Saturday, April 30, 2005

''U.S. Out of Iraq: Forum Features Conyers, Woolsey, Lee, Ellsberg''

"It will be much harder and longer to get out of Iraq," Ellsberg said, because of the oil and because of the US alliance with Israel. "It is hard for me to foresee when we will leave the oil of the Middle East to people who are not our collaborators."

It will take a long time to get out, Ellsberg predicted, whether under Republicans or Democrats. But it is not too soon to start talking about the need to get out, he said. Woolsey's resolution is important, he said, not because it will be passed by a majority anytime soon, but because if we are ever to get out or to avoid additional wars, we have to see clearly that it's better for us and for the Iraqis for us to leave.

This is true, Ellsberg warned, not because the future will be peaceful and free of problems after the US troops leave, but because as long as we stay, "the people we choose to be collaborators will be targets of terrorism." We unify the resistance forces, he said. "And that precludes the possibility of a peaceful Iraq."

People who call for getting out now, Ellsberg cautioned, will be called defeatists, appeasers, weaklings, losers, cowards, and pro-terrorist. The opposite is true, he said. The war strengthens terrorists."-Daniel Ellsberg, speaking at a forum held in a US House of Representatives office building on April 28, 2005, from the post by David Swanson on his website.

''Withdraw U.S. troops''

"Having traveled to Iraq numerous times in the past three years, what strikes me is how different the opinions of Iraqi people on the street are from the opinions of Iraqis in the government.

On the streets, Iraqis rail against the United States for creating the instability and chaos that plague the country, subjecting them to daily humiliations at checkpoints and in house raids and using their oil money to line the pockets of U.S. companies like Halliburton instead of rebuilding Iraq. They often refer to the U.S. occupation of their country as ``the new Saddam.'' The Senate recently voted unanimously to allocate $82 billion for the war, and even former anti-war Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told an ACLU dinner in Minnesota on April 20 that, ''Now that we're there (in Iraq), we're there and we can't get out.'' Surprisingly, while policy-makers are afraid to have a real discussion about leaving Iraq, a majority of Americans have come to the conclusion that it's time for the troops to come home. A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted April 21-24 found that 58 percent of Americans say that the United States has gotten bogged down in Iraq, 60 percent don't think that Iraq will have a stable, democratic government a year from now and 54 percent say the war with Iraq was not worth fighting.

The majority of Americans and Iraqis want to end the occupation. We now have to make our elected leaders -- both in the United States and in Iraq -- reflect our will. Our mission will truly be accomplished when our troops come home and Iraqis are given the chance to rebuild their beleaguered nation."-from the commentary today in the Miami Herald by Medea Benjamin, founding director of the human-rights group Global Exchange.

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Activists Challenge Howard Dean Comments Supporting Continued Occupation''

"We the undersigned join grassroots Democrats from California to Vermont in calling for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. We ask you to join us in our demand that the troops be brought home. We support efforts to repair the damage the war has inflicted on Iraq, but believe that the occupation is causing further damage, encouraging violence, hardening divisions, and failing to train or prepare Iraqis for self-governance. We believe the United States can best help Iraq by supporting reparation efforts financially rather than continuing to spend greater sums of money on an occupation that is aggravating the situation and making all of us less safe. We have admired your past willingness to speak against the war. For the sake of the people of Iraq and of the world, and for the future viability of the Democratic Party, we now ask you to call on the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration to:1) Publicly commit to leaving all of Iraq's resources in the possession of the Iraqi people, as required by the Geneva and Hague Conventions;2) Convene a meeting of Iraq's leadership, Iraq's neighbors, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace United States Armed Forces in Iraq with Iraqi police and Iraqi National Guard forces to ensure Iraq's security;3) Withdraw all U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq after the requirements of #2 are met;4) Contribute financially to the international peacekeeping mission and reconstruction.The California Democratic Party recently passed a resolution calling for an end to the occupation. The New Mexico Democratic Party passed a resolution this past weekend calling for an end to the occupation. House Concurrent Resolution 35, sponsored by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, calls for an end to the occupation."-from the post on the ILCA website.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

''Open Letter to Howard Dean''

"Dear Chairman Dean,

Thank you kindly for your call and your expressed willingness to discuss the Democratic Party's position on the Iraq War. There is growing frustration at the grass roots towards the party leadership's silent collaboration with the Bush Administration's policies. Personally, I cannot remember a time in thirty years when I have been more despairing over the party's moral default. Let me take this opportunity to explain."-from the commentary by Tom Hayden in The Nation.

''Feds Investigate Major Bush Donor in Ohio''

"The Toledo Blade reports that "Gregory A. White, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, confirmed that his office, in conjunction with the FBI, is looking into [Tom] Noe, who was chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in northwest Ohio" in "relation to some campaign contributions."

Denny White, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, "said he welcomed the investigation, especially since the Justice Department is behind it ... If the investigation finds wrongdoing, it could topple one-party control of Ohio government in the 2006 election, Mr. White predicted."-from Susan Hu's post on Kos and Booman Tribune.


Our pal Sandeep Kaushik at The Stranger seems have caught the folks at Microsoft in a "mistruth" when they claim they didn't cave in to pressure to drop their support of the gay rights bill before our legislature this past session.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

''I don't want to be an American Idiot, one nation controlled by the media.''

"Do we really have a country of the people, by the people, and for the people?

Not in 2005.

So, I agree with Howard Dean when he calls Republicans "evil" and "corrupt" because they are. I just wish that we could get past all of these apparent lies and move on with our country. Maybe I am just living in a dream...

Help me make my dream a reality."-from the post on the "Fighting for America" blog today by "a member of the US Navy, and proud political patriot." Update: I see I forgot to add the link to the html and now I can't find the original source. I swear it was there and will keep looking for this blog by an active military person from Mukilteo. Found it!

''Democratic Party Leadership and the Iraq Quagmire''

"Howard Dean recently stated regarding Iraq, "Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out." While Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) honors and respects Governor Dean's effort to expand, empower, and energize the Democratic Party grassroots base, and further respects his engagement of small contributors and individual activists, we take strong exception to Governor Dean's statements on Iraq.-from the Progressive Democrats of America's statement today.

'My Election 2004 bad dream'

In case you are still wondering what happened: "We've been painted as conspiracy theorists and worse by Democrats and Republicans alike, and even the liberal arm of the press has steered clear of this issue. But when I arrived at Jefferson Street Baptist Church in Nashville, my doubts about the election were reinforced by a group of sober professionals, none who seemed overtly loony. I met Richard Hayes Phillips, a geologist from New Hampshire who was invited to Ohio to study the integrity of the vote, and realized that a complete inventory of lost and miscounted votes was needed. To date, Phillips has analyzed 15 of Ohio's 88 counties, and by his most conservative estimate has found 101,000 uncounted Kerry votes - 136,000 is the margin by which Bush officially defeated Kerry. Now I'm safely returned from Planet Nashville, back home in the land of ABC-CBS-NBC-FOX-AP. I find it reassuring to remember that if any of this had really happened, the Democrats in Congress would be screaming about it. I'd read about it on the front page, and it would be all over the network news. Yes, I can be sure that Nashville was just a bad dream. The reality is that President Bush won the election, and it's time to move on. Time to move on. It was all just a dream. Yes, it's time to move on."

(Josh Mitteldorf teaches math and statistics at Temple University.)-from the article Tuesday in The Philadelphia Inquirer, via The Smirking Chimp.

Another Sign of the Times

"Oregon Democrats set sights on rural seats-PENDLETON — In keeping with the national party’s goal of competing in elections at every level, the Oregon Democratic Party voted at its quarterly meeting at Wildhorse Resort and Casino last weekend to remind party bosses in the Willamette Valley not to forget about issues important outside urban Oregon."-from the article in The East Oregonian.

A Sign of the Times

"Feel like the Republicans swiped God from you when you weren't looking? Wonder why the liars have the keys? Think that implying you are favored because you have faith does not negate the impact of the deeds done? This is a God Dem tragedy. The meek shall inherit? Only if they're smart enough. Bring your best thoughts. Everybody is welcome here."-from the God Dem! web site.

''Open House at Dems' new year round office''

"The opening of local Democratic offices is part of the new DNC strategy under the direction of Gov. Dr. Chair Howard Dean. The increased connection and communication between local, state and national Democratic Party is leading to greater grassroots support. Dr. Howard Dean understands that “all politics are local” and one way to stay connected is through having a local office."-from the blurb on (OR).

