Monday, December 29, 2008

I just turned off my wireless router at home

I also noticed this one:

Cell Phones May be Wiping out Bees and Affecting Health of Humans

So, let me remind everyone of a specific advertising campaign:

The human race is committing suicide. There's no other way to say it. I think we should stop. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Уважаемые русского народа

Dear Russian People,

This is not a game. The Cold War ended in 1991. We are no longer rivals. Our world is in danger. We must solve these problems together.

Это не игра. Холодная война закончилась в 1991 году. Мы не враги. Наш мир находится в опасности. Мы должны решать эти проблемы сообща.

I do not know why our leaders still argue with each other. And it no longer matters. We have the Internet. We have Google Translate. We can talk to each other. We can learn from each other. We can help each other. There should be no walls between us.

Я не знаю, почему наши руководители все еще спорят друг с другом. И это уже не вопрос. У нас есть Интернет. Мы Google Translate. Мы можем говорить друг с другом. Мы можем учиться друг у друга. Мы можем помогать друг другу. Там должно быть никакой стены между нами.

There is something you can do. It is something that we had to learn to do again. Talk to your neighbors about the future. Put aside your fear. Make your democracy work for you.

Существует то, что вы можете сделать. Это то, что мы должны были научиться делать снова. Поговорите со своим соседям о будущем. Существует больше ничего бояться. Сделайте вашу демократию работа для вас.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Re: Rev. Rick Warren's Speech

I'm starting to rethink the Warren thing. At first it didn't really bother me too much. I'm honestly interested in listening to his speech to see what he says to the Evangelicals around the country about the change that is coming. But then I saw the Facebook group against the speech.

I'm starting to see that this 2 minute speech is the first opportunity for people who feel strongly about a progressive cause to rally together and stand up against something that Obama is doing that people feel is not in the nations best interest. And it seems to be the first appointment, granted just for 2 minutes on that day, that people are organizing to stop.

DFA's mantra is "power to the people", right? I've seen complaints and objections raised to several of Obama's cabinet picks, but no organized movement has started to lobby against them. If Rick Warren's appointment does nothing else, it will help people understand that the power is still in their hands if we can get enough people to stand up and say no to this. Even if we can't get the President-Elect to pull back the invitation, "turning our backs on bigotry" at the event itself will be a strong message to the inside the beltway crowd that we don't have to, and won't, put up with Right-Wing nonsense any longer.

The speech Rev. Warren gives may be 2 minutes long. Our ability to organize around our own objections to this appointment may result in something much longer lasting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stand on two feet

One of the frustrations that I've had over the last 4 years has been the attitude that the membership door is a one way valve. That if you're not doing what the party organization is doing that you're not really helping the Party. That if you're not attending the meetings, you're not really a Democrat. It goes to the perception that the "Democratic Party" is a election machine, and nothing else. That perception is not held by people on the inside, but it is often what we hear from people who feel like they are on the outside.

I want the Democratic Party to be able to say that we support Democracy. Democracy stands on two feet. The first is political, and we have responsibilities as an organization to fulfill our responsibilities to provide a place for candidates and campaigns to get endorsements and report their successes and needs, as well as a responsibility to provide a way for our members to get access to our elected officials.

But the other "foot" is economic. Job security, economic security, etc. That's what we're all striving for, and any organization that ignores this for political posturing is not going to be a strong organization for long. We've started over the last 5 years to regain a picture of what we lost in the 1990's when the party in King County started focusing on finding candidates instead of recovering the support of the voters, but we haven't regained it yet. I think we can, and I want to empower people with ideas so we might get closer to that.

Meetings are twice a month for the executive board, and once a month for members who don't want to attend the eboard meetings. 2-4 hours isn't enough time to get anything done, but it is enough time to talk about and report on what we do outside the meetings. Let's turn the Democrats back into a Community Organization, rather than just an Electoral Machine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

digital frustrations

Shockwave keeps crashing, AVG takes forever, and Gmail has been super super slow over the last week. GRRRRR!!!

A day in the life of a digitalholic, I guess.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dear President-Elect, on Water

Dear President-Elect Obama,

I hope that our national and local water systems that draw from natural sources, provide the water for our homes and businesses, and process the waste water and sewer systems so we can return that water back to nature in the same or better condition than how we received it will be on your priority list for the infrastructure improvements and investments being considered. So many people in our country take water for granted, and I don't think we can afford to do that any longer. We must recognize that our future depends on linking our residential, industrial and commercial systems into the natural systems that we depend on for survival.

Appointing someone within the Interior Department as the Deputy Secretary for Water would be a huge step in the right direction. This position could coordinate Federal regulations and laws to push state and local governments towards sustainability. Our growth management standards must reflect reality, not just draining aquifers until we turn land into deserts.

I look forward to hearing other ideas on this important topic from within the administration.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Email thread on Gun Control

Why should it require the ability to kill someone else for us to feel safe in our own homes? Why not give people jobs so they don't have to steal to get what they want?

As far as the lack of law enforcement, how much of the budget of your local police department is now under threat because of the loss of tax revenue? Do you believe that taxes should be increased so that we have police officers walking the street to prevent crime instead of simply recording it after it happens? So do I.

I don't need a gun to protect my property. I need a society where people don't feel the need to steal. Crime has gone up over the last decade because of the loss of employment opportunities and the erosion of our social and legal foundations. What I have worked for throughout my life is for security. I personally feel like having a weapon in my house would make me less secure. If a gun is registered to me, there would always be the threat of having that gun stolen and used in another crime. I don't want that to happen. I feel safer not having a handgun, and I don't need or enjoy hunting. I'm a good shot with a rifle, but only at a shooting range. I actually enjoy archery more.

Country, Firearm Homicide rate per 100,000 people vs. overall Homicide rate per 100,000

Source: Wikipedia

Canada, 0.54 vs. 1.58
England & Wales, 0.12 vs. 1.57
Australia, 0.31 vs. 1.57
United States, 2.97 vs. 7.52

Which of these four countries is statistically safer for us to live in?

Violent crime does not depend on guns. Violent crime depends on criminals who don't care what the consequences of their actions are. That's not going to be changed by giving everyone the ability to kill their neighbors. It will be changed by giving people the ability to employ their neighbors and/or to find employment themselves so they can support themselves and their families, feel secure about their future, and live the American Dream.

I served 6 years in the US Navy, defending the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I consider the fear that people have of other members of our own community to be the greatest enemy we have or will ever face.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Darold Stenson

Dear Gov. Gregoire,

To take a life is evil. To repeat such evil is to condone that evil. I oppose the death penalty on that principle. I am willing to pay the taxes necessary to give Darold Stenson his life. I do not believe that the end justifies the means. By showing compassion, we would show the world that the means become the end.

Please grant Darold Stenson a chance to teach us how to prevent such crimes in the future, instead of ending a life.

Chad Lupkes

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can we please stand for something?

In a conversation last night about the upcoming Elections Director election on February 3rd, I made the mistake of bringing up the platform of the King County Democrats as being important for getting the support of the County machine. I was told "the platform doesn't matter, we just have to win this one."

I'm tired of the Democratic Party being considered by people on the inside and the outside as being an electoral machine. Just throw them a bone now and then, and let them do the work of the campaign season.

Here's that bone back. BONK!

Winning elections is a positive result of effective organizing. Organizing people for a political campaign requires that the people working on that campaign know what the candidate stands for, and supports their vision strong enough to distract them from their lives enough to help with an election. The alternative, which seems to have been the standard for the last 20 years, is to get lots of money and hire people who know enough about election machines to win the election. Oh, and who can come up with some bones every now and again.

I'm tired of those kinds of candidates winning elections and pushing legislation and executive decisions that make me want to scream.

