Saturday, June 16, 2007

Open Thread

Apparently "math" is one of the top ten searches at Cafe Press. That was my motivation for creating the design you see above.

A couple new shared items here, and I'll probably add more tomorrow. Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

DemFest 2007 Part II

You can read part 1 here.

On Sunday the Bloggers breakfast was opened by Thankful. As we were about to go around introducing ourselves, those missing could be sensed (OC , JC and Steve Gilliard) and Thankful gave a verbal recognition of them. Monica, sitting where the connection was good, did live blogging for the BFA and listed all who stood up and gave their blogger name. Hey, there is Mainefem. It helped us find each other and match names. Subway did his “official” performance. (Details below).

As we left to break up for sessions, Marcia’s friend volunteered to save our front row table for the big evening event. Our group was not the only DFers on the alert because the rest of the group had staked out the front center and another table in the 2nd row.

It was always very evident of where the true Deanics were because these tables of people were always the first to stand up and cheer. No wonder others don’t quite get us. But I must say, we do know how to have fun.

We had break out groups, and being an organizer for Rockford DFA I wanted to see what Jim Dean and Tom had to say at the DFA breakout session. Most of the time was used to introduce ourselves. I am pretty impressed with what everyone is doing and I have to admit it gave me in inferiority complex. But I have to remember I live in a red-sea and with a relatively small population. Can’t compare with blue, New York City.

There were several good breakout sessions and movies but Paula, Lois and I were on overload. We went back to our room, ordered out lunch then went for a swim. Hey, never let a good hotel go to waste.

At dinner the NH Sec of State, William Gardner spoke. Marcia said he has been reappointed for over 25 years. We asked if he was a Democrat or a Republican. She said neither that position has to be non-partisan. Well she doesn’t live in IL because that is a most sought over elected position. He talked about NH political history, and was basically justifying why NH still has to be the first primary. This picture caught my reaction.

Now what you are all waiting for, Howard Dean’s portion of the event. Planted at the front table I estimated that he would have to walk past us to get in like John Edwards did. But the organizers knew better and snuck him in the back door behind the podium so he just had to jump on the stage. And does Howard look great!. Bear with me on my description. In one word great!

We all felt that he looks like he has lost weight or at least got a great looking suit. Jessica can attest to the fact that he is now eating bananas and sunflower seeds, but Marcia gave him a pound of fudge as he exited so if he starts to gain weight we can blame her for making him fall off the wagon. Dean had on a dark suit with an aqua blue open collared shirt. We will forgive him for not wearing our whale tie. The shirt set off his blue eyes. Howard spoke behind the podium so I can’t discuss pant length or shoes. LOL

I cannot give justice to his speech so hear them for yourselves. He was very passionate, only giving out his trademark grin a few times. He didn’t shy away from the issues including the Iraq war-funding bill.

To exit the stage he only had to walk a few feet to the rear door, but you cannot imagine how many deaniacs can crowd into such a small space. Marcia of course was one of the first people to talk to him. I jumped up and stood next to her as she moved over to the exit door. Lois and Paula also knew to do the same. As he approached us, he pointed at my 2004 Dean for America T-shirt and said with his grin, “I like that shirt!” Paula had given him a picture of her car’s license plate with Dean 2008 and told him the 2012 was still available. He paused long enough for us to get a group picture. I had hoped someone could take it and this too showed up on Johnson’s photo album.

Most people filed out leaving the hard cores and this gave us chance to get a group picture. (I would love someone to label all the people). Still reveling in the after-glow, none of us die-hard Dean fans were willing to leave the conference room. The center was also smart to keep the bar open.. We filled a few tables and sat and talked. Subway volunteered to go back on stage to sing our choice songs. They were filled with political humor and sentimentality. He is such an enlightened gentle soul and this comes through with his music.

A sample of his music.

