Sunday, October 31, 2004
More insanity from the So Called Liberal Media. Look people: Osama's tape absafrickinloutely does NOT help President Bush at this point. Osama is still out there. Bush didn't get him. Kerry would have. This isn't that difficult!
This afternoon is prime time for talking to folks. Both Pedro HQ and Dems HQ have walks going out this afternoon, so swing by...except for E-Day, this is pretty much the last time to help out!
Saturday, October 30, 2004
It's a little dark, but look at all the people! If I was a Republican on the South Coast I'd be scared about now.
Rally! It's 11am and the rally here at Dems HQ is about to start. The place is mobbed...I was going to try to post some pictures but unfortunately my fancy new laptop doesn't like the wireless network here. Go figure. But the sign up sheets are up, the podium is set, the doorhangers are (um, mostly) labeled, the tents are raised and the food is out. I make an effort to avoid the polls at this point but we must be up or something because it seems like everyone's in a good mood. Come on down for the beginning of the end!
Friday, October 29, 2004
On the morning of November 3rd, win or lose one of two things is going to happen. You are either going to feel like you did everything you could do to make this election work, or you aren't. Think about that morning. Think about winning.
Below is the schedule for the next four days. Basically, if you show up at either of these offices any time between 8 or so and midnight, there'll be something to do. We've been identifying supporters of our candidates for more than a year and we have 11 hours on Tuesday to get them to the polls.
There is exactly one thing that helps this process more than anything. Some people consider it difficult but it's also the most fun, and that is voter contact. Whether it's phone banking to swing states or knocking on doors here in town, person to person contact is the single most effective use of your much appreciated volunteer energy. Studies have shown that a good strong field campaign can improve turnout by 8 to 12 percent. I know it's not always the easiest thing to do, but if you really want this election to go our way it is far and away the single most effective thing you can do.
Dems Coordinated HQ 1341 State St. (near the Arlington) 884-0202
Pedro Nava HQ 3208 State (near Las Positas) 563-4500
Saturday October 30th
9am-2pm: labeling @ Dems HQ
9am-2pm: canvassing @ Dems HQ
11am: GOTV Rally
10am-2pm: battleground phonebank, Dems HQ
3:30pm: Rally with Pedro and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez at Pedro's HQ
Sunday October 31st
9am-2pm: canvassing, to be delivered in the afternoon
2pm-5pm: optimal time for person-to-person contact
10am-2pm: phone banking
Monday November 1st
all day: canvassing/doorhangers
6pm E-Day Training @ Pedro's (this is the #1 most important thing!)
TUESDAY NOVEMBER SECOND. E-DAY.
5am: doorhanger dawn patrol
7am - all day: poll observers
11am to 2pm, 3pm to 6pm, 6pm to 8:30: GOTV walks
all day: drivers/visibility
8pm: party at El Paseo!
Pedro Nava update. The News-Press editorial page dropped to a new abysmal low this week by running some stuff that not a single other news organization on the South Coast (including the NP's own news side) would touch. I'm not going to dignify the accusations by repeating them here or even linking to them; they were fallout from a dreadful and very personal family tragedy that Pedro went through a few years ago. It's a kind of tragedy that I'm also familiar with and I find two aspects of this series of events completely beyond appalling: first, that Bob Pohl's surrogates would even consider putting this kind of information out, and second, that the NP editorial page would have such a complete lack of good judgement to run it. It's just plain skin crawling, disgusting. Who'd have thought we'd see full blown, Karl Rove style sewer politics right here in Santa Barbara?
Pedro's taken a lot of heat for some issue-based and and decidedly non-personal ads that he ran early in the campaign. No one has disputed the content of the ads and I doubt most voters have a problem with a campaign that wants to take it to the hoop, get serious and talk about issues. But what's happening now is a completely different thing: Bob Pohl's campaign must be way behind and out of ammunition, so they've decided to "go nuclear." They're just throwing everything they've got at Pedro no matter how blatantly unethical it is.
The media environment that campaigns operate in - even here locally - is like a funhouse mirrored hallway. Issues are raised, and they bounce off themselves a few times and get terribly distorted or sometimes magnified beyond reason. Ethical journalists can usually minimize this effect, but when ethics go out the window like they have on the editorial page of the News-Press, the effect is magnified. So Pedro, someone who I personally know to be a great leader and a genuinely nice guy, has his personality bent into something it completely isn't.
A voter I called tonight at the phone bank asked me why on earth anyone would run for office. I told her that the people that I knew who were running did so out of a deep desire to serve their communities. It sounds hokey, but that's honestly very much my sense of where Pedro is coming from. I hope the gutter politics of this campaign don't end up occluding that reality. Karl Rove, stay outta the South Coast.
I'm finally back from Washington - we had a great time working the 5th and 8th Congressional Districts up there. We even found a pocket of actual Bush/Kerry undecided voters out in Pullman, WA, home of Washington State University. They were new voters that the campaigns hadn't particularly targeted, so talking to them felt really productive. I wonder if the Republicans who have been trying so hard to suppress the vote in swing states know how good it feels to bring new people into the system and encourage them to get out.
