Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Shrine of the Lost Meatball

Son in Ohio and I were looking at the Flying Spaghetti Monster web site, after a discussion of the separation of church and state, prompted by my attempt to explain why we really don't want to see Ken Blackwell become governor. Anyway, I was reminding him that the FSM site, which he appreciates for the sheer absurdity, was created in response to the push to teach intelligent design in science classes. From there we found this fun walk-through tour of a Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster made out of Legos. He got quite a kick out of the Shrine of the Lost Meatball on page 2.

Following the walkway west, we come to a very special place - the Shrine of the Lost Meatball.

Perhaps you remember the hymn that was inspired by this Miracle -

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.

You, uh, probably know the rest. More strangeness here.

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Howard Dean at the Washington Democrats Crab Feed

By LHfromSeattle
Transcript of Air America's abbreviated broadcast on AM1090, Sat 2/25/06 8:15 am, of their recording of Gov. Howard Dean's speech at the Washington State Democrats Annual Crabfeed Fundraiser in Olympia, WA 02/20/2006. (Any errors are accepted as the responsibility of transcriber.)

Gov. Dean is introduced by Dwight Pelz, Chair of Washington State Democrats:
Like many of you, a couple of years ago, I heard Howard Dean. I'd never heard this man before. He was running for president of the United States. He inspired me: Howard Dean said "I want my country back." (Cheers) In 1960, John Kennedy asked "What can you do for your country?"

Then 20 years later, Ronald Reagan said "Are you better off?" The decline of greatness in our country had begun. In this last election, the President of the United States talked about an ownership society--which valued the haves over the have nots. I tell you, from 1964 to 1980 to 2004 something has gone terribly wrong in this country -- and I want my country back

The person with the intelligence and the integrity and the leadership to help us take our country back is Governor Howard Dean, the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Cheers, cheers, cheers. "Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard" from crowd.

Dean: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Wow. more cheers....

Thank you, thank you, thank you. My goodness. If only we'd started out in Washington state instead of Iowa, right? More cheers. Thank you.

Person in crowd: "2008!" More cheering.

Dean: This is great! My goodness.

Needless to say I'm delighted to be here and I appreciate the invitation. I particularly appeciate the fact that, once again, Washington state's going to be a key part in taking back America for the people who built it.

But there's a couple things we need to do this year.

First is to make sure that Maria Cantwell is reelected to the United States senate. Had it not been for Senator Cantwell, the right-wing -- led by the president of the United States -- would be drilling in Alaska right now. Maria Cantwell singlehandedly headed the effort to stop that from happening. We owe her a great deal of thanks.

The truth is the president claimed we are addicted to oil. He's right -- but his answer is 'more, more, more'. We can do better than that, and Senator Cantwell knows just how to do that. The fact is that Senator Cantwell the point person in the US Senate on energy independence.

The way the United States is going to develop more jobs, to fix all those things the Republicans have done wrong in the last 5 years, is to create a new industry. And that new industry is energy independence, so that we can have the construction jobs in order to retrofit American houses and businesses, and make them energy efficient. And we can have manufacturing jobs to produce equipment that's energy efficient -- for wind, solar and clean coal technology. We can do this, and Maria Cantwell right now is leading the fight in the US Senate to do that.

There is another reason we need Maria Cantwell. 793,000 people in this state do not have health insurance. The Democrats believe that every American ought to have health insurance , just like 36 other countries in the world -- and if you want, I'll name every one of them!

cheers Go Howard!

The final reason we need Maria Cantwell back in the US Senate is because only Democrats balance the budget. You can't trust Republicans with your money. Borrow and spend, borrow and spend, borrow and spend -- you can't trust the Republicans. Not once in 40 years have the Republicans balanced the budget in their presidencies. We can do better than that. And Maria Cantwell knows how to balance budgets.

We need Maria Cantwell as your Senator. Unlike her opponent, Maria Cantwell did not take a 20-million-dollar gold parachute when he was axing 3,000 people from their jobs. We can do better than that. Maria Cantwell will do better than that.

There's a wonderful young woman up here whose button I'm wearing -- named Darcy Burner. Darcy, where are you? Darcy Burner comes forward. The next Congresswomen from the state of Washington! Because she has a business background, so she knows how to balance budgets. Dave Reichert (opponent) voted for the biggest deficit in America -- you can't trust Republicans with your money.

Unlike Dave Reichert, Darcy Burner is not going to take $20 thousand from Tom Delay's special interest PAC. Unlike Dave Reichert, Darcy Burner will not vote 97% of the time with Tom Delay. We can do better than that. If you want somebody you can trust in government, Darcy Burner is the next Congresswoman from the State of Washington.

Because the Democratic party belives in open and honest goverment. We will restore integrity to the government of the United States of America.

There is a third thing that we need to do this year. And that is to prepare ourselves for the 2008 gubenatorial election. You are incredible lucky to have Christine Gregoire. While the national budget is hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit because of Republican leadership -- quote unquote -- you have a governor here, Christine Gregoire, who has a billion dollar surplus. And wouldn't let the Republicans give it away. She spent it on what people needed, in eastern Washington and western Washington: which is roads, and transportation, and job opportunities, and education. We are lucky to have Chris Gregoire as governor of the State of Washington. And she stood up for the civil rights of every single American when the Republicans wouldn't do it. We won't divide the Americans in this state; we won't divide those hard working Americans who serve our country in the military with dignity. Gay or straight, we will stand up for all Americans.

There's been a lot of talk -- mostly by nervous newspaper editors, and right-wing pundits, that Demcrats don't have a message. The Democrats don't have a message?

Well, I can tell you what our message is in 25 seconds. Got a pen or pencil or tape recorder? It is not enough to just criticize the president. We don't need to do that any more -- he's at 39% in the polls! People know he couldn't manage Katrina, can't manage the budget, can't manage Iraq, didn't tell the truth to us, again and again and again; managed to mess up everybody's drug benefits. We don't have to go through all that. The people already know that in this country.

