The Top 5 Reasons To Vote In California Or: Why It Still Means A Thing Even If It Ain't Got That Swing
Big margin = big mandate. The popular vote doesn't put anyone in the White House, but it affects what presidents can do when they get there. Want Obama to be able to actually do the stuff he's been talking about? Pass universal health care? End the war? Then we need a landslide.
The other things on the ballot matter! There are important issues on the California ballot this year, and progressives all need to weigh in. You better believe our opponents will turn out and vote on them. Also, there's Congress. Without more support in the House and Senate, Obama will have a hard time getting progressive laws passed.
If you don't vote, everyone can find out. Voting records are public. (Not who you voted for, just whether you voted.) Pretty soon, finding out whether you voted could be as easy as Googling you.
Help make history. You could cast one of the votes that elect the first African-American president. If we win, we'll tell our grandchildren about this election, and they'll tell their grandchildren. Do you really want to have to explain to your great-great-grandchildren that you were just too busy to vote in the most important election in your lifetime?
People died so you'd have the right to vote. Self-government—voting to choose our own leaders—is the original American dream. We are heir to a centuries-long struggle for freedom: the American Revolution, and the battles to extend the franchise to those without property, to women, to people of color, and to young people. This year, many will still be denied their right to vote. For those of us who have that right, it's precious. If we waste it, we dishonor those who fought for it and those who fight still.
Live your values. Love your country. Vote.
Click here for information about where to vote, what to bring, and when polls close:
By promoting runaway development in her hometown, say locals, Palin has "fouled her own nest" -- and that goes for the lake where she lives.
By David Talbot
Sep. 19, 2008 | Every morning she's at home here, Sarah Palin wakes up to a postcard view from her lakeside home. Out the windows of her two-story wood-framed house stretch the serene, birch-lined waters of Lake Lucille. Ducks go gliding by the red-and-white Piper Cub floatplane docked outside. With the snow-frosted Chugach and Talkeetna mountains looming in the distance, the scene seems to define the Alaska that Palin celebrates: rugged, majestic, unspoiled.
And, yet, the lake Sarah Palin lives on is dead.
"Lake Lucille is basically a dead lake -- it can't support a fish population," said Michelle Church, a Mat-Su Valley borough assembly member and environmentalist. "It's a runway for floatplanes."
Palin recently told the New Yorker magazine that Alaskans "have such a love, a respect for our environment, for our lands, for our wildlife, for our clean water and our clean air. We know what we've got up here and we want to protect that, so we're gonna make sure that our developments up here do not adversely affect that environment at all. I don't want development if there's going to be that threat to harming our environment."
But as mayor of her hometown, say many local critics, Palin showed no such stewardship.
"Sarah's legacy as mayor was big-box stores and runaway growth," said Patty Stoll, a retired Wasilla schoolteacher who once worked in the same school with Palin's parents, Chuck and Sally Heath. "The truth is, Wasilla is just plain ugly, it's not a pleasant place to live. It's not thought out. And that's a shame.
"Sarah fouled her own nest, and I can't understand why. I hate to think it was simply greed or ambition."
Among the environmental casualties of Wasilla's frenzied development was Palin's own front yard, Lake Lucille. The lake was listed as "impaired" in 1994 by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and it still carries that grim label. State environmental officials say that leaching sewer lines and fertilizer runoff caused an explosion of plant growth in the lake, which sucked the oxygen out of the water and led to periodic fish kills.
"Sarah," a recent biography of Palin by Kaylene Johnson, features a photo of a beaming Palin, sitting in a rowboat on Lake Lucille clutching a fishing rod. But, according to local fishermen, the Republican vice-presidential candidate would have to be very lucky to reel in something edible.
The Alaska Fish and Game Department dutifully stocks the lake with coho salmon and rainbow trout each year -- but the fish don't last long.
