Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's the Spring Beagle, Charlie Brown

This is knew there had to be a "war on Easter" lurking in the wings somewhere, didn't you? Seen on Worldnet Daily, reported by Pandagon:

Already, many stores and malls across the U.S. are preparing for seasonal events, with some refraining from usage of terms like "the Easter Bunny," opting instead for more generic terms like "Spring Bunny," or other names avoiding the name "Easter."

One such location is the Somerset Collection, an upscale mall in Troy, Mich., serving 14 million shoppers per year. It's now publicizing an event with its "Spring Bunny" and Walt Disney's Winnie the Pooh.

The event caught the attention of WorldNetDaily reader Tim Edwards, who says, "It appears that this very important Christian holiday is under assault just like Christmas is."
Except, come on, y'all don't really *like* that aspect of Easter, do you? You know, the pagan aspect? Seems like you wouldn't want to emphasize the connections between this "very important Christian holiday" and pagan fertility symbols.

The legends of ancient Egypt connect the hare, which comes out at night to feed, with the moon.

Yeah, and rabbits are known for doing it like--for doing it *a lot*.

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Happy 2nd birthday to DFA. Formed March 18, 2004.

Click here for the Happy birthday, Oscar post, and give Oscar a shout-out in the comments.

Democracy for America turned two years old last week. The video of the Seattle announcement is still at C-Span. That was sure a noisy event, but it was a happy kind of noise. It was just one month after he dropped out of the race. He never looked back, just kept moving ahead.

One thing I noticed as I reread the speech he made. He is incorporating the same goals into the DNC as he did into DFA. He is still using the small donor strategy at the DNC. He still speaks of changing the debate. He still speaks of how important local races are for us to be involved in. He may not be as obvious about it, but I have noticed this.

Whenever the Democratic leaders get too quiet, he goes on TV and has things to say. Like the radio interview in San Antonio, when he said the war was not winnable. All hell broke loose, but it is all over front page news now.

Here is the video from C-Span.
March 18, 2004 in Seattle.
Howard Dean Announcement of Democracy for America

Here is the text of the speech from one of my very favorite sites.

Announcing 'Democracy For America' in Seattle

With enthusiasm like this, I'll scare my staff, and threaten to get back in the race again...

[Thunderous applause and screams]...

That was a joke! Only joking. I see Roy Neel over there having a heart attack.

Let me thank you for changing the debate in 2004. You made the Democratic message much tougher, you made this party ready to challenge George Bush, and you've changed politics forever by showing that a campaign that's powered by ordinary Americans can emerge from nowhere and build support to take back this country, which is exactly what we are going to do.

The right wingers in Washington are getting a little nervous, they think we might actually take back America!

I want to talk about how we're going to do that. I'm going to talk about what we face. It is very clear to me that George W. Bush is a failed President. This...Under George Bush's leadership, we have lost 2.3 million jobs, more jobs than any President has lost since Herbert Hoover. Manufacturing jobs going overseas - there are solutions to this, but the solutions George Bush shuns - environmental, labor, and human rights standards around the world that would make global trade work. George Bush has opposed fair wage and overtime policies that would help our workers in difficult times. Today the minimum wage is 30% lower than it was under Richard Nixon. A single mother working full time for minimum wage earns less than $11,000 a year, $4,000 below the poverty line.

It's not right, and we can do better and we will do better.

Next, one thing that our campaign has proved for ordinary Americans is that you do not have to be wealthy and well connected, and fund your own campaign to run for office in this country. We ran for office by getting hundreds of thousands of Americans to give us 5, 10, 15, 200, 100 dollars. We want other people to take that lesson so that ordinary people can participate, not just in the political process by giving money in small donations or voting, but by running for office. And we want to duplicate what we did for school board members, and county commissioners, and state legislators to get the right wing out of politics, out of our bedroom, and out of our wallets.

So, let me thank you again, you are all great, Seattle's a... (some one in audience shouts, "you are great!" Dean smiles and laughs)...all right, we're all great. This is a real opportunity, and we can say we started it here in Seattle. We really do have the opportunity to make this country into what we all believe it ought to be. We have the opportunity to change leaders so our leaders are as good as the extraordinary American people are. We have the power to take Washington back for ordinary Americans and make this country as great as it ought to be. Let's make that happen.

