot:When the final results were announced, Progressives stood and cheered loudly. Kiss is the first pure Progressive to be elected mayor in several terms.
My name is Matt Kerbel, and I'm the editor of Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win. The book brings together fourteen leading progressive voices from the netroots and inside the Beltway for an integrated discussion of what progressives need to do to become the primary political force in the United States.
Over the course of the coming weeks, many of the book's contributors will take turns live blogging. I'll start things off tonight.
My chapter is called "Blueprint for a Progressive Era," and it ties together a wide number of ideas expressed by the other contributors around a plan for action. I contend that we are at a moment in history when Americans are receptive to progressive governance. I believed this was the case when I wrote the first draft of the chapter last summer, and since then the historically low approval ratings of the president and Congress have offered the most compelling evidence yet of how hungry the public is for a different direction. But, for as long as I can remember, the Democratic Party has played public opinion for a 50%+1 electoral marginand we know how that's turned out.
If we're at a moment in history when the country is open to something new, we need to think in transformational terms. This means articulating a progressive agenda in language people can embrace and taking on the elements of the status quo that prefer transactional politics. Battles such as this have been fought and won in American history, but only when the parties become unresponsive to critical problems and unable to process the demands of their rank and file. I believe we are in such a period now.
As I was shaping the book, I was continually amazed at how much agreement there is between insiders and outsiders. Still, as we know, there is work to do. In particular, party elites and grassroots supporters together need to:
Live Blog with Matt Kerbel Tonight
Join Matt Kerbel, author of Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win for a live blog discussion on Blog for America at 9:00pm EST tonight. Kerbel will discuss what progressives need to do to become a primary political force in the United States. In the coming weeks, many of the book's contributors will take turns live blogging to discuss their ideas and strategies with the BFA community.
Today, President Bush made his first visit to the Gulf coast since the release of reports criticizing the government's response to Hurricane Katrina and the AP's release of videos showing the president being warned about the levees breaching before the hurricane hit. Speaking in front of the broken levees, President Bush urged for Congress to pass a $4.2 billion housing plan initiative to help the Louisiana residents who lost their homes to the storm.
Special Operations Teams Being Set Up in Embassies
According to officials from the U.S. military unit in charge of counterterrorism campaigns, the U.S. will put small teams of special operation troops in U.S. embassies to support the global war on terror. These special operations troops, which do not operate undercover, have had a presence for at least two years already. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Steve Mavica, a spokesman for Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., said "the teams 'play a key role' in coordination and planning in connection with security efforts and counterterrorism."
If you are looking at this DFA website, it is probably because you want to change the way politics is conducted in this country so that we can elect people who put the voters first; and elect people who understand that public service means something more than being able to give away taxpayer owned assets to the highest bidder. If you are reading this, you probably know that the effort to restore this kind of integrity to our political process is a long-term commitment, and that it will take some time to rid ourselves of this current culture of incumbency that has so dishonored our democratic institutions.
Yesterday, we were further reminded that this battle is not an easy one. As you know we supported Ciro Rodriguez's run for Congress in theTexas 28th congressional district because Ciro Rodriguez stands for American valuesa nation that must take care of our own, and a nation that must bring integrity back to Congress. Ciro was running against incumbent Democrat, Henry Cuellar who does not have these values. As of now, it appears that Henry Cuellar has won.
The Southern half of the country has been working diligently to find and support candidates to run for offices big and small. Some are proving successful in some recent local elections, and others are seriously considering which of the viable candidates to support for key races. The races for the 2006 election are just beginning to take shape, and nearly every Southern DFA group has held candidate forums to decide whom the groups will support. In addition to being keenly focused on candidates, many groups are focusing on different ways to accomplish their progressive political aims.
Election Reform: East Bay for Democracy and Oakland DFA had one of their largest meetings, with nearly a hundred people showing up to write letters to their senator to support California Clean Money Legislation. In addition, people are eagerly supporting campaigns to retake House seats in their districts, as well as Clean Money legislation leader Debra Bowen's campaign, says group organizer Eden James, "I haven't seen DFA folks this ready for action since the Dean campaign. What an amazing communityeach and every one of you!"
