Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Comics

And my favorite for today: Never Forget

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Open thread

From the overnight thread. (I noticed we were up to 62 comments and thought a new thread would be easier for refreshing.)
Edwin - hour by hour

No new news here - blood pressure still low, heart rate still high. We're thinking of going for a serious nap at the hotel after ther next shift change. I just copped a few zzzz's in the icu lounge, puddle said she dozed a little with her head on Edwin's arm. A long night indeed. May it continue as is and bring us a bright new sunny, hopeful day.

Continued thnaks for all the help and well wishes.

(btw - the coffee shop has wireless - do ya think the main reception desk coulda answered that on correctly earlier! oh well.)

&heart;s to all.

by Thankful2Thankful4Dean on Saturday, 09/09/06 @ 03:40 AM
Here's the link to the virtual candle page for Edwin--looks like the one I lit has almost burned down. Will probably be time to light a new one when I get home.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Extra prayers and light for Edwin

Troubling news this Friday night...


Thankful just called.

Things have turned bad. Not looking good. His blood pressure has fallen dangerously low.

ALL PRAYERS, LOVE and LIGHT to Edwin and Puddleriver.

Thankful will try to update later.
Linda | Homepage | 09.08.06 - 9:33 pm

Reposting this from yesterday's thread...

In this picture, Edwin is the one on the left

Here's a link to a virtual candle lighting site. (Requires Flash--I think). Edwin has his own page here, if you'd like to light a candle to join mine.

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Star Trek turns 40

I had no idear that was today until I saw a comment at the BBB. Wonder what Daughter in Ohio will say upon learning that she shares her birthday with something so "geeky". (I don't know that she actually dislikes it, but her brother likes science fictiony stuff, so I think she feels compelled not to.)

From the BBC:
Conference marks Star Trek's 40th
Trek memories of 'android' actor
From the CBC:
40 years later, Star Trek lives long and prospers
From tvsquad:
The Five: Most common Star Trek plot gimmicks
From Huffington Post:
Star Trek Haters, Take Your Snotty Attitudes And Stuff It

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Update on Edwin


As of now Edwin is stable. He is on dialysis and is still asleep, but he is responding to treatment.

Doctor said he was quite sick after surgery and will get worse before getting better, but Thankful and I are optimistic that it seems to us that he is on his upswing, because yesterday he wasn't showing improvement.

I guess the Doctors are just trying to say he has a bit to go before being out of danger and as he awakes and heals, things can still happen, but it sounds better than yesterday and THAT'S GOOD.

They are going to try to rest now.

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Last night there was a question about Gravatars. At one point, jc wrote us the whole process of getting a Gravatar, getting it rated, and so forth, and we had a link to that comment in the sidebar. But at some point the link was no longer valid, so now there's just a link to the main page of the Gravatar web site.

What is a gravatar?

A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an 80 x 80 pixel avatar image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites. Avatars help identify your posts on web forums, so why not on weblogs?

How do I get a gravatar?

Signing up for a account is FREE, and all that's required is your email address. Once you've signed up you can upload your avatar image and soon after you'll start seeing it on gravatar enabled weblogs!

You can register with more than one e-mail address, and change Gravatars simply by plugging a different address into the e-mail field when you are commenting. Some people only register one e-mail address with Gravatar, and then change Gravatars by logging in to the official web site, where they see a screen with something like this:

If I wanted to change my Gravatar to something other than that sweet puppy face, I could use that interface to upload a new image from my computer. The puppy would continue to display with that e-mail address until the person at the Gravatar got around to giving the new image a rating, and then the new image would appear. How long that will take is hard to say.

However, the the Haloscan control panel (that place I'm always logging into to undo the work of the gremlins that duplicate some of our posts), I can set an image as a default Gravatar, and it will display immediately.

Last November, I took advantage of that feature and made "Birthday Flat Howard" the default Gravatar, so anyone who didn't already have a registered Gravatar got that image as the default. Then I did a Thanksgiving Howard, a Winter Holiday Howard, and so on until I picked the Dean 2008 Gravatar around Presidents' Day. And that one just sort of stuck, I guess because I forgot about doing seasonal Gravatars. Which is probably a good thing, because, did we really want to see Howard Dean with Easter bunny ears? ;-)

Anyway, LeslieK's question reminded me that I'd been meaning to change the default Gravatar, so now we have this:

"Arrrrgh, George Bush, ye scruvy dog! Ye'd best be givin' us the people their civil liberties back!"