When filing is over on December 12th, I hope that the King County Dems will organize a candidate forum, inviting every single candidate. The first part of the event should be a presentation of what the party platform says about elections, as it applies to this new King County Elections Director. Then we hear from the candidates, and find out what they stand for. Then we open it up to questions from people who want to join a campaign that stands for what they want. Then we build the campaigns of the candidate that we support, and at the reorganization meetings we hold endorsements votes. Then we build the campaign some more.

Then we win.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We can weather failure

"I have this great idea that will get people engaged, educated and empowered! If I just build this brand new website, or conduct this training that I've been trained myself to give, then everything will come together and we'll be on our way into a brand new world!"

Ever heard this? Ever said this? I have. And I've been left holding the bag, or the website, or the bill for the meeting location when 5 people showed up for a place capable of handling 150. It hurts. And it's left me with an understanding of what it takes to build a movement, sustain a movement, and succeed at something with a movement. I'd like to give everyone that chance to learn, and give our district, our party and our country a chance to succeed.

If you have an idea, and I'm talking mostly to North Seattle mostly but it applies to anyone anywhere, and you think you can make something work, conduct a training, hold an event, or whatever, ask me. If I like your idea, if you can sell your idea, I'll support it however I can. Because we can weather failure. We can learn from mistakes and do things better next time. We can do that.

What we can't do, and shouldn't do, is not try things. We can't waste energy, but we shouldn't be afraid to invest with risk if the payoff might be good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear President-Elect Obama,

I am reading news articles saying that President George Bush's administration will be able to escape any and all investigations into what they have been doing over the past 8 years. I believe this is the wrong signal.

The only way to move into a future filled with hope and promise is if we learn the lessons of the past and take steps to ensure that the mistakes and the abuse cannot be repeated by future administrations. If crimes have been committed, they need to be investigated and the criminals brought to justice. That is a foundation of our laws and moral code.

Turning the page does not mean covering up the past with paperwork. I worked hard over the last 12 months to elect a leader who would fulfill my hopes for the future. And part of those hopes depended on holding the current administration accountable for the erosion of our foundations. Legal, Social, Financial and Physical, all aspects of our national foundation need to be secured for future generations.

Please. Let Congress fulfill their duty to the American People. Let the investigations continue, and let Justice roll down the mountain like a mighty river.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's a new day!

Activism is defined as finding an answer to three questions. "What decision is being made", "who is making that decision", and "how can I influence that decision". Frequently in political circles, those questions are directed towards legislative, executive or judicial decisions. For a political organization, our focus becomes the voters that we are trying to influence to support our candidates, our campaigns, and our positions on important issues. Between election cycles, we pay close attention to our elected officials and the bills that they are considering and debating. It's easy to get lost in the effort of supporting this policy, that bill, or that court case. It's easy to get totally focused on an election season or specific campaign, which many of us can relate to from the experience of the last two years or for some of us even longer.

It's sometimes harder to keep our attention on the real reason we are making the effort, and the reason that those efforts are worthwhile. I'd like to have us keep in our minds a different level of activism. Community activism can still be defined as finding an answer to the questions above. But the focus is different. When we work on community activism, we make contact with people who are trying to decide whether they should buy a gallon of milk, or a gallon of gas. We talk to people who are deciding whether to save for retirement, or save for their children's education. We work to help people worried about whether to pay their medical bill or their mortgage. People are making those choices in our community right now, from the person riding next to you on the bus to the person working next to you all day long. Your friends may be facing hard times, and even your own family may be affected. So how can we influence those decisions? By getting, and by staying, active.

What our Democratic Party organizations are focused on are kitchen table issues. We want to influence the development of policy, legislation and our courts so that people making the really hard decisions about their lives get a little more confidence that they can make those decisions with a sense of their community at their back, instead of feeling like their lives are a burden on their back.

2008 was a transformative election year. But the work goes on. As we begin to focus on local city and county races, as we pay close attention to the upcoming legislative session in Olympia and Washington D.C., as well as the ongoing debates about policy and municipal legislation that affect our ports, our cities, our schools and our trees, let us keep our focus on our community, making those daily decisions a little easier for ourselves and the people around us so that we can walk into the future together.

It's a new day. Let's make it a great one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Click. Watch. Awaken.

I'll probably get called a conspiracy theory nut for posting this. I don't much care. There is truth behind this, even if the details are skewed by bias.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Demogram Ad

I'm running this ad in the next Demogram:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I am running for Chair of the 46th

I'm running. I made the announcement at the last Executive Board meeting.

So what does this mean? A few things. I won't be running for chair of the State Progressive Caucus, because I want to focus on the 46th LD and King County. I'll also have to close or pass on some of the other websites that I've been in charge of over the last few years, like Democracy for Washington and Progressive Democratic Caucuses of Washington. I've learned a lot, and it's time to get to work.

Barack Obama was elected on a wave of change, with the people wanting the United States to live up to our ideals. I want to bring that kind of change down to the local level in North Seattle. The purpose of the 46th District Democrats according to the bylaws is:

The purpose of the organization shall be to promote citizen participation in the Democratic Party, advance the 46th District Democrats’ platform, and support and work for the election of Democratic candidates and candidates for nonpartisan office who demonstrably espouse the principles contained in that platform.

I believe that this purpose statement is missing something. At the last Executive Board meeting, Bernadette described the impression and feedback that she has been getting from the PCO's and volunteers who were active in the 2008 election season. Most people want to stay involved, and want to participate. But they don't want to attend meetings where we argue about resolutions. There are people who do want to deal with resolutions, and there are certain resolutions that catch the attention of people who normally would not want to deal with them. What I see is the need to articulate our organizational purpose as "to promote civic participation, especially within the Democratic Party." The last year has seen people wanting to get involved, and I believe that we can provide a place and a way for them to do that without getting bored out of their minds by district business that doesn't excite them.

There are currently two types of events that the organization is focused on. General Membership meetings and Executive Board meetings. We do have other events, but there hasn't been enough attention paid to them. I want to change that. I want a 1st Vice Chair who will take on the need for events outside the box and beyond the regular meetings to keep people engaged between elections. I also believe this 1st Vice Chair should be able to take on the fund raising needs of the district, with the help and idea factory that is our active membership.

According to our bylaws, the jobs of the two 2nd Vice Chairs is assigned by the Chair. Right now we have Betty Means as the 2nd Vice Chair for Membership, and I think she has been doing a fantastic job. Having control over our membership information is critical in order to be able to encourage civic participation. The other Vice Chair position I want to talk about. Membership is appropriately one of our top priorities, in order to achieve the revenue stream necessary to maintain and grow operations. My other priority is Outreach, something that we have intended to do for the past 4 years that I've been involved in the Party, but has always been put to the side. During 2008, while Gerry was focused on his campaign, Javier took on the job of arranging programs for the district meetings. It worked rather well. When I was at the KCDCC Honors Party, I had elected officials coming up to me who had been told that I was running, asking for time in future meetings. I think the meeting programs will build themselves, and I'm open to ideas on what the membership wants to happen, who they want to hear from, and what kinds of questions they want answered by candidates running for office and elected officials who are doing our business with our tax dollars. What I want the other Second Vice Chair to work on is outreach. There are dozens of community organizations in North Seattle. I started building a list when I built the website.

There are also dozens of Advocacy organizations that help to advocate for our values and platform planks.

How strong the connection is between these groups and our district organization is a question that I want an answer to. And whereever we are starting out, I want those connections strengthened and expanded. We have a list of unions that represent people who live and work in North Seattle. What contracts are coming up for review, and how strong is the community supporting those workers? How can we make it stronger? How can we help?

I also do not want to leave the business community to the other party.

If 80% of the people living in North Seattle vote for Democrats, then I find it highly likely that 80% of the workers in North Seattle vote for Democrats, and just as likely that 80% of the business owners vote for Democrats. Why? Because they are the same people.

