All posts by kid oakland

Donald Rumsfeld coming to Stanford

Donald Rumsfeld has been appointed to a post at Stanford’s Hoover Insititution. Leading Stanford faculty have registered their protest. The Stanford community has created a petition, which, if you are a member or alum, I encourage you to support.

For me, it is hardly surprising that Stanford’s Hoover Institution has chosen to bring Rumsfeld into its fold. Bush’s foreign policy was “born” on the Stanford Campus in the lead up to the 2000 presidential election with a meeting between Bush, former Secretary of State, George Schultz and Stanford faculty member and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Condoleezza Rice.

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Jim Zimbardo is having none of it:

Renowned professor emeritus of psychology Philip Zimbardo, who has publicly blamed Rumsfeld and other Bush Administration officials for the notorious abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, is among a protest petition’s “instigators,” as he put it.

“We think he has distinguished himself for all the wrong things than what the university should stand for and what America should stand for,” Zimbardo said Monday, adding that about 118 people had signed the petition by Sunday, but the number should increase rapidly when the academic quarter begins next week.

“Hoover is in a sense independent of Stanford but it’s always linked to Stanford,” Zimbardo said – the conservative public-policy think tank is located on the university’s campus, but the faculty senate has no input on its appointments. “They can have any fascist they want there, and they do… We’ve never protested before but this seems to be egregious. ” Zimbardo says Rumsfeld “created the conditions for troops to commit war crimes and torture by sidelining and disparaging the Geneva Conventions. He did so by approving interrogation techniques that violated the Geneva Conventions as well as the Convention against Torture, and by approving the hiding of detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

If you are a member of the Stanford community, sign the petition here.

Poor Dana

From an excellent piece in the Hill:

Amid new Justice Department activity in the Jack Abramoff case, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46) says he regrets a personal favor for the fallen lobbyist, a friend of more than 20 years. Rohrabacher said if he knew back in 2000 what he knows now about Abramoff’s illegal activities, he would not have agreed to serve as a reference for Abramoff’s loan application for $60 million to purchase SunCruz Casinos.

But wait, it gets bettter…

“Now that I know that he was wheeling and dealing and making a lot of bad decisions, I certainly wouldn’t have done it,” Rohrabacher said in an interview

But, hmmm, Susan Crabtree is not going to let the Congressman off that easy:

In 2005, the Washington Post quoted Rohrabacher as saying about the reference: “I don’t remember it, but I would certainly have been happy to give him a good recommendation” and “He’s a very honest man.

You’ll have to read the rest at The Hill. It’s good stuff what with mystery gifts of unnamed expense from Mr. Abramoff and other such lingering questions for Congressman Rohrabacher. Poor Dana is torn between his utmost repsect for the man and his, uh, need to distance himself from the indicted criminal.

Regardless, it turns out that the Congressman is another Republican who’s memory is failing him greatly lately. I guess Jack Abramoff is an eminently forgettable fellow. Funny how the election of 2006 caused this massive wave of amnesia…I mean oversight…for the GOP.

And don’t forget the kind of stuff Dana likes to say when he’s not waxing about Mr. Abramoff.

we all live in Richard Pombo’s district

You can drive the twisting, labyrinthine shape of California’s 11th Congressional district in less than a day but there are very few people who have ever done so.

Regardless of that gerrymandered reality, on November 7th the residents of locales as far flung and disparate as Morgan Hill, Stockton, Danville, Discovery Bay, Manteca, Tracy, Lodi and San Ramon are going to collectively decide who will best represent their district in the 110th Congress of the United States: Democrat Jerry McNerney or incumbent GOP Congressman Richard Pombo.

CA-11, make no mistake, belongs to neither of these two candidates. CA-11 belongs to its voters and residents, and, on November 7th, those voters alone will decide their district’s political direction.

In the meantime, I would like to reiterate a point I made exactly one year ago. Regardless of where you live: We all live in Richard Pombo’s District.

I would like to invite you to pull back for a moment from the contorted map of CA-11’s gerrymandered district boundaries to the broader map of the United States.

Currently, of 435 Congressional districts, the Republican Party holds 232 seats. That slim majority, which the GOP has enforced with ruthless party discipline and strong-arm partisan tactics, gives Congressman Richard Pombo the chairmanship of the United States House Committee on Resources, a position from which he has overseen the roll back, degradation and gutting of this nation’s environmental regulations.