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Candle Lighting

I've been thinking a lot today about candles. If you've been around this blog lately, you've seen the candle graphic quite a bit--for Subway Serenade and then for Edwin. Candles can mean a different things, but in general I think a lot of people "get" the idea that a candle can represent hope, a "light in the darkness", etc. And it seems like a fairly "safe" image to use with a group as diverse as our blog family, since it is not tied to one faith tradition.

Let me tell you a little about my faith. Kimmy sometimes calls me the "church lady", and, as I may have noted before, that amuses me at least a little. It is true, my faith life is important to me--it's an important part of my "life narrative", I guess you could say. But the truth is, I have way more questions than I have answers. The notion of being on a "spiritual path" somehow resonates with me, but much of the time it feels like I'm wandering in the desert. Yet, every now and then there will be a moment, and experience--a "knowing"--that tells me that I am indeed still on the path.

Now, about prayer. Honestly, I'm not sure I ever quite got the knack. I've tried different kinds of prayer, and from time to time find myself drawn to things like rosaries, labyrinths...prayer involving "props" if you will. Something tangible. Because, what I've discovered about myself is that I'm not good at visualizing. At my Catholic high school, one of the religion classes I took involved prayer using guided imagery. Lovely class, as I recall, but I just couldn't do the imagery part. I've led psychology classes in relaxation/guided imagery classes, and had people describe really being there, on the beach, or in the woods. I'm rather bemused by the idear that, with my voice, I can help lead students to places I haven't experienced myself.

For my whole life, I have always been certain that there is a "something more", and that death isn't the end. But I'm really hazy about the details. So there's this paradox that something is very real to me, and yet I can't see or touch or hear it. Most days, I'm at peace with that, but when I'm going through a rough time, I really want comfort I can see and touch. This blog community is also very real, even though many of us have never met in person. We've developed a real network of caring. Yet when one of us is going through a difficult experience, I'm all the more aware of the inability to physically gather together for support.

Which brings us back to candles. I had seen the virtual candle lighting site before, but was not aware until today that it was possible to light candles in a group. I like that--because it helps me see us gathered together in support.

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Keep the pressure on ABC

Here are some links to current blog posts/stories about the fake 9/11 documentary that ABC plans to air on September 10 and 11.

From Crooks and Liars...
ABC's ridiculous Statement on their 9/11 fakeumentary
Greg Mitchell: ABC film heavily weighted against Clinton: Screenwriter admitted to making scene up

From Media Matters:
ABC and Scholastic release skewed Path to 9/11 "Discussion Guide" for high school teachers to assign to students

Media highlighted conservative complaints about less-than-flattering portrayal of Reagan in 2003 biopic, offer little coverage of ABC's 9-11 miniseries, reportedly riddled with falsehoods

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Haloscan problems

There have been some real problems with Haloscan today, such that I need to make a good half dozen attempts to get one comment to post, so I imagine the same is happening for others people as well. So I am crossposting this entry at the "emergency backup blog" over at Wordpress. If there's something you'd like to share with the HEP family and can't get commenting to work here, you can try leaving a comment at the Wordpress blog, or you can e-mail me at

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Dial up the prayers (light, vibes) please

Halsocan is having problems right now, FYI. I've crossposted this blog entry here.

From puddle:

Okay, here's the deal. He's deteriorating, is not responding, and I'm on my way there. This will prolly be last update for a while.

Please keep them prayers, light, and vibes coming.

I love you all. This is a wonderful loving community whose price is far above rubies. . . .

puddle*in*NYC | Homepage | 09.07.06 - 10:39 am |

Just talked to his doctor. Extremely bad: kidneys, lungs, sepsis.

Begging for prayer here.

Agatha's here to cat sit, and I'm leaving for Baltimore in a bit. Thankful's coming with me to Fort Worth. (I need a keeper!)

xox puddle
puddle*in*NYC | Homepage | 09.07.06 - 12:52 pm |

Update: Karen has posted hospital details, via Linda in Cincinnati, here.