We're going to keep at it, because we know what happens in Washington, is that once they get there they get cozy. And it's your job to make sure that never again does the Democratic Party lay down and die and stop fighting for what we believe in. Thank you very much.

This picture appears to be from the Seattle announcement.

Here is the pic of the 3rd DFA announcement in NY at the New School.

Happy Birthday DFA.

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Happy birthday, Oscar!

Looking at the overnight thread, I was struck by how many HEPs are either on the road or somehow in transition. Denise just moved into her new digs, and jc is in the process of moving. Donna is away from Evanston visiting her son, and listener checked in from Frankfort, on her way to Scotland. And is Thankful still Thankful*on*the*road? She was last time I checked.

One thing I really love about this blog community is the way that we can check in at here no matter where we are physically--a virtual "home away from home".

And even when life is too busy for some of us to find the time to check in, they are still with us in spirit. Thank you, jc, for reminding us that today is Oscar's birthday. I miss Oscar's daily dose of cartoons now that he is working too many hours to have time for that (and still finding time to volunteer for a local candidate). But, like many of you, I am thankful that he does stop by when he has the chance, and occasionally even treats us to cartoons when he has a day off.

Also, for anyone who might not be aware of this, for the 2004 election, Oscar created a handout entitled "Why Evangelical Christians Must Vote Against George W. Bush".

Happy birthday, Oscar, and thank you for all you do. We miss you, and we're leaving the light on for you. :-)

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes

A few weeks ago I was thinking about the quote, "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes". Since I decided to do some audioblog reflections as my Lenten observance this year, that particular quote has taken on special significance for me. So, for the first time, it occurred to me to find out where that quote originated. I found out that it was Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers. Posting about that inspired jc to create a new bumper sticker--she already had one with the quote, but now she could include the attribution.

It's amazing how many opportunities there are to discover new role models--ones that until recently I didn't know existed. This is one of the first things I read about her:
Maggie Kuhn, the Gray Panthers charismatic leader changed the face of society with regard to the elderly. She was a committed, hard-working woman who at age 65 began an organization that continues her tradition of fighting for a better life for all. Her advice for those who want to make a change in the world is, "Go to the people at the top - that is my advice to anyone who wants to change the system, any system. Don't moan and groan with like-minded souls. Don't write letters or place a few phone calls and then sit back and wait. Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind—even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants."

Here's part of the entry about her on the web site of the National Women's Hall of Fame.
In 1970, forced to retire from her career with the Presbyterian Church at age 65, Kuhn and a group of her friends in similar circumstances organized and founded an organization which became the Gray Panthers. The organization was created to work on issues of concern to the elderly, such as pension rights and age discrimination, but also to concern itself with larger public issues, such as the Vietnam War and other social concerns. At the core of the Gray Panthers' message was that older people needed to seize control of their lives and be in the active world working for issues in which they believed. Kuhn's candor, charisma and lively approach to the needs and problems of the old drew major media attention, and the group was successfully launched, coming to represent in the public mind that power and energy that the elderly can represent. Kuhn fought off efforts by everyone from politicians to the managers of nursing homes to treat the elderly like amusing children, instead insisting on a place at the table and voice in decision-making that affected the lives of the old.

I wonder how many other stories are out there, just waiting to inspire me. Do you have a favorite you'd like to share?

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Hawks Who Should Eat Crow

Crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy

Congress adjourned for their Spring Break on March 16. Before leaving, the Senate passed the Budget Resolution, acting on a number of amendments to it. here's The Daily Digest for March 16, 2006.

Some thirty amendments were offered to the resolution. We shall mention just a few of them.

  • Adopted
    • Gregg (for Obama) Amendment No. 3144, to provide a $40 million increase in fiscal year 2007 for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and to improve job services for hard-to-place veterans.

    • Nelson Amendment No. 3001, to provide funds ensuring Survivor Benefit Plan annuities are not reduced by the amount of dependency and indemnity compensation that military families receive, and to provide funds for ``paid-up'' SBP, offset by closing abusive corporate tax loopholes.

