Saturday, October 21, 2006

2006 Elections = Votes for Sale, Disenfranchisement and Bad Ballots

Another great piece from NOW on the clean election movement. Both sides argue against it, but real progressives argue for it - if you are tired of the wealthy (incumbents) being the only ones to get elected (and then you find out they are out of touch with the average American) then maybe this movement is for you. Make sure you check out for which candidates have what money, where they got it from, etc.

Two more reasons to be pessimistic:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The times they are a-changin' (for American politics)

No, I didn't title this post because it is cool to quote Dylan. Instead, a number of thoughts came to mind that need to be pointed out to underscore the (maybe misunderstood) historical significance of current and probable changes in American politics:

  • Congress as a whole is a lame duck - the public may start to truly demand results for once - Democrats regaining power will be the start;
  • The voters on the Right and the candidates on the Left are becoming ambidextrous - the Radical Right is fading, the moderate Right are now progressives, Libertarians are still funny, the moderate Left is now religious, the progressive Left has the toughest chance of enacting its policies and the Green Party is a nice thought.
  • It has only taken us three and a half years to realize we don't want another Vietnam and over two-hundred years for terrorism to bring us down through guerilla tactics (something we used to win our independence and now can't find a good strategy to defend against).
Are we all coming together, moving farther apart or is nothing changing?

Republican Voter Suppression Doesn't Just Happen On Election Day

In Orange County, CA, Republican Tan D. Nguyen's campaign distributed a letter to 14,000 Hispanic Democratic voters, warning them against voting in the November 7 elections.

"You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time."

According to the AP article, "this is not the county's first dispute over alleged intimidation of Hispanic voters. In 1988, Republican Assembly candidate Curt Pringle posted uniformed "security guards" at 20 predominantly Hispanic voting places in Orange County."

Republicans will do anything to suppress the vote. Whether it's women, minorities, ex-felons who have served their time, Republicans just don't want people to vote. Volunteer to be a poll watcher on November 7 and help make sure that no one loses his/her right to vote because of intimidation or misinformation.

Alternative Energy News - October 19, 2006

  • Pennsylvania already has awarded more than a quarter of the $500 rebates available this fiscal year under a first-come, first-serve program for state residents who purchase new hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Public Service Company of Oklahoma, the largest distributor of wind power in the state, announced an agreement to purchase power from a third wind farm capable of producing enough electricity to run nearly 30,000 homes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What You Can Do

In case you're wondering what you can do to help elect Democrats and get this country back on track, here are a few ideas:

1) Make sure every Democrat you know is registered to vote.
2) Encourage people to vote early, or send in an absentee ballot if necessary.
3) Donate money to progressive candidates at ActBlue.
4) Contact your local Democratic Party and volunteer.
5) Call targeted voters with's Call for Change. Here's a description, courtesy of Daily Kos.

Remember, Republicans still think that they are going to maintain majorities in both houses, solely on the strength of their GOTV operations. We MUST counter that by making sure that every Democrat gets to the polls sometime between now and November 7.


Bill Moyers is a progressive hero of mine - who else would take the time now to air this documentary - you must watch it and do something about it at!

If you want to keep the Internet free then be aware, very aware, on election day that Democrats want to keep the Internet free and Republicans do not.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

News Flash: Congress Sucks, Bush Does Too

  • There was more delicious irony in Bush's speech today. He was celebrating his legislative victory by offering his vision of how his administration will be judged. He projected that future generations would ask whether or not the correct steps were taken to defeat terror. Sadly and unintentionally he answered the question 10 seconds later when he took a cheap political shot at the Dems by reminding his audience of those in the minority who voted against the torture bill. I'm proud of anyone with the courage to vote against the bill. As I've said before, it's my opinion that the administration's hyper focus on politics is out of control and largely responsible for the disaster known as current American foreign relations.
  • If anyone's looking for a reason to vote for an otherwise uninspiring Democratic congressional candidate, check out Norman Ornstein's book, "The Broken Branch." It's basically about how screwed up and corrupt Congress has become. He's a regular on the Al Franken Show, and he's terrific.
  • Speaking of Air America, they're still chugging, despite going Bankrupt. On Monday, Franken spoke for the first time since the bad financial news went public. He was emotional and said he's committed to the eventual success of progressive talk radio. I don't fret the outcome of this particular venture. As far as I'm concerned, Progressives are too smart, myself not included, to get all their information from talk radio the way some GOPers do. We'll never have the Rush Limbaughs or Bill O'Reillys because....why would we want that drivel??? -- And I think Colbert and Stewart have covertly given Liberals an important voice in the public discourse.
  • The Curt Weldon stuff is unreal to me. Joe Sestak must be pinching himself! I'm typing this post literally 20 feet from Weldon campaign headquarters, and I'm happy to report it's almost empty. My hope is that his staff has simply decided to give up!

