Sunday, November 30, 2008

Conservatism By Any Other Name is McCarthyism

Interesting opinion piece in the LA Times today, authored by Neil Gabler:

The creation myth of modern conservatism usually begins with Barry Goldwater, the Arizona senator who was the party's presidential standard-bearer in 1964 and who, even though he lost in one of the biggest landslides in American electoral history, nevertheless wrested the party from its Eastern establishment wing. Then, Richard Nixon co-opted conservatism, talking like a conservative while governing like a moderate, and drawing the opprobrium of true believers. But Ronald Reagan embraced it wholeheartedly, becoming the patron saint of conservatism and making it the dominant ideology in the country. George W. Bush picked up Reagan's fallen standard and "conservatized" government even more thoroughly than Reagan had, cheering conservatives until his presidency came crashing down around him. That's how the story goes.

But there is another rendition of the story of modern conservatism, one that doesn't begin with Goldwater and doesn't celebrate his libertarian orientation. It is a less heroic story, and one that may go a much longer way toward really explaining the Republican Party's past electoral fortunes and its future. In this tale, the real father of modern Republicanism is Sen. Joe McCarthy, and the line doesn't run from Goldwater to Reagan to George W. Bush; it runs from McCarthy to Nixon to Bush and possibly now to Sarah Palin. It centralizes what one might call the McCarthy gene, something deep in the DNA of the Republican Party that determines how Republicans run for office, and because it is genetic, it isn't likely to be expunged any time soon.

Read the rest here. It's worth it.

60 Minutes For 60 Seats

We're only two days away from a gaining a 60-seat filibuster-proof Senate majority.

On Tuesday, December 2nd, the good citizens of Georgia will go to the polls for the second time in less than a month to chose their next Senator in an unexpected run-off election. Currently Democractic challenger Jim Martin trails Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss by only a few percentage points. But the polls mean nothing. Turnout means everything.

We need your help to get out the vote. Will you commit to taking 60 minutes out of your busy schedule between now and 3pm on Tuesday, Dec. 2nd?

Just click here to get started making calls.

Why do I say we're only two days away from a gaining a 60-seat filibuster-proof Senate majority? Because with Al Franken projected to eek out a victory in a drama-filled Minnesota recount, the only thing standing between advancing Barack Obama's ambitious agenda to reform our health care system, create 2.5 million new jobs with much need infrastructure and green technology programs, get our economy back on its feet with a responsible fiscal policy, and develope alternative energy programs that will wean us off foreign oil is Saxby Chambliss, a one-term Georgia disgrace, who only got his Senate seat by smearing a triple-amputee war hero as a friend to terrorists.

Just click here to get started making calls.

If you're not already a member on, just create a new account. It will take you all of five minutes. Then log on and follow the directions to make calls from your home or office.

The feedback we've gotten so far has been amazing. Every voter we've contacted has committed to making their voice heard on Election Day. The more voters we contact, then better chance Jim Martin has. Remember, the polls mean nothing, turnout is everything.

We hardly had to tell that to 108 year-old Nannie Haygood from Culloden, GA, a life-long Democrat who proudly told a volunteer she'd be driving herself - and 4 of her best friends - to the Culloden City Hall and Fire Department to vote on Tuesday.

Just click here to get started making calls.

Can you commit 60 minutes? Especially on Election Day? Georgia is 3 hours ahead of us and their polls are open from 7am to 7pm local time, so the best time would be to call first thing in the morning before you go to work.

Can you commit to waking up an hour earlier than normal Tuesday so you can make phone calls? How about shifting your morning workout to the evening?

Isn't healthcare reform, a clean environment, 2.5 million new jobs and sustainable, renewable energy worth an hour of your time?

Just click here to get started making calls.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Governing 2.0


In what is a first step toward Barack Obama's promise to have an open government and one that is more of a 2-way conversation, has gone interactive. The first topic President-elect Obama's transition team is asking our input on:

What worries you most about the healthcare system in our country?

There are already more than 3,000 comments.

Check it out for yourself here.


In the last few months, in my work on the Obama campaign, I've had a lot of folks ask me why I was supporting him.

Back in April, 2007 I was a delegate for the California State Democratic Convention - not the national convention in Denver - just the state party. The convention that year was a high-profile event, all the Democratic contenders were there to give speeches and work the crowd - everyone from Hillary Clinton to Mike Gravel.

Clinton was the first to speak, and gave a competent red-meat speech that definitely fired up the crowd. She assured us she would fight for us and take that fight right to the Republicans. She was, she told us, the only one who could.

Obama was next. He started his speech by introducing himself as the candidate with the funny name and the big ears. And then he did something extraordinary. He didn't talk about himself for the rest of his speech. He talked about us.

He talked about how it was in our power to take back our country. About how we needed to look after one another, how we needed to talk to one another as neighbors. As Americans. Even if we stood on opposite sides of the political isle. He talked about how we had to take responsibility if we wanted to change our country, because it was beyond the ability of one man or one woman to do so.

In a sea of candidates who talked about what they would do for us and how they would take the fight to the Republicans, Obama was the only candidate offering us a partnership in his campaign, the only candidate who offered co-ownership, who asked us to do the work, so that together we could prevail.

I never looked back.

One of the really awful byproducts of eight years of Bush/Cheney has been a Darwinian (ironic, I know ) emphasis on selfishness. When 9/11 hit, Bush could have asked anything of us, and we would have done it. Drive less to reduce our dependence of foreign oil? Sure. Reconnect with our neighbors, so that we'd be there for each other in a time of national emergency? Absolutely!