This is the kind of networking that I want to be a focus for our district organization. I believe that it will help us build a stronger community, and a larger and more influential political organization. And I want one of our Vice Chairs to be in charge of building this network. Let's make it obvious that we take this very seriously.

One other thing I want to mention. The district has a set of committees defined in the bylaws. I will treat these as committees, with chairs, members, goals, milestones and tasks. I will ask the committee chairs to provide regular reports on what they are doing, how they are doing, and what our members can do to help. I don't want the responsibilities of these committees to be on the shoulders of a single person, and I don't want these committees to be forgotten in the run-up to the elections in 2009 or 2010. This is the business of our district, and I want that business to get done.

As soon as the election was over, I started trying to focus my attention on the November meeting, the holiday party, the Reorganization, and holding our elected representatives, both familiar and new, accountable to our platform and the issue-based resolutions that have passed and will pass our membership over the next legislative session. For all of us, it's time to focus on building on what we did in 2008 and not letting people in North Seattle think that we are a GOTVote organization. We need to be a community organization, every year, every month, every day. That's what I want to build over the next two years, and I need your help.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Transforming the Money Shadow

Debi sent me this article:

"Transforming the Money Shadow" by Deborah Price

Do any of us really understand Money? I'm leaning towards advocating that we set natural laws for money, similar to energy and matter. As in can neither be created or destroyed. I'm sure Bailey is going to say that this would destroy the world.

It's time we grew up as a civilization and learned the lessons of history. We need to break out of the web of debt that we are in. We need to take control of the Federal Reserve, which issues the money. We need to eliminate derivatives, and stop FTD's. I don't mean the flower guys, I mean "Failure To Deliver" on stocks and trades. Another name for it is "naked short selling", and it's against the law. has an article about it.

The first step is to educate ourselves on the subject.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

off the top of my head

Yo. Bring it. Meaning the change we need, not the fear that makes us bleed. Hope is not just a word, we're going to slay the dragon with that sword. Bring hope to the American people, and do what is necessary to wake up the sheeple.

And, here's a fun video that I'm sure some people are going to freak out over. In fact, many already have if you read the comments. Ah, isn't that too bad.

"Oh voters in America, Obama is thy name. If you're voting for change, Obama is the right man. The change will come, Thy will be done, as it is in American Dream."

"Thy will" is referring to the will of the American People. Enjoy:

Heard on NPR

Rosa sat so that Martin could walk.

Martin walked so that Obama could run.

Obama ran so that our children could fly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Metro Transit Shortfall

The Fall 2008 report from my King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson mentions a proposed $0.50 fare increase that County Executive Ron Sims has put on the table for the budget discussions. We had an increase of 25 cents last year. Costs are going up. Way up. I'd like to talk about the numbers we are talking about.

The question I want to ask in reply to this quarterly update was this:

Has anyone done a calculation to show people how the current fare balances tax revenue and the rider fares? I think it would be interesting to see, and to show the voters in King County, what the fare would be if the system were exclusively paid for by riders, as well as what the taxes would need to be to be able to reduce the fare to zero. Knowing that we are maintaining a balance between these two extremes might go a long way to calming people's anxiety about how much the service costs and just how much it is worth. I currently pay for a $1.75 bus pass on a monthly basis, costing me $63.

I'm sure that someone has done this before, but insomnia gave me the motivation to try and figure it out for myself. The King County Metro Transit, 2007 Annual Management Report gave me the numbers that I'm working with here.

Here's a table of expenses over the last few years.

Passenger Boardings
Operating Expense
Bus Operating Cost per Boarding
Bus Operations Revenue per Boarding
Expense per Boarding

I'm not sure where the exact numbers for "Bus Operating Cost per Boarding" come from, because the Expense / Boardings ratio is the actual math. But what it shows is the amount of money that would be required by people getting on the bus to pay for the operations of the system. This does not include Capital costs, like building the Transit Centers, Bus Barns and Maintenance Yards. I ride the bus, and of course I'd rather pay the $1.75 or even lower, but it's useful to see that increasing the fare to $2.25 would not match the nearly $4 cost to Metro of providing me the service. By the way, $1.75 to $2.25 is a 28.57% increase. Hold that thought.

Let's look at the other side of the coin. Here are some more numbers from the 2007 Operating Report.

Operating Revenue
Non Operating Revenue
Sales Taxes
Total Revenue

Operating Revenue includes the fares, passes and other things. Sales Taxes are only part of the Non Operating Revenue, although they are the largest part by far. I think we have enough numbers now to play "What If".

If we were going to increase fares so that the 117,492,162 riders covered the entire revenue of $675.6 Million, each person would have to pay $5.75. Per trip. Considering that the calculation they give for how much people actually pay for a ride, $0.81, that's off the charts.

If we were to increase Sales Taxes to cover the entire revenue, we would need a 57.4% increase in that portion of the tax.

My momentum on looking at numbers is running out, after a few hours of looking things up and trying to understand what I'm looking at. So I'm going to finish this by talking about principles. Our revenue sources for transportation are unbalanced in my opinion. Sales taxes are used for Transportation,

The background information about the 2008 fare increase, available here, gives us this paragraph:

Additional revenue would increase financial stability

Sales tax revenues – the bulk of Metro’s funding – can vary dramatically with changes in the economy. By increasing the percentage of its funding that comes from fares, Metro would have a more stable, predictable revenue source.

I don't see that. If we want a "stable, predictable revenue source", we should not be depending on any one source, or even two sources. Sales Taxes do depend on the economy, certainly. But ridership and fare revenue also depend on the economy. People take transit to go back and forth to work, as well as shopping and "touristy" stuff like going downtown for dinner and a movie, or seeing friends. In economic slumps, the number of these trips can vary wildly. Even property tax revenue isn't constant year after year, and while I would personally advocate for putting some of the cost of our transit options beyond just the roads on property tax bills, I don't think it's a 100% solution any more than anything else. What we need is a balance between all of the various revenue sources that provides us with the resources we need to provide the services that we want. I need to repeat that number of 117.5 Million people using the bus again here because those people obviously want Metro service. The only other revenue source that I have not mentioned so far is Income taxes.

Barack Obama wants to give an Income Tax break to 95% of us, with the lower incomes getting more than the higher incomes. John McCain wants to give a tax break to everyone, with the higher incomes getting the most. How much of what we pay in Income Taxes in Washington come back to us to help pay for things like Transit? Not much. Because all of that revenue is collected by the Federal Government and used for the Federal Budget. The State doesn't have an Income Tax. King County can't asses one, even though we have quite a few very wealthy individuals, many of whom WANT their income tax dollars helping to pay for things like transit so their employees can get to work here in Washington State instead of paying for pork projects in other states. But do we have a real proposal about Income Taxes in Washington? Is anyone willing to look at the numbers and discuss how we balance our revenue sources so Metro doesn't get hit with a $70 Million shortfall this year? Anyone? Governor? Media?

Nah... It might make Tim Eyman come up with another hair-brained idea.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

John Stewart on the "s" word

And for those who think that clip was doctored:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saving the King County Fair

Reading this article, I am saddened by the lack of imagination and vision in the County Executive's office. I understand that we are in the middle of a financial crunch, but we are also in the middle of a cultural transformation period the likes of which civilization has not seen since the end of the Roman Empire. No, I'm not kidding. The "localization movement" is just getting started. Our energy infrastructure needs to change from centralized to distributed. The job market is changing to "Green Jobs". The next decade will see the greatest transformation of our economy that we have seen since the first Industrial Revolution. King County needs to step up to the plate, not use a hatchet on the budget.

I can think of a number of things that could keep the King County Fair going.

Giving the food vendor spots over to local restaurants instead of national junk-food chains is a start.

Open up the market stalls to the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

In additional to 4H, Future Farmers of America and other agriculture based youth organizations, open up one of the buildings for a giant Jr. High and High School level science fair.