  • Rejected
    • By 43 yeas to 53 nays (Vote No. 59), Lieberman/Mikulski Amendment No. 3034, to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by providing $8 billion in additional funds for homeland security government-wide, by restoring cuts to vital first responder programs in the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, by providing an additional $1.2 billion for first responders, $1.7 billion for the Coast Guard and port security, $150 million for chemical security, $1 billion for rail and transit security, $456 million for FEMA, $1 billion for health preparedness programs, and $752 million for aviation security.

    • By 46 yeas to 54 nays (Vote No. 63), Stabenow Amendment No. 3141, to provide an assured stream of funding for veteran's health care that will take into account the annual changes in the veterans' population and inflation to be paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy.

    • By 46 yeas to 53 nays (Vote No. 67), Kerry Modified Amendment No. 3143, to prevent the imposition of excessive TRICARE fees and co-pays on military retirees.

    • Akaka Amendment No. 3044, to provide $310 million over five years in mandatory funding for non-service pensions for World War II Filipino veterans, paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

We commend the Senate for passing the Obama and Nelson amendments, however regretable it may be that they have become necessary. This writer is appalled that any question of adequately providing for homeless veterans or for the dependants of service personnelle should arise. However, the Senate is on record with these votes. Vidulent citizens must remember and hold their senators to their word.

It is instructive to look at who voted against two of the "rejected" amendments, those offered by Sens Stabenow and Kerry.

Voting against both amendments:

We shall set aside for the moment the rank hypocrisy of John McCain, the *only* veteran currently serving in the Senate, voting *against* measures that would assist veterans and military retirees. Clearly, goose stepping with the administration ranks as a higher priority for him right now than solidarity with his brothers in arms.

The larger, and more important, point is to observe who among those voting no on the Kerry and Stabenow amendments voted *for* the Iraq War Resolution. In other words, which Republican senators voted to authorize the Iraq war, but now refuse to deal honorably with those who must fight it? The answer should not come as a surprise to readers here.

Yes on Iraq War Resolution *and* no on Kerry & Stabenow Amendments

If you vote to authorize war, then you have a moral obligation to see to it that those who fight that war are provided for. Veterans and military retirees give to this country, sacrifice for this country in ways that senators, sitting on their fat arses in their plush offices can't even begin to imagine.

Honoring veterans, retirees and their families means a hell of a lot more than waving flags and pinning cheap yellow ribbons to your car. Honoring veterans, retirees and their families means making sure that the health care they receive is affordable and high quality. Honoring veterans means providing for them and their families when they are wounded. It means putting your money where your mouth is and fully funding the VA, not backing away from a morally correct act in order to ass-kiss a weak, incompetent, and morally bankrupt partisan leader.

Perhaps in the short term, these senators' constituents will commend them for "holding down spending." But History and the Almighty will judge them as the craven hypocrites they are.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dean went after Bush for saying he would leave Iraq for next president.

It was a thing of beauty to watch this video. I never get up early, so we missed the interview. Much appreciation to Bradblog for catching it. Howard Dean had to fight to get his points out. Soledad kept trying to interrupt, and he kept talking over her.

He also got good points in about the Medicare D bill. He pointed out that the president had the airwaves to say what he wanted, but the Democrats had to fight to get their message out. Good interview.


Howard Dean with Soledad O'Brien this morning

From the statement at Bradblog:

Howard Dean filibustered CNN's Soledad O'Brien to push the message that the Democratic Party has an effective strategy for changing the course in Iraq.

While the President Bush and the Republican noise machine are blaming the press, Dean said that the Democrats are having difficulty getting media coverage.

On the plan for Iraq, Dean said "We do believe that we can't withdraw immediately... Over the next couple of years we need to bring the troops home." On the apparent divided opinions of Democrats Dean said "There's a middle ground between Jack Murtha and Joe Biden and we think it makes a lot of sense."

Will the strategy as described by Howard Dean convince American's that the Democrats can get Iraq on track towards a resolution? Should the Democrats come together and support a single specific plan for Iraq?

Alt Comment Link

Movie Review: V For Vendetta

V For Vendetta is a movie made for the post-9/11 world. It is a vision of a future that looks eerily similar to our own--if we as citizens do not wrestle power from the forces that currently hold it in their grasp.