But instead he told us to go shopping. Shopping.

So on some level, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that it's come to this:


by Joe Gould
NY Daily News
Updated Friday, November 28th 2008, 11:58 AM

A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

The unidentified victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., police said.
The cause of death was pending.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was knocked to the floor during the mad rush. She was hospitalized for observation, police said.

Three other shoppers suffered minor injuries, cops said.

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."

I hope with all my heart that one of the byproducts of an Obama administration will be the chance that this kind of horror won't likely happen again. 

A girl can dream.

Walmart security camera caught the stampede

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks For A Brainy President

From the Washington Post:

Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan were certainly not intellectuals, but they understood the power of the presidency and they knew how to impose their agendas on their political partners and rivals.

By contrast, Jimmy Carter was a whiz at policy analysis and Bill Clinton grasped the connections among issues almost intuitively. Yet neither of them left the White House with a record of great achievements.

So for several years, I have been arguing that there are traits much more important to the success of a president than brainpower. Self-confidence, curiosity, an eye for talent, the ability to communicate, a temperament that invites collaboration -- all these and more rank higher on the list of desirable presidential traits.

I am not ready to abandon that view. But I am struck by how lucky this country is, at the moment, that the president-elect is a super-smart person like Barack Obama........

Even in the emotional maelstrom of his election victory, and even with the pressures of assembling his administration, everything points to his managing to focus on the policy choices looming in the economic field.

I have talked to two people on the fringe of the transition team -- both members of Congress with major responsibilities in the economic area. Both have been asked for input by Obama, and both say that the quality of his questions -- and his follow-ups -- were a measure of the depth of his knowledge of the situation.

Read the rest here.

Obama's Thanksgiving Day Address

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Devil Goes Down To Georgia

The Republicans are turning up the heat in Georgia. First, it was announced that Sarah Palin would be criss-crossing the state on Monday, now the National Republican Trust PAC -- the conservative group that ran national ad campaign hitting Obama over Reverend Wright -- is out with an attack ad going after Jim Martin.


The ad -- a sign of the conservatism of Georgia's electorate if there ever was one -- also assails Obama over his "spread the wealth" comment and claims that a vote for Dem Jim Martin is a vote for "Obama's radical agenda." It implores that voters "stop Barack Obama."

Rick Wilson, a consultant for the National Republican trust, says that the group will have spent close to a million airing that and another earlier spot by runoff day next week.

Saxby Chambliss, is an ultra right-wing conservative who has voted with the Republicans 94.4% of the time. He is a sure vote in a filibuster situation. But a win in Georgia would make the Senate nearly filibuster-proof.

With Alaska going blue, the Democratic majority in the Senate up to 58, and Democratic candidate Al Franken is only a few dozen votes away from winning in Minnesota pending a recount.

A win in Georgia would bring us up to the magic number 60, and that would mean Obama will have a much better chance of being able to enact real change.

Folks, this is all about turning out the base. The GOTV effort on the ground will make or break this effort.

Here's how you can help:


Saturday, November 29
11am to 3pm
Pot Luck Phone Bank With A View!
Ingrid van Eckert and John Blumenthal's place
401 california Ave # 8
Santa Monica, 90403
(park in the public garage on 4th 
street between California and Wilshire)
Bring your cell phones, your chargers, and your leftover Thanksgiving feast! 
We'll provide the drinks!

Sunday, November 30
Pot Luck Phone Bank and Hot Tub Extravaganza 
at Marta and Warren's
758 Palms Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
Bring your cell phones, your chargers, your bathing suit and your leftover turkey trimmings. We'll supply the drinks and hot water!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

In Case You Missed It - The Obamas On 60 Minutes

Nice to have the adults in charge, isn't it?

Obama's Weekly YouTube Address - "It's The Economy Stupid"

Is it just me, or do you giggle a little bit (in a good way) when you hear the phrase "Presidential YouTube Address"? 

Nice having a prez who gets the Internets.......

Georgia Sen. Chambliss Knocks Over Camera When Asked About Deadly Sugar Factory Accident


The pressures of the runoff election and the continuing questions about his ties to a large, scandal-scarred sugar company seem to be getting to Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Asked by a reporter whether a lawsuit involving deaths at an Imperial Sugar plant -- a lawsuit in which Chambliss claims he has senatorial immunity from testifying -- were making his chances at reelection harder, the Georgia Republican responded by knocking away a nearby camera.

The video, put out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is another chapter in a bizarre but brewing saga that could very well affect the outcome of the Senate race.

In February 2008, an explosion at the Imperial Sugar Factory in Savannah, caused largely by combustible dust particles, killed 14 workers and injured 40. The whistleblower who brought the issue to light came before Capitol Hill to testify on the matter. Chambliss sat in on the hearing, though he was not part of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. He was accused by his opponents of verbally harassing the whistleblower. Moreover, Chambliss continued to oppose a new combustible dust standard at the plant even after the explosion. Finally, when families of the victims filed a lawsuit, the Senator refused to give evidence or testimony, citing Senatorial immunity, which doesn't actually exist.

Imperial Sugar, which has funneled a moderate amount of donations into Chambliss' coffers, has defended the Senator's conduct as appropriate.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Going Rogue" In California

The  just published a story on the California Obama campaign's massive GOTV phone bank effort. It's a great read about a largely unknown aspect of Obama's GOTV effort. But for those of us who were in the middle of the whirlwind, it's profoundly weird reading an "objective" account about something we knew so intimately. I especially got a kick out this passage:

By late September, the nascent phone bank operation already had 100 locations and was outgrowing the available lists from Nevada. Burning through call sheets almost before they could be printed, the operation was confronted with its own worst nightmare, a willing army, staring at their own phones, and no voters to call. By early October, the boiler-room operation was 'going rogue', staying up all night cutting voter file lists from battleground states, obtained without the consent of Chicago, and divvying them up to idle phone banks around the state. (Those lists came by way of Obama state staffers, who had originally been trained in -- California).