Invite local and national renewable energy manufacturers and service providers to give talks and lectures, instead of vendors like "Jay the Juiceman", talking about how people can increase the energy efficiency of their homes, how they can increase recycling at work, how they can volunteer to help keep up our parks and wild spaces.

Make part of the fair a giant job-hunters market, where people looking for work can meet small and medium sized businesses looking for good people.

The King County Agricultural Fair has been going since 1863. Maybe it's time for an evolution. King County has one third of the population of the entire state of Washington. If attendance for the King County Fair has been dropping, it's most likely because we are still thinking of a Rural fair in an Urban/Suburban county. Changing our thinking, and asking ourselves what a Fair would be like if we thought outside of that box, is the first step to re-engaging people in 2008/2009.

I hope that we can find a way to keep the Fair part of our tradition here in King County. Large community events like this are important, and need our support.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Is the BIAW evil?

The BIAW is fighting a huge battle against progressive values in this state. Duh. And it's a wonderful political boggieman.

My good friend Gerry Pollet is running against another good friend, Scott White. He's behind in fundraising, and he did not win the Primary. However, thanks to our anti-party public in Washington State which passed I-872 in 2004, and a U.S. Supreme Court that doesn't believe in using their imaginations, both Gerry and Scott will be on the ballot in November. I'm supporting Scott, for a lot of reasons. But I respect Gerry as well. So this is tough.

Gerry sent out an email yesterday stating the claim that Scott had accepted money from the BIAW. Ok, well, not the BIAW, but an "arm" of the BIAW. A PAC. That he does not name. But it's the BIAW, right? It's all the same boggieman, right?

Good question. And it's a question that I have not found a clear answer to. Gerry refers to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that describes how this all works, and lists all of the Democrats getting money from the BIAW. Or at least the arms of this terrible political octopus.

Several Democrats interviewed about the contributions made a distinction among the BIAW's PAC, the Washington Affordable Housing Council, the Master Builders PAC, the Affordable Housing Council and other local builders' action committees. They said they work with the builders in their communities on a variety of issues, and although those local groups are members of the BIAW, they don't always share the same hardball political bent.

Seattle PI

There's also a PI Blog entry on the topic of Gerry's letter and Scott's response.

Lets put some more links on the table.

BIAW Local Associations

Scott has raised more than $110,000 dollars in this campaign. $800 of that was from the "Affordable Housing Council", which is the political arm of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. The MBA-KS is an arm of the BIAW.

I found a page about the AHC on the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties website. Scott is not on their endorsement list. House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43) is. And they gave a contribution to another good friend of mine. Richard Conlin, from the Seattle City Council. So did they give $800 to a candidate that they did not endorse? I don't know.

Building homes is not a partisan issue. Should it be? Can we honestly say that anyone who runs on a platform of helping people live the American Dream should not take any contributions from the people who swing the hammers to build those homes?

Public financing will do a lot to help with this. But the first thing we have to do is stop going crazy. Is the BIAW an evil organization? Define evil. I'm getting a headache.

And I still support Scott. Because I believe that he will do a better job building coalitions in Olympia to help support the progressive values and issues that I stand for and that the 46th District Democrats stands for.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The spider and the fly

"'Will you walk into my mortgage ?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little mortgage that ever you did spy.
The way into my mortgage is up a variable rate,
And I have many curious things to show when by these rules we skate."
"Oh no, no," said the little fly; "to ask me is in vain,
For who accepts your variable rate can ne'er be out of debt again."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

email to my Dad

It's not because it was written by a Republican, it's because this is the truth, and the American People can't handle the truth.

The program that the author is referring to was started under Bill Clinton. The effort was trying to get more minority families to "own their own homes". The program decided that someone qualified as an "owner" when they qualified for a mortgage, so the objective became tainted from the very beginning. We don't "own" our homes until the mortgage is paid off. Until that point, we don't hold the title to the property and it can be taken away if we fall on hard times.

So, the easiest way to show that more minorities "owned" their homes was to make more people qualify for mortgages. Lower the requirements, lower the standards, lower the bar, and "Mission Accomplished". Both James Johnson and Franklin Raines, CEO's of Fannie Mae, got huge kickbacks for their efforts. George W. Bush announced his support for the program in 2002 as well. 10 years from the start of that effort, we have another Great Depression staring us in the face.

Mortgages should be dependent on having an income that can support the payments over the long term. They should have a high initial deposit requirement, Cash On Hand. They should be a fixed rate through the life of the loan. If a family will be spending more than 33% of their income on the mortgage, they should not qualify for the loan. Creating the secondary mortgage market in the 1930's was the only way to keep people in their homes, but it should have been phased out in the 1950's and 1960's when most working people had incomes capable of supporting the structure of the economy. The Reagan tax cuts should not have been passed by Congress. NAFTA, GATT, the WTO, etc should never have been approved. Our manufacturing sector should not be outside of our borders, and the derivatives market should not have been allowed to exist. Thank you Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and the Congress of the 1990's. The Democrats in Congress in the 1990's were a joke, with a few exceptions like Paul Wellstone.

It's a mess. The solution is to get back to what worked. Tariffs to keep manufacturing and jobs here, and a tax code designed to prevent the corrupting influence of extreme wealth and power from accumulating in too few hands. Health care for everyone, College or the Trades for everyone who wants to work (most of us), and high civic participation. A banking system and economic system that rewards work, keeps wealth growing in local communities, and strong families supported by those strong communities.

That's what I want, that's what I'm working for, that's what I'm pushing for.


---Original message---

Why is it we don't read about this or hear about this in the major media?

Because this is written by a Republican.

Here is an explanation of the current economic situation showing the unintended consequences of well-intentioned acts.
I would only add that the Bush administration didn't do anything to derail the ever-worsening situation either.

This crisis was caused by political correctness being forced on the mortgage lending industry in the Clinton era.
Before the Democrats' affirmative action lending policies became an embarrassment, the Los Angeles Times reported that, starting in 1992, a majority-Democratic Congress "mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. Operating under that requirement, Fannie Mae, in particular, has been aggressive and creative in stimulating minority gains."
Under Clinton, the entire federal government put massive pressure on banks to grant more mortgages to the poor and minorities. Clinton's secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers by the year 2001.
Instead of looking at "outdated criteria," such as the mortgage applicant's credit history and ability to make a down payment, banks were encouraged to consider nontraditional measures of credit-worthiness, such as having a good jump shot or having a missing child named "Caylee."
Threatening lawsuits, Clinton's Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. That isn't a joke -- it's a fact.
When Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches, political correctness was given a veto over sound business practices.
In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration's affirmative action lending policies as one of the "hidden success stories" of the Clinton administration, saying that "black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded."
Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn't get out of their loans by selling their houses.
A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it's gone off.
In Bush's first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government's "implicit subsidy" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system.
Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no "concern about housing." How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can't repay them! The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "under heavy assault by the Republicans," but these entities still had "important political allies" in the Democrats.
Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats' two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients.
Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Letter to Jim McDermott

This is my letter to Rep. McDermott:

Dear Rep. McDermott,

I am furious beyond words at the audacity of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. On the one hand, he refuses to adhere to what we know from history is the only way to secure an economy from the kind of collapse that we are seeing happen before our eyes. And with the other hand he is asking the taxpayers of the United States to give him a hand-out of between $700 Billion and $1 Trillion dollars.

What I understand is that the people who got us into this mess are now begging for our help to get us out. I find that outrageous, and unforgivable.

Please introduce an amendment to the Wall Street Bailout Act currently being reviewed by the US House. The amendment needs to increase the taxes on people earning more than $500,000 per year sufficient to match the amount between $700,000,000,000 and $1,000,000,000,000 that Secretary Paulson is asking for. Pay as you go.

If this amendment is not introduced or does not pass, I ask you to please vote NO on this bailout. Or please explain to me why it is worth giving $700 Billion Dollars to people who have proved to us that they cannot be trusted with the money in words that I can understand.