This time also gave us a chance to finish up conversations. I got to hear Charlie’s escapades in the Florida jail and his explanation on where he was living (answer, everywhere friends will put him up in town). I corned Sal and asked him how he, a Kucinich support, could grill John Edwards on stage about his scheming with Kucinich to take away votes from Dean in Iowa. In the middle of everything Paula and I talked about her losing her mother and Sarah and I touched base about her children and her hassles. Thankful, received my check supporting her brother’s aids fundraiser and Subway and I discussed our mutual love of Harry Chapin music.

Closeness of friendships cannot be judged on the amount of time spent together but rather on the quality and intensity of the time that one does share. We all come from a mutual space of loving our country and being activated to do something about this. We all share the inspiration of Howard Dean bring us to this point. Just knowing that Charlie is down in Florida fighting for a just election system, Marcia is working in her state to make fair laws, and Subway is reaching someone’s heart in the underground of New York, makes my little self in rural Illinois feel not quite so alone.

Thank-you all for such an inspiring weekend thank also to Jessica, and her organizational gang.

Credit to Paul Johnson for attached photos. My cardboard camera didn’t cut it.

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DemFest Part 1

The Magic of Unlikely Friendships
Demfest 2007
by Holly J

What could possibly bring together a Floridian activist, an East Coast state representative a Midwest doctor’s wife and a New York subway singer? Answer; love of country and the inspiration of one man who taught them they could each make a difference.

I (the Midwest doctor’s wife) have never been to New Hampshire before so it was fun to go to another part of the country for Demfest 2007. People came in from all parts of the country in many ways but the airport was very assessable (and nice compared to dumpy O’Hare) so I chose to fly. The facilities were perfect, a modernized rambling hotel with attached conference rooms. The description of a conference center with a mill and ducks was accurate after you drove through “any where USA” shopping malls to get there. I wish I could say I had a taste of New Hampshire but the driving rain and cool weather kept me confined to the facilities.

Marcia (the state representative) and Lois picked me up at the airport. We joined the other crushies in 3 adjoining rooms with 2 queen-sized beds and a bathroom each. This was definitely a step up from the dorm room and shared shower last year. I have no idear if they had heard about us crushies but we were literally the farthest possible and up 3 floors from the conference rooms.

There was no problem finding the other BFAers, just follow your nose to the nearest bar. Well I prefer to call it a lounge. The female bartender was our designated caretaker and stuck with us the entire 3 days, moving from the lounge bar to the conference whenever there was a pay bar to be had. I think I even saw her setting up the buffet. There was a registration table with nametags. They were required for admission and for food. I always appreciate nametags so I am sure to put the right face on the name I already knew.

One by one we straggled in and greeted each other. Thankul showed us her new leopard high heels she was breaking in to wear to a gay pride parade in remembrance of her brother. Sal flitted around the table and Marcia mothered me by seeing that I got food despite the closed kitchen. This is where my story deviates from most of the rest of the BFA crew.

Having worked that day, I encouraged the other crushies to return to the room for crushie time. Marcia pulled out her marvelous picture albums for Lois, Paula and me to oogle over. “Front row” Marcia had up close pictures of all the presidential candidates that have come to New Hampshire. We quickly passed over Hilary’s pictures to spend the time on Howard’s J

After the delicious breakfast buffet, Jim Dean opened the Saturday session. Jim was spiffy in his suit. The rest of us looked more the part of activist wearing t-shirts displaying our favorite slogan. By the end of the day, I looked like a car bumper with stickers and pins professing my stance on the issues.

The big event of the day was John Edwards and they opened up the back to enlarge the conference hall to accommodate around 800 people (my guess). Crushie reports require dress description so here goes. John wore slim style jeans and a dress shirt with open collar and rolled up sleeves. I noted that his hair wasn’t quite as fluffy which is more appealing to me. He has a much smaller frame than I expected. His light southern drawl matched his blue jeans. We had planted ourselves in the front table and off to the left which was perfect because the podium was off center to the right. This forced anyone talking to stay on our side.