Here's a picture of Edwin that Kimmy posted:

In this picture, Edwin is the one on the left

Here's a link to a virtual candle lighting site. (Requires Flash--I think). Edwin has his own page here, if you'd like to light a candle to join mine.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Open Thread

Thanks for tipping me off that Countdown was on, JayDean. I'd forgotten. Keith Olbermann mentioned that his book is coming out, and I've just added it to the affiliate site page. So if you were thinking of getting the book anyway, if you buy it through the link below or through the link on this page, you can support Howard-Empowered People with your purchase.

Puddle checked in about Edwin's surgery in the comments here, and he is out of surgery but,

Still touch-and-go for a while (days at least).

Still much in need of that light, etc.

puddle*in*NYC | Homepage | 09.06.06 - 6:22 pm

So, keep that good stuff coming.

**There's an update from puddle at 10:57 p.m.

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For all those we "hold in the light"

This candle is for Edwin, who was taken to the emergency room last night, and is about to undergo surgery. You can find the details in the overnight thread, starting with puddle's post at 12:43 a.m. She has asked that I add Edwin to the page with our intentions. That page has not been updated in a long time, however, and it's not a task I can undertake today, so I thought it would be more timely just to post the candle here. Think of it as representing prayers, love, light, hope, vibes, peace, or whatever it is we are sending to Edwin in the hospital, to puddle, for Subway, and to all of us who need a little more of those things right now.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Keith Olbermann to Bush: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Keith Olbermann delivered another excellent response to the current administration's stifling of dissent--this time in response to Bush's speech.

Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11 -- without ever actually saying so - the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, "a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government."

Make no mistake here - the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the right, the "media."

The President and the Vice President and others have often attacked freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press.

Now, Mr. Bush has signaled that his unparalleled and unprincipled attack on reporting has a new and venomous side angle:

The attempt to link, by the simple expediency of one word - "media" - the honest, patriotic, and indeed vital questions and questioning from American reporters, with the evil of Al-Qaeda propaganda.

That linkage is more than just indefensible. It is un-American.

Click here for the rest.

Thank you, Keith Olbermann

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Action item: Contact ABC about biased 9/11 film

I've seen a boatload of diaries and posts about this issue today, but don't have time to put together an entry of my own about it, so I'm going to directly lift what the Think Progress web site has to say, and link to them. If you fill out the form on this page, it will send your comments directly to ABC...

On September 10 and 11, ABC Television is planning to run an inaccurate film depicting the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks. The film was written by an avowed conservative and it largely places the blame for failing to prevent the attacks on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration.

Our review of the film shows it to be full of such inaccuracies. Its distorted version of history is inconsistent with the 9/11 Commission Report, upon which it claims to be based. The events leading up to September 11, 2001 are too important and too tragic to play politics with the facts.
More relevant links:
Richard Clarke Blasts Key Scene In ABC’s 9/11 Docudrama
ABC Planning Massive Free Distribution of 9/11 Docudrama
Scholastic Books - Catapulting 'Path to 9/11' Propaganda
Movie "Pathway to 9/11" Connected to Exxon

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Strickland-Blackwell debate: Closing Remarks

The first of four scheduled debates between Ohio gubernatorial candidates Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell took place at noon today, airing on the Ohio News Network and streaming live on WFMJ. It will air again on ONN tonight at 11 p.m.. Here are the candidates closing remarks...

Moderator: We now come to the last part of the debate, the closing remarks. Mr. Blackwell, you have two minutes.

Ken Blackwell: Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to my fellow Ohioans. I've had the opportunity to live the American dream. That public housing community that I talked about at the beginning of these debates was a half mile away from City Hall. I sold peanuts inside and outside of Crosley Field. I went on to become the mayor of my hometown, and I now am a minority shareholder of the Cincinnati Reds. I've lived the American Dream, I've answered the question. My wife and I have worked very very hard over our lifetime, we've actually taken risks, risks with our own homes to start a business to produce jobs. I want more Ohioans to be able to live that American Dream.

