November 19, 2004

Day's News

The Cascadia Scorecard talks about the Kyoto Protocol's progress into becoming law, and points out that the three west coast governors have all signed on to demanding higher coast-wide pollution standards. We still don't know for sure who the governor is here in Washington, but if Republican Dino Rossi keeps his lead, continuing this agenda should be something the state holds him to until he squeals. He did campaign as a moderate and an environmentalist, after all, so he'd better be able to prove it if it comes to that. If Ahnold can do it, so can Rossi.

Are you taking one of these 5 drugs? An FDA scientist who's come out and basically declared that his organization is no longer able to protect the public named the names of other dangerous pharmaceuticals while testifying in Senate hearings over the decision to pull Vioxx off the market.

A 40 year study has documented the benefits of early childhood education in giving recipients a better overall outcome than peers raised in similar backgrounds and conditions.

Common Dreams: The Smedley Butler of our times. And if you don't know who Smedley Butler is, doesn't a name like that make you just have to go and find out? George Lakoff talks about progressive moral values.

Dave Neiwert writes a detailed and interesting piece on the red-blue dynamic, and why progressives (particularly those opposed to the corporatization of everything) should start looking at rural areas as a natural constituency. His points are important to understanding just how badly the DLC corporatist leadership has hurt the Democratic party, and prevented it from connecting to rural voters.

The Rittenhouse Review talks about Senator Santorum's 'residence', the one which forces taxpayers to pick up the hefty private homeschooling bill for his six children.

MyDD wonders whether Bush beat 1000-1 odds in Florida's electronic voting. Also, a look at how post-Dean Democratic campaigns abandoned Meetup and used their mailing lists like an ATM, while the Republicans used theirs as a mechanism for disseminating information and getting supporters involved.

Speaking of using mailing lists like ATMs, I've been wondering if I was the only person who ended up feeling that way. Apparently not. If you think the Democratic party would be better served by having a Democratic National Committee chair who knows how to prioritize building a community, please go sign this petition to nominate Dean for DNC Chair. The group has just started up, but I'm glad there's an organized drive to gather supporters' names. If you go here to the Draft Howard site, you can find a list of people to petition by state and affiliation, but I'll be lucky if I have time to write even two of these people.

CRM reposts a Boston Globe article about a bipartisan congressional report that indicates 2004 offshoring figures were double previous assumptions.

Digby talks about shedding Democratic values for PR purposes, the fictional political landslide, and brings us an unusual window into the mind of the swing voter. One thing brought up in the piece about swing voters is that many people aren't clear about what constitutes a political issue, with the example given that healthcare doesn't sound like something that has anything to do with politics to many of them. If I were a bigwig political power player, that might suggest a course of action to me. (Or, considering the people leading the Democratic party, maybe not.)

Dave Johnson writes about the flat tax. Below that he talks about the Democratic political consultants who take money from both sides, as well as the 'Democrat' Joe Lieberman who never misses an opportunity to make the party look bad in public. And I'd consider Lieberman not to be a real Democrat not because of his positions, per se, but because I agree with Dave that he seems completely incapable of advancing or praising the agenda of the party as a whole.

DailyKos: Will the Bush administration eliminate the tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance like they're talking about doing right now? How to play wedge politics against the Republicans. Having won the rural vote, Republicans get ready to screw rural residents and small-time family farmers. There are two open congressional seats in Louisiana which will be decided in runoff elections December 4th, and the Democrats have a fighting chance. After Bush's election, the dollar is seeing sharper drops leading some to worry about a more serious price crash. A best of blogs roundup, of which my favorite was the 'retroactive abortion' post. Hah.

Sandeep Kaushik talks about a Democrat who won over conservative voters to oust a Republican incumbent on the basis of their economic interests. Man, who would have ever thought of trying that?

Media Matters reports on the cable and radio broadcast show, Imus in the Morning's recent advocation of genocide against Palestinians. Here's the exchange in all its sickening detail, emphasis mine:

DON IMUS, host: They're [Palestinians] eating dirt and that fat pig wife [Suha Arafat] of his is living in Paris.

ROSENBERG: They're all brainwashed, though. That's what it is. And they're stupid to begin with, but they're brainwashed now. Stinking animals. They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now.

BERNARD MCGUIRK, producer: You can just imagine standing there.

ROSENBERG: Oh, the stench.

IMUS: Well, the problem is that we have Andrea [Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent] there. We don't want anything to happen to her.

ROSENBERG: Oh, she's got to get out. Just warn Andrea, get out, and then drop the bomb, kill everybody.

MCGUIRK: It's like the worst Woodstock.

ROSENBERG: Look at this. Look at these animals. Animals!...

In the face of such morally disgusting, degrading, and reprehensible comments... the FCC will doubtless remain silent. Will you?

Posted by natasha at November 19, 2004 03:38 PM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |





Over the next two months, you will be bombarded with suggestions on how you should vote when it comes time to decide the direction of the Democratic Party. As you consider who should lead our Party, please keep in mind the following observations:

Evaluating 2004
The Democratic Party did not "come close" to winning in 2004. This is a zero-sum game and we need to measure our position against that of the GOP. Democrats would have needed a 10 point across the board increase in support to have done as well as Republicans. True, Kerry came close to scraping together an electoral vote win, but Democrats did poorly and Kerry lost. We lost. We are in worse position than we were before the election. As Mayor Gavin Newsom is fond of saying, "Do what you've done and you'll get what you've got."

Choosing a new DNC Chair
When choosing a new leader for our Party, please make your choice based on your own decision of who will take the steps necessary to modernize the Party. We must have a full-time leader with the vision necessary to restructure our organization. We can't let our Party serve as a golden parachute for those who lost in 2004 -- we need the DNC staffed by the best and the brightest not the oldest and best connected. Our next Chair needs 100% dedication to the effort and must put the Party before any other concern. Recently there has been talk of a candidate running to protect his home state's antiquated primary tradition -- we can't afford to elect somebody with a conflict of interest and ulterior motives. We need reform.

Only by deciding our goals and quantifying our methods can we determine what is working and what isn't. We need to hold programs and people accountable. We lost and we can't be afraid to fire losers. The campaigns of tomorrow are far different from the campaigns of a decade ago -- we need to evaluate individuals by their value in a modern campaign. The railroads didn't hire the fastest Pony Express riders; they hired people who made good railroad engineers. Campaigns have gone through a similar sea change and our Party's future depends upon intelligent reaction to the new rules of politics.

We are reforming our local central committees but we need your vote to reform the Democratic National Committee. We are waiting for systematic reform, but the Party needs the grassroots more than we need the Party. We want to win and we will support the best vehicles for victory. We would like to continue our support for the DNC, but we're also members of Democracy for America and Moveon and the New Democrat Network. If the Party won't stand up for us, we know they will. We know they were built as modern organizations and a far more efficient than the Democrat Party. DNC members need to elect a new Chair who can compete with DfA, Moveon, and NDN or the party will be relegated to only hosting the convention. We are Democrats and we don't want the most moderate or least controversial Chair, we want a leader. So lead us or we will follow the visionaries at the reform organizations.

For more information, read I am a Reform Democrat on Daily Kos, the NDN Blog, Blog for America, Change for America or Democrat Blog Swarm.

If you have additional ideas on modernizing and reform the Democratic National Committee, please email me at bob.brigham [at] I am a Reform Democrat.

Posted by: Bob Brigham at November 21, 2004 02:27 PM