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« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » January 2008

By Ally Klimkoski on January 31, 2008

I just had to tell ya'll about this because its something that makes me crazy.

Last year around Christmas time - the Kansas GOP sent out what I'm sure they thought was a normal everyday fundraising email. What they mistakenly did was talk about all the great work they are doing and talked about their Vote Caging program.

This erupted into a huge thing here, here, here, and here.

BoydaBloc - a pro-Nancy Boyda blog just broke this story while going through Jim Ryun's campaign finance report disbursements.

"Not only is it unethical to attempt to deny someone their vote, it's also illegal.

Now, the Kansas Republican Party tried, and I'm sure Ryun will as well, to convince people "caging" is just a mailing term and that nothing untoward is occurring.

That just doesn't jive, though. To quote the web site of one of the firms Ryun has used:

We don't engage in creative design, printing or lettershop services. We don't sell mailing lists or involve ourselves in fundraising management. No, we do just one thing- caging."

Read more from this post here ...

By Glenn Staab on January 31, 2008

Tonight, John T. Bird and Bob Schmidt will receive the Ellis Count Democratic Party Lifetime Achievement Awards. The event will be held a the Fox Pavilion in Hays, Kansas. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will present these awards to the honorees.

John Bird and Bob Schmidt are so deserving of these awards. They have given so much to our local party. They have been good friends and have given me great counsel as Chair. The fact that the Governor has agreed to present their awards speaks volumes of their dedication to the local, state and national party. It is important to recognize the people who have built our local party. Ours is one of the best in the state. John and Bob will join seven Democrats who have previously received this award. They are Mike Billinger, Sr., Norbert Dreiling, Robert Glassman, Bill Jellison, Norman Jeter and Henry and Juliette Schwaller.

Read more from this post here ...

By Simone Davis on January 31, 2008

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Maya Angelou has been dear to my heart ever since I read all of her autobiographies. She is the African-American poet who has rightfully become one of the most influential and respected literary voices of this modern age.

Now, Angelou has written a poem praising Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She is supporting Clinton despite her close friendship with television personality and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, a prominent backer of rival Democrat Barack Obama, the first black presidential hopeful with a real chance of reaching the White House.

She is the poet that inspired so many at Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993 when she read her poem On the Pulse of the Morning, describing the long awaited dawning of the new day. That was 15 years ago.

Here's the new poem she just wrote for Hillary...

Read more from this post here ...

By Lucy Belnora on January 31, 2008

President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.

Inappropriately behaving as a unitary executive, President Bush is thumbing his nose at our representative government. If he does not wish to abide by a law, of course he has the right to veto the law. However, once he signs the legislation, according to our constitution, he must abide by it. To sign the law and then refuse to follow the law is not an option. No president is above the law. We all know this. Even so, George Bush has consistently made "signing" statements whereby he proclaims that he is signing a legislation but will not follow it completely. Is this dangerous to our democracy? Why do we put up with it? Can we stop it?

This past Monday, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which included a statute forbidding the Bush administration from spending taxpayer money "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq."

But Bush quietly attached a signing statement to the law, asserting a unilateral right to disregard the ban on permanent bases in addition to three other measures in the bill. "Provisions of the act...could inhibit the president's ability to carry out his constitutional protect national security," the signing statement read.

Check this out; here's what Bush actually said while signing the legislation...

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on January 31, 2008

I'm sorry John Edwards dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for President.

Go ahead. Take your best shot. Blast him. Chronicle all of the criticisms you want. Parade out all of the stories, point out the inconsistencies as you see them, make fun of his haircuts and fire away at the size of his home. Oh, and don't leave out the lawyer jokes! I'll wait while you finish up with all of that... Done?

Here's my regret as I watched him standing there in New Orleans (have any of the other candidates from either major party even been there since the campaign got going?)...

Read more from this post here ...

By Glenn Staab on January 31, 2008

What a week! On Monday, Kansas Governor Sebelius gave the Democratic Party’s response to the State of the Union Speech. On Tuesday, she appeared with Senator Barack Obama in Eldorado and endorsed him for President. Today, after the new Attorney General is sworn, she’s scheduled to be in and around Hays (my town in Kansas).

That being said, I’ve decided to write about my athleticism (sic). The motivation was provided by two factors. The last time we visited, I relayed a few sports stories about the baseball strike, Goose Gossage and Joe Carter.

Read more from this post here ...