To put it simply and in terms everyone can understand, Congressman Richard Pombo has proposed selling off the nation’s national park system: naming rights and whole parks at one time.

He’s that bad.  

Now, the current GOP majority in Congress has given Pombo his perch atop the House Resources Committee. (Heckuva choice, Congress!) Hence when it comes to land use and our nation’s public resources, more often than not, what Richard Pombo says goes. Every progressive environmental reform, every action taken by every citizen concerned about our water, air and natural resources is outweighed by the power and vote of this one man: Richard Pombo.

To which I have one thing to say: not for long.

Richard Pombo may or may not win reelection in 2006, but taking the bird’s eye view I know this much is true: a political party that acts like it owns the Congress of the United States, that treats our government like no more than its private property and partisan fiefdom does not deserve to and can not long lead this great nation.

Simply put, a party that entrusts Richard Pombo to oversee our natural resources, Michael Brown to protect us from natural disasters, and Mark Foley with the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, in no uncertain terms, does not deserve to govern.

We have elections every two years to correct exactly the kind of hubris that has infected the Halls of Congress in 2006. The GOP is not simply feloniously corrupt, they are, in October 2006, morally bankrupt and out of ideas. They can rig gas prices all they want, but we all know that the GOP gas tank is empty.

Whether it’s the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina or their warped view on “fixing” Social Security, the GOP is so far from having a credible plan to lead this nation forward that all they can do spew fear and spin the facts.

Richard Pombo’s been attacking Jerry McNerney on the issue of a nuclear North Korea for god’s sakes! We’re supposed to trust the party of Pombo to protect us from North Korea? Given the way things are going in Iraq, it’s difficult to see how a vote for Richard Pombo will protect us from anything.

Now, we all live in Richard Pombo’s district because the GOP majority that gave him power and pretends that it owns our Congress said so.

This November, we all have a say in whether that majority continues to govern our nation.  Across the country, whether you live in New Hampshire, or Indiana, or Colorado, or Texas, or Florida, or Connecticut, or Virginia, or New Jersey, or Tennessee…when you participate in this upcoming election you are sending a message to the nation and the world. You are a part of something much larger in scope that your local race and efforts.

Richard Pombo and the GOP majority don’t cut it. It’s our job this November to cut the GOP majority in Congress down to size.

There are heroes among us…all over this country…who have worked diligently and hopefully for this moment. Win or lose, on November 8th we will owe every last one of them a debt of gratitude and thanks. In the process, win or lose, we will have won so many new friends.

It takes courage to stand up to bullies like Richard Pombo and Tom DeLay. Those Americans who’ve stood up and fought, against long odds, in races where no one gave them any hope 12 months ago deserve our lasting credit and thanks. Their story, in my view, is the story of this election. We are all a part of something bigger than ourselves. When we opppose corrupt politicians like Richard Pombo, that’s the point.

In closing, I would like to invite you to pull back one more time and think of Planet Earth.  It’s our home; it’s also a finite resource dependent on responsible and diligent stewardship from every last one of us. In so many ways, if you live on this planet, you live in Richard Pombo’s district. If you breathe. If you drink water. If your children play in the sun…you live in Richard Pombo’s district, too.

As citizens of this planet, we have a choice over the next decades, we can work together, or we will drown apart. We’ve tried Richard Pombo’s way. It’s a dead end. It leads nowhere.

In Tracy and Lodi and Manteca and Morgan Hill…one by one…citizen to citizen…door after door…the voters of CA-11 are realizing that too. Richard Pombo does not own the seat representing CA-11 any more than the GOP owns the halls of the United States Congress.

We may all live in Richard Pombo’s district, friends, but not for long.  

Nope, not for long.

{This essay also appeared on the website and}

Breaking: Bilbray/Busby on Hardball tommorrow per WHP

(A good chance to see how Francine’s been doing now. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Hard working local blogger Words Have Power breaks the story that a Chris Matthews showdown is in the works for Francine Busby and incumbent GOP Congressman Brian Bilbray.

While the BREAKING header on this piece is an attempt at humor…I do have one serious piece of tactics to pass on to Francine for this TV showdown…

Busby should work on this material from a Spring debate she had with Bilbray:

On the issue of immigration, Bilbray emphasized that he has spent decades working to stem illegal immigration. He said he could not support amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Ask yourself, is it important enough to make sure your grandchildren learn Spanish because they want to, or because they have to? That’s the question,” he said.

