Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reasons For Hope - Ford Up in New Internal Poll; Early Voting Demographics

Despite being down in a few of the latest polls, Harold Ford Jr. is still very much in the thick of the Tennessee Senate race. In fact, Ford leads Bob Corker by six points in the latest DSCC poll.

Additionally, early voting in Tennessee is up 45% at this point compared to the last non-presidential election in 2002 (506,187 compared to 348,041).

And though the party affiliation breakdown for early voters is unavailable, the demographic detail breaks down like this:

Black: 47,180 (37.9 %)
White: 50,574 (40.6%)
Other: 26,730 (21.5 %)
Male: 51,001 (41.0%)
Female: 73,480 (59%)

To these eyes, the fact that 38% of early voters so far are African American (Ford's base), versus the 16% of the state's population that are African-American, bodes well for Ford.

Alternative Energy News - November 2, 2006

  • The first closed-loop system for distilling commercial quantities of ethanol using methane gas recaptured from cow manure is set to begin production next month in Mead, Nebraska.
  • Toyota Motor Corp., the world's top seller of gasoline-electric autos, may turn its Prius car into a line of vehicles as the company tries to triple annual U.S. sales of hybrids.
  • A new national report finds that building "green" would save an average school $100,000 each year - enough to hire two new additional full-time teachers.
  • Yahoo! Autos, one of the most comprehensive automotive resources on the Internet, today announced the launch of the new Yahoo! Autos Green Center.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry Lowers the Boom

John Kerry, unleashed:

"If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq . It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have. The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor. Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men. And this time it won't work because we're going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq ."

If Republicans want to spend the last week before the election talking about Iraq, that's fine with me:

"Raging violence in Baghdad in recent weeks has further darkened Americans' mood about Iraq -- the issue voters call most important to their election decision-making. The result: voters want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress by a 15-point margin, 52% to 37%. That gap matches the record for the question in Journal/NBC polls, set earlier in October.

"Iraq sits in the middle of this election," says Bill McInturff, the Republican pollster who helps conduct the Journal/NBC survey. While Republicans may welcome voters' improving attitudes toward the economy, adds Democratic counterpart Peter Hart, "they're getting swamped on the issue of Iraq."

In fact, the poll demonstrates how attitudes on Iraq in effect translate into voters' ballot choices. A 54% majority of the electorate now says removing Saddam Hussein from power wasn't worth the human and financial costs -- the highest percentage in the Journal/NBC poll since the war began in March 2003. Among those voters, fully eight in 10 want Democrats to control Congress after the elections."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Problems With E-Voting Machines in (where else?) Florida

"After a week of early voting, a handful of glitches with electronic voting machines have drawn the ire of voters, reassurances from elections supervisors -- and a caution against the careless casting of ballots."

"Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist."

It's almost unbelievable. Everyone knows what happened in FL in 2000. And there's documented proof that Repulicans suppressed votes in Ohio in 2004, thereby stealing yet another presidential election for this buffoon. Are we going to let this happen again?

If your county uses e-voting machines, you're obviously going to have to be extra-vigilant to make sure that you're voting for whom you think you're voting for. All the more reason to vote early in counties in which early voting is done via paper ballots.

Ford Bringing In the Big Guns Wenesday

On Wedneday Novemeber 1 at 2:30 PM CST at the Election Commission in Downtown Clarksville, General Wesley Clark will endorse Harold Ford, Jr. for Tennessee's open US Senate seat.

And is reporting that later that evening in Memphis former President Bill Clinton will campaign for Ford at an appearance at a church in downtown Memphis.

With polls starting to show some movement in Ford's favor (and Jim Webb in VA as well), possibly as a result of a backlash against Corker's and the RNC's racist ads, bringing in two of the Democratic Party's biggest stars could be enough to put Ford over the top.

Help GOTV for Democrats.

Alternative Energy News - October 30, 2006

  • Washington state's Makah Bay offshore pilot project is on track to become the first commercial wave energy power plant in the U.S.
  • José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, will on Monday throw his weight behind the “green” energy campaign, urging countries to embrace low-carbon technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Loose Lips Sink Ships?

Bob Corker calls himself a real Tennessean. He's running for U.S. Senate from the state of Tennessee as a conservative Christian, a family man who represents good, clean, wholesome values. And when Corker's campaign and the RNC aren't busy putting up racist ads about Harold Ford Jr, they're denigrating the Ford family.

Well, Wendi Thomas of the Memphis Commercial Appeal thinks fair is fair.

"Will the conservatives who believe homosexuality to be an abomination be turned off by the same-sex exploration of Corker's college-age daughter? Will Corker's base question his parenting skills, given that he didn't teach his teenage daughter not to share her kissy-face moments on the Web with the world, especially not when daddy is trying to run a conservative campaign?"

Or will they just not want to vote for a black man?