Fishing on the lake "was tough," reported Alaska fishing guide Carlyle Telford on his Web site when he tried his luck on Lake Lucille last year, "because the vegetation is decaying and floating. When you retrieve every cast, the fly comes back with crud on it."
In a recent phone conversation, Telford said he hasn't returned to Lake Lucille since then. "I think the lake's pretty dead," he said. "That's why I haven't been back."
Wasilla, where Palin grew up and still resides, sprawls between two lakes -- Lucille and Wasilla Lake. Cottonwood Creek, which flows in and out of Wasilla Lake, has also been labeled "impaired" by state environmental officials, after foam was detected on the water surface and subsequent testing found excessive concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria.
The two lakes are the town jewels, the only eye relief along a harrowing corridor of strip malls, big-box stores and fast-food drive-throughs that is Wasilla. "Lord, help me get through Wasilla," reads one Alaska bumper sticker.
The population in Mat-Su Valley began booming in the 1970s with the Alaska oil pipeline and the influx of oil workers from Texas and Oklahoma. But while some valley towns tried to control growth -- like nearby Palmer, which was originally settled by Midwest farmers as part of a Roosevelt social experiment in the 1930s -- Wasilla took a frontier, boom-town approach. Soon the Parks Highway, which cuts straight through Wasilla, and its arteries were lined with a chaotic bazaar of quickie espresso shacks, moose-stuffing taxidermists, Bible churches, gun stores, tattoo and piercing parlors, mattress barns and the inevitable box stores with their football-field parking lots.
John Stein, Palin's predecessor as Wasilla mayor, tried gamely to get a handle on the commercial free-for-all. He made an effort to restore the health of Lake Lucille, which, he said, "was turning into a bog."
"We brought up a scientist to study both lakes," Stein recalled. "We also worked with the state to filter storm drainage from the highway."
Controlling runoff from the six-lane highway is a key to saving the lakes in Wasilla. Other cities have their industrial pollution problems; Wasilla has highway pollution. "Anything that comes off an automobile -- oil, antifreeze, de-icing agents, heavy metals -- all of that can run off into the lakes when it rains," observed Archie Giddings, Wasilla's public works director.
But while Mayor Stein tried to impose some reason on Wasilla's helter-skelter development, and its growing pressures on Mat-Su Valley's environmental treasures, when Sarah Palin took his place, she quickly announced, "Wasilla is open for business."
"That's for sure," Church said. "Sarah was so eager for big-box stores to move in that she allowed Fred Meyer to build right on Wasilla Lake, and her handpicked successor, Dianne Keller, has done the same with Target."
Under Mayor Palin's reign, Fred Meyer, an emporium that sells everything from groceries to gold watches to gardening tools, lost no time in leveling a stand of trees overlooking the lake for its big-box store. When Fred Meyer applied for permission to pump the storm drainage from its parking lot -- with all the usual automobile sludge -- into the lake, outraged citizens finally cried enough.
"We mobilized public opposition," said Church, who led the Friends of Mat-Su, a pro-planning group, at the time. "We forced them to put in ditches and grassy swales to catch the runoff.
"Sarah was such a great cheerleader for Wasilla, but she did nothing to protect its beauty. She'd go to these Chamber of Commerce meetings and say, 'Wasilla is the most beautiful place in the world!' And we'd just sit there gagging."
A city official in nearby Palmer, who has lived in the Mat-Su Valley his whole life, sadly admitted: "Sarah sent the growth into overdrive. And now they're choking on traffic and sprawl, all built on their ignorance and greed.
"I try to avoid driving to Wasilla so I won't get depressed," added the official, who asked for his name to be withheld, to avoid Palin's "wrath."
"You get visually mugged when you drive through there. I take the long way, through the back roads, just to avoid it."
Wasilla City Council member Dianne Woodruff hears the same lament about her town all the time. "Everywhere in Alaska, you hear people say, 'We don't want to be another Wasilla.' We're not just the state's meth capital, we're the ugly box-store capital. Was Sarah a good steward of this beautiful valley? No. I think it comes from her lack of experience and awareness of other places, how other cities try to preserve what makes them attractive and livable.