We were in the middle of this. By "we" I mean the Region 4 (Central Coast to Orange County) phone banks. My co-Regional Field Organizer, Mike Bonin, and I were responsible for the CD36 phone banks that ran under the direction of Aaron Schiller, the Region 4  Field Director, and one of the few paid Obama staffers in California.

When it became clear one weekend that Nevada was unable to provide Region 4 with enough call lists, and we were in danger of sending hundreds of volunteers home, Aaron, along with Amy Amsterdam, our Regional Data Director (and an unpaid volunteer) worked their contacts in North Carolina and New Mexico to get us lists.

It was a huge risk on their part. At the time, Chicago hadn't signed off on California calling any battleground states outside Nevada and New Mexico. If the program had backfired - if the lists were cut wrong, data didn't get entered, or if anyone caught on before we could prove what had been kludged together could work on a massive scale - Aaron could have lost his job and Amy could have been kicked off the campaign. We hid everything we did, even going so far as mis-categorizing our battleground state calls as "volunteer recruitment" calls in the nightly reports sent to Chicago.

But what they came up with did work, and it fundamentally changed the way the Obama campaign ran it's ground game. By literally becoming the nation's phone bank, California allowed battleground states to free up their resources to put boots on the ground for voter registration, canvassing, GOTV and early voting.

Our little congressional district was a huge part of this. In the last 4 days leading up to Election Day, we had over 1,500 volunteers who made 152,224 phone calls to the battleground states of New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

No small debt of gratitude goes out to Aaron and Amy, who made this happen.

Amy Amsterdam and Aaron Schiller

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly!"

One of the funniest gags ever aired on network TV was the Thanksgiving Day episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati".  Centered around a radio promotion gone horribly wrong, station owner Mr. Carlson and ad man Herb throw turkeys out of a helicopter to a horrified crowd below. Intrepid reporter Les Nesman covers the spectacle as if he were watching the crashing of the Hindenburg, memorably reporting turkeys 'hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement.'

In one of the all-time classic lines, Mr. Carlson later explains his rationale simply: 'As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.'"

Now flash forward to this............

You have to watch this video to believe it. Sarah Palin appeared at a Wasilla turkey farm to engage in the time-honored practice of pardoning a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Everything went fine, until she gave an interview afterward. That's when a worker in the background shoved a couple of turkeys neck-first into a death grinder while Palin yammered on, seemingly oblivious to the carnage unfolding behind her.

WARNING! This video isn't for vegans or the squeamish.

Holy Crap

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has ousted John Dingell (D-Mich) as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The vote was 137-122.

The enormity of this can't be overstated.

As Marc Ambinder wrote:

The committee will be the most powerful in the new Congress, one that'll deal with health care and energy legislation. (Ways and Means? Pleghghgh.) A lot of impatient liberal Democrats want to see Dingell go; he is too old, too blinkered in his thinking and too at odds with the party on energy, they say; just as many, it seems, want him to say, including some influential members of the leadership, even if for reasons of preserving the integrity of the seniority system.

D-Day, writing for Calitcs put the politics of this into perspective:

Waxman, who wrote the Clean Air Act and who has an understanding of what is needed to be done on global warming and the post-carbon future, would make a great chairman, as opposed to the Dingellsaurus, who is still trying to protect the auto industry from moving into the 21st century, even as the verdict on their approach is defined by their trudging to Capitol Hill for a bailout. A majority of the caucus has signed a letter to Nancy Pelosi asking for greater efforts to combat climate change. Waxman at Energy is a key to that happening. We must eliminate this roadblock.


Lots of members of Congress put themselves in the position of someone like Dingell, who earned his chairmanship with seniority, and they don't want to see him pushed out because they wouldn't want it to happen to them. That's the kind of institutional thinking that must be vanquished, as it restricts change. The enviro groups are backing away from this fight because they don't want to feel Dingell's wrath if he wins. There is nobody else left to step in but us. I was skeptical that House Democrats would be pushed in the direction of progress, but with Waxman's former chief of staff, Phil Schiliro, in the Obama White House, some pressure may be coming down from the top. It's in all of our interests to have Henry Waxman atop this committee.

That's change, folks. Real change we can believe in.

A Failed Talk Show Host And A Pollster Walk Into A Bar......

From D-Day:

John Ziegler, who probably has about 10 talk radio show firings left in his career, is I guess trying to make it now as a "filmmaker." This being a film on how stupid Barack Obama supporters are, he decided to sponsor a "poll" asking them a series of questions which had, er, idiosyncratic answers, and appeared designed to push negative information out about Obama.

And more from

I had the chance this afternoon to speak with John Ziegler, a documentary filmmaker and former radio talk show host who built the website and is promoting a forthcoming documentary of the same name.

Ziegler was responsible for commissioning a Zogby International survey of Barack Obama supporters, which took the form of a multiple choice political knowledge test, stating a "fact" to the respondent and asking them which of the four major candidates (Obama, McCain, Biden, Palin) the statement applied to. Because I believe that many of the statements on the survey are questionable or false but are misleadingly presented as factual to the respondent, I characterized the survey as a "push poll" in an article posted early this morning.