DFA Miami is making progress with their campaign for an informed electorate. Their group wrote a bill for the House(http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=33190) and Senate to provide an unbiased voter guide and sample ballot to every voter in Florida. Their bill would require that the state include text and summaries of Constitutional Amendments and initiatives that include potential financial impact of the bill. There is strong bipartisan support for the bills, and are currently getting Senators and Representatives to sign on as cosponsors. The group is hopeful that they will be successful this year in getting these bill passed, said group President Charles Chamberlain, "Its amazing that we have members on both sides of the political aisle that are so supportive (of the bills)... that makes me very hopeful for the Florida voters."
DFA Miami is also working towards verifiable elections by supporting legislation offered by Senator Rod Smith to mandate paper ballots. The Election Rescue Coalition is also working towards verifiable elections by bringing to light important information, supporting legislative efforts, and supporting candidates that support verifiable elections.
DFA Columbia is organizing its members to attend a Board of Health Hearing to discuss a smoke-free workplace ordinance being considered by the City Council. The group provided a list of talking points for their members to review so they would have some tools at the hearing. The group is hopeful that DFAers will come and support a healthy workplace by letting their city representatives know how much public support there is for restricting smoking from the workplace.
March 7, 2006
The early vote results from Webb County came in overwhelmingly for Cuellar. At this point, it looks likely that Cuellar will win the race outright, but results are still coming in and it probably won't be clear until the morning.
Win or lose though, we made a big difference in this race. We helped Ciro close the gap and put the race onto the national map. We'll have more information soon about what comes next, but first I wanted to say thank you again for everything. We should feel proud of everything we accomplished in the TX-28 and everything we're going to accomplish together in the months to come.
The results are continuing to come in. Turnout is up in Ciro's base in Bexar County. But he's still performing slightly worse than 2004 in other areas of the district. Right now, it looks like neither Ciro nor Cuellar will cross 50% and the race will go to a run-off, but Webb County (Cuellar's base) is still out so anything could happen...
Both Ciro's lawyers and representatives from the AFL-CIO are on the way to the courthouse in Webb County. I'll post later tonight when I hear more information.
You can see live results from the TX Secretary of State at here.
Also -- I'm heading back to Vermont tomorrow. But I wanted to say thank you to all the DFT, LFT, and SAAPAC folks that helped on the race. It's been great to meet so many amazing DFA members! Win or lose, we've made a big difference for Ciro's campaign and demonstrated the power of the DFA community!
Early results are starting to come in from the TX-28. The mood at Ciro's headquarters is optimistic and early vote totals from Bexar County look promising. But Ciro is down a little bit in other counties so it's likely to be a nailbiter. You can see the live results from the TX state website here and Bexar County here.
You can also see live results from Tom Delay's primary in the TX-22 here.
I'll provide updates from Ciro's headquarters in San Antonio throughout the night.
Nathan Gonzalez is the Political Director of Latinos for America. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.
A new generation of Latino leaders is emerging.
Confident. Educated. Optimistic.
Up from humble beginnings, this new generation of
Some of the older generation of Latinos equated
The new generation of leaders is not blinded by the
E-mail LFA-PAC today and nominate your candidate of
Our future is in our hands.
You may not live in the Texas-28 congressional district, but you are making a huge difference there.
With your help, our DFA-List candidate Ciro Rodriguez has closed the gap against Democrat-In-Name-Only ("DINO") Henry Cuellar from fifteen points in December to just five points in the most recent poll. Ciro now has a real chance to knock off Cuellar in today's primary - and you helped get the ball rolling.
But the bigger story is that this race shows the power of Democracy for America to change the complexion of a campaign. A few months ago this race was only a blip on the national radar. "Democrat" Henry Cuellar was cruising to re-election because Democratic voters in the TX-28 didn't know that he supported the Republican prescription drug debacle, voted for CAFTA, and has a horrible environmental record. At the end of 2005, Cuellar had raised four times as much as Rodriguez and had a quarter of a million dollar advantage in cash-on-hand.