By Nora Thomason on January 30, 2008

John Edwards said moments ago:

"Don't worry about me. This son of a millworker is going to be fine. Our job now is to make sure that America is going to be fine...

"Our work goes on... Do not give up. Do not give up on the causes we have fought for... It's time for all of us to make the two Americas one. Thank you. And, let's get to work."

John's full speech today was wonderful. For John's complete farewell address, follow me to the next page. It's a good one...

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on January 30, 2008

Many who drop in here accuse me of believing that the government is key to solving all of our social problems and overcoming all of the challenges associated with poverty.

Why on earth would I believe that, especially in view of government performance over the past three decades?

What readers here confuse with a belief in government's ability to solve big problems, is my tendency to criticize what our government actually does or does not do in the face of many formidable issues.

I'll cite a few examples from recent news reports and national developments.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on January 30, 2008

(Cross Posted to Wiretap)

After South Carolina's Primary I drove down to Florida to see if I could talk to some young voters about their interest in the primary.

No surprises, the enthusiasm that I encountered was reflected the next day with a tripling in turnout among young voters.

According to CIRCLE 286,000 Florida citizens under the age of thirty participated in the primary yesterday. That is nearly half of all voters! And an increase in over 200,000 voters since 2000.

"Comparisons to other caucuses and primaries must be made with caution, because turnout is affected by the date of the primaries and by the nature of the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, which are different in every state. In the case of Florida, not all the Democratic candidates contested the primary, so turnout was likely suppressed."

I saw this excitement first hand in a local bar in Jacksonville. Jackson of Jacksonville tells me he has never met Rudy - even though he lives in Florida. And when asked if he is voting for Rudy Jackson says "Hell no!! My mom likes Mitt Romney and I think my dad likes Rudy because of the way he handled 9-11."

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on January 29, 2008

Remembering the actual impact of a person like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not so easy as it may appear.

An entire generation has been born since his tragic death in 1968. The impressions these younger men and women have of the man and his significance had to be formed by sources other than personal experience or witness.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on January 29, 2008

Pastor Ron Flowers of the Providence Baptist Church on Daniel's Island in South Carolina's low country is an unapologetic progressive. But he had a hard time picking his candidate this time around.

"Republicans don't know who to pick, democrats want to vote for all three. Its a great place to be," he said over lunch after Sunday Services.

Don's wife Anita and daughter Alison are Hillary Clinton supporters, but nearly 18 year old daughter Savannah is all Obama.

"I like what he says about health care," she said. "I like that he voted against the war. And that he'd be the first African American president - I like that he talks about change."
While Don was going back and forth between Clinton and Obama he said the deciding factor was the last debate and the weeks former president Bill Clinton spent in the few weeks leading up to E-day talkin' smack. Don said that it was disappointing given all of the awful things that were said about him in the 1990's you'd think he'd rise above the fray. But instead Don said he realized the Clintons would do anything it took to win. He just couldn't support that and joined Savannah in supporting Obama.

"I didn't expect him to win," Flowers said. "You gotta know, Obama won big in a state that just took their Confederate flag down from the state house 8 years ago. This is incredible and encouraging on so many levels"

I've talked to over 50 people this week about South Carolina and now Florida and Georgia. All have mentioned that debate and Bill Clinton's mean spirited comments with disappointment. One even went so far as to mention that she thought Bill Clinton was the major reason South Carolina wasn't a closer primary on Saturday.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on January 28, 2008

Last Friday, The Dallas Morning News published a piece authored by me in its Op-Ed section that I originally intended to post here. Taking the advice of several friends, I've posted it here, too:

Several years ago lots of people got the idea that the best way to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday was to organize a special day of community service.

You've likely heard it: "Not a day off, but a day on!" The idea being that the best way to honor Dr. King's memory and legacy would be discovered in organized volunteer efforts to extend compassion and aid to the less fortunate among us.

Here at Central Dallas Ministries we manage a rather large AmeriCorps program, so we received word from the Corporation for National Service that directed programs like ours all across the nation to orchestrate volunteer projects. Certainly nothing wrong with that.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on January 27, 2008

(Cross posted from Wiretap)

Obama may have won South Carolina - but once again the real winners of last night's success were young voters.