Ziegler had contacted me by e-mail, asking if I'd like to interview him; the interview itself was conducted by telephone. Ziegler asked, among other conditions, that I post a full transcript of the interview, which I have. The transcript below is intended to be representative as possible from my shorthand transcript, with the exception of two or three rapid-fire ad-hominem exchanges being edited out. The transcript, however, is not safe for work.

A few of the more interesting exchanges here:

NS: What did Zogby charge you -- what did you pay for this survey?
JZ: I'm not going to tell you that, I'm not a fucking idiot.

NS: Did he charge you at his usual rates or did he ask you for extra?
JZ: You'll have to ask them. I'm not going to respond how much money I paid for this. It was substantial but I’m not going to say anything more than that.


NS: Would you consider yourself well-informed
JZ: I’d consider myself extremely well-informed.

NS: Who are the two senators from South Dakota
JZ: Thune and, uh, Johnson.

NS: Very good. South Carolina?
JZ: Go fuck yourself. I'm done with this interview if you're going to ask me stupid questions like that. Obviously I know who Lindsay Graham is.

NS: Well, since you’re running a website calling people misinformed, I’d like to see if -- there are certain things you’ve said that I would consider misinformed.
JZ: Misinformed? You're a piece of work! You are never going to have the guts to post a representative transcript on your website! I thought you actually ran a legitimate website!

NS: Thank you, have a good day.
JZ: Go fuck yourself.

You really have to read the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just Really Weird Shit

OK, so this has absolutely NOTHING to do with Obama or politics, but they did find this critter wandering the streets of Venice, so this story is a least nominally relevant.

From the LA Times:

What do you do when you find a 2-foot alligator strolling through your neighborhood?

Call the police. That's what a resident in the 200 block of 4th Avenue in Venice did early this morning when he spotted an alligator walking in the middle of the street.

Police who arrived at about 1:40 a.m. found the alligator crawling under a bush in someone's front yard. They quickly corralled it into a trash bin and notified animal control, which arrived later to collect the reptile, said Sgt. Marc Reina of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The alligator was being held at an animal shelter until a representative from a local herpetology society could arrive to collect it, said Capt. Louis Dedeaux of the Los Angeles Animal Services Department.

No one yet has claimed the grayish-colored alligator.

Police estimated it was 3 feet long, though animal services officials thought it was closer to 2 feet.

John Cook, who lives nearby on Rose Avenue, walked over to where the alligator was captured. Weird happenings are common in Venice, and in particular, his neighborhood.

"This definitely fits that category," he said.

Reina said it was unusual to find an alligator wandering around Venice, especially that neighborhood. "That's several blocks away from the beach," he said.

In his 25 years with the department, Dedeaux said he has seen as many as 20 alligators, many of whom were confiscated from owners. "Chances are it got away from someone or got out of its confinement area," Dedeaux said.

Top 10 Reasons Why Saxby Chambliss Has To Go

In case you need more convincing. Thanks to super volunteer Julie Priess for looking up this information!

10. Saxby blames the United State's loss of respect in the international community on the Democrats, of course. Here's what he said:

"As long as Democrats in Congress continue to malign our President before the world for political gain back home, we will continue to face a declining stature worldwide."

9. Saxby Chambliss is rated 7% by the ACLU, with one of the most abissmal Civil Rights records in the Senate.

8. Saxby's bigotry knows no bounds.

While touring rural Georgia during this year's campaign, Chambliss tried to boost turnout in his predominately white base: 'The other folks are voting,' he bluntly told supporters. Just in case anyone is confused about who those 'other folks' are, Chambliss gave this quote to the New York Times: "There has always been a rush to the polls by African-Americans early."

At least Saxby is an equal opportunity bigot. In 2001, the Anti-Discrimination Committee wrote to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert asking that (former) Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, be removed from his position because of bigoted anti-Muslim comments at a Nov. 19 meeting with local Georgia officials. Chambliss told 30 local officials in Valdosta, Ga., that to combat terrorism a Georgia sheriff could be turned loose to"arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line."

7. Saxby's never met a big oil company he didn't like.

He has accepted almost $200,000 from Big Oil and Gas companies while voting to protect their $5 billion tax windfall and opposing legislation that would protect consumers from price gouging.

6. Saxby is rated 0% by NARAL for his %100 ANTI pro-choice voting record.

5. Saxby's a secessionist at heart.

In a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, Chambliss said: "We need better intelligence. If we had better intelligence in the Civil War we'd be quoting Jefferson Davis, not Lincoln."

4. Saxby is rated 0% by the AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State). Chambliss actually supports REQUIRING schools to allow prayer.

3. Saxby doesn't necessarily believe in Constitutional rights.

In 2003, Senator Saxby Chambliss chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee's public confirmation hearings on judicial appointments. Chambliss had adopted strict rules that would prevent qualified critics from challenging his predetermined selections to the federal court. One such critic was Elena Sassower, a representative from the Center for Judicial Accountability. She opposed the confirmation of Judge Richard Wesley to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals because of alleged conflicts of interest when he was judge of New York's Court of Appeals.

Sassower sought the approval of the committee to testify about Wesley and was denied by Chambliss. Sassower rose from her seat as Chambliss was adjourning the public meeting and requested permission to make a statement. Chambliss immediately ordered her arrested, charging her with "Disruption of Congress" for which she was imprisoned for six months.

This extraordinary action was taken to not only silence Sassower but dissuade others from exercising their constitutional right to redress government on legitimate issues affecting the public welfare.

2. Saxby is rated 0% by American Public Health Association - he voted AGAINST insuring children under the SCHIP program THREE TIMES.

