Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Open Thread with extra kittens. here for a page of jumping cats. This one brings to mind Howard Dean's fighting spirit. ;-)

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Handouts for Linkup tonight

I need to go teach now, but I wanted to make sure this got posted. If someone wants to edit this post to pretty it up later, be my guest. Handouts about the support Howard Dean Act Blue page.

Html version here
PDF version here

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Wednesday Cartoons

And my favorite for today: Mein Kampf

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Open Thread/Tuesday Potpourri

I know, with (at this writing) only 24 comments in the previous thread, we really don't need a new one. 'Cept I want to, and I'm still getting over this yucky cold, so you all can humor me, right? Mostly, I wanted the opportunity to share some funny pictures from a site Corinne linked to in the comments this morning. But first, some links to today's posts--there were a lot of them, so they moved down the page pretty quickly.

Oscar's Tuesday's Comics

Your Vote Can Make a Difference by Jessica, with a request to support Peter Welch of Vermont on Russ Feingold's Pick a Progressive Patriot page. Jessica noted, "I'm sure all the candidates are fine people, but in a small state like Vermont, $5,000 will actually make a difference in the campaign."

We also had a Blog family update from Page and Frank in Amsterdam, with pictures of their kitties and the canal their home overlooks, More reports from the DNC fall meeting, including a picture of Howard Dean (whale tie alert) with Ed Asner and John Melendez. And last but not least, we now have our own Howard-Empowered DNC bat.

Anyway, here's that link I was telling you about--it's for "Baby Bush Toys". Check out fine products like the "Terror Alert Xylophone"

and the Smasher Breaker--"nail home the concept of cause and effect".

And finally, don't miss jc's post about Just-Us Sunday III, which ends with this musing...

P.S. Doing graphics, I work with fonts and can usually identify a lot of them. I've noticed in their logos that politicians often use fonts with names that "sound" patriotic, and I guess, in some cases, they must pick a font because of its name, rather than what it looks like. In that context, I wonder if we should be worried that the Theocracy crowd chose a font that bears a striking resemblance to "Futura Extra Black?"

When I posted these words over at Street Prophets, left of center commented:
Will the Theocrats hold onto power in '06?
Answer: Don't count on it.
I guess their futura is looking extra black.

You can't be a political bully in this country and get away with it for long - even in the name of God.

And on that hopeful note, good night, wonderful Dean people. ♥

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Our own Howard-Empowered DNC bat!

In the previous thread, Anne from Vermont gave us the heads-up that Howard Dean was coming up on Hardball. Soon after that, she posted:

Whee, the scream. Hit the DNC bat!

I recalled that before the 2004 election, the DNC had individual fundraising pages. I actually had one set up myself once upon a time, but when it seemed clear to me that the DNC leadership at the time was working against Howard Dean, and therefore against we, the people, I quickly lost interest in supporting that sort of organization.

But now, with our Howard as chair of the DNC, I wanted to be able to show that we have his back. That's why I added the "Buy Democracy Bonds" link in the sidebar. Not everybody here is on board for supporting the DNC, and I respect and understand that. But, for those of us who do want to support Howard Dean in this particular way, I felt like there should be a way to tag contributions as coming from us.

Shortly after reading Anne's comment, I was clicking around online and found the Act Blue web site. I don't know how I'd forgotten about that, but it's perfect for what I was looking for. So I set up a page for us, and asked Demetrius to update one of his images from People-Powered Graphics.

We've got our own bat! W00t! Look for a smaller version of this in its permanent location in the right sidebar.

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More reports from the DNC fall meeting

Here at Howard-Empowered People, we really appreciated Cheryl taking the time to send her report from the DNC meeting in Phoenix this past weekend--including an enviable picture of herself with, as Stephanie Miller calls him, Doctor Governor Chairman Howard Dean. This evening, I thought I'd also draw your attention to this page on the DNC web site, where they have been collecting people's reports from Phoenix. Here is an excerpt from the report of Debbie Marquez, DNC Committeewoman from Colorado and the first Latina elected from Colorado.

I was very nervous at the podium, speaking to a mic, in front of the room, for the first time at the DNC Hispanic Caucus. I was here to propose the resolution. Reading from a document full of "Wherases and Therefores".Trying to summarize so I can quickly get to the "Be It Resolved".

I remembered to breathe. My voice didn't crack. I paused when I needed to. And the silence was ok. No one yelled and said 'Come on - get with it.!' In fact the pause that seemed much too long to me was in retrospect only a few seconds. I did it! I presented, they voted and the Democrats are going to oppose the Colorado Anti-Immigration Initiative. I accomplished my goal. Si Se Puede!

I felt it was most appropriate that we passed this today - the anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama. So today I asked and received support of the party of civil rights and human rights - the party of the people. The party of my people. Our people. The Democrats whose leader, Howard Dean is known for doing what's right, not just what's popular. Today just might be a magical day for activism.

Also, checking in on the "Our Chair" page, I thought you might appreciate Heeeeeeere's Howard!, which is about Howard Dean's Tonight Show appearance last week.

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Blog family update from Page and Frank

Continuing the theme for the week of Blog family updates, here is word from Page in Amsterdam.
Note: you can consider this e-mail to be from Frank as well, since he's
sitting right here smiling about the whole idea, and says "sure, it's
from me, too!"

So, Frank was "Frank in A'dam" on the old Dean blog (he's "Frank" on dailyKos). And I'm "Page in Amsterdam" now, 'cause I don't live in Albuquerque anymore ("Plutonium Page" on dailyKos).

We originally told our story here, at BFA. I know that you hung out in Chat For America, so you'll remember that's where Frank and I met. Anyway, people can click the link to learn the rest of the story.

Frank spent a lot of time in Albuquerque in 2004, including most of the summer. He was also there for the election, but we don't like remembering that awful night. Also, I spent every other month with him in Amsterdam; basically, we weren't apart more than two weeks at a time.

Fast forward to April 2005, when we got married at a beautiful little place in the mountains outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a really small, happy, laid-back wedding.

I had already decided that I was going to move to Amsterdam, which I did in September. We bought a wonderful place on a canal, and fixed it up over the summer (as in, getting rid of the awful linoleum, painting, etc.). The view is fantastic,

and our three furry four-legged children appreciate it too.

So, there you go. We're very happy here in Amsterdam. As for blog stuff, we have such fond memories of the good ol' days (um, before Iowa, sigh) on Blog for America.

It's getting late here, so I'll send this e-mail.


Page and Frank

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Your Vote Can Make a Difference

I know there are a zillion online polls out there, and most of them are a waste of time, but this one can help the Vermont Democratic Candidate for US House receive a $5,000 contribution from Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund.

I'm sure all the candidates are fine people, but in a small state like Vermont, $5,000 will actually make a difference in the campaign.

Please vote for Peter Welch!