John didn’t like the podium, holding the free mike in his hand. He did say all the right stuff for progressives; out of the war as soon as possible, universal health care, and caring for our environment. He did relay how important the grassroots are to get our country on track. Since this time around he isn’t part of the beltway DCers, he knows he has to reach out to us. I do appreciate him coming to talk to us and he even opened up for questions. He was handed a softball question from Marcia but he was scooted off the stage after Sal nailed Edwards with asking if he had a deal with Kucinich at the Iowa Caucus.

Deciding which event to attend is always difficult. We chose the impeachment panel because Marcia was involved with this at her state legislature. Newly elected NH US Rep. Carol Shea-Porter told her inspiring story of her totally grass-root, low cost campaign. She is a natural speaker and a true progressive. Her fellow congressman told us the most disturbing fact of the weekend. The shape of our country is even worse than he has guessed. There was Bush administration damage to our country under “every rock that gets turned over,”

Paula, Lois and I attend Arshad’s DFA Precinct training. His courses are packed with information and his humorous “side comments” is his trademark. Bev Harris’s session drew a big crowd and her findings of “Black Box” election fraud was hidden under the “bolder” she had turned over. By this time a nap called me because my room was in sight near this classroom.

We have already discussed Sen. Mike Gravel on the blog. Sorry no detailed description of him here. He is unappealing to me. I couldn’t really hear much else of what he said after he went off on not taxing corporations. I will leave that up to his supporters.

One of my highlights for the whole weekend was Granny D. Being crushie trained, I was on the lookout for her before her event and there she was, standing in the hallway. And, you could not miss her with her trademark hat. She is even smaller than I have imagined, and at 5’ 3’’ I had to actually look down quite a bit to talk to her. She was gracious and grinned widely for her picture with me. Her speech deviated from her campaign finance reform issue to talk about the hot topic of the day, immigration reform. If anyone can find a link for transcript let me know. She is in the later half of her 90’s and is bright and feisty as ever but being in the medical world, I wanted her to sit down and take a breathing treatment.

I do have to talk about Obama’s representative. (You know I like Obama). It aggravates me to have candidates send in reps but this William McNearry guy was great. Many people had left and were talking but within a few minutes he had us. McNeary is a Black-Baptist minister and we responded like his congregation. He read from his notes tossing the pages on the floor behind him. We rose to our feet to applaud in agreement. He followed up by sitting in the lounge with the Obama skeptics, unruffled by questions thrown to him. We all agreed, we would all vote for him.

I will leave it to others the fill in the “after hours” details. (and will combine the “Subway experience" in part II.)

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No Vote on Gay Marriage in Massachusetts

Also posted at Disabled Americans for Democracy

The AP reports that there will be no referendum on Massachusetts' same sex marriage law. The bill to put the law before the voters was defeated by a vote of 151 to 45. Though it is possible that opponents of same sex marriage will continue their efforts to overturn the 2003 state court ruling that established Massachusetts as the only state in the union where gay marriage is legal, they would now have to start again from scratch. So, equal marriage rights in the Bay State are secure, for now.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Open Thread

This lolcat picture gave me a chuckle...

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Happy Loving Day!

From Freedom to Marry:

June 12, 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia on June 12, 1967 which struck down the remaining interracial marriage bans in 16 states in the United States, ending race discrimination in marriage.

Update: I've written a longer post on this subject over at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.

— Rumi

Image from Visual Preludes 2006

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Night Open Thread

Looking forward to getting some more reports from DeanFest attendees. In the meantime, here's an open thread.

New articles to check out in the shared items, by the way. A visit to the Creation Museum, cats doing more of the "be fruitful and multiply thing thanks to global warming", and more.

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Bloggers' Breakfast

Morning all.

Just came fromt the Blogger's Breakfast

We had a moment of silence for Edwin, jc, and Steve Gilliard (firedoglake). There were a couple poster boards showing a range of jc's graphics, several jc t-shirts scattered around the room

Subway was our intro and closing entertainment.

More info over at BFA - Monica is posting great coverage.

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