Saturday, April 22, 2006

John Kerry on dissent

Apparently John Kerry had some *cough* "powerful words" to say about the patriotism and dissent in a time of war.

I have come here today to reaffirm that it was right to dissent in 1971 from a war that was wrong. And to affirm that it is both a right and an obligation for Americans today to disagree with a President who is wrong, a policy that is wrong, and a war in Iraq that weakens the nation.
Lest anyone forget, the following is from an article in The New Republic, not known to be a hotbed of support for Howard Dean...

In Defense of Howard Dean's comments on Iraq
December 2003-January 2004. After Saddam Hussein was captured on December 14, Dean appeared to go out on the farthest of limbs. "[T]he capture of Saddam has not made America safer," Dean said. "The Iraq war diverted critical intelligence and military resources, undermined diplomatic support for our fight against terror, and created a new rallying cry for terrorist recruits." Gephardt termed Dean's statement "ludicrous." Kerry took it as "more proof that all the advisors in the world can't give Howard Dean the military and foreign-policy experience, leadership skills, or diplomatic temperament necessary to lead this country through dangerous times."
I'm sure many of you have seen this:

Kerry may run for president

Oh really? MAY he? And I suppose the Pope *may* be Catholic. But this is rich...

Kerry said: "I will make that decision before the end of the year but I'm thinking about it hard."

He joked: "If you can help me find 60 000 votes in Ohio ..." He was referring to the close race in that state on which his 2004 loss to US President George W Bush hinged.
Don't freaking joke about that, John. It makes me think Sim Kerry deserved everything we did to him. 'Cause your reference to "finding votes" in Ohio reminds me of the way you solicited donations *before* the election so that the money would be there in case there was any funny business at the polls and you needed to launch a legal challenge. But then you left that to the Green candidate to take care of. And, oh, look--new information about the funny business in Warren County on election night. Go ahead, John. Run for president again. We will stomp you down so fast it will make your head spin.

Click here to see what Subodh Chandra had to say about the problems with the 2004 election in Ohio.

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Howard Dean at the DNC Spring Meeting

Thank you Holly*J for letting us know when Howard Dean was on C-SPAN this morning, speaking from the DNC Spring Meeting in New Orleans. You can see archived posts from this weekend's meeting at the DNC blog. Here's an article from about what Howard had to say:

Dean Says Republicans Offer 'Deficits' and 'Deceit'

The Democrats chose New Orleans for their three-day meeting to emphasize, according to Dean, that "Republicans have cut and run when it comes to rebuilding the Gulf Coast. We won't."

Dean yesterday donned a white Hazmat suit and brown and yellow work gloves to help gut a storm-ravaged home in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward so that it can eventually be restored.
Click here for the rest.

There are some pictures from this weekend in the Yahoo Hurricane Katrina photos.

Update: Just saw on the DNC blog that Tim Tagaris is back in D.C. after returning from the meeting in New Orleans. Wanted to share this piece of his recent blog post:

As I was watching Governor Dean speak at this afternoons general session, I got the goosebumps again. They are the same goosebumps I personally would get at times during the 2004 presidential primaries, but today they were for a different reason. As the governor spoke about the Fifty State Strategy, the grassrtoots, and individual success stories around the country, you could start to feel a buzz in the room begin to build. I am so proud to have been a part of the events like the national canvass taking place next weekend and the Democracy Bonds community (and an owner myself!), and I wasn't the only one... As the room erupted in cheers, the goosebumps came. We have every reason to be proud of the DNC this evening. The Party has come a long way in the last few months, and we have even more to build over the next few years. But one thing we know for sure, if you live in Wyoming or Ohio, Florida or Phoenix, Alaska or Alabama ... Democrats are fighting to win from the top of the ticket to the bottom. And that is something we can all get excited about as we approach the 2006 midterms.
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Deval Patrick Campaign Talking Points

Deval Patrick is running for Governor of Massachusetts without the support of the state Dem Party, which has endorsed former AG Tom Reilly.

"It's time for a new way in politics: leadership that is both candid and hopeful, that looks toward our best long-term interests, that takes the best ideas and the best people from all comers -- no matter what their party -- that is less focused on the left and the right and more focused on right and wrong."

"It's time for a new way in our Commonwealth: time for universal healthcare, world class public education, and a new chapter in our innovation economy that leaves no one behind."
-Deval Patrick, in his new ad
Originally from his Faneuil Hall Speech
To watch: live: confirm your support now!
Almost 2,000 people have already confirmed their support on We need EVERYONE to set up accounts and begin to identify their own community of support. Remember: If you get 35 people to sign up you get a button, 100 = a phone call from Deval, 500 = Deval will make you dinner.

Deval Patrick Campaign Releases First Paid Media
On Tuesday we rolled out a broad Internet buy that aims to capitalize on the growing grassroots momentum. The advertisements will spread Deval's message to voters as he urges them to "hope for the best [in their politics and government] and work for it."

The ad campaign is a combination of banner ads and video space on various web sites across the state, including,,,,, and as well as the release of the campaign's first 60-second video advertisement.

See the ad here:

Urgent Current Campaign Initiative: Signature drive
We need to get 10,000 signatures to ensure that Deval is on the ballot. We need people to help gather those signatures. Contact for more info or to help out. Help today.

Two fundraisers
There are two important fundraising opportunities in the coming weeks. A GLBT and friends Fundraiser for Deval Patrick is being held at the Park Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 from 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m. The GLBT community held the campaign's first major fundraiser early in the race in June of 2005, an even larger effort is being organized by supporters this year. For information contact Amanda Mendel at

May 3rd is our second Women for Deval Patrick event. Over 160 women have joined the host committee alone. Forty seven percent of the contributors to this campaign are women, compared to just 27% of Tom Reilly's donor base.

Other Current Campaign Initiatives: Spread the word
Our new web ad is a great way to introduce people to Deval.