As the character V (Hugo Weaving) says at one point in the film, "People should not fear their governments.Governments should fear their people." V becomes the impetus to bring that about with a plan to bring down the corrupt government which has destroyed his life and country, creating the skilled assassin that he becomes.

V, disguised in a Guy Fowlkes mask, uses cunning and violence as his means to an end. But the latter seems to be the only language the government he opposes understands, as it uses torture and murder to intimidate and destroy freedom and any opponent of its policies. There's a true eeriness in a scene of torture, as you're reminded that the Bush Administration has been reported to have used similar tactics in its detainment of suspects. In the case of the film, those suspects happen to be its own citizens.

V For Vendetta is both a frightening and hopeful vision. Despite V's approach to conflict resolution, the film reminds us that in the end it is the people who allow their freedoms to be taken away and it is they who must ultimately take it back. Sound familiar?

Gather your friends, colleagues, DFA group, etc. and go to see this film.

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Russ Feingold on The Daily Show

Crooks and Liars has the video, and I agree with their assessment of Feingold's performance. He definitely rocked. It was a bit disappointing that he wasn't actually in the studio with Jon Stewart, but one thing that struck me is that this is the sort of interview Howard had to work at for a while so that he didn't appear stiff. Russ Feingold came across natural and relaxed--and above all, incredibly *reasonable* in what he was saying. Certainly compared to the shrill cries from the right that he sides with the terrorists because he wants to protect the basic rights of American citizens.

I did record the interview with the intention of doing a transcript later on, but here's a piece of what Feingold said, courtesy of Crooks and Liars.

Feingold: I was taught that the congress makes the laws and the president is supposed to sign them and enforce them. He's not supposed to make them up.---How many times are we going to let George Bush and Dick Cheney say you guys don't support the troops, you're not patriotic and let them push us around?

FYI, some housekeeping issues--I put Catreona's diary back in draft since there were no comments yet. I wanted it to get enough air time, since I know that she spent a lot of time researching it. I'll be away from the computer during business hours, but one of the other contributers can flip the switch and publish it, maybe around lunch time. There is also another draft waiting (I feel so spoiled with posts written for the rest of the day!). It is a review of the movie V is for Vendetta by Darryl (aka Dardango). A warm HEP welcome to Dar!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Stuff you should know

Another one of those posts with assorted unrelated items that deserve front page attention...

Russ Feingold will be "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" tonight. The show will be on at 10:00 pm Central (11:00 Eastern) and rebroadcast two hours later, as well as tomorrow at 7:00 pm Central. Don't forget to vote in Russ's "Pick a Progressive Patriot".

For anyone who hasn't heard yet, IndySteve is running for Congress.

We have a couple of major events coming up here in Columbus with Jim Wallis (author of God's Politics). On Sunday, he will be debating Rev. Russell Johnson, chairman of the Ohio Restoration Project, about the role of faith in politics. Then, on Tuesday, March 28, Wallis will be leading a public lecture and discussion on faith, values, and politics. You can learn more about both events at my blog, Faithful Ohio.

Good post on Firedoglake about the Cegelis/Duckworth race and how the DC Dems need us if they want to win: Together, Can We Do Better?

And finally, since I had to go and bring up that whole frustrating situation of the D.C. Dems undercutting the grassroots, I offer this picture of a baby panda from this Baby Animals site. Just wanted to end this post with something to make us smile.

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Charlie Grapski running for office

In Charlie's previous guest-blog-he-didn't-know-he-was-writing (it was part of a comment he made at BFA) he wrote about the need for Americans to make a change From Subjects to Citizens. Earlier this evening at BFA, Thankful*on*the*Road reposted some of Charlie's comments, and I discovered that I'd missed the two comments that led up to the one that I posted here earlier. Here it is. No, I don't know what he's running for, but maybe one of you knows. Or maybe he'll come by and tell us--I did e-mail him this evening. --Renee

Hey everyone,
Just stopping bye to say Hi - and give an update - busy, busy, busy lately (which is why I have been so "quiet" :) ).

The campaign is finally OFFICIAL and just now underway. We began collecting petitions to be on the ballot last night. We are now beginning our fundraising drive - and we will have a website up shortly. I certainly hope everyone will stop by and log in ... I hope that many of you will be part of my larger "grassroots" team (while we build a local grassroots "model citizens' army" to EMPOWER the disempowered "subject" into an active and effective CITIZEN).