1. Saxby the Swiftboater owes his Senate seat to his disgusting tactics during the 2002 race.

Saxby defeated incumbent Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee and Vietnam war veteran, by accusing him of not having the "courage to lead" because he opposed some of Bush's policies. Saxby ran ads showing images of Cleland morphed with images of Osama bin Laden and Saddem Hussein.

But it gets better. While denigrating a Vietnam War hero would lost three limbs for his country, Saxby was hiding an ugly fact. He sought and received five student deferments from service in Vietnam. During the campaign, he falsely claimed he was given a deferment for a physical injury. Saxby said...

"I was determined not to be physically fit. I had a bum knee. I had an old football knee and unfortunately they wouldn't take me."

Feedback Loop

From the Obama Transition Team:

Please take a few minutes and help shape the future of this movement.

Share your campaign experience and your thoughts on the best way to keep supporting our agenda for change.

The inauguration is just 63 days away, and as President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden prepare to take office, they'll need your support more than ever.

You've built an organization in your community and across the country that will continue to work for change -- whether it's by building grassroots support for legislation, backing state and local candidates, or sharing organizing techniques to effect change in your neighborhood.

Your hard work built this movement. Now it's up to you to decide how we move forward.

Take this short survey and share your ideas:

Thanks to you, this country has an historic opportunity. Electing Barack was the first big step, but there's a lot of challenging and important work ahead.

Together, we can keep making history,

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Dial For Democracy This Weekend!


The Democratic pursuit of 60 Senate seats received new life Tuesday night after Alaska Democrat Mark Begich was declared the winner against Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate........

Democratic prospects of reaching 60 seats didn’t look so bright the day after the election. In Alaska, Stevens led Begich by more than 3,000 votes. In Minnesota, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was holding a narrow lead. GOP Sen. Gordon Smith had not yet been declared the loser in the Oregon Senate race and in Georgia, Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss was just over the 50 percent mark necessary to win re-election in Georgia.

But over the ensuing two weeks, the landscape began to tilt in the Democrats’ favor. The Associated Press declared Jeff Merkley the winner over Smith in Oregon, Coleman’s lead shrank to 215 votes, Chambliss fell just short of the 50 percent threshold necessary for an outright victory, and Begich captured a majority of the nearly 90,000 absentee and early votes that were counted after Election Day......

Democrats believe they have a shot at picking off Chambliss’ Senate seat now that the race is heading into a runoff, likely a low turnout affair where get-out-the-vote efforts will prove critical. Chambliss dramatically outspent Martin in the general election, $11 million to $2.5 million, but still failed to avoid a runoff. Now, as the campaigns essentially start from scratch, Martin will be at financial parity and aided by scores of leading Democratic operatives.

Democrats’ recent success in getting out the vote has left Martin’s campaign guardedly optimistic. While Barack Obama lost the state by five points, he came closer than most recent Democratic presidential candidates, boosted by the record high level of turnout among African-Americans across the state.

Come to a phone bank this weekend and help the Democrats win the Georgia Senate run-off race.

A win in Georgia would make the Senate nearly filibuster-proof.

And that means Obama will have a much better chance of being able to enact real change.

Let's get a head-start on Saxby's retirement party. Join us:

Saturday, November 22
Pot Luck Phone Bank at Mary Jack's
913 Marco Place, Venice, CA 90291
Bring your cell phones, your chargers, and a dish!
We'll provide the drinks!

Sunday, November 23
BBQ Phone Bank and Hot Tub Extravaganza at Marta and Warren's
758 Palms Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
Bring your cell phones, your chargers, your bathing suit and a side dish. We'll supply the drinks, burgers and hot water!

Please RSVP so we'll know how much food to get!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama Sends a Message to Governors on Climate Change

President-elect Barack Obama recorded a message to be delivered this morning at the Bi-Partisan Governors Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles. The hosts of the summit include Obama allies Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, as well as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, whose wife is an Obama-backer.

Obama's remarks, as delivered and promising "a new chapter of American leadership on climate change," follow below:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Zell Miller Is Still Alive

Who knew?

Apparently Zell Miller, former DINO Senator from Georgia, is stumping for Saxby Chambliss. For some reason, the NRSC thought it would be a good idea to make a web video of Zell, apparently to stoke their base.

Here's hoping it stokes ours.

California's Wish List For Obama

From the LA Times:

If you've been elected to something somewhere in California, you're probably writing a wish list for President-elect Barack Obama.

With the inauguration about nine weeks away, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster is seeking $111 million to replace 28 miles of storm drains. State Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) is talking up $321 million for sewage-treatment plants and clean-water facilities.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl wants a light-rail line to Los Angeles International Airport. And money for homeless veterans. And did he mention universal healthcare?

"The sooner he focuses on healthcare, the better," said Rosendahl, who represents coastal neighborhoods such as Venice and Playa del Rey. "It's as important a priority as getting out of Iraq."

Jubilant over the arrival of a Democrat in the White House, government agencies across this heavily Democratic state are hoping not just for a piece of an upcoming stimulus package but also for four years of a California-friendly administration........

Other prominent items involve policies, not cash.

The state's environmental advocates, for example, are tired of seeing pioneering clean-air programs blocked by federal officials.

