Monday, July 30, 2007


by Hendrik Hertzberg in the most recent New Yorker:

At first glance, next year’s Presidential election looks like a blowout. But it might not be. Luckily for the incumbent party, neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney will be running; indeed, the election of 2008 will be the first since 1952 without a sitting President or Vice-President on the ballot. At the moment, survey research reflects a generic public preference for a Democratic victory next year. Still, despite everything, there are nearly as many polls showing particular Republicans beating particular Democrats as vice versa. So this election could be another close one. If it is, the winner may turn out to have been chosen not on November 4, 2008, but five months earlier, on June 3rd.

Two weeks ago, one of the most important Republican lawyers in Sacramento quietly filed a ballot initiative that would end the practice of granting all fifty-five of California’s electoral votes to the statewide winner. Instead, it would award two of them to the statewide winner and the rest, one by one, to the winner in each congressional district. Nineteen of the fifty-three districts are represented by Republicans, but Bush carried twenty-two districts in 2004. The bottom line is that the initiative, if passed, would spot the Republican ticket something in the neighborhood of twenty electoral votes—votes that it wouldn’t get under the rules prevailing in every other sizable state in the Union.

Yikes. This might sound good in theory to people, but in combination with all the insane gerrymandering it would be a terrible thing.Read the whole article here. I've been reading bits about this recently, but this is the most complete article thus far. Worth a read.

I just wanted to share, because I'm generous that way. People need to understand this one, and nip it in the bud.



Huh. Babaloo's diary at Calitics, and some of the following comments, explain my feelings about Jerry McNerney quite well.

Actually, I'm pretty darn surprised about McNerney's recent comments and votes. I am never so naive as to think that anyone is going to vote 100% to my liking. I don't expect that. Probably the only perfect candidate by my standards is me, and we're just not going to go there.

Silly me. I liked Paul Hackett for a minute too...until he opened his ignorant mouth about women in the military. Now he makes me shudder. Excuse me while I adjust my expectations yet again.

From the Stockton Record:
McNerney said he will be more likely to listen to those who want more time in Iraq.
"If anything, I'm more willing to participate in a give-and-take with that viewpoint than I was before," he said.

What I did expect was that he'd be another strong voice against the occupation of Iraq. Those of you who've been playing along at home know that a bad war related votes can be a deal breaker for me. Between McNerney's worrisome vote a few weeks back, these recent comments about Iraq, and as icing on the cake, last week's conflation of medical marijuana with meth, I'm starting to get that icky feeling that I've been seduced for a quickie, and am now being unceremoniously dumped.

No, he's not in my district, but I liked what I saw and heard from him, both in person and online and thought it was (and still is) important to get Pombo and his ilk out of office. I disliked Pombo mucho. I wanted another Dem seat mucho. It was the first time I've ever made a donation to someone that wouldn't represent me if elected. I guess I was kind of hoping he would at least sort of represent me. Well, he does...sort of. But apparently not in several important ways. Particularly in the ways that encourage me to give financial support.
"We need to put a timetable out there, it needs to make sense," McNerney added -- a plan to bring the troops home, so that the Iraqi government is compelled to unite and take over the task of securing the country. "I think we can work to find a way forward that would be bipartisan, that would accommodate the achievements they have had in the last four or five months."

Sigh. I'm also weary and wary of "bi-partisan" solutions that are carved out between someone who strikes me as sincere about cooperation, and those who worship at the alter of partisanship. All too often in recent years, that only means the Democrat just goes along to get along.

I'm sure McNerney is a good guy and will cast many satisfying votes in the years to come, but I have limited patience and resources. I'm picky. I don't donate to ANY candidates unless I'm very impressed.

That sound you heard was my wallet snapping shut.

p.s. I do wish that Democrats would quit making me lose the arguments with my friends about why we should still support the Democratic Party.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is America Ready for a Black or Woman President?

That's the question asked at the 7/28/07 panel discussion at the San Diego Democratic Women's Club meeting. The panel included:

Stewart A. Alexander; presidential candidate, Peace and Freedom Party
Francine Busby; Political Consultant
Sheila Jackson; San Diego Board of Education
Geoff Barrett; Vote Hope PAC/Obama campaign
Dr. Isidro Ortiz; Chicano/Chicana Studies SDSU
Al Villamora; President of Filipino American Community Empowerment (PACE)

I'll admit that the question alone makes me cringe, and it's more than a bit pathetic that we're still asking that when 42 (-ish) other nations have already had female leaders, but the sad truth is, we have Issues in this country with regard to race and gender that still need to be addressed.

Discussed at the meeting were studies claiming that 90% of respondents answer yes to the question, "would you support a female president" however when the question is slightly altered to "would you vote for a female president" that number drops to around 60%. The numbers are similar if you substitute African-American for the word female.

There have been other studies where a large percentage say they'd personally vote for a female or African American for office, but when you ask them if America would elect them the number drops again to around 60%. The concern with that is that people are possibly answering for themselves by saying what is "socially acceptable" but not sharing their true feelings. It's a common problem in obtaining accurate results from surveys.

(This issue was discussed at the SDDCWC without mention of sources, but for more info here's one link to a story on related poll results: MSNBC/Newsweek story/polling results.)

It's hard to say how Americans will vote with these variables thrown into the mix. and and it's probably going to boil down to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts. The groups who are the strongest Hillary supporters are young women and single women; two groups with traditionally low voter turnout. When polled, 79% of minority voters believe Hillary is qualified to be president and 54% say Obama is qualified.

Do you think Newt was right this morning? Are we going to have a Clinton/Obama ticket? It could happen, and I think from an electability perspective, that would be a strong combo. It'll bring out the ugliest of the ugly in the campaigns, that's for sure, but it's a potentially winning pair.

Turn out, turn out, turn out. If the Republicans can find common ground between the Christian right, big business, and neo-cons, Democrats should certainly be able to find common ground between women and racial minorities since we all have faced the same struggle to be taken seriously in this country. There is great untapped potential and a fabulous opportunity.

So is America ready for a Black or Woman President?

Not only are we ready, but we NEED non-traditional candidates now. What we're ready for is leadership, New leadership. The old, experienced leadership has gotten us into a world of hurt over the last few years. It's time for change, and change is opportunity.

Speaking less generally and about my own feelings, I have to admit to wishing the first truly viable female candidate was someone other than Hillary. I'm not in agreement with her on several important issues, and I am way beyond disappointed with the road she took in regard to the Iraq conflict. I'll support her if she's the candidate in the general election though, and I'll work hard to get the presidency out of the hands of this current sick version of the Republican party. If you want to help work toward that goal too, contact your local Democratic Party office, and tell them you want to help get out the vote in your precinct. Be a precinct volunteer. Be the grassiest of grassroots activists by working with your neighbors and your community to Get Out The Vote.