Oh well - several of you have already expressed your encouragement to this effort - I hope to get you guys a little more involved in time - and expand to others.

I really think Dean and Trippi unleashed a sleeping giant in the last presidential cycle - at a national politics level (with a grassroots movement).

I hope that I can develop - and demonstrate the efficacy of - taking this down to the LOCAL level. We intend to have a number of innovative ideas - as well as to apply the great lessons of our efforts nationally in 2004.

This is a real TEAM effort - I (as the candidate and future representative) may be the center-point of the play and may get the most attention of the media - but its not about the QUARTERBACK (the candidate/official) - its a team effort (remember the them that Democracy is NOT a Spectator Sport ... well add to that - it IS a TEAM Sport).

As we all know - no matter how great a QB you have - the team cannot win without also having a good Center, a good Offensive Line, a good Defense, and good running backs and receivers. (Hey - this is the home of the University of Florida Gators - I think the Football analogy can be well understood).

So our objective is to build ourselves into a winning TEAM.


(I hope to hear from all of you - with your ideas and suggestions - I take note of them all - and have really found them very useful and encouraging. Feel free to email me anytime (click the link)).

Charlie Grapski wrote on March 19, 2006 03:16 PM:

Oh - by the way - let me get some feedback from all of you on some of our themes for the campaign.

I don't like "the way its done" approach - that is the means wereby we preserve and reinforce the status quo - and thus fail to achieve the necessary changes we need.

Certainly I will learn from the elements of WISDOM in the "way things are traditionally done" - but its time to CHANGE THE GAME - and add new, innovative, and better methods and approaches to politics.

But one thing that has SOME wisdom - is the packaging of ideas so as to be easily and quickly attracting attention and gaining understanding. And the related idea of having THREE themes. At the same time - this is also limiting and artificial - and very prone to the EASY way (abuse) - of mere MANIPULATION of public opinion through the rhetorical techniques of the PR/Marketing consultants.

But I do have TWO SETS of three initial themes - that will be developed extensively - and will not be EXCLUSIVELY our concerns - but are two different levels of very important areas that need to be addressed and are, in the case of the first theme, generally ignored and neglected, and in the second set, generally spoken about in pandering promises but never actually delivered in actual policy practice.

So - just in general (without the details) - what do you guys think about these two themes:

SET ONE (getting to the essence of a functioning democracy)
1. Ethics
2. Education
3. Empowerment

SET TWO (dealing with some of the most significant particular policy areas of life outside of the political process):
1. Energy
2. Environment
3. Employment

Yes - two sets of EEE's!

I appreciate your comments and thoughts - you can discuss them here or email me (click) - and don't hesitate to analyze them critically. That is how we come to understanding - and eventually - agreement (that is really what being a "uniter not a divider" is all about - not the mere rhetoric of you know who's spin team).

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tinfoil hats rendered obsolete

Here's what I've decided today. The Bush administration is spying on all of us. All the time, everywhere we go. Every purchase we make, every phonecall we place or receive, everything we post on the internet...

What? You say I'm being paranoid and that's not really happening? Okay, prove it.

You can't. Bush has said, "Yeah, I've spied on Americans without a warrent, and I'm gonna keep doing it. What are *you* gonna do about it, punk?" All right, those weren't his exact words, but that was certainly the gist of the message. And the Senate Intelligence Committee voted not to investigate the NSA wiretapping issue.

But many Democrats don't think that censuring Bush is a "winning issue". People are acting all irked and inconvenienced. This is taking us "off message". How dare Russ Feingold do such a thing? Right now we need to be as bland as possible, so that everybody will vote for us when the Republicans implode. That's the strategery, right?

I asked an Ohio candidate last week what he thought of the censure motion. He wasn't running for Senate, but since he was talking about the Bush administration's egregious power-grabbing, I thought I'd check out his thoughts on the matter. What I got was pretty much a nonanswer. He basically indicated that he was sympathetic to the point Feingold was trying to make, but that he "deals in reality", and realistically we are not going to be able to make this happen. The solution to all the problems we face right now are "new management".