Riding the Wave

It seems that the conventional wisdom among political pundits is that the Democratic Party will indeed pick up the 15 seats needed to become to majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats need to win 6 seats to take over the Senate, and that remains a distinct possibility as well. What there is no consensus among the talking heads about, however, is exactly how many Congressional seats Democrats will win. Many people cite the Republican Party's monetary edge, the power of incumbency, and the GOP's superior GOTV operation as reasons that, despite overwhelming desire for change, the Democrat’s gains will come close to equaling those of the Republicans in 1994. However, noted political analyst Stuart Rothenberg begs to differ:

“With only a couple of weeks until Election Day, we know there will be a Democratic wave on Nov. 7. And we can be fairly certain that by historical standards it will be high - possibly very high. But we still don’t know how many Republicans once considered safe will be swept out of office. The national political environment currently is worse than it was in 1994, when the Democrats lost 52 House seats, eight Senate seats and 10 governorships, and when Republicans won GOP control of the House for the first time in decades.

With the national environment being as it is - and given the last round of redistricting, which limits possible Democratic gains - Republicans probably are at risk to lose as few as 45 seats and as many as 60 seats, based on historical results. Given how the national mood compares to previous wave years and to the GOP’s 15-seat House majority, Democratic gains almost certainly would fall to the upper end of that range.

The paucity of competitive districts limits Republican risk, but how much? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. But if redistricting cuts that kind of wave by half, Democrats would gain between 22 and 30 seats next month. And if the new districts slice Democratic gains by a smaller but still significant one-third, Democrats would pick up from 30 to 45 seats.”

As Mike Podhorzer of at AFL-CIO has said: "Easily forgotten is how close 15 of the Republicans' victories were in 1994. Had Democrats in key districts won a combined 52,000 more votes, there would have been no "Speaker Gingrich."

Every vote counts. Email or call everyone in your address book/phone and remind them to vote Democratic on November 7th. Be a part of making this country better.

Calling All Democrats Abroad!

If you're a Democrat living abroad and are bemoaning the fact that you're missing out on a chance to vote for change on November 7, fear not. As this post from DailyKos details, there's still time to get an absentee ballot and vote. We'll need every vote we can get, so don't let the fact that you're living abroad keep you from exercising your right as an American to vote.

Alternative Energy News - October 29, 2006

  • Situated on top of 100 years of coal ash, the largest solar energy system in New England is now a shining example of how one industrial community turned unwanted wasteland into an economic, educational and environmental asset.
  • Wachovia Corp. announced commitments Thursday to reduce its own impact on the environment, refuse loans to companies that log rainforests and consider more lending to projects "that have a positive impact on climate change."
  • As more and more ski resorts enhance their environmental awareness, a number of North American ski areas have agreed this fall to fully power their operations via renewable wind energy. The latest is Wyoming's Grand Targhee.

Smear, Fear, Queer, and Race

I have just seen a news report stating that the racist attack ad funded by the Republican party on Harold Ford, Jr., the Democratic candidate in the Tennessee senate race, was produced by a protégé of Karl Rove. This is the same person (and I use that term very loosely) who was responsible for the attack ad on Senator Max Cleland of Georgia in 2002. You remember this, don’t you, the ad that showed Cleland’s face along side Osama Bin Laden’s and Saddam Hussein’s? The ad attacking the patriotism of a man who lost three limbs serving in Viet Nam. The ad on behalf of his opponent, Saxby Chambliss, a man who evaded the Viet Nam draft because of a “trick” knee. Why I am not surprised to hear that Rove et al are at it again?

I am not surprised, because the only way the Republicans can ever win elections is by the proven formula of Smear, Fear, and Queer. And that is what they are using in the Ford race. Smear him, because he went to a Playboy party at the Super Bowl with several thousand of his closest friends. Use the “terrorist” threat to instill Fear that Ford will not be strong enough on national security, even though he has voted consistently for the so-called war on terror. Queer him, by saying he is for gay marriage, when he in fact he voted for the federal Gay Marriage Amendment. Oh, and I forgot one last Republican tactic, Race. Show a blond, young white woman asking Harold to “call me.”

The Republicans have to use these tactics, because if they actually engage in a battle of ideas without the veneer of Smear, Fear, Queer, and Race they will lose. When their ideas are clearly exposed to the light of day, what average Americans will see is that the Republican party is not the party that represents their interests, but that it is the party of corporate greed and wealth. And when average Americans actually sees the Republican party for what it really is, for what it really stands for, they will vote Democratic. So it must, therefore, fool them into voting against their own interests by Smear, Fear, Queer, and Race.

It seems that in this election, however, the vile varnish that hides the real Republican party from exposure may finally be wearing off. Katrina, Iraq, Foley, et cetera have washed away the protective coating hiding the real beast, and the American voters are now seeing the Republicans for the obscene filth that they really are. That is why the Republicans are so desperate. That is why, as the polls show them losing, they are frantically trying to repair their protective cover with more Smear, Fear, Queer, and oh, I almost forgot, Race.

-Guest Blogger Jeff Bloomfield