Saturday, November 19, 2005

Administrative Note

Due to floods of egregious comment spam, I am shutting off comments at C101 for the time being.

If anyone wants to post and moderate comments, let me know, and I will change the settings.

Shaula

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pessimism vs. Realism

In the discussion on Anatomy of a Smear, BOP Reader Mike commented that my gloom-and-doom predictions that Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine may have lost the election last week are too pessimistic.

I decided to reply to Mike in a new post, because he brings up an important point:

Can Democrats ever be too pessimistic?

My answer is a resounding No.

Democrats were a ruling party for a long, long time--yes, even here in Virginia, if you dig back far enough in history. (The statistic tossed around on the campaign I worked in '03 was that Democrats hadn't picked up new seats in the Virginia House of Delegates for 25 years.) Democrats were even the dominant party in Texas state politics. I know, it is hard to fathom today. When you are on top for long enough, you tend to get fat and lazy. You lose your competitive edge, and you forget how to fight. The Democratic party still runs by and large like it is "entitled" to win, like it can sit back and wait for the votes and dollars to roll in. This strategy clearly isn't working.

When I am involved with an election campaign, it is my job to expect the worst, and prepare to win anyway. In fact, anticipating just how many things can go wrong is a big part of my job. I'll take an easy win, but I'll never expect one or bank on one. And, as far as I'm concerned, the polls may close at 7pm but the election isn't over (and my job isn't over) until an authentic tally of the votes has been performed and the election results are certified. So, when I take seriously the threat posed last week not just by the vicious distatesfulness of Kilgore's attack ads, but by the Kaine campaign's pitiful response, it isn't out of melodrama. It is out of a desire to win, and an awareness of what it takes to win. (I'm not trying to say "I'm right because I'm an expert." I'm saying that I blog as an "outsider," but I'd be giving the same advice to any campaign I was on.)

In the past week, Kaine's response to the smear has been EXACTLY the same as Dukakis's. Dukakis had a 17 point lead and wound up losing with this strategy (softball, stall, be nice, explain). Democrats seem to expect that Kaine can use the Dukakis Method, coming from a statistical dead heat (i.e., a 17 point *disadvantage* compared to Dukakis), but arrive at a winning result. That makes no sense to me.

In fact, that makes me pretty damn angry (at the Democrats, not at Mike). In election after election, at the state and national level, we see Democrats run elections the same way they lost them last time...and then act suprised when they lose them again and again and again. Case in point: Bob Schrum holds a world record as a campaign manager for losing presidential elections for Democrats. Off the top of my head, I think he has lost *7*. What on earth was John Kerry thinking when he hired Schrum? We are seeing the same passionate, committed denial of the laws of cause and effect within Virginia Democratic circles right now.

I mean, seriously: if your doctor said to you, "we want to use this medical technique on you. All the other patients we've ever tried it on in the same circumstances in the same way have died. But this time we're sure it will all be fine." Would you go for it? Then why do the Democrats?

In addition, we have the Nader factor to deal with--i.e., Russ Potts (who is a life-long Republican, also running for Virginia governor as an Independent). I am amazed at how naive most voters are about both how partisan politics work, and the stakes involved in the balance of power (e.g., vetoes/veto-blocking, committee assignments, etc.). I am worried that voters who are put off by this latest tiff between Kilgore and Kaine may vote for Potts. Without access to quality polling data, I don't know how to guage which camp will bleed more votes to Potts. I am certainly interested in the objective guesses of other Virginia political observers.

Virginia's gubernatorial looks an awful lot like the 2004 Presidential election. We have party-line voters, and a contested margin of swing voters (which we can't accurately identify on the Democratic side because of the state of the Democratic Party's voter list--in Virginia voter's don't register to vote by party), plus we have Anybody-But-Kilgore Voters, who are likely to find Potts (as a traditional Republican) more attractive than Kaine; and Anybody-But-Kaine Voters who are likely to vote for Potts over Kilgore, especially since Potts' position on a number of social issues is more liberal than Kaine's are. For example, Potts has a clear, solid position in favor of reproductive rights, while Kaine is doing the CathlicWaffle(TM) on abortion the same way he is on the Death Penalty--I'm worried about how many women will vote for Potts over Kaine as a result.