Thank you for representing us in Washington DC!

Chad Lupkes


Now I'm going to say what I wouldn't say in the letter, but if Jim reads this on my blog he'll get the full message. I believe that what Secretary Paulson, President Bush and Fed Chairman Bernanke are doing amounts to criminal negligence at the low end, and TREASON at the high end. They are stealing money from the American People. I want that to end, and if criminal charges can be brought to bear I want all three of them in prison. I'm sick of this.

Read your history, everyone. Read the history of the stock market crash of 1929. Read about the hyper-inflation in Germany in the 1920's due to their debt from World War I and the collapse of their currency. Read the history of how the Roman Empire fell, and about the 1,400 years that passed before we were able to recover from that stock market crash, which is what it was. READ!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weather Channel

Trying to get the word out about climate change? Send a link to this video. Maybe it will help.

I just got a look...

I love Gmail. I love the interface, the search ability, how save it keeps my computer from spam and viruses, and all the cool features.

I've been using it since early 2005, and I just noticed that I now have 80,210 emails in my inbox. "4496 MB (63%) of your 7083 MB".

I just told that to my wife, and she gave me that look again. She tries to keep her inbox with less than 50.

So I'm a geek. And?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We know the difference

Fierce competition is healthy sometimes. Survival of the fit, and thriving of the winners. Wars have been used throughout history to prove things to individuals and to entire nations. And competition is celebrated. Songs and ballads from all cultures celebrate great battles and wars that were won or lost. We celebrate sports victories, and the losers focus on getting better so they can win next time. It's healthy. Sometimes.

What I've seen over the last few months is why I think the United States can take our place as the moral leader of the world again. Instead of continuing to fight, to compete, the various candidates for office, from President on down to the local, have started to cooperate, and to be the leaders of their forces as we join forces to face a common foe. Right now (except in Washington where we have this top two primary BS) people who competed fiercely in the primaries are joining forces, combining operations, and facing the next hurdle. For the race to the future, as Gov. Schweitzer put it, we are now done with Stage 1. The primaries are over. Next comes Stage 2, the general election.

What I hope, and what I'll be working for, is that we can successfully maneuver through Stage 2 and get to Stage 3, which is where the real work begins.

Stage 1: Primary election
Stage 2: General election
Stage 3: Legislation

I think most Democrats and Progressives know when competition needs to end and cooperation needs to begin. The media is hyping that the Democratic Party is divided. False. If they want division, they should look at the Republicans and Conservatives. And it's sad to see. You'd think they would be honest about what they stand for.

After November, we'll be too busy trying to fix the country and save the planet to worry about little things like partisanship. Right?

We can hope.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Illegal People

Rich sent out a review of a book today.

Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants by David Bacon.

The only "illegal people" I see in our society are the people who ignore the constitution, break the law and then use their wealth, power and influence to get away with it. Those people are much more dangerous to America than anyone who is trying to feed their families by working under the table.

People working in the United States taking jobs away from US Citizens is a problem, but I believe that the problem is with the lack of enforcement of existing law and a poor policy of encouraging and enabling countries with poorly performing economies from taking effective measures to deal with their own level of poverty. We can solve this by enforcing existing laws that say we should be employing our own high school graduates at living wages instead of undocumented workers at lower than poverty wage, and creating trade policies that help raise all boats everywhere. No more letting the rich corporations float their boats while people drown in poverty around the world and increasingly within our own borders.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

King County Initiative 26

Here's my take, somewhat long winded.

At this time, most of the low level grassroots work for the partisan candidates is done by party members and volunteers. Without that backing, many well qualified candidates would be unable to compete with less qualified but well funded candidates. While James Madison begged us in the Federalist Papers not to form 'factions', he also foresaw the ability of accumulated financial capital to control our electoral process because that's what the American Revolution was fought against in the first place. He believed that factions would BE the accumulated capital that took control of our election process. He wasn't too far off base. With the laws as they stand today, much of the campaign financing is raised through the parties, or at least much of the promotion for a candidate or campaign. However not enough of it is raised directly by the parties to enable party members to hold candidates and elected officials to the party platform. The rest of the funds are raised outside of the party, putting candidates in the position of needing to support the positions of their financial backers, not the constituents they are supposed to represent. This was the threat described by Madison.

King County Initiative 26 as presented would cut the parties out of the loop almost entirely. Our platforms would drop in importance even more than they already have, as candidates would no longer be directly associated with the core party positions in the eyes of most of the electorate. I use a party label as the first step of knowing what a candidate stands for, which is what makes it so difficult for me in judicial races. But the real problem comes with the financing of campaigns. If I-26 passes, the amount of money needed to run a campaign and win will not go down, or have any limitations placed on fundraising or expenditures. Transparency would also not improve, because it is outside the scope of the initiative, managed by the PDC. So what it would do is put our candidates in thrall even more to the big money interests that the parties are right now supposed to be a bellweather against, because the parties are membership organizations of, by and for the people who show up.

My bottom line is this: Give us public campaign financing first, then we'll talk about non-partisanship. Let's take big money out of our campaigns first. Until we do that, the party label, and the party infrastructure, is the first defense against having our elected officials completely under the thumb of big money.

Chad Lupkes
PCO SEA 46-2324

Friday, July 25, 2008


This is bait. I'm throwing out bait to a coward who is incapable of having a conversation, so instead they just throw up spam, vandalism and fear onto wiki sites.

Bureaucrash, you got your ears on? IP, how about you? Probably the same coward.

Want a link to your website where you spread your foolishness? Fine. Here you go:

You say that "Socialism Kills". So answer me this, genius. How many people has unregulated capitalism killed over the last 50 years? You can't even define socialism, can you. You have no idea, no clue, and no care for what it means to be a citizen of the world.

Start talking to me, Bureaucrash. Start having a conversation instead of doing your best Chicken Little. If the sky is falling, it's because the conservatives have brought it upon us. And if it takes 50+ years, we will not rest until America is restored to our place at the forefront of Liberalism. That's where President George Washington wanted us to be, remember?

Of course not.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Netroots Agenda

This is a follow up to the post about Crashing the Party. I'm expanding this into a post that will go onto Netroots Agenda and a few other blogs thanks to Chris Bowers from

One of the challenges facing the Netroots in creating a progressive movement is the transformation of Netroots activism into grassroots action. This panel will discuss the benefits and challenges in working within the Democratic Party on the state and local level. This discussion will include a primer on how to get involved, as well as a discussion on the resistance one may face “crashing the party.” The goal of this discussion is to encourage more Netroots community members to actively engage in politics on the state and local level.

Panelists: Chris Bowers, Jason Melrath, Dante Atkins, Steve Thibodeau, Brian Keeler

Here are some highlights, and my commentary.

"You can see where this is going. Not a single Democrat filed against the Republicans"

This statement from Steve Thibodeau identifies the first item on our list. A list of the positions that are open in the next few election cycles is part of it. This list needs to be available to the grassroots at all times for a number of reasons. We need to be able to see that our frustration over the actions of our elected representatives have a remedy: we can file against them and take their place in the halls of government. Even if we don't win the seat, by taking a principled stand, and making use of the governmental processes that exist to challenge what we don't like, we encourage others to stand up as well, and eventually someone who stands up will get enough support to win.

One of the important points in the discussion that I want to highlight are the differences among the parties. All 50 states have a different set of bylaws and rules for elections to the state central committees.And it's not just state, but local parties as well. My LD website, which I put together during 2003 and 2004 and have kept building ever since, was the first place on the web to collect the bylaws of the local, county, state AND NATIONAL Democratic Party. Our former chair used to get calls from all over the country because it was the only place that people could find the national level document. Has anyone done the work to collect all 50 states?