Right now, too many of our young people believe that, in order to go up, they have to go out. I want to restore an option. I want to put an Ohio option back in their hands, where they know with confidence that if they exercise their options, they can find better education here in Ohio, they can, in fact, have health coverage. They can find a job, and elevated incomes. I think that that requires leadership, and leadership that has a record of accomplishment. I will compare, over the next 64 days, my record with that with Ted Strickland's, and I think that people will see that he is a get along to go along guy, or go along to get along guy. He is an extension of the status quo, I represent change. I look forward to ushering in a new era of prosperity. Ohioans deserve a better future, Tom Raga and I want to lead them there.

Moderator: Thank you, sir. Mr. Strickland, you've got two minutes.

Ted Strickland: Well, I think the choice is clear. If people like what's happening in Ohio, if they like the leadership they've gotten, if they like the condition of our state, then they should vote for Mr. Ken Blackwell. Because he represents a continuation of the Taft-Blackwell way of governing. I represent change. I come from modest backgrounds, as I said earlier, wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but Ohio has been good to me. Ohio has enabled me to serve as a minister and as a psychologist, and as a university professor, and to have the great privilege of serving in the House of Representatives, representing the people of southern and southeastern Ohio. I've been able to do things because of education.

And I want to make a promise to Ohioans. If they elect me to be their governor, every morning when I get out of bed, I'm going to look in the mirror and I'm going to say, "Governor Strickland, what are you going to do today to create jobs for Ohioans to provide economic security for Ohio's families? What are you going to do today to make education of high quality and college affordable for the young people of Ohio. And what are you going to do today, Ted Strickland, to make sure that the people of Ohio who need healthcare can get healthcare without bankrupting their families. Those are the kitchen table issues, the bread-and-butter, dinner bucket issues facing Ohioans, education, healthcare, and economic security for their families.

Those are the issues. No more polarization--I will work to pull Ohioans together, Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike, to move our great state forward. That's the challenge. That's what's facing Ohio, and I ask for your support, because, together, we can move our state forward, and make Ohio great once again.
Before we leave, I have a quick question. Jerry Springer's

going to be on the show Dancing with the Stars. Would either of you be interested in competing? (Laughter)

Ken Blackwell: Like his brother Ted, the only thing Jerry's good at running is his mouth. (More laughter).

Ted Strickland: Well, that was sort of a nasty thing to say. I just would like to end by thanking my worthy opponent for participating in this debate.
Some "crosstalk" can be heard between the moderator and Blackwell, stepping on the end of Strickland's remarks. I could hear more laughter, "Thank you sir" and "Appreciate it", and then Blackwell's voice saying "I was talking about Jerry."

Nice save, Ken--not! Ken Blackwell simply can't stop himself from being a petty namecaller, which was evident throughout the debate. That he chose to answer this light, joking question from the moderator in, as Ted Strickland said, such a nasty way, only serves to highlight this truth about Blackwell.

So, which of these two men has the necessary character "to work to pull Ohioans together, Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike, to move our great state forward". I think Ken Blackwell just answered that question for us.

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Monday, September 04, 2006


In honor of Howard, who led me to this Howard-Empowered community, I wanted to connect my maiden post to one of his tenets: the fundamental importance of the politics of community. Of the many frustrations I have with our Democratic politicians, it is their inability or unwillingness to embrace that notion as a clarion call that is personally most maddening. With the exception of John Edwards, Russ Feingold, and Barak Obama (in words, if not in much action so far), no one but Howard has had the courage to preach this value that I find so self-evident: we must consider the welfare of others as part of our own, care for others as we care for ourselves, consider the community's well-being from small scale at the local level to larger scale at the national level -- to the largest at the global level -- if we wish to consider ourselves Democrats.

Howard's brilliance was his ability to articulate this value in a down-to-earth, pragmatic way, without sounding "preachy." Ironically, though, it may be preaching that we need right now. The leaders we need now are people who can speak to not only the sound policy sense that caring for everyone in our communities makes, but also its moral, ethical, and spiritual imperative. These individuals should be calling out that our emperor has no clothes, that Bush's policies to support self-centered, unregulated, runaway corporate and individual greed are leading us down the path to national damnation.

So, what sorts of things should we be talking about to promote the politics of community? A newly minted word I came across recently seems like an interesting jumping off point -- allophilia. What is allophilia? It is explained in depth here,, but a short definition is below.