Personally, I'm thinking precinct parties, and wondering if that wouldn't be a more efficient way to reach a large number of people in my 'hood. Maybe I can't personally make big change in Washington DC, but I can sure has heck get my neighbors out to a party.

I'll get back to you on that.

P.S. to my many friends that are as disgusted with the Democratic Party as they are with the Republican Party and have already decided not to vote for either: check out Stewart Alexander's candidacy for the Peace and Freedom Party. The P&F Party are the American version of Social Democrats, and Alexander came across to me as a sincere man with a progressive vision and many ideas worth exploring.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good bye, Home Depot. Hello Lowes.

According to Kos, Lowes isn't going to run ads during O'Reilly Factor anymore.
The O'Reilly Factor does not meet Lowe's advertising guidelines, and the company's advertising will no longer appear during the program.

Well done.

JurassicPork at Welcome to Pottersville adds to the subject in a discussion about JetBlue pulling their sponsorship of YearlyKos 2007. JP also points out a link to Newshounds that helpfully provides contact info for all of O'Reilly's sponsors.

Note: if you're a delicate flower, skip the part of the post about toxic WalMart flipflops and the anatomically correct George Bush action figure.

My inner 12 year old says, ewwwwwww, gross.

Some things never change

I have two kids. A 21 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. When my daughter was younger, and still living at home, it was always a bit of a battle to keep my seat at the computer. If I got up to answer the phone, she'd zip her happy butt right into the chair and start chatting with her friends. It was challenging to share the computer sometimes, but we managed.

About the time she moved away from home, my son discovered the online world where he can chat with his friends and watch Naruto whenever he wants. Again, I rise from the chair and zoooooom...he's in it. Am I surprised? No.

Now he spends more time eating and sleeping and skateboarding and hanging out with his friends, and for one brief and shining moment I thought I wasn't going to have to share the computer, and the chair would be mine, all mine!

She must have been watching the kids, because sometimes I'm not even all the way risen to my feet and she charges across the room and jumps up into my seat. See? Calitics? I was just sitting there. I KNOW she doesn't read Calitics.

Some things never change.

And yes, I know my desk is a mess and all my cords underneath are tangled into an electronic spiderweb.

Friday, July 27, 2007

When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

The unfortunate answer to that is when they confine their attacks to women and reproductive health clinics.

Today a Texas man, Paul Ross Evans, pleaded guilty of the April attack on Austin women's health clinic that provides abortions. A worker noticed his makeshift bomb before it detonated, called the police and it was defused before anyone could be killed or hurt. If this had happened anywhere else, the media would be screaming, TERRORISTS IN AMERICA!!!

I Googled and found exactly ONE story that used the word terrorist. Google did helpfully ask, "Did you mean: clinic bomb austin tourism". No, I didn't. Thank you anyway.

What would the news be saying if it was at an airport, a tv station, or Disneyland? Terror! At a newspaper? At a school? On Wall Street? In Washington or New York? Help! Help!

Just in case I've not made my point, I'll just say it right out. Planting bombs and making credible threats intended to frighten, maim, and kill is a terrorist act, and it happens right here in America regularly.

Can we just start calling it what it is now?

Dedicated to keeping the nut in wingnut since 2006

It's been a while since I've given a Blackwater West update, and there's a little new info to share. As usual, there's not much linkage because this is all either first hand knowledge or from The East County Californian, which is not online.

There isn't much new in planning news, since the project is in the Environmental Impact Report stage of the process, but I've found the political news to be quite entertaining. Nearly half of the registered voters in Potrero have signed petitions to recall seven of the nine planning board members. That is nearly twice as many signatures as required, and the San Diego County Registrar of Voters should announce the recall certification any day now.

Most of the board members have been vocal, to say the least, about their impression that this is all political and being driven by Democratic Party "outsiders", and "directed by radical activists and operatives from far outside [the] community". I don't know how or why that could possibly be true. Why the hell would the Democratic Party, out of the clear blue sky, attack a powerless, rural planning group for political reasons, only to have them replaced them with other Republicans?


The recall is being driven and coordinated by Potrero residents who are sick and tired of being misrepresented, yelled at, insulted, attacked, and disrespected. Period. If Gandhi was a PPG member, and he treated his constituents as they do, he'd be recalled too. This situation wouldn't be partisan, if the PPG hadn't made it so.

The Potrero Planning Group have asked for, and received assistance from the San Diego County GOP. They've sent form letters to Republican voters in Potrero, and fired up the robo-caller to claim "outsiders shouldn't be making our decisions for us". All this despite the fact that half of the town signed the petitions, half of the petition signers are Republicans, and three of the replacement candidates are Republicans.

Seems to me that the GOP is the outsider interfering here, and their "help" has made matter's worse for the PPG because once again, they've insulted the people they were elected to represent. I don't know about anyone else, but it would make me angry to be talked to like I'm a naive dupe that doesn't know her own mind, and needs to be enlightened by a political party and low level, elected officials.

But maybe that's just me.

Personally, I don't know if they've come up with a bizarre story to try and save their seats, or if they really believe this crazy talk. I've been watching the issue pretty darn close, and have seen nothing of the kind. What I see are planning board members who think they represent idiots that need to be schooled.That'll get you recalled every time. There's no need for outsiders or radical activists here! The PPG sabotage their own sorry selves every time one of them opens their mouths.

For example:

When Board Member Mary Johnson wore a Blackwater tshirt to a planning meeting where the Blackwater project was on the agenda, and was questioned about displaying her lack of impartiality she replied, "What are you? The fashion police?"

Former Board Member Emil Susu (who continues to sit on the board despite not being sworn in by county supervisors due to the fact that he wasn't registered to vote in CA) called the recall petitions a "pack of lies" at a recent board meeting. FYI Emil: It's not nice to call people liars. It upsets them. And get off that dais until you're sworn it.

PPG chair Gordon Hammers once commented that those who are opposed to Blackwater West are "drug dealers and liberals" who are afraid of the police presence. Mr Hammers also responds to constituent comments are board meetings with phrases like "who cares" and "so what". He also admits he brought in the assistance (ha) of the GOP because "the East County Democratic Party is doing this". There is no East County Democratic Party. There is a East County Democratic CLUB that is led by Raymond Lutz, who is also involved with the East County Citizen Oversight Panel, a committee that attends public meetings in San Diego's East County to make sure they are abiding by the provisions of the Brown Act. They seem to have to go to Potrero a lot these days, but they're not the Democratic Party, and Mr Lutz is understandably troubled by BOTH Blackwater and the actions of the Potrero Planning Group.

Jeez Louise. The Potrero Planning Group: Keeping the nut in wingnut since 2006.