Bilbray’s immigration policy makes no sense. He plays on fear of immigrants and offers nothing sensible in its place. Which is a lot like Donald Rumsfeld’s work in Iraq: all fear, no plan.  Francine Busby should call out Bilbray on the above quote and attitude; it represents everything that’s wrong about the GOP approach to problem solving.

Busby’s point of view: pragmatic immigration reform makes a great deal of sense…and it has appeal to independent voters and many Republicans according netroots polling.

Busby got every last Democratic vote she was going to get in CA-50.  To beat Bilbray, she has to bring Independents and some GOP voters to her side. I think she should address that head on and specifically ask those voters to compare her immigration reform proposals to Bilbray’s fearmongering.

Hell, I’d try something like this:

“I’m a proud Democrat, but I know that California 50 is a fiercely independent district with a strong Republican base. That’s why I’m inviting Republicans and Independents to look at the substance of my policy proposals and compare them side by side with Brian Bilbray’s. If you elect me, I will accept that scrutiny day in and day out. I’ll have to in this district, I’m a Democrat. I’ll put my immigration platform against Brian Bilbray’s any day of the week. Take a look. As a Democrat, I can’t just stand on a podium and sell you fear and vague ideas. I have to put up some substance, and I know it. Issue by issue, my positions reflect what the voters of CA-50 really think. I welcome a debate on immigration.”

Angelides, Bowen, McNerney and the grassroots angels

Occasionally, in the process of blogging and writing about local politics, something arrives in your email inbox that just hits you over the head and spanks your ass.

I’d like to use this essay to share just that kind of experience with you. I hope you’ll find it powerful. If you’re anything like me, it will give you a real kick in the pants. By way of providing background for this email, I’d first like to address the political situation here, on the ground, in my home state of California…

Let’s face it, the races in California are tough this year. There’s no getting around that fact. Even my own personal top three are tough:

  • Democrat Debra Bowen is locked in a tight race with GOP incumbent Bruce McPherson for Secretary of State.
  • Phil Angelides is taking it to a resurgent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • and Democrat and environmentalist Jerry McNerney is trying to topple, against all odds, entrenched GOP incumbent Richard Pombo in CA-11.
  • These are difficult, difficult races. But all three of them have deep political meaning and will impact the lives of every citizen of California for years to come.  In way of background, allow me five seconds to share my thoughts with you:

    Debra Bowen stands for election reform. She gets it. Further, Debra Bowen centers her campaigning squarely on that cause.  As countless activists have emphasized here in the netroots: there is nothing more sacred in American politics than one’s vote.  California deserves no less in a Secretary of State than Debra Bowen, and every Californian who cares about elections, should start caring about this race.

    Phil Angelides is a veteran California Democrat with a progressive core.  As California State Treasurer, Angelides initiated two programs that have impacted California families across the state. First, Angelides launched Scholar Share, a savings program that has seen 40,000 California families sock away $170 million for their children’s education taxed at the rate of the beneficiary, not the parent. Second, Angelides spearheaded the Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program whereby over 1000 California teachers have purchased their first homes and put down roots in communites that might otherwise seen a revolving door of teachers move in and out. Home ownership, education, innovative programs run with sound fiscal oversight…programs that lend a helping hand to Californians willing to help themselves: these are the mark of Phil Angelides leadership and exactly the focus that California’s citizens can expect from Phil as governor.

    Finally, Jerry McNerney is in the race for Congress in CA-11 for two reasons.  First, as Jerry has proven, time and again, he’s in it to win. And second, the Democrats in California’s 11th district have kept this ardent environmentalist and engineer in the race. Jerry won the June 2006 Democratic primary over the DCCC-favored candidate with 53% of the vote. That story means something: California 11’s voters want Jerry McNerney and when the going gets rough, Jerry doesn’t quit. Two years ago the Cook report and Larry Sabato wrote off Jerry in CA-11: not this time. In 2006, with strong grassroots support and, critically, the active support of labor and groups like the Defenders of Wildlife Fund, Jerry is taking the battle to Richard Pombo in CA-11 down to the wire.  This election will come down to turn-out and grassroots energy in the precincts. It’s critical that the citizens and activists in CA-11 know that they have, in Jerry McNerney, a candidate who will never quit…not this fall, and not when he arrives in Washington in 2007 to provide real leadership for CA-11.