Allophilia is a term we coined in a recent manuscript to refer to one's "liking or love for the members of another social identity group" (Pittinsky, in press). The term is derived from the Greek words meaning "liking or love of the other." While the academic and applied literature on intergroup relations is well supplied with terms for negative intergroup attitudes (e.g., prejudice, xenophobia, sexism, racism, anti-Americanism, classism, ageism, homophobia, etc.), there are surprisingly few terms for positive intergroup attitudes. However, anywhere there is a prejudice or an "ism," there might also, or instead, be allophilia. Allophilia might be experienced for the members of a different nation, a different religion, a different ethnic group, a different linguistic group, a different gender, or sexual orientation.

A little allophilia anyone?

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Howard Dean on Face the Nation, September 3, 2006

I've transcribed Howard Dean's appearance on Face the Nation, and I've added both that transcript and the other one I did recently to the left sidebar (which admittedly hadn't been updated for quite a while). Thank you Linda in Cincinnati for the annotated Google video. You can recommend her Kos diary here. And while you're over there, you can help out Oscar with his survey.

Howard Dean on Face the Nation, Sunday, September 3, 2006

Howard Dean's Speech to the DNC in Chicago, August 19, 2006

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Thankful's Report!

Oh, the one and only Subway Serenade. Despite not feeling well, being in pain, tired, and full of tubes, he emanated a vibrance and love that touched our very souls. Be well Subway, mend quickly.
A beautiful, gorgeous, and perfect day in NYC.

Subway -- Love to you for your spirit, songs, Full Snuggle Theory, and just for being YOU.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bloggers report on their visit with Subway Serenade

From Agatha...

Hello bloggers,

I'm writing to report on Subway Serenade, whom puddle, Thankful, and I got to spend some time with today.

Subway is Subway (meaning he's amazing), but he is a sick Subway who definitely could use all the vibes, prayers, hugs, snuggles, voodoo incantations, or whatever is in your arsenal. The tumor was benign, but he is still in ICU. Hopefully, he will be moved out of there today, and then his wife can stay with him. If all goes well, he will be out of the hospital in a week. He is in a lot of pain, what with X-rays and fever and the like, so keep him in your hearts.

Even though Subway has enough tubes sticking out of him to power the internets, do NOT think of Subway as a victim. He is a PROUD DEANIAC. Before even mentioning the pain, Subway first bitched about a judge ruling against Francine Busby. That's right. And, he's not at all happy that Karl Rove has been helping Vito Fosella (disgusting representative of Staten Island... a used car salesman at best). So, Subway can't wait to get out of the hospital to KICK SOME BUTT. He is itching to write songs again and take his country back. And...

Howard's Angels (that would be puddle, Thankful, and I) let Subway know that the blog would much rather know about Subway's bill of health than Robert's. We told Subway that evidently, when a proctologist looks up Robert's anus, he smiles (note my medical terminology so as not to offend the blog). So, Subway is gearing up to kick Robert's ass, too (puddle pointed out that since Robert's butt is so clean, Subway won't have to get his toes dirty). Watch out, right wingers!

It's always good to see Subway, but I didn't like the setting and condition he was in. I want to see him singing in Gramercy Park again soon, and he definitely agrees. But, under all the pain and sedation he is in, there is still a twinkle in his eye and determination in his quiet voice. Leave it to Subway to reminisce the glow of yesterday's sunset while he is in the hospital. Subway is indomitable.

It was also great to spend time with Thankful, whom I hadn't seen since Deanfest 1.0. (On our very long commute, Thankful had a real treat talking with a Bushian troglodyte.. maybe she will share with the blog.) As for puddle, I get to see her any old time because she now lives in my neighborhood (ha ha to many of you)!!!

Hugs to all of you, and send your hugs to Subway.


As I was taking off the contact lenses, I remembered this:

Subway knows of all the warm intentions posted on the blog for him and really appreciates it, and he would love a dance with seashell.

I'd like to add that to the post, please.



PS (another), I was about to type, "Subway knows of all the love posted on the blog" and immediately recalled Bush's call for gynos' love for women, and I felt very nauseous. Though it's really love on the blog, warm intentions is the best I can type.