That seems to be the stance of a lot of Democrats. Shhh. Don't say anything "controversial. Let us get back in control and we'll make everything better.

Why should I believe that? What evidence do I have that Democrats *can* actually get back in power? After all, anyone who opposes the goals of this administration could easily be seen as a "threat" and therefore subject to wiretapping. You think that's a "tinfoil hat" speculation? Fine, prove it. Prove that the opposition party is not being wiretapped. Oh, and let's talk about those voting machines that are still used in many elections--you know, the ones where everything is super secret and it's *illegal* to open them up and check to make sure they are working properly. How can we possibly know if these machines are properly recording which candidate gets the most votes. There was an *awful* lot of funny business in the 2004 election in Ohio, and who knows how much more happened and was never discovered. And the people running the show could feel safe that we would never completely connect the dots, because even Democrats played along and "distanced" themselves from the "craaaazy" conspiracy theorists who asked these questions.

Back to the spying thing, we *do* know that people have been flagged for "special attention" simply because they belonged to a peace group. I read about one couple that came to the attention of Homeland Security simply because they payed off their credit card. They found out when they discovered that the money they sent in had not been credited to their account--because it was "under investigation".

The bottom line is this--if we can only stand up for our rights when we are in the majority, we are in deep doo-doo. The more power the corrupt people in charge are able to amass, the more they are able to insure that they stay in power.

Oh, and, by the way...
September 11! (Booga-booga!) Apparently that's the gist of the new attack ad against Russ Feingold.

Timid Dems, the time to redeem yourselves is now. Support Russ Feingold's censure resolution and prove to Americans that you're not too timid to lead, no matter what the challenge.

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Weekly DemocracyFest Update

DemocracyFest will take place at San Diego State University, July 14 - 16, 2006

I'm going to start posting a weekly update on Democracy Fest here each Tuesday morning.

I figured I should start with something simple like...


Here is a breakdown of the ticket purchase options:

DemocracyFest Ticket - $55
Gives you access to all of the trainings, speakers, and entertainment taking place on Thurs - Sun, except the Sat Dinner, Bloggers Breakfast, and Sat Night Blowout.

Saturday Night Blowout - $20
The big Saturday night event featuring Gov. Howard Dean

Saturday Night Dinner - $30
Dinner with speakers and entertainment, preceeding the Sat Night Blowout

Bloggers Breakfast - $15
Darrell's Bloggers' Breakfast is back! You don't want to miss this.

On Campus Lodging
There are several on site room options available for purchase through the website, varying in price.

We realize that the cost associated with the event may make it difficult for some people to attend. We have made some funds available for scholarships for those who need them.

If you have any questions, just email me at jjem1999 (at) or post them here in the comments section.

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DFA Supports Censure?

Last night Chris Warshaw of Democracy for America was the special blogging guest over at My Vote is My Voice. Toward the end of the hour jc asked Chris,

"Does DFA have a position on Feingold's censure motion?"

And Chris replied,

"We do support Censure. We're currently assessing the best way to persuade more Senators to take our position. Let me know if you have any ideas!"

Really? DFA supports censure? You'd never know. Chris' tepid reply doesn't inspire confidence that DFA is going to be out in front on this one.

Tom Hughes posted just one diary last week over at Daily Kos: It's just horse sense. I got my hopes up when I clicked through and here's what I found: A diary about paper ballots and a new flash movie DFA put together about the importance of paper ballots.

I know these guys watch the news and read the papers. Russ Feingold introduces a Senate resolution censuring the President on March 13--and on March 15, DFA posts about paper ballots.

Bob Brigham posted the following comment:

I mean, I'm in favor of paper ballots and all, but uh, what about the whole censure thing?

I agreed with Bob. It really made DFA look like it wasn't on top of the situation. Just to make sure I wasn't totally uninformed, I went over to BFA to see what has been posted since March 13. Here's what I found:

March 13: A link to watch Feingold introduce his resolution on C-Span.
March 14: A paragraph in the Monday news roundup about the resolution.

Compare this with the number of posts FireDogLake that are devoted to or mention Feingold's resolution: at least 20 by my count. FDL is primarily run by 2 people, Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith (aka ReddHedd) but they've recruited other contributors. And they manage to cover other important topics like the Scooter Libby investigation as well.