But what they want to know is: What are we going to do? Here's what we're going to do:

1. We will restore honesty and integrity to the government of United States of America again.

2. We will stand up for America and have a strong national defense -- and that defense will depend on telling the truth to our citizens, our soldiers, and our allies before we commit American troops.

3. We want American jobs that will stay in America and that means a new industry: energy independence to create manufacturing jobs, and to create construction jobs and to modernize America and to get rid of our dependence on foreign oil.

4. We want a health care system, just like the health care systems in 36 other countries which do provide health coverage,to every single American. We can do that, and the Republicans won't.

5. We want a strong public education system so that we can have optimism and opportunity back in America again.

I think that's a prety good message. I think that's a pretty good platform to run on. And to run against Republicans on.

Now let's look at their record. They sent millions of jobs to other countries. They've run up the largest deficit in the history of America. Again, and again, and they all vote for it. (Crowd: booooo.) They nowhave the distinction of presiding over the largest number of uninsured Americans in the last 50 years. And now they have passed No Child Left Behind, which essentially puts the government in charge of your school systems and takes the money away from it. And frankly, by 2013 every public school in America will be classified as a failing school.

They have not told the truth about why our troops are in Iraq. They did not tell the truth about when they knew about the devastation of hurricane Katrina. They did not tell the truth about how much the Medicare part D was going to cost. They have not told the truth about the money -- and about how much time --Abramoff spend in the White House.

They have not told the truth. It is time for them to go. more cheers

We're not done yet! This is the fun part. We get to have some unbelieveable crab and salmon, and all these good things, and come in here, and hoot and holler and feel good about ourselves. This is not the hard work (Noise from crowd talking.)

Dean: That's because you left the bar open, Dwight.

Dwight Pelz: Absolutely.

Dean: This is not the hard work. You know what I need you to do? You've come here, and you've raised a record amount of money for the state party. And you know what else I need you to do? I need you to go home and talk to your friends who didn't vote the way we vote. I need you to talk to people who didn't agree with us. Because that's how we're going to win elections.

When I took over the chairmanship of this party, we were running presidental election campaigns in 20 states. You can't be a national party if you're not in all 50 states. Today we're in all 50 states applause

On our payroll in Washington state and Oregon, but also in Missisippi and Alabama and Utah and Alabama, we have organizers. Everywhere we're going to stand up for what it means to be a Democrat. I know we're not going to win in Misssissippi in the 2008 presidential race, but we're not going to to win in 2028 unless we're willing to stand up now and go down there right now. The news is good for the Democratic party. The news is good.

We're interested in getting MORE people to vote. I understand the Chairman of the Replubican party was here last week bringing the best vote-suppressor in America right here to Washington state. We want elections that work, and you can't trust the Republicans with voting machines. We want honest voting machines that count the votes.

So, there's good news tonight from Mississippi where they've had 4 special elections in the last few months for the House of Representatives in Mississippi, and the Democrats won all 4 of them -- in Mississippi.

There's good news tonight from Alabama, where we won. The first Democratic, African-American woman won the mayorship of Mobile, Alabama, in the most conservative part of the state. There is good news from Alabama tonight.

And there's good news from Utah, the state that gave gave George Bush the largest margin in the presidential race. My cousin, an Irish Catholic Democrat -- which makes him a triple minority in Utah -- is the mayor of the 2nd-largest jurisdiction of the largest municipality in Utah, Salt Lake County, one million people.

If we can win in Mississippi, and we can win in Alabama, and win in Utah, Democrats can win everywhere in America.

And the way we're going to win is to talk about our values. I was just at a meeting of college Democrats, and a guy got up and he said to me, 'I'm from rural Washington. Mostly farmers and small business people and Christians. How do we reach out to rural Washington?'

First of all, you reach out by showing up. And today, the Washington State party is in eastern Washington, talking to folks about why they should vote for Democrats. But that is not enough.

We need to speak about who we are. Because Democrats think and vote and select candidates from here (points to head) and most of Americans think and vote and select candidates from here (points to heart), and we need to speak from our hearts if we're going to win elections. That's not hard to do.

The truth is, there's a lot we have in common with the folks who didn't vote with us in the last election. And what we have in common is our values. For example, the vast majority of Americans believe it is immoral to let children go to bed hungry at night -- while the Republicans are cutting the school lunch program.

Two-thirds of Americans believe it is immoral to not have health insurance for every single American -- while the Replicans are cutting back on Medicaid and making a mess of Social Security and Medicare.

60% of Americans believe it's immoral for the federal government to tell a woman what to do about her reproductive health care. We ask the question just that way. I am tired of having the President of the United States say we're the pro-abortion party. I served on the board of Planned Parenthood for 5 years. I don't know anyone who's pro-abortion. Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal -- I don't know anyone who's pro-abortion. We are not the pro-abortion party. We think abortion should be rare. The difference is that we believe that that kind of a decision is best left up to an individual and her family -- NOT to Tom Delay or Dick Cheney to tell people what to do with their health care.

We have our values. We don't like big government. We don't like big government telling individual women what to do. We don't like big government just 'small enough' -- as the Republicans say -- to fit in Terry Shiavo's bedroom. This is a country where individuals get to make their own decisions. Mr. President, take your big government back to Crawford, Texas and let us make up our own minds about our personal lives. much applaluse.

I get tired of being lectured to about morality by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly (laughs).

And I get tired of being told by the President that we're not strong on defense. Look at the president's record on defense -- he's been there for 5 years. North Korea still has nuclear weapons, Iran is about to get them, and he still can't find Osama bin Laden, and our borders are still not secure. We will do better than that.

But there are some things that we will NOT do. Immigration: The president -- excuse me, Karl Rove -- decided that immigration is the hot button. Just like they scape-goated African Americans and Latinos in 2002, when they talked about quotas. Just like they scape-goated gay Americans in 2004, when they put gay marriage on the ballot in 13 states, in which states where gay marriage was already absolutely against the law. Either he wanted to make gay marriage double-triple illegal, or he wanted to scapegoate another group of loyal Americans.