Send everyone you know to

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Why the Ohio Attorney General race matters: honest elections

Crossposted at Booman Tribune, My Left Wing, ePluribus Media, Buckeye State Blog, and Daily Kos

If you've been following my posts for the past few months, at Howard-Empowered People and elsewhere, you may have noticed that I keep posting about some guy named Subodh Chandra. But I'm guessing that a lot of you have not really tuned in to those posts. I can't say that I blame you--there have been any number of national events that I haven't really bothered to read up on until the attention they received on blogs reached a certain critical mass.

The primary election in Ohio will be on May 2--less than two weeks away. I know that Paul Hackett's candidacy--even the one for Senate before he withdrew back in February--drew national attention and support. As this election nears, I have been trying to find a way to make the case that this election is of *national* importance. With all that people have on their plates--with all the very important issues we need to care about--how, I wondered, was I going to get people to take notice? And actually give a rat's

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--er, hindquarters about this election and this candidate. This morning, thanks to some audio that I had not yet transcribed from a Subodh Chandra event I attended earlier this month, I hit upon the answer. It has to do with the Attorney General's role in ensuring clean and honest elections.

From the question and answer section after Subodh Chandra's speech in Columbus, Ohio on April 8...

What role does, or can, or should the Attorney General have in ensuring clean and honest elections?

Well, I'll tell you what I would have had done in 2004 election. It would have been very different from the way Jim Petro handled things.

At the first sign of trouble, and to me--correct me if I'm wrong. The first sign of trouble--here's an oldie but a goodie--was when Ken Blackwell announced that boards of election should not honor voter registration forms unless they were on the right weight of cardstock. (Laughter). Even when they were printed off his own web site. At that very *moment*, he would have found his ass in court.
And what we would have done in a courthouse, well before the election, is to sort out the rules of democracy, and ask him a series of questions about how he believed that election was going to be administered, what the rules were going to be. And we would have tried to get some kind of consent judgement out of the court--maybe get a special master--get some kind of ruling as to what the rules were going to be. And that then would have been an enforceable document that the Attorney General, running the might and weight of that 350 person law firm would have been able to enforce.

Instead, what happened is that private parties had to react to the shenanigans as they were becoming public. And so it took until 4:00 on Election Day before a federal judge ordered that Ken Blackwell had to permit absentee voters who had requested their ballots but didn't receive them, to even vote provisionally. He wasn't letting them vote provisionally! Now, call me crazy, but I don't see the point of a provisional ballot other to vote provisionally. And why he turned away, who knows how many--was it hundreds, was it thousands of voters from the polls--for no reason. And of course, where are you most likely to not get your absentee ballot? Urban areas.

So, look...I am not by nature a conspiracy theorist. Good lawyers aren't permitted to be. You have to try to look at every issue and try to get to the truth. And so, I have no idea whether the 2004 election was stolen. I *know* the 2000 election was. I went there and Washington. Can you imagine the spectacle of a sitting Assistant United States Attorney trying to go in and protest the election? I had a little bit of a tiff with a Secret Service agent that day. And then we both cooled off.

But, I have no idea whether it was stolen in 2004. But, that's not the point, in a way. Once we have our *faith* in democracy undermined, then everything else is on the line. I couldn't even swallow the Alito nomination, and the cooperation the Democrats were giving, because I kept thinking, his whole presidency is illegitimate! People make all that a radical position, I don't think it is. Because, he undermined my faith in democracy. ...I *moved* to Ohio to work for Dick Celeste, to help plant the seeds of democracy in central and eastern Europe. Because after the Berlin Wall fell, Celeste acted to create a program to train young leaders from central and eastern Europe who had *fought* for democracy, but who had never experienced it, in the fundamentals of campaign organizing skills, and we sent them home to raise hell with the skills that they've learned. And they're now all big shots in their home countries. One of them is Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the majority political party, one of them runs the umbrella organization for all the nongovenmental organizations, one of them's a leading human right's lawyer. They're doing amazing things.

But now I feel like I need to call them and say, "Could you come back and give us some retraining?" We need to call Jimmy Carter and ask him to come monitor elections here in Ohio. We *cannot* let these things go that far.

One of the reasons that David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the Florida recount in 2000, came to Ohio to support my candidacy--*twice*, in Cleveland and Columbus. And he kept hammering away at this point--he said this is a job for a lawyer and prosecutor with the experience to ensure that we have a free and fair election in 2008. This is not a job for a politician with a law degree--even a well intended one.

And, we have *got* to ensure this. Because, we all know, it's not just Ohio that's at stake. It's the fate of our nation, and as a result, the fate of our world that's at stake.

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Earth Day Open Thread

Hat tip to Buckeye State Blog for letting me know that Subodh Chandra has a spiffy new web site. He must have *just* changed it late Friday evening, because I'd visited the site a couple times earlier in the evening and it was still the old format. Here's a screen capture of the top portion of the new page.

Click here to check out the site, and find out why we should "Hire Subodh!" And, by the way, this isn't *just* important for Ohioans. Concerned citizens in all 50 states would have benefitted if, during the 2004 election, Ohio had had an Attorney General with the "steelies" to call Ken Blackwell on his cra--, er, "stuff".

Also, happy Earth Day. This panda pic comes courtesy of the World Wildlife Foundation.

...and also this mama panda with her 7-week-old baby. Awwww!

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Friday, April 21, 2006

"Democrats with spine" roundup

Feingold Gets Big Spike in PAC Donations

Al Gore appears, along with George Clooney, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Julia Roberts (who is presumably dressed as "Mother Earth" or something like that) on a special environmental issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

Don't forget to support Subodh.

In case you missed them, here are links to some of my previous posts referencing Ohio Attorney General Candidate Subodh Chandra:

Want to support an Ohio "outsider"?
To Ohio Dem party executive committee: Don't endorse
Plunderbund's first podcast
Plunderbund podcast: Part II of Subodh Chandra interview

Here's a nice write-up in The Free Times about Subodh Chandra's Coingate puppet show and Simpson's parody web-ad.