"The frontier mentality has prevailed for so long in Mat-Su Valley -- the feeling that 'you're not going to tell me what to do with my land,'" added Woodruff. "That's fine as long as you have endless open space. But when you start to fill in as a city, you can end up with a sprawling mess. With million-dollar homes next to gravel pits -- and dead lakes."
In recent years, after Palin's departure from City Hall, Wasilla has been "changing and learning," according to Woodruff. The city has taken steps to control toxic runoff into its two lakes.
But Wasilla still doesn't test the lakes' water quality -- that's left up to volunteer groups, which periodically take samples from the lakes, according to city officials.
Why is there no official effort to test the local waters?
"That's a good question," said Wasilla public works chief Giddings, after a long, thoughtful pause. "I guess we're still ahead of the curve. We haven't seen huge concerns about the lakes yet."
Giddings acknowledged that there has been some public concern about swimming in the lakes, but not enough to prompt the city to monitor the water quality. If the public did start complaining about skin rashes, diarrhea and other health problems, "the state would probably step in," he added.
Would Giddings let his own children swim in Wasilla's lakes? "Yes," he said.
But Laura Eldred, an environmental program specialist with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, offered a more qualified response. She would swim in the local lakes, but would "take the usual hygiene precautions," without specifying what those measures were.
"Sarah did nothing to protect our lakes; in fact, she obstructed efforts to improve our water quality," said city watchdog Anne Kilkenny. The property surrounding Wasilla's two lakes is privately owned, complicating the city's efforts to protect these natural treasures. While her predecessor, Mayor Stein, moved to incorporate the homes surrounding the two lakes -- like the Palin family residence -- so the city could control runoff from the dwellings, Palin campaigned for "no more annexation."
"Sarah hasn't traveled outside of Alaska much," said Kilkenny. "She hasn't seen dead lakes and rivers."
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different." * Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim. * Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable. * Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If , while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, much clearer now?
(Thank you to the Woz list for this interesting tidbit).
Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee has words for Sarah Palin.
(CNN) – Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee was known for keeping a low-key profile on Capitol Hill, but the Republican -turned -Independent is making waves with his exceedingly blunt comments on newly-minted Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin:
She's a "cocky wacko," he told a Washington think tank earlier this week.
Chafee, the lone Senate Republican to vote against the Iraq war who endorsed Obama's White House bid earlier this year, told an audience at the New America Foundation in Washington Tuesday that Palin's selection has energized Obama backers.
"People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, 'I just sent money to Obama, I couldn't sleep last night' — from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there," he said.
He also described McCain's candidacy as "lackluster” and described the selection of Palin as a throwing "this firestorm, this tornado, into the whole presidential election."
Moveon.org summarized them tightly today. See below.
Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." 1, 2
Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'" 3
Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4
Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade." 5
Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6
Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7
Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8
As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor." 9
She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." 10
The plain fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin did a bang-up job delivering a Karl Rove-style politica attack speech last night. That makes her a skilled politician but it doesn't make her views any more palatable for voters. Americans don't really want another far-right, anti-science ideologue in the White House.
I have to admit I didn't vote for cute SF mayor Gavin Newsom when he ran for election here this last time around. I chose the most liberal candidate, as usual. Gonzales.
This morning, though, I heard Gavin on KFOG speaking so eloquently I had to pull the car over. (The last time I heard a politician speak so off-the-cuff, eloquently and intelligently was at a fund-raiser for Clinton. I attended that with Larry Ellison, which is another long story.)
Anyway, among other things, Gavin made a passionate plea to vote NO on Proposition 75. I did some research. You should, too. Just IMO, but that's what blogs are all about, eh?.
Today's NYT Op Ed piece blasting Bush and this groundless war.