And I don't think we should support the president's guest worker program, because guest worker programs are indentured servitude. Here's how it works. You come from someplace else, and you get to work for a company, and if you ask them for a nickel more, or an extra bathroom break, they can send you back to wherever you came from. You know what that does: That doesn't do anything for the person who came here from somewhere else, because there's nothing at the end of the trail for you. And it doesn't do anything for everybody's who's already here, because it depresses wages, because if they can get you for $5.15, or even less, because you don't dare complain about what you're being paid, they can lower everybody's wages.

We are not going to have an immigration bill like the president's. We are going to enforce the borders, we are going to support unification of families and respect people. We will not allow non-governmental officials enforcing our boards. We will not divide this country by immigration status. We will not divide this country by ethic origin, we will not divide this country by sexual origin, we will not divide this country by race, not by income.

Together America will do better. And together we will make American better. Together we will rise up as Democrats, and together we will take this country back for the people who built it. Thank you very much.

No, Thank You Howard Dean

Note: After talking with other people who were at the event, we all agreed that the Air America radio broadcast had cut some of Howard's speech. Like the part about No vigilantes on our borders. Maybe 10% here and there. To fit into their alloted time? I do feel they should have mentioned they cut some out. Also I started leaving out the notes about applause, because of course we were applauding whenever HD paused!

-- LH.

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Boycott South Dakota

I found out about this Kos diary via Buckeye Senate. Buckeye Senate also provided this handy link to the South Dakota Department of Tourism web site, and their phone number:
Phone: 605-773-3301
Fax: 605-773-3256

This is, of course, in response to the recent passage by South Dakota lawmakers of a bill banning on all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother. Governor Mike Rounds has said that he is inclined to sign the bill into law. You can use this link to contact Governor Rounds. You might tell him you were thinking of visiting Mt. Rushmore this year, but that if he signs this radical bill, you'll be "inclined" not to.

This isn't just South Dakota we're talking about...many other states have prepared similar bills, in the event that Roe Vs. Wade is overturned. The South Dakota law is designed to be immediately challeneged and brought before the Supreme Court, where bill proponents hope that the recent shift to the right will work in their favor.

Some of you may be aware that abortion is an issue where I part company with many progressives--at least on ideological grounds. But I am certain of this--a ban on this medical procedure in the current political climate would be a cynical dangerous anti-life move. The budget that was recently passed is absolutely inhumane, as Rev. Lowery noted at Coretta Scott King's memorial service:

"There are millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, millions more, but no more for the poor."

Requiring women to carry a pregnancy to term, in a country where fewer and fewer people have access to adequate healthcare is immoral in my book. And it required that I speak up, even though this is not an easy topic for me to post about.

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Saturday Open Thread

I just got the DVD of the Willie Wonka remake out of the library. We have an outstanding library system here in Columbus, and just one of the things I appreciate is that if I hear a movie is "now on DVD and video", I can be sure our library system has it, and can get on the waiting list. I don't recall how long ago I got on the list for this one, but since I'm getting to see it for free, waiting is not a big deal. Our library system, like so many important resources, has felt the squeeze of the tax-cut madness that we see in the Bush administration. One of our candidates for governor has made a "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" one of the central issues in his campaign. That and *cough* "Christian* values. (I'm pretty sure Jesus had different ideas about what's important.)

Anyway, there are a lot of other great things our library system has to offer, and it is definitely worthy of support.

I'm the only one in the family who hasn't seen this remake--Demetrius saw it with the kids last summer and didn't much recommend it. So far I agree with him. I liked Gene Wilder's Willie Wonka a lot better. I saw it when it first came out as a double feature with Charlotte's Web, which--I just now discovered that a remake of *that* is in the works as well. As Demetrius will most likely say when I tell him, "We are officially out of ideas!"

Remind me to tell you later on about how I got those two movies mixed up when I saw both of them for the first time on the same day when I was little.

Just a few more quick things before I get ready to go to the gym. One, check the comments from last night to read excerpts from an article about how "bloggers ruined Sherrod Brown's month". The article is from The Other Paper, one of our local newsweeklies, but only some of their articles are available in the online edition. The cover story, available online (but they replace the stories every week, so the link won't work next week) is about the Bad Man who wants to be governor of Ohio.

Also, check out this Kos diary, by a mom asking for advice in dealing with her son's autism, and offer your insights if you have any. Or just learn from the many wonderful people who came forward to offer information and support. After this, it was good to be reminded that Daily Kos *can* be a wonderfully helpful and supportive online community.

And finally, I just loved this story and picture, but never got a chance to post it because it came out when there was so much going on in the Ohio Senate race.

Colored bull terrier claims Westminster's top prize

Rufus' selling point? His head -- perfectly shaped like an egg.

"The classic profile of a colored bull terrier," judge James Reynolds said.

Rufus was the first dog in his breed to win at the nation's most prestigious show. Handler Kathy Kirk said she was "ready to pass out" from the pressure, but her nearly 6-year-old dog that she playfully calls "Puppyhead" seemed to take it all in stride.

I was so pleased to see Rufus get his due. Bully breeds are much maligned, but it's not the dogs that are at fault.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Open Thread

I noticed in the comments of the previous thread that Catreona, with jc's help, has set up a Disabled Americans for Democracy Online Shop. I just added that to the links, and next time I'm working on the affiliate site page, I'll be sure to add it there too.

But since people were talking about the Cafe Press teddy bears in the past thread, I just couldn't resist posting this one in tonight's open thread.

"Bite Me Bush" teddy bear

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Friday Comics

And my favorite for today: FUBAR

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Looking for a way to genuinely support the troops?

listener writes:

Soldiers in Iraq must be having a very scary week in Iraq, with the situation there deteriorating so rapidly. And the medical units must be running on exhaustion.

I am thinking these days of my friends' son Aaron who left for Iraq in November when his firstborn daughter was only two weeks old. He's younger than our youngest, so about age 21. I've been wishing we knew how he is, and wondering how to ease the strain on our friends here in Vermont.

Well, I just got word through my sister Patti, who is now an Air Force Captain, that there are some specific items that a medical unit serving injured soldiers could use. It might take a little of the strain out of this time to do something which is kind and useful, at least to add a little balance to the Universe.