Don't get me wrong. Potts can't win this election, but he can hurt either of the other candidates enough to swing this election.

Virginians also overwhelmingly support the death penality. Kilgore is doing a masterful job of defining the public discourse and luring Kaine into a sand trap with these ads. The last thing Kaine needs to do is alienate shaky voters by talking about the death penalty. Instead, the first thing he says in his response ad last week is "I oppose the death penalty." In Virginia, he may as well have stood up and said "I support Osama Bin Laden." In Canadian terms, last week Kaine scored on his own net.

There is an unspoken understanding that good little Democrats should hold hands and sing Kumbaya and never challenge or question our candidates during elections (or outside elections for that matter) in quest of the all-holy buzz. I do understand this: a big part of what I do for campaigns is generate propaganda, frankly. But there still has to be substance to hold up the fantasies. And buzz counts for nothing when you're counting the votes. (You may recall that the buzz for Kerry was pretty impressive this time last year, too.)

If Virginia Democrats want Kaine to win, thinking happy thoughts isn't going to do the trick. I'd be far happier to see people contact the Kaine campaign and say, "Pull up your socks, dammit. We need you to be the next Governor and we can't afford to have you tank your own election." (I am hoping that Mark Warner and a number of other big Democrats are doing just that.)

Let me be very clear, that I support Tim Kaine, and he is the only choice in this election. I don't want Kaine to lose, I want him to win--and that's why it makes me angry to watch such amatuer, losing moves come out of his campaign.

Kaine can still turn this around, but his time is dwindling fast. He has to stop letting Kilgore define the debate, dump the CatholicWaffle act, get away from the topic of capital punishment, and come out swinging at issues where Kaine is strong and Kilgore is weak. Campaigns aren't rocket science: I think you'll agree that all of these tactics are self-evident. But Kaine doesn't show signs of employing any of them.

If Kaine doesn't turn the campaign around fast, we all lose. It is that simple.

I don't feel my pessimism is exaggerated. I'd say it is just on the mark, and in general, Democrats would benefit from more pessimism, not less.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Funding for PBS and NPR

Today, after weeks of answering irate constituent phone calls, the house passed an amendment to H.R. 3010, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 that put back $100,000,000 of funding for NPR and PBS. All the republicans could talk about during the floor debate was how Big bird was a billionaire. Is that really the point. I had phone calls in Congressman Scott's office from senior citizens who were so outraged about republican action to cut the funding by 45% that they were willing and ready to switch parties. Parents who liked the fact that they could leave their little kids in front of the television and not have to worry about what program was coming on. People from all over the country who rely on NPR and PBS not only for Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, but for the real "Fair and Balanced" news. The Democrats triumphed and succeeding in saving the source of many of the ducational programs that I watched in school and that I will probably watch after retirement.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Are you registered to vote in the June 14 primary?

The registration deadline for the June 14th primary is May 16, THIS MONDAY.

Are you registered to vote?

http://www.sbe.state.va.us/VotRegServ/reg2vote.htm

Check your registration status.

And if you are away at school, don't forget to request an Absentee Ballot.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Quick Poll: Kent State

How many of you have ever studied Kent State at school?

How many of you have ever *heard* of Kent State?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Exciting News!

Hey Everyone!

Is everyone gearing up for the 2005 election? I know communication among all of us has slowly tapered off after the disappointing outcome of the election in November, but there are a number of reasons to look on the bright side. Campaign 101 was held on July 10th and 11th, only a few months before the elections, and while the campaigns were already in full swing, now we have the opportunity to get involved from the beginning and really get campaign experience. We have all been trained by the pros, and spoken to by the successful. We have strong backgrounds and the potential to really make a difference for some Democrats running for office.
There is exciting news for all of us! Someone who we all know personally is running for State Delegate and wants to get us all involved. David and Shayna Englin both spoke at Campaign 101 months before David ever thought about running for office, but a seat in his district opened up and he decided to go for it! This is great for all of us because someone who knows us and believes in the importance of youth involvement in campaigns and politics wants to get us all involved in his campaign to get the most worthwhile and beneficial experience possible. I strongly encourage any and all of you to contact him to see what you can set up, whether it is volunteering in your spare time, or going for a full-time internship on his campaign. This is a great opportunity to build your networks in politics and thank him for investing his time in us this summer! I will be working for him, doing as much as I can from down here at Virginia Tech and then more regularly when I come home in May. I hope everything is going well for all of you and that I see some of you soon!
Contact David at: Info@davidenglin.org or 703-549-0569
www.davidenglin.org
~Jeff
LiebJef@aol.com

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

How is everybody today?