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) Says That Being In Baghdad Is ‘Like Being In Manhattan’

How can anyone say this with a straight face?

King represents New York's 3rd District (Long Island), and has done so for 14 years. The latest poll from Constituent Dynamics has his opponent, Democrat Dave Mejias down by only 2 points, within the margin of error. The candidates will be debating tonight in Levittown, NY, and they will be taking questions from the audience.

As you can see from King's insane comments above, he's so used to spouting off about liberal college professors, Muslims or the liberal media on Fox News or Limbaugh (aka "that fat ass drug addict"), he has no idea how to speak to his constituents. Mejias should get a big bounce after voters see the difference between the two candidates in person.

Click here to give Mejias some help.

Alternative Energy News - October 17, 2006

  • Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced $25 million in new grants to construct five biodiesel and ethanol plants in Illinois. Blagojevich may have his problems, but he's been incredibly pro-environment.
  • Google Inc. announced Monday that it will mount solar panels on the rooftops and parking lots of its Mountain View headquarters, in what could be the largest such installation in the United States. The panels will generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity when finished in the spring, enough to light 1,200 homes.

Tim McGraw: "It's innate in me to be a Democrat"

Tim McGraw's audience is exactly the kind of people who should be voting for Democrats instead of falling for the fear and hate campaigns of Republicans.

From Wikipedia:

In early 2006, McGraw reaffirmed his plans for running for public office, saying that he would like to run for Governor of Tennessee about 10 years down the road. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He has said he would be open to running for the Senate, but leans toward governor saying, "It's more of a leadership role, and I think that's something that I'd do well...that doesn't rule out senator; I just think that as governor of a state, there would be a lot more opportunities to make some decisions and change some things." McGraw has been a huge supporter of President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and other Democrats, and Time has called him "one of the few vocal Democrats in country."

Monday, October 16, 2006

News Gets Worse For Weldon - Dems Ready to Take Over PA

FBI agents investigating U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) conducted six raids this morning - including at the homes of his daughter and a longtime friend, investigating whether the Delaware County congressman used his influence to help his daughter, a registered lobbyist, win consulting contracts.

First, Weldon claimed that there was no investigation. Now he's saying he's done nothing wrong. Of course, this is the nutjob who is still claiming that Iraq has WMD, so anything he says is at best a little shaky. I bet the RNCC feels really good about having just sunk $1 million into this race.

Weldon's opponent in this race is Joe Sestak, a Fighting Dem whose home page we're featuring on the sidebar. Sestak is up 8 points in the latest polling done on this race (courtesy of DailyKos), and he, along with Lois Murphy and fellow Fighting Dem Patrick Murphy have a great chance of turning Pennsylvania into a Democratic stronghold in November.

Early Voting Begins Wednesday in Tennessee

Early voting kicks off Wednesday in Tennessee for the Nov. 7 state and federal general elections. In Memphis, early voting will run for two weeks at the Election Commission headquarters downtown and in 18 satellite locations spread throughout Shelby County. It ends Nov. 2.

Citizens can cast ballots at any of the sites, regardless of which precinct they live in. A voter registration card is not required to vote, but some form of legal identification is needed.