If you would like to send something, here are the particulars, which come from Capt. Maureen A. McCann, Life Skills Nurse. Typical of a nurse, Maureen says, "Many of you are asking what you can send, do we need anything? Well, we don't, but our patients do."

She elaborates, saying: Many can't continue to wear the uniforms they come in with and do not have anything else. Here is a list of what we can use (many of you are connecting with your church or job, but even one set is great!).

Large size:
Sweat pants
long sleeve T-shirts
gym shorts (blue, black, gray only; they need to be conservative due to the area we are in)
mens underpants
small pillows (great for stuffing under or around the patient's injuries/casts to make them more comfortable for their long flight while they are on a litter.)

(We get tons of socks and toiletries.)


Mailing address for packages:

Capt Maureen McCann
APO AE 09315-9997

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sherrod Brown on Ed Schultz

Just one more post about the Brown/Hackett thing, so that I can say my piece and move on. The "primary" isn't until May 2, so I think I should be able to tune out this election until at least that point. And there are plenty of other races and issues to focus on.

Plunderbund has the audio of an interview Ed Schultz did with Sherrod Brown in Cincinnati today. Here's the part about "reaching out"...

Ed Schultz: Sherrod, you're going to get a lot of attention nationally coming up in this race and I want to approach this with you right away after everything that unfolded with Paul Hackett. Do you feel like you need to reach out to him, because he did generate quite a bit of enthusiasm and a very loyal following. Where do you stand with him right now, and how do you want to move forward, Congressman?

Sherrod Brown: Absolutely reach out. Last night, my wife Connie spoke at the Ohio Democratic Party, their endorsement meeting, I got there late 'cause I was up in northwest Ohio. She just told the crowd that we obviously want Paul's supporters on board and we'd like them to help us bring a progressive message to Ohio, 'cause he's articulate and can get out and do that, and his supporters have been strong against the Iraqi war as I was when I voted against it back three years ago, and continue to find a way to get our troops home and get our troops deployed (can't make out the end of this sentence). And I look forward to working with Paul's people and his supporters, and we have a message in this state to change the state and change the direction of the state with Ted Strickland for governor and me in the Senate.

You can listen to the rest of the interview if you like by clicking the link at the beginning of this post. This just doesn't seem like "reaching out" to me. If any members of Brown's "welcome wagon" happen by here, rest assured that he gets my vote in November. But I only give *more* than that to politicians I deem to be really deserving. Free time is a precious commodity. Arrogance and a sense of entitlement are tremendous turnoffs to me, but humility and appreciation go a long way.

And as many times as I have seen people assert that Paul Hackett needs to stand by Sherrod Brown's side and ask his supporters to support Brown, I feel compelled to say that it wouldn't make a difference for me. It was the same thing when Howard Dean asked us to support Kerry. I respect Howard Dean's position as a party loyalist, and I respect Paul Hackett's sense of duty to his party and country. But I don't take "marching orders" from anyone. Sherrod Brown is welcome to work to *earn* my support beyond my vote in November, but *he* needs to do that. No candidate or politician is the boss of me--not Howard Dean, not Paul Hackett. Work to earn my support and respect or don't, but there are no freebies.

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Howard Dean speaks at UCLA

Howard Dean addressed students at UCLA on Wednesday, in a lecture hall filled to its capacity of 227. Check out the article in the Daily Bruin, which has a great smiling picture of Howard Dean.

The event, put on by the Bruin Democrats, consisted of a 20-minute speech and a 20-minute Q-and-A session, and is one of the many college stops Dean has made.

After six years without a Democratic president and with the current Republican majority in legislature, Dean said the Democratic Party needs a change - it must adjust to a new generation of people "who want to do politics differently."

He described the idea of identity politics: Although a party is made up of different groups with different identities, what brings them together is a common agenda.

But what Dean's generation considers "common," he said, has changed with time. So the party's tactics must as well.

As part of the change, Dean said the Democratic Party is trying to appeal to typically non-Democratic communities, such as Southern states - which the party "gave up" on in the past two elections, he said.

According to Dean, the new agenda includes a stronger health care plan that will "benefit everybody in the country, just like 36 other countries have." Dean also mentioned more affordable higher education and more jobs that will stay within the country.

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What next?

There have been a number of posts about Sherrod Brown's "mending fences" tour, and there plenty of heated debate as you can see here. Not going to be easy to sort out since Brown did not allow any recording. For the record, the reason I *do* go to the trouble of typing up transcripts when none are available, is that it is important to have people's actual words, in context, rather than someone's best recollection of what they said, tinged by that person's own expectations and feelings about the person they are quoting.

Anyway, there was a "call for unity" by Brown's wife, Connie Schultz, reported in this Kos diary. Leaves me kind of cold.

We know we need every last one of you in this campaign. We understand that there are those who are disappointed there is no primary in this race. We are reaching out to you and asking you to join us. Bring your energy, your passion, your high ideals to this great progressive movement that promises to change the direction of our state and our country.

Funny thing about energy, passion, and high ideals--they can make it hard for us to excuse ugly behavior by candidates "for the sake of party unity".

In addition, the Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee came out with its endorsements last night. I recommend reading the write-up to get a sense of the process. It was good to see that the concerns I have been expressing for the past couple weeks were indeed raised, but disheartening that they were overruled.

Plunderbund has a good post about the "Lawnmower Culture" in the party.

My thoughts on all of this? (I know, it's not like you asked.) Well, I don't "fall in line" and I don't support people who play "dirty pool". So, you're not going to see a Sherrod Brown bumper sticker on our car, and you're certainly not going to see Demetrius creating a "Flat Sherrod" to upload to our web space so that people can print them out and assemble them--or any of the other grassroots graphics he was willing to do for free for a race he believed in. From last night's thread
"politics is dirty" is why I never got involved in politics. My active political life (doing more than grudgingly pulling that lever in Nov.) only began with the belief that we could *change* the game. If they are intent on playing by the Old Rules I am intent on going back to my old mode of political involvement... which is to say *none*. There's *LOTS* of things around here that need tending to if my time spent on politics is just wasted anyway.