    Now, that’s the background for an email exchange and discussion I had with my friend, Matt Lockshin, of SayNotoPombo, expressing some of my thoughts and fears about all three of these races. When I wrote Matt I was brainstorming…I was trying to come up with a blogging strategy and rhetoric that would help all three of these candidates overcome a persistent problem I have with the California Democratic Party: timidity in going after the GOP and a failure to generate a powerful and optimistic message of hope that we can use to energize the grassroots.

    Matt wrote back, like all good friends do, and what he wrote in his email put me in my place. In fact, it was so powerful I asked him if I could share it with you:


    The obvious conclusion stemming from the Lamont victory is that the people in DC don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Their “expert” pronouncements about the futility of fighting demoralizes a lot of the Democratic base. We need to convince people that every time they knock on a door or make a phone call for a candidate or issue, a little Democratic angel gets its wings.  

    You see, the point about the Democratic Party is that it cannot continue to be a party of people running for office. It must be our party. We need to see Jerry McNerney and Phil Angelides as our vehicles, not us as theirs. If we’re unhappy with the campaigns they’re running, then it’s our own fault. You think the Democrats in CA don’t have the power to go and rattle political cages and make our leaders address our issues in the way we need them to address them? It’s not about making them ideologues. It’s about ensuring that whatever latitude they have to stray from the Party line is latitude that we give them.  

    Of course, this isn’t how things are now. But that’s what will happen when people get invested in the Democratic Party instead of allowing themselves the luxury of simply being alienated from it all.   We can’t win by not trying.  But if everyone tries, there’s nothing that can stop us.


    That’s the kind of hopeful and fighting attitude that will help us win all three of these tough races. That’s the kind of attitude we Californians can take to every district in the State: whether it’s Charlie Brown’s battle against John Doolittle in CA-04 or Francine Busby’s effort to unseat Brian Bilbray in CA-50, or David Roth’s uphill insurgent struggle against Mary Bono in CA-45.  Hell, it’s the kind of thinking that should light a torch under every Democratic ass this fall.

    As Matt says, these are our races, these races are about us. And every phone call we make, every dollar we give, every door we knock, every block we walk is one more step in reclaiming this party for our children, our parents and ourselves.

    Matt’s vision of a little Democratic Angel getting its wings is funny and spot on.  I couldn’t not share it with you.  I hope it brought a smile to your face.

    I’m still frustrated and angry that with GOP opponents like Richard Pombo, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce McPherson that we California Democrats are so lackluster at this point in generating public energy for our cause. But there’s one thing I’m sure of: if we do win in November, it will be because of the persistent and determined work of people like Matt Lockshin and thousands of grassroots angels across these United States.

    Who are you calling a Californian?

    (Looky, Looky, Sen. Allen was in the O.C. over the weekend. I guess it’s ok to take money from Orange County, huh Sen. Allen? Did you avoid the macacas roaming the streets here in the heathen lands of California? – promoted by SFBrianCL)

    Lowell at the Raising Kaine blog has a great post pointing up this little bit of hypocrisy from the Virginia Senate race.

    George Allen, GOP Senator from Virginia, likes to talk about his Democratic challenger, Jim Webb’s “California ties” and “Hollywood connections”…I guess that means something pretty bad, huhn? Let’s see, after serving the United States as a decorated infantry officer in the Viet Nam war Jim Webb served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy in the administration of that notorious Californian and Hollywood employee, President Ronald Reagan

    In the context of the Virginia Senate race in 2006, California is now a bad word.  Hardly a surprise.  For Senator Allen, slurs and innuendo come easy, it seems.

    Now, given the above, you’d think that when the folks at Raising Kaine searched the FEC Database for Allen’s contributions there would be nary a California dime, right? Wrong.

    Hey, there’s nothing hypocritical about taking money from Californians and then bad mouthing the state at the same time, right?  And, unlike George Allen’s use/denial/apology for that ethnic slur, we Californians can cut Senator Allen some slack.  After all, Senator Allen was born here…and graduated from Palos Verdes High School.