''5 years later, civil unions still strong''

"BENNINGTON COUNTY -- Karen and Linda Carman-Reid, of Arlington, celebrated July 4, 2000 not only with fireworks but with one of the state's first civil unions after then-Gov. Howard Dean signed Act 91 into law five years ago Tuesday.The act, which became effective July 1, 2000, meant thousands of couples like the Carman-Reids could enter civil unions that provided many of the same legal benefits and protections married couples have. Joyce "Birdie" Wyman, Arlington's town clerk, hosted the Carman-Reid's civil union at her own home in an attempt to give the couple some sanity in a nation that had been particularly polarized about the issue of civil unions.
"At that time, it was such a hullabaloo with all the attention, no one wanted the press out here," she said, pointing through a window to the street outside town hall.
Wyman said 2003 seemed to be a time when people were registering in droves. While she had roughly a dozen people register between 2000 and 2002, in 2003 there were a whopping 27 civil unions.
In that year alone, couples came to Arlington to register from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, and California.
In the years since Vermont's law took effect, Wyman said she has become somewhat indifferent to civil union paperwork requests, none of which have been from Arlington residents.
"At first, it seemed different," she said. "But now ..."-from the story today in the Bennington Banner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

''Vote to end the war in Iraq''

"Progressive Democrats of America has great expectations and hopes for a petition we have launched on the PDA web site aimed at pressuring the Democratic leadership to support a call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

We ask you to join us in our demand that the troops be brought home. To do so, just go here. While there, please review PDA's well-reasoned suggestions on specific plans for withdrawal that address the security and sovereignty issues for the Iraqi people.

Together, we trust, we can make this happen. Please add your voice and vote, and forward this petition to your network. Thank you.

In solidarity.

Kevin Spidel, Political Director

Tim Carpenter, Executive Director

P.S. To discuss this petition and the essay, feel free to visit Will Pitt's Blog."

'Mystery of the Democrats' new spine'

On a positive note: "Across the nation's capital, perplexed political pundits have been rubbing their chins wondering what has happened to the Democrats, who were supposed to quiver in fear of the victorious George W. Bush and his Republican congressional majority. Instead, the minority party has been picking - and even winning - some fights.

The Washington Post put the mystery on Page One with the headline, "Unexpectedly, Capitol Hill Democrats Stand Firm." [April 25, 2005]

The Post story said, "Democrats were supposed to enter the 109th Congress meek and cowed, demoralized by November's election losses and ready to cut deals with Republicans who threatened further campaigns against 'obstructionists.' But House and Senate Democrats have turned that conventional wisdom on its head."

The mystery is, how did this happen? How did the Democrats find their voice and gain the upper hand over Bush on a number of issues: Social Security, his right-wing judicial appointments, the Terri Schiavo case, Tom DeLay's ethics mess and the John Bolton nomination? What has caused the Democrats to grow a new spine?"-from Consortium News' Robert Parry, via The Smirking Chimp.

''What Can We the People Do About Election Fraud?''

"During the two and a half years that The Crisis Papers has been on the web, we have posted hundreds of articles and links on our Election 2004 Fraud and Electoral Integrity pages. In addition I have written and published numerous essays about the issue, most recently just two weeks ago. On each occasion, I have received numerous letters telling me "I'm convinced that the elections are fraudulent," then asking, "now what can I do about it?"

Here is a partial answer. Partial, because if honest and verifiable elections are ever to return to the United States it will be because this question will be asked relentlessly by an outraged public."-Ernest Partridge, via Democratic
The Seattle dailies are reporting that legislation ensuring a "verifiable paper trail" for each vote was passed in our recently adjourned legislature. Does anyone know the details? Update: Thanks to Roger Fulton, who provides the details, from the "Bill as Passed Legislature" link, on this page: "Beginning on January 1, 2006, all electronic voting devices must produce a paper record of each vote that may be accepted or rejected by the voter before finalizing his or her vote. This record may not be removed from the polling place, and must be human readable without an interface and machine readable for counting purposes. If the device is programmed to display the ballot in multiple languages, the paper record produced must be printed in the language used by the voter. Rejected records must either be destroyed or marked in order to clearly identify the record as rejected." Sounds too good to be true.

''Who's Left?''

"Bob Graham (D FL) would have voted against yet another "Emergency" Supplemental Appropriation, giving Bush another $81 bn to make vanish in Iraq. But after writing a damn fine economic stimulus plan and running a campaign honestly and intelligently, he withdrew when most of the smart money went to candidates who "supported the troops", and retired from the Senate, and his seat was taken by a mean-spirited man who will amount to little in public life.

John Edwards (D-NC) also would have voted against yet another "Emergency" Supplemental Appropriation, giving Bush another $81 bn to make vanish in Iraq. But after writing a damn fine economic policy centered "Two Americas" stump speach and running a campaign honestly and intelligently, with no negatives what so ever, he accepted the request to accept the nomination for vice-president, subordinate to a candidate who "supported the troops". He too retired from the Senate, and his seat was taken by man who campaigned with Jessie Helms, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush.

Barbara Boxer (D-CA), voted against S. 1689 (Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan Security and Reconstruction Act, 2004), as did Robert Byrd (D-WV), Dan Harkin (D-IA), Fritz Hollings (D-SC), John Jeffords (I-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Paul Sarbanes (D-MD).

However, not a single Democratic Senator voted against the "Emergency" Supplemental Appropriation of 2005. Not one. Danniel Inouye (D-HI) recorded "Not Voting".

DNC Chair Howard Dean is not Candidate Dean. What is left of what was a Congressional opposition to the Bush War is now unanimous in its support for the Bush War, and that isn't his fault. He'd have to resign as DNC Chair if he didn't say such gob stopping stupid things as "We're There and We Can't Get Out". So far the "net roots" thing seems to be disfunctional. Either the Democratic caucus in the Senate "is" the Party, and the "net roots" is just froth and a large, low value per transaction ATM, or the "net roots", contrary to appearences, really do "support the troops" and want them marooned in Iraq for as long as the regime can come up with rationals to keep them there, or there is a fatal disconnect. As of this week, the loyal opposition to a regime created by election fraud and defined by foreign policy fraud, consists of unqualified support for a foreign policy of fraud. I've no idea how the altruistic Deaniacs are going to weather this, I expect more than one is screaming.-from the post on Wampum.

''Today in History - April 26"

"Five years ago: Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation's first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions."-from the AP story running all over.

Monday, April 25, 2005

''Rally to Stop the Judicial Takeover''

Any day now, radical Republicans are hoping to seize absolute power to appoint Supreme Court justices who favor right-wing, corporate interests over the rest of us. To do it, Vice President Cheney and Senate Republican leader Bill Frist are threatening to use what they call the "nuclear option"—a parliamentary maneuver to overturn the 200-year-old tradition that all judges have broad support in Congress.

MoveOn PAC and our partners in the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary are organizing a massive national wave of protest to stop them, culminating with emergency rallies across the country on Wednesday, April 27, at 5 PM:
Don't Fix Judicial Selection

Federal Building
915 2nd Avenue
27 Apr 05:00 PM

Sign Up for This Event here.

We will be protesting in front of the Federal Building at 5:00.
Address: 915 2nd Avenue
Location: Seattle, WA 98101
Host: Gregg Leinweber
Status: Public"-from MoveOn PAC.

''A Scathing Chairman Dean Finds Republicans 'Evil,' 'Corrupt' and 'Brain-Dead'

"Howard Dean may not be running for anything, but his elbows appear to be as sharp as ever. Since taking over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, the former presidential candidate has been quoted in newspapers making unusually caustic remarks about Republicans."-from the story today in the Washington Post. Somebody please send me an appropriate response to this Beltway mouthwash.

''That Other America''

"DNC chair Howard Dean appeared to have a deeper understanding of this cultural divide. He pointed out that while the American economy is struggling, many Democratic partisans are not unduly anxious about economic issues. In contrast, faith voters -- Dean characterized them as "backlash Republicans" or "Reagan Democrats" -- are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Typically both the husband and wife work to make ends meet; often they have more than one job. The family is under extreme economic pressure. They see themselves on the edge of homelessness, a couple of missed paychecks or one serious illness away from losing everything they have. But what the parents are most worried about are their kids. Dean continued that faith voters typically spend so much time at work that they don't have the opportunity, or the money, to provide their children with adequate supervision. As a result, the parents are obsessed with the notion that television, other kids, or lefty teachers will corrupt their sons and daughters. Driving to and from work faith voters constantly hear conservative commentators rail against the liberal "media elite," whom they accuse of advocating various forms of immorality: drug use, free love, abortion on demand, and so forth. Because they live in this environment of fear, faith voters accept wild accusations as the gospel; for example, that the National Educational Association has an agenda to teach homosexuality as a lifestyle "choice." Howard Dean observed that many Democrats are too quick to dismiss the behavior of faith voters. He noted that this group truly believes that a liberal Democratic elite is corrupting America. Dean's analysis was that in the last election, faith voters trusted George W. Bush to do the right thing to stem the tide of immorality; they accepted Bush's campaign rhetoric, "The Democrats don't respect you. They don't understand your problems because they are the elite. But I do respect you. ... I'm just a regular guy." The DNC chair commented that the typical Democratic response to the fears of faith voters has been to offer them programs: health care, child care, and the like. For various reasons this hasn't worked. Dean remarked that the Belcher poll showed that 54 percent of the voter sample believed that "a decline in our moral values" was a bigger obstacle to raising strong families than were jobs, health care, and quality education. Howard Dean concluded by arguing that if Democrats are to regain preeminence in American politics, they must understand the desperation that is an everyday burden of that other America."-from Bob Burnett's post on AlterNet, reporting on when "Democrats gathered in Washington to hear Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Howard Dean, give a status report on his first two months in office..."