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Tuesday's Comics

And my favorite for today: Debtors' Prison

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Howard Dean on The Stephanie Miller Show

While Blogger has no working front door entrance, I've been posting the transcript of Howard Dean's radio interview with Stephanie Miller in the comments. Since it looks like it is possible to compose a post--even if no one can see it just now--I'm going to go ahead and post the transcript in its entirety. It will be ready whenever Blogger is ready again. Here's the link to the audio.

(phone rings)

Stephanie: What? Celebrity hotline? Why, who could that be, Chris?

Chris: Why, it's DNC chairman Governor Howard Dean! (trumpets and applause)

Stephanie: You know on this show, because we have so much respect for him, we refer to him by all three of his titles. And that is Doctor Governor Chairman Howard Dean.

Doctor Governor Chairman Howard Dean, good morning sir.

Howard: Good morning, and congratulations on more than one million listeners! (more trumpets)

Stephanie: Thank you, sir. (He laughs.) You know, I told my producer, Chris, that I am not shocked that we can *get* people like you on the show, I'm surprised that we can get you *back* on the show after having once been on. And slobbering all over you. But thank you so much for taking time for us again.

Howard: A million people is an audience you do not turn down--I'm delighted. Thank you!

Stephanie: So you just had a big meetin' in Phoenix--

Howard: Yes, we had a great meeting in Phoenix. We're focusing on states like Arizona, like Texas, Arkansas, places that we believe are fundamentally *not* Republican states and that we can win back. And so we're doing a lot of work in those states, we've got organizers on the ground there, we will have for four straight years, and we're looking forward to the 06 elections.

Stephanie: You can be honest with us, 'cause there's hardly anyone listening, Governor. When you see the latest poll numbers every week, do you giggle, a little bit?

Howard: No. (Stephanie can be heard giggling in the background). I don't take any great pleasure in the poll numbers because this is fundamentally bad for America. You know, the Republican party, I think they're corrupt, and they have not done the things that need to be done in America. But this is not so great for America to have three more years of a leader who people don't trust and don't believe. Who is unfortunately in competent...incompetent in conducting the war, incompetent in dealing with the economy, incompetent in dealing with national disasters...this is a sad presidency and it's a sad day for America. But we're going to change that. We have some things that we are going to do that are going to improve things dramatically.

Howard: First of all, we're going to balance the budget--Republicans haven't done that for 40 years.

Stephanie: You know who did that before--a governor from Vermont that I've heard of. I believe it was a Democrat.

Howard: Yeah, we need to balance budgets. We need to have health insurance for all our people. Thirty-six countries have it and balance their budgets. We're losing jobs in America because businesses can't pay their health care bill. And we're going to have honesty in government. People always giggle when you say that because they believe that politicians are corrupt. The truth is, most of them aren't. Unfortunately the Republicans have brought a culture of corruption to a lot of the state governments and the federal government. I want ethics legislation, and I want Democrats to have to live under that too, and if they cross the line then they ought to be out of office too.

Stephanie: Well, you know, Governor, that is absolutely true. I mean if ever there was an operative phrase for 2006 it has to be "Throw the bums out." Because at this point you can't say it's just one guy. When you say "culture of corruption" people go "Oh, talking point!" but it's not. When in your memory was there--you've got Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, you've had the White House procurement officer arrested. You've had the Vice President's Chief of Staff indicted--it's just unparalleled in my opinion.

Howard: All that is bad--very, very bad--the worst thing is that Karl Rove is still in the White House with security clearance, having given away the name of a CIA agent. Now that's not a reflection on Karl Rove, that's a reflection on George Bush. George Bush thinks it's okay to have a security clearance for somebody who leaks CIA agents' names in a time of war? This is a thoroughly corrupt, incompetent administration. And I'll tell you the last time we had one, but it wasn't quite as corrupt, and that's Watergate, and Nixon had to resign. They didn't have the House and the Senate mired in corruption at that time. Now you've got the Republican leader of the Senate under investigation for insider stock trading, the Republican leader of the House is already indicted, you've got congressmen now resigning for having taken bribes--you've got more to come, too. This is not the last one--you're going to see more Republican congressmen go down under this one. This is awful, it's awful for the country, and we *will* do better.

Stephanie: I gotta tell you, I am so thrilled to have a platform--a progressive platform to offer people. 'Cause I'm so sick of this "liberal media" thing. I read a transcript of you recently, I think it was on Nightline. But I thought where do they get this liberal--they only question this administration as roughly as they question you, I think it was about Tom DeLay. It's like, a lot of things that you say, turn out to be right, but at the time they're like "Oh! Governor Dean! Did you hear what he said about Tom DeLay?" And then of course he gets indicted!

Howard: Did you hear what I said during the campaign about how we're not any safer now that Saddam Hussein has been captured. Hell, they can't even try the guy! Lawyers keep quitting and the trial is in disarray. This is an administration that cannot get its feet out of its own way. It's just appalling to me. At least the Nixon people were smart--this is unbelievable.

Stephanie: Well, this is about people dying--this is not about a burglary.

Howard: That's right.

Stephanie: So, tell us about Iraq and what your thought are about John Murtha--

Howard: I think Democrats are coming together. I had a long talk with a group of senators this weekend about this. You know, there's different points of view, but when Jack Mutha stood up, a 37 year Marine corps veteran, he really, I think, got the attention of the country. And the basis of some of his discussions were based on a paper by a guy named Lawrence Korb, who was oddly enough an official in the Reagan administration, who *has* a way out, and I think it makes a lot of sense--

Stephanie: --I do too--

Howard: --and the president is flying off someplace not paying attention. But this is a sensible plan, he calls it strategic redeployment. What he says is that we ought to take 20,000 of the troops and send them to Afghanistan, because we need more troops there, and that *is* a war that has something to do with national defense. Then we ought to bring home the 80,000 National Guardsmen and Reserves--they have no business being in a war like this. They shouldn't have been there in the first place. That we ought to take 14,000 troops and put them in a nearby friendly country. Because we are going to have a real problem--I mean this isn't going to go away when leave, all this chaos over there. And we are going to have to deal with Zarqawi, which was not a problem before--

Stephanie: Governor, I hope we've learned our lesson though as Democrats that--when you add in the phony pre-war intelligence--that we have to stop being afraid of being called weak on terror or weak on national security. I was saying earlier in the show, I feel like the Republicans take away the ability for us to have a reasonable discussion about what to do in Iraq, because they immediately call you a coward, basically. You're a "cut and run" guy--you're a coward!

Howard: I blame the Democrats for that, not the Republicans. The Republicans are a bunch of name callers and all that, but we just need to stand up against them. Jack Murtha did that. And Harry Reid did it when he shut down the Senate and said "You promised us a year ago you'd tell the truth and do an investigation, you haven't done it, and we're going to do it now. That's the kind of thing that makes people say yes, the Democrats will stand up and fight for us. If the Democrats get intimidated by a president who hasn't been truthful with us, then we deserve what we get. And I think that those days are coming to an end.