    Now, for Californians upset about the way folks in this GOP Congress take our tax money, donations and technology and then attack our state in campaign after campaign, all the while propping up corporations like Enron that suck dollars from our senior citizens’ bank accounts, there’s an easy way to reply.  Hell, even if you’re not from California, but hypocrisy bothers you…it’s a safe bet that Jim Webb will accept your dollars, too.

    a challenge to the netroots

    (An interesting essay, and an important challenge. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

    At some point early last fall I got an email from a Berkeley grad inviting me to a Drinking Liberally event here in Oakland.

    I went.  I drank.  I was liberal.  And, in the process, I met Matt.  

    Matt and I rapped a bit and, as things go in the East Bay, subsequently hung out some more and had some interesting discussions about blogging and local politics.  I told Matt about how I had recently worked with this interesting Oakland progressive political activist, Joshua Grossman, who had some really vital ideas about local blogs and targeting for the 2006 Congressional races.  

    Matt and I, inspired by some of Joshua’s thinking, discussed the incredibly underused power of local blogs, we talked about how blogging might impact the 2006 Congressional races.  Par for the course, eh?   Well, then something really interesting happened…

    Matt went and did something about it.

    Matt just didn’t found a blog.  That would have been simple enough.  People do that every .0005 seconds it seems.

    Matt started a blog with the sole purpose of defeating Congressman Richard Pombo in California’s 11th Congressional District.  More than that, Matt got others involved, as well: folks like babaloo, VPO and Delta who volunteered to write and to attend events.  The blog these activist bloggers collaborated on, SayNotoPombo, has become, in my mind, a model for the interaction between netroots and grassroots activism on the local scale.

    The folks behind SayNotoPombo went to political meetings…and then wrote about those meetings online. That’s sunshine. The folks behind SayNotoPombo got to know the writers in the local press, and then covered their coverage of the race in CA-11.  That’s accountability.  Matt and his colleagues created a website that became a “must visit” for everyone who cares about the outcome of one of the most important Congressional races facing our nation.  SayNotoPombo raises money and awareness about Democrat Jerry McNerney’s run to defeat Congressman Richard Pombo in an innovative way that just didn’t happen in 2004.

    And that’s my challenge to the netroots today.

    You see, CA-11 is just one of many, many local races that deserve this kind of coverage…this level of netroots involvement. SayNotoPombo has shown that one can have a big impact in a very short period of time.  It’s not too late to do the same thing with a Congressional or local race near you.

    In fact, there’s never been a better time to start or join a local political blog.

    Now, you may ask, what’s the ulterior motive here? What’s the catch?  What’s the downside?

    Let me be honest and straight up.

    When I left the Front Page of dailyKos and took the proverbial step of “doing my own thing“…I learned some hard lessons about blogging.  

    It’s not the same out there on the wild, wild internet.  The number of readers you get on your little blogspot blog (or wordpress, or drupal, or typepad)…pales in comparison to the attention you can get here or the other big community blogs.  If you are looking for splash and the “thrill” of instant comments and recognition, if you’re looking for an “ego boost” or a hot discussion about what we all just saw on national TV…well, don’t get involved with local blogging.

    On the other hand, if you are looking to make an impact, if you are looking to build something that has a cumulative effect on your community, if you want to write where the netroots rubber hits the road: then I would argue building or contributing to a local blog like SayNotoPombo is the most significant thing you can do.

    In fact, I would go further.  I would say that if you believe that the time frame between this election cycle and November 2008 represents the moment when the netroots will play a crucial role in “Taking our Country Back” and “Crashing the Gates” then it behooves you to, in addition to participating here and your other favorite national blogs, get involved in local blogging.  If you can’t found a blog…then help with one that already exists.  (And there are so many exciting blogs out there begging for input.)

    If you don’t live in a district with a contested race where a progressive is fighting to take our country back, then find one close to you and pitch in.  This is our chance to up our leverage; to make netroots mean something more than the outrage of the day.

    Let me make this clear.  I’m a writer, not a politico. I’m best at expressing ideas in a way that get’s people exited and energized. My forte is getting people to see things in a way they might not have seen things before. But all that being said…in the course of working on my own small blog, in the course of working and discussing the 2006 elections with folks like Joshua Grossman and Matt, and in the course of doing a recent project on Progressive Electoral Politics on Booman Tribune one thing has become crystal clear to me:

    We need to increase the leverage of local blogs. We need to make it so that when folks in the press say the “netroots” they mean local bloggers just as much as they mean the national blogs that get most of the attention.