Stay tuned!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Register voters in San Diego

As I mentioned a few days ago, the San Diego voter registration group SDVOTER registered voters at the LGBT Pride Festival last weekend, and that I was curious about the final total of registrations. We registered 297 voters. 70% registered as Democrats, and we had 3 Republican registrations. Not 3%. Three. Not that I'm gloating or anything like that.

The next event where we'll register voters is at CityFest on Sunday August 12 between 10 am and 7 pm. Voter registration will be at the Obama booth on 5th Avenue between Brooks & Anderson (east side of the street). There will be shuttle service from the following locations:

Florence Elementary, 1st and University
6th Ave and Upas St
6th Ave and Laurel St

If you can work a two hour shift, sign up at

SDVOTER has registered 1,973 voters so far this year, and a grand total of 15,000 voters since 2004! If you'd like to get involved there will be a voter registration training held on Saturday August 4 between 1:00 and 3:00 at Giovanni's Restaurant at 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd in San Diego. Please join us sometime. I don't do it all the time like some dedicated souls, but several times a year I join them, and it's always fun and rewarding. Come on down!

East County United is making a difference

and they're working hard to elect progressive candidates in San Diego's East County. I want to share a bit of info from an email I received from ECU. The leadership of ECU recently traveled to to meet with state party chair Art Torres and other leaders in Sacramento.

As a result of our visit the Party has assigned a Political Outreach Director to our Re­gion. Chairman Torres has agreed to visit East County in the near future and provide other forms of assistance to raise awareness in our community on key issues of mutual concern to us all.

We can expect greater assistance from the California Democratic Party for our local candidates in the next election. The 58-County Strategy will be funded with the help of a professional and accomplished fundraiser. We must stay engaged in the process if we are to see the benefits.

Wow. Cool, eh? This is a very "red" part of San Diego and one might reasonably think it had completely dropped off the Democratic Party's radar, so kudos to East County United for working so hard and so effectively for positive, progressive change. Feel free to thank them with a generous donation!

and speaking of presidential candidates

if you're a Kucinich supporter, the candidate and his wife Elizabeth will be at a fundraiser brunch in Encinitas on August 12. It will be held at the new Chopra Center for Living from 11-2:00 pm.

The suggested minimum contribution is $250.00 and an RSVP is required prior to August 10th. For more information, directions and reservations, see or email

The fundraiser is being hosted by Azim Khamisa, Bree Walker, Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Fernando Suarez del Solar, Chuck Lowery, Gloria Daviston, John & Soma Stickler, Shelley Morrison & Walter Dominguez, Susan & Saul Frommer, Tanja Winter, Ted & Nelisse Muga, Gary Visconti & Carlos Navarette, Paul & Deborah Haggis, Sharon & Bob Jimenez, Sandra & Ulis Williams.


San Diego has the largest

John Edwards for President One Corps chapter in California now. We beat San Francisco by one. As of yesterday we have 179 members. SF has 178. Neener Neener.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

PAWS - Pets Are Great Support

Yesterday at the Pride festival I ran across an organization called PAWS. I hadn't heard of them before, but what a great cause. PAWS stands for Pets Are Great Support, and they assist those living with HIV/AIDS in caring for their pets. Both the financial and the health consequences of the disease can make pet ownership difficult, but it's been well documented that pets provide many health and emotional benefits. PAWS helps people keep their pets during a difficult time. They also provide assistance to low income elderly folks and the disabled.

PAWS accepts volunteers who can:

  • deliver food and supplies to clients once a month
  • walk clients dogs
  • change cat litter for clients
  • provide transportation to and from veterinary and grooming appointments
  • provide foster care for pets when a client is hospitalized for a short time
  • assist with clerical and office tasks

Of course they also take donations so they can provide basic pet care necessities, assist with visits to the vet, and offer other needed services. In 2006, PAWS obtained and delivered over 75,000 pounds of pet food, litter, and other animal care supplies county-wide. They also subsidized nearly 600 veterinary visits.

I was touched by the story the volunteer at the booth told me about how PAWS helped him care for his dogs as they themselves became aged and needed extra care that he wasn't able to provide, and the support the organization provided to him after he lost the pets he'd had for many years.

I think PAWS sounds like a great group and I wanted to share it the work they do. Contact them if you'd like to lend a paw hand.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What a busy day

Here are some photos from my busy day. My first stop was the It's Our Healthcare booth at the San Diego LGBT Pride festival.

Yes, that's me. Please note I'd just taken a very long walk because I was too impatient to wait for the bus to take me up the hill from the trolley station. It wreaked havoc on my 'do.

This is Richard Barrera from SEIU. The background obviously isn't from the It's Our Healthcare booth. Those were our neighbors. Nice neighbors, eh?

These two lovely people are Jeffery and Camilla at the It's Our Healthcare booth.

While working the booth we asked people to write down a few sentences about their problems and worries about the current healthcare system, and then we attached a Polaroid photo of them to the story. That way every story collected has a face. They all get sent to our representatives in Sacramento, to show them the California faces that want and need healthcare reform now.

When I finished there I strolled across the street to the San Diego Democratic Club booth where I registered voters with other San Diego Democratic Party and Democratic Club volunteers.
This last photo is of Jack and Agnes. I swear these two alone have probably registered half of San Diego's Democratic voter. I see them everywhere.
I personally registered 7 (count 'em, seven) new voters. We were pretty darn busy, and I'm curious about the final total. The Pride festival is one of the best voter registration efforts every year.

The Democratic Club booth had a few guests. Marty Block was there registering voters. He is currently the President of the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Community College District and he's running for the California State Assembly in the 78th District. Todd Gloria also came by for a while. He's running for San Diego City Council in the 3rd District. And speaking of Todd Gloria, he recently launched his campaign blog, and it's really nicely done.

Congresswoman Susan Davis stopped by too, but she zipped in and zipped out. I didn't even have a chance to say boo...or anything else.

So that's it for today! Tune in again tomorrow!

I'm going to go put my feet up now.

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in today's female anatomy news...

Thank god for the WaPo. Otherwise, how else would be know that Hillary Clinton has breasts. Yes, I know. What a shock. Who'da thought?

Does anyone else read that and say to themselves, maybe the U.S. isn't ready for a woman president afterall since we're obviously a nation of 12 year old boys? Issues? The stinking war? Impeachment? The tanking economy? Who cares? Hillary has boobs!