I am reeling.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

Hey Everyone!

Today is election day....(well, really the night before)... and I'm just wondering what everyone/anyone is doing in their area. I'm really nervous and excited about the election, but I'm also anxious for this to be over so I can get some sleep at night and temporarily remove the words "likely voter polls", "spin" and "swing state" from my vocabulary. I personally am skipping all of my classes tomorrow and working at the polls here in Blacksburg. Is anyone else going to be at the polls? Whatever you are doing, good luck and remember to post any war stories from the day on C101 after you are done celebrating (hopefully) tomorrow. Some interesting things can happen out there...and are especially likely to in this election above all others. Hope to hear from some of you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Video They Don't Want You To See

picture of Eminem with text 'Click here to watch the video'

Have you seen Eminem's video for Mosh yet? What do you think of it? Are people you know talking about it? Do you think it will get people to the polls?

MSNBC - pitch your election story

Matt Stoller of BOP News is going to be at MSNBC all day Monday and Tuesday blogging and pitching stories for the TV teams. Email him at matt@bopnews.com if you have a good story that you think should be on air.

MSNBC also has a new program called 'Citizen journalism': http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6348977/

Matt writes:

Please do report - if it's good it can get on MSNBC. And please spread this info around the blogosphere.
You heard the man. Do your part to get the country real news coverage for a change. And pass it on.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

GOTV Plans for Anyone

Via Zephyr Teachout at BOP News:
Here's what I'm pushing to all my lists -- personalize and send to yours. 34 hours till the polls open. - Zephyr Teachout

One last, critical plea:

This election will be won and lost in the next 2 days. So please,
peer-to-peer, friend-to-father, mother-to-mother-in-law, do whatever you
can for the future of this country – for our role in the world, for
our safety, for honesty, to end the fiscal chaos Bush has created, for
our democratic traditions.

Whatever you do, do something more than voting. Here are four options:

(1) Volunteer with a voter mobilization group. One of the best is
American Coming Together. Go to www.acthere.com to learn more. As a
volunteer, you'll have opportunities to canvass, phone bank, and pass
out literature.*

(2) Print out posters from www.udecide.org and pass them out.

(3) Take a sheet of paper and spend 20 minutes writing down names of all the people you know in swing states. Call them. Tell them to find their polling place here: www.pollingplacelocation.com.

(4) Create your own 8 hour GOTV plan for the last 48 hours.

Here's how you do it:

a. On Monday, spend two hours making plans. Call and email people you
know who might want to work with you, and sign them up for these
responsibilities for your dorm or street:
i. Literature drop captain(s) (to pass out information at doorsteps)

ii. Polling place captain(s) (to pass out information near polling places)

iii. Visibility captain(s) (to put up signs)
b. On Tuesday, meet first thing (in person or on the phone) with all the people who have agreed to help
i. 8 A.M. Literature drop. Go to every dorm room and house where yourfriends live and drop off a reminder to vote for change, with accurate polling location info and a partisan candidate comparison. Include a map with written directions on the back. Use posters at www.udecide.com. The literature drop captain will be responsible for making copies and getting others to help distribute.

ii. 10 AM – 11 AM Call 10 people you know to remind them to vote.

iii. 12 PM Email everyone you know (text message and IM are good, too!). Include a reminder to vote, where to vote, and who to contact in case of a problem: 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

iv. Throughout the Day. Find people willing to stand near the polls and pass out literature. More is always better, so don't worry if others are there too – you can coordinate when you meet them!

v. Throughout the Day. Find people willing to poster signs about where the polls are, when and where and why they should vote.