''Internet, Polarized Politics Create an Opening for a Third Party''

"Somebody could come along and raise $200 million and have 600,000 people on the streets working for them without any party structure in the blink of an eye," he (Trippi) says. It might not be quite that simple. But the two parties are pursuing strategies that create an opening in the center of the electorate, even as the Internet makes it easier for a new competitor to fill it. Influenced partly by Ross Perot's strong showing in the 1992 presidential race, Clinton argued that capturing the middle was the key to electoral success. After an initial lurch left, Clinton doggedly pursued centrist voters by breaking from liberal orthodoxy on welfare, trade, a balanced budget and other issues. President Bush, by contrast, has been much more willing to risk alienating voters in the center to advance ideas that energize his base. Exit polls showed that Bush lost moderate and independent voters in November's election. But he won reelection largely by vastly increasing turnout among Republicans and conservatives. More and more Democrats see their future in Bush's model, not Clinton's."-from Ron Brownstein's column in the LA Times today.

"Seattle Report"

"Barbara*in*Seattle" wrote this long post on Hannah's Blog about Dean's recent visit to Seattle. Here's her introduction, to give you the feel of the piece: "After the two official DNC events in the morning, Howard went directly to another meeting of a group I belong to called Washington Women for Choice. This is where I can go into some detail. However, remember that I just had a teeny little recorder and this was the first time I used it and I couldn't make out what was being said some of the time. I tried to mention it when this happened. And, remember, when we speak, we are not always grammatically correct. I didn't correct Howard's grammar, I just tried to get down what he said. Plus, I felt the need to throw in a comment or two here and there. I think it's obvious where." Here's a quote by Dean from the post: "So, there's a huge amount of work to be done. I feel like I'm an ambassador to, uh I don't know what country, uh Yugoslavia before it blew up. But I'm also optimistic. I'm really optimistic. I don't know how long it's going to take us to turn this around, but remember, it took them 30 years to build this machine and they started after the Goldwater debacle. We?re starting at 48%. So, I do think it's possible to do this. It just means we all have to work hard and we all have to examine our own pre-conceptions on how we relate to others as we go forth and try to give this message of, basically, what I consider to be social and economic justice. That's really the core value of the Democratic Party. It's social and economic justice. The good news is that there is no reason that we shouldn't touch these folks that voted with Bush, we've just got to push the buttons in a different way. We can't do it with our minds, we've got to do it with our hearts. Because these people don't vote with their minds most of the time, they make an internal - - It doesn?t mean they're dumb, they're NOT, They're less well educated, but they certainly not dumb. They make an internal calculation based on an enormous amount of feedback, and they vote from here (points to his heart). Mostly not from here (points to his head). We vote from here (points to his head). The data on my campaign was so fascinating, most of the people - 72% of the people who supported me, vote from here (points to head) - they vote on issues. But most Americans vote from here (points to heart) and we have to learn and we know what their issues are. We know what their worries are and their concerns. We just do a lousy job of touching them because we try to appeal to them from here (touches his head). This doesn't work."

''Anti-Wal-Mart drive echoes Dean campaign''

"WASHINGTON - The union-organizing movement against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has all the trappings of a grass-roots political campaign: a snappy Web site, volunteer action list, and an issues-based platform that focuses on wages, health care and retirement security. If the unionizing campaign at the retail behemoth has a familiar ring, it may be because one of its leaders honed his skills in the 2004 presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination. Paul Blank was the national political director for Dean, whose strong showing early in the contest was credited to an Internet-based campaign that appealed to young voters and donors disillusioned by big-party politics."-from the story today in the Arizona Republic.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Dean: ''the best poll I'd seen in 10 years''

"The former Vermont governor, in one of his first actions as DNC chairman, commissioned pollster Cornell Belcher to survey voters in eight states won by President Bush last November: Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New Mexico and Nevada. What Belcher found that worries the Democrats is that a significant percentage -- 47 percent of voters and 51 percent of white women in the eight states -- said their voting decisions are influenced as much or more by their religious faith as by traditional political issues. Not surprisingly, they went heavily for Bush over Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), with 66 percent backing the president. But Belcher's survey also persuaded Dean and other DNC officials that these voters may not be beyond their reach. "These so-called values or faith voters are some of the most economically anxious voters in the electorate," Belcher said. "They're tremendously cross-pressured between their pocketbook concerns and their moral values concerns."-from the story in today's Washington Post.

''Democrats must change everything''

"Let's be clear what the problem is — and is not. Some think the problem is that Democrats have become too liberal. They point to unpopular positions on partial-birth abortion and other social issues and say Democrats should return to the center. Others say the problem is that the party has become too conservative. They point to Democrats who supported President Bush's tax cuts for the rich and the crippling deficits they caused, and say the party should return to its progressive, populist roots. Both are right, but more broadly, both are wrong. Sure, we'd like it if Democrats were seen as the party of faith, family and the flag. And we'd like it if Democrats would fight corporate interests more and take their special interest money less. But the biggest problem the Democrats face is not that they're seen as standing for too many liberal issues or standing for too many conservative positions. It's that Democrats aren't seen as standing for anything. The fundamental question for the party out of power is always: What would you change? Democrats' answer should be, "Everything." On every front, on every issue, Democrats should be the party of reform, change and a new direction."-Carville and Begala, writing in USA Today, posted on the Alternate Brain Blog. The poster adds: "Right now it seems to me that the Dems are in a reactive, defensive mode. I think Howard Dean can change that to an active, aggressive program. Here's hopin'."

''Yep, Howard Dean Takes the Subway''

"Let's just state the obvious: New Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is no Terry McAuliffe . Where the flashy former Clinton fundraiser was a gregarious ringmaster accustomed to the bling-bling of the highest non-publicly elected Democratic job around, Dean is almost a seminarian in his approach to the post. And, oddly, his style seems to fit with the party's bid to build its blue-collar base--just as McAuliffe's meshed with the DNC's need to raise gobs of money and go high tech. What's so different? McAuliffe would limo around town, dropping in at the Palm to huddle with Washington big shots. The 2004 presidential hopeful, by contrast, takes the bus or subway, buying his own $1.35 ticket. Sometimes he bums rides from staffers or walks the four blocks to the Capitol for meetings. "Please Call Me Howard" never flies first class and always carries his own bags. Other signs of the ex-guv's modest style: He eats at his desk, stays in a cheap D.C. hotel, and likes oxford shirts and penny loafers. Affectionately dubbed a "geek" by pals, he's often glued to his cellphone and loves E-mail. "His expertise is grass roots and his lifestyle is no different," says an associate. So far, Washington likes what it sees, surprised he's not the oddball that newsies pegged him as last year. Says an aide, smiling: "They're giving him a shot."-from U.S. News & World Report.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

''Dean Misdiagnoses Iraq''

"I respect Dean's opinions, and I think his change of mind is well-intentioned, but don't agree with him on this.

Dean lays out three reasons why we must continue to occupy Iraq: the possibility of a Shi'ite theocracy, the destabilization of Iraq by the emergence of an independent Kurdistan in the north, and the Sunni triangle becoming a Taliban-style terrorism incubator.

The problem with his reasoning is that our continued military occupation does not effectively address any of these possibilities, and may in fact make one or more of these scenarios more likely. It is an unfortunate flaw of planners in a military hot-spot like Iraq to believe that military force can accomplish every mission. To a hammer all the world looks like a nail, as they say.

All three of the dangers Dean astutely recognizes are really political problems, not readily soluble by military means: especially not with the relatively light force we have available in Iraq. Really, the only scenario which is amenable to military action is maintaining security in the Sunni triangle, preventing terrorists from setting up military training camps. Consider, however, that the insurgents have been able to effectively plan, train, marshall forces and materiel, and carry out terrorist and paramilitary operations despite our best efforts to stop them; one can hardly have confidence that future operations are going to be more effective. All Democrats should oppose prolonging American occupation of Iraq for one simple reason: Bush does not have the best interests of Iraqis in mind, and never did. Dean apparently still gives Bush the benefit of the doubt. That is perhaps manditory for a person in his position. It's not manditory for regular people like us."-from the post on Blog for Arizona today.

''Howard Dean on message: ''We were framed''

The Raw Story goes back over Dean's visit to Minnesota last week, as reported in the Kansas City Star. Their readers provide some comments.

''Your Post Here''

Over 1200 hits on Thursday, but I'm not finding anything to post today. Send it to me! (

Friday, April 22, 2005

''Et tu, Dean?''