The timely subject of next Saturday's San Diego Democratic Women's Club meeting will be "Is American ready for a Black/Woman President?" The meeting will be held on Saturday, July 28th, 10:00 am – Noon. with a panel presentation by Stewart Alexander; Peace and Freedom Party Candidate, Geoff Barrett; Obama Campaign, Francine Busby; Political Consultant, Dr. Isidro Ortiz; Chicana/o Studies SDSU, and Pat Washington; President, SDDWC. The meeting and panel discussion will be held at the Weingart City Heights Library/Community Room, 3795 Fairmount Ave., San Diego 92105. For more information contact Pat Washington at

I'm quite sure the San Diego Democratic Women's Club can take this subject to a higer level than that WaPo article did.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Random Nightmare Scenario

Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

Bush Will Temporarily Hand Reins To Cheney

Great. Cheney will probably declare war while Bush is having a colonoscopy. Don't you dare try and tell me you didn't think of that yourself.

John Conyers in San Diego

Rep John Conyers met with San Diego's Progressive Democrats of America yesterday. I wanted to go, but unfortunately my job sometimes gets in the way of my life.

Here's a photo of Conyers and several members of PDA "upholding" the Constitution. See? It's right there in his hand.

Peter at Beach Blogger has more photos here and here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cowboy Republic book signing at SD PDA

On Thursday July 19, 2007 Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyer's Guild and civil rights expert, will be speaking at the San Diego Metro Progressive Democrats of America monthly meeting. Her new book, Cowboy Republic will be available for purchase and Professor Cohn will sign them after the meeting.

The PDA meeting will be held at 7:00 pm Giovanni's Restaurant at the corner Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Ruffin Road, (west of I-15) San Diego. Gather at 6:00 if you'd like to purchase dinner and get a good seat!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Blogging for Candidates - 101

(The following is a brief bit about candidate blogging that I wrote up for someone, and I thought it would be good to share here too, just as a general fyi and because I'd like to hear your comments about how to improve or expand upon this summary. Terry)

Blogging 101 - a primer on blogging and the netroots for local candidates

Blogs give you a public platform to address the issues that are important to you and your campaign. They are meant to be communal and conversational in tone. This is not press release style communication, but more personal and engaging. Remember that it is a two way conversation. Candidates need to respond to thoughtful and inquisitive comments - this shows you take the netroots seriously, can answer difficult questions, and are interested in hearing what people have to say. Be honest, direct and authentic. Blogs cater to informed citizens who want something more than what traditional media offers.

Write your own posts. It doesn't have to be a constant stream. Something every week or two, and if you have communication staff or a writer/blogger that can fill in between times, that will keep it more active. Active is good. It keeps people coming back to see what you're doing. If you have someone else help with the writing, make sure you know what they're saying. You don't want to be asked about something said on your blog, when you don't know what's been said on your behalf. If you're going to blog, it requires personal involvement. It's a part of your media and communications plan, so you can't just delegate and forget about.

On the issues, blogs are a great place to address issues that the traditional media isn't talking about or where you think they have the story wrong. You can talk about controversial issues, and how you would have voted and why. You can show how you are different than your opponent or the currently elected officials. (examples: in San Diego you could address the Sunroad/airport issue or the Walmart Supercenter issue) Talk about local issues or problems that no one is addressing or talking about. People who read blogs want to read about your vision for the city and your perspective on public policy.

You can also use your blog write about events you are attending or have attended. (example: I went to ArtWalk today and saw... I went to a meeting today and heard...etc etc etc.) You can use your blog to make campaign related announcements too.

If you decide to post a diary on a blog other than your own, it's a good idea to read a bit first rather than just jumping in blind. Blogs have their own culture, habits, rules, etc. It's good to have a sense of those things before posting.

A few additional points:

  • Use descriptive rather than clever but vague titles. The better to Google you with, my dear.
  • Most diaries are 800-1000 words. Find a happy medium between too short and too long.
  • Be clear and concise, but don't be shy about letting your personality show.
  • Give credit where credit is due. (ex: Props to Robert for his input on this piece!)
  • Put links in your posts. Everyone loves a link.
  • Put pictures in your posts. It's personal, it's nice, it adds interest. Video is great too. YouTube and Google video can be your friends.
  • Act Blue is also your friend for fundraising and is a good site to incorporate into your online presence.

And finally, trolls: Trolls are people who come to your site just to disrupt conversation and throw verbal bombs. Don't feed the trolls. Stay cool. Ignoring often works because you're not giving them a reason to continue. You have to decide your level of tolerance for that if it occurs, and you can delete or hide posts that are offensive/threatening/obscene. If a blog has a serious problem with trolls, you can enable moderation or turn off comments. That's not preferable, but it could happen.

Resources, additional info and examples:

Leveraging Online Media
Powerpoint slides from the Democracy for America Night School online course

A great source of CA political news, plus you can see how people use links, quotes, photos, video. You can post your own diaries there too.

Charlie Brown for Congress
Brown is a Congressional candidate that has a good understanding of the netroots.The link is a mix of posts by him and about him.

Good luck and have fun!


Our Back Fence

There's an exciting, new project brewing in San Diego's east county, and soon we'll be reading the inaugural issue of Our Back Fence. Much of the East County of San Diego is covered by Congressional District 52 which has been represented by Duncan Hunter since 1980. Every term he runs with little or no competition, and some of the most conservative communities in San Diego can be found in this area. The east county is primarily considered to encompass Santee, Lakeside, La Mesa, Spring Valley, El Cajon and all surrounding communities extending eastward to the Imperial County line. It's been strongly and consistently "red" for many years, in part because there have been precious few outlets or resources for liberals or progressives in that region. That is about to change.

I am so pleased to announce the upcoming publication of Our Back Fence, the first-ever progressive online community magazine for San Diego's East County. According to the publisher, Miriam Raftery...Our new magazine will include Internet TV interviews, a Soapblox blog plus editorials and reader comments, polls and interactive features on hot topics such as “Blackwater in the Backwater.” Coverage will include labor, poverty and social justice, healthcare, energy, environment, candidate profiles, a “how they voted” section, land use, election integrity, media reform, and local politics. We’ll also have just-for-fun features, such as festival previews and “Back Country Eater” restaurant reviews, encouraging people to pass our magazine on to friends.


I'm beyond thrilled.

I can't wait.

This will be a powerful tool, and a shiny new soapbox for those of us who face the overwhelming right wing bias of the San Diego media, and the often-times extreme conservative mindset of eastern San Diego. Together we will make this exciting and much needed change in San Diego's east county. If you live in San Diego and are interested in contributing to this effort you're welcome and encouraged to contact Miriam Raftery. If you would like to contribute articles, features, photography, or to help build the distribution list, please email Miriam at We are also looking for additional sponsors and donations which for now will be accepted by way of the East County United website. Please indicate that you're making this donation for Our Back Fence.

I can hardly wait and I'll be certain to announce the inaugural issue as soon as it's online!

