Brief Hiatus

 Posted by at 23:22  General
Sep 222003

I’ll be leaving town in the morning, driving up north. At this point, I am not sure how long I will be gone. Could be one week, could be three. Nor am I sure what kind of cyber contact I’ll have, so posting here will be kind of scarce, if at all.

Things you need to do while I’m away are:
1) Donate to Dean for America (click on the bat graphic in the left column)
2) Sign up for Dean for America (also in left column)
3) Sign up for and attend the next Dean for America meet-up (yep, to your left)
4) Take care of each other!

See you when I get home (if not before).

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Bottom up

 Posted by at 02:40  Election 2004
Sep 222003

Dean is driven by the grass roots

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 — By day, Jennifer Powers is a grant-writer for a school for the deaf, a Gen Xer who in past elections was like millions of others who vote but don’t pay much attention to politics – and certainly don’t lift a finger to help any particular candidate.

THAT CHANGED for Powers a few months ago, when the 32-year-old Philadelphian, driven by a newfound passion, switched her voter registration from independent to Democrat and became an unpaid operative for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. Today, Powers sits on a Philly4Dean steering committee she helped set up, overseeing grass-roots volunteers who she helped recruit, and communicates online with a database of 2,000 prospective Dean supporters that she helped build.

She said she does this 30 to 40 hours a week after her day job and with only online direction from the Dean campaign — and she is not alone.

Thousands of Dean supporters — many of whom profess never to have been active before — have taken to the streets on their own initiative to pass out Dean fliers at urban fairs and farmer’s markets, donate blood and clean up beaches in his name, and raise millions of dollars for the former Vermont governor at house parties.

Although few of these volunteers have ever spoken to anyone from the national headquarters, Dean, once among the least known of the Democratic presidential field, now appears to many to be among the best organized as he leads the pack in fundraising and surges ahead in polls.

Click on headline to read the full article.

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Future First Lady

 Posted by at 02:04  Election 2004
Sep 222003

Dean’s Wife Sticks With Doctorly Duties, but Pens Letter

Judith Steinberg Dean is her own person, thank you very much.

She manages a bustling medical practice in Burlington, Vt., that she simply can’t abandon to play the waving wife while her husband, Howard Dean, runs for president. Interviews, likewise, are rare, and brief — tortured almost.

Steinberg Dean, admittedly, enjoys getting prodded by reporters as much as the average person enjoys getting prodded by doctors. As she said a couple of months back, “I’m just too busy.”

Still. There are ways for busy, shy doctor spouses of presidential candidates to help out now and again. The other day, Steinberg Dean, in one of her first public actions of the campaign, pitched in her way: She wrote a letter.

Specifically, she wrote a two-page fundraising pitch to “target donors” in which she explains her absence from the campaign trail and gives her take on why her husband became such a great governor of Vermont. The letter was first reported by ABC News.

Both explanations are about being doctors. “As a doctor and a partner in a medical practice,” she writes in her pitch, “I have a responsibility to my patients. That’s why my time ‘on the campaign trail’ is limited; when people are sick they want and need to see a physician.”

As for why her husband makes such a good politician?

Why, he is a doctor, and thus has the empathy and compassion and ability to make important decisions. “Howard is an excellent physician,” she wrote, “and we make a great team. I think Howard was a better governor because of his experiences as a doctor.”

The Dean campaign said the target donors in question are past donors large and small.

A spokesman, Sue Allen, said Steinberg Dean will continue to contribute to the campaign “in her own way.”

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Texas Rangers

 Posted by at 05:22  Election 2004
Sep 212003

In latest tweak at Bush, Dean has formed a group of ‘Texas Rangers’

Becoming a Ranger for President Bush means raising at least $200,000 for his reelection, but former Vermont governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign has formed a group of “Texas Rangers,” who need only comfortable shoes and a weekend to spare.