Stephanie: I was so thrilled, Governor, when you became chairman of the Democratic National Committee, because I said, we need a fighter. That's why we need to Colonel (sic) Hacketts and we need the Howard Deans. Exactly. We need people who are going to stand up and fight against these guys. Now, talk quickly--because that's what they do is divide. So, immigration is going to be their new wedge issue--

Howard: All right, there's a sensible program we can have on immigration, and oddly enough John McCain is on this bill, not just Democrats. But here's basically what we ought to do. One, we should enforce the border laws. The President's been there for five years, and all of a sudden this is a big issue now--

Stephanie: Yeah, he's on it now! He's all over it now!

Howard: --we ought to enforce the border laws. And we ought not to have the Minute Men doing it (Stephanie laughs) we ought to have employees of the U.S. Government. Secondly (laughing) the President says he's going to kick all the immigrants out, and the illegals out and send them back to Mexico or wherever. Well, this is a guy who can't find a 6'4" Saudi running around in the desert, he's not going ot find 11 million undocumented immigrants. It's ridiculous! He doesn't have the money to do it even if he wanted to do it--

Stephanie: --with a dialysis machine! Governor, we are out of time, I'm so sorry, but please, any, ANY time. Thank you so much for fighting the good fight for us!

Howard: All right, thank you so much!

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Blog Family Updates

If you weren't here over the weekend, you probably missed the Blog Family Anniversary/Reunion post. It was crossposted at Daily Kos, MyDD, Booman Tribune, and My Left Wing.

In response so far, listener sent in her bio for the first time, and a few people sent or posted updates. The following was posted at Booman Tribune:

well, my id has changed. I think I was "Ken from Arlington VA" back in my BFA days. I didn't even know about most other open blogs in those days, and first heard abou dkos while in NH for Dean over the T'giving weekend in 2003. I think I probably first joined dkos around Jan of 2004, under my current internet idea of teacherken

I did not get my own blog (on blogspot) until later

and as a result of my posting at dkos and here I was invited by MSOC to have frontpage status at MLW.

Sorry I didn't get to IA for the blogger's breakfast

those I've met have been through

* ongoing Dean events in DC and N Va (in fact I am going to a dinner of what was mainly Dean people originally this evening, to celebrate Kaine and hope for Deeds)
* various Kossack and related get-togethers, including one organized by MSOC in DC during the protest a few months back -- that's where I finally met Booman (although I may try to make the December DL in Philadelphia since i have family and friends up there)
* I have a get-together next week with "Martin in Maryland" at his new place of employment, XM Satellite Radio. This is as a result of series of recent exchanges on one of my diarys at dkos
* not dierctly related to BFA, but to my blogging in general: avhe had pieces reposted in electronic journals, and repostetd and/or excerpted in several educational print outlets, and tomorrow I am having coffee with a national polictical figure whom I have gotten to know electronically

So blogging can have interesting consequences, can it not?

Now I have to be a good boy and get back to correcting tests. Ah, the life of a teacher...

Oh, and I should note that one other thing on my plate is the CPT hostages, since Tom Fox is from my Quaker Meeting, and we of course are quite involved and concerned about the situation. Some members who knew him better have agreed to talk with the press. I have been involved with some electronic responses, and ahve had one extended phone call with people from CPT. I also had a member of his support community talking with my AP Go vernment classes yesterday, although he had alrady been scheduled to come, and talked more about his own work doing community building in Afghanistan

ahh .. as noted, the life a teacher leads, even if one were not also a committed citizen and human being

peace all

Teri Mills sent this update:
New Blog Name:
National Nurse (Teri Mills)

After publishing America's Nurse in the New York Times on May 20, 2005, several nurses around the country decided we indeed do have the power to improve healthcare in the United States. Our official website is and our mission is to see that Congress passes legislation to embrace, support, and fund an Office of the National Nurse. Here's a short list of what the proposal suggests a National Nurse would do:
* Give public recognition to the work nurses do every day and help stem the nursing shortage by attracting others to the profession.
* Collaborate with members of the health care team to determine the health care agenda for America.
* Participate each week with an expert nurse to address the entire nation, not just a targeted population, on ways to prevent disease and promote health (for instance, how to have a healthy heart or strategies to prevent diabetes).
* Utilize the Internet to make the above information available in multiple languages to reach our diverse population.
* Encourage every nurse licensed in the U.S. (there are presently 2.7 million nurses) to volunteer to be a member of a National Nurse Team in their own community.
* Organize and promote four nationwide health education days per year that will be coordinated and delivered by the National Nurse Teams in every city and town across America.
* Build an infrastructure of ready available nursing teams that could assist during the time of a national disaster/epidemic.

In addition to working on the National Nurse endeavor, I also write a weekly column on health care for Blog for America which appears every Friday and I serve as a steering committee member for Democracy for Oregon.

From PDX Kelly:
These days I hang at DKos when I'm on the internets. Locally, my husband and I are precinct captains for the county Dem party. My involvement with the county party has gotten me into all sorts of fun and challenging things. I've made great friends (and a couple of formidable enemies!) through my Dem activities hereabouts.

Meetup is still going strong. One of our meetup hosts is running for city council, so there's plenty to be done there.

And finally, Andrew C. White had this to say at Booman Tribune:
There are lots of us out and about the internets. There are lots of us with our own sites now, our own candidates, our own party committees, etc. Did you see the preview of the upcoming Salon article posted on the BFA blog yesterday. We of DFA, we of the Dean campaign, are beginning to get noticed for the work we have done and are doing in retaking America. The campaign did not fail. It is an on-going enterprise and we will win. It is already a done deal. The only question is how long it will take and how many more lives the Bush administration will destroy before they are finally eradicated from the halls of power.

Who else will be hear from this week? If you'd like to update your blog family about what you've been up to, either leave a comment here, or email howardempowered at

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Monday Comics

And my favorite for today: Redneck Pres'dent

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Shop New Orleans

One way to help New Orleans bounce back is to support its local economy. Perhaps you can plan to visit New Orleans. But, even if you can't, you can shop at many New Orleans businesses using the internet and the telephone.

For some suggested businesses to get you started with your holiday shopping, you can click the button below or visit this link.

If you have some suggestions for businesses to add to the list, here's the contact email.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dean Corps

It's cold in Springfield, MA. The snow, that went on for most of the day, has stopped and several people on the street are plying snow blowers. According to, at 2:45 p.m. Less than five minutes ago as I write) it was 28 deg. F (felt like 23 deg.) and cloudy.

I love watching the snow, and especially waking up to find the world white. Of course, I'm perfectly comfortable and safe. Though my family has never subscribed to the "turn the thermostat up to 80 in the Winter and down to 60 in the Summer) theory of home climate management, and though I often need a cardigan or pullover even with a wool turtleneck here in our hard-to-insulate, 110 year-old Victorian, our house is seldom uncomfortably cold. Once in a while the furnace goes out, or the electricity does so, taking the furnace with it. But, such inconveniences are rare and last only a few hours at most. They are soon remedied and soon forgotten.