From puddle

Subway Update

Long day's journey, that's fur shur. . . . After calling the hospital to confirm room number, discovered he was still in ICU, and visiting hours were 4:30 to five instead of noon to eight. We left a little before two, and made our way via bus, subway, Staten Island Ferry, and Island car service to the hospital. On the way, we saluted the Rector Street station, the one Subway would have played at the afternoon of 9/11. We arrived at the hospital at five to five. It took us 4 and a half minutes to make it up. So we had 30 seconds of visiting time. . . .

We, of course, stayed for half an hour.

Subway did look tired. And was hooked up to more tubes and monitors and drains than I would have thought possible. He was sitting in a chair, however, not in bed. Confirmed for us that the removed tumor was benign. And his soul is cheerful even if his body is being cranky. We gave him an opening round of hugs, and later Thankful gave him a GRrreaAATT! back rub (I was watching his face...). We joked about the BBB and talked politics. Still, I have to agree with Agatha: I want him out of there, splashing sunshine! Clearly prayers, light, good thoughts and vibes are still needed. Let's go guys! He got another round of hugs at parting, and asked us to be sure to tell you that he's felt the love surrounding him and is very grateful.

Trip home. Waited for a half hour for a bus that never came, so Agatha snagged us another car, ferry ride with a couple of the world's largest assholes (that does seem to be a sub-theme to this whole post, doesn't it?). But miraculously, just as we were directly across from the Lady, the entire section of window cleared itself of onlookers, and she stood alone in the harbor as beautiful and welcoming as the trogladite fellow travelers were ugly and mean. A blessing I think on the whole venture, after all. Then we caught a cab from the ferry to China Town, had dinner, caught another, dropped Agatha off and came home, arriving at 9:48. Tired and happy.

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Turning the party upside down in a literal way...Dean's goal.

Turning the party upside down in a literal way..Dean's goal.

Inverting the pyramid.

Sometimes an article or statement just clicks, and things fall into focus. I was reading this link at DFA and followed it through to the article. I thought yes! this is what we have to do, it is what we have been doing throughout the 50 states.

Turning the party on its head

J. Scott Christianson of the Columbia Daily Tribune has an analysis of how local DFA groups fit into the inverted pyramid of the Democratic Party structure.
..According to Scott, our success depends, literally, in turning the Democratic Party on its head
Here is an amazing critique of the structural integrity of the two parties and the change that Howard Dean at the DNC and the progressive groups like DFA want to bring.

Democratic Allies Helping to Rebuild the Party
Published Tuesday, August 22, 2006
In a 2005 New York Times editorial, Bill Bradley compared the structure of the Republican and Democratic parties to pyramids. The Republican Party's pyramid starts with a broad, solid base built of organizations and think tanks that generate funding, ideas, policies and talking points. Conservative commentators and networks that spread the message of the party form the next level.

"At the very top of the pyramid, you'll find the president," Bradley wrote. "Because the pyramid is stable, all you have to do is put a different top on it, and it works fine."
And Bradley points out the same thing Howard Dean mentioned in his interview with Matt Bai in a Sunday with the Times interview. First, Bradley's statement from the link above:
Bradley continued: "To understand how the Democratic Party works, invert the pyramid. Imagine a pyramid balancing precariously on its point, which is the presidential candidate. Democrats who run for president have to build their own pyramids all by themselves. There is no coherent, larger structure that they can rely on."
And Howard Dean referred to this same problem in his interview with Matt Bai. No link, it was audio and no transcript.
He says the Demcratic party has essentially been "non-functional as party" for about 30 years.

The functions of the party have been taken over by the campaigns. He says he thinks Kerry's GOTV effort was terrific, but that was "John Kerry's GOTV effort" and the DNC played a secondary role.

He says the Democratic "party" has not really been driving things, but that it is true on the Republican side.
The author of the Columbia Tribune article listed above then points to the role of groups like DFA in helping to build the party's structure from the ground up.

Taking a cue from the Republicans, the Democrats are reaching beyond the party itself and the "usual suspects" of Democratic activists to build the pyramid. Several new organizations have sprung up in Mid-Missouri that are aligned with the party but are not part of the party.