    There are so many good candidates who aren’t getting the focus they deserve. There are so many GOP villains out there who are getting away with a easy road to reelection simply because the netroots are so busy hyping the national outrage of the day that we simply cannot give Deborah Pryce or Elton Gallegly or Robin Hayes the attention they deserve.

    If you ask me, that’s a crying shame.   And that’s where local blogs come in.  When neighbors criticize a candidate, when we talk to each other and organize…that’s when the powers that be get nervous.

    I’m going to ask each of you to do me a favor tonight. Pick a GOP incumbent or a progressive candidate from your region on the list below (selected for their “B-list” yet winnable status) and click on the “google blog search” that I’ve hotlinked to.

    Make this race and the local blogs covering it “yours”. Adopt it. Take it on. Follow the stories and issues that surround your race or candidate or blog. Put the local blogs that cover it in your favorites bar. Write about them here on Calitics. Or, if you think you can do better, then by all means, start a local blog of your own. Better yet, get some activist friends to join you like Matt did. (And if you have a blog or race or candidate who’s more important…by all means…list it in the comments below.)

    I know this sounds goofy, but I’m convinced that it’s only when the online energy of the netroots links up with the offline activism expressed in local blogs that we will truly start to turn the tide.  2006 is when netroots must link up with grassroots.  The Lamont campaign was a great example of that.  As SteveinMI pointed out last night, there’s so much more work to do.

    It’s not too late.  All I’m asking you to do is click…and then get involved at the level you can.


    Western Region:

  • Heather Wilson (GOP Incumbent, NM-01, opposed by Democrat Patricia Madrid)
  • David Reichert (GOP Incumbent, WA-08, opposed by Democrat Darcy Burner)
  • Jon Porter (GOP Incumbent in NV-03)
  • Jack Carter (Dem, US Senate, NV)
  • JD Hayworth (GOP Incumbent, AZ-05)
  • Ed Perlmutter (Democratic Candidate CO-07 Open Seat)
  • Elton Gallegly (GOP Incumbent, CA-24)
  • Debra Bowen (Democratic Candidate for California Secretary of State)
  • Ted Kulongoski (vulnerable Democratic Governor of Oregon)
  • Gabrielle Giffords, Patty Weiss and Jeff Latas (Democrats running for the open seat in AZ-08)
  • Dennis Rehberg (GOP incumbent Montana At Large)
  • David Dreier (GOP, CA-26, lean GOP district, tough one)
  • Jim Ryun (GOP, KS-01) or, the longer shot effort by Dem John Doll in KS-02 (h/t Scout Finch).
  • Midwestern Region:

  • Mark Kirk (GOP Incumbent in IL-10)
  • Deborah Pryce (GOP Incumbent in OH-15)
  • Pat Tiberi (GOP Incumbent OH-12)
  • Joseph Knollenberg (GOP incumbent MI-09)
  • Claire McCaskill (Democratic Candidate for US Senate, MO)
  • Tom Latham (GOP, IA-04)
  • Amy Klobuchar (Democratic Candidate, US Senate, MN)
  • Gil Gutknecht (vulnerable GOP incumbent, MN-01)
  • Chris Chocola (vulnerable GOP incumbent IN-02)
  • Bruce Braley (running for the open seat in IA-01)
  • Paul Ryan (GOP, WI-01, tough one)
  • Thaddeus McCotter (GOP, MI-11, another tough one)
  • Steve Chabot (GOP Incumbent in OH-01)
  • Eastern Region

  • Curt Weldon (a vulnerable GOP incumbent in PA-07, opposed by Joe Sestak)
  • Jim Walsh (below-the-radar incumbent in NY-25)
  • Frank LoBiondo (an incumbent in NJ-02 who’s got to be feeling the heat now)
  • Jim Saxton (GOP, NJ-03)
  • Paul Hodes (running against GOP incumbent Charlie Bass, NH-02, h/t Miss Laura)
  • Tim Murphy (GOP, PA-18)
  • John McHugh (GOP, NY-23)
  • Charles Dent (vulnerable incumbent, Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District)
  • Deval Patrick (Dem Candidate, Governor MA, h/t dnta)
  • Nancy Johnson (vulnerable CT incumbent GOP Congresswoman, CT-05)
  • John Bonifaz (Dem voting rights champion for MA Secretary of State)
  • Jeb Bradley (NH-01, another vulnerable notheastern GOP incumbent)<
  • Phil English (under-looked at GOP incumbent in PA-03)
  • Melissa Hart, (GOP incumbent in PA-04)
  • Shelley Moore-Capito (the GOP West Virginian Congressperson, deserves our attention)
  • Southern Region