If DFA supports censure with the caveat that they're waiting for the outcome of an investigation, they're going to have a looooong wait:

There is not going to be an investigation, we know it, they know it and George Bush knows it. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted on March 7 not to investigate. Do they somehow think Arlen Specter is suddenly going to change his stripes? The censure resolution has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, which if the GOP holds true to form will probably mean they'll wind up investigating Feingold for treason. (FireDogLake)
I want to ask DFA the same questions that Russ Feingold posed recently on the Charlie Rose show:

How can we be afraid at this point, of standing up to a president who has clearly mismanaged this Iraq war, who clearly made one of the largest blunders in American foreign policy history? How can it be that this party wants to stand back and allow this kind of thing to happen?

And then add to that the idea that the president has clearly broken the law --- and a number of Republican senators have effectively admitted that, by saying "you know, we need this program so let's make it legal," --- so they are admitting it's illegal.

The idea that Democrats don't think it's a winning thing to say that we will stand up for the rule of law and for checking abuse of power by the executive --- I just can't believe that Democrats don't think that isn't something, not only that we can win on, but it does, in fact, make the base of our party, which is so important, feel much better about the Democrats. The Republicans care deeply about making the base of their party feels energized. What about the people of our party who believe in the Democratic Party especially because they fight for the American values of standing up for our rights and civil liberties?

(Hat tip to Digby--emphases mine)

Suddenly my reply to Chris last night doesn't seem quite so cranky.

Alternate link to comment.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Howard Dean corrects Counterpunch. Good for him.

On March 7, 2006, David Lindorff wrote this in an article at Counterpunch. He was totally wrong on this, and Howard Dean emailed him to please correct it. Dean's answer below. He implies it makes him get noticed as a journalist.

Groundswell for Impeachment

"While researching our book on impeachment (The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing George W. Bush from Office, St. Martin's Press, due out in late April), my co-author Barbara Olshanshky and I have found that members of Congress-even firebrands like Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)-have been strong-armed behind the scenes by the Democratic National Committee not to introduce an impeachment bill in the House. Rep. John Conyers, the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, where such a bill would be considered, has submitted three bills that relate to impeachment-a proposal for a special committee to investigate possible impeachable crimes by the administration and bills to censure both the president and the vice president for refusing to answer questions from Congress on impeachment-related issues--but that's as far as the Democratic congressional leadership is willing to go."
Then he gets a letter from Howard Dean, and he gives a snip of it in this article, also at Counterpunch. He lost me at "it's nice to be noticed as a columnist."

Howard Dean Tells CounterPunch: DNC No Foe of Impeachment Drive

I got an personal email from Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean today. On a Sunday morning, the DNC chief wrote me to take issue with what I wrote on March 7 in this space. I said that pressure from Democratic party leaders was the reason not one member of the House has filed a bill of impeachment against our president for trashing the U.S. Constitution.

The article clearly hit a nerve.

"The DNC is not in the business of telling Congress to go easy on this President," Dean wrote. "I'd be grateful if you could correct the report."

It's nice to be noticed as a columnist, and I will clarify my point. I agree with Dean that the DNC as an organization is not telling Congress anything.
Good for Howard for standing up for himself. Too bad he must fight the left and the right to do his job. We have a long way to go in this battle for the party's soul. Not everyone will get everything they want. Life is just not that way. Honesty is always the best policy. You got noticed, Mr. Lindorff, because you told an untruth, not because you did a good job on that particular article.

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MViMV Guest Blog tonight

Tonight's My Vote is My Voice Guest Blogger will be Chris Warshaw from Democracy For America. Chris will discuss "Organizing locally to win in 2006 and beyond".

Please join us tonight from 8-9pm EST.

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Monday non-birthday thread

I know that Jessica has a post waiting in the wings about tonight's My Vote is My Voice guest blog, but there are some things I'd like to give front page attention, so I'm putting up one of those all-purpose threads. Everything but the kitchen sink. Unless, of course, anyone knows of any important kitchen sink-related legislation that is coming down soon and needs our attention.

Think Progress has a great Three Years of War in Iraq Timeline.

Christine Cegelis' primary is tomorrow, and her web site has information about how you can help.