Ed note: the corrected contact address is

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stand Down San Diego July 14

As I mentioned the other day, Stand Down was held in San Diego this weekend in support of homeless veterans. Here are a few photos I took at Stand Down this afternoon.

I helped women sort through shoes to find something in their size that would meet their needs.

Mostly women anyway. There was one guy who's needs I couldn't meet. He offered me $2 to model a strappy high heeled sandal. I declined his polite invitation. He was a little too...enthusiastic. After I turned him down, he walked around oohing and ahhing the piles of women's shoes, and he asked a number of other women to try on his happy, strappy sandal. Hilarity ensued.

He finally managed to talk someone into putting on the shoe, but no money changed hands. He was inordinately and creepily pleased that he'd finally found his model.

There were a lot of happy people there other than our foot obsessed friend. I'll tell you what. One thing that will give you a great big reality check is to see how happy a person can be to get a used but decent pair of shoes to put on their tired, swollen, shoeless feet.


Schwarzenegger seeks to cut mental health services for the homeless

A nationally lauded program that has helped thousands of mentally ill homeless men and women break the cycle of psychiatric hospitalization, jail time and street life is now on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's list of budget cuts.

The governor has proposed eliminating Integrated Services for Homeless Adults With Serious Mental Illness, which receives $55 million annually, as part of his attempt to close a budget gap estimated at more than $3 billion.

This makes no sense at all. Not one bit. First off, it's brutal and inhumane. This cut will put mentally ill people on the streets of California. There are nearly 5,000 people in this successful program. Secondly, if this program is eliminated costs will rise elsewhere. Period. No doubt about it. This is a program that successfully moves people from lives of illness, crime, drug abuse and desperation back into society. It helps them stay healthy so they can get jobs, and to keep a roof over their heads.

Budgets are a map of our priorities and our values, and year after year it becomes increasingly obvious that our priorities and out values are really messed up. I'm not sure what else to say at the moment...this makes me sick and sad.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dump the DRE's in Riverside County

Tom Courbat of SAVE R VOTE guest bloggged at Brad Blog this afternoon, and he is reporting that the committee charged with investigating voting machine systems in Riverside County will be reporting to the Board of Supervisors the recommendation that they go to a hybrid system which includes optical scanned, paper ballots. Very good. The election integrity activists have worked hard for this, and I hope the BoS accepts the findings of the committee. Personally, I think it's an abomination to have a paperless voting system, and this is great news to hear that the commission recommends what many voting integrity activists have been seeking for several years.

Friday night sunset blogging


Stand Down in San Diego

Stand Down was started in 1988 by a group of veterans in San Diego, and due to it's great success, the practice has spread throughout the United States. Stand Down's are one to three day events where assistance is provided to homeless veterans. They offer such things as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, as well as referrals to services such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Volunteers and service organizations offer everything from haircuts to dental care. It's been estimated that approximately 40% of the homeless in San Diego are veterans, and Stand Down is an opportunity for both assistance and hope. It not only provides immediate, needed help to homeless vets, but brings together volunteers and service agencies who can form working relationships that will foster long term solutions to the problem.

The San Diego for John Edwards One Corps group will be working the clothing tent on both Saturday July 14 and Sunday July 15. I think it's a good weekend's work that ties in nicely with John Edwards' up-coming Road to One America tour.

According to the Edwards website:
On the eve of the tour on Sunday, July 15th, 2007, Edwards will take a walking tour of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. The tour will begin in New Orleans, Louisiana and travel more than 1,800 miles before ending on Wednesday, July 18th, in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy concluded his 1968 200-mile tour of impoverished regions in Southeastern Kentucky. The tour also includes a stop in Marks, Mississippi, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launched his 1968 Poor People's March to Washington, D.C.

The poverty that the Edwards tour will highlight and homeless veterans are different situations, but the thing that underlies both for me is that they're living symbols of inequity and injustice. I'm certainly not anti-capitalist, but without a doubt, our economic system has a number of negative effects on a society. Government is one of the few avenues to moderate the inequities of the system on a broad scale. One of the responsibilities of government is to maintain the public good. We've lost sight of that in this "every man for himself" consumer-driven world. Edwards get's that, I'm I really pleased that so many of his grassroots volunteers do too. They walk that walk.

Check out the Stand Down page at the Veterans Village San Diego for information about contributing, volunteering or attending this weekend's Stand Down in San Diego.


San Diego LGBT Pride Festival

As I mentioned in my post about voter registration volunteers, the San Diego LGBT Pride Festival is almost here once again. This year's theme is United for Equality. Come on down and celebrate the 33rd anniversary of San Diego's largest civic event. The parade and festival attract about 150,000 people every year, and it's great fun.

The parade wil be on Saturday, July 21 at 11:00 am and the route is from University Ave between Normal and 6th. It travels down to Ivy Lane, ending near the festival grounds. The festival is on Saturday, from 12 noon-10pm and on Sunday from 11 am-8pm at Marston Point, Balboa Park (6th & Laurel St.) It's $15 for a one day pass and $21 for a two day pass.

I'll be there to register voters again this year (we registered a couple hundred people last year!) and I'll also be helping at the Pride at Work booth with It's Our Healthcare.

Pride at Work is a LGBT constituency group in the AFL-CIO and their purpose is to mobilize mutual support between labor and the LGBT community. This year they're promoting the It's Our Healthcare campaign at the San Diego Pride Festival.

See you there!


July Voter Registration in San Diego

The San Diego Democratic Party is looking for volunteers to register voters at two upcoming events; July 19 Naturalization Ceremony and the San Diego LGBT Pride Festival.

New Citizens Voter Registration
DATE: Thursday, July 19
WHEN: 10:15am - 12:00pm
WHERE: Golden Hall, Corner of 3rd and B Street
PARKING: Horton Plaza is a couple of blocks away
RSVP: sdvoter@yahoo. com

LGBT Pride Parade and Festival
DATE: July 21, 9a-9p and July 22, 11a - 6p
WHERE: Balboa Park
at 6th Ave and Upas before the parade
Outside the entrance near 6th Ave and Laurel Street
San Diego Democratic Club Booth #178
SHIFTS: We request a 2 hour shift
COST: Volunteers who work at the booth inside the festival are responsible for the $15 entrance fee or FREE for volunteers who work outside at the festival entrance and at Upas St.

Please RSVP to indicating when and where you would like to help and they'll get back to you with further details. It's rewarding and a lot of fun. Come join us!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

The True Colors of a Green Action Hero

Frank Russo at California Progress Report is covering the subject of the Schwarzenegger administration's political interference into the business of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and doing a most excellent job of it. This article is a great overview of the situation, but if you poke around (for example, here and here and here), there are other fine articles and transcripts of testimony.