And last, but certainly not least, Howard Dean is at the DNC Spring Meeting in New Orleans right now. Tim Tagaris is blogging the meeting, and you can watch for new posts here.

Here are links to Corinne's most recent posts at We've Got Howard Dean's Back:
Surfing the National Wave to Success in November
Religious Group Claims Dean "Issued an ultimatum"
NEW: Mullah Dobson Responds to Dean

Thanks, Corinne!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why we need to support Subodh Chandra for Ohio Attorney General

Our primary in Ohio is less than 2 weeks away. Please help support Subodh Chandra for Attorney General. He is the most "howardly" candidate I've seen--well, since Howard Dean himself. For anyone who hasn't seen it before, the graphic below is a "Howardly"--a graphic designed by my husband. It is a tradition in the Blog for America comments to bestow this virtual award to candidates and grassroots activists who "done good", particularly in the area of bold, unflinching truth-telling.

It's high time I awarded one to Subodh, but I need to do more than that...

This morning, I looked at the Subodh Chandra bumper stickers sitting on top of my computer monitor, and then at the the calendar on the wall near my desk, and realized, "Dang, this primary is less than two weeks away--we really do need to get these on our cars!"

In addition to taking that fairly quick and simple step, I have also wanted to start turning more of my blog attention to this race as the date of the primary approaches. But my work schedule has been making it difficult to find the time or talent to adequately put into words the reasons Subodh Chandra is worthy of widespread grassroots support--especially in these last critical weeks.

This diary was recently posted at Buckeye State Blog: Volunteer for Subodh Chandra. In it, I posted the following comment:

I know it's a little thing, but I really could use some testimonials that I could post here

...about why, specifically, Howard Dean supporters would want to support Subodh. I see that time is running short, and my work schedule is keeping me from having the time to do this thing right.

It would be great if I could have one personal endorsement a day--from bloggers--that I could post.

E-mail is
I'm going to find and post the links to official endorsements, as well as what bloggers have posted on their own sites. But it would be great to have people tell my readers--especially those who are not in Ohio and therefore have not followed this race as closely as the Ohio bloggers--what it is about Subodh Chandra that makes him an outstanding candidate they should support. After all, when Paul Hackett was still in the race, he had support not just locally but nationally.

Update: Hat tip to Buckeye State Blog for pulling together these links for me to share:

Subodh! Subodh! Subodh! (full list of endorsements)

Here's what Tim Tagaris, who now writes for the DNC blog, had to say after hearing Subodh Chandra speak for the first time, in the fall of 2005:
I cannot even count the number of political dinners I've attended over the past two years. Most are the same; a bunch of candidates for office stand up, recite a life story, and drone on about why they are the best choice for 'x' in 2004/2005/2006. But every so often, I am taken back by a candidate that truly speaks to a crowd. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it makes these dinners well worth the price of admission.

Tonight was one of those nights. The candidate was Subodh Chandra for Attorney General.

I rushed home to upload some video from the event, eager to share it with individuals from across the state who check into Grow Ohio on a daily basis. I hope you'll take a look, visit Subodh's website, and volunteer for his effort in whatever capacity you can, whenever the opportunity arises.
Click here to read more and to see the videos Tim posted. And, if you're a member of Democracy for America, please voice your support for Subodh Chandra, who has applied to be a DFA-List candidate.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Howard Dean, out-standing in his field

Narf! Tried to think of a clever cow pun for the title, but nothing was coming to me.

From Wired News photos:

In a move to distinguish himself from the other 300 or so seaoned Democrats running for President, Vermont Governor Howard Dean, seen here in a file photo, has launched a website providing nothing but video feeds featuring himself.
Photo: AP Photo/Toby Talbot
Anyone know when this was taken? It says "Governor" rather than "former Governor" Howard Dean--he briefly ran in 2000, is that correct?

What's your favorite picture of Howard?

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Russ Feingold's new video: "W"

From the inbox:

Dear Renee,

Yesterday, in Texas, I premiered our innovative new video ad, called "W". It takes a unique yet serious look at the President's illegal domestic spying program and I wanted to make sure the Progressive Patriots community saw it. Please take a look, it's around a minute long, and feel free to forward it on to your friends.

Watch the Video

Congress has a duty to stand up when the executive branch ignores our laws, and the President has overstepped his authority with this illegal wiretapping program. By forwarding this video to your friends and family, you'll help me continue to try and bring accountability to this administration.

Watch the Video

Thank you for your continued support of my resolution to censure the President. This is an appropriate first step in demanding accountability from a president that has played fast and loose with the law and constitution for far too long. I hope you enjoy the video, and help me to keep this issue alive by passing it along to your friends.


Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund

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Columbus area churches uniting to improve graduation rates

This is from the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Columbus) newsletter, and the numbers George cites are specific to our church, but I posted it as an example of how some area churches have united to work for social justice. Also, I wrote something a while back in response to an article in The Other Paper about "The Dwindling Religious Middle", an article which, among other things described the plight of an area minister who believes that churches have become too political. What Rev.George Glazier describes here is the sort of political action in which many of our areas take part. It is not candidate or party-oriented, but issue-oriented...addressing concerns such as low-cost housing and access to health care. The next meeting will take place on May 8 at Congregation Tifereth Israel. It will focus on the Youth Committee is looking at truancy concerns, and the fact that Columbus has the 4th highest high school dropout rate in the nation.

In this month's newsletter, George says, in part:

...Yet if sitting in a seat for 2 hours, once a year, can bring justice to those who are crying for it (and the track record of B.R.E.A.D. is pretty good at accomplishing this), then I will sit in that seat. My butt can take it! I have sat longer and suffered more for lesser results. So I will be there, will you? We need 100 people from St. Stephen's to show up. The goal for turnout for the Action Assembly is 2000 from the 48 congregations. This would be the largest gathering ever for B.R.E.A.D.