*If are having trouble finding an organization in your area, leave a comment that includes your location, and I will help you find one.

Friday, October 22, 2004

New EnjoyTheDraft.com Ads

Two New Ads:


Plus, the current popular favourite:



Which do you like best?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Don't miss out: Enjoy the Draft!

EnjoyTheDraft.com just went live!



I had the pleasure of helping out with some of the editing.

Go on, check it out!. And spread the word.

And let me know if you recognize anyone on the site...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Take the Challenge!

Do you think you can give staunch Republicans a compelling reason to support John Kerry?

Jay Tea at the conservative blog Wizbang asks readers to share why they support John Kerry.

It strikes me as a rare opportunity to cross the abyss of polarized American politics and "talk to the other side."

Jay has some ground rules for posts on the thread:
    1. Only serious, positive statements about John Kerry will be tolerated. Sarcastic or cynical "positives" will be edited or deleted, as the mood suits me. (Unless, of course, I find them way too funny to mess with.)

    2. Absolutely no mention of President Bush will be tolerated. This is to limit the discussion to "why vote FOR John Kerry," and not "why to vote AGAINST Bush." If you want to discuss that, there are a couple zillion web sites out there you can do that. You might want to start with Democratic Underground, the site so dedicated to free speech they TWICE banned me for not toeing their party line finely enough.

    3. This will be a watched and moderated discussion. Although I am loath to do so normally, I will be exercising my authority to edit and/or delete comments. And by "edit," I mean I might remove words, sentences, or even completely rewrite postings as the whim strikes me. For example, "I'm gonna vote for John Kerry because Bushitler is an evil, stupid, drunk cokehead who has wet dreams of global tyranny and apocalypse" might get edited into "I'm gonna vote for John Kerry because I'm too stupid to read the rules and think they apply to me, and Kerry will make sure there's plenty of social funding programs to keep me happy and drugged and well-fed while I continue my existence as a waste of oxygen." Consider yourselves warned.
I'm confident that the C101 crowd are up to the challenge of expressing their support for Kerry in a civil, persuasive way.

Take the challenge and go make your case at Wizbang.

You are welcome, of course, to share your thoughts here, too (I'm genuinely interested), but let's take advantage of the chance to get the message out to someone other than the choir.

Go on. Make me proud of you. :) And win some votes.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Minority???

Margaret Cho tells us why she is political.

Why am I political? Because society's consistent and constant disregard and lack of respect for minorities, even the title 'minority', when in many areas of the country we are in fact the majority, is too much to bear silently. Their insistence at our invisibility, whether it is as subtle as non-inclusion, or as loud as violent hate crimes, is contagious, and can make me hide from myself.

No matter who the "they" is and who the "us" is (racism, misogyny, homophobia...etc), part of how hey cripple us is by making us internalize their discrimination as self-hatred.

Go check her Cho's full story.

And thanks to Latino Pundit for the link.

Pushing Open the Door of a New Fascism

Don't know what Neo-Conservatives are?
Watch this video. (Via The Liberal Avenger)
For more information on PNAC, the Project for a New American Century, check in with the good folks at PNAC.Info.

Are you scared yet?

Friday, October 08, 2004

"Let's be honest with the American people"

Why should American college students be afraid of the draft? Ask freshman Congressman Tim Ryan D-OH17:
Watch Ryan's blistering attack on the Bush administration's claims they will not re-instate the draft.
Thanks to Ohio Countdown via BOP News.

Also:
Video in MP3 format via Drew Thaler.

Transcript courtesy of Serenepia.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

HIV/AIDS in the African American Community

You know, usually when one of the candidates in a debate refuses to answer a question, I can see some motive behind it so I pay no attention to it. As an African American female it is important to me that members of both parties concern themselves and show a knowledge of things that concern me. In Tuesday's Vice Presidential Debate, a question was specifically asked about HIV/AIDS Among African Americans .
Why did both Cheney and Edwards talk about everything but AIDS in the African American Community? At least Cheney was honest enough to say he knew nothing about HIV/AIDS in the African American Community. However John Edwards rather then admit a similar ignorance, proceeded to talk about every American without health insurance. This was an opportunity to show the African American community that they cared enough to be adequately informed. There is no excuse on the part of either candidate for ignorance on such a huge issues. Maybe this is why so many in the African American community think that they are being ignored by both parties. Why is it that this one question that addressed an issue so deeply affecting African Americans in this country was unanswered?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Why Register to Vote?