A War Without Reason
By BOB HERBERT
Published: October 18, 2004
"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." - President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002
There should no longer be any doubt that the war in Iraq is an exercise in lunacy. It was launched with a spurious rationale, the weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be a fantasy relentlessly stoked by obsessively hawkish middle-aged men who ran and hid when they were of fighting age and the nation was at war.
Now we find that we can't win this war we started. Soldiers and civilians alike are trapped in the proverbial briar patch, unable to move around safely in a country that the warmongers thought would be easy to conquer and then rebuild.
There is no way to overstate how profoundly wrong they were.
Our troops continue to die but we can't even identify the enemy, which is why so many innocent Iraqi civilians - including women and children - are being blown away. The civilians are being killed by the thousands, even as the dreaded Saddam Hussein is receiving first-class health care (most recently a successful hernia operation) from his captors.
Last week, in a story that read like a chapter from an antiwar novel, we learned that members of an Army Reserve platoon were taken into custody and held for two days after they refused to deliver a shipment of fuel to Taji, a town 15 miles north of Baghdad. They complained that the trip was too dangerous to make without an escort of armored vehicles. Several of the reservists described the trip as a "suicide mission."
The military said that was an isolated incident, but there is evidence of growing dissatisfaction among the troops, many of whom feel they are targets surrounded by hostile Iraqis -insurgents and ordinary civilians alike - in a war that lacks a clearly defined mission.
Even the heavily fortified Green Zone, which contains the U.S. embassy and the headquarters of the interim Iraqi government, was penetrated by suicide bombers last Thursday. At least five people, including three Americans who had been providing security for diplomats, were killed in the attack.
As the pointlessness of this war grows ever clearer, the president's grand alliance, like some of the soldiers on the ground, is losing its resolve. When John Kerry, in the first presidential debate, mentioned only Britain and Australia as he mocked Mr. Bush's "coalition" in Iraq, the president famously replied, "You forgot Poland."
Poland has 2,400 troops in Iraq. But on Friday the prime minister, Marek Belka, announced that he will cut that number early next year, and then "will engage in talks on a further reduction."
Mr. Belka has a political problem. He can't explain the war to his constituents. And that's because there is no rational explanation.
As for the rebuilding of Iraq, forget about it. Hundreds of schools were damaged by U.S. bombing and thousands were looted by Iraqis. It's hard to believe that an administration that won't rebuild schools here in America will really go to bat for schoolkids in Iraq. Millions of Iraqi kids now attend schools that are decrepit and, in many cases, all but falling down-lacking such essentials as desks, chairs and even toilets, according to the United Nations Children's Fund.
Military commanders are warning that delays in the overall reconstruction are increasing the danger for American troops. A senior American military officer told The Times, "We can either put Iraqis back to work, or we can have them shoot [rocket-propelled grenades] at us."
The president and his apologists never understood what they were getting into in Iraq. What is unmistakable now is that Americans will never be willing to commit the overwhelming numbers of troops and spend the hundreds of billions of additional dollars necessary to have even a hope of bringing long-term stability to Iraq.
This is a war that never made sense and now we are seeing - from the troops on the ground, from our allies overseas and increasingly from the population here at home - the inevitable reluctance to forge ahead with the madness.
The president likes to say he made exactly the right decision on Iraq. Each new death of a soldier or a civilian, each child who loses a parent to the carnage, each healthy body that is broken or burned in this war that didn't have to happen, is a reminder of how horribly wrong he was.
Can you believe this? The cops arrested the bikesagainstbush guy. If this isn't a case for the ACLU, I don't know what is.
Excerpt from a news report:
Bikesagainstbush creator Joshua Kinberg was arrested while taping an interview with MSNBC's Ron Reagan in Manhattan Saturday afternoon.
Kinberg was stopped by police while demonstrating the bicycle for the television interview. His bicycle is a high-tech graffiti writer, using chalk to print anti-Bush political messages sent by people via the internet. Apparently there was a question of whether or not the sprayed messages were a defacement of property.