The California Air Resources Board is comprised of scientists and other experts in the field of air quality, and up until now they've been independent and fairly free from political pressure. However while Schwarzenegger is posing for the media as the New Environmentalist, it looks like he's also working behind the scenes to undermine what is supposed to be good policy based on sound science.

The California Air Resource Board is charged with implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) which is meant to reduce greenhouse gases, and has been held up as landmark environmental legislation. Now that it's been approved, Schwarzenegger is still pushing hard for cap and trade. The CARB has said they will look at cap and trade as one of the options, but the governor's office seems to be pushing rather relentlessly because that is what his supporters in the business world prefer.

Schwarzenegger needs to let the board do their job without threats and undue political pressure, otherwise it will become obvious that he's all talk and no environmental action hero afterall.

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How Green is your City?

For those of us who care about the health of our planet, it's been disheartening and disturbing to watch the federal government's actions regarding climate change and environmental protection throughout the Bush years. It's not enough to sit back and grumble, and it's long past time for action. We can do something now. Of course the federal government has an enormous responsibility to protect the United States and the planet, but it's our responsibility too. We can start working now on a personal level and within our cities. Who is responsible for protecting the environment? We are. Every last one of us. We need to start taking better care of our world today. We can not just sit on our hands waiting for the state or federal government to tell us what to do. Individual and community action are essential.

Some of the most innovative results can be found at the local level and within local jurisdictions. This is where we can make change happen. While congress debates, we can get busy working on the problem of excess carbon emissions in our personal environment today. You can change out your incandescent light bulbs, buy energy saving appliances, and weatherize your home, but you can also demand that your local government go green by implementing sustainable practices in your community.

Why should our cities go green? Because it's time to provide leadership and to lead by example. It's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. It's the responsible thing to do. As a bonus, going green can save money which translates into tax savings and efficiency for the city. There's a common misconception that focusing on sustainability is expensive, but officials around the country have found significant long and short term cost savings in their transition to a cleaner, sustainable city.

The most obvious savings is in the reduction of energy costs. For example, several years ago the city of San Jose tested CalTrans approved red LED traffic indicator lights for both street and pedestrian signals. They were pleased to find that the change provided energy savings of 45.5% per light. Additionally, as the technology has improved, it's possible to change lights less often, which provides the additional savings associated with lower procurement costs and the reduction of maintenance expenses.

Moving toward the goal of a sustainable city also reduces costs associated with waste management. Less garbage means a reduction in land fill fees (which are calulated by weight), and reduced expenses related to the disposal of hazardous materials. This directly and positively impacts operating costs for the city.

Recently San Francisco's mayor Gavin Newsome decreed that the city would no longer spend $500,000 per year purchasing bottled water. In addition to eliminating an unnecessary cost, the plan will reduce the amount of trash that goes to the landfill. More than a billion water plastic bottles end up in California's landfills each year. Additionally the production of the disposable plastic bottles alone comsumes over 1.5 million barrels of oil per year, not to mention the fuel burned in shipping bottles of water around the country. It makes both financial and environmental sense for cities to adopt this green practice.

Cites can also work toward a sustainable future by attracting businesses that provide good jobs and have a positive environmental impact, implementing anti-sprawl land-use policies, and using green building standards in public works projects, and in local building code. There are innumerable ways to go green and save money at the same time, but it's important to keep in mind that the benefit is more than financial. We can look at the economic bottom line, which of course is very important, but the bottom line should also be viewed in social and environmental terms.

What can you do to help your city to "go green" and to bring the concept of sustainability into their everyday operations? I have the perfect answer!

In 2005 Seattle mayor Greg Nickels proposed the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. This plan has been endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It began in 2005 as a protest against the inaction of the federal government. When it became clear that the U.S. would not join the Kyoto Protocol, Mayor Nickels decided it was time to show the world that there is, in fact, intelligent life in the United States. However this is no longer a symbolic gesture, as it has taken on a life of it's own and is making a difference in hundreds of communities in California and around the country. This agreement has been signed by 592 U.S. city mayors who have pledged to reduce carbon emissions in their own cities, and these mayors are seeking a block grant from the federal government to provide seed money for further innovations that can be implemented at the local level. Cities who participate in the Climate Protection Agreement agree to the following terms.

  • Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their community, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns.

  • Urge state and federal government to enact politices and programs to meet or beat greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the US in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012.

  • Urge Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system.

So how green is your city, and has your mayor signed the Climate Protection Act? I live on the east side of San Diego and the east county mayors that haven't signed the pledge here are Mark Lewis of El Cajon, Mary Sessom of Lemon Grove and Randy Voepel of Santee. I'm going to work on my little corner of the world, and I challenge anyone who's mayor isn't on the list to do the same. We can make a difference now. There's no need nor time to wait.

For more information on the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

If you live in Susan Davis's district - CA 53

She has a poll on her website asking for your opinion on Iraq. Answer the poll and then send her an email or call her office on Monday and give her your opinion.

I spoke with one of her staff members about a week ago and he said that they do NOT get a large percentage of emails or phone calls opposing Iraq. He tallies the constituent correspondence each week for Rep Davis, and if you went by that as an indicator of public opposition (which she does) thre's not much there there. He knows how people feel based on what they tell him personally, but the volume of offical comments don't reflect the strength of public opposition.

If you think we need to change course, let her know.

I'll even make it easy for you! Here is her website.

Here's her contact info:

U.S. House of Representatives
1526 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2040
Fax: (202) 225-2948
San Diego Office
4305 University Ave Ste 515
San Diego, CA 92105
Phone Number: (619) 280-5353
Fax Number: (619) 280-5311

Here's her email form page

How much simpler could it be?

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Night Homeowner Blogging

or How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

I think this might be why my son said, "it's no fun when you take a vacation."


I found this cabinet but it was very beat up, so I badgered my husband into sanding it while I painted the aforementioned kitchen, and I slathered black paint on it. I think it looks kind of nifty now, if I do say so myself.

And since I had the paint stuff out anyway, I painted a $14.95 wooden table and through my creative prowess, it now looks like a fabulous $24.95 table! Woo!

Tomorrow, on to the living room. It's primed and ready for paint. This house was a fixer upper (understatement), and we had to hang new drywall everywhere. We primed it yesterday, this was my project today, and tomorrow we paint the living room and rehang all the curtains. Whew. I'm going to have to go back to work to get some rest.

btw, the wall with the arch used to be made of cheap paneling and large, colonial style wooden spindles that were mind bogglingly ugly. We built the divider to replace it and it's an enormous improvement.

A quagmire? Really?

Representative John Doolittle calls for a draw down of combat troops from Iraq?
Gee, what a visionary.

In his most strident criticism of the Iraq conflict, Doolittle said colleagues in Congress -- including an increasing number of Republicans -- believe the war "is something different than we believed it to be. And we're gravely at risk by constantly having our troops exposed."