Kos received this email:
I think you (and maybe your readers) will be interested in a personal experience I had last night while watching the debate.

My 19 year-old (former foster) son, who has never been interested in politics, sat down with me and began silently watching about 10 minutes into it.

About half an hour later he turned to me and said, "Dad, am I able to vote?". I told him he would have to register but that yes, he could vote. I asked who he wanted to vote for, and he said "Kerry's the tall dude, right?". I said yes, and he said, "I'd vote for Kerry".

I asked him why, and he replied, "Because, I can tell if they were both captured by terrorists Kerry would keep telling them to go f*** themselves, and Bush would cry like a baby and tell them anything they wanted to know".

Today we registered him to vote.

-- Proud Dad
[Via Shamelss Agitator]

Monday at 5:00 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote in Virginia. If you aren't registered yet, or you have friends who aren't, PLEASE make sure they get their registration in on time.

Making Sense of Numbers

In [my Vancouver, B.C. homegirl] Sarah McLachlin's new video, World On Fire, she takes the standard budget for a music video, $150,000, and invests it in providing critical services to 1,000,000 people. Click here to see the video, and here for a list of the organizations McLachlin donated the money to (minus $15, her scaled-down video production cost). If you can get through the video dry-eyed, you're made of sterner stuff than I am.

In the meantime, George "they hate us for our freedom" Bush, who is bankrupting the federal government (and through unfunded federal mandates, state and local government by extension) to pay for his fool's war in Iraq, slashing social programs, and advocating that private citizens shoulder the burden of social welfare in their communities, raised $260,565,424 for his relection campaign as of August 31--and that's not counting soft money, RNC donations, or front groups like the Swift Boats.

That $260,565,424 could have brought the same essential services to 1,737,275,340 people all over the world: that's one BILLION seven hundred and thirty seven MILLION two hundred and seventy five THOUSAND three hundred and fourty people, or better than 1 out of ever 4 people on earth.

Compassionate Conservative my ass.

Hat tip to Cyndy at Mouse Musings for the video link.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Moran & Scott Stand up for Equality AGAIN

I just received great news from the Virginia Partisans:

The Republican attempts to write discrimination into the US Constitution with the so-called federal "Marriage Protection Amendment" did NOT pass--thanks to a vote mainly on party lines.

Congressman Jim Moran and Bobby Scott were the *only* two Virginia representatives to vote down this vote. Some of you may be aware that Congressman Moran was also a huge supporter of Campaign 101--without his help, Campaign 101 would never have taken place.

You are probably aware that the Republicans have been attacking civil rights for the GLBT community (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transsexuals) as a way to force Democrats to cast controversial votes in an election year. Congressmen Moran and Scott not only did the right thing, they also both put their careers and their re-election chances on the line by standing up for civil rights and against discrimination.

These are two Democrats who do so much for Virginia. Please, please, please: thank them by calling them on Friday and volunteering to help out on their campaigns this weekend. And if you can't this weekend, go and help as soon as you can--and bring 3 friends with you.

Northern Virginia:
Jim Moran for Congress
703-248-9330

Richmond/Central Virginia:
Bobby Scott for Congress
(757) 245-5500


H the email from the Virginia Partisans below, which include Congressman Moran's remarks in the floor debate on the Amendment.


Friends,

I am pleased to report that today, the Republican-run US House of Representatives failed to muster the necessary 2/3s majority to pass an amendment to write discrimination in our US Constitution. Almost every Democrat voted with us, almost every Republican voted against us.

I am particularly pleased to say that Congressmen Bobby Scott (3rd District) and Jim Moran (8th District) both stood with us and voted no. We have endorsed both for re-election, this further re-affirms our faith in these two strong supporters of inclusion and equality. I am enclosing Congressman Moran's comments on the House floor---I believe they speak for themself.