When Kinberg showed the police sergeant how the bicycle used a non-permanent spray chalk, the sergeant seemed to agree that it wasn't defacement, at which point Kinberg asked, "am I free to go?" After conferring about it, officers decided to call superiors, then came back moments later to place Kinberg under arrest and confiscate the bicycle.
Kinberg cooperated fully with the officers as he was being handcuffed, only asking, "can I ask what I'm being arrested for?" to which no one provided an answer. As of 11:00 PM Saturday evening, he was still in custody without being charged with anything.
Washington -- President Bush dismissed two members of his handpicked Council on Bioethics Friday -- a renowned UCSF scientist and a moral philosopher who had been among the more outspoken advocates for research on human embryo cells.
In their places he appointed three new members: a doctor who has called for more religion in public life; a political scientist who has spoken out precisely against the research that the dismissed members supported; and another who has written about the immorality of abortion and the "threats of biotechnology."
The new council members are all respected in their fields, but the turnover immediately renewed a recent string of accusations by scientists and others that Bush is increasingly allowing politics to trump science as he seeks advice on ethically contentious issues.
Last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington interest group, released a report detailing what it called many examples of the administration's distorting the scientific process to achieve desired policy answers relating to pollution, embryo research and other topics. Sixty-two of the nation's top scientists, including a dozen Nobel laureates, endorsed the report in an accompanying statement.
Some in Congress, led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, also have been getting vocal on the topic, as have academics, scientific organizations and science journal editors.
One of the dismissed members, UCSF biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, said someone in the White House personnel office had phoned her Friday morning with the news.
"He said the White House had decided to make some changes on the council, " Blackburn said. "He wanted to express his gratitude and said I'd no longer be on the council."
She said she had had no warning and had not heard from the council's director, University of Chicago ethicist Leon Kass. She said she believed she had been let go because her political views do not match those of the president and of Kass, with whom she has often been at odds at council meetings.
"I think this is Bush stacking the council with the compliant," Blackburn said.
The other dismissed member, William May, a professor of ethics emeritus at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, is a highly respected scholar whose views on embryo research and other topics had also run counter to those of conservative council members. Efforts to reach him Friday night were unsuccessful.
Asked why Blackburn and May had been let go, White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said the two members' terms had expired in January, and they were on "holdover status." Asked whether, in fact, all the council members' terms had formally expired in January, she said they had.
Pressed as to why Blackburn and May had been singled out for dismissal, she said, "We've decided to go ahead and appoint other individuals with different expertise and experience." She would not elaborate.
Kass, who has written prolifically about biotechnology's toll on human dignity and was selected by Bush to head the council, was traveling Friday and could not be reached.
News of the dismissals surprised other scientists.
Michael Gazzaniga, a Dartmouth neuroscientist who sits on the council, said he was upset by Blackburn's ejection.
"She was one of the basic scientists who understood the biology of many of the issues we're talking about," Gazzaniga said. "It will be a loss for sure."
In San Francisco, Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, a former UCSF Medical Center researcher and National Institutes of Health director, now chief executive of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said he was disappointed to see Blackburn off the panel.
"I can't imagine a more thoughtful person to participate on the council," said Varmus, who was in town as the featured speaker at a UCSF reception at the Asian Art Museum.
Varmus recalled that when Kass was forming the council, Kass had told him and others that he wanted a group that would represent the broad diversity of opinion on stem cell research and other controversial scientific issues.
But Varmus, who signed last week's statement accusing the administration of manipulating science for political purposes, declined to level similar accusations in this case, saying he didn't know the reasons for the dismissals.
"I want to be cautious," he said.
Bush created the council by executive order in 2001 to "advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology." He recently renewed its commission for another two years.
The group of scholars, scientists, theologians and others has produced several reports, including ones on human cloning, stem cell research and the use of biotechnology to enhance human beings. But the council has often found it difficult to reach consensus on issues.