In his latest effort to tweak Bush for his prodigious fundraising even as he out-raises everyone in the Democratic field, Dean is flying at least 495 Lone Star State supporters to Iowa and New Hampshire later this month and is calling them “Texas Rangers.”

Planeloads of Dean supporters are going from Austin, Texas, to Des Moines; Dallas to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Houston to Manchester, N.H., on Sept. 27. The campaign says their mission is to spend two days taking Dean’s “message of hope and action door to door.”

Dean has made an unusual push in Texas, which doesn’t hold its primary until March 2, after 17 other states and the District of Columbia have held their nominating contests. Dean bought TV advertising in Austin when Bush was at his ranch for his August vacation. The ads generated a lucrative response from new contributors. The campaign says Dean drew 3,000 supporters in Austin in July and 3,500 in San Antonio last month.

Meals and flights are provided for next weekend’s Texas Rangers trip, and the Rangers will stay with supporters in the target states. Bush’s Rangers tend to stay in hotels before their gatherings, but a Dean e-mail to his Rangers implores anyone who can offer a “crash pad” for the night before the flights out of Texas to “please let us know.”

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Wednesday nights

 Posted by at 05:03  General
Sep 212003

Via Eric at The Hamster

‘The West Wing’ Goes Right Wing

Confronting sagging ratings, the producers of The West Wing plan to take a more bipartisan approach next season, focusing in initial episodes on the character portrayed by John Goodman, a conservative speaker of the House, who takes over as the country’s leader. (In the season finale, which was repeated on Wednesday, the president, portrayed by Martin Sheen, temporarily steps down during an international crisis in which his daughter is kidnapped. Speaking to reporters during a conference call on Thursday, exec producer John Wells, who is taking over from creator/writer Aaron Sorkin, said that the views of a conservative Congress will receive a greater airing than they have in the past. (Sheen’s President Bartlet is a liberal Democrat.) Wells said that the program will attempt to convey the complexity of political issues. He said that he has brought on board as a script adviser former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein and conservative columnist John Podhoretz, who has been critical of the show.

Looks like I may have to find something else to watch on Wednesday nights. I can’t believe the righties are even destroying my favorite television show. These people must be stopped!

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Batter up!

 Posted by at 01:25  Election 2004
Sep 212003

The Bat Is Back!

We set the goal at $5 million over the next 10 days. The truth is that there are now over 410,000 Dean supporters and if each contributed $100 it would raise $41 million for our campaign and change America’s politics forever. We know that not everyone can afford $100, but please spread the word and contribute whatever you can afford. If each of the 410,000 of us contributes what we can — we can change everything. I am one of our maxed out contributors so I am going to go out and recruit a new contributor to put in what they can afford.

The time is now — towards the end of the month we will reveal the total amout raised so far as we make a final push towards an historic quarter for any Democrat.

By placing the goal at $5million in ten days and by doing so publicly we have once again put the future of this campaign and our cause where it is supposed to be….in your hands.

We can defeat George Bush. Now is the time to make it clear that there is one campaign who can compete against his Pioneers and Rangers — a campaign of the American people in the cause of their democracy.

Dean for America is that campaign, and you are Dean for America.

Thank you for every day, and every hour and every contribution you have made in time, energy, committment and money to our common cause.

Joe Trippi
Campaign Manager
Dean for America

Neither here nor there, but today is my birthday. If you want to help make it happy, contribute to Dean for America. (We’ll be going out to dinner then to a Steely Dan concert later.)

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Children left behind

 Posted by at 06:42  Politics
Sep 202003

The truth behind “No Child Left Behind”…

Bush’s New Federal Math Leaves Kids Far Behind

Somewhere in my youth, for reasons unremembered, an old-timer regaled me a tale of a snake-oil barker hawking athletic socks from a fold-up stand. “Socks, socks, a nickel a pair,” he brayed, “a twentieth part of a dollar. The longer you wear ’em, the stronger they get. Ya put ’em in water, they never get wet. Socks, socks . . . ”

George W. Bush is a little feistier than most carnival barkers (“Dead or alive,” “Bring ’em on,” etc.), but his promises are not much different—just catchy bait for the pigeons in the front rows.