Every Virginia Republican voted against us on this---even "moderate" Tom Davis, who had earlier pledged his opposition to the amendment. Call them and express your disappointment 202-224-3121 is the Capitol Switchboard. But more importantly, remember this on November 2nd and be sure to vote for good Democratic candidates who believe inclusion. As always, you can find our endorsed candidates thus far at:
http://www.vapartisans.org/endorse.html

With a Democratic majority and a Democratic administration, a vote like this would never have come up to begin with! We have just over a month to make sure we elect Kerry-Edwards and Democrats to the US House... You can donate to our Federal PAC via our website. You can get information on volunteer opportunities, all across Virginia, by e-mail me at president@vapartisans.org . Please make sure we do everything you can to make sure Virginia make a strong pro-equality and pro-Democratic statement on November 2nd.

Best regards,

Josh Israel
President



Representative James P. Moran
Federal Marriage Amendment Debate Remarks
September 30, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment."
Today, we stand on the floor of the people's body, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the intention of writing discrimination into the Constitution for the first time in our nation's history.

The "Marriage Protection Amendment" is a cruel joke. How it does anything to protect marriage in this country is beyond me. Will it instruct individuals on the necessity of communication in a successful relationship? Does it help reduce promiscuity or stop unwanted pregnancies? Will it strengthen people's resolve to work through the hard times that every marriage brings? No, sadly it will do none of those things.

What it will do, however, is single out one group of people for discrimination, declaring them forever unworthy of the same legal protection all other Americans enjoy. Further, this amendment would usurp the will of the people in states that have used their traditional states' rights authority to define civil marriage and civil union laws. State laws passed by elected representatives in places like Vermont will be wiped clean off the books. In situations where a loved one is sick in the hospital, same-sex couples will once again lose the right to sit bedside and help nurse their partner back to health. These couples' ability to plan a financial future together and share healthcare benefits will also be forever washed away.

Mr. Speaker, this push to tamper with the Constitution is misguided because we already have sufficient legislation to allow individual states the ability to retain and structure marriage laws the way they see fit. While I opposed and continue to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which passed the House back in 1996, this law is still fully functional and in effect. No state in the union has to accept any other state's laws with respect to same sex marriage. Since the bill's enactment eight years ago, it has not been successfully challenged in any court, anywhere in the country.

Why then, do we need to preemptively amend the Constitution? We've seen where preemptive war has gotten us so far, let's not make the same mistake with this most cherished of American documents.

Mr. Speaker, the Constitution should not be used as political football. Members across the aisle continue to play a risky game of Russian roulette with the blueprint of our democracy. I stand in opposition to this crass attempt to politically divide the American public in an election year and urge my colleagues to vote against amending the Constitution.


____________________________________________________________________
Building a Broader Coalition In The Commonwealth since 1992.

Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club
http://www.vapartisans.org

Virginia Partisans is now taking online payment for membership, State and Federal PAC donations, and general donations. Visit our web site at http://www.vapartisans.org/online.htm and join, renew, or donate today!
Please forward this e-mail to others.
To subscribe to this e-mail notification list, visit our web page at http://www.vapartisans.org.
To unsubscribe from this e-mail notification list, e-mail vplist-leave@vapartisans.org.
View our e-list archives at http://point0.net/pipermail/vplist/



Thanks and congratulations to Josh Isreal and the Virginia Partisans, too, for their outstanding public education and advocacy on this bill.

Peer Blogging

Bear with me on an elliptical story:

I just learned that my friend paperwight's blog, Fair Shot, is part of a student writing project for a Composition Class at USCA. The students in the writing class, as part of their assignments, are all writing their own blogs. You can find links to the students' blog on their class homepage, here. (Any of you who drop in and read BOP News may recognize Paperwight as a frequent commenter there--he is an oustanding writer and thinker and I recommend his blog to you, too.)

Now, in the first place, that is too brilliant. The instructors at USCA are succeeding where I have so far (nudge nudge) not quite yet succeeded with you: in making their students familiar and comfortble with blogging tools, including basic html. I wanted to check in with you: are any of you taking classes where blogging is part of the assignment format? Have you even heard of this at the schools you are attending?