For those of you in Memphis (or for those who want to help fellow Memphians vote early), here are the times and locations for early voting in Memphis:

Election Commission, 157 Poplar, Suite 121:
Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 23-Oct. 27 (weekdays), 10 a.m to 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 30-Nov. 1 (weekdays), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Nov. 2 (final day), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

Satellite locations:
Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Oct. 23-Oct. 27 (weekdays), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 30-Nov. 1 (weekdays), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Nov. 2 (final day), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Agricenter International, 7777 Walnut Grove
Anointed Temple of Praise, 3939 Riverdale
Baker Community Center, 7942 Church
Berclair Church of Christ, 4536 Summer
Bethel Church, 5586 Stage
Bishop Byrne High School, 1475 East Shelby
Collierville Church of Christ, 575 West Shelton
Dave Wells Community Center, 915 Chelsea
Greater Middle Baptist Church, 4982 Knight Arnold
Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church (Counseling Center), 70 N. Bellevue
Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, 3045 Chelsea
New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, 2231 S. Parkway
Pyramid Recovery Center, 1833 S. Third
Raleigh United Methodist Church, 3295 Powers
Shiloh Baptist Church, 3121 Range Line
St. George's Episcopal Church, 8250 Poplar
Westwood High School, 4480 Westmont
White Station Church of Christ, 1106 Colonial

Remember, Republicans still think that they are going to maintain majorities in both houses, solely on the strength of their GOTV operations. We MUST counter that by making sure that every Democrat gets to the polls sometime between now and November 7.

Alternative Energy News - October 16, 2006

  • The U.S. Department of Energy announced $13 million in funding for new research in solar technologies just announced to support the development of more efficient solar photovoltaic panels.
  • The DOE and USDA also announced $4 million for bio-based fuels research that will accelerate the development of alternative fuels. The departments issued a solicitation for research proposals for new plant feedstock genomics research projects.

Senator Talent is a Muppet

This post is inspired by every political debate and commercial that you have been and will be viewing or listening to as we approach the elections. I have had a lot of time lately to watch the tube and have encountered my share of sleazy ads (and by sleazy I mostly mean Santorum) and debates (mostly courtesy of CSPAN). What I have found is that most candidates (regardless of party) are not original or clear in their messages or responses (shocking, I know). So I thought it would be progressive of me to suggest a style of ad and/or debate responses that candidates (left ones preferably) can use to help them win some additional votes while there is still time left. I can draw from the Missouri debate of Senator Jim No Talent Left Behind and Claire McCaskill that I watched tonight.


As Talent clearly demonstrated, candidates today have their roles reversed. Instead of using an offense of explaining who you are and what you believe in, Talent's offense came in the form of attacking his opponent. McCaskill had to do some of the same when she heard the craziness coming out of Talent's mouth, but her offense was more about what she stands for (with direct answers to the questions, unlike Talent) and her defense simply replies to personal attacks made by Talent. However, based on my suggestion above, McCaskill should have a) called Talent a silly name (Muppet is my recommendation) and b) exploited his response to the stem cell research question - which was more a response to cloning - something like "I don't want to wake up one day, go outside and see myself across the street from me" - after hearing your responses and attacks this evening, Mr. Talent, I wouldn't want you cloned either.

One more reason to get right to the point - the world may proliferate any day now thanks to MC Jong-il.

Governors Making Progressive Environmental Changes on the State Level

This Salon article highlights environmentally significant gubernatorial races in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida, arguing that it's at the state level where truly progressive change is happening on the environmental front.

For example: "Examples of ambitious state-level environmental initiatives are legion: Twenty-two states have implemented a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandating that a certain percentage of electricity come from clean sources such as solar and wind power. Ten states have followed California's lead in adopting clean-car legislation requiring new automobiles to have lower greenhouse-gas emissions starting in the 2009 model year. Seven states in the Northeast have joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, committing to carbon dioxide reductions of 10 percent by 2019. And California has, of course, outdone all the rest by becoming the first state in the nation to impose mandatory caps on greenhouse-gas emissions."