"As the Senate signs a $81 billion defense spending bill, bringing the tally on the Iraq and Afghanistan war costs to nearly $300 billion, and a report says there are more terrorists today than ever before, Howard Dean comes out in support of keeping troops in Iraq. From Democracy Now!: "The chair of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean has come out in support of President Bush"s current Iraq policy. In a speech earlier this week in Minnesota, Dean said, 'The president has created an enormous security problem for the United States where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there.' Dean said a US pullout could endanger the United States in three ways: By leaving a Shiite theocracy worse than that in Iran; by creating an independent Kurdistan in the north, with destabilizing effects on neighboring Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria, and by making the so-called Sunni Triangle a magnet for what Dean called Islamic terrorists similar to the former Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Dean was portrayed as an antiwar candidate in the media during the 2004 presidential race." Dean's fears of a Shiite theocracy are shared by Noam Chomsky: "The first thing they'll do is reestablish relations with Iran...The next thing that might happen is that a Shiite-controlled, more or less democratic Iraq might stir up feelings in the Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, which happen to be right nearby and which happen to be where all the oil is. So you might find what in Washington must be the ultimate nightmare-a Shiite region which controls most of the world's oil and is independent." So what's the solution?"-from the Politik blog.

Geov Parrish: 'Tom DeLay and one-party rule'

A gloomy scenario from one of Seattle's top political pundits, via The Smirking Chimp: "Tom DeLay is on his way out. Last week, "The Hammer" even apologized -- sort of -- for appearing to endorse violence against federal judges. He has run out of high-profile deaths -- Schiavo, the Pope -- whose media coverage masks his ethics problems and his steady decline in support among once-loyal Republicans. After over a decade of corruption, hardball tactics, and sleaze, Tom DeLay is on his way out as a base of power in the House of Representatives. Don't celebrate yet."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

''Marla is gone, but Robin continues: UPDATE''

"My second report about Robin Fasano, the activist from Tucson who gave us a talk(at the West Seattle DFA Meetup) last month, got some attention on Daily Kos, one of the biggest progressive political blogs, with over 40,000 registered members. I'm happy to say it got on yesterday's "Recommended List," which means thousands more readers will see the story. You may recall that Robin's mission is getting medical supplies to desperate Iraqi hospitals, though her non-profit org, Tomorrow's Children. The few Meetup members who showed up for Robin's talk, and others who didn't make it, might want to take a look at the story and at her website." -email from Seattle activist Dina Lydia Johnson.


"The Election Is Over but the Dean-Kerry Rivalry Continues--In case you missed it, Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who now chairs the Democratic National Committee, just blew through town. He was here April 13 for a downtown DNC fundraiser that was closed to the press. If you're tearing up at the thought that you missed him, calm down and put on a happy face. He's going to be back soon enough--on Sunday, June 5, events TBA, according to the website. And here's a bit of breaking news: I have it on good authority that John Kerry is dropping by as well. He'll be here on May 1 and 2. The early word is that he'll do a fundraiser for the state Dems and an event at Town Hall to tout his health care proposal to cover uninsured kids. With all of this attention from the national leaders of the party, am I the only one wondering if Seattle hasn't entered some kind of strange time warp? It feels more than a little like February 2004, when Kerry and Dean were still battling mano a mano in Seattle for the Democratic presidential nomination, rather than April 2005, when morose Dems find themselves slouching towards irrelevance. That is probably more than coincidence. The election may be long lost, but in this era of the permanent campaign, the slugfest goes on. It's a championship bout between the heavy-punching Dean and the dancing Kerry. The title at stake? Supreme leader of the Democratic Party, at least until a new presidential frontrunner (okay, Hillary) emerges after the 2006 election."-Sandeep Kaushik in today's new Stranger. Thanks for the plug, ole buddy, but I'm not sure I buy the "battle" story.

Kos: On Branding

"I've long been an enthusiast of branding. I always credit part of this site's success to conscious branding decisions, and I blame much of the Dems failures on a lack of a strong brand (opposed to brilliant branding by the GOP)."-from Kos today. All the meat is in the comments.


"Public opinion no longer has an effect on public policy," he says. "Our political campaigns, we would laugh about them if they were in another country. The last election was between two rich boys who went to Yale, and instead of talking about issues, they tried to sway us with images — two regular guys, one hunting, the other working at his ranch — except they weren't regular folks. The helplessness measure keeps rising. People feel they can't do anything."-Noam Chomsky, from "Chomsky: It's time to take back our lives," Jerry Large's column today in the Seattle Times. No you're not dreaming, this is something on Chomsky in the Seattle Times.

Dean: ''Year-Round 50 State Strategy To Change GOP Anti-Worker Agenda''

"Organized labor still has the best grassroots in the nation and we need you to win. We are going to all 50 states all the time, not just 18 states before elections. We need you to increase your efforts because we need to keep up the pressure in every state. I believe Americans are democratic with a big D. Our problem isn't that America does not share our values. It's that we have to do a better job communicating our values to them. We need to talk about what we care about ... American jobs, controlling health care costs, protecting kids from what is coming over the TV ... not talking about a list of programs ... they don't want program talk. They voted against their own economic interest because they're afraid of what's going to happen to their kids." Dean said labor and Democrats both need to talk about values like truth, honesty, ethics and hold the GOP accountable when they claim those values and act in an opposite way. He sited treatment of veterans returning from Iraq and Tom Delay's ethics problems as examples. Dean said the Democratic Party and Labor built America and it's up to both to fix what's going wrong. Dean said, "Together we can help Central Pennsylvania and send Rick Santorum back to his fancy house in Virginia!" He concluded, "There's no political downside to standing up for what you believe in!"-from the press release by the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Dept.

''Dean says Democrats losing on abortion''

"In his first visit to Minnesota since becoming the party chairman two months ago, Dean told an audience in Minneapolis on Wednesday night that while his party is right to defend a woman's right to have an abortion, it is wrong to defend the procedure as a moral issue. "I think we need to talk differently about abortion," the blunt-spoken physician and former Vermont governor told several hundred supporters of the Minnesota affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The debate shouldn't be about whether abortion is good or bad, Dean said. It should be about whether a woman has a right to make up her own mind. "We got pushed into a corner by the Republican propaganda machine, forced to debate and defend positions that aren't our positions," he said. "I don't know anybody in America who's pro-abortion." "If I could strike the words 'choice' and 'abortion' out of the lexicon of our party, I would," he said. "The debate and the difference between the parties is we believe a woman has a right to make up her own mind about her health care, and they (Republicans) believe that (House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and the boys in Congress should be making up that woman's mind." Democrats need to reframe the debate, he said. "The person who frames the issues … wins the debate, and they (Republicans) have been kicking our butt for a long time because we have not framed the issues ourselves."-from the story today in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

''DNC Raises Record Amount of Money from Low-Dollar Donations''

"Washington, DC - During the first quarter of the year (January 1 - March 31, 2005), the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised an unprecedented amount of funds from low dollar donations. The DNC received $14.1 million in contributions; $12.1 million from small dollar donations. Since becoming chairman in mid-February, Gov. Howard Dean has focused on the grassroots, raising over $1 million a week - a record amount of money. This is double the amount of money raised during a similar period four years ago - after one of the most contested Presidential elections - and proves that Americans are anxious to change the direction of this country. "This is a strong start for the year, but it is just the beginning" said DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "I have traveled across the country - from Mississippi to California and have seen first hand the hunger and desire of the American people to get our country back on track and restore integrity." The average donation to the DNC during the first three months of the year was $50.80. There were approximately 20,000 new donors this quarter. The DNC has $7.2 million cash-on-hand."-from the DNC.

''Howard Dean warns of danger in Iraq pullout''

"Howard Dean came to Minnesota Wednesday evening without the scream that ended his 2004 presidential campaign, or the anti-Iraq war rhetoric that started it. "Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out," he told an audience of nearly 1,000 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the United States where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there." An American pullout could endanger the United States in any of three ways, Dean said: by leaving a Shiite theocracy worse than that in Iran, which he called a more serious threat than Iraq ever was; by creating an independent Kurdistan in the north, with destabilizing effects on neighboring Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria, and by making the Sunni Triangle a magnet for Islamic terrorists similar to the former Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. "That's where Al Qaida will set up," he said."-from the story in today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

''Election Reform Rigged by GOP''

"The first meeting of the Baker-Carter Election Commission was disappointing and, at times, outrageous and tainted with racially-charged innuendo. Let me make absolutely clear that I greatly admire former President Jimmy Carter and believe he was insightful and on-target throughout the hearing. However, given the incredible lack of balance and profound lack of good faith demonstrated by some of Carter's fellow Commissioners and many of the witnesses at this hearing, at times he seemed to be a very lonely voice of sanity. The remarks of Mr. James Baker III, which were echoed by a number of right wing political operatives called as witnesses, seemed to have a singular purpose of spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories about ineligible Democratic voters being allowed to cast votes."-John Conyers, cited on The Peace Table.

''Howard Dean should visit a Wal-Mart''

Advice from Peter A. Brown who is an editorial page columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Going to red states is one thing, but this may be going too far.