"This increase in youth turnout in the early primary season continues a trend observed in other elections since 2000. In the 2006 congressional elections, the voter turnout rate among 18-to 29-year-olds increased by three percentage points compared to the previous congressional election of 2002. And in the 2004 presidential election, the national youth voter turnout rate rose 9 percentage points compared to 2000, reaching 49 percent. In 2004, under-30-year-olds were registered to vote at the highest rate in 30 years. " says our friends over at CIRCLE.

For a breakdown of who young people voted for - check out this nifty chart...

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on January 26, 2008

Friday - aka primary eve in South Carolina, a group of students with SAVE hosted their second candidate forum asking questions that concern young voters and voting rights. Sen. John Edwards faced a crowd of young people eager to ask questions. Given the focus this election on the uprising of young voters, young volunteers, and enthusiastic young folks SAVE is playing an important role in mandating the candidates talk about their issues.

"Edwards, born in South Carolina, focused on the economy -- South Carolina lost 6,000 jobs last month alone -- and made a straight favorite-son pitch, showing off his parents and pointing out that Clinton and Obama's feud reflect New York and Chicago politics (almost as if the state of "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, Strom Thurmond and Lee Atwater was a stranger to the culture of bare-knuckled campaigning).

“You have been forgotten too long, and I will not forget you,” Edwards told the kids, urging them to be part of a "tidal wave of change." Says the NY Daily News

Read more from this post here ...

By Pamela Jean on January 25, 2008

I really enjoy MLK's birthday week because we become re-acquainted with so many of the wise and timeless guidances he left us with. Forty years later, the words he spoke, below, seem even more relevant today:

"And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth."

(Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

By John T. Bird on January 25, 2008

Reading recent news stories about the Republicans proposing that everybody has to show photo identification because some wily Mexican illegal immigrant might vote reminds me of Alex Schmidt.

Alex was in his late 80s when I started practicing law and he liked to come to visit me and I liked to have him visit.

He and his brother had walked out of Russia, literally, trekking more than 1,500 miles from the Volga region to the Black Sea, where they took passage on a tramp steamer to the Port of Baltimore, USA. Alex was 13 and his brother was 15. They eventually made their way to Ellis County.

Alex took the advice of the elders who told him not to become a citizen because he could then be drafted to serve in the Great War, which was in its final stages.

Read more from this post here ...

By Lucy Belnora on January 24, 2008

The economic rationale for more a progressive stimulus package, which we hear now several times a day, is that the poor and the freshly unemployed will spend whatever money they get. Give them more money in the form of food stamps or unemployment benefits and they’ll drop more at the mall.

Money, it has been observed, sticks to the rich but just slides off the poor, which makes them the lynchpin of stimulus. After decades of hearing the poor stereotyped as lazy, stupid, addicted, and crime-prone, they have been discovered to have this singular virtue: They are veritable spending machines.

You don't want to miss what Barbara Ehrenreich is saying now about working in America...

Read more from this post here ...

By Paul Faber on January 24, 2008

Our current political leaders have talked about building a democracy in Iraq if the Iraqi people are ready for democracy. But the more immediate question would be closer to home.

Are we ready for democracy in the United States?

For a democracy to function well, the democracy should be meeting four conditions. First, those voting should be able to do so freely, without being punished for their votes.

We in the U.S. seem to be doing OK on that one. The secret ballot is the key here, of course.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on January 24, 2008

Most people don't like process stories because they don't inform people about anything important or essential. I love them because they can actually teach those of us who are involved in non-profits, campaigns, or technology jobs key dos and don'ts. I like to learn new things from people who are infinitely smarter than me and on a couple of things (very few) I think I've got some game.

So let me talk to you about technology.

The Pew Research Center released a recent report about the growing role the Internet plays in political campaigns. I was reminded about this because I received my first email from the Nancy Boyda for Congress campaign this morning. The last email I received was the one telling me that because of an essential vote that needed to be passed, Speaker Pelosi nor Congresswoman Boyda would be able to attend a fundraiser being held in Kansas City. Date stamp November 8, 2007.

According to the Pew findings, the Internet is now the fifth highest resource people use in finding information about the Presidential Campaigns. It has nearly tripled in importance since Al Gore's run in 2000. And while television is the main source for political and campaign information Pew says its quickly "slipping" to a resource lower than what was used even in the 1990's.

And the internet is still a main secondary new source - the important thing about this though is in just two years - that stat has doubled.