The three new appointees are Dr. Benjamin Carson, the high-profile director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University; Diana Schaub, chairman of the department of political science at Loyola College in Maryland; and Peter Lawler, a professor of government at Berry College in Georgia.
Their writings suggest their tenures will be less contentious than those of their predecessors.
When not performing some of the most difficult surgeries in the world, Carson is a motivational speaker who often invokes religion and the Bible and has lamented that "we live in a nation where we can't talk about God in public. "
Schaub has effusively praised Kass and his work. In a 2002 public forum discussing the council's cloning report, she talked about research in which embryos are destroyed as "the evil of the willful destruction of innocent human life."
In a 2002 book review in the neoconservative Weekly Standard, Lawler warned that if the United States did not soon "become clear as a nation that abortion is wrong," then women would eventually be compelled to abort genetically defective babies.
Chronicle staff writer Carl T. Hall contributed to this report.
LONDON (Reuters) - George W. Bush and Tony Blair probably knew they were exaggerating the threat from Iraq when they were making the case for war, according to former chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix.
The U.S. president and the British prime minister ignored the few caveats in reports from intelligence services on Iraq's nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs, he writes in his account of the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion.
Blix says it was "probable that the governments were conscious that they were exaggerating the risks they saw in order to get the political support they would not otherwise have had."
Blix was head of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1981 to 1997 and later chief of UNMOVIC (the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) until 2003.
At other points in his book "Disarming Iraq - The search for weapons of mass destruction," due to go on sale on Tuesday, the former Swedish diplomat appears to soften his criticism of the British and American leaders.
"I am not suggesting that Blair and Bush spoke in bad faith, but I am suggesting that it would not have taken much critical thinking on their own part or the part of their close advisers to prevent statements that misled the public," he writes.
"It is understood and accepted that governments must simplify complex international matters in explaining them to the public in democratic states.
"However they are not vendors of merchandise but leaders of whom some sincerity should be asked when they exercise their responsibility for war and peace in the world."
This may be the funniest -- and most visually effective -- political stunt in years.
Activists are planning a Million Clown March in Washington in October 2004, the month before the presidential election. Organizers are hoping to throw the current "lying clowns" out of office, and they're not fooling.
Everyone is welcome. Check out the Clownarchy site more details.
Here's an excerpt:
'The Million Clown March' on Washington DC will be in October of 2004. There will be local events taking place across the country throughout the year will lead up to it. It will be a huge social event, a party, and a non-stop clowning performance, all with the clear message that this administration, with their secrets, dishonesty and bullying, must go.
Maybe Howard Dean is not who you thought he was. Maybe. I could be wrong. But here is an excerpt, pre decline, from a Dean profile on newyorknetro.com. Worth checking out.
Howard Dean is running for president as Jimmy Stewart. The buttoned-down Democrat begins campaign speeches by conceding to his audience, “You don’t know me,” before describing his transformation from medical doctor to Vermont’s five-term governor. Instead of jetting around the country on chartered planes, Dean flies coach on Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. Known for padding around his governor’s office with holes in his socks and plain, well-worn suits, this frugal contender for the highest office in the free world avoids $450 hotel suites on his travels, preferring to bunk at the homes of supporters, even though it often means being shoehorned into kids’ quarters. When he comes to New York, as he does often these days, he stays at his mom’s place.
It was there, in fact, that Dean, suddenly the hottest comer in the densely bunched Democratic pack, entertained 30 moneyed and influential party stalwarts last week, including superlawyer David Boies and JFK speechwriter Ted Sorenson. Still, the crowd wasn’t exactly slumming: The Dean family homestead is a Park Avenue apartment serenely decorated with small African sculptures and modernist paintings and prints.