"Spokeswoman says Dean won't run for Senate"

"MONTPELIER, Vt. Howard Dean isn't interested. A spokeswoman says Dean won't be running for the Senate seat that is opening up from Vermont -- now that independent Jim Jeffords won't be running for re-election next year."-from the AP story today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Kos: ''MeetUp is going out of business...''

"...this is their last-gasp desperation attempt to stave off bankruptcy. I'd focus on finding an alternative solution."-from his post today.

''PDA Activists Spur Historic Call to Exit Iraq''

"This past weekend, at the California State Democratic Party Convention in Los Angeles, the largest gathering of state-party Democrats in the nation, activists with Progressive Democrats of America led by PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter successfully lobbied 2,000 delegates to pass a resolution calling for the termination of the occupation of Iraq. The resolution included specific language demanding the withdrawal of American troops from that country. "The California Democratic party," reads the resolution in part, "calls for the termination of the occupation...of American troops in Iraq."-from the post by William Rivers Pitt on the Progressive Democrats of America site.

''Dean calls on Democrats to be active nationwide''

"In an energetic fund-raiser to benefit Collier County Democrats on Monday night, former presidential candidate Howard Dean called on his party to avoid polls and political jargon and lead with conviction and passion. "This party needs to become a party of grass-roots activities," Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club."-from the story today in the News-Press (Fort Myers, FL).

''Dean goes to heart of GOP''

"NAPLES - You seldom see big name Democrats campaigning in Collier County. Why bother, many politicians reason, when Republicans always win big in this conservative stronghold, where fewer than one-in-four voters are Democrats? It's time to change that, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean told nearly 500 southwest Florida Democrats on Monday night. "The first rule in winning is to show up - show up, say who you are, say what you stand for," he declared. Remember Howard Dean, the Internet-fueled presidential campaign phenomenon? The Iowa screamer? If it seems the blunt-talking doctor and former Vermont governor hasn't had much to say lately, that's because he has been keeping his head low and spending a lot of time in Republican strongholds like Kansas, Mississippi and Collier County. Two months after his election as national party boss, he is starting to speak up. He was back in the national news again this weekend after vowing to make sure voters in 2006 and 2008 won't forget how Republican leaders intervened in the case of Terri Schiavo. "It's a character issue and a values issue. The Republicans are willing to reach into our personal lives at any moment," Dean told the St. Petersburg Times , dismissing the notion that the controversy would fade with time. "There is a deep scar on the American psyche," he said. "This is a great tragedy for the American people and I think the behavior of the governor (Jeb Bush) and the president and the senator (Mel Martinez) is something that will long be remembered."-from the story today in the St. Petersburg Times (FLA).

Monday, April 18, 2005

''Ummm, Howard?''

Shaun Dale at Upper Left scolds Dean for his remarks on Schiavo as a future election issue.

''Dean's Calif. visit reveals promises, pitfalls of his leadership''

"LOS ANGELES - How to explain the paradox that is Howard Dean? One part bulldog, one part philosopher king, the former presidential candidate and new Democratic Party chairman demonstrated in a speech to California Democrats Saturday that he still has the power to mesmerize party activists. But his trip was also marked by the kind of intemperate and controversial moments that remind people why he remains such a political lightning rod. At a sold out dinner speech at the state Democratic Party convention, Dean brought the audience to its feet with his full-throated denunciation of the Republican party. He also issued a heartfelt call for Democrats to be more open and inclusive of "red state" voters, and their economic and moral concerns. "We need to talk to those folks," Dean said. "We need not react to the differences of opinion about gay rights and things like that - it's a symptom. What is real is the fear, and we don't address it."-from the AP story Sunday.


"So there you have it, the DeLay agenda: no separation of church and state, no judicial review, no right to privacy. Next to this, the President’s effort to repeal the New Deal social contract by phasing out Social Security is the mewing of a kitten. DeLay may stay or DeLay may go. But the real danger is not DeLay himself. It’s DeLay’s agenda. It’s his vision. It’s his “values.”-from Hendrik Hertzberg's examination of the political stakes involved in this issue, writing in The New Yorker today.

''Dean talks about communicating values''

"It is not a moral value to threaten judges in the United States because they made a decision you do not agree with,'' he said, referring to DeLay's biting criticism of the judiciary. "It is a moral value not to leave more debt to our children. ... It is a moral value to tell the truth.'' Repeatedly, Dean said Democrats need to reach out to new voter groups in the "red'' parts of California -- particularly evangelicals, whom he called "people of deep conviction'' about family, community and country."-from the story in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

''Dean tells state Democrats abortion rhetoric needs to change''

"LOS ANGELES – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told California Democrats last night the party needs to change its rhetoric on abortion to project a more mainstream image. "I think we need to talk about abortion differently," Dean said. "Republicans have painted us into a corner where they have forced us to defend abortion. I don't know anybody who's for abortion. "The issue we need to debate is not whether abortion is a good thing. The issue we need to debate is whether a woman gets to make up her own mind about her health care or whether Tom DeLay gets to make up her mind." "-from the story in Sunday's San Diego Union-Tribune.

''White House weighing in on strongest Cantwell rival''

"The White House has a message for would-be Republican challengers to Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell: No messy primary. The White House has made Cantwell among their top targets in the 2006 midterm elections, and has told some candidates it wants to avoid an expensive intraparty battle."-from the story in Sunday's Seattle Times. In this case, "White House" translates to "Rove."

''Dean lambastes governor''

"The crowd grew feistier still during a dinner speech by Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, who echoed an angry complaint by the state's teachers that Schwarzenegger had reneged on a promise to deliver $2 billion in unanticipated funds to public schools. "We will say no to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to take $2 billion out of the education budget," Dean said to cheers. "Governor, keep your promise to the children of California and fund public schools. We don't need any more corrupt Republicans in office in this country." The convention marked one of the first major public appearances for Dean since taking the helm at the DNC in February. The former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate urged Democrats to retool their message and recognize the anxieties and insecurity that had driven many voters to the Republican party. "It's not that Americans don't share our values; our problem is that we don't communicate what those values are," Dean said. "At the other end of all their anxiety about economics is a profound anxiety about their kids. What they're worried about more than anything is their kids and their families." -from the AP story on the California Democratic convention Saturday.

''Labor Media, or the Lack Thereof''

"Over the past year I've researched the corporate media's coverage of a number of workers' issues and found it to be miserable or nonexistent. We have now in this country historic and unprecedented labor opposition to a war, a war that has often been the top story in the media. This opposition has been expressed in the form of the passage of resolutions at conventions, other aspects of which have been covered by the media. Yet, there has not, to my knowledge, been a single corporate media story on labor's opposition to the war."-David Swanson, in his article for a Panel Presentation for the Conference of United Association of Labor Educators April 1, 2005, Philadelphia, Penn, from the Progressive Democrats of America newsletter.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

''Dean: Schiavo case to be used against GOP elections''

USA Today gets into the spin game: "WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who has accused congressional Republicans of "grandstanding" in the Terri Schiavo case, said his party will use it against the GOP in coming elections. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said Dean, a physician who practiced internal medicine, was the one politicizing the issue. "It's disturbing that Howard Dean would plot to use the life of Terri Schiavo for political gain," Schmitt said Saturday. "This demonstrates a troubling lack of sensitivity and one would hope that Democrat leaders in Congress would reject such a strategy. "The American people expect their leaders to provide solutions and principled leadership rather than overt partisan politicking." Karen Finney, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman, defended Dean's comments, saying they were not a reflection of him trying to politicize the issue, but rather he was speaking to "Republican intrusiveness into people's lives." "This is another example of a Republican party that is overreaching," she said. "Tom Delay and his cronies want to intrude in personal family matters. Democrats believe that individuals and their families should be trusted to make these very personal decisions, not Tom DeLay and not the government."-from the story this afternoon.

''Dean Drops By''

"Yesterday, Howard Dean stopped in Seattle for a DNC fundraiser. In the elevator, after the brief breakfast talk by Dean, several of us agreed: Dean gets it. Dean is the right person to be Chair of the DNC at this time. He said it was time to reclaim the word "liberal" and reclaim our Democratic and Labor goals. And not only is it time to brand the Democratic Party, it is time to brand the Republican Party as well - as the party of deficits and deceit. We will be hearing a lot more from the DNC under Dean. He said that the DNC will be paying a minimum of four staffers in each state to do grassroots organizing, a welcome move that is likely to establish the preeminence of the national party over the local party. With Dean at the front of the room was Governor Gregoire, who talked about the importance of what we are doing as one of the only primarily Democratic state governments and how much other Democratic governors look to Washington State for leadership. Dean will be back in Seattle on June 5th for a much more public event. We'll share that information about it once we know the specifics."-from the post on Evergreen Politics.