"Delaware is a deceptively Democratic state," says Jason Melrath. Considering that two of the three counties in Delaware voted for Bush in 2004 with strong margins, I would have to agree. Representative Michael Castle (R) won all three counties with at least 53% of the vote, winning 57% overall. However, Senator Thomas Carper (D) won all 3 Delaware counties with at least 63% of the vote in each area. It seems to depend on who the candidate is, and you'll find that all across the country at every level of the ticket.

Now, the question becomes, how did I know that? Those numbers came from the State Of Delaware Elections System. Wikipedia helps as well, although if I'm looking for something and Wikipedia doesn't have it, I'll keep looking then come back and add it. There are other places that I use and update, mostly wiki systems, that have some of this information.

Knowing what seats are open are one thing. The next step in being able to win those seats is to understand a bit of history. Election history is the record of what races were run, what candidates ran in those races, and how well they did, broken down in as much detail as you can get, down to the precinct level if possible.

Chris talked about the existing party members when he started getting involved not wanting anyone to get involved in Philadelphia. That wasn't the case here in Seattle. Even though we live in a very blue city like Philly, the attitude that I got when I walked in and asked "how can I help" was extremely positive, from everyone. And the more I do, the more I get called on. I'm sure each area of the country, and probably within states, has a different level of encouragement coming from the current party members. Around the country, various groups have come together to combat it, but I'm seeing a trend that I think we need to think about. With so many stories going around about party members trying to hold onto their kingdoms, it's becoming the "norm" when someone decides they might want to get involved. That can be dangerous to our goals, because while it may be true in some areas, there is no way that we can safely assume that everyone currently in the Democratic Party has the attitude that they don't need us. I don't think that we can assume anything. And the only way that we can find out, and take the next step towards getting progressive leadership and ideas on their way to discussion and success, is to walk into the lion's den and see what happens. Don't be afraid of it. If it doesn't work, that's the time to start doing organizing on your own. But let's not make those assumptions. They can lead to trouble that we don't need.

Internal elections are a big part of being active in the party. When I decided to run for the King County Delegate position from my local 46th District, I contacted every Precinct Committee Officer that I could, mostly via email. This was in 2007 after our success in the 2006 election. Everyone running for the specific positions on the board got no challenges and 100% of the vote. It was too easy. The lowest level of the party in Washington is the Precinct Committee Officer. They elect the local party leaders at the Legislative District and County, including the representatives to the State Central Committee. Every state is going to be different, and we need to determine how it works everywhere.

Jason also describes a failure of representation. Delaware has members of the US Senate and the US House who he doesn't consider to be good representatives of the Progressive voices in the state. I'm sure that's true all over. At this point, I want to give my definition of Activism. Activism is the work of finding answers to three questions:
  1. What decision is being made?

  2. Who is making that decision

  3. How do I/we influence that decision?

You can apply that to just about anything. In this context an electoral vote is a decision being made by the people of a district or state. A legislative vote is a decision being made by a committee, a legislative body, or an executive. How we influence the decision depends on the target, and if an individual continues to make decisions counter to the ideals of a political party or movement, that political party and/or movement needs to stand up and either threaten to, or actually accomplish, a replacement of that representative. That's the big picture, and that's how our system was set up in the first place.

So what are the dream tools that activists would like to see on the Web? I have a list of the kinds of things that I would like to see, most of which I've been slowly building if I can't find them elsewhere. Please comment with your ideas.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Deep-Time Perspective

from Andrew Cohen

The discovery of an evolutionary context radically changes one's relationship to one's own personal experience, with all its ups and downs, challenges and victories. Think about a deep-time developmental context—all the way back to the first moment when something burst out of nothing. As far as we know, fourteen billion years ago there was an empty void, and then suddenly an impulse to become burst forth and became energy, light, matter, life, consciousness. and eventually, you. So putting your own life in an evolutionary context means making the effort to see every aspect of your personal life experience as occurring within this huge process. And even more importantly, it means that you begin to recognize that as the process moves and develops, in order to actually be able to contribute to that development, you need to be aligned with the very edge of evolution itself. Otherwise, you are just going to be following the beaten path, living out the patterns that have been formed by countless others. Without even knowing it, you will simply do what everyone else is doing, and assume that because evolution has blessed you with a very highly developed cognitive capacity that means that you are conscious. But it doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything new. It doesn't mean you're a change agent. To be a change agent means living on the very edge of this vast process, knowing that it has taken fourteen billion years to reach this point, and actively endeavoring to move the entire process forward through your own transformation. That's conscious evolution.

Netroots Nation, of note

There is a lot about Netroots Nation that people are covering all over the web. All I can do is present what I experienced. Here are some of the things that jumped out at me during the event.

Democracy: A Journal of Ideas


This was one of the flyers that I saw on the tables, and I picked it up. This is a quarterly journal "dedicated to putting forward big ideas from across the progressive spectrum." $24 for a yearly subscription. The flyer was black & white, one sided, and looked pretty basic. There is nothing wrong with basic. I'm going to check out the website when I get home. Don't know if I'll order the magazine, but I'm mentioning it here because I want to support progressive media in any form.

Drum Major Institute for Public Policy


See also

"The Drum Major Institute regards itself as a netroots think tank." They were one of the Exhibitors, and their goal is to be a resource for bloggers on the issues. They're big enough to have publications on several topics, and they have a few different websites about topics and interactive political media. What caught my attention was the way their white paper on Immigration was structured. They go into a basic description of the problem, define a progressive policy stance about the problem, describe what the netroots has done so far on the issue and the role we should take, then break down a plan of action with several steps that we need to take to push our voices into the debate. It is well written, and well presented.

The Commonweal Institute


I had not heard of this organization until this meeting, but I wanted to mention it because Chris Bowers has been involved for the last few years and he's proud of the work that has been done. I'm glad to hear that, and I look forward to learning more.

Netroots Nation, the Candidates

Netroots Nation is all about political activism. General Clark in his keynote speech on Thursday mentioned that there are four levels of activism that really make a difference. I don't remember what his description of the grading curve was, but I'll put forward mine.

If you vote, you get a D grade. If you vote and write letters, you get a C grade. If you vote, write letters and organize friends on political issues, you get a B grade. If you vote, write letters, organize your friends and then run for office, you get an A. There were a number of people here at Netroots Nation 2008 that are getting A's, and many of them were handing out literature, speaking on panels, giving speeches, and otherwise showing their support for the netroots and the progressive agenda.

Darcy Burner from our own 8th CD was everywhere, and very well loved by everyone. I don't remember a speech by anyone directly associated with NRN who did not mention her name as a rising star or as someone to support.

Donna Edwards from Maryland's 4th CD, who won a special election in June and was sworn into Congress 30 days before her keynote speech on Saturday night here in Austin, had caught the attention of Markos 3 years ago in 2006, and fought a long term primary battle with Rep. Al Wynn, who turned progressive during the last few years in order to try and fight back. She won. Her speech on the House Floor on the day that she was sworn in shows why.

Charlie Brown from California, who was the winner in the DFA All Star contest where Darcy got 2nd place, spoke to the DFA Caucus on Thursday night, and I was thrilled to learn that he knew about and supported the Veterans Family Fund, something that I'm constantly harping to everyone about at every opportunity.

Those were the only candidates that I really had the opportunity to interact with, although some of the others that I saw floating around were Jeff Merkley running for US Senate from Oregon against Smith, Eric Massa running for Congress from New York, Rick Noriega running for the US Senate from Texas and a bunch of others. I'm sure other blogs might be attempting to get a full list of everyone who was there, but there's really no way.