At least that should free him up some to work on the banner for the Faithful Ohio blog I started. Disheartened by the recent events in Ohio politics, and wanting something positive to focus on, forced myself to do something I *really* don't like to do, and made a phone call. I'm scheduled to meet with Rev. Tim Ahrens next week to talk about how my internet activism can support what the "We Believe!" group is hoping to accomplish.
The Rev. Tim Ahrens, senior pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Columbus, has organized We Believe! It's a group of about 120 ministers, priests and rabbis from central Ohio with a mission statement that includes saying "yes to justice for all" and "no to prosperity for only a few."

Ahrens said the Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Columbus, an evangelical Protestant with a large following here and nationally, has challenged people of faith with a message different from his to "bring it on."

"In some ways, that's what we're doing," he said. "We're bringing it on."

I've also added a Subodh Chandra graphic link to Howard-Empowered People, as he is one of the candidates who got stiffed by the ODP executive committee--a move we saw coming from what Paul Hackett said in his interview with Ohio 2nd.

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Thursday Comics

I start my new position Monday, so there'll be comics today and tomorrow:

And my favorite for today: Reality or Bigotry

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sherrod Brown Meeting

By SusanD

This morning about fifteen of us met with Sherrod Brown. The meeting was semi-moderated by the Chair of our county Dems. I say semi, because he really didn't have much to do with directing the proceedings.

Nobody else wanted to go first, so I started off by asking Sherrod about the report in Mother Jones that Henry Waxman had emailed Hackett's donor asking them to redirect their support and money to Brown. Brown was unapologetic in affirming that he asked Waxman for his help.

Sherrod Brown insists that Schumer has given him no help toward his campaign. He discounts the pressure Hackett received from Schumer and Reid, and insists that Hackett dropped out because of his lagging poll numbers and fund-raising.

Brown insisted that neither he nor his staff spread the rumors about Hackett. Brown said that the rumors were told to him by Dan Lucas, but that he told Lucas not to repeat the rumors....that his campaign would not be run that way.

Brown was completely unaware of the other races where the DSCC and DCCC have meddled in the primaries. I told him about Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. I explained to him that we were not angry at *him*, but at the DSCC and DCCC. I told him I felt they'd presented us with a Catch-22. If we vote for him it affirms their meddling in state politics. If we don't vote for him we lose a progressive in office. His response, to paraphrase slightly, was "Well, you live in Ohio and you know what you have to do."

Even while acknowledging the grievous shortcomings in the Democrats currently in office, the bottom line for both Brown and the Party Chair seemed to be the usual "The Democratic Party uber alles".

Brown is well aware of our anger, though he seems to think it affects far fewer people than it actually does. He is concerned enough about it that he felt a need to come to Dayton and justify himself. But I had a strong feeling that they do not understand our anger in a visceral way. It's as if our anger is a foreign language they do not understand and have no wish to study.

Judging from what I heard it appears that they do not see our anger as any indication that the Democratic Party needs to do business in a more democratic way, or change at all. They see our anger as something we can, and should, put aside "for the good of the Party".

The meeting wasn't held to address our anger. It was held to try to corral our votes. It was damage control, pure and simple.

And it left me feeling very empty.

Susan D.

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Thoughts on the Ohio '06 primaries

"When I think of what you've made of it the phrase 'pig's ear' comes irresistibly to my mind."
-Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Sadly, the same words now come irresistibly to mind when I think of the upcoming "primaries" that are to be held on May 2. Via Ohio 2nd, I found this from Openers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer weblog. It tells of an event where some people, including Hackett supporters, went to hear Sherrod Brown speak:

Greg Triosi of Cincinnati, who volunteered on rival Paul Hackett's campaign for Congress last year as well as on Hackett's recently aborted Senate campaign, stormed out of the meeting in a huff. "I can't stand to hear that guy talk," Triosi said.

He said Brown hadn't adequately addressed Hackett's complaints of rumor-mongering by the Brown campaign, and hadn't made efforts to reach out to Hackett's camp.

"Right now, I would like to be able to say that my heart is in it for Sherrod Brown, but I just don't feel that yet," Triosi said. "Maybe in the future I will get there, but right now I'm too hurt that it turned out this way."

But Brown's remarks about health care, the minimum wage and Social Security earned hearty applause from those who, unlike Triosi, stayed to hear him out.

Afterwards, Brown discounted Triosi's beef. "You can find someone for any anecdote," he said as he dined on a 3-Way (spaghetti, chili and shredded cheese) at a Skyline Chili franchise next to the union hall. "We're going to unify Democrats. I think we have already done that. These people are with me. Paul last week said 'Vote for Sherrod Brown.'

"We're going to have a very united Demoratic Party, more than we've had in years."

Anyone else tired of having your "beefs" dismissed? As I commented over at Ohio 2nd... Again with the Kerry flashbacks. Hearing it stated as fact that people are "moving on" and "uniting" and having genuine anger and feelings of betrayal "discounted". We don't exist, we're not real, we don't count. Screw that.

Lent is coming up. Let's see some repentance before the party resurrection. If we *don't" see that, Brown remains "dead to me".

Also, via BuckeyeSenate, the ODP executive committee meet tonght to vote on whether and who to endorse pre primary. The blogger makes a point I hadn't considered before regarding why endorsing in contested primaries would not be a good idea:
One of the reasons I think they are making a mistake is because we have open primaries in Ohio. Your party affiliation is determined by which ballot, if any you cast in a primary. That information is then used during a general election GOTV effort to identify people and target them to vote for your guy.

By having lackluster or empty primaries you drive down turnout, hence you dirve down the number of people you can later identify as part of a GOTV program. We could easily see 200,000 less peope vote in this primary than we might have seen if we had had exciting contested primaries.

That's 200,000 people's doors we might needlessly knock on, meaning 200,000 people's doors we don't get around to knocking on. John Kerry lost in 2004 by 100,00 votes. Do the math.

Jill at Writes Like She Talks also weighs in with Maybe no one else cares, but that's never been a good reason for me not to. See also Ohio 2nd's comments on this topic.