''Air America goes local in Portland'' (UPDATED)

"Clear Channel Radio Portland announced today that AM 620 KPOJ would add a brand new live, local morning show to its Progressive Talk line-up. Beginning Monday, April 18, nationally syndicated talk host and best selling author, Thom Hartmann, will host the KPOJ morning show weekdays from 6am-9am."-I got this from WashBlog. He got it from Columbia Watch via Blue Oregon not that it really matters. Hartmann is a progressive talk radio "star" so it's not totally "local" in my opinion. He is claiming Portland has been his second home for the last 20 years, but he's been broadcasting from Vermont, from which all good things now eminate. Do we have a comparable Seattle "star"? Update: I received the following email in response to this post: "I inquired a couple of months ago about the possibility of hosting a live local show on KPTK. I have a number of years of radio experience prior to getting into journalissm, and a pretty broad following through Seattle Weekly,, and shows on KEXP and KBCS. But I didn't hear anything back. It's sad -- whether it's me or someone else, the Seattle Air America oulet needs local talk.-Geov Parrish" Update: Olympia Time nominates John Keister. He's funny, but I don't know if he wants to do politics all the time.

''Psychological resistance to facing election fraud''

Since I used to be a psychology professor, I say let's go over this one more time-from Newtopia Magazine via The Smirking Chimp. Good comments, too.

'Dean Says Democrats Will Make Schiavo Case an Election Issue''

"Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Friday that his party would wield the Terri Schiavo case against Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but for now needed to stay focused battling President Bush on Social Security. "We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on," Dean said of the brain-damaged Floridian who died last month after her feeding tube was removed amid a swarm of political controversy. Dean, who has called congressional intervention in the Schiavo case "political grandstanding," singled out House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for his leading role in the matter. "This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it's going to be an issue in 2008," Dean told about 200 people at a gay rights group's breakfast in West Hollywood, "because we're going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?"-from the story in Saturday's LA Times.

Friday, April 15, 2005

'Dean serves up Red Meat at West Hollywood Breakfast''

"In order to win the White House in 2008, Dean said, Democrats have to elect a Democrat Secretary of State in Ohio and a Democrat Governor in Florida so he/she can appoint a Democrat Secretary of State and we have to stop Arnold Schwarzenegger and his plan to divide California's electoral votes by Congressional Districts, because then the State's 55 votes would not be safe for Democrats. That Arnold does not have such a plan did not seem to matter much for Dean."-from the post on this morning.

''Riverbend Is a Blogger, ''Embedded'' in the Real Baghdad''

"I think two years ago, there was a sort of general hope that in spite of the difficulties, things would improve drastically in a relatively short time. For example, we never expected that two years after the war we'd still have major problems with electricity, water and infrastructure. It's utter disappointment at this point that security issues haven't been sorted out and Iraq is still a very dangerous place. People wonder now how long this situation will last and just what is being done to improve things. I think that two years after the war, we're also seeing more inter-factional friction between Sunnis and Shia and Arabs and Turkomen and Kurds. There are certain politicians and parties that are cultivating this friction because it helps promote them amongst their own people. Peace and normalcy seem like a distant thing. One begins to forget what 'normal' was in the first place. We've come to realize that peace and normalcy are also relative. What we consider peace is obviously very different from the American concept of peace. Normality also changes with time. Three years ago, normal was being able to walk down the street with a sense of security. Today, normal is hearing at least three explosions a day and the hum of helicopters above. At the end of the day, why dream of such mundane things as peace and normalcy? A stable, secure, prosperous, united and above all independent Iraq -- that's a dream."-from the Buzzflash interview with Riverbend, the "Girl Blogger from Iraq."

''National gay group honors Dean’s ‘progressive’ record''

"DNC chair receives award despite gay marriage opposition: WASHINGTON — The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, one of the nation’s oldest gay rights organizations, has been among the strongest advocates for legalizing same-sex marriage. So its decision to present its annual Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this month to a same-sex marriage opponent drew attention to what many activists consider a vexing and complex issue."-from the post on

''Democrats must stop 'speaking down to voters,' Dean says''

"WASHINGTON — Since he was elected Democratic national chairman in February, Howard Dean has done the unexpected: He mostly disappeared from national view. Dean went from long shot to near-nominee in the 2004 Democratic presidential campaign by being outspoken, confrontational and indefatigable. But since taking over the demoralized Democrats, he has concentrated on nitty-gritty work in out-of-the-way places. Now the former Vermont governor says he's ready to begin speaking out more. In a cell phone interview with USA TODAY late Wednesday, while stuck in traffic in San Francisco, he talked about his prescription for the party. It was his first interview with a national news outlet since being elected."-from another story in USA Today.

''The Fall of the House of Ethics''

"The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct -- a.k.a. "Ethics" -- is embarked on a course that has been trod before. Gather 'round the virtual bonfire, and I'll share a true tale of incestuous dealings, strange scratchings and foul odors emanating from behind stone walls, and things buried that refuse to die. I was there, I saw this with my own eyes, I have the scars to show for it, and the encounter haunts me to this very day."- Congressman Jim spins a yarn on Kos.

''Dean: Dems must lure back voters''

"WASHINGTON — Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean says his party needs to do more to appeal to voters who have been lost because of unease over "values," including people who oppose abortion and parents who are dismayed by TV programs they find offensive for their children."-from the story in USA Today.


"I don't believe we can get a strong Democratic majority in Washington, D.C., without winning in Eastern Washington and eastern King County."-Dean Nielsen, Washington state director of Progressive Majority, from the story in the Seattle Weekly: "A Liberal Minor League: Progressive Majority says the left needs to develop a good farm system if it is to take back Congress."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

''PACE, USWA Leaders Sign Historic Agreement"

"Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee; AFL-CIO President John Sweeney; and Richard Gephardt, former Speaker for the U.S. House of Representatives spoke to the delegates." from the post on Yahoo. Not Speaker, "Leader"... like Delay.

''Local Progressive Radio''

"Air America affiliates are now in 53 stations mationwide, covering a good bit of the country. But most of them offer weekday programming, Air America is great as a foundation but local talkers that know its particular city's issues are crucial. leaving the weekend largely open to reruns of Franken or Randi Rhodes or the Majority Report. We know that under Howard Dean, the DNC is attempting to build local grassroots in every state, making sure that the people advocating for various positions are actually from those states. Same with talk radio. dKos Radio on the weekend would be a great base from which to discuss the kinds of issues we get into on here, with an added emphasis on local stuff. It is not in competition with but complementary to things like Air America."-from D-Day.


Seattleite Michael Bade, who we have heard from before here, is one of the ten finalists in the MoveOn "Bush in 30 Years" contest. Now what happens, you ask? " John Cusack, comedian and radio host Al Franken, columnist Arianna Huffington, filmmaker Richard Linklater, and animator Aaron McGruder—are reviewing these finalists and selecting the Grand Prize winner. Next Wednesday, we'll announce the winner as well as the People's Choice Award for the entry you ranked #1."-from MoveOn.

''Mayor Nickels talks about reelection''

Howard Dean has encouraged us to run for office and get involved in politics locally on all levels. Maybe nobody has responded to this call to make a run against Greg Nickels because we feel we already have a great mayor. KING5 TV looks at the upcoming mayoral race and introduces us to his only opponent so far, Christal Wood.

Dean in Seattle: What Happened to the Press?

I am told that there was no press at the DNC fundraiser, which is not unusual. Dean "had to pass on the Institute (the health care conference) because of his commerical flight schedule for a luncheon in San Francisco. He's back on Sunday, June 5th -- events yet to be determined..."

Dean in Seattle: No Press Coverage?

Maybe Dean wanted it this way, but I can't find anything about either of his two local appearances yesterday. Update: Here are some photos of Dean at yesterday's power breakfast in Seattle, from the DNC site. Many of you will recognize the two guests in one of the pictures.

Dean Heads to Las Vegas for Steelworkers Convention Thursday

"Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee; AFL- CIO President John Sweeney; and Richard Gephardt, former Speaker for the U.S. House of Representatives are speaking during the morning session."-from the press release. Actually, Gephardt was the House Majority Leader and later was the Minority Leader, but never was Speaker.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

''Even in new role, Dean comes out blazing''

"The Democratic National Committee chair pulls no punches in a passionate speech at Skyview High School---VANCOUVER -- The speech was billed as "Civic Engagement and Democracy in the 21st Century," but Howard Dean punched it up with some politics Tuesday night. Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a former presidential candidate, talked about the importance of participating in a democracy during his college-sponsored speech at Skyview High School near Vancouver. But he heard the loudest whoops and applause when he delivered campaign-style attacks on the Republican Party and the Bush administration. He also blasted proposals to privatize Social Security and emphasized the need for individuals to contribute money to political candidates to offset the influence of corporate giving. He wasn't speaking as chairman of the Democratic Party, Dean said at the outset of the speech, noting that he committed to the engagement before he got his current job in mid-February. "But I intend to be partisan," he said, to applause and cheering. Even his entry onto the stage at Skyview High had the feel of a campaign stop. Nearly all of the 1,100 people who paid $11 admission stood and cheered. "Yeah," Dean said, roving the stage with a wireless microphone. "How many of you are really from Portland?" Plenty, it appeared. "I thought a few of you snuck across the bridge," he said." On Tuesday, a message from Dean on the Democratic National Committee's Web site urged people to give money to help political organizing in general and four states specifically that voted for President Bush last November: North Dakota, Missouri, North Carolina and West Virginia. And Dean spoke passionately about the importance of money to the Vancouver audience. "The reason we need you to give money is because the political process on both sides -- but particularly on the Republican side -- has been utterly corrupted by people who give huge amounts of money from large corporations," Dean said. With his voice rising, he continued, "The middle-class people get squeezed out of the political process. And people don't care, but they have a say. "You want campaign finance reform? Don't wait for the Congress or the Legislature to pass it, give 15 or 20 bucks to the candidates you care about. "We raised $53 million -- more than anybody else, and we didn't owe a dime to anybody except to you," he concluded, prompting shouts and applause."-from the story this morning in The Oregonian.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

''The Cruel Month...''