At 2:45 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, it was partly cloudy. The temperature was 13 deg. And felt like 3 deg.

At Pine Ridge, the houses are less solidly built than my house. The electricity is far less reliable than in Springfield. Some homes have no electricity at all. And the explosive rise in heating fuel prices, that has my father turning the thermostat still lower and rushing to hang insulated curtains, means at Pine Ridge that many people cannot afford heat at all.

I've been vaguely mulling over potential Dean Corps projects for us to undertake. Collecting phone cards for hospital-bound veterans strikes me as a fabulous idear, even if it did originate at They Whom I Do Not Name. Donating books and magazine subscriptions to hospitals has also occurred to me; as well as the musicians in our ranks donating time this month to entertain at hospitals, shelters, and prisons.

The principal problem with all these idears lies in the very nature of Deaniacs for America/Howard Empowered People. We are scattered all across the country. How would we coordinate any drive? Would each member donate time, money, goods, etc. to a cause in her/his own hometown? Would we select one place (one VA hospital, say) and direct all our donations there? The logistics of any organized action defeated my non-organizer's brain.

Then, Susan suggested helping out the Friends of Pine Ridge association's web site. Susan's chief concern is heating fuel. But, the projects page lists a number of other needs as well.

While it is true that Pine Ridge is only one reservation, and its residents represent only one small pocket of desperate need, the truth of the matter is that we can't do everything. We can't help all those who are cold and hungry and houseless in the U.S. this Winter, not to mention all those in need elsewhere in the world. We can help our sisters and brothers at Pine Ridge, though.

Remember the heady days when BFA members would break a bat in a matter of hours? And, for what? To support some candidate or other. It seems to this Deaniac that we could easily make a tremendous difference at Pine Ridge if we used the bat mentality. We wouldn't be able to see it, unless JC and Renee can rig some sort of bat-like meter that shows dollar amounts disassociated from names. But I'm sure we could raise several thousand dollars for Bob's Gas Service's fund for the elderly, for instance.

Other things we can see. The college library needs magazine subscriptions. As of today, six of the magazines on the list have not yet been donated. They are:

Having sent a subscription myself, I'd very much like to see the rest of these magazines listed as donated by Saturday evening. Hell, knowing Deaniacs, they could all be taken care of by midnight tonight. Don't forget to e-mail to let the folks at FPRR know which magazine you've sent.

When I wrote, I identified myself as a member of DAFD. It might be a good idear for people to do this in general; identifying oneself as a member of Deaniacs for America, DAFD, Disabled Voters for Dean, Blankets for America, Poets, Artists and Musicians for Democracy, etc. The names won't mean anything to the FPRR folks at first, but gradually they may come to recognize and associate the names.

In any case, I propose that, whatever other projects we undertake, we adopt Pine Ridge for a period - one year, three months, whatever, and during that period send whatever we can whenever we can. Though this is not support of a candidate, it is nonetheless a political act, and a profoundly good one.

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Why is the Democratic Party Recruiting Republicans?

I received this email from an Old Friend. I wonder if we could put up a bat and raise money for this people-powered-candidate?

Thanks Freespirit for the heads up.

The following is a description of a 16th Congressional Democratic candidate forum which took place recently in Highland County, Fl. Carol McLean is the candidate describing the event:


On Saturday, September 17th, I attended a meeting of the Democratic Club of Highland County, Florida. It was a "Meet the Candidates" night. There were candidates and representatives from several races, but the key one was the race for US Congress Florida District #16 (against Republican incumbent, Mark Foley). All three Democratic candidates for the race were there in person: David Lutrin, Tim Mahoney, and me, Carol McLean. The meeting hall was in Sebring, in the center of Florida. It was a 125 mile drive each direction. This is an awfully big district! It was mostly senior citizens with about 125 in attendance.

David Lutrin was the first of the three of us to speak in my race. He is a schoolteacher in Palm Beach County - a good, decent, family man who came with his wife and daughter. We have a good relationship, and have vowed to make our goal getting "the interloper" out of the race altogether. Then, when the race will be just between the two of us, it will be based on the issues. We have the same slant on the issues, so it will really be a matter of personalities. He's very poised and professional. He had written a very eloquent speech that summed up his position very well, and was interrupted several times by applause.

Then Tim Mahoney stepped up to the mike. He was dressed in blue jeans, a cowboy shirt, and a huge cowboy hat. ("Get yourself an outfit, you can be a cowboy too") Evidently, he thought this would make him fit in with the people in the room. He was just so folksy and cowpokey, although he is from New Jersey. He had no prepared speech, but just sort of rambled on about why he boughta ranch in Highland county. He said that he had bought a painting of a pastoral scene, and because it was such an expensive painting, he was entitled to contact the artist and ask questions. So he called and asked the location - it was Venus in Highland County. He drove up here while attending a funeral, saw the same lovely landscape, and immediately bought 100 acres.

He went on to tell us that his life plan was to make all of his money during ages 20-50. He has several internet finance and investments, he is almost 50, his plan is to get involved in politics. He said that 7 weeks ago he got a call from Washington DC and they asked him to run for office. The DCCC spent a lot of time wooing him, although he was a registered Republican. And while standing there in DC with the capitol in the background he felt that this would be an awesome undertaking. He was very concerned about the difference between the "haves" and the "have not"s and wanted to help that situation. The speech was boring and lack luster.

Then it was my turn. I started out by introducing myself as one of the "have not"s that he just spoke about. I pointed out that the difference between him and me was that, when I saw a lovely pastoral scene I'd just take a snapshot of...I did not buy up 1/4 of the town.

And the starting gun was fired!

Then I said that I too had gotten a call from DC, as did David Lutrin, about the election. However, it wasn't to ask me to run - it was to ask me to drop out. When I inquired why, they told me that they already had a good candidate (Mahoney) who had $2 million to put into his campaign. They asked me how much I had. Well, if I counted the $5 McDonalds coupon in my wallet, it came to exact $13. I was going to raise my funds by grassroots. They scoffed that off, and told me they would not back me. Fine! However, as a person who has been a member of the Democratic Party longer than Mahoney's seven weeks, I was still going to run - with or without them. I added that I was unaware that the elections were limited to only rich candidates. Congress is already filled with rich, good old boys …. And they've gotten us to where we are today. Perhaps its time to vote in the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker ….. and the teacher.

I turned to David Lutrin who was beaming at this point, and said, you people know that Mr. Lutrin and I are both teachers. You know how we earn our money,and you know how much we make. I don't know what internet finance is, but I know that mainstream America doesn't have millions, and that these rich good old boys are so far detached from mainstream America that they have no idea how we live.

I pointed out that I had mainstream America experience as a teacher - with overcrowded classrooms, no text books, working around the flawed FCAT, with low pay, and poor insurance. And when the school board couldn't find Americans to work under those conditions, the good old boys went over to the Philippines and hired them, to teach in our Palm Beach classrooms. Out-sourcing with a hometown touch!