Guess what? The Internet is not going away.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on January 24, 2008

Meet Jordan. Jordan is 11-years old, loves technology, and loves to write and draw. He’s a thinker. He keeps a daily journal of his experiences and processes what he sees and hears through his journal. He’s a polite kid who greets you when you walk in the door. He’s a leader. When you ask him what his favorite thing to do is, he can’t decide… playing chess, taking pictures, working on the computer, doing computer animation, doing science projects… they’re all his favorites, he says. He absorbs what is being taught…and, like many other 5th grade boys, he does a good job of getting the entire class off track when he decides to be the class clown. What does he want to do when he grows up? He’s not sure about that yet.

Jordan is no different than any other 5th grade boy. However, the community where he is growing up is different than a lot of other communities. In Jordan’s community, only 53% graduate from high school… only 6% graduate from college. In 2002, 109 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 had children. In 2004 there were 20 murders…and only one of them led to an arrest. In 2000, 368 homes still had incomplete plumbing ( Most communities like Jordan's don't have the opportunities that even allow them to test out and dream about digital photography, computer animation, etc.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Young Evangelicals, January 23, 2008
The Race Card, January 22, 2008
Are Lawmakers Listening? Are You Talking?, January 22, 2008
Born Again Politics, January 22, 2008
Homelessness: Shelters vs. Permanent Supportive Housing, January 22, 2008
Tough as a Serpent, Soft as a Dove, January 21, 2008
Dr. Martin Luther King: Labor's Hero, January 21, 2008
Where there is plenty, poverty is evil, January 20, 2008
South Carolina and Nevada Weigh In, January 20, 2008
Missionary Oppression, January 20, 2008
Romney and Clinton Take Nevada, January 19, 2008
The man behind the soundbyte, January 19, 2008
68 Percent of Americans Favor Mandatory Health Coverage, January 19, 2008
Ending Homelessness: The Business Case, January 18, 2008
Two Videos and Young Women, January 18, 2008
Who Will Fight for the Middle Class?, January 17, 2008
Our Grief in Buckets, January 17, 2008
Goose gets his due, Mel's next, January 17, 2008
X-GOP Rep Charged with Treason, January 16, 2008
Who should pay the high price for cheap imports?, January 16, 2008
Fairness Departs, January 16, 2008
What a church could do, January 15, 2008
Daverse Lounge, January 14, 2008
Working Families and Income, January 14, 2008
...and some excel in spite of the odds!, January 13, 2008
My Birthday!, January 13, 2008
How God Got Drafted, January 12, 2008
The Politics of Food and Faith, January 12, 2008
America's Next Top Bonehead, January 12, 2008
Hope, January 11, 2008
How Big is Your Caucus, January 11, 2008
Beneath the Surface, January 10, 2008
Economists Endorse John Edwards for President, January 10, 2008
Will Kerry Endorsement Sink Obama in South?, January 10, 2008
We Embrace, Gather, and Challenge, January 10, 2008
Bread for the World, January 9, 2008
Clinton Finds Voice, Wins Half of Young Voters, January 9, 2008
Help for friends, January 8, 2008
Give me a leader that will get the job done, January 8, 2008
What happens in the end?, January 8, 2008
What it means to live out justice, January 8, 2008
Homeless Census, January 8, 2008
IA Youth Wrap-up and Hillary's Youth Troubles, January 6, 2008
Americans Lose Jobs, Can't Afford Health Care, Mortgages, January 6, 2008
Taking a step of faith, January 5, 2008
Three Wishes, January 5, 2008
Friendship Changes Things, January 4, 2008
Winner Tonight: Young People and New Media, January 3, 2008
My Dream Team, January 3, 2008
Final Results: Obama, Huckabee Win Iowa Caucuses, January 3, 2008
The Candidates and Poverty, January 3, 2008
Happy Iowa Caucus Day, January 3, 2008
Candidates Gone Wild at Iowa Caucus, January 2, 2008
Urban Engagement Book Club, January 2, 2008
Happy Flu Year and Gluckseligkeit, January 2, 2008
In Even Greater Abundance: My Hopes For Us, January 1, 2008
Wish for '08, January 1, 2008
Iowa Represents, January 1, 2008
A Testament of Hope, by Martin Luther King, Jr., January 1, 2008
Everything Must Change, by Brian McLaren, January 1, 2008
2008 Calendar of U.S. Presidential Election and Primaries, January 1, 2008
Job Search Resources: Health & Medical Employment, January 1, 2008

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