  • CW Bill Young (GOP incumbent in Florida-10)
  • Clay Shaw (GOP, getting a run for his money in FL-22)
  • Robin Hayes (GOP incumbent, NC-08 v Dem Larry Kissell)
  • Jim Webb v. GOP George Allen for US Senate in VA (h/t Delicate Monster)
  • MZM encrusted Virgil Goode in VA-05
  • Charles Taylor (GOP incumbent in NC-11, hot race)
  • Mike Rogers (little known in Alabama-03)
  • Thelma Drake (a GOP incumbent in VA-02 who I really hope gets some attention)
  • And three longer shots….Erik Fleming, Candidate for US Senate in Mississippi
  • Steve Sinton (Democratic Candidate for Congress, Georgia)
  • Anne Northup (the incumbent GOP Rep from KY-03, more Conservative than district by a mile)
  • That’s forty names in four regions.  I know there are easily forty more races that bear watching and giving our best efforts to.

    What I’m asking is simply that you pick one and dig in.  Make it your own, just like Matt did with SayNotoPombo.  Better yet, team up with some activist friends and “blur the line” between netroots and grassroots and found your own blog.  Working on a local blog will pay off as the local press pays attention to you; and, I can guarantee you, you will get google hits from Washington D.C. as GOP Congresscritters read up on what you’ve exposed them for.

    That’s a great feeling.

    It is not too late, and this race for the heart and soul of our government will not go to the swift but to the persistent.  

    Friends, that’s us!


    Update: For those serious about starting a local blog from scratch please read this essential, but unfortunately-titled, essay by Chris Bowers.  Very worthwhile tips and a must read for local bloggers to be.

    Local blogs mentioned in the comments section from the original diary on dKos:

  • asmokefilledroom (PA)
  • northcoastblues (OH)
  • (NJ)
  • Calitics (CA)
  • Yankee Doodler (Northeast)
  • Blue Granite (NH)
  • NH-02 Progressive (NH-02)
  • Louisiana Fourth(New tonight! LA-04)
  • states roots (USA)
  • truthandprogress (USA)
  • bluemassgroup (MA)
  • Juanita’s (TX)
  • the word from AZ’s fifth (AZ-05)
  • NotGeorgeAllen (VA)
  • rochester turning (NY)
  • art of the possible (NY)
  • the rural partriot (NY)
  • the walsh watch (NY-25)
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  • Santa Barbara Progressive
  • Ready Return: a Good Idea versus Business as Usual (and how you can help)

    Making paying taxes easier for working people and improving government efficiency may not seem to be breathtaking issues in the grand scheme of things; in politics, however, sometimes it’s the “small” and “local” issues that stand in for the bigger battles.  In fact, I’d argue that it’s often with a program like the one I’m about to tell you about, that a party makes its reputation for standing up for the people and for what’s right.  

    People remember the small things.

    With Ready Return, California State Democrats have a chance to do the right thing and to help the little guy.  Read below to find out what stands in the way and how you can help.

    The link you are about to click on below is to a page that lists the feedback of real California citizens regarding a State pilot program called Ready Return:

    * The program is innovative.
    * The program would increase California State Tax revenues.
    * The program would increase government efficiency.
    * The program puts into action the principle of citizen access to government information.
    * The program makes the lives of everyday taxpaying citizens less complex.
    * The program eases the burden of filing taxes for thousands of taxpayers who aren’t good at reading forms or doing math, some of whom actually don’t file tax returns for that very reason.
    * Finally, this program is poised to become law.

    Legislation written by a Stanford Law Professor and endorsed by a diverse range of Californians…from former GOP Congressman (and current Dean of the Haas School of Business) Tom Campbell to the Labor Union SEIU…would make this innovative program a part of our California State Law.

    But, there’s one more thing you should know before you click on the link and read the citizen feedback below: unless something happens to change minds in Sacramento, this program has little chance of passing.

    Read citizen feedback for Ready Return.