I have a son in college and watched the Stafford Loan interest rate double over this summer, while the number of families qualifying for the Pell Grant dropped radically, and the costs of tuition housing and books soars. The rich good old boys raised rates and dropped assistance.

I live in Hurricane Central and still have people in my neighborhood with blue tarps. FEMA paid nothing to anyone on my block, even though a tornado removed everyone's patios and dumped them somewhere in Wisconsin … but not a dime from FEMA. The mind-boggling part is that the people in Miami, who never came NEAR a hurricane, got $31 million, while the people in Punta Gorda, which was virtually destroyed by Charlie have been asked to repay "overpayments". I might add at this time Michael "one-heck-of-a-job-Brownie" Brown was head of FEMA. Who holds FEMA accountable? I will demand that they become accountable to the people.

I had a child with brain cancer and the resulting overwhelming bills. He was one of six critically ill children I brought over from Tonga. My church and the Shriners paid for their surgery, while I housed them in my home, fed, and clothed them for over 4 years. I've made those decisions to choose between medicine and the mortgage, cat scans and the credit cards. I know about hospital expenses that push you into bankruptcy, but the rich good old boys in Congress have now made it impossible for most people with serious medical bills to declare bankruptcy.

I am a small business owner and knew about big business trying to push us out. As a small business, we have no health insurance, and that premiums, even if we were eligible, are over $1600 per month per person. My health policy is "Don't get sick"

I am in fear of this new eminent domain ruling. I live in a tract house on a golf course on a lake, and already the greedy rich developers are eyeing the houses in my neighborhood professing that they could put up condos and a strip mall and bring the town more tax money. The people in Highland country have beautiful, rolling farmland, but the rich good old boys (Exhibit A being Candidate Mahoney) are coming up and buying up the land so they can have a ranch-toy too. And now, when their rich buddies come visit, they eye all this land and think - malls, condos, housing projects, Walmart……..MORE MONEY!!

This country has serious problems - and we need serious people, who understand mainstream America, to solve them.

The debacle of Hurricane Katrina - and now putting the restoration of the city in the hands of Karl Rove. Isn't he better known for destroying lives, rather than rebuilding them. It that isn't the epitome of cronyism - its not even sane!

FEMA. We want accountability and rapid response.

We have this Avian Flu headed for us this winter. It is a newly mutated virus and no one has any immunity. We have no vaccine for it, and won't until 6 months after the virus hits. It has a very high mortality factor, worse than the Spanish flu of 1918 that killed 25% of New England in a 3-month period. Onlyone place in the world makes the antibiotic to control it., and they distribute it on a first come- first served basis. They are filling the orders for the other countries who cared enough about their people to actually order the medicine. The US is at the bottom of the list for the protocol because Mr.Bush failed to get in line. England now has enough for 25% of its population, Australia has enough for its entire population, but Bush failed to get in line. We have at the most 2 million doses. My guess is that Mr. Bush and the rich good old boys get those doses.

The rich good old boys passed CAFTA to outsource our jobs to Central and South America. They have us import our food from Mexico, why won't they let us import our medicines from Canada? ….Because the rich good old boys run the pharmaceutical companies.

Our senior veterans and new vets have been violated by the cutbacks in the funding of the VA. A country that sends it boys and girls to serve their country in battle, then walks away from them when they are wounded, is a disgrace. But the rich good old boys in Halliburton are making a lot of money from this war.

The War in Iraq is...(I fumbled for words, then blurted out)...stupid. (Big cheer) We need our soldiers here guarding OUR borders, OUR airports, OUR ports and saving OUR people. The Iraqis are going to have to take care of themselves. The Saudis say they are our friends. Let them send their soldiers to protect their good neighbor Iraq. Let's bring our soliders home!

Healthcare - we need a national healthcare system - take the money from 2 weeks of the war and it could fund the entire thing.

If we don't clean out Congress - get rid of the rich good old boys and replace them with the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker...and the teacher, - then we are headed for disaster. We need to take back the House and Senate in 2006. In 2008 we take back the White House. Then we can reverse the laws passed by these rich and self-serving good old boys and take our country back.

I was interrupted several times by applause and got a lot of pats on the back as I took my seat. David Lutrin came over and gave me a big hug. His wife came over and said, "If I didn't have to vote for my husband, I'd vote for you!" The people at my table all asked where they could send donations (I had flyers and envelopes all printed up and ready to distribute).

Through my entire speech, Candidate Mahoney just sat there with his head bowed. I said nothing to him. But at the end of the meeting he went over to Candidate David Lutrin and said, "God, she crucified me! But I guess I should have expected it."

My guess is that I am going to get some calls from Mahoney, the DCCC, and the Florida Democratic Party tomorrow. This ought to be interesting!

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Since it wouldn't be Sunday without an Oscar

I stole this from his other blog.

Culture Of Losing

The[y] still make decisions based more on comfort than conviction, which is why their culture of losing remains rampant.

You can't fear the unpopular move. You can't fear ticking off people. You can't fear failure in the quest for success.

But that requires a core principle.

Yet it seems the organizational blueprint remains unchanged for decades: Keep telling the [voter] what he wants to hear.

With little editing, Drew Sharp's column about the persistent vegetative state in which the Detroit Lions are now found can easily be transformed into an indictment of the Democratic Party. Long ago Howard Dean said, "I don't think we can win the White House if we vote for the President's unilateral attack on Iraq in Washington and then come to California and say we're against the war." Sure enough, John "I voted for it before I voted against it" Kerry got smashed, and now that the polls show that your average Joe is no longer in favor of the war and Democrats are beginning to criticize Bush's Misadventure In Mesopotamia, what is the first salvo that BushCo fires back? Democrats "actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein." Never mind how Rude that line of argumentation might be, the point is that Democrats should never have been in a position for Bush to flip the script like that, and Democrats would be in a much stronger position if they'd have stuck to their core principles instead of capitulating and compromising their integrity.


Perhaps that's the problem - when a politician's core principle is self-preservation then it is up to us, We The People, to let politicians know that they will be held accountable for their actions by us, We The People. Right now it is Bechtel and Halliburton and ExxonMoble that is holding Congress accountable. That has to change, and the change has to begin with us. We need to purge everyone who voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but it's a starting point for a necessary discussion. Let's discuss.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Open Thread

Looks like time for a fresh canvas. Enjoy.

"Eric Crapton" CD cover courtesy of

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Cheryl reports from the national DNC meeting

Marcia Moody and I are in Phoenix attending the national meeting of the DNC. It has been quite an education. We started with a reception Thursday evening hosted by PDA (Progressives Democrats of America). We got to listen to true progressives like Mimi Kennedy (actress, activist and PDA board member) Tom Hayden, and our own Deaniac, Terry Lierman, now chair of the Democratic Party in Maryland. Terry was the one helping Dean at the March for Women's Lives in 2004 and he also was Dean's campaign manager for Maryland during the campaign.