Excuse me while I go beat my head against the nearest wall for a bit.

But thanks for noticing. This IS something different than what we were told, and yes, it does put us gravely at risk. Haven't a large number of us been saying this for several years?

I guess what just grates on me about these half hearted converts from the Dark Side is that while they're finally beginning to criticize the policy in Iraq, they're still trying to differentiate between themselves and Democrats by saying things such as "I don't want a timetable".

In other words, the anti-war folks have been right all along but I'm going to attempt to spin my way out of admitting that because I'm telling everyone that I won't use that meaningless word "timetable" that we used to demonize them.

While I realize it's a good thing if more people are going to come around to allow additional pressure to be brought to bear on the administration, the baloney and rhetoric around the shift is enough to cause tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth.

Party for Climate Protection with East County United

East County United will be holding a Party for Climate Protection (Word doc) in El Cajon on July 7 in conjuction with the Live Earth concerts.

In the afternoon you can watch the concerts and listen to speakers including Nancy Pearlman from the Los Angeles radio show Econews, and Jeanette Hartman from the Sierra Club who will speak about alternatives to the Sunrise Power Link. After 6:30 pm there will be live music and dancing. It's free, and will be held at the Downtown Cafe at 182 East Main Street, El Cajon from noon until closing. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Secrecy Shrouds Accident at Nuclear Plant

From the NY Times:

A factory that makes uranium fuel for nuclear reactors had a spill so bad that it kept the plant closed for seven months last year and became one of only three incidents in all of 2006 serious enough for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to include in an annual report to Congress. After an investigation, the commission changed the terms of the factory’s license and said that the public had 20 days to request a hearing on the changes.

But no member of the public ever did. In fact, no member of the public could find out about the changes. The document describing them, including the notice of hearing rights for anyone who felt adversely affected, was stamped “official use only,” meaning that it was not publicly accessible.

What the?

...the Energy Department, reached an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that any correspondence with Nuclear Fuel Services would be marked “official use only.” The plant processes high-enriched uranium for Navy submarine propulsion reactors.

The memorandum that declared such correspondence to be “official use only” was itself designated “official use only.”

Where are we drawing the line about what the government can keep secret? I think we passed that point years ago. How in the world can a notice of a public meeting be too sensitive to be released to the public? I'm sure George Orwell is somewhere saying I told you so.

I'm of the generation that has a way to go before being convinced of the safety of nuclear power, and I see a big, new push toward expanding it's use in the near future, so it disturbs me to see a worrisome secret ooze out so long after the fact. It's liable to make a girl think they're hiding something so the unwashed masses don't get nervous about nuclear power. Not that I'm suspicious or cynical or anything. Much.

Imperial Beach gets no respect

Forbes has a article in July's hot summer edition that's charmingly entitled, Death Beaches.

My goodness. That'll put a damper on your summer vacation. I willingly admit that I'm not the best title writer in the world, but I think they're overstating the case a wee bit.

They go on to give some good hints about swimming with a buddy, and shuffling your feet in the sand so the stingrays don't jab you with their barbs, and to swim parallel to the shore if you get caught in a rip tide. All very sensible.

The reason this article caught my attention was because it was mentioned in the Union-Trib. Imperial Beach was listed as one of the most polluted "death beaches". Ooh. Harsh.

Ok, yes. IB ocean water sometimes has issues. They're right on the border and there's a long standing problem with the fact that the sewage infrastructure in Tijuana has not kept up with the fast growing population of a border city, but I've just got to say that there are lots of other places in San Diego that have water quality issues. IB has their worst problems in the rainy season, but does that mean that overall they have the worst water quality? That's open for debate.

Just between you and me, I stay out of San Diego bay, and if you look at the weekly Heal the Bay report card, you will see that this week there are places that have a lower water quality grade than Imperial Beach. The OB jetty, Tide Beach Park in Solana Beach and the Mission Bay Visitors Center, for instance.

Poor IB. They've always been the Rodney Dangerfield of San Diego beaches. No respect at all. Well, thankfully they've got the world renown Sand Castle Contest coming up the weekend of July 28. That always makes them feel better, plus all the profits go to the Imperial Beach Boys and Girls Club which is always a worthy organization.

California Clean Money update

According to an email from CA Clean Money Campaign, It's been decided that AB 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act won't be heard by the Senate Elections subcommittee next week as anticipated. Assemblymember and sponsor of the legislation, Loni Hancock, along with CCMC, have decided to make it a two year bill in an effort to gain wider support and to identify a workable and acceptable funding source.

Honestly. When I'm Queen I will just make this happen overnight. Not that we'll need elections when I'm Queen, but....nevermind. We'll cross that bridge later.

No secrets

You might want to be aware of what the Texas Supreme Court recently ruled in case you're in the habit of making confessions to your pastor. You should read the church's charter or contitution or maybe just ask if the pastor will follow established professional rules of conduct for counseling. Otherwise your dirty laundry might be waved in front of your fellow congregants.

The case focused on the “conflicting duties” of C.L. Westbrook, who is both a licensed professional counselor and pastor of an evangelical church in Fort Worth. He disclosed Peggy Lee Penley's affair after she confided it to him in a counseling session.

While Penley based her negligence claim on the secular duty of confidentiality that a counselor owes a client, Westbrook invoked the constitution of the CrossLand Community Bible Church, which requires church elders to discipline members whose conduct “violates Biblical standards.”

The discipline included announcing this bit of news to the congregation, but the Texas Supreme Court says they can't interfere in church business. The moral of the story, if you're going to turn to your church for counseling, make sure your pastor will abide by professional standards you can live with and/or don't assume confidentiality as you would with a real, licensed counselor because their license means nothing.

So, I'm just wondering, has everyone completely lost their minds?

Maybe the licensing or certification process for any professional job should include the question, do you have personal beliefs that will prevent you from adhering to the reasonable and expected standards of your profession?

I think I'll file this under the "if you can't do your job, find a new career" rubric.

People who speak to licensed counselors have a reasonable expectation of privacy. That's our societal standard. If the Texas Supreme Court says counselors who work through churches do not have to abide by established and expected standards, than the licensing or certification process is simply meaningless. Why bother?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How you can help Carlos Arredondo tell his story...

WGBH in Boston is currently in the public voting phase of the open call for film shorts about war to accompany showings of the Ken Burns film The War, which is about WWII.

One of the finalists is Janice Rogovin who is filming the story of Carlos Arredondo. You may remember Carlos because on his birthday on August 24,2004 three Marines showed up at his door to tell him that his son Alex was dead. In his grief, Carlos set the Marine's van on fire, and burned himself severely, nearly taking his own life. Carlos and his wife Melida have since dedicated their lives to stopping the madness of war. This film is Carlos's story.