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Wednesday Comics

Just playing out the string here at work...

And my favorite for today: Cheap Trick

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Open Thread

A couple posts I thought you all might be interested in. First, dinazina aka Bellydancer for Dean aka the Costume Goddess has this diary at Daily Kos:

I hold Howard Dean's hand! Where's Cantwell? WA State Crabfest

Also, I wanted to point out a post entitled My Vote by Mrs. Editor at Ohio 2nd:

What are the democratic standards? How low is too low? When is enough truly enough? Paul Hackett could have been the worst candidate of all time. What happened is more significant than who it happened to. The swift-boating and the tolerance of those kinds of tactics is utterly reprehensible and to ignore this or stay silent about it is just like saying its OK and I don't mind. I don't believe the greater good will be served by disregarding this as standard practice and the price of doing business. I think my vote is worth more than that.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do believe that we need to have *some* way to clearly say "No!" to dirty campaign tactics.

And finally, in response to last night's post To Ohio Dem party executive committee: Don't endorse, Jill posted a link to her post on the topic, If Dick Celeste is telling the ODP his opinion, you should too.

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MViMV endorses Cegelis for Congress

My Vote is My Voice (MViMV) is excited to announce our first endorsement of 2006 in support of Christine Cegelis for Congress, Illinois District 6.

Many of you may remember Christine from DemocracyFest 2004 in Massachusetts. Christine went on that year to receive more than 110,000 votes (44.2%) against a 30-year incumbent Republican Congressman. With your support, Christine's amazing grassroots campaign will end the Republican domination of the 6th District and put a genuine candidate of the people in Congress.

Please go to her website right now ( and pledge just $10. It will take only a few minutes and a few clicks, but it can change the direction of this country and allow everyday citizens to reclaim the American Dream.

This truly is a grassroots campaign, without the support of the political or corporate interests who spend fortunes to get their hand-picked candidates elected. Our power is in our votes and our voices, but sometimes we need to reach into our pockets to help make sure our voices are heard.

If you're in a position to contribute more than $10, that would be wonderful. And, if you would like to learn more about other ways you can help, all the information you need is at

Thank you in advance for supporting an outstanding candidate for Congress.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Many Standing Ovations

LHfromSeattle reports from Dean's appearance:

I was at Howard Dean's Washington (state) appearance for the Washington State Dems. It brought together almost twice as many people (and donations) as their biggest year previously.

We're lucky to have a Democratic woman Gov, Christine Gregoire, (thanks to grassroots and Dean supporters who helped fund a recount!) plus 2 Dem senators, and 6 out of 9 reps are Dems. And the state Dem party has an energizing new chair, Dwight Pelz, who was and is a Dean supporter. Most all the politicos on stage kept their speeches short because we all wanted to hear Dean.

Dean walked on stage with that wonderful smile lighting up everything, to exuberant standing applause. After several minutes of applause and "Thank you!"s on Dean's part, he started out by saying "I wish we would have started in Washington instead of Iowa. Things might be different now." -- which got even more enthusiastic applause. (I used to think Howard had a soft spot for Washington state, but on the DFA blog Demetrius set me straight -- it's really Ohio!)

Howard was in fine form, radiating confidence, energy and yes, happiness I think (at the huge turnout and local grassroots strength.) (I was going to tape his speech and transcribe it but left the tape recorder at home (curses!) so these are highlights from memory). He said "we are accused of having no clear stand as Dems. Do you know what the Democractic Party stands for? Here it is in 25 seconds -- take notes, memorize it."* Good-paying jobs that stay in America.*Education so everyone can have "optimism and apportunities." (love that "optimism."*Energy policy that's not dependent on the Middle East.*Honesty and integrity in politics.*Accurate vote-counting methods.*Strong defense; telling the truth to our allies.

A woman at my table was taking notes, but I figured doing that would interfere with my enjoyment of Dean's speech. So I don't remember many details. But it was classic Dean. Pointed concise condemnation of the Rethugs, their approval ratings and the immorality of letting kids go to bed hungry and seniors deprived of meds. Dems don't want big government that's small enough to fit in Terry Schiavo's bedroom or in a medical office with a woman and her medical provider. Civil rights for all.

He thinks immigration will be the next hot topic for Repugs. They want to find and export all the immigrants. But that can't even find a 6-foot Saudi, so how can they find a hundred thousand+ immigrants? He said that illegal immigrants, if they've been here, working, paying taxes, basically being good people, they should be able to apply for citizenship after paying a fine for the illegal status. No vigilantes. No guest worker status which is indentured servitude.

He told us that we need to keep working, the grassroots will given time and energy and work, take over (not in so many words, but it was there).

Many standing ovations; the crowd was so energized and happy. Afterwards I got in line to meet him, after having trouble finding just which line to get into and inadvertently crashing the line in my oblivion and getting rightfully kicked back. My husband, watching, was so impressed by how magnetic Dean is and how sincerely involved he is with all the people who want to talk to him and shake hands. (Husband has not been to many Dean events, obviously.)

I wasn't going to say anything to him -- the last time I met him and shook hands I think I flubbed my lines -- so I handed him my copy of You Have The Power to autograph. But then I had to speak up and say something "thank you for all your hard work and having to put up with the Beltway Dems. We're waiting for 2012 and we'll be behind you then too!" I'm sure it was the 2012 part that made him laugh and smile even more than he was already.

But the whole event was full of smiling people walking around in a flow of energy and friendliness. I was so proud to be a part of this, with all types... suits and ties, faded Dean For America T-shirts, grandparents, teens, different coloured faces, teachers, waitresses, engineers, lawyers, proud papa who couldn't take his eyes off his 2-wk old daughter on his chest in a snugglie, with a lace band round her perfect head....and more.

Just a typical Dean event.Click for Olympia newspaper article; better IMO than the SeaTimes.