I want to mention something else as well. The Texas House is 5 seats away from a Democratic Majority, where they will finally be able to start reversing the damage done by the Republican Party over the last few years. Even just being able to stop the Republicans from pushing any further is a great step in the right direction, but we shouldn't ever be satisfied with that. I don't have the numbers on Texas to show what the results were in 2006, but I know that there are a lot of people down here in the Lone Star State that are focused on it. I think I want to focus on getting my maps and history project off the ground to help for the long term, but I'll be rooting for Texas in November!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Netroots Nation, Crashing the Party

With as much as I missed on Friday, this panel is one of the main reasons that I wanted to spend around $1,000 to attend this conference. I've been working for the last 5 years to learn how to get involved in local politics, trying to open doors to people so more people can get involved, gathering information about party organizations around the state of Washington and around the country so I can help get those doors opened.

Here's the video (audio takes a few seconds to start):

Live Videos provided by Ustream.TV

Netroots Nation, Saturday Lunch

I did not know much about Lawrence Lessig before this. I knew he was active, but this was the first presentation that I was able to watch, even if it was on ustream live from my room because I needed to lay down. This was some of the best use of PowerPoint that I have seen, and I'm really glad I logged in to listen. This is where I found ustream in the first place.

TV Show hosted by Ustream

The website he was talking about is Please check it out!

Netroots Nation, Working outside the box

This was a Washington State dominated panel, with Dean Nielsen, Darcy Burner (who was mentioned by just about every single person on stage on Saturday night), David Goldstein, and Blair Butterworth. Matt Stoller from was also there.

Webcast by Ustream.TV

Great panel.

Netroots Nation, Ask the Speaker

Lets see if I can find some videos to embed from the morning session with Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore.

Here's the beginning of the event from

Webcast by Ustream.TV

Nancy Pelosi, Part 2

Webcast powered by Ustream.TV

Nancy Pelosi, Part 2

TV Show hosted by Ustream

Here's where Al Gore made his surprise appearance.

Al Gore's speech, Part 1

Al Gore's speech, Part 2

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Netroots Nation, Saturday

Rumble, Rumble... I had a much better day than yesterday, but my stomach is still rocking and rolling.

What I've discovered over the last few hours, now that the event is nearly over, is that many of the panels are being streamed and recorded by I don't know much about the video website, but they're basic recordings, sound works most of the time, focus is off because they're using basic video cameras, etc. I don't know if this is the first time that they've done this or not, but it can only get better year after year. I see some other events and videos that I'd like to see as well coming up.

Anyway, several things happened that I want to write about. I may have to do this in a few segments, since it's now 10:26, and my stomach ain't calming down, even after hearing the most articulate, and best dressed, speaker of the night go until 10:15. Give it up for Donna Edwards. No, seriously, give it up. She's running again in November, and after that speech if I had the money to max out I would just to her. I just need to save it for this hotel bill...

More tomorrow.

C-SPAN, get real...

I wonder how much money Real is paying the National Cable Satellite Corporation so that many of the videos posted on are only available in Real Player format. I'd really rather not have to install another fricken piece of software on my laptop if I don't absolutely have to.

Netroots Nation, Saturday Morning

I'm on a serious high.

As frustrating as it is for us to hear Nancy Pelosi basically filibuster the questions about impeachment and holding the criminal traitors in the Bush Administration accountable for their crimes, it's still a thrill to be in the same room with one of the most powerful women on the planet. My personal opinion is that she is doing the best she can. She can do better, but only with more Democrats in the House that don't stop her from being bold. Don't stop being frustrated with her, but let's be understanding on what she needs to push HR 676, an end to the war, No child left behind, etc. She needs the blue dogs to lose primary races. She needs Republicans to lose their seats.

Then a question came up about climate change, and the challenge that Al Gore put out on Thursday to produce 100% of our electricity in the US from renewable sources in 10 years. Many people were in on the surprise, but when Vice President Gore walked out on that stage, I finally found the energy to produce more noise with my voice than what was coming out of my insides. I was in tears. Ok, sure, I'm a Gorite. Whatever. I'm still in tears.

It gets better. After the first round of questions, Jeffery Feldman who was fielding the questions saw my hand. So I was able to ask a question. If I can ever find it on YouTube or C-Span, I'll post a link. ((Update: found a c-span page. Video is not up yet, but this is where it will be.))

But, stomach growling to beat the band, I have a serious high going right now listening to Darcy, Dean and David talk about working outside of the box.

Netroots Nation, Friday

Lesson number one in Texas. Don't trust the catfish. I'm typing this on Saturday morning because I got hit on Friday "morning" (think 2-3 am) with some of the worst food poisoning that I have ever experienced. I couldn't leave my room for the entire day, and got sleep in fits and starts. During the event with Nancy Pelosi, I was worried that my stomach would drown out the speakers.

So, that was Friday. I don't want to dwell on it.

However, I want to put out a shout to Lynn Allen, someone that I am going to describe here as the Den Mother of the Washington State contingent here at Netroots Nation. She got an email from my wife asking for help, and left the Energizing America panel to find a drug store so I could get some Pepto Bismol. I asked Debi to contact her because I knew she would follow through. And she did. Thanks, Lynn!!!

Netroots Nation, Thursday

Two of the exhibitors caught my attention.

The Roosevelt Institution is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national network of campus-based student think tanks. The people behind the table were young guys who could have been part of the LaRouche movement if they had turned off their brains. I'm glad they didn't.

The "Texas Table" was a table where a bunch of Texas nonprofits got together and shared time and space. I think dealing directly with nonprofit organizations is something that the political and activist groups should be doing more and more often.

Thursday for dinner I went back to the Moonshine Bar & Grill, and enjoyed their catfish.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Netroots Nation, Day 1

Registration went smooth, and I was able to get a good wireless signal to call Oakland Lost and Found. I highly recommend Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill!!! Finally met Charles Chamberlin from DFA, and I'm seeing a lot of people from Washington. We have quite a crowd here, which is good to see. Maybe we should try hosting one of these some year.

I remember one of the Boston events I was at a few years ago, I think January of 2007, where I was interviewed by someone from the BBC. Just an audio interview, and I couldn't find it online. This time, it was Channel 42, KEYE. A full length interview on what blogging means to me and how it grew after the Dean campaign blog in 2004. I hope I did them proud. We'll see tonight at 10.

Howard Dean is giving the keynote speech tonight, and then there is a DFA Caucus meeting between 9:15 and 10:00. Another late night, I think. I am enjoying this, however.

Netroots Nation, Day 0

Some people flew into Netroots Nation. Others drove or took the train. I decided to make it complicated. At the end of a 2 week visit by my sons, Daniel and Shea, we took the train from Seattle to San Francisco (Emeryville, just north of Oakland), then I flew from Oakland to Dallas/Ft Worth and then to Austin. I love the train.

During the day. At night is another story. I found out that I can't sleep on the train any better than I can sleep on an airplane. It's a 24 hour trip from Seattle to Emeryville, and I think I got about 2 hours sleep. We got in about 8:45, and Sarah gave me a ride to the Oakland Airport. Got checked in and ready to go about 9:30, and waited until 2:40. The wireless was not free in Oakland, so I couldn't access the Internet to find anything. I even tried Clearwire, but no signal. Clearwire outside of Seattle seems to be a bust.

In Dallas, I tried again. Or at least I would have if I hadn't left my Clearwire modem in Oakland. I'm waiting for Lost and Found to get back to me. I finally got to Austin around midnight, and after a little confusion on which Hilton I needed to get to, finally got to the hotel around 2am. Guess what, wireless is not free in the downtown Hilton either. Only in the conference center. Oh well, at least I could sleep.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ah, Seattle

Pride was cool. Actually it was hot. 91 on Saturday, probably the same on Sunday. Ack.

One thing I want to mention. The City of Seattle had a series of trucks in the Parade. One plug in hybrid, followed by 3 big city light trucks. It was supposed to be for SeattleCAN (Climate Action Now). So here's my question. Why did the city have trucks that get maybe 10 miles per gallon in a parade float series for reducing our footprint? Were they supposed to be balancing out the Prius? I see a logic error there.