The most notable conflict occurred last year, when the Bush administration refused to grant a waiver allowing the state to enact emissions standards designed to combat global warming. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, is confident that an Obama administration will grant the state the right to establish vehicle emission standards that are more stringent that federal guidelines.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama 2.0

From D-Day:

While Barack Obama is likely to have to give up his Blackberry after being sworn in as President (owing mainly to a lack of email security, as well as record keeping under the Presidential Records Act), he will have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office, a first. And he just finished up the first-ever Presidential YouTube address, which will become a regular feature.
It already has 630,000 views, probably 620,000 more than those weekly radio addresses which air at 4am. The even more interesting development is Valerie Jarrett's address at, a completely transparent update on who will be leading key agencies, which has NINETY-EIGHT THOUSAND VIEWS. This is a wonky and fairly dull address about ethics requirements and lobbyists, but because it's being made widely available and people are hungering for knowledge about the incoming Administration, it's getting widespread attention.

I find this to be very significant. Obama enters office with 3.1 million donors and an email list of 10 million. How these lists are put to use and allowed to engage with the Administration will signal how much the President-elect will live up to his expression that change begins from the bottom up. By using these Web tools, Obama can bypass traditional filters and deliver action items to his audience on issues can have relevance and immediacy.

From AP:

Transition officials call it Obama 2.0 — an ambitious effort to transform the president-elect's vast Web operation and database of supporters into a modern new tool to accomplish his goals in the White House. If it works, the new president could have an unprecedented ability to appeal for help from millions of Americans who already favor his ideas, bypassing the news media to pressure Congress.
"He's built the largest network anyone has ever seen in politics, and congressional Republicans are clueless about the communications shift that has happened," Democratic strategist Joe Trippi proclaims. The results, he says, "will be amazing to watch."

During his 21-month campaign, Obama built a list of 3.1 million contributors and over 10 million supporters who helped power his victories over Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican John McCain. In addition to helping raise a staggering $660 million, the campaign's Web effort reinforced his message and themes, responded to political attacks and created volunteer social networks that served as the basis for his field operation.

Obama's team is determining how best to convert his army of online activists into a viral lobbying and communications machine. Staffers are reluctant to discuss specifics, but Obama clearly is poised to become the first truly "wired" president of the digital age.

For legal and privacy reasons, Obama's campaign list must be kept separate from White House operations. Aides are figuring out if that list should be run through the Democratic National Committee or as a freestanding political entity that will eventually become his 2012 re-election committee.

But transition officials have already begun a new digital outreach effort, based on the campaign model, aimed at supporters and others interested in being connected to the activities of the Obama White House.

The transition operation has a new Web site,, designed for anyone who wants to post a message of congratulations, offer suggestions for the new administration or apply for a government job. People are invited to submit their names and e-mail addresses, with the goal of creating a new list for the president-elect to tap when he wants to communicate directly about a program he's promoting or seek help urging members of Congress to support legislation he's proposed.

"Just imagine what happens when a congressman comes back to his district and 500 people are lined up for his town hall meeting because they got an e-mail from Obama urging them to attend," said Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital which designed Obama's campaign Web site and

Post Election Vandalism (Updated)

Last week I reported that one of our volunteers in the South Bay (I incorrectly said Redondo Beach, she lives in Torrance) was targeted by vandals, as was a number of her neighbors on the same street. Apparently they were all singled out because their Obama yard signs.

The Daily Breeze picked up on the story a few days later:

Vandals over the weekend attacked homes in south Torrance that displayed support for President-elect Obama, spray-painting cars, walls, trees and campaign signs with swastikas and racial slurs.

One Hollywood Riviera resident awakened to find a large Nazi symbol on a tree, the N-word across her garage door and the phrase "Go back to Africa" scrawled across a front wall.

"They had painted a big swastika on my car and spray-painted out my bumper sticker," she said Monday. "It was pretty shocking. Immediately my heart began racing."
Torrance police Sgt. Bernard Anderson said officers took four vandalism reports Sunday morning. The Daily Breeze located a fifth home that was hit.

One bright spot in all this; apparently the vandalism brought neighbors together who had previously been opposite sides of the political fence.

(One victim reported) "I had a lot of McCain-Palin supporters that came up to me and were so upset and were really expressing their support," she said. "They are sorry, (saying) `This shouldn't happen ever and it was a hate crime."'

The Plum Book: Washington's Hottest Read

From the Washington Post:

The hottest read in town next week will not be another kiss-and-tell about the departing Bush administration or one more yawn about subprime lending.

Instead, Washington's government and political set is breathlessly awaiting the release of the Plum Book, a.k.a. the job book.

To the untrained eye, this paperback with the purple cover might look like a rather tedious government list of names. But to the thousands of Republicans who will be on the street soon, and thousands of Democrats eyeing those posts, it is a road map to employment in tough economic times.

Published once every four years, the Plum Book (its full name is United States Policy and Supporting Positions) puts in circulation every political job in the outgoing administration, including the name of the office holder and salary. The important thing to keep in mind about the Plum Book is that one-third of the 8,000 or so jobs listed are strictly political appointments -- that is, patronage jobs that will go largely to Democrats.

To see if there's a job that interests you, the Plum Book is available online!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"It is no simple task to convert an insurgency into a standing army"

Over the last 10 days or so, I've gotten a number of emails from our hard working Obama volunteers in CD36 who all wonder, "What's next?". 

Already they've answered their own question by joining our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters at "Marriage Equality" rallies all over the state (and nation) today. Tomorrow dozens of them will phone bank to help win yet another Senate seat for Democrats in a Georgia runoff election.

Their enthusiasm and willingness to continue on with the work beyond November 4th is humbling and awe inspiring.

The main stream media has begun to notice. The LA Times yesterday ran a very interesting piece on the challenges that face an Obama administration trying to harness this force effectively.

