Monday, July 31, 2006

A Note From Howard

I've signed up and I would encourage you to do the same.

We've got a big secret -- and in these next 100 days, it's going to help us win.

Everyone knows that our 50-state strategy has put nearly 200 field organizers on the ground. They've been working nonstop to identify new volunteers and new Democratic voters. Just this weekend, tens of thousands of people took part in the hugely successful Democratic Reunion events across the country (at just one event in Oklahoma, over 500 people showed up).

But what many people don't realize is that in the 99 days between now and the election, we're turning our operation into a 50-state get-out-the-vote effort for Democratic candidates in races up and down the ballot, from city council to governor to congress.

There's a lot to do, but our 50-state strategy means that no matter where you live, you can make a difference in this election.

Here's where we need your help: We have to begin making our resource allocations now so that we can spend the next 100 days organizing to win. So I am asking Democrats to donate $25 a month until the election to ensure we have the necessary resources to win everywhere. That will be $100 for 100 days of nationwide organizing.

This is the simplest, easiest way to make a real difference in the outcome of the election, and it will free us up to spend time talking about the big issues and other important ways to get involved. Please sign up to be a monthly contributor until the election now:

http://www.democrats.org/100days

What other kinds of things do we have planned for the next 100 days?

You'll find one answer every day at 100actions.com -- a special web site we've put together to give every American a way to shape our country's future.

Every single day, we will feature a new opportunity to take meaningful action toward winning on Election Day.

Makes Enemies

Michael Hirsh, writing in Newsweek online, has some real insights into the problems we face in the war on terror and with simple-minded leaders completely out of their depth.

Here's a taste,
Reading "Fiasco," Thomas Ricks's devastating new book about the Iraq war, brought back memories for me. Memories of going on night raids in Samarra in January 2004, in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, with the Fourth Infantry Division units that Ricks describes. During these raids, confused young Americans would burst into Iraqi homes, overturn beds, dump out drawers, and summarily arrest all military-age menĂ‚—actions that made them unwitting recruits for the insurgency. For American soldiers battling the resistance throughout Iraq, the unspoken rule was that all Iraqis were guilty until proven innocent. Arrests, beatings and sometimes killings were arbitrary, often based on the flimsiest intelligence, and Iraqis had no recourse whatever to justice. Imagine the sense of helpless rage that emerges from this sort of treatment. Apply three years of it and you have one furious, traumatized population. And a country out of control.
Forgive the cliche, but no justice, no peace. There is much more to this piece. It's a must read in understanding the current situation with Hizbullah and Hamas.

Understanding Lieberman's Undoing

I've been thinking often of Lieberman's fall which seems to have really snowballed while I was away. Like many of you, I've followed this through blogs. I've been meaning to write something be never could get a handle on what I wanted to say. Frankly, I thought that ultimately, Lieberman would pull the race out -- and he still might -- although at this moment I wouldn't hold my breath. I thought that the blog world was making too much of Lamont's challenge because we wanted to believe it so.

Mark Schmitt, writing at the TPM Cafe has some great insight: The End of Checklist Liberalism.

To tag on to Mark's piece, and attempt to boil it down even more, Lieberman's problem isn't that he supported the war -- lots of Ds in great electoral shape supported the war including Clinton and Kerry -- but that his very vocal support even to this point rivals that of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld -- as does his criticism of anyone who disagrees. It's simply beyond the pale. Add that to the fact that he votes with the GOP too often on other issues and Lieberman is now experiencing the snowball effect from the wrong side.

And finally, I never believed he would actually run as an independant for all the reasons that Mark and others are now conciding. Talk is cheap, but no member of the party would support an indy over a nominated candidate.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm Back!

I'm home from my scuba trip to Indonesia. As Tim posted, I was hundreds of miles from the tsunami and didn't even know about it for several days.

I'm playing catch-up at work but will try to post over the weekend. I'll also post some pictures from my trip.

Friday, July 21, 2006

See Talking Points Memo for Update on Mid-East War

Josh Marshall and his team has a number of good posts on the war in the Mideast. Link to it for a well thought out analysis.
"Feds to Up Spending on Marriage ProgramsBy KEVIN FREKING
AP
WASHINGTON (July 21) - Ron McLain has no qualms about the federal government getting involved in marriage. Indeed, he's counting on it.


McLain has applied for a $550,000 federal grant to hire counselors for Marriage Mentoring Ministries Inc., a tiny business in Fresno County, Calif., that helps couples before and after they exchange wedding vows. He also has a bid in for a $250,000 grant to teach men to become better fathers.


"The market is obviously very ripe for this with the divorce rate as high as it is, and obviously couples want a good marriage," said McLain, who oversees the organization along with his wife, Joan. They specialize in training couples to mentor other couples, with many of the classes taking place at local churches.


The grant money represents the latest shift in welfare reform in the United States. For the next five years, Congress is setting aside up to $100 million a year to promote marriage and $50 million a year to produce committed fathers. This year's allotment goes out before Sept. 30.


Supporters say that if the government can get more low-income parents to tie the knot and help them work through the rough spots that inevitably occur, then those families are less likely to need federal assistance in later years."

I'm not sure how I feel about this program. On the one hand, I see the need to have strong families - but I have been married for almost 28 years and I took it as a personal responsibility to teach my 3 boys, now men, that marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. On the other hand, I see many people who don't take marriage or child rearing as a personal responsibility. Can the government impart those values by spending $150 Million of taxpayer money on religious programs? I don't think so. But at the same time, something needs to be done. Are the schools the right place? Again, I think not. We have passed the point of no return. I look at Europe and see the marriage rate very low, compared to the USA, and I am torn if that is the model we should looking toward. I was watching a movie last night in which the characters were living in San Francisco in the 1970's. One told the other, he expected to one day be 50 years old and be surrounded by a world of Calvinist, and be the only liberal left. At times I feel that way.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Update on Tsunami

I did a check on Google Earth to see how far away from Java, where the tsunami occurred earlier this week, and Don's diving location. It look like they are very far away and on opposite sides of Indonesia. If I hear anything else, I'll post it.

Also been very busy looking for a job and haven't had time to post on the state of the world. Planning on doing so tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Indonesia

I'm in North Sulawesi Indonesia scuba diving for pretty much the rest of this month so I won't be posting. Internet is very slow.

Maybe Tim will do some posting.