"Riverbend" is the pseudonym of the author of Baghdad Burning, the title of both a new book and a website, who calls herself the "Girl Blog from Iraq." Here's an excerpt from her latest post, covering the demonstrations there last weekend: "Thousands were demonstrating today all over the country. Many areas in Baghdad were cut off today for security reasons and to accomodate the demonstrators, I suppose. There were some Sunni demonstrations but the large majority of demonstrators were actually Shia and followers of Al Sadr. They came from all over Baghdad and met up in Firdaws Square- the supposed square of liberation. They were in the thousands. None of the news channels were actually covering it. Jazeera showed fragments of the protests in the afternoon but everyone else seemed to busy with some other news story. Two years and this is Occupation Day once more. One wonders what has changed in this last year. The same faces of April 2004, but now they have differing positions in April 2005. The chess pieces were moved around and adjusted and every one is getting tired of the game. Who was it that said April was a cruel month? They knew what they were talking about..."

Camp Wellstone in Seattle, June 10-12

"Progressive Majority is pleased to welcome our national partner Wellstone Action to Seattle to host a comprehensive Camp Wellstone training for activists, campaign managers and prospective candidates June 10 – June 12.

Camp Wellstone is a dynamic, non-partisan program that teaches progressives how to win on issues and elect good candidates. I attended a recent Camp Wellstone in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I must tell you that the training was comprehensive and worthwhile.

Through our partnership with Wellstone Action, Progressive Majority members receive priority registration at the 2-day training, which features distinct tracks for candidates, campaign managers, and activists. Sessions are led by grassroots organizers and political professionals, both from across the United States and from right here in Washington state.

Details on each track are as follows:

Candidate.This track covers the fundamentals of campaigns, including fundraising, field organizing, campaign plan and budget writing, volunteer recruitment, GOTV, and media relations. Please email Edie Gilliss, our political director, at if you would like a slot in this track.

Campaign Management. This track covers campaign fundamentals from the perspective of those who make it happen. Participants learn the skills that are essential to putting your candidate or team in the best position to win.

Citizen Activism. This track presents ideas and tactics to strengthen issue-based organizing and to develop the capacity of grassroots leaders to build a base, advocate within legislative bodies and build sustainable organizations. This track is recommended for individuals who are interested in moving a particular issue agenda forward.

Stay tuned for updates, as registration will open soon. The training will be held in Seattle and begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 10 and conclude at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 12."-from Dean Nielsen of Progressive Majority of Washington.

''Help CNN Count,'' Part 2: ''Up to 300,000 Demonstrate in Baghdad''

"Edmund Sanders reports that the crowds in downtown Baghdad protesting the US troop presence in the country may have been as large as 300,000. If it were even half that, these would be the largest popular demonstrations in Iraq since 1958! To any extent that they show popular sentiment shifting in Shiite areas to Muqtada al-Sadr's position on the American presence, they would indicate that he is winning politically even though the US defeated his militia militarily. The demonstrators demanded a swift trial of Saddam Hussein, a timetable for US withdrawal, the release of Iraqis detained by the US, and an end to the marginalization of the opposition. The demonstrators carried effigies of Saddam Hussein, President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, each labeled "International Terrorist." Ash-Sharq al-Awsat says that the crowds also demanded an end to torture in Iraqi prisons."-from Juan Cole's site, Informed Comment. Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Sanders is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

''Howard Dean will headline conference on civic engagement''

"VANCOUVER -- Five months after campaigning ended and President Bush was given a second term, the election of 2004 continues to reverberate. A sign of the intense interest the election generated is a speech that former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean will deliver tonight at Skyview High School's auditorium. All 1,100 seats are spoken for: 700 were snapped up by ticket buyers at $10 each, 300 are being given to Washington State University Vancouver students, and 100 are left for guests and dignitaries. Anyone still wishing to attend can show up at the door and hope for a reserved ticket that isn't picked up -- organizers expect to have about 50."-from the story in today's Oregonian.

Monday, April 11, 2005

''Group runs TV ads urging passage of gay rights bill''

"OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Hoping to revive a gay rights bill in the state Senate, a group called Equal Rights Washington has purchased television ads urging legislators to pass the bill. House Bill 1515 would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, insurance and jobs. It's been introduced, and has failed, for 30 years in the state Legislature. The House passed it this year, but it's stuck in a Senate committee. The legislative session is scheduled to end April 24. Starting Tuesday, the ads will run on cable television in the districts of Sen. Tom Sheldon, D-Potlatch, and Sen. Dave Schmidt, R-Mill Creek, who voted recently to send the bill back to committee. Equal Rights Washington spokesman Dan Kully said the group also plans to target Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, Sen. Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, and Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla. All are moderates who bill supporters believe could be persuaded to switch sides and help revive the gay civil rights measure. It's rare to see television ads about issues before the state Legislature, mostly because of the cost involved. Kully said Equal Rights Washington is spending $25,000 on the TV ads, and could double that with help from national organizations."-from the P-I story. WashBlog has a link to one of the ads and another for contributions.

''I Saw Dr. Howard Dean...''

"…walking up the escalators with dry cleaning at the Capitol South metro around noon today. He was alone and wearing glasses, both qualities I’ve never associated with Dean, so I wasn’t sure if I was him. I was with my friend Elizabeth, an Associated Press reporter, and she said that he doesn’t wear glasses so I thought I was mistaken. But then we looked down the street to where the Dean-figure passed some strangers who performed a similar double take. Elizabeth said that he must going to the DNC headquarters which is just off First St. SE."-from the post on Yes, he is alone sometimes and he has been known to wear glasses during personal time.

'' moves into neighborhood''

"Where does move on to, now that the 2004 presidential election is history? It seemed like an appropriate question to ask Adam Ruben, the field director who recently transplanted from Washington, D.C., to Seattle. The relocation (he lived here in the early 1990s) was more for family reasons than organizational; a virtual entity, MoveOn can be run from just about anywhere. Still, Seattle is a MoveOn stronghold, and Ruben's arrival is giving a lift to regional progressives deflated by November election results."-from the story in today's Seattle Times.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

''Give 'Em The Truth, Howard, And They'll THINK It's Hell''

"LITTLE ROCK - Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Saturday that the way to win the 2008 presidential election is for Democrats to impress upon others their moral conviction and do right by the country. "What we need as Democrats more than anything else is to stand up and be proud of who we are and show America what we believe and what our convictions are," the 2004 presidential candidate and former Vermont governor told a breakfast crowd of about 500 Democrats at the state Capitol building. "If we do that, we're going to take this country back."-from Blogging for Bayh. From the post, on DeLay: "Let's investigate the dishonesty of Tom DeLay," Dean said. Last year, the House ethics committee admonished DeLay three times, and new questions have been raised in recent weeks about his overseas travel. DeLay has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with violating any law. According to recent newspaper reports, DeLay traveled to Russia in 1997 on a trip paid for by business interests and his wife and daughter have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by his political action and campaign committees. DeLay defended the payments as something that other lawmakers have done and said he took the trip believing it had been paid for by a nonprofit organization."

''Help CNN count''

Another example of how some in the US media consistently distort and manage our news, particularly from Iraq: CNN used the phrase "several thousand" to describe the crowd in Iraq today for the anti-US protest. AP and the Canadian press estimated it at "tens of thousands." So did the Chinese press account."India's National Newspaper" also used the "tens of thousands" number. Here are some photos, from The American Street. Does it matter if there were tens of thousands marching through the streets of Baghdad, rather than thousands? Maybe not, but it's hard to imagine it was just another stupid mistake by CNN. It's interesting how such a demonstration could have occurred without any violence or disruption, given all the talk about the "security" problems in Iraq we are told about here.