It is the biggest and broadest American political force ever created -- a vast, electronically linked network of activists, neighborhood organizers and volunteers who raised record amounts of money and propelled Barack Obama to the White House.

Now, as Obama turns from campaigning to governing, his advisors are struggling to harness this potent web of supporters to help him move his agenda over the next four years.........

But it is no simple task to convert an insurgency into a standing army.

That challenge has sparked rare discord among Obama advisors who ran a highly disciplined operation with no public disagreements throughout the long campaign.

Traditionally, the new president would blend his campaign operation with his party's national committee. Some of Obama's closest advisors lean toward that pragmatic view.

But others, who built the grass-roots organization, worry that linking it too closely to the party could cause the unusual network to unravel -- and squander an extraordinary resource.

The Obama machinery relied heavily on idealistic political outsiders committed to breaking free from old ways of doing politics. The worry is that these enthusiastic activists might drift away if they are turned over to the Democratic National Committee, where the party might ask them to support Democrats and target Republicans.

Instead, Obama advisors involved in building the force think it should remain an independent entity -- organized around the "Obama brand."

The goal, they say, is to integrate Obama's political organization into his new role as president without damaging its zeal for a candidate who promised to change Washington.

"If it's in the party," said Marshall Ganz, a Harvard University lecturer who helped design the training curriculum for Obama's organizers, "that's a way to kill it.".................

The debate underscores some of the larger challenges facing Obama, who must balance the idealism of his core supporters against the need to forge compromises within a Washington political environment that he criticized as a candidate but now leads.

The Obama network is far more expansive and sophisticated than the traditional list of e-mail addresses that are a common byproduct of modern campaigns.

Rooted in the street-level tactics learned by Obama when he worked in the 1980s as a community organizer in several Chicago housing projects, the network grew to include thousands of full-time organizers, many in their 20s and new to politics, who were trained to help create neighborhood teams led by volunteers.

In California, Obama's campaign developed an e-mail list with more than 790,000 names. That included 40,000 volunteers "who did real stuff like make over 10 million telephone calls," said Obama state campaign manager Mitchell Schwartz.

Top organizers such as Ganz, who created the training program called Camp Obama, view the network as a mass movement with unprecedented potential to influence voters.

Temo Figueroa, another top Obama campaign organizer who headed Latino voter outreach, said he was hearing from community activists across the country who wanted the network to remain intact -- but who were not necessarily party loyalists.

"A lot of these warriors on the ground are not Democrats, and that's by choice," Figueroa said.

"So creating a different organization might make them more apt to join it."

Obama Premieres The Presidential YouTube Address

Barack Obama has posted the first of his weekly YouTube addresses to the nation, a modern-day replacement of the old-fashioned weekly radio addresses. In this one, Obama urges immediate Congressional action on the economy:

"Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again," Obama says. "In particular, we cannot afford to delay providing help for the more than one million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by the end of this year. If Congress does not pass an immediate plan that gives the economy the boost it needs, I will make it my first order of business as President."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Instant Gratification: Undoing the Damage

As reported in

Congressional Democrats are eyeing a little-known, Clinton-era law as a way to reverse Bush administration midnight regulations — even ones that have already taken effect.

It’s a move that would undermine the White House’s attempt to finalize its energy and environmental regulations by November so that Barack Obama couldn’t undo them after he’s sworn in as the 44th president on Jan. 20.

“Fortunately, [the White House] made a mistake,” said a top Senate Democratic aide.

Last May, White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten instructed federal agency heads to make sure any new regulations were finalized by Nov. 1. The memo didn’t spell it out, but the thinking behind the directive was obvious. As Myron Ebell of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute put it: “We’re not going to make the same mistakes the Clinton administration did.”

President Bill Clinton finalized regulations within 60 days of the 2001 inauguration, meaning Bush could come in and easily reverse them.

It could take Obama years to undo climate rules finalized more than 60 days before he takes office — the advantage the White House sought by getting them done by Nov. 1. But that strategy doesn’t account for the Congressional Review Act of 1996.

The law contains a clause determining that any regulation finalized within 60 days of congressional adjournment — Oct. 3, in this case — is considered to have been legally finalized on Jan. 15, 2009. The new Congress then has 60 days to review it and reverse it with a joint resolution that can’t be filibustered in the Senate.

In other words, any regulation finalized in the last half-year of the Bush administration could be wiped out with a simple party-line vote in the Democrat-controlled Congress.

Targets of the CRA may include a rule to allow federal agencies to determine on their own whether their policies will threaten endangered species, rather than requiring them to go through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval. Regulations opening land in the West to oil shale development and mountaintop removal could also be on the block.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Join The Impact: A National Day Of Protest For Civil Rights This Saturday, November 15

November 4th was a bitter-sweet celebration for our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters. Even as they worked to take back our country, Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and California passed initiatives to take away their civil rights.

President-elect Obama publicly opposed California's Proposition 8, saying he instead favored extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states,"

Folks, let's follow his example. Our work on the Obama campaign taught us we have the power to change the world. So please join us this day to peacefully celebrate the lives and rights of all our citizens!


Bakersfield, Fairfield, Fresno, Irvine, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Napa County, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Ventura, Oakland, and Santa Cruz


Saturday, November 15 - 10:30am

To learn more about protest locations in California, CLICK HERE

To send information to friends in other states about protests in their area, CLICK HERE

Spread the word!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

60 Minutes, CBS: Obama's Inner Circle

Watch CBS Videos Online

From the 60 Minutes transcript:

When President-elect Obama gave his victory speech Tuesday night in Chicago's Grant Park, he was quick to give credit. "To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics," the president-Elect said, "You made this happen."