This Issue is Education and Youth
The Date is Monday evening, May 8th
The Time is 6:30 p.m.
The Place is Congregation Tifereth Israel,
1354 East Broad Street

Yours in Christ,
I would just like to go on record at this moment and say how proud I am to have George as my pastor, rather than, say, this chucklehead. You can read the rest of what he had to say here.

I was not aware, until I started hearing announcements about the upcoming B.R.E.A.D. meeting, that the graduation rate in Columbus was so low. Today in the Columbus Dispatch, there was a front-page story about this.

In the Columbus district, boys - especially black boys - graduate at much lower rates than their female classmates. Forty-eight percent of black males graduated from high school in Columbus, the study said, compared with 61 percent of black females. Among white students, 61 percent of girls graduated and 54 percent of boys did.
Those are pretty grim statistics. I had no idea.

By the way, when I was checking the Dispatch's web site to find the link for that article, I saw another article about Subodh Chandra.

Candidate assails officials' inaction on school funding

I'm really liking the idea of having this guy as "the people's lawyer".

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Howard Dean on building political talent in the Democratic Party.

Governor Dean addressed Prof. Roy Neel's class at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee in March of 2005. Sally Jenkins was impressed by what he said, and she wrote about in the Return of the Angry Man in the Washington Post last July.

Has it been that long since that great article came out? It was in the magazine section with a cover picture of Dean, and the words "Can you hear me now?"

One of his main concerns about the way the Democrats were picking and choosing so few states to concentrate on every 4 that we are not building our future leaders. He addressed that in this event shortly after he became chairman.

Return of the Angry Man

"One of his stops was at Vanderbilt University, where he faced a standing-room-only class. For the next 45 minutes, Dean lectured, bantered and spoke like a candidate. ("I do not believe that you can run enormous deficits year after year after year and not have consequences. I do not believe you can run a foreign policy based on petulance.") But Dean was almost as critical of Democrats. The class evolved into his first lengthy public explication of his view of the party, and his "idears" for fixing it, as he pronounces the word. "It is socially unacceptable in some parts of the country to be a Democrat," he observed. "The first thing we have to do is show up in 50 states and compete in 50 states. Second thing we're going to do is talk in a way that is not condescending."

"The number one thing you can do is run for office."

[Class giggles]

"I'm absolutely serious. I am not kidding."

The class grew quiet. Here was Dean as a Johnny Appleseed, sowing civics in the young. While Democrats have conceded parts of the country considered hostile, Republicans have left no office untested, he pointed out. The result is that Dems have no farm system, no ability to find young political talent in red states and groom it.

Run, he urged the students. Run for county road commissioner. Run for city council. "If you don't have people running for offices like county commissioner, who do you think is going to run for Congress a generation from now?"
Dean has often referred to this policy of his as building the farm team. I have really noticed it here in our area. We have no one to run because no one has run for years. There is a dearth of possible candidates because no one dared. We did have one that dared, we gathered petitions, worked for him...DFA and DEC together. But the old guard Democrats stepped in with a candidate who was just like the GOP incumbent, had no stances no issues...and he lost. We can't have our candidate run again, as he moved from the area. Now there is no farm team. So I know what he means about having no young political talent.

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Happy news from SusanD

From the comments:

Hi all, I'm a grandma for the 4th and 5th time. Today at 1 p.m. my daughter safely delivered two beautiful little girls. One is 6 lbs., 2 oz., and the other is 5 lbs., 5 oz. Mama, Papa and babies doing well. (Grandma too)

Congratulations, and thank you for stopping by to share the happy news!

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DemocracyFest Update

"Will there be childcare available?"

Having two children myself, it's a question I've asked hundreds of times of candidates, political and party leaders. The answer is almost always no, which makes it extremely difficult for people with children to particiapte in many political activities.

The organizers of DemocracyFest are committed to making the event as accessible to everyone as we possibly can. However, providing childcare has proven to be a larger challenge this year than it has in the past.

KiddieCorp has agreed to offer their services at the event, but we must have a certain number of children signed up by May 12th for them to provide their service. KiddieCorp is the best and most affordable option available in the area, and the organizers of DemocracyFest would really like to have this quality childcare available for the parents and children who attend this year's event.

So, if you plan to attend DemocracyFest, and need childcare, please register your children now!

Childcare scholarships will be made available to those in need.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Plunderbund podcast: Part II of Subodh Chandra interview

Eric: And, like I said, it was very good to see your campaign treat blogs very similar to the press, and some campaigns do and some campaigns don't. But I kind of wanted to get into this viral ad that you had sort of mentioned before. And I will just tell you that, I picked those up and put them on Plunderbund, and right away got my bandwidth completely killed. It's the first I've ever gone over my monthly bandwidth before the middle of the month. So that's good, because obviously people were wanting to visit the site and see those things. What was behind--you had both a Simpsons thing, and for people who are listening that haven't seen it, you should be able to go to the site and search for it and find it. The videos are on there. You had a Simpsons parody and you had a puppet show. What was behind that? I mean, was the puppet show just something that you dreamed up, or was it sponataneous, or--how'd that go down?

Subodh: Well, I've actually been doing the puppet show off and on for younger audiences.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Subodh: I did it for Cleveland State University law students, I did it for law students at The Ohio State University, and I've been doing it off and on throughout the campaign. And the puppet show is just basically, it's pure fun. And we had a fundraiser in Cleveland Heights at a friend's place. And it was kid-friendly, and there were a lot of kids there including my own. And so we broke out the puppet show, and I added a couple of songs at the end.

Eric: (laughing) Right! And we won't give it away for people who haven't seen it, but you've got to go on there and see it.

Subodh: So it's just pure fun and all I'm trying to get across to people is that this is the same kind of silly drama with victims, villians, and vindicators as any other good fairy tale in life--

Eric: Sure.

Subodh: --and unforunately it actually all happened to us. It was probably the first time in world history that the words "securities" and "exchange commission" were used in a puppet show.