Mostly, we’ve been watching the president’s rhetoric spring leaks in Iraq and Afghanistan. So perhaps we haven’t paid enough attention to how many holes have popped open in his domestic socks. Joblessness that was supposed to be stanched by the Bush tax cuts. Urban food kitchens overwhelmed by the demand from people who are working but underemployed and end up out of money three weeks into the month. A domestic Peace Corps program (AmeriCorps) that is praised publicly by the president as admirable volunteerism but is being starved of money by the White House and congressional Republicans.

But, still, you wouldn’t think he would stiff children and their schooling. That’s maybe the most disappointing thing this president has done here at home.

Click headline to read entire article.

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Vanishing votes

 Posted by at 05:32  Politics
Sep 202003

Chris Floyd, in The Moscow Times

Global Eye — Vanishing Act

It’s a shell game, with money, companies and corporate brands switching in a blur of buyouts and bogus fronts. It’s a sinkhole, where mobbed-up operators, paid-off public servants, crazed Christian fascists, CIA shadow-jobbers, war-pimping arms dealers — and presidential family members — lie down together in the slime. It’s a hacker’s dream, with pork-funded, half-finished, secretly programmed computer systems installed without basic security standards by politically partisan private firms, and protected by law from public scrutiny. It’s how the United States, the “world’s greatest democracy,” casts its votes. And it’s why George W. Bush will almost certainly be the next president of the United States — no matter what the people of the United States might want.

The American vote-count is controlled by three major corporate players — Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia — with a fourth, Science Applications International Corporation, coming on strong. These companies — all of them hardwired into the Bushist Party power grid — have been given billions of dollars by the Bush Regime to complete a sweeping computerization of voting machines nationwide by the 2004 election. These glitch-riddled systems — many using “touch-screen” technology that leaves no paper trail at all — are almost laughably open to manipulation, according to corporate whistleblowers and computer scientists at Stanford, Johns Hopkins and other universities.

As always, click on the headline to read the full article.

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 Posted by at 04:40  Election 2004
Sep 202003

Dean campaign outlines fund-raising strategies

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Gimmicks, stunts and old-fashioned retail politicking are among the ways that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean’s campaign plans to raise money in the next two weeks.

The campaign plans to post its familiar baseball bat on its Web site exhorting contributors to give more; it’s aiming to land in the Guinness Book of World Records with the biggest telephone conference call of all time; and it’s going to be conducting old-fashioned fund-raisers, rallies and door-to-door campaigning.

A lot of the events are being organized by supporters in communities around the country, with guidance from campaign headquarters in Vermont, as part of what the campaign has dubbed a “September to Remember.”

Campaign manager Joe Trippi said Thursday that many rival campaigns and pundits still have not figured out that the campaign truly has tapped a vein of discontent with the way politics is conducted.

He argues voters are interested in becoming part of a movement to change politics, which they sense in the Dean campaign.

“We believe the reason that’s the case is our campaign is happening over the kitchen table, over the neighbor’s fence, over the water cooler at work,” Trippi said in a conference call with reporters Thursday.

“It’s possible for (other) candidates to continue to grow out there and not have an effect on our growth,” he said.

What remains vitally important to all the 10 Democrats’ campaigns is raising money before the Sept. 30 quarterly deadline.

Dean’s campaign has been staging a series of events this month leading up to the last day of the quarter.