Then you kicked in.
On February 10, Democracy for America endorsed Ciro Rodriguez and 1,200 DFA members contributed over $45,000. You took a chance on a candidate and a campaign that you may not have ever heard of. Largely thanks to you, Ciro had more cash-on-hand than Cuellar going into these final days of the race. And today DFA members in San Antonio are working with Ciro's campaign to organize one of the biggest Get-Out-The-Vote drives the district has ever seen.
It's going to be a race that comes down to the wire. But win or lose, you've made a big statement here: you have put Republicans in Democratic clothing on notice. By forcing a fight on the issues - and defining right from wrong - you have made the entire Democratic Party stronger.
If we can do that in Texas, we can do it anywhere. But not without your support:
Today is a big day for Democracy for America. And it's because of you. Thank you for all that you are doing to take our partyand our countryback.
P.S. If you have friends or family between San Antonio and Laredo, now is the time to call them and ask them to vote for Ciro Rodriguez. We'll let you know the results of the Texas-28 primary tomorrow.
March 6, 2006
Tomorrow, the City of Burlington will choose a new mayora momentous occasion, not because of who fills the seat, but due to the method of voting. Burlington's newest mayor will be chosen by instant runoff vote (IRV), which allows voters to rank candidates, and offers a more accurate picture of citizens' choices.
One interesting side-effect of IRV seems to be the civility it has created between opponents. "In some instances, the race is not only civil but sickly sweet with several candidates openly saying a fellow candidate is their number two choice."
The DFA community's own Jessica Falker commended the use of IRV in a recent letter to the editor in the Rutland Herald:IRV will be used in this March's Burlington mayoral election. Following that election, the state Legislature will review the results and decide if they will pass IRV as a statewide voting system. Naturally, people in power are reluctant to change the system that got them where they are. However, IRV is what will give the people of Vermont the opportunity they deserve, the opportunity to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice. Please encourage your representative and senators to pass IRV.
My name is Matt Kerbel, and I'm the editor of Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win. We're trying to do something creative and important with this book, and we'd like to invite you to be part of it by participating in a live blogging event on Blog for America each Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST in the coming weeks.
During the past year, there's been a lot of insightful discussion in the blogosphere about what progressives need to do in order to become the dominant political force in the United States. Several familiar themes run through that discussion, like defining what progressives stand for, figuring out the best language to use to frame the debate, devising good grassroots strategies for promoting progressive candidates and getting out the vote, and finding a way to get Washington Democrats to listen to grassroots progressives (or, alternatively, to get out of the way). Overarching this discussion is the question of how to turn words into actionsto move from advocating to actingand to do it now.
"Get This Party Started" addresses these themes in an integrated discussion of how progressives can move forward and win. It brings together a diverse and top-line group of Washington insiders and grassroots activists. In one place, you'll find Howard Dean issuing the call for those of us with progressive values to get to work; John Podesta proposing a progressive agenda in the context of a long, successful progressive tradition; George Lakoff discussing message framing; Anna Greenberg addressing gender issues; Jim Wallis and John Kenneth White talking about how to re-cast the values debate; and Amy Sullivan shouting, "Fire the Consultants!"
Each Wednesday in March at 9 p.m. EST, Blog for America will feature a live blogging event with one of the contributors to "Get This Party Started." This Wednesday, I'll discuss my chapter, "Blueprint for a Progressive Era," about how substance, message and strategy can work together to offer a viable progressive alternative that many voters are ready to embrace. On March 15, Chris Bowers of MyDD will discuss blogging for political change. On March 22, former chief Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet will talk about how progressives can learn to "speak American." On March 29, Zephyr Teachout will discuss her thoughts on the untapped potential of the Internet as a mobilization tool. In April, we're hoping to have Anna Greenberg talk about what has happened to the Gender Gap and John Kenneth White address values and politics.
The guiding assumption of "Get This Party Started" is that if we talk to each other instead of past each other, we can accelerate the progress we've already made. So, this book is a call to action as much as a blueprint for action. If we're going to be successful, we're going to need to talk it through and make it happen.