Eric: (laughing) That's right. It's brilliant, and it's so funny. And the Simpsons thing is probably going to get more traction around the net, because it's one of those things on blogs that people like. But again, we won't go into that. You, basically are Apu, and your opponent Marc Dann is Homer Simpson, and it goes from there. And that's the take-off, so for folks that haven't seen it, get on the site, check it out--it's funny stuff. But, what are your thoughts in general on blogs--political blogs or otherwise. Do you see them as a force, or a farce?

Subodh: No, I think they're a real force. They come with good, they come with bad. The good part is, these are alternative ways of getting information out when the media are controlled increasingly by conglomerates, and editorial decisions are made sometimes that don't make any sense. So it's a good way to put information out there, and for bloggers who are entrepreneurial and enterprising to get information and put it out there for people to consider, and I've noticed many times the mainstream media following the blogs now.

Eric: Yes.

Subodh: --which is fascinating.

Eric: Well, that's what blew up my bandwidth, was the PD. (Plain Dealer).

Subodh: Right, right. How many--are you able to guess how many people actually looked at the thing?

Eric: I'm not sure, on a post by post basis. It was probably several hundred that viewed it, just knowing the size of the file and how much bandwidth it sucked up. I mean, it just went nuts for two days in a row. So obviously a lot of people, and maybe some people who listen to this now, will come and see it. But it was, let's just say a lot! My host is asking for more money, let's just put it that way.

Subodh: Well, I'm sorry to cost you--

Eric: Oh, no worries! It's a few bucks--it's what I do. (Editor's note: But it wouldn't hurt to visit Eric's tip hat in the upper right hand corner of his blog, and leave a little thank you for "what he does".)

Subodh: But, the down side of blogs, is that there's a lot of disinformation that's put out there--

Eric: Right.

Subodh: --and then campaigns can get out there and basically, through anonymous identities, shill and troll bad information. Like the father-in-law of my opponent trying to, essentially, question my patriotism, the way I interpreted that.

Eric: Right, and that happened on Plunderbund, actually. And we've seen that, but I also think, personally, that blogs are self-policing. I mean, bloggers pretty much find B.S. and call B.S. on stuff pretty quickly. And, like you saw, the High and Broad blogger person got shut down. We are pretty good at self-policing, hopefully, anyways.

Hey, that sort of leads into my next question. The testiness that came out in the last few weeks between you and your opponent Marc Dann. Do you attribute that just to it being crunch time, and both of you trying to differentiate? And do you think you've been able to differentiate enough at this stage?

Subodh: Well, let me answer the second part first, about the differentiation. There could not be a clearer contrast between these two candidates. Executive experience on my end versus legislative experience on his end, and many of the distinctions that he's tried to draw for example in editorial board meetings, are just false distinctions. This notion that he's represented ordinary people and I've just represented big institutions, it's just a bunch of nonsense. I mean, I represented an African-American colleges student who had been beaten up by police officers.

So that's just nonsense. And then another distinction that he tried to create is that somehow he's got policy experience and I don't have any. I mean, what is it that somebody who works for the Ohio governor, the Oklahoma governor, the Texas governor, who's been counsel to the head of the American Bar Association helping develop the ABA's Commission on Domestic Violence--and the law director of a city, signing off on every single piece of legislation passed for 3 1/2 years--what is it that person has? They don't have policy experience?

Well, you know, you've got practical experience in actually implementing things instead of just talking about it. Instead of just theorizing about it. And legislators are permitted, in fact they're required, to have an opinion about everything. But they're accountable for nothing. They don't have to actually implement anything.

So the distinctions could not be clearer in terms of preparation for the job. I don't just theorize about what it would be like to run a people's law firm, I've done it. I don't just theorize about slashing outside counsel spending, and what it would take--I've done it. So, I would be able to hit the ground running from day one as Attorney General.

The other area of key distinction is in background. We released our background information to the media, and as a result, I am not in a position of having to answer questions about my background constantly as new revelations come up. And this turns out--

Eric: Are you referring maybe to, once we get to the general? Is that what you're referring to?

Subodh: Right! Even now--even now. The reality is, look, I'm as reluctant as anybody to say anything ill of a fellow Democrat.

Eric: Right.

Subodh: But once a person in any campaign or job application process, touts their experience at doing something as the reason that people should vote for them, or select them for the job, then, by definition, they are making it a legitimate subject of conversation as to how you did that. If you claim, as my primary opponent does, "I've represented ordinary people, and I've done it well!" then it is perfectly legitimate to say, "Let's see how well you represented those ordinary people. And gee, here's something interesting, an ordinary person went to jail for four months, for a nonexistent crime, and you haven't adequately explained it. And you've hidden behind lawyers, claiming in federal court, "I wasn't the lawyer", but saying to the Gay People's Chronicle, "We did a great job", implying that you were the lawyer...

It's time to come clean and tell the truth. And any accountability that I am requiring, at this moment, I gotta tell you, is nothing compared to the millions of dollars that will be brought in an onslaught of negativity, on this and other issues by the Republicans in the fall.

Eric: That's right.

Subodh: And I said to one audience, you know I feel right now that I'm raising these issues with one arm tied behind my back. The Republicans will use both fists, their knees, their feet--

Eric: --and their foreheads!

Subodh: --their elbows, and those handguns that they like to conceal--

Eric: Right.

Subodh: They're not gonna be shy about it. So, we need to have an honest conversation, because, if we're going to claim that we're prepared to do this job, it's perfectly fair game to talk about about how well prepared we are.

Eric: Yep, absolutely.

Subodh: And, on the Republicans in the fall, which is a key issue. Because here's why it's important, Eric--I'm sorry to go on about this, but I think it's very important that people understand one key thing.

This isn't about me, this isn't about Marc Dann. This isn't even about our qualifications and who's better, 'cause you know what? Longest damn job interview in my life, if it's over and I get it--great. Actually, my wife and I are kind of hoping for a one percent margin loss so that we can have our family back--

Eric: (laughing) Right.