Post Election Vandalism

Sadly,  I just received this from one of our super-star volunteers in Redondo Beach, CA. She's asked me to send this out there to everyone I can, because she believes the only way to combat this behavior is to show a bright, cleansing light on it and to make sure the perpetrators know they will not be silenced.

Last night someone vandalized our home and our car (see attached). This makes me angry that someone would come on our private property and vandalize it. But it does not scare me and it does not make me sad. In a way it makes me even more proud of what we have done and I take it like a badge of honor. It is a very small price to pay for what we have achieved. And so much less than what so many have had to endure throughout our nations history to arrive at this moment.

The police officer that came to our house this morning said that we were the fourth house he had been to today. He also said that several other cars baring Obama bumper stickers had also been spray painted. Cowardly deeds by cowardly people (in my opinion). This illustrates that although we have come a long way, we still have work to do to achieve a more perfect union. Keep up the good fight.

We cleaned it all up today with the help of our neighbors. I was even able to clean up my bumper sticker :) And we turned around the yard signs to the clean side and are keeping them up!

Right-wing media feeds its post-election anger

From the LA Times:

You have to give Rush Limbaugh a perverse kind of credit. At least when he is demonizing Barack Obama, fabricating Obama policies, blaming Obama for single-handedly causing the recession and the stock market crash, he doesn't pretend to be fair.
Opening his first post-election rant against the president-elect, Limbaugh launched in with a certain relish. "The game," he told his radio listeners, "has begun."

Sean Hannity, on the other hand, insisted on feigning a post-election detente, telling his Fox News television audience last week, "I want Barack Obama to succeed."

Didn't he think anyone would notice that, just a moment later, he was back parroting the failed campaign argument that Obama is a "mystery"?

"I fear [this] is the guy that has these radical associations 20 years ago," Hannity added, an odd way of demonstrating support for the new commander in chief.

A healthy skepticism is not only the media's right but its obligation. Indeed, commentators at many mainstream outlets -- including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal -- have already argu
ed that Obama's best bet to succeed will be if he hews to a centrist path.

But many on the losing end of last week's election want to hold on to their anger. And there are those in the media -- led by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity -- only too ready to feed that animus, along with their own ratings.

Read the rest here.

Our Standing In The World: Another Reason An Obama Presidency Matters


November 4, 2008

My dear friends,

Today I have had to travel from the island of Borneo...from SABAH and the town of Kota Kinabalu.  Then to Kualam Lumpur where I had a 5 hour lay over and finally arriving very late at night in Bangkok.  The election has already begun....

Today, in honor of the election, I am wearing an Obama '08 button on my lapel.  If the treatment and reaction throughout my day is any indication of what our world might become....I am overwhelmed with optimism.  First, every single place I went, someone noticed the button and called out, "OBAMA!".  There were international administrators from across the region at the Hotel.  Many of them nodded and smiled, an

d even the non-Americans who reacted with huge enthusiasm.  One man from Australia stopped me to talk politics for 10 minutes.  The crew working behind the desk all gave a thumbs up...the taxi driver did not charge me for taking me to the airport.

From the
LA Times:
If history records a sudden surge in carbon emissions on Wednesday, it may be due to the collective exhalation of relief and joy by the hundreds of millions -- perhaps billions -- of people around the globe who watched, waited and prayed for Barack Obama to be elected president of the United States.

In country after country, elation over Obama's victory was palpable, the hunger for a change of American leadership as strong outside the U.S. as in it. And there was wonderment that, in the world's most powerful democracy, a man with African roots and the middle name Hussein, an upstart fighter who took on political heavyweights, could capture the highest office in the land.

And, finally, this:

Obama Victory Alters the Tenor of Iraqi Politics
NY Times: BAGHDAD — Barack Obama may have been elected only three days ago, but his victory is already beginning to shift the political ground in Iraq and the region.

Iraqi Shiite politicians are indicating that they will move faster toward a new security agreement about American troops, and a Bush administration official said he believed that Iraqis could ratify the agreement as early as the middle of this month.

“Before, the Iraqis were thinking that if they sign the pact, there will be no respect for the schedule of troop withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2011,” said Hadi al-Ameri, a powerful member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a major Shiite party. “If Republicans were still there, there would be no respect for this timetable. This is a positive step to have the same theory about the timetable as Mr. Obama.”

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Contact Gap: Proof of the Importance of the Ground Game?


One of the more interesting questions posed on this year's exit polls was whether the voter had been contacted by the Obama and McCain campaigns personally about getting out to vote. Unfortunately, the exit poll consortium did not ask this question in all states, but it did in a dozen or so competitive states; these figures are summarized below:

% of Voters Reporting Direct Contact from Campaigns

Obama McCain Gap
50% 29% 21%
51% 34% 17%
37% 22% 15%
50% 38% 12%
50% 39% 11%
41% 30% 11%
29% 20% 9%
34% 26% 8%
44% 37% 7%
43% 36% 7%
42% 39% 3%
29% 31% -2%

The Obama campaign had a superior contact rate in 11 of the 12 battlegrounds; the only exception was West Virginia. Wisconsin was also relatively close, perhaps because Obama redirected its legion number of Illinois-based volunteers from Wisconsin to Indiana a couple of weeks in advance of the election.
The largest gaps, however, were in Indiana and out west in Colorado and Nevada, all places where Obama outperformed his polls on election day.

The rest of the story is pretty fascinating to those of us involved in Obama's ground game. Check out the rest here.