Democracy for Missouri - - is one good example. A local chapter of the national Democracy for America, DFM recently held its statewide convention in Columbia. While some Democrats view organizations such as DFM as competing with the party proper, they are really more complementary than competitive.

Groups such as DFA can do things the local party organization can't or won't do, such as endorsing a primary challenger instead of the incumbent. Such things need to be done from time to time so that the candidate with the best chance of winning in the general election emerges.

....Into the Blue - - is a Columbia-based organization whose sole purpose is to build progressive and democratic infrastructure in Missouri. Rather than focusing on candidates or particular issues, the emphasis is on creating a solid foundation.
A big advantage of this stronger party on the ground is the local connectivity. It will give a year-round ground game every year. It should allow us to stop being so dependent on consultants and TV ads, connect with the of the goals of the Dean brothers as stated below. In a way it is a form of campaign finance reform. Howard Dean once said if the congress won't fix campaign finance reform, we can do it for them.

From a recent training in New Jersey by DFA leaders:

Calculating Victory, a DFA training

"What separates Joe and Ned is the ground game," Democracy for America chair Jim Dean told the crowd, emphasizing that victory can only come from organizing. "Being consultant-heavy and trying to televise our way to victory is the reason we lost for fifteen years."
And from a recent meeting with Delaware Dems, Howard Dean had this to say.

Person to person beats big media

Person-to-person politics beats big media campaigns when it comes to winning over voters.

"You can't win a campaign with just expensive TV ads," Dean said. "You've got to go out and make yourself known ... You have to go to people who didn't vote the way you voted and convince them of your position. "

And that's why Dean has pressed through criticism to follow through on a "50-state" strategy for building stronger Democratic voting in all states, whether they are currently Red or Blue on the political map.
If you are interested, I transcribed more of the Matt Bai interview with Dean not long ago. He is pretty candid about his goals for the party and clear they will not be done overnight.

Sunday with the Times interview, Matt Bai and Howard Dean

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Last Sunday's sermon: the Word I heard

Click here to read about the image above, which is by Richard Adams, and is entitled "Kiss".

Last Sunday, Oscar' Word for the Week was entitled "What, in Hell, Do You Want?" There was a note at the beginning of the post, indicating that it was the message he would be preaching at Temple of Faith Baptist Church that day. That same day, sitting in Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church, I heard a very different sermon. What fascinated me, upon coming home from church and seeing Oscar's post, was that *both* sermons featured Carlton Pearson--a man whose name I had never heard before that day--as a major character. Today at church, I picked up a copy of Rev. George Glazier's sermon from August 27, and I would like to share it with you here.

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Gated Communities

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going."

Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

John 14:1-6
Heaven is real, too. One thing with which we who place our faith in Jesus Christ can take comfort is the fact that we need not fear judgment after we die - once we are absent from this material world we will be present with the Lord. Jesus has returned to the right hand of the Father to prepare a place for us, such that when we have breathed our last breath we, like the thief on the cross, will be with Jesus in Paradise on that very day.

For we know the way where He is going.

Jesus Christ is the way to heaven - the truth is that there is no eternal life outside of Him. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father but through Me." Some would like to compare that statement to Jesus standing in the way of those trying to get to God, being an obstruction to those who would come to God, but the truth of the matter is that man's sinfulness has erected an impenetratible wall between man and God - our iniquities have separated us from our God; our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. Jesus has created a gate in the midst of that impenetratible wall so that people can get to God, but nobody can get to the Father in eternity unless they go through the gate - the way, the truth and the life, Jesus Christ.

But people want to chart their own path.

God has given each of us free will, and each of us can choose what path we will take in this life, but every path does not lead to the same destination. In fact, according to Jesus, there are really only two paths. Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." There may be many lanes on the broad path, but ultimately every lane on the broad path leads to the same destination - a cliff that flows into the Lake of Fire. It comes as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of humanity chooses their own lane on the broad road that leads to destruction, but it is the responsibility of the Christian to point people to the narrow road beyond the small gate that leads to life everlasting, eternity in the presence of God, such that some might choose life in Jesus Christ.

Like Tom Bodett says, we'll keep the light on.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to rest in Him for all eternity,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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