Subodh: But the reality is, it isn't about us. In the end, it's about the people who've been harmed by attorneys general who weren't just asleep at the switch, they switched sides. They were fighting for the other side. They were fighting for the special interests, like natural gas companies. Like predatory lenders. And so, if we lose this office, because we put up a nominee who's pathetic, and can't win the office, and hurts, potentially, the rest of the ticket. If we do that, this is what it means. We will lose, for yet another four years, our ability to protect the people that we as Democrats say that we care about. That's a pretty serious loss.

Eric: Yeah, it sure is. Now, one last question, if you get the nod, and the Democratic nomination for Attorney General, do you expect Marc Dann to support you, and if he gets it, will you support him? And to what level?

Subodh: Well, as to the former question, who cares?! I mean, who cares one way or the other--it would be lovely to have his support, but I've got voters whose support I have to gather. And the reality is, I honor and respect Marc Dann's service as a legislator. I gotta tell you, he has very imaginatively used the soapbox in the minority, in ways that other people haven't necessarily had the imagination to use. And I think it's wonderful, and I think it would be terrific if he continued in those efforts, because he's brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to--I gotta tell you, I wouldn't have the patience to do it! I don't have a legislative mentality, I have a chief executive's mentality, which is get stuff done. I don't have the patience to sit and logroll, and vote on bills where you're voting for something in it, but because it's got a poison pill, you're hoping it will lose...I mean, that doesn't make any sense to me at all, but that's the legislative mentality.

So, you know, I hope he continues, I'd love to have his support, but who cares? It's such an "inside baseball" question with all due respect.

As to the issue--many people have sort of brought up this issue of "will you support" and all this stuff, and I've said, Look, simply put, I will not be voting for Betty Montgomery this fall. You know, I believe strongly in recycling, but some substances are too toxic and too worn out to be recycled, and Betty Montgomery is one of them. So we've got to end her ability to harm Ohioans, to both be asleep at the switch and switch sides.

Eric: Sure enough.

Subodh: Now, having said that, having been involved in Democratic politics for as long as I have--I mean, I was the chair of the College Democrats when I was in college, and as I've mentioned, I've worked for governors, worked on campaigns, raised money for people. I know the politically correct answer to that question. It is "Absolutely. Yes. No problem!" And even all the way through my primary opponent's Supreme Court reprimand--which I think is an electoral disaster--but even all the way through his Supreme Court reprimand, having read the underlying nature of the conduct, and, you know, the tax liens on his home and his business, and the lobbyist's gifts that he accepted and refused to return, and didn't timely report. All of that stuff that's come out so far, and even some of the other stuff I knew about, that hasn't been reported, even with all of that, my inclination would have been to say, "Oh yes, absolutely, I'll be supporting."

But, the Keith Phillips case changed everything for me. Because, a real human being served four months in jail for a nonexistent crime. And there are a couple of significant failures here that never have been explained properly. First, why, when that client walked in the door, why did Marc Dann and his associates not advise that client that his conviction that they were relying on to make the sentence, could be reversed. And should be reversed, and must be reversed because it was for a nonexistent crime, that had been struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court. Why not?

You know what the answer to that probably is, but they just won't answer it? They didn't know! Because they didn't do the research. They didn't know! And their excuse is, "Well, it would have just gone back before the same judge." Nonsense. Another lawyer--a real lawyer--got it reversed.

Eric: Wow.

Subodh: Another lawyer got it reversed, in front of another judge, because the first judge was recused. So, the explanation that's been given so far to the newspapers is nonsense!

The second issue is, why then, did you not use a rock-solid alibi defense in which four co-workers are saying he didn't do it, the description of the person doesn't match, the description of the vehicle doesn't match--why wouldn't you use it to defend against the case, instead of telling the guy to plead to a nonexistent crime that had not only been struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court, but had been repealed? Repealed--it wasn't even on the books!

Why? The answer is probably, "We didn't do the research, we didn't look at the statues, we don't know what we're doing!"

Eric: Yeah, and those are pretty serious things, and --

Subodh: Very serious. And I teach law students legal ethics. I taught legal ethics, and I spent a week or two on competence. And you know something? I couldn't look them in the eye, and tell them that party loyalty is more important than ethics and competence in the practice of law. I just couldn't do it.

Eric: That's a good point.

Subodh: And so, if there's a political consequence to that, so be it. But let me ask you something, Eric. Tell me the politicians who've not endorsed in this race in the Democratic party? There's a lot of them.

Eric: Yep.

Subodh: There are a lot of them. And I think that those who seek to try to make an "issue" on whether I am personally uncomfortable based on ethics and competence about giving my blessing to someone who has failed to explain something that's happened. I would be more than ready to consider offering my absolute, unconditional support if I had heard an explanation for what had happened to this victim.

Eric: Right. Well there's some things--

Subodh: --who also was the victim of a hate crime, Eric. He was also the victim of a hate crime. He's a gay male, who was basically beaten up by other people, and there was no advocacy for him by the Dann firm as a victim either.

Eric: And your differentiation has been made. And we're running a little bit long. But I think that that's admirable, that, first of all, you send out the background check, you're way above board, and then, when you're pushed to a tough decision--like in your IALIF thing, you were pushed to a tough decision--you made the right one. And here again you're being pushed to a tough decision about, "Do I go party loyalty or do I go my ethics and values?" and you go ethics. And I think that speaks highly of you, and I wish you the best. And I really appreciate you being on the podcast today, and good luck into May, and hopefully going into the general.

Subodh: Thanks very much, and I really appreciate the opportunity.

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Plunderbund's first podcast

Eric Vessels of Plunderbun has posted his first podcast today. Future episodes will include interviews with other Ohio bloggers, as well as the opportunity for listeners to call in.

It starts with the Charlie Wilson hoedown ad--he's the one who didn't get enough valid signatures and has to run as a write-in candidate. Followed by a parody of the recent Sherrod Brown ad, set to hoedown music.

Eric: All right, I've got with me on the inaugural Plunderbund podcast our very first candidate politician interview with Subodh Chandra. Subodh, welcome.