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To Ohio Dem party executive committee: Don't endorse

A few days ago I did a diary entitled "Want to Support an Ohio "Outsider?" That diary was based on information from Part 3 of Ohio 2nd's interview with Paul Hackett. In that interview, Hackett mentioned that there were other candidates who were not getting party support because they are "outsiders". In particular, he mentioned Subodh Chandra, who is running for Attorney General. Since posting that diary, I have learned that the Ohio Dem party has a screening committee making recommendations for ODP endorsements. For more information on this issue, check out the posts in the past week or so at Buckeye Senate blog. I know I'm just one of those "crazy Deaniacs", but I have this silly notion that the party should not be endorsing candidates in a contested primary. Jill agrees.

Anyway, although the screening committee has made its recommendations, the decision to endorse has not yet been made. Via BuckeyeSenate, this article from the Toledo Blade notes:

The party's executive committee will meet on Wednesday to decide whether to go along with the committee's recommendations or whether to endorse any candidates at all. A vote of 60 percent of executive committee members is needed for an endorsement.

The party's official endorsement could provide an advantage for a candidate going into the primary election, particularly when it comes to fund-raising.

But unendorsed Democratic challengers have embarrassed the party's leadership by overcoming that advantage in the past.

I'm all for embarrassing the party's leadership if it becomes necessary, but I figured since the official decision has not yet been made, those of us who oppose these endorsements should make our voices heard. I asked in this thread at BuckeyeSenate who we should write to if ordinary Ohioans wanted to encourage the committee *not* to endorse in contested primaries and was given this response:

is the link to exec committee it has emails in it. excel spreadsheet.

You need to download Excel Viewer, if you don't already have something like that, to open the spreadsheet. (You can also access the ODP Executive Committee List via the Ohio Democratic Party web site.)

You know, the more I find out about the inner workings of these things (party politics), the more I wish I'd "taken the blue pill". But it's too late now. And I absolutely believe that we need to shine a light on the process.

Crossposted at Daily Kos, My Left Wing, Booman Tribune, and ePluribus Media.

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Tuesday Comics

Things are exceedingly slow at work today, ergo comics:

And my favorite for today: Mirror Image

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Media Snake Oil, the Series: What they did to Howard Dean.

I have been reading an interesting series of diaries at Political Cortex called Media Snake Oil. Part 1 is about Kucinich, and it is interesting. My interest lies with parts 2, 3, and 4. I am not familiar with the guy who wrote this series, Bill Hare. He does a good job, though.

Media Snake Oil: Why Dean Had to Go. Part Two of a Series.

Dean and his campaign team, led by veteran political consultant Joe Trippi, recognized and utilized the new growing power dimension of the Internet to draw into the political fold scores of individuals from America's cities and villages who had been previously distant viewers and now, through harnessing their actions cohesively behind a fiery and outspoken candidate, saw themselves as players.

The corporate elite and their highly paid lobbyists, political consultants and media propagandists immediately cried "foul" in that the process was not supposed to operate that way. Didn't these upstarts know that they were the professionals and opinion molders?

The nation was supposed to be controlled by them and these invaders from cyberspace were totally unwelcome. They were the loud guys holding the beer cans seeking to crash the private party of the tuxedo clad champagne crowd.

....The anti-Dean contingent was just getting warmed up. The trick was not to be consistent in labeling but consistent in attack. Just keep flooding the media with enough unsupported absurdity and hopefully, through sheer weight and volume, the message will sink through to enough of the gullible that Howard Dean has to go.

Now for Media Snake Oil Part 3:

Casting Dean as a Fanatic. Part Three of a Series

The ploy of casting Howard Dean as an elitist drew enough skeptics to make the corporate media decide to hedge their bets. After all, even if Dean had affluent roots his family wealth could not equal that of liberal Democratic presidents such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.


A new ploy was adopted. Dean was unstable, too mean and aggressive to be president. To anyone completely uninformed about Dean one would expect, based on reports about him, that anyone straying into his path and looking at him cross-eyed risked being sent into instant traction by the Type A, macho and combative former Governor of Vermont.

.....What was it about Howard Dean that differentiated him from any other determined politician campaigning aggressively on behalf of a cause in which he believed? The critics never did provide an explanation; they just persisted with the same drone of Dean being combative, overly aggressive, hot-tempered, and un-presidential.

......There was a strong correlative reason behind focusing on the personal in seeking to dispose of Howard Dean as a viable presidential candidate. In the media's steady focus on Dean as a person the emphasis would be shifted away from the issues on which he was running for president.

In the first place, Dean represented a new kind of candidate with his committed legions of followers and his use of the Internet to generate funds. Should candidates be able to harness the Internet and link it to shrewd fund raising techniques the corporate elitists and their mobs of lobbyists would lose their monopoly.

There is a lot more good stuff, and painful stuff, in the 3rd part. But this is getting too long, so just a mention of the 4th in the series.

Media Snake Oil: Dean Portrayed as Screamer. Part Four of a Series.

When Dean with his populist message delivered from outside the orbit of the regular Democratic establishment began to resonate the media coined a name for his grassroots followers. They called them Deaniacs.

With labeling such an important and closely watched element in this technological era with its emphasis on spin control, users of the term surely recognized the similarity between the label Deaniac and that of maniac. It dovetailed with the image presented of an angry warrior eager to return to the wrestling mat he frequented years before in his school days.

.....The story that continued to be spun by the media remained Dean's perceived unelectability, which was repetitiously drummed into the public consciousness with the same determined ferocity as the replaying of his Des Moines speech. After he finished a distant third in Wisconsin on February 17, 2004, Dean ended his candidacy.

One of the most significant lessons to be learned in evaluating the Dean candidacy is the mainstream media's preoccupation with pinning the label of unelectable on grassroots, populist-oriented, perceived outsiders such as the Vermonter and Dennis Kucinich. The field was then clear for the triumph of a familiar establishment candidate, John Kerry.

This is long, and the four snips do not do it justice at all. But the amazing part is that we maniac Deaniacs are still around and so is he. Still waiting.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Paul Hackett on Hardball tonight

I read the news that Paul Hackett would be on Hardball tonight over at Buckeye Senate Blog. Wanted to verify that, but to date hadn't found any place that Hardball announces upcoming guests on their web site (would be handy for confirming upcoming Howard Dean appearances). Anyway, and I don't know why this didn't occur to me before, but I finally found it at the end of the transcript from the last show.

