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.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mr. Coleman doesn't believe in Global Warming


The issue is not whether Climate Change is due to man’s influence on the atmosphere, sun spots or any other potential source for the hundreds of thousands of variables that affect our global climate. I personally believe that the Industrial Revolution has increased the carbon in the atmosphere from 280ppm to 385ppm over the last 200 years, and this has destabilized our climate. But the important point is that it doesn’t matter.

No scientist, no matter their position on man’s influence on the climate, would argue that the changes we are going to be dealing with are an illusion. Everyone agrees that things are changing, even John Coleman. So how do we frame this?

The crux of the discussion, given Mr. Coleman’s concerns and stand, needs to be whether the Hubbard Peak is real or not. The Hubbard Peak is where we hit the midpoint in oil production, making it more and more expensive to draw oil out of the ground. There are some people who believe that the oil fields are being replenished from even larger deposits that we haven’t found, or that oil is a natural mineral product of the earth and not sourced from the organic material from 200-300 million years ago.

If the Hubbard Peak is real, then we have likely hit the peak and oil will be more and more expensive to discover, produce, refine, etc. If it is not, then Mr. Coleman’s arguments might have weight. Not many people stand with him, however.

Here’s another important point. What is the opportunity cost? Of doing nothing, of changing our country to protect the environment, or of continuing to argue instead of act.

If people who believe that man has had an influence on climate are wrong, what would be the result of following the plan, establishing caps on carbon, and the other means of trying to reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere? Stronger infrastructure with rail and renewable able to help us transport people, goods and services from place to place around the country and around the world faster and cheaper than ever. A better educated workforce, more competitive with other nations and able to handle whatever challenge is thrown at them. Moon anyone? And if we’re right, we’ll save the biosphere from destruction.

If people who believe that man has had no influence on climate are right, and we do nothing, what would be the result? The exact opposite, but with the side “benefit” of giving our large energy corporations more opportunities to rip oil and coal out of the environment in order to fill their own bank accounts, and the campaign coffers of the politicians that support them. A Depression that will make the 1930’s look like a joke because the American people will continue to have their social services, safety net, educational foundation and every other legal, financial, economic and social pillar that keeps the wonderful civilization that Mr. Coleman is talking about operational ripped to shreds by the very people, groups and ideologies that the United States of America was founded to throw out of our lives in the first place. If they’re wrong, the biosphere is toast.

Pick the path we wish to walk, and let’s walk together. I’m walking towards Peace on the path of Collaboration and Cooperation. Mr. Coleman is walking towards Power on the path of Control.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dear Rep. Burton

Thank you for your speech about ANWR yesterday on the House Floor. The Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. About drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Oil that we will drill using methods that pollute the environment. Oil that we will convert into gasoline by processes that pollute our environment. Oil that we will burn to produce electricity, gasoline that we will burn in our vehicles to help us commute to work, putting the exhaust into the atmosphere.

You raise an interesting point in claiming that OPEC and other oil producing countries would lower their prices if they suddenly see that they have "competition". And so I ask you, sir, how long it would take to bring the oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to the market? How long would it take to bring the oil that is potentially along the continental shelf to the market? I am hearing 4 years before we see anything that could even potentially pull down oil or gas prices. In the meantime, we will see those prices continue to go up and up and up.

$5.00 per gallon? $6? $10? How high will they go? Your position is based on the idea that companies will lower their prices because they don't want to gouge the American People. I don't agree with that assumption. I am of the opinion that if they could get away with it, the gas companies would be charging us $20 per gallon. Because they don't care. And by supporting the gas companies, I question whether you care as well. At least, I question your assumptions.

Not one more gallon of oil should be pulled from the ground. Not one more gallon of gas should be burned in our cars. Not until the carbon level in the atmosphere returns to the safe level of 280 PPM. Not 350, which is a level that might prevent the worst climate change disasters according to our scientists. 280, which was the level before the Industrial Revolution started in the late 1700's. When our global population was a sustainable 1 billion people. We are approaching 7 billion people, on a world that can handle 1.

I believe that the American people understand this, Mr. Burton. I believe that the American people care about our kids. I believe you do as well. It's just that you seem to care more for the profits of our largest and most powerful corporations.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Answer to editorial on Clean Elections

Mr. Maurer and Keller from the Institute for Justice lay out the Libertarian position against publicly owned elections very well. But so much of their argument is based in outdated ideology, I just had to respond.

I question their definition of "special interest", and whether it applies to the Institute for Justice and/or to Washington Public Campaigns. I'm sitting in a meeting of the WPC group while I type this, and everyone around the table is focused on the community that our elected officials are trying to serve. Does that qualify them as a "special interest"? Special Interests, at least those that are vilified by all sides of the ideological debate, are lobbyists, groups and individuals that want special favors for themselves or their clients, and advocate for those special favors from the government. I do not see Washington Public Campaigns advocating for anything more than to open the electoral process to anyone who wants to represent their community.

"Traditional campaigns" are typically where candidates are distracted from their important work of listening to the people they are trying to represent and instead spend much of their time "dialing for dollars", trying to keep up with the other candidates in the "horse race", which is the primary object that our media uses to decide who to cover. Issues facing the community take a back seat to the monthly or quarterly financial reports of the campaigns. I don't want any more "traditional campaigns". I want campaigns that push forward candidates that will listen and represent the people in their community. Candidates for office who wish to "fill their campaign coffers" do so only because it is the only way to pay the outrageous expenses associated with running for office in the current media market. Advertising in newspapers, television, radio, and by mail is pushing the limits for anyone who wants to represent their neighbors in the important decisions that affect our lives.

Citizens shouldn't be distracted from the issues that they care about by the candidate asking them for money. With prices going up on everything else, being asked for money should be the last thing we hear from someone also asking for our vote.

Our tax dollars go to many programs that we as individuals disagree with, from both sides of the isle. Examples include the Iraq War, tax breaks for oil companies, welfare and social programs, the interest on the National Debt that we paid $400 Billion dollars toward last year. I would much rather pay a small amount of money to candidates that I wouldn't necessarily vote for through my taxes than have the people in office take so much more of my tax dollars for programs that I don't support because they only listen to the people who finance their campaigns.

Publicly funded campaigns are not financing candidates, as much as they are trying to ensure that the debates we are engaged in are truly fair and balanced. If laws are not enacted to ensure that the resources available to the various sides of the debate on where our community should go are balanced, the side that gets the most money also gets the most media exposure and is thus much more likely to win the election, whether or not it is in the best interest of the community. Let's have a serious debate on the issues, and stop letting money be such a distraction.

Articles of Impeachment

Watch it yourself, and comment on the substance of the articles.