Let his Democratic rivals hype their only-in-America humble origins-Joe Lieberman is the son of a liquor-store owner; John Edwards’s father worked in the textile mills-Howard Brush Dean III is the proud patrician product of Park Avenue and 85th Street, the son, grandson, and great-grandson of investment bankers. After graduating from Yale, Dean, too, worked on Wall Street before quitting to attend Albert Einstein medical school, where he met his wife, Long Island-born physician Judith Steinberg. Dean didn’t just summer in the Hamptons; his parents belonged to the Maidstone Club, and his family’s Sag Harbor roots trace back to an eighteenth-century whaling captain.
He enjoys watching New Yorkers’ attitudes change when they discover he’s not a hick from the state of Ben & Jerry’s. “New Yorkers are tough; they want to know what you’ve got,” says Dean. “But I’ve never had people open their hearts to me more than when they discover that my wife is Jewish and I’m from New York. They look at you completely differently. It’s flabbergasting.”
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Internet activism that thrust up the Howard Dean U.S. election campaign later hobbled the organization's ability to respond to criticism in the weeks before the primaries, Dean's former campaign manager said on Monday.
Joe Trippi, who resigned after defeats in Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, said the direct involvement of so many Internet supporters deprived the campaign of the traditional weapon of political surprise.
"We were having a real problem with how to say, 'We could be in real trouble here,"' Trippi told a technology conference of the tactical trouble the Dean campaign had in balancing the need to keep supporters informed.
The transparency of the anti-establishment Dean campaign made it hard to respond to political attacks from his eight other Democratic opponents and media criticism of the candidate's missteps, he said.
"We couldn't figure out how to tell people we had a problem without raising the wrong impression. Part of the problem is that the press are reading our blogs (Internet journals)," he said ...
This from the folks at Raving Atheist. The following is an extremely confusing quote from the Rev. Al Sharpton about where he stands on gay rights and the right to go to hell.
"My religion does not support homosexuality, but I do. I was asked why I was supporting and marching with the homosexuals in parades, when according to the church, homosexuality is a sin. I responded that God gave people free will. God gave people the right to choose -- even to choose sin. That's why there is a heaven and a hell. So I will fight for people to have the right to go to hell if that's what they choose. I'm not here to judge. I was placed here to fight for justice for all people."
Democratic candidates have remained relatively quiet on technology as the presidential primaries get underway this week, but the recent controversy over offshoring could provide a catalyst to raise the profile of high-tech concerns in the campaign.
The flow of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas has been a recurring theme of the Democratic debates leading up to Monday's Iowa caucuses and next week's New Hampshire primary, in a jab at President George W. Bush. As a result, lobbyists are closely tracking the positions of Democratic candidates on offshoring, which many companies argue is necessary to preserve their competitiveness.
"One of the concerns I have is what happens in this situation when, in their eagerness to create a policy issue, some of them have engaged in a lot of antitrade rhetoric and antiglobalization rhetoric," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA).
"From the association's perspective, it will be an ongoing concern if it turns into a hard-and-fast policy concern in the general election."
Offshoring offers among the biggest technology interests in a campaign where neither Democrats nor Republicans have weighed in on hot-button technology topics such as spam, computer security, Internet taxes and online piracy.
"We came from behind and we came for the fight and now I have a special message for the special interests that have a home in the Bush White House: We're coming, you're going, and don't let the door hit you on the way out," Kerry told roaring supporters in Des Moines.
Three years ago, the United States was preparing to inaugurate a president who had lost the popular vote. Through a complex delegate-selection process, George W. Bush had parlayed his defeat in the national ballot count into a razor-thin victory in the Electoral College.
Even Bush's edge in the delegate tally was in doubt, since a photo finish in the pivotal jurisdiction, Florida, required an official recount that was never systematically conducted or completed.
There's a very good chance it's about to happen all over again.
This time, the vote isn't national or final, but it will go a long way toward determining the alternative to Bush in November 2004. The vote will take place in Iowa Monday night. More than 100,000 Democrats will go to precinct caucuses to select a nominee for president. Which candidate will get the most votes that night? If the race remains close, you'll never know.