This is a simple and effective site to keep in mind over the next couple of days...www.mypollingplace.com.
Friday, October 22, 2004
In my last post, I forgot to mention the other collassal reason I haven't been posting as much here: I've been helping launch a website called SpeakOut, California. The site that's up now is a tiny, tiny sliver of what we've got planned, but for now, the most immediately relevant link is this handy guide to the ballot propositions. There's been a lot of controversy around some of these, especially 1A, but the idea was to give people some pointers to make sorting it all out a little easier. SpeakOut's got big plans for after this cycle, so join up now to get our updates.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Heeyah's been kinda quiet... I apologize for the infrequent posts - I've been stationed up in Seattle, where Jen and I are talking to UNlikely voters on a swing congressional district. I'd hoped I'd be able to post pictures from up here, but until my new laptop arrives (this Thursday) I'm out of luck. Things are going great here, though: we saw our candidate(who is fantastic) speak the other day at a rally with none other than Howard Dean! Today was the last day to register here, and the King County registrar's office in downtown Seattle was jumpin'. And we met some other totally freakin' amazing people the other day, too, who helped us out at one of the most successful phone banks I've ever been to. Rep. Jay Inslee's line at the rally the other day was "if you aren't in pain you're not working hard enough," so keep contacting those voters!
Monday, October 11, 2004
We don't do a whole of investigative journalism around here, but an opportunity to do just that has come up. Travis Armstrong's column in Sunday's Santa Barbara News-Press is a perfect example of what happens when biased "pundits" make an attempt at real journalism and the record badly needs correcting.
There are two main claims buried in the spurious bits of evidence hidden throughout Mr. Armstrong's attack. The first is the almost-allegation that Pedro has been courting questionable contributions from local developers. The second is the utterly baseless allegation that Pedro lacks support from outside of Santa Barbara.
The remarkable thing about the conflict of interest charge is that there's no actual allegation. Jeff Bermant contributed to Pedro's campaign more than a year ago, well before there was even the slightest whiff of conflict of interest. Then a few months ago, the campaign's database spat out an invitation to a fundraiser, which Mr. Bermant declined. Read Mr. Armstrong's column carefully: despite trying to puff it up, that's all there is.
Regarding the second accusation, Mr. Armstrong neatly avoids any mention of Mr. Pohl's financials. The data on both candidates is available from Cal-Access, the state's convenient online campaign fund tracker. Or feel free to download this spreadsheet with both of their lists, hot off the database as of Sunday evening.
Mr. Armstrong's reference to the supposed paucity of Pedro supporters south of Mussel Shoals is grossly misleading. Here's a summary of the data...
Nava Pohl Santa Barbara 314 41% 328 47% Ventura 29 4% 27 4% Oxnard 21 3% 9 1% elsewhere 402 52% 341 48% Total 766 705If someone wants to check my math, go for it. But it's pretty clear that it's actually Mr. Pohl who is more heavily reliant on the famed Santa Barbara political ATM machine.
Browse through the database and a couple of Mr. Pohl's more interesting donors jump out, too. Like the Waltons - that's right, the Wal-Mart Waltons, of Bentonville, Arkansas, who maxed out with a total donation to Mr. Pohl of $12,800. Why they might be concerned with a state assembly race 1644 miles away is anyone's guess, but voters will surely conclude that it could only have nothing to do with their wanting to build any local revenue sucking stores here.
But there's a far smellier leftover in this particular refrigerator. A few years ago, News-Press owner Wendy McCaw's battles with the Coastal Commission ultimately ended up costing her a half million some-odd in fines. Chump change for her, but the public humiliation of her attempts to keep people away from the beach must've stung at least a tiny bit. Now the voters of the 35th AD are being subjected to repeated and completely baseless attacks from the pages of her newspaper toward someone who was on the commission at the time, who they wouldn't so much as interview before casting their endorsement. As with the Waltons, this surely must simply be a coincidence.
This all adds up to a feeble attempt to jump start Mr. Pohl's flagging campaign. Mr. Pohl has no environmental record or experince whatsoever to run on and that's a big deal in this town. For a lot of voters here looking at the state assembly, it's THE big deal. So taking a page out of Karl Rove's playbook, Mr. Armstrong has decided to attempt to fabricate a scandal out of thin air. Mr. Armstrong is one FEC filing shy of starting a 527 here; maybe he could call it Swift Boat Editors for Pohl.
As far as the voters are concerned, this election is a simple choice. Pedro Nava has the experience, record and party affiliation to deliver on the values the citizens of this district cherish. Bob Pohl doesn't, and no amount of smoke and mirrors the News-Press editorial page tries to set up will change that.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
File this under why I'm a Democrat: If America Is Richer, Why Are Its Families So Much Less Secure?. Some amazing reporting from the LA Times, a mix of micro (personal stories) and macro (studies