Among the activities planned:

  • A national visibility day on Saturday in which 371 different events will be staged, including Dean supporters wearing T-shirts proclaiming his candidacy who will volunteer to clean up along the banks of Boston’s Charles River or participating in a similar event with the Philadelphia housing authority.
  • A large, traditional fund-raiser at a club in New York featuring entertainers Al Franken, Whoopi Goldberg and Gloria Gaynor. Tickets will be less than $100 to play up the fact that Dean’s average contribution now is about $77.
  • A graphic of a baseball bat will be displayed on the campaign Web site again as a way of tracking total campaign contributions in the last 10 days or so of the third quarter.
  • A Dean speech and rally on “democracy, freedom and action” in downtown Boston. The rally will focus on what Trippi argues is the realization of the Founding Fathers’ concerns: “Our founders spoke of their fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power. That’s the case now,” he said, citing no-bid contracts for rebuilding Iraq and suggestions that Washington is trying to privatize many government programs.
  • A series of up to 3,500 house parties on Sept. 29. Dean plans to speak to all of them at once by telephone via a huge conference call, assuming the technology can handle it. Trippi said the campaign is working with Guinness to get the event listed as a record.
  • Sept. 27 Dean supporters from the president’s home state dubbed “Dean’s Texas Rangers” will go door to door in Des Moines, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Manchester, N.H.

And, of course, there’s always: contribute here!

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More DeLay Hot Air

 Posted by at 22:50  Politics
Sep 192003

More charged political rhetoric from Tom “the exterminator” DeLay today…

DeLay: Kennedy Accusations a ‘New Low’

WASHINGTON — Republican House Majority LeaderTom DeLay on Friday repudiated statements made by Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, calling Kennedy’s remarks a “new low” in politics and urging Democrats to speak up against him.

On Thursday, Kennedy gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he called the war in Iraq “a fraud … made up in Texas announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically.”

Kennedy, who voted against the war resolution on Iraq last year, also accused President Bush of “bribing” foreign leaders to send troops to Iraq. He said the administration can account for only about half of the $4 billion spent monthly on the postwar clean-up.

DeLay said Democratic leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, and presidential hopefuls John Kerry and Howard Dean should tell Kennedy to rein in his accusations.

“I call on all the vociferous Democrat critics … to have the courage to tell their hero Ted Kennedy that he went too far,” DeLay said in a statement released Friday. “Are they leaders or are they just liberal pundits?”

“It’s disturbing that Democrats have spewed more hateful rhetoric at President Bush then they ever did at Saddam Hussein,” DeLay said.

While the White House did not remark Thursday about Kennedy’s words, it did fire back on Friday.

“This is the kind of charged political rhetoric here that obscures the real policy debate, which is how we make America safer in a post-Sept. 11 world,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. “Sept. 11 taught us we need to confront new threats before they reach our shores.”

Kennedy did not appear to back down after DeLay’s retort. Instead he charged GOP leaders with ignoring important issues.

“Once again, Republican leaders are avoiding key questions about the Administration’s policies by attacking the patriotism of those who question them. Our troops, their families, and the American people deserve answers, not more politics as usual,” he said.

The two presidential candidates DeLay mentioned also responded, saying DeLay is the political opportunist who was responsible for the congressional redistricting fight in his home state that forced Texas House and Senate Democrats to flee to neighboring states to avoid a legislative quorum.

“Tom DeLay is a bully,” Kerry, of Massachusetts, said. “He tried to bully Democrats in Texas and we’re not going to accept his shrill partisan attacks or allow him to suggest that patriotism belongs to one political party.”

Dean had a similar reaction: “I’ll tell you what I think: Tom DeLay is going too far by stealing six Democratic seats from the legislature in Texas, reapportioning in a sleazy way after it has already been done,” Dean said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “So I call on Tom DeLay to stop trying to steal the Democratic election in Texas, then we will talk.”

“It’s disturbing that Democrats have spewed more hateful rhetoric at President Bush then they ever did at Saddam Hussein,” DeLay said.

I wonder… could that possibly be because George W. Bush has done far more damage to the United States than Saddam Hussein ever did?

I still find it interesting that every time somebody levels an attack at Mr. Bush, Mr. DeLay is the one who issues a response. Is it because he has now become of the “official defender” of Mr. Bush, or could it be that he just has a big mouth and likes the attention?

If Rush Limbaugh should ever decide to retire, he has a ready-made replacement in Tom DeLay.

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