Yesterday, we attended a series of caucuses. The Hispanic Caucus was the best, as the issues they discussed are near and dear to me living in Arizona. Very powerful speakers really kept me alert. The Republicans are trying to pass an initiative that would amend the Colorado constitution to basically create a Nazi system of spying on your neighbor and reporting them to if you suspect someone is an undocumented immigrant because they check out a Spanish language book in the library. In Arizona, we passed prop 200 which is a racist proposition and an attempt to hurt Democrats. Turns out at least in the last City Council race it actually inadvertantly hurt Republicans just as much.

We were blessed to have Howard speak at both our Western Regional caucus and Hispanic caucus. It turns out he also spoke at the Women's caucus which Marcia attended (I missed it).

In the evening, the Arizona Democratic Party sponsored a reception. This was a great opportunity to mingle. Governor Dean was just standing there talking to one person, so Marcia headed over to chat with him. She was a little mad at me because I chose the food buffet instead.

Later, a few of the Tucson original Deaniacs got a chance to get our picture taken with Howard. I feel for his handler, Fred, because everyone was bombarding him to try and get a pic with Howard. I really didn't know what to say to Howard. He never really remembers me, and was struggling to read my upsidedown name tag as I negated to introduce myself again. All I could think of to say was to tell him about the good news of Melissa Taylor getting hired as the Executive Director for Harris county in Texas. I guess I shouldn't feel badly because he didn't recognize her name either until I mentioned the Morrison campaign and then it seemed to trigger that recognition. Of course, he ALWAYS remembers Marcia. Marcia told me not to feel badly, that she had to meet him 13 times before she was sure he remembered her...and I have only met him 7 now. :)

The one oddity of the evening is that three times they tried to get us to move over to a local casino where they were partying or something. Most of us had no desire to go but it came across as an 'order'. I finally asked the speaker why they were telling us to go over to a casino when we were happy at the reception talking with one another. I think it was sponsored by the Young Democrats of America and it sounded like a lot of 'fun' to them, lol. I am not sure if anyone actually went to the casino or if they had a separate reception there because we ended up having a mini-meeting on women's issues in the political sphere.

This morning I am at the General Session, and guess who is the main speaker? Yes, you got it. He is now speaking to non-stop standing ovations. He is really *on*. Renee, you should be thrilled that I am blogging here with wifi instead of intently listening to Howard. Don't worry...I am hearing the main points.

Later today I will see him again at the volunteer awards dinner. I am trying to get into the pre-session to take pictures for people. I hope to have more reports to follow.


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Blog family anniversary/reunion

From the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

"I'm afraid you're going to have to accept it," said Mr Prosser gripping his fur hat and rolling it round the top of his head, "this bypass has got to be built and it's going to be built!"

"First I've heard of it," said Arthur, "why's it going to be built?"

Mr Prosser shook his finger at him for a bit, then stopped and put it away again.

"What do you mean, why's it got to be built?" he said. "It's a bypass. You've got to build bypasses."

I think that's the Douglas Adams version of "Why do you want to climb the mountain?"..."Because it's there!" I am having one of those moments. I got this idea lodged in my brain yesterday, and it hasn't yet gone away. When I woke up early this morning, I had the opportunity to go back to sleep, but I couldn't, because I've got to do this thing. A Blog for America "family reunion".

The idea was hatched here, after hearing from Grandma Marcia, a one-time regular commenter on Blog for America. I opened up People-Powered Howard: Meet the Blog Family, a "little" web project I took on back during the Dean campaign, to refresh my memory as to which "Grandma" she was. I knew there had been at least a couple of them, and one of the Grandmas had been the inspiration for Meet the Blog Family. Well, turns out that was Grandma J.
At 9:39 p.m. on December 5, 2003, in the Drive for Democracy: Innovation and Energy in Orlando thread on the official Dean blog, Grandma J wrote:
"Someone way up above mentioned a roll call. Does anyone remember the Sleepless thread(s) where we all responded about why we are so involved in this campaign? And I cried for days. Or the thread where someone asked how old we all were and it was amazing to find out our average age (can't remember now, but it was definitely over 30)?

Maybe it is time we do that again with all the new people we have here."

Wow! That was two years ago? Well, guess what I decided I "had" to do? A little background about my motivation husband Demetrius and I were really inspired by the Dean campaign, and got hooked on the blog pretty early on. Neither of us had really been political before, and neither of us was cut out to do phone banking or canvassing or any of the "traditional" campaign activities, so we needed to create our own niches. For Demetrius, it was pretty easy to figure out what he had to offer, and he started doing graphics and flyers for the grassroots, by request. For me, it didn't seem as obvious what I could offer. But I was always on the lookout for a way that I could be, as they said on Thomas the Tank Engine, a "really useful engine". So anyway, that's why it possessed me to respond to Grandma J's query with this:
I have vounteered to start this project, and be Keeper of the Blog Bios. Everyone who wants to can send me a brief introduction--your blog name/handle and a little bit about yourself. Only as much as you feel comfortable sharing publicly (in other words, no more than you have shared publicly in the blog already). And, if you have a blog "claim to fame", such as a slogan you suggested that caught on, a poster you created, or anything else people might like to know about you and your unique contribution to the campaign and the blog community, please include that too. Since we always have new people joining, and the blog moves pretty quickly, it might make it easier for people to get to know each other.

Holy cow! I had no idea what I was in for! When I asked people to send in their bios, those suckers just *poured* in. I barely had time to skim them, because I was so busy trying to get them organized and laid out on a page...which ended up being three pages, A-F, G-M, and N-Z. It was a huge amount of work, but it was definitely worth it.

Go ahead and scan the names on those pages. Are you one of them? Are there names you recognize there? I know a few still post at Blog for America, and a number post on a group blog like Kos, My Left Wing, Booman Tribune, and MyDD. Some have their own blogs. Some are not blogging much, but are very active in local politics. Two years after this project was "born", I'd like to have a blog family reunion or sorts. I'd like to hear what some of these people are up to. Yes, dammit, Howard Dean didn't get the nomination. And Commander Bunnypants is still in the White House (note to self for later: Google bomb). But I know that many of us who were inspired by Howard Dean's presidential campaign are still working to make a difference. What's your story? Please e-mail it to howardempowered at so that we can include it in a "Where are they now?" series this coming week.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Open Thread

Just got home, and not a creature is stirring. Well, actually, none of the human creatures are stirring. The dogs are totally flipping out, and I'm sure there will be a cat on my keyboard in short order.

I just posted a story over at Street Prophets about the desire to somehow have a sane Christmas season, and the challenges therein. It is similar enough to the discussion earlier that I decided not to crosspost it here.

Here's a link to the video of Howard on The Tonight Show.

Update: Thank you, jc, for adding the link and the Howard Dean pics. Before the day is over, I wanted to mention (this time on the front page) that I learned over at My Left Wing that today is Senator Harry Reid's birthday. Well, I've *got* this cake graphic, thanks to Demetrius--sure hate to pass up a chance to use it!