HARDBALL returns Monday at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern. Our guests, Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett in his first national interview since dropping out of the race for Senate in Ohio.

One more thing...last week, after finding out that Sherrod Brown does have a "Democratic" primary opponent, I decided that I wanted to write in Paul Hackett in the primary on May 2. Last night I visited the Ohio Secretary of State's web site, so I'm sharing what I learned about write-ins.

Here's the scoop...
Write-In Candidates

A person desiring to be a write-in candidate at a primary or general election must file with the appropriate election officials a “declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate.” Only write-in candidates who have filed valid declarations of intent will have votes counted in the primary or general election. (R.C. 3513.041)

A write-in candidate must meet all of the eligibility requirements of the office sought. (See “Qualifications” under the specific office.)

Filing Deadlines:
Primary election: By 4 p.m. on March 13, 2006 (50th day before the primary election).
General election: By 4 p.m. on September 18, 2006 (50th day before the general election).

Here's the page where I got that information.
A few odds and ends to share. Buckeye Senate blog is also the source to check for information about Dan Lucas, whose name seems to keep coming up in discussions of who's behind the swiftboating. There's also information there about the Ohio Democratic Party's endorsements.

On a happier note, I saw this comment on Blog for America this morning:
Lynn in Cincinnati wrote on February 20, 2006 09:39 AM:

Totally OT

I went to a 'kegger' hosted by Paul Hackett on Saturday evening. Paul's wife Suzi had ordered a cake for the occasion, the cake was decorated with the flag and the words "Said it, meant it, stand by it" and everyone "loved it"!

And finally, because it's a picture that I've got, and some of you may not have seen it before, a picture of the bus.

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Monday Comics

It's a bank holiday, but I'm still at work (just with nothing to do) yet there's time for comics - especially after working roughly 21 hours this weekend...

And my favorite for today: Leak Probe

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Larkin's graduation

Yesterday was Larkin's graduation. He has been placed with a social worker who works at a rehab care center with individuals in need of inpatient physical rehabilitation. Below, I have included Larkin's introduction that was read right before my mom presented him to her.

She plans to utilize him to help ease the adjustment of patients to the unit, and offer a temporary diversion to the shock of their situation. Not only will the dog help patients develop social, speech, and occupational skills, she hopes the dog will also be utilized by staff members as a way to relieve the stress of working in such an emotionally demanding environment.

In addition to her work in the rehab unit, she also hopes to have the dog accompany her when she volunteers at ... a hospice for the homeless who are terminally ill.

When asked what famous person her dog would be, she answered "Superman. He can leap tall tables in a single bound, and can accomplish superhuman feats. Like Superman, he has a Clark Kent side to him: kind, gentle, unobtrusive, and he looks like any other beautiful lab. But when he dons his blue cape, he is ready to fly into action at the first command."

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Forrest Church on State of Belief

Rev. Forrest Church, Senior Minister at All Souls Church (UU) in Manhattan is going to be one of the guests on Air America's State of Belief today. The show starts at 5 p.m. E.S.T.

I keep missing this show because of my EFM classes, and meaning to download and listen to it later. I will *definitely* be doing that with this one, as I am quite fond of his writing.

He is scheduled to talk about "how the separation of church and state has allowed religion to flourish in America." The first book of his that I read was entitled "God and Other Famous Liberals", but it appears to be out of print now. Here are some other books by Church:

The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders
Lifecraft: The Art of Meaning in the Everyday
Freedom from Fear: Finding the Courage to Act, Love, and Be

His sermons can be found online here. I highly recommend Cathedral of the World.

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From the comments

I'm going to share this comment by Bill T. from the last thread for a couple reasons: to highlight the interesting contrast Bill notes between the Hackett and Cegelis situations (is it different because Illinois is a "blue state?) and to let everyone know what I've found out about getting posts via Feedblitz.

For a change I got here while the thread I wanted to comment on was still active. (It would be great if somehow each front-page post could arrive in my in-box shortly after it happened, but I guess that's not possible.)

It's an interesting contrast between the Hackett and Cegelis situations. They forced Hackett out on the grounds that a primary would be bad for the party. But my take on the reason they waited until the very last moment to drop Duckworth into the campaign was that they wanted a real primary fight -- wanted to make it impossible for Cegelis and her supporters to shift over to supporting Duckworth. (There would have been a primary anyway, but nobody gives Lindy Scott much of a chance. Although he's frankly running a much stronger campaign than I would have personally expected.)

But in contrast to what we hear in Ohio, the head of the DuPage County Democratic Party has commented that if Cegelis wins she will be that much stronger for the primary victory. (And yes, she said "Cegelis." The party organization is formally neutral, but there's no question who most of them support.) And I agree. In addition to the momentum, there's the point that much of the shoe-leather groundwork will have already been laid. Is the Senate really that different from Congress?

Anyway, I quick post before getting ready to head out for canvassing. It's 15 degrees warmer today than yesterday and I met my work deadline last night.

Bill T.

Bill has probably already left for his canvassing (brr!) but since I looked into the Feedblitz situation regarding how frequently one receives updates, I thought I'd go ahead and share what I've learned. If you sign up to receive HEP by mail via FeedBlitz (in the right hand column under the list of contributors) you get a mailing once a day about the threads that have been posted here in the past 24 hours.

Further information for anyone who has never signed up for this--if you click the "subscribe me" button, it takes you to a page where you register with Feedblitz. Anyone who has done that will have a password which, along with their email address, will allow you go log into this page.

It says that you can "Turbocharge your subscriptions". For a fee. You can choose to have your subscriptions mailed you you hourly, every 4 hours, or every 8 hours. There does not appear to be a setting saying "whenever a new post goes up". You need to subscribe to this premium service via PayPal, and the cost is $1.59 a month for one feed, or $9.95 a month for all of your feeds (say, if you subcribe to the Howard-Empowered feed as well as a number of others.

Of course, it's always free just to check the blog more often. And we enjoy the company. :-)

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