You can see all the pitches and film clips here, and here is the link to the video clip of Carlos. The clip that gets the most votes will earn $2000 for the filmmaker to finish their short.

From the pitch:
The film is not about right or left, red or blue, right or wrong, but stays on the human level. For those of us who are not directly involved in the war, how can we comprehend what it is like to lose a child to the war?

I don't personally know Carlos and Melida but they are in my extended circle of anti-war activist friends and acquaintances, and I've heard their story and seen their faces, and their tragic, painful loss touched me from the beginning. It's a story worth sharing, so if you agree, you can go vote for Janice to win the funds to complete her short film on Carlos, giving us a small and personal glimpse of what means to lose a child to war.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bush Commutes Libby's Sentence

Wow. It sure pays to have friends in high places.

And to think people were bitching about favoritism for Paris Hilton. What do you want to bet the same tough on crime folks think Libby getting out of his punishment is just fine and dandy?

I'm just sayin'.

I'm not surprised though. What does Bush have to lose at this point? Another percentage point on his approval rating?

White House statement

from Bloomberg
Bush has granted fewer pardons -- 113 -- than any president in the past 100 years, while denying more than 1,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the Justice Department's pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997.

In addition, Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending, Love said.

I guess prison is just for the peasants.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Freeway blogging, Impeachment and Being Grammie

(The following was written by my friend Barbara Cummings. Terry)

Today I spent the day with my 4 year old grandson, Scotty. We played Monopoly. We played KidPix on the computer. We swam and I got him to give up his floaties and try to swim without them. He did. The width of our pool, back and forth, he swam with grammie there to give a push or an encouraging word. It was the most time we had spent together in months. Months, and he lives a scant 5 miles from me.

The reason that Scotty and grammie don't play together anymore is because of Impeachment. More precisely, the lack of it.

I gave one of the first downingstreet parties in San Diego after listening to David Swanson explain the finer points of these documents. Some of the people who came to that first party had never been politically active. Knowing them as well as I do now, I would say they are activists, rather than politically active.

My retirement was less than a year old then. My plan was to read, travel and attend the infrequent antiwar rally. I demonstrated BEFORE the war. The apathy and complacency of many of my friends and neighbors caused tension and estrangement. Within my own family, there was tension and estrangement as MOM went over the top with "this Bush stuff" all the time. Politics as usual they all said.

In AUG 05, while gardening, I heard Cindy Sheehan on the radio talking about heading to confront Bush. Without the slightest hesitation, I knew I had to go there for a few days to support her. I left 5 weeks later after the last of the supplies left over from CAMP CASEY were on the way to Katrina victims with the VFP members heading to the disaster zone.

That month changed my life in profound ways. There was the joy and relief meeting 13,000 fellow Americans who knew the danger posed by Bush and were ready to do something about it. Yes, 13,000 people from all over the world trekked to Crawford, signed in and put a pin in the large map hanging on the wall. There was the opportunity to say "sorry to the world" for what our country has done in our names. I put aside all those plans and became a full time activist. Arrests, no big deal any more. I have been arrested with some of the finest human beings on the face of this earth. This family of choice has returned to Crawford several times since that Aug.

Cindy Sheehan, my friend and mentor is taking a well earned break. She brought us together and when it was time to go we had the strength to take it to the streets no matter where we lived. Camp Casey is not a place, it is a state of mind.

We are heading back one last time to our Camp Casey. We are coming from every corner of the country again. We are flying in from foreign lands. We will close this chapter and help the new owner, Bree Walker, begin another one. I doubt even Bree knows what form her 5 acres out in central Texas will look like a year from now.

Even though the democrats who were elected defend the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA have preemtively discarded IMPEACHMENT, the idea refuses to die. It is alive and well across the heartland. The iconic IMPEACH BUSH AND CHENEY shirts are selling as fast as ever. Each time I think I may phase them out and go straight to ARREST BUSH, some guy from El Salvador orders 80 for his coffee house, or a rich senior citizen from Tennessee orders some for her bridge club.

That is why I am heading out early Tuesday morning to Crawford, Texas, with a van full of freeway blogging signs, hammer tackers, tape, coat hangers and bungees. I will blog the whole 1500 miles. If you don't know what freeway blogging is, go to There will be new summer colors of Impeach shirts, stampers, bumper stickers and more. The IMPEACH store will be fully stocked.

One day Scotty will know and understand why his grammie couldn't swim with him or go to the train museum in Balboa Park or any of the other things we used to do. Maybe his generation will be spared the horror that is war. Maybe I will have had some very small part in making peace in our time.

Join us in Crawford Texas on the 6,7,8 th and let Cindy know how much she means to this country. By the way, it is her 50th birhtday, too!

1 (800) 828 - 0498
1 (800) 459 - 1887
1 (800) 614 - 2803
1 (866) 340 - 9281
1 (866) 338 - 1015
1 (877) 851 - 6437

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An Edwards house party sans house

The sister of a long time friend of mine is one of the San Diego John Edwards One Corps coordinators, and since Edwards is currently my personal front runner I wanted to check out the group. Today was the perfect opportunity because they had a fundraiser for Edwards, where we met for lunch at a restaurant next to the theatre, then we all went to see Sicko. $20 per person for pizza, salad, soda and a movie ticket for the 1:45 showing at the Edwards (aren't we clever) Cinema in Mira Mesa. There were nearly 50 of us and it netted about $400 for the campaign. Nifty idea, sez I, and a cool way to have a house party without the house. Here's his ActBlue page in case you'd like to help kick off the new fundraising quarter too.

Here is the current Edwards house party video from YouTube.

As for Sicko, I won't go into the content since it's been well/covered /elsewhere other than to say it was totally worthwhile. It'll get you thinking about why o why we're in the mess we're in with our healthcare system. The best thing about it though, is that it's got everyone, even the MSM finally, talking about what's wrong with healthcare in America. It's about time.

I'm just a girl who can't say no

Hi there. Remember me? I've not been posting too much this week, because a series of events in my personal life crowded all this political mess right out of my brain. It happens. It's probably healthy to have a real life too! Trust me, I do.

I just started a week of vacation and had decided that I wasn't going to do ANYTHING activist-wise this weekend. Just projects that need to be done at home. No meetings. No protests. No rallies. No events. No nothin'.

Well...until my friend who's an organizer with the local Edwards for President One Corps called and asked if I want to go see Sicko with her and fifty of her closest friends this afternoon.

Ok. I can do that. I didn't list "no movies" in my plan. And we'll have lunch. I have to eat lunch, don't I? I didn't really want to paint my kitchen today anyway. I will get it done before I go back to work on the 9th. I swear.