I also said "Happy Birthday" to Senator Reid in the comments over at his blog. If you'd like to do the same, click.

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Stress-Free Holidays: Reality or Fantasy?

Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at

As we pulled out eight boxes of holiday cards to address and stamp, my twin sister had a great idea. Why not celebrate Hanukah or Christmas every other year? Of course, we realize the chance of this happening is slim to none, and if our country did so, we would leave our economy in ruins. Still, the idea is most tempting.

And so the rush begins (baking, decorating, shopping, and partying) the list seems to never end. Meanwhile, the activist's attention is always on what is happening right outside our home. We
await the hearings for one of the most conservative Supreme Court nominees, Sam Alito. Over 2,100 Americans and countless Iraqis are dead because of a senseless war. 30,000 GM employees will lose their jobs this month. Katrina survivors will be kicked out of their temporary housing in the next few weeks. Thousands of Pakistani women and children will die from lack of shelter and preventable disease. 47 million Americans are now without health coverage and many more are under-insured and face huge medical bills.

So where are our priorities? Last year Democracy for America
encouraged our participation in a phone card drive for our veterans and troops who would not have been able to phone a loved one over the holiday. Let's put our heads and hearts together and think of a DFACorps activity for this holiday season that the grassroots can work together on to make a difference and to help alleviate some of that holiday stress. What's your idea?

—Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP
Democracy for Oregon

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Friday Comics

And my favorite for today: Breaking New Ground

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Grandma Marcia checks in

In the middle of the current time crunch--admittedly one I experience every year when end of the quarter grading coincides with the increasing intensity of the holiday season--it was a pleasant surprise to see this comment in the overnight thread.

As a member of Blankets for America, I can tell you that Susan is very busy doing good things for others. She is a real inspiration to all of

I know that making quilts, afghans, and warm clothing for Pine Ridge Res., many babies in hospitals, for women and children in shelters where they are safe, and for the parents whose babies die at birth or soon after, give me some hope. Also I feel like we are giving hugs to those in need.

I am still angry about so many things going on politically, and I still yell and scream at the TV, but I just sew and crochet faster which relieves that tension.

thanks for this blog...Renee and the rest of you wonderful people.

Thank you for stopping by, Grandma Marcia! I was delighted to hear from the Dean administration's Caretaker of Stray Animals and Crying Babies. That's from Bloggers Vie for Choice Positions in the Dean Administration--for a blast from the past, I invite you all to check it out. Myself, I just checked out the Meet the Blog Family pages to check for myself whether Grandma Marcia was the one whose post inspired that project. Turns out it was Grandma J:

At 9:39 p.m. on December 5, 2003, in the Drive for Democracy: Innovation and Energy in Orlando thread on the official Dean blog, Grandma J wrote:

"Someone way up above mentioned a roll call. Does anyone remember the Sleepless thread(s) where we all responded about why we are so involved in this campaign? And I cried for days. Or the thread where someone asked how old we all were and it was amazing to find out our average age (can't remember now, but it was definitely over 30)?

Wow--that was two years ago as of this coming Monday. We should do something to celebrate. Like a reunion, maybe.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Trying to Make a Difference

My posts are rarely of a purely political nature. Mainly because the political landscape today is full of hydra-headed monsters. Contemplating for too long the disaster that confronts us these days gives me heart palpitations and a strange roaring white noise in my ears. Once I was able to regard politics fairly dispassionately. Now I'm full of hatred for the right-wing extremists. I find those feelings extremely uncomfortable for two reasons: 1.) I can't do much to make them stop, and 2.) hatred is foreign to my nature.

So when I write a post I prefer to focus on something less painful. To take a break from the constant need to fight back.

In my daily life I take a break through quilting. I'm sure I've written about Blankets for America on the BBB. It's our Dean Corps group...yet another positive result of the wonderful "Dean Ripple Effect".

To date we've made and distributed 771 quilts and blankets to shelters, hospitals and pantries. We've sent blankets to Katrina survivors, hospitals in New York and Florida, Ohio and South Dakota. We've sent blankets to shelters in Pennsylvania and the state of Washington. I know we've sent them to other states I can't recall just now. Too bad, cause now I've interrupted the flow and can't yell, "Yeeeaaarrrrghhhh!".

I can't tell if I'm making a difference politically. I worked as hard as I could for the Reform Ohio Now issues, but they still failed. But when I take a stack of quilts to the shelter workers I know I make a difference. I know that I supplied what they needed, and that people will be helped because of my actions. It helps keep me sane. (Sort of)

Not that I won't continue to fight politically. I can't remember the source, but my quote to live by politically is: "We will fight them until Hell freezes over, sir. And then we will fight them on the ice."

Susan D.

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World AIDS Day

Are you wearing a red ribbon today? Every day?

As this is a 'from the road' post, I'll keep it to facts and figures. :-)

UNAIDS has as its theme for this 18th World AIDS Day:

Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."December 1st is World AIDS Day and is recognized around the world as a day to renew hope, commemorate those lost and celebrate progress. This year World AIDS Day activities will call on politicians and the international community to keeping their promise and commitments in the fight against HIV and AIDS."

On December 11, 2003, G W Bush promised $15 billion in AIDS relief funding over the next five years. Promises. Promises.

According to the CRS Report for Congress HIV/AIDS International Programs: Appropriations, FY2003-FY2006 (updated 6 Sep 2005)(that's actually for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria programs): Spending in FY2003 was $1.65b, in FY2004 was $2.33b, and estimated spending for 2005 is $2.9b. The FY2006 budget proposal from the administration is just under $3.2b, the House proposal just over $3.2b, and the Senate's $3.6b.

Yada, yada. Big numbers galore. Let's look at FY2005 a little more -- actual spending on AIDS programs is $2.5b after subtracting the $87.8m appropriated but not provided to the Global Fund in FY2004 and the funding included for tuberculosis and malaria programs. All in all, start removing half a billion here and there and pretty soon it adds up to the fact that actual spending will need significant 'ramping up' for the 2007 budget year if we are to keep the promise of $15 billion in funding.

So get busy and PLEASE calI or write your congresscritter to encourage them to "Keep the Promise" and provide the funding to fight against HIV and AIDS.

p.s. The funding is only half the battle -- the Global AIDS Initiative requires that at least 33% of the funding go to abstinence only programs. Let me say that again -- at least $5 billion is being spent on programs proven to be ineffective.

Additonal information on World AIDS Day programs and HIV/AIDS funding:

World AIDS

World AIDS Campaign

Planned Parenthood

Move-on's Mislead

...And a wonderful organization to support:

Chicago House & Social Services, now in its 20th year of providing housing and support services to persons living with HIV/AIDS.


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Howard Dean on Jay Leno (Transcript)

This picture is from Howard Dean's 2003 appearance on The Tonight Show, courtesy of On Lisa Rein's Radar. Lisa's site has more great pictures, including the one you see below, as well as video clips from that earlier Tonight Show appearance. More pictures from that appearance can be found in John Pettit's gallery.