Leave your birthday greetings for jc in this thread.

And check out Karen in MI's blog Namaste for a new feature:

Welcome to the first MONDAY MEME! Bring your cup of coffee along and most of all, your valued opinion. Every Monday I will post your comments with follow-up questions. Please email me with your suggestions, possibly with a link if it a news-related event. I will toss them all in a hat and draw the lucky winner!
And happy first day of spring!

Photo from

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Happy Birthday, jc!

Happy birthday, jc, and thank you for all you do! Let's show jc, who is spending this birthday away from her kitties, some blog family love.

Image hosting by Photobucket

The picture of jc's cats is from the collection of "who we are" response ads to the "latte drinking, sushi eating" attack ads.

Here's one of jc's graphics that was featured on Blog for America, once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away...

And here's another...

Links to some of this amazing, hard-working, talented woman's web sites...

Graphics for America
Take Your Country Back
The Blog Family (includes the birthday calendar)
jc's designs blog

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Peace Rally in Columbus, March 18

If anyone has pictures or stories from a peace rally you attended over the weekend that you would like to share, I'd love to be able to post them here. E-mail pictures and/or a first-person account of your local event to howardempowered at Here's a link to the story in the Columbus Dispatch.

Beating drums made of pots and paint buckets, some protesters marched to the Statehouse in rhythm from Goodale Park, where they gathered with others before joining a crowd estimated at nearly 1,000 Downtown.
Beth Lerman, of Dayton, held a flag as she stood with other members of Military Families Speak Out.

Lerman, whose son fought in the first Gulf War, said voicing her views and questioning the war is an exercise in democracy and freedom.

"That's what they are fighting for - to protect our freedom," said Lerman, who traveled to Crawford, Texas, last year and protested outside President Bush's home with activist Cindy Sheehan.

"It's our kids that are paying the price," Lerman said. "We are obligated to see they aren't misused and their trust not betrayed after they have laid down their lives for this country."

More about the rally, including photos by Mike Gruber, can be found here.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

From subjects to citizens

Charlie Grapski just posted this over at the big blog.

You guys may know the story about the American Revolutionary Army under Washington.

Early on - things were looking bleak - as Washington camped his troops at Valley Forge. The well-meaning, but ill-equipped army (the real problem however was poorly trained army - rather than just the equipment ... which was exagerated a bit by Washington in an effort to get more support from Congress). They were holding on ... but the British were dominating - and many thought the effort would eventually fail.

Then - before the French were brought in by Franklin (a BIG boost - not only strategically (diverting the British forces into sending troops down to the Indies - to prevent the WORLD WAR from giving the French an opportunity to take away some of the British possessions) but also in MORALE) - Franklin had an even greater impact.

He went to the PRUSSIAN ARMY (the best then in the world - even better than the other big guy - the British) - and recruited "Baron" and "General" von Steuben.

Of course - this was a little "fib" of Franklin - who knew the "aristocratic" military leadership would not accept someone of lesser status - as he really was not a General or a big Noble - but more of a DRILL SERGEANT (he was actually a Captain).

But von Steuben, who spoke NO ENGLISH, came and DRAMATICALLY CHANGED the American revolutionaries into a world-class army - nearly overnight!

He was faced with a daunting challenge - one that most people would view as futile. How to turn, in short time and with little resources, a rag-tag group into a professional military that could realistically stand up to one of the world's greatest military powers?

He knew he could not train EVERY single soldier overnight. So he established a MODEL army. He focused on a small group - and trained them into a TOP-NOTCH force in a short time.

The MODEL then was SPREAD throughout the forces.

And thus - we WON our independence!

Well - we have a SIMILAR situation facing us again. Again - facing a tyranical power, again being relatively untrained (as citizens), and feeling disempowered ... we have a daunting challenge in front of us - FOR THE FUTURE.

Thus - this campaign will be like building a MODEL ARMY OF CITIZENS. Training us to no longer act like mere SUBJECTS (passive receptors of the policy decisions of OTHERS who rule over us) and into an EFFECTIVE force of CITIZENS (who rule themselves).

That is how we RESTORE our democracy - and REPLACE (and overthrow) our "tyranny."


(What do you think, by the way?)

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