One of their assignments has been to write up an assesment of a blog, and one of the blogs on the list was Paperwight's, which is how I stumbled onto their project. (Their other assignments look very interesting, too. I'm quite jealous.)

The students are writing real, live blogs--accessible to the public, with comments turned on. Unfortunately, this weekend, the student blogs were trolled: a number of outside people found the blogs and posted mean-spirited, rude and confrontational comments.

Their instructor, however, seized the opportunity to talk about how writing isn't done in a vacuum, as is too often the case in the classroom--and their collective response to adversity really reminded me of some of our adventures in trying to make Campaign 101 happen.

Now, a handful of you have expressed to me privately that, for a range of reasons, you find blogging intimidating--I've been through the same learning curve myself, very recently, and I really understand what you're talking about. Which is why I encourage you to check out these blogs, written by people your age.

I feel empathy for the student bloggers and their recent negative experience, I am very impressed with the project, and I want to get the rest of you blogging, so I am asking you a favor:

Please go over and check out a couple of the student blogs, and write them some comments. That's all.

You don't have to agree with what they say--the students express quite a range of opinions. I think part of what you'll find interesting is the political opinions of students in a different part of the country, and the way they express themselves. I have great faith in your abilities to be articulate, courteous, and encouraging, even when your views are different. Remember, part of why I am so damn gung ho about getting you blogging is that I want to get you used to articulating your ideas about politics, and writing and conversing about politics with people who may approach the same topics from a very different set of assumptions.

The student blogs are listed in the sidebars on this page. (Incidentally, it looks like it is Section 15 and 16 that have been writing about my friend Paperwight's blog.)

And then...let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Best Ad Ever

Okay, I have a new favorite election ad:

Satan for Bush 2004

Good marks for concept and execution and viral potential; my only complaint is, I wish it was harder hitting.

But hey! Do your part and pass it on.

Via the great folks at Bag News.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Getting Some Perspective: Bush vs. Rather

Has anyone else noticed the gross in-proportions between the reaction the country and media are having to an honest oversight by Dan Rather (the Alabama documents), versus the deliberate disregard for truth that Bush used as a means to pursue his own agenda. Have 1000+ people died because of Dan Rather's honest mistake?
I learned in philosophy that deontologists believe that what makes an action moral is the the intent that drove the action, and utilitarians believe that it is the outcome that determines the morality of the action (if it was for the greater good it was moral). Lets look at both situations presented with this perspective.
Dan Rather's action was not moral by a utilitarian's standard, but his intent was to inform the american people and deliver news to the best of his ability. A deontologist would consider his actions moral. President Bush would be considered immoral by that standard because he intentionally misled Congress and the American people, and the outcome is more foreign animosity towards the USA, a situation in Iraq that is getting worse by the day, a loss of basic civil liberties,and a dangerous precedent set for preemptive war.
It would be one thing if the media were giving the two situations equal coverage, but they continue to completely saturate their primetime slots with stories of the horrible atrocities at CBS. I'm glad that George W. Bush was able to suceed President Clinton in the White House to restore morality and dignity to the office, but not as glad as I am that the media is doing it's job of making sure that he is seen as doing nothing less.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Career Counselling: Count Your Eggs

Doug the Dynamic Driveler, a fellow blogger and fellow Canadian for that matter and a man of a suprising number of talents, is also a trained and former chef, who wonders when he meets young people interesting in pursuing a career as a professional cook if they might not be two eggs short of an omelette.
Oh I know where so much 0f this comes from of course. After all, I am a certified Food Network junkie. But the Food Network is to cooking like Disney is to animals, it ain’t real. These kids watch Emeril (shudder - the man is a buffoon, has bad hygeine and zero presentation skills), or Iron Chef (great entertainment and tremendous talent), or watch the Bocuse d’ Or or one of the other stars in ascendant and think , ya that’s what I’m going to do. Oh how little they know what they are really letting themselves in for because I gotta tell you gang it ain’t like that in the real world unless you own your own restaurant and even then not usually.
For more career advice on the brutal realities of life in a professional kitchen, read Doug's whole article, Two Over Easy,