I hope to see you on Wednesday at 9.
I've been on the ground in San Antonio, Texas since Thursday afternoon working with DFA members to support Ciro Rodriguez this Tuesday. The race is extremely close and it's likely to come down to a couple hundred votes.
On DailyKos, chuco35 describes the early voting results in the district:
"Early voting is a good indicator of the total turn out because normally 65% of the voters in the Democratic primaries cast their vote early. In Webb County, the early vote totals were 2.5% below the early votes cast in the last cycle. The opposite is true in Bexar County, where there is an early vote increase of 7.3% from those cast in 2004. Laredo's decrease is especially noteworthy because its booming population growth allowed for a 4% increase in the number of registered voters for this election, versus the numbers registered in March of 2004."
The early vote totals show that Ciro is gaining momentum. But the election will come down to Bexar County in the end. If we increase turnout in Bexar County, we win the election. It's that simple.
The campaign is knocking on thousands doors across the county and Democracy for America members have played a big part.
This is a big race for DFA and the entire progressive movement. We have the momentum, but it's going to be close. Please help in any way you can by volunteering, contributing, or spreading the word to your friends during this final stretch.
Liz Herbert is the Editorial Director of the Rapid Response Network. The Rapid Response Network offers guest commentary at Democracy for America every Monday.
March 5, 2006
What other neat tricks can the LeftyBlogs feeds do? Well, you can add a free, state-based feed to your own local blog. It updates every 20 minutes, so you'll have the freshest content on your side of the Mississippi.
LeftyBlogs is "taking back America in all fifty states"and we like the sound of that.
Susan Keith of Georgia for Democracy organized a screening of TAKE IT BACKThe Movement for Democracy and Howard Dean last Sunday night in the Pushpush theater in Decatur, Atlanta, Georgia. An audience of about 75 people showed up to laugh, moan and cheer as the film progressed.
Heidi Draper was there to lead an extremely vibrant and varied discussion afterwards. Most people were outraged by all that Bush and his neo-cons have done and some sought solutions. It was decided that the next election in November was key to taking out country back, and that Democrats had to stick together to try to elect Progressives to represent the majority of Americans. Director Heidi Draper warned that what they saw happening to Howard Dean in the film , Take It Back, could happen again in the next election if we are not vigilant and aware.
Dean's "scream" speech was filmed by Heidi Draper from the back of the audience, directly in front of Dean, so you can see that Dean is barely audible above the roar of the crowd. That coupled with excerpts of the medias rendition of "the scream", leaves no doubt that the media did Dean in by fabricating the "Dean Scream".
This Week (ABC) - Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) stop by to talk about the U.S. port controversy. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark will give his take on Iraq and his 2008 presidential prospects. This week's roundtable will feature Robert Reich, Bill Sammon and George Will.
Face the Nation (CBS) - CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer will be speaking to Sen. Bill Frist, Majority Leader (R-TN), Sen. Barbara Boxer, Foreign Relations Committee (D-CA) and Elizabeth Bumiller of The New York Times.
Meet the Press (NBC) - This week on "Meet the Press," the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, will talk about the increased violence in Iraq as a potential precursor to civil war. Then, Democrat John Edwards and Republican Jack Kemp join forces to talk about the debate over American ports, Iraq and the state of U.S. politics.
Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Chris will be discussing the possibility of civil war in Iraq with Katty Kay from the BBC, Joe Klein from Time Magazine, Andrea Mitchell from NBC News and David Brooks of The New York Times and The Newshour.
Fox News Sunday (Fox News) - This week, Fox News Sunday will be talking to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, on the situation in Iraq. Plus, former FEMA Director Michael Brown will be on the program.
Late Edition (CNN) will feature Gen. James Jones: NATO Supreme Allied Commander, as well as Adnan Pachachi: Iraqi Parliament member, former Iraqi foreign minister.
60 Minutes (CBS) This week's 60 Minutes tells the story of a soldier convicted of assaulting and maiming an Afghan prisoner who died. This soldier says he was only doing what he was trained to do.
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