Also, how many solar panels have been installed by Seattle City Light over the past month? The past year? The past two TERMS of Mayor Greg Nickels? Don't get me wrong, I think he's a great guy, and a great Democrat. He is a leader in the fight. But, seriously, where are the solar panels? Nowhere. The only set that I know of is at the Seattle Center, and I think they were installed before Greg took office.

Walk, Talk. KnowatImean?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The best networking tools around

Back in 2004, when decided that they would start charging for their services, DFA launched DFA Link to help our members connect with each other and organize at the grassroots level. When Howard Dean moved from DFA to the DNC, he had a new set of these networking tools developed and launched. Senator Barack Obama grabbed the same set of tools, literally from the same vendor, and built to help his supporters organize in order to win the Primary. Now we're going to use them to win the General Election, and we're going to keep organizing after November to continue to build our movement. No more pendulum swings back and forth. We're headed into the future, damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

What I had not seen yet is a way to bring these tools together. There is a wall between DFA and the other two groups because we are a PAC, but there is nothing preventing links to all tools coming from a single page. Now there is.

Find more Democrats!

The links on this page will take you to all of the websites around the Web that have been designed to help Democrats and Progressives self-organize.

Each of the services give registered users the ability to search for people who live close to them, form groups of people for a specific area or issue, and organize events to bring people together. We encourage everyone to join one or more of these services and start having a conversation with your neighbors on what direction we want the country to go, and more importantly WHY. This is what the grassroots is all about.

The table on that page came from a work in progress that I'm building. You may have seen some posts from me about Wikia, which is a for-profit advertising funded website launched by Jimmy Wales using the same technology as Wikipedia and Dkosopedia. In July of 2006, Wales launched Campaigns.Wikia, a site set up for people to collaborate on campaigns around the country, and actually globally. I signed on as a volunteer admin. I also found that someone had launched Left.Wikia, and had let it lapse. I've been using it ever since.

One of the things that I am using it for is to keep track of the infrastructure of the Democratic Party and Progressives around the country. I built a list of how each and every county in the country, over 3,000 of them, did in the 2004 election for John Kerry. Bush won most of the counties. Whether McCain will follow in his footsteps is up to us.

Each county page being built on Left.Wikia is a place to provide us with information about how the Party infrastructure is organized, who the candidates are up and down the ticket, and how we can find each other and do the campaign work to get those candidates into office. But just like Wikipedia, this resource is being built one edit, one page at a time. I need help. If you would like to help, please create an account on Wikia and start adding information. It's as easy as Edit, Type, Save, and I can answer any questions on what the plans are in the forums. This is not my personal project. If I wanted this to be under my control, I'd be using PHP on my own server. This is a community project, and I'm asking for help.

If we focus our efforts and resources, not just in a 50 state strategy, but in a 3,000 county strategy, we can win the 2008 election in a landslide not seen since 1932. It's not just about getting enough to win 270 electoral votes. It's about winning a supermajority in the House, the Senate, state legislatures, county government and city government. It's about moving into the future, and never looking back, except to learn the lessons of the past when making plans for a future that we can be proud to give to our kids and grandkids.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Watch your back, Big Eddie

I listen to the Ed Schultz Show in the noon-3 timeslot on AM1090 in Seattle. He announced today that the Jones Radio Network has been bought out by Triton Radio Networks.

So I did some research and edited some articles on Wikipedia, and got worried.

About Jones International

Formed in 1969, Jones International™, Ltd. (JI) is the corporate parent of multiple subsidiaries in the Internet, e-commerce, software, education, and entertainment industries. Jones International is wholly owned by Glenn R. Jones who serves as JI's Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President. The JI companies cover a wide range of products and services, from online learning software and the nation's first fully accredited 100-percent cyber university, to television programming.

About Triton Media Group
Triton Media Group is the leading supplier of web content, digital products and interactive media tools to the media industry. Its suite of applications, services and content including the offerings of MJI Interactive, Mass to One, Stream the World, and Music To Go, provide proven traffic driving and revenue generating results to broadcasters. Triton Radio Networks is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triton Media Group and is the parent company of Dial Global.

About Dial Global

Dial Global is radio’s largest full-service, independent radio network, providing national advertising sales representation for radio programs and networks in addition to Dial Global’s own programming and services. Dial-Global Programming produces and syndicates music programs and prep services in a variety of formats to more than radio stations nationwide including the Jones Digital Formats and the Dial Global Digital 24/7 Network.

About Oaktree Capital Management
Oaktree is a global independent investment management firm with over $54 billion in assets under management in specialized investment strategies. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, convertible securities, specialized private equity (including power infrastructure), real estate, emerging market and Japanese equity securities, and mezzanine finance. Oaktree was founded in 1995 by a group of principals who have worked together since the mid-1980s. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm and its affiliates today has over 460 employees in 13 offices worldwide.

Digging a little deeper, I found this page on Google Finance. Looking at the news articles listed, that's where I started getting worried. This article from Reuters tells some disturbing news:

Oaktree urges Chinese companies to buy U.S. brand names

By Alison Tudor, Asia Private Equity Correspondent

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Investment firm Oaktree Capital Management said it is looking to help Chinese companies acquire brand-name companies in the United States.

Many Chinese companies, starved of capital by tumbling stock markets and turmoil in the credit markets, are looking to private equity firms to help them finance their global expansion.

"It's probably the first time that Chinese companies have had a window of this magnitude into the U.S. market to buy companies with attractive assets, like a brand name," said Bill Kerins, a senior investment professional at Oaktree, during the Reuters Hedge Funds and Private Equity Summit in Hong Kong.

Read the rest here.

So we have a global finance company trying to help China buy out America now setting up a media company, Triton, that is buying out radio companies like the Ed Schultz Show. As much as I know Eddie will say it will have no effect on the content of his show, it's just another example of how the conservative ideology is selling out America.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's election day somewhere.

The sun is hot and the calendar pages are flipping slow
And so am I
Election season passes like molasses in wintertime
But it's July
Registering new voters every hour and getting older by the minute
These candidates just pushed me over the limit
I'd like to call 'em something
I think I'll just call it a day

Pour me something tall and strong
Make it a Hurricane before I go insane
It's nomination day, but I don't care
It's election day somewhere

Well this election is gonna take all year
And half the people (+1)
Come January there'll be hell to pay
Hey, but that's alright
I ain't had a day off now in over a year
My Seattle vacation's gonna start right here
If that email's for me
You can tell them I just sailed away

And pour me something tall and strong
Make it a Hurricane before I go insane
It's only Primary day, but I don't care
It's election day somewhere

I could pay off my tab
Pour myself in a cab
And be back in Pioneer Square by two
At a moment like this
I can't help but wonder:
What would Jimmy Buffett do?

He'd say: Pour me something tall and strong
Make it a Hurricane before I go insane
It's only election day, but I won't swoon
It's inauguration day sometime soon

Here's wishing I could drink...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Living in Allentown

I was barely politically aware at all before the 2000 election. I only got active in 2003. These last few weeks I've been enjoying, and set a "station" to play songs like Elvis Costello. Billy Joel's Allentown came on, but this was a live version that I had never heard before. For the first time, I could actually understand the words...


Well, we're living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line

Well, our fathers fought the second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey shore
Met our mothers in the USO
Asked them to dance
Danced with them slow

And we're living here in Allentown
But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay

Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved

So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coke
Chromium Steel

And we're waiting here in Allentown
But they've taken all the coal from the ground
And the union people crawled away

Every child had a pretty good shot
To get at least as far as their old man got
But something happened on the way to that place
They threw an American flag in our face

Well, I'm living here in Allentown
And it's hard to keep a good man down
But I won't be getting up today

And it's getting very hard to stay
And we're living here in Allentown


Thanks Billy, for reminding us of the change we need.