    Have you ever read comments like that about any government program before?   Much less one that deals with TAXES?  Yes, there is honest feedback about minor difficulties, but, for the most part, people who’ve tried it love Ready Return.  Simply put, everyday citizens…taxpayers… found that Ready Return made filing their taxes easier.   They used this program and they liked it.

    Now, there’s a reason for that.  For the majority of wage earners with basic taxes, people who receive standard paychecks from one employer, the State of California already has all the information needed for them to file an accurate return.  The principle behind Ready Return is straightforward:  instead of making these taxpayers come up with their tax information independently…ie. do the math and paperwork on their own…why not send them the accurate information the government already has?  Why not let them file their return right then and there on their home computer?  It’s a simple and elegant solution in a zone, taxation, where simple and elegant solutions are hard to come by.  More than that, it’s a government program that works for working people.

    What on earth would stop the California State Legislature from passing the Ready Return bill into law?

    If I told you that a consortium of business interests representing the Tax Preparation industry had made an alliance with both the GOP and a segment of the Democratic caucus in the California legislature, would it come as a surprise?

    Be surprised, be very surprised.  As Lawrence Lessig wrote in Wired magazine:

    Soon after Ready Return was launched, lobbyists from the tax-preparation industry began to pressure California lawmakers to abandon the innovation.  Their opposition was not surprising: if figuring our your taxes were easy, why would anyone bother to hire H&R Block?  If the government sends you a completed form, why buy TurboTax?

    But what is surprising is that their “arguments” are having an effect.  In February, the California Republican caucus released a report highlighting its “concerns” about the program-for example, that an effort to make taxes more efficient “violates the proper role of government.”  Soon thereafter, a Republican state senator introduced a bill to stop the Ready Return program.

    Inefficiency has become a virtue in government-and not just in California.  Last year, the US Senate passed a funding bill with an amendment prohibiting the IRS from developing its own “income tax electronic filling or preparation products or services.”

    Ready Return is a great idea, but it lacks a natural constituency to fight for it in our State House.  Working people work, and, let’s be frank, when it comes to the powers that be in Sacramento, there aren’t many champions of the little guy.  

    Ready Return’s author, Stanford Law Professor Joseph Bankman has made passing this bill a labor of love.  He’s even hired his own lobbyist in hopes of opening doors in Sacramento.  When I asked him what would be the most significant step everyday Californians could take to help pass this legislation, his answer was simple:  call or write your State Representatives and tell them you support Ready Return in your own words.

    (Here’s a link that tells you how to locate the name and website of your California State Senator and Assemblyperson by entering your zip code.)

    In the face of GOP opposition and powerful industry lobbyists working both sides of the aisle, Ready Return will need every Democratic vote it can get.  

    Business as usual in Sacramento shouldn’t be allowed to block a great idea that works.

    the California five

    (Take back the House! – promoted by SFBrianCL)

    I was at a party for East Bay Young Democrats the other night…and one of the activists there grilled me on who the vulnerable Congressional Democrats in California are based on the analysis I did with Joshua Grossman: Starting with the Districts

    Here they are, in all their glory.  The California Five.  We’ll all be talking a lot more about these districts as the year progresses.

    The California Five:

  • CA-11, Richard Pombo
  • CA-26, David Dreier
  • CA-50, Vacant (formely Duke Cunningham)
  • CA-24, Elton Gallegly
  • CA-45, Mary Bono
  • These are the five vulnerable GOP districts in California….districts whose voters are most open to a Democratic message but are now represented by Republicans.

    Pombo, Dreier, Gallegly and Bono are all cogs in the machine that’s brought Californians the corrupt mess in Washington exemplified by Cunningham and DeLay.  All four of them voted YES on the recent Budget Bill gutting student loans and Medicare.  You can see by their voting records on Progressive Punch that there is virtually NO DIFFERENCE between these four.  No daylight, no moderation.  With the GOP, it’s a rubber stamp congress.  When they say they’re independent…we have to say BS.

    We need five credible candidates, five well-funded campaigns, five grass roots fueled efforts…and we need to roll up our sleeves and use the blogosphere to make it known that with the GOP voting in lock step for two decades: as much as they’d like to pretend otherwise…they’re all tied to Tom DeLay.

    I know that there is a ton of work to do in each one of these districts.  There is no time to lose.

    I’m posting here on Calitics because, we NEED this blog, we NEED this discussion.

    Anyone interested in these races or in coordinating activism state-wide please write me at:


    I’m all ears.