Speaking of progressive governors (or governors to-be) Spitzer does it again: Honeywell Inc. will spend $451 million to help clean up Onondaga Lake, once a sacred American Indian waterway turned into a toxic stew by a century of municipal and industrial pollution.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Early and Absentee Voting Laws

Early and absentee voting is a key to winning races nationwide. Sometimes even the best-intentioned potential voter just doesn't get around to his/her polling place on election day. And unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you really, really, really want to vote for Candidate X unless you actually pull that lever (or push that button, or wink your left eye twice, or whatever way your particular county has the voting set up). Early voting allows you to take care of your civic duty ahead of time, and avoid any potential election day pitfalls.

Democratic candidates are going to need every single vote. So click here to make sure you're registered, and then go here and see what the early and absentee voting laws are in your state.

Update on TN-07 Dem Candidate Bill Morrison

Last week we told you about Bill Morrison, the Democratic candidate in Tennessee's District 7. Morrison is running a strong campaign, and is working hard to unseat the detestable Marsha Blackburn. Here's an update on Morrison's campaign, via DailyKos.

Bad (old) News For Curt Weldon

  • Though the facts have been out for a while, the FBI is now taking notice of Curt Weldon's (PA-7, Running vs. Dem. Joe Sestak) alleged, possibly illegal, family favor giving.
  • I live right next to PA-7, and it's my opinion that the only possible (though certainly significant) consequence of late developments like this is in regards to turnout. Preferences around here seem codified, but perhaps GOP loyalists will simply decide to say home. Fine, suit yourself, I say.
  • I'm ready for the election to be over. I'm tired of it!
  • As reported below, people in TN (or perhaps Kentucky) are slinging some serious mud at Harold Ford, Jr. I resist name calling, but "Racist" seems like an appropriate description. Swift Boat redux. No shock, but quite discouraging.
  • When this election is over, I'll be shifting my obsessive energies. -- JLB

Rove Unconcerned About Possibility of Losing Congress

According to this article in Sunday's Washington Post, Karl Rove is predicting that, at worst, Republicans will lose only 8 to 10 seats in the House, and that Democrats would have to "run the table," in Senate races to pick up the necessary six seats -- a prospect the White House seems to regard as nearly inconceivable.

Why is Turd Blossom so confident? Is it the Republicans' history of rigging and stealing elections? I'm sure he's got something up his sleeve in that regard. But according to the Post's article, "The RNC is also planning another big get-out-the-vote drive in the final three days before the elections. Rove believes that many of the polls in individual House and Senate races understate what he expects to be a GOP advantage in turnout."

While I find it hard to believe that Republican voters are anywhere near as motivated to turn out as Democrats are, there is certainly a historical precedent for the Republican GOTV machine making a big difference in close elections. That makes it incumbent upon each and every one of us to not only vote ourselves, but also to get other likeminded people to vote, and vote Democrat. Our friends, our family, our neighbors. Make sure you're registered to vote, and let others know they need to register as well. It's going to take every vote, and it's up to us to make change happen.

AP Catching on to W's Changing Rationale for Iraq

"President Bush keeps revising his explanation for why the U.S. is in Iraq, moving from narrow military objectives at first to history-of-civilization stakes now."

When even the Associated Press (liberal media?) is calling W out on his shifting rationale for this debacle, will the remaining 30% of Americans who still believe that "staying the course" is the right thing for this country finally come around?

Racist Republicans Up to Dirty Tricks Again in Tennessee

An ad in Gallatin, TN from a group out of Kentucky calling itself Tennesseans for Truth has been pulled off the air after Harold Ford Jr.'s campaign complained. Why?

"His daddy handed him his seat in Congress and his seat in the Congressional Black Caucus, an all-black group of congressmen who represent the interests of black people above all others."

"Ford's Congressional Black Caucus secretly prepares and presents their own alternative budget to Congress each year to fund aid to black Americans. Discrimination at its worst."

If you think that Karl Rove and Co. aren't behind this racist political stunt, I've got some Arbusto stock to sell you.

The Evil of the Bankruptcy Bill and Predatory Lenders

October 17th is the one-year anniversary of a new bankruptcy law that makes it harder for people to declare bankruptcy and get a fresh start.

Former Presidential candidate John Edwards has an excellent take, which we've cross-posted from ThinkProgress.