What follows is, more or less, a transcript of Howard Dean's appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night. For some reason, even though we have cable, we consistently get really crummy reception when we try to watch anything on our local NBC affiliate. Also, our dog started barking for no apparent reason toward the end. The combination of those things made me miss the part at the very end, where Leno brought up something about Springsteen being a possibility for some office in New Jersey and punned "Born to run!" Maybe in the comments someone can clarify that for me.

Leno: Let's talk about some of the issues. Bush's speech today, what did you think?

Dean: Part of my job is I'm supposed to be tactful now, and it doesn't come easy.

Leno: Oh no-forget that!

Dean: I thought it was his usual nonsense and repetetive…drivel that we've heard for the last 4 ½ years.

Leno: Well, that's tactful. (Yep, cause we know there's a less tactful word than drivel that would have fit perfectly at the end of that sentence!)

Dean: He didn't say anything new. He's defending a strategy that was built on things that weren't true, and of course we're in trouble. And I think "staying the course" is not a strategy, especially when you didn't
tell the truth to get us there in the first place.

Leno: Well, how about Joe Lieberman, a fellow Democrat--

Dean: Now I really have to be tactful!

Leno: He's been there a few times to Iraq, and he more or less agrees with the President.

Dean: Everybody gets to march to their own drummer in this party. What we need to do is have a real plan for strategic redeployment. We need not to have 150,000 troops that are being attacked every single day in Iraq. We shouldn't have been there in the first place, and the fact is we've made a big mess over there. We've created more of a danger than there was in the first place, and probably one of the results is that we did something that Iran couldn't do, we helped them win their objectives in the Iran-Iraq war. So, we're in a lot of trouble in Iraq, and John Murtha's right, we ought not to be hurting more Americans, and having more American wounded kids come home.

Leno: So what would your plan be?

Dean: I think withdrawing immediately is not the right thing to do, but there is a plan that was authored oddly enough by a guy who worked in the Reagan defense department by the name of Lawrence Korb. Where we would withdraw the National Guard troops over 2006, and even Joe Lieberman voted for 2006 being the year of transition there. We would withdraw the Guard troops, move 20,000 troops to Afghanistan, where they are needed, keep a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq, because we are going to have to deal with the terrorist threat that Bush created by going in there in the first place. And then the rest come home over the period of 2006 after this election. That gives us a redeployment opportunity, it doesn't show weakness, and it does show the ability to continue to deal with the problems in Iraq without having our guys be the targets.

Leno: Let me ask you something. Now, normally-the President's approval rating is 35%, it's the lowest it's ever been. It seems in years past that when one party was down, the other party would be up. For all the things the Republican are doing wrong, the Democrats don't seem to be gaining. Why aren't they gaining?

Dean: Well in some ways we are. The polls show that if the election were held tomorrow that we would take back Congress and all that. But, the Democrats have a lot to learn about standing up for what we believe in. You cannot win elections simply by criticizing the other guy, you gotta stand up for what you believe in. We're beginning to do that. I thought Harry Reid was really courageous when he shut down the Senate and demanded some honesty out of Republicans about why we got in Iraq in the first place. And I thought John Murtha, a decorated 37 year Marine Corps veteran was incredibly courageous when he got up and said, "Look, this isn't working. We need a strategic redeployment in Iraq. We're going to have to do a lot more of that. We're going to have to do it on jobs, we're going to have to insist that we have health insurance for everybody in this country like 36 other countries in the world do. We've got to stand for something different from the Republicans and then we can win.

Leno: I remember once you said you HATED Republicans-you remember saying that? You said you hated--(There was some crosstalk here, and it's hard to hear Dean's response, but watching the video one could see the immediate bemused reaction on Howard's face, and he interjected something like, "Well, I was kind of misquoted there…") In the spirit of bipartisanship, can you think of one Republican you like?

Dean: Abraham Lincoln! (Laughter and applause)

Leno: The very first one! All right--

Dean: If he were alive today, he'd be a Democrat!

Leno: You're sure of that-really? Do you think Rove will be indicted?

Dean: I'm not a lawyer, but…I would say there's a reasonable chance. You generally speaking don't get asked to go to a grand jury and testify four times during the life of the grand jury without being under some suspicion. So, I guess that, though I'm not a lawyer, I'd be nervous if I were him.

Leno: This culture of corruption we see now…we were just joke about this congressman, 2 point (couldn't hear) MILLION dollars. Okay, he's a Republican, but this is the perception about politicians. Because this happens on both sides-how do we change that? Do we need campaign finance laws?

Dean: What we need is real ethics legislation in Congress, because the Ethics Committee has been a farce. There was a truce at one point where nobody would indict anybody, or complain about anybody else. That was ridiculous.We really do need real campaign finance reform. We need to get the big money out of politics.

Leno: How do you do that?

Dean: You know, in the state of Arizona, there's a wonderful Democratic governor by the name of Janet Napolitano who got elected on a clean money campaign. She did not have to go to special interests to raise money to do it. They've got a great law that was put in by the voters, because the legislature of course wouldn't do it. The voters of Arizona put in a law that said there would be public financing of campaigns, so that if somebody comes along and wants to spend a gazillion dollars of their own money, the state will give you more to combat it. Now, nobody who runs on that clean elections plan in Arizona owes anybody anything. All they have to do is go in there and do what they think is right, which is really what the American people want. It's not so much about being a conservative or a liberal or a Democrat or a Repubublican. What people are mad about is that politicians go to Washington and then they won't stand up for anything, and that's what has to be changed. (Applause)

Leno: What I would like to see is some sort of truth in campaigning law, because we see these ads, "My opponent voted to give handguns to pedophiles" But that isn't EXACTLY what the law was...and you end up voting for which one you hate the least.

Dean: (reception was bad here and I can't make this first part out). But the flip side is something that's been very good for this country, and that's the First Amendment. Being able to say pretty much whatever you want, within some reason. Britain actually has laws where you can sue somebody for something like that, and maybe we need to do something like that, but free speech is very important in this country.

Leno: Yeah, law suits, we need more of those! (Laughter.) Okay, how about the 2008 presidential election? I know you can't pick somebody. Hillary seems to be way ahead. Could a Democratic candidate, late in the game, come
from behind, out of nowhere? And possibly--

Dean: I know one that did, but unfortunately he went back to nowhere after that.

Leno: (Laughing) Really? Well, would you ever run again?

Dean: Not in 2008. I've sworn--well, not sworn, but I've said that as long as I took this job as DNC chair my job is to fix the party. I'd like to make a big change in the White House. Whether I'm there or not is not so important.

Leno: Like in 2012, you'll still be a young man, you could do that.

Dean: (Smiling) That's right…you're very kind. Thank you.

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Thursday Comics

And my favorite for today: Nonsense & Repetitive...Drivel

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