Subodh: Thank you so much for having me.

Eric: Subodh is the Democratic candidate for Attorney General which will be in a primary coming up here in just a few weeks with Marc Dann. Subodh was kind enough to take a bit of time to speak with us today. First of all, does anybody ever actually call Abode Tundra--have you ever had that happen?

Subodh: You know, that actually hasn't happened yet. Maybe we can start a trend right now.

Eric: (laughs) Well, actually we don't want that to happen--we want them to know your name. I'll share kind of a funny story from yesterday. Our mail lady comes up to our house, and she looks at my van and says "You know, I know that Strickland guy, but what's that *other* sticker? Who is that?" And it was your sticker on there. So I had to go through the whole "abode tundra", and that's how you say it and stuff and explain who you were. So, are you finding that you're getting your name recognition out there--because I know that was one of your initial struggles. How's that coming?

Subodh: Well, absolutely, it's going well. You had that conversation and other people are having that conversation, and the newspapers are covering, you've seen our internet ad is getting out there and people are talking about it. I mean, here's what I figure about my name--I've got third grade teachers that are still haunted by it. (laughter) So, you're stuck with it. And, in all seriousness, if people associate the name with a record of public service accomplishment and with a particular plan to try to help save the state, then they're with you, for the haul. All the way at least, I hope, through May 2, the primary, and beyond.

Eric: Absolutely. Hey, I want to ask you, I've got sitting on my desk here this great big red folder that you guys sent out to me, and I call it "the dossier". Do you want to talk a little bit about why you did that, and what that is?

Subodh: Sure. It comes back to the notion that I've been talking about since the beginning of this campaign, which is that all I'm doing is applying for a job. A very sensitive job, a job that's of *incredible* importance to Ohioans. And so when you're applying for a job--and I gotta tell you, I'm going through the longest damn job interview in my life! (laughter) When you're applying for a job, what do people do? They look at your qualifications and they do a background check. Particularly for sensitive jobs. If you were going to hire a babysitter for your girls, you'd want to know, hey, have you ever taken care of kids before, and you'd want to know, do you have a clean background.

Eric: Sure.

Subodh: So, the documents that we released to the media, I think it's over a month ago now--

Eric: Right.

Subodh: It's basically a background check. Everybody knows that campaigns do research on the candidate to prepare for any attack that might come. It's opposition research on yourself. So everybody knows that campaigns do that, and they guard that information like a state secret. Well, when we were done with ours, I said, let's just give this to the media. Let's just put it all out there.

Why? Well, because I'm applying for a job and people deserve to have a background check, first of all. Second, what it does is that it gives people confidence at a time when people are more cynical than they've ever been, whether they're Democrats or Republicans or Independents. They're more cynical than they've *ever been* about government, and about their elected officials. And with good reason.

Eric: So, basically, you saw the culture of corruption and tried to get one step ahead of that, and that's one of the reasons you released this. And I would like to point out that you also sent it very freely to bloggers. I mean, I'm just a guy with a blog, and I got it in the mail just like probably all of the press media did, and I really appreciate that. Which actually--go ahead...

Subodh: This is a confidence building measure--

Eric: Right.

Subodh: --and the third reason, was pretty practical, and I hope designed to bring a little bit of shock therapy to American politics. I don't know that this has ever been done in Ohio political history. I don't know that it's been done in American political history. But my feeling was, if we put this out there, hopefully what we do is help drain the negativity out of campaigns.

Because, how does it usually work? Your opponent digs, the media dig about your background, and then they find a little revelation, and then they go negative on you, and then soon you're explaining yourself. And that detracts from a campaign's ability and from your opponent's ability to have a meaningful dialog about the future of Ohio.

Eric: Sure.

Subodh: Everything is on the line in Ohio in 2006. If we don't put Ohio back on the right course in 2006, everything's on the line. We may run out of time. Four more years, eight more years, twelve more years of this nonsense, and the last person out of Ohio is going to have to turn off the lights. So I did this, so that we could focus on what we need to focus on, which is how an Attorney General can help protect Ohioans and this state from further decline.

Eric: Absolutely, I think it was a great, preemptive move. I have to admit that when I first got it I thought that, well, this is great, and I didn't dig into it until some of the flap came out about the Indian American Leadership Investment Fund, but then I was able to dig back in there and go, "Oh! Okay!" And then we posted some posts on that.

For listeners who aren't too familiar with that, it's an issue that came up that Subodh was involved in this Indian American Leadership Investment Fund, someone else involved in it was doing some hanky-panky with money, and you were actually one of the ones who exposed that, and helped to get that person investigated, and ultimately serve time, is that right?

Subodh: Right, right. So, what basically what happened was a mentor of mine wound up illegally laundering money through the political action committee I helped. The bottom line is, as soon as I found out about it, I reported it, I cooperated with the law enforcement authorities--now, at the end of it, I was a victim of and a witness to the crime.

Eric: Right. And that's what was great about sending out this big red folder background check thing is that it was all in there, and it was all pretty well laid out on that.

Subodh: Let me just add one other thing on that. Because I found it amusing when a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch suggested that we had somehow "buried" that information into the information that we had released.

Eric: It's on page 2 of the "Dear Member of the Press" thing!

Subodh: Right. It's in the cover letter, I talked about it in the press conference, where that reporter was present. (Eric laughs.) And, I don't know what more I can do. You know, you can lead the horse to water but somehow--

Eric: You can't make 'em read!

To be continued...

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MViMV Guest Blog

Please join us tonight from 8pm-9pm EDT, at the My Vote is My Voice Blog, for an interactive guest blog with Tom Hughes, Executive Director of Democracy For America.

Tom Hughes is a DFA Democrat. Promoted to Executive Director of Democracy for America in February 2005, he oversees the committee's endorsement process, the agenda for over 470 local groups, and the coordination of more than 100 volunteer organizations. He works closely with DFA Chair Jim Dean on framing, messaging and fundraising.