JOHN Dean on the ''Nuclear Option''

"In the end, though, it's important to keep in mind that, in all likelihood, no court will ever resolve this matter. Instead, any federal court would likely refrain from deciding whether the Senate rule change can be accomplished by a simple majority vote, by citing the "political question" doctrine, and concluding that the Constitution assigns the resolution of such questions to the Senate itself. Thus, the real war will occur not in the courts, but within the Senate. This has become a high stakes political game of chicken. It is still not clear whether any side - or both - will avert the clash. The Democrats do have one final weapon in their arsenal. If Republicans try to remove the filibuster option, then Democrats can try to make the Republicans play by all the Senate's Rules, construed literally. That, in turn, would bring the Senate's business to a halt - save for the barest essentials - and thus, Congress' business as well, for the House cannot pass laws without the Senate. In effect, the Democrats have the option of nuclear winter. If they don't rely on this counter-tactic - with the hope of restoring Republicans to their senses - they might as well pack up and go home. No longer would there be an opposition party in the Senate."-from the article in Findlaw's Writ. If Howard Dean ever runs for president again, maybe he should enlist John as his vice-presidential running mate and run on the "Dean-Dean" ticket.

''Dean Promises 50 State Campaign Strategy for 2008''

"Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Friday that his party is laying the groundwork for a 50-state strategy for the 2008 presidential race. Dean said early fund-raising will be geared toward having the party pay for workers to help with state and local races, initially in selected states. He criticized spending by the Bush administration and said that running deficits will prevent the country from mounting a strong defense against its foes. He also said President Bush and other Republicans launched divisive issues during the campaign, such as gay marriage. Dean said the country needs to close its divisions. The Chairman said the deficits built under the Bush administration, plus policies that Dean and other Democrats present said make life harder for rural residents, will leave the Republicans vulnerable at the polls in upcoming elections. "I think the Democratic Party is in the center," Dean said. "We're more conservative than Republicans are when it comes to money."-from the story on Dean's visit to Arkansas on PoliticsVT.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

''Pro-Life Democrat Will Represent Party Despite Abortion Battle''

"Former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer told an audience at the National Press Club that he has been asked by representatives of the Democratic National Committee to speak for the party on social issues at local Democrat functions. Roemer made a bid for the party chairmanship and said the party needed to reconsider its strong pro-abrotion views to attract more voters in the South and Midwest. However, he lost to former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, an abortion advocate who lost the presidential nomination to John Kerry but found himself the darling of pro-abortion groups and the party;s liberal wing. Although abortion advocates ran a fierce campaign against Roemer -- snubbing him from meetings and booing him at gatherings -- Dean decided he would be a valuable speaker. "They've reached out and asked if I want to go to different states, give Jefferson-Jackson speeches, reach out and talk about some of the issues I talked about in the DNC race," Roemer said."-from the story in

''Work/Learn/Party For Democracy''

"We need your help on this voting lawsuit, but we'd like to make volunteering more of a two way street if we can. So.... on Sunday, we'd love to have you come by and help make verifiable democracy a learning and helping experience for all of us.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., after an hour or so of *informational* Q&A about the case and its possibilities, Paul will present:

(1) a needs list for the case of specific duties, tasks, etc. for which volunteers are needed and

(2) will also thereafter present a half hour *learning* tutorial on how to file a Public Disclosure ACT (PDA) request, what citizen rights are under the PDA, and what resources you can use to file your own PDA requests. We have a nice classroom-style space for this.

As "tuition", each person will be asked to volunteer to "apply* what they've learned to one of the items on the needs list (above at (1)) or else to draft and file a Public Disclosure request in the general area of electronic voting (with Paul's drafting help if desired) as your contribution toward honest verifiable open voting systems in Washington state.

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10

WHERE: Law offices of LEHTO & PENFIELD 2829 Rucker Avenue, 3rd Floor, corner of Rucker and Hewitt Avenue in downtown Everett.

PARKING: Free street parking available.

REFRESHMENTS: Bring something if you can, but Pizza will be provided for the hard core that make it to 5:30 p.m. (fine to leave earlier)

CONTACT: Paul's cell at 425-422-1387
RSVP nice but not required."-from WashBlog.

Loyal/Opposition: ''Pew Center Bucks the Stereotype With Study of Supporters''

Further slicing and dicing of the Dean study from a variety of blogs, assembled by Jeremy Thompson at L/O.

''Dean on Jesus, balanced budgets''

"I'm going to tell them we're going to run in all 50 states, that the days of running in 18 states are over, and that we're going to help them in all races, down to the state and local level. I'm going to tell them we're going to build machines in their states with their own people, not with imported people. I'm going to tell them Democrats need not shy away from the values debate. I will tell them that the Democratic Party is going to have a national message, and it's not going to come from the top down but from them up. We're going to look at what we have in common, not what divides us. The people of Minnesota and Arkansas see a lot more things the same than they see differently." This is the man - Dean, I mean - who said with typical self-wounding that he wanted to be the Democratic presidential candidate who got votes from Southern guys with Confederate flags in their pickups. "I'd say that differently now," he told me. "But I do think Democrats need to be the party to get white AND black votes, and I think we will be."-from the column by John Brummett in the Pahrump Valley Times (AR). Dean talked to him by phone in advance of his trip to Arkansas.

''Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean Says Republicans Lack Values''

“We’re crafting a new message, but one of the parts of our message is going to be honesty and integrity, and I challenge the Republicans to show me their honesty and integrity,” said Dean. “I’ll say what I said before. I balanced the budgets, and the republicans don’t. I have 8 consecutive endorsements from the National Rifle Association, and my views on gay issues are the same as Vice President Cheney,” said Dean. “I think the difference on moral values is when the republicans show they have no moral values in the House of Representatives, they cover it up,” added Dean.-from the story on KARK, channel 4 in Little Rock, AR.

Friday, April 08, 2005

''Dean Outlines Plans for Support in States''

"Washington (AP) - Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Friday that the national party will invest almost half a million dollars in state parties in Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia. All four states were won by President Bush (website - news - bio) in the 2004 presidential election."-from the story today.

''DNC Poll: Majority of Independents Oppose Nuclear Option''

"Plurality of Americans, Sizable Number of Republicans, Oppose GOP Power Grab--/ Washington, DC - According to a recent poll conducted by Westhill Partners, a majority of Democrats and Independents oppose the Senate Republican leadership's threat to eliminate the filibuster and dismantle a critical component of our nation's checks and balances. The poll also reveals that a plurality of Republicans would support a Democratic effort to stall normal business on the Senate floor in response to a Republican effort to eliminate the filibuster. "The American people are growing weary of the power-abusing tactics of the Republican leadership in Washington, DC," said DNC Chairman, Governor Howard Dean. "Senate Republicans need to stop trying to silence the minority and start trying to work with Democrats to solve the pressing issues facing this country."-from

Dean in the News Today

Slate political blogger Mickey Kaus tells us on NPR that Dean has gone from "villification" to "condescension" in his attitude towards "values" voters. "Howard Dean to be Honored by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 16th Annual Leadership Awards Tonight" is the title of this press release by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Dean heads later to Little Rock, Arkansas where he speaks to the Association of State Democratic Chairs on Friday.

''Bush in 30 Years—a grassroots contest to find the best Flash animation"

MoveOn has announced the top 50 semi-finalists in their contest and Seattle has one: Michael Bade. Here's what he told me about why he got involved: "I did my flash piece because I am extremely concerned about how money is being spent in this country. We are told that we are insecure because of terrorism and need more security. We already spend more money than all our enemies combined, on weapons, defense and homeland security. Now the very things that have made Americans secure at home are being attacked by our own leaders. When I found out that we have had a Social Security surplus for years and that it has been used to fund other things I was really angry. They make it sound like we created a crisis by getting old when in fact they created a crisis by spending the money on other things and continuing to do so. Health care is the other big insecurity for Americans. Lose your medical insurance and you are screwed. Talk about insecurity! One of my best friends had a heart transplant. If he misses one payment on his medical insurance they will drop him. He already pays $1200 a month for insurance and $400 a month in co-pay for drugs and he's only 52 years old. You can own a $500,000 house and go bankrupt if you have a stroke and don't have medical insurance. I have friends in France, Japan and Germany who think we are nuts to accept these kind of living conditions. In modern industrialized countries Health care and Social Security are part of being a citizen of that country. I worry about my old age. Will I be able to afford health care? Will I be able to ever retire? This administration seems like it is trying to strangle its citizens to death. So that's why I spent the time and energy to make the flash animation. It's just one of the ways through, music, art and film that I am trying to be a good citizen."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

''OPPORTUNITY COSTS-Dems Are Misunderestimating Bush''

"Too many Democrats, from the top down, can't shake their belief that Bush and his party have moved so far to the radical right that they are teetering on a precipice, always one misstep or overreach away from seeing their popularity melt away like an ice cream cone in the Texas sun. They're right about the radical part, but they're wrong about everything else. They are especially, hopelessly, heartbreakingly wrong in their touchingly naive belief that Bush will somehow do himself in with his bad decisions. The problem is that what goes down can come up just as easily--especially when the opposing party appears to be locked in a state of suspended animation. Democrats are desperately in need of a positive reform agenda. Politically, it's not going to be enough for Dems to say they stopped Bush's misguided reform, unless the public believes they offer something better in its place."-from Sandeep Kaushik's article in The Stranger. It's good to see Sandeep back in form. That means I agree with him.