Hughes was the field and political director of DFA in 2004 and worked to leverage Governor Howard Dean's strategic advantage on the DNC Chair campaign in early 2005. During the 2004 Democratic primary season Hughes led the Dean for America field program in New Hampshire.

Prior to the Dean campaign, Hughes managed former Vermont Lt. Gov. Doug Racine's gubernatorial race in 2002. In 2000, he was the deputy finance director and an advance team member for the Gore-Lieberman campaign. During his tenure as executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party in 1998, he helped re-elect then-Gov. Dean and a state legislature that went on to pass Vermont's historic civil unions legislation.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Making connections

Update: Some diaries at My Left Wing that you might like to check out:
Angry Left? No. Wrathful Left? Absolutely.
The Stoning of Maryscott O’Connor
Who Is Really Hurting the Progressive Movement
Short Rant on Leftie Hypocrisy?

Maryscott O'Connor, ya done good!

Go over to My Left Wing and check out her post, Wherein I Respond to the Response to the Post Article. The whole thing is worth reading, but for my purposes here, I'd like to highlight this part:

Among the hundreds of emails I received yesterday (the good outnumbering the bad by a large ratio) was a short note from a 76 year old woman in Virginia. I could almost see her hands shaking as she typed her missive to a complete stranger she'd just read about in her morning paper. She explained that she had only ever used the computer her children got for her to send and receive emails. But she read the story about me in the Post and was almost overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. She lives alone. She doesn't talk much to her children anymore, and she watches a lot of television.

Over the past 5 years, she has turned into an angry, despairing woman whose sense of powerlessness over the state of the world has almost overtaken her sensibilities. She got on the computer and found my blog, the one she read about in the Washington Post; as she read the diaries and front page stories and comments, she was alternately amazed and overjoyed to have found a community of people who thought and felt as she did. Her email to me was not just to thank me and tell me her story; she wanted me to help her to register, as none of the instructions made much sense to her.

I responded to this woman, whom I cannot help imagining as a classic, archetypal Little Old Lady, because her emails sound so much like the archetype; I gave her detailed instructions about links and mouse clicking and scrolling. I registered her and told her how to change her password. She is now a member of My Left Wing, a liberal community comprised of people just like her: left wing, liberal, progressive, religious, irreligious, profane, politically aware, interpersonally connected, loving and supportive people who gather at the same website to discuss whatever they're thinking about at any given moment.
One little old lady sitting at her kitchen table alone in Virginia stopped feeling so alone yesterday because of something I did; that is enough.
Shortly after reading Maryscott's post, I checked my Faithful Ohio blog and found that it had a new comment--this is a blog that hasn't really taken off yet, so just discovering a comment there calls for a celebration. Of course, as I clicked to read it, I silently hoped that it was a polite comment, and not the other kind. I do get those, sometimes. Sometimes it's someone telling me that I'm going to Hell for being too liberal, and other times it's someone telling me to shut up talking about religion in public. Because, just by expressing something of myself publicly, I am taking a risk. It's not as big a risk as Maryscott took allowing a reporter into her home, but it's a risk nonetheless. And can be time consuming, and occasionally one wonders if the effort is worth it...

Happily, it was more than just polite. It was touching and uplifting, much like the letter Maryscott O'Connor received from the woman in Virginia. And, as the commenter indicated, he found my blog, indirectly, because of that article in the Washington Post:
I was watching C-Span this morning and heard the moderator make reference to this mornings article in the Wash. Post about so I immediately went to that site through which I found my way to your site. I thank God.

When I read some of the things on your site I began to silently cry, tears poured down my face. As I read further I was up-lifted and edified by what I read. On this most important day of 4/15/06 'Holy Saturday' in the religious year I beheld a miracle. The miracle is that I found yourself and others that think like me.
I just commented back to Bob (who, incidentally, has a blog of his own), thanking him for his kind words, and agreeing that the ability to make these kinds of connections via the internet, is a miracle. The fact that someone can click a link, read some words, and *poof*, suddenly not feel quite so alone...suddenly have a little bit more hope than before...that, to me, is a kind of miracle.

...and all God's children said, AMEN!

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Silly Spring Holiday Thread

Where is the American Society for the Protection of Marshmallow Animals when you need them? See the whole grisly experiment at Peeps, Smoking, and Alcohol. Or start at the the Peeps Research home page. Or, for additional demented marshmallow animal action, check out The Bunnies Strike Back.

By the way, I don't actually like to eat Peeps, being more of a foil-covered chocolate egg gal myself, but I'm enjoying the silliness. More of same at Bitch Ph.D. She linked to this Peeps Gallery, and also this article about Peeps in the New York Times. Which, I now discover, includes information about the Peep Research site I linked above...

In 1998, two Emory University scientists, Gary Falcon and James Zimring, produced what may be the definitive Peeps study. They dunked Peeps in liquid nitrogen, subjected them to 350-degree heat, and put them in a vacuum chamber, among other procedures. The results can be found at

Matthew Beals of Brooklyn, who is completing a documentary about Peeps, thinks the phenomenon is a function of the candy's iconic status. "What could be more American," he asked, "than something that's mass produced and covered in sugar?"

Also, at My Left Wing, check out Easter Bunny Tragically Slain by Vice President.

I know that some of us are celebrating Passover instead of or in addition to Easter. But I'm not aware of Passover having any explicitly secular aspects, the way Easter has all of the traditional candies and such. So, how to be inclusive, yet not offensive? And still keeping things light and silly, which is what I wanted for this post.

Well, it's not secular, but the Ten Plagues Finger Puppets have always seemed delightfully bizarre to me. I posted about this before, and people have attested that these are great for telling the story of Exodus to little ones. I can imagine that--it can take some creativity to share the sacred stories with the little ones.

Check out "Hail"? That's the one I would have had the hardest time guessing--given that he's made of ice but he has fire for hair.

Happy whatever it is you're celebrating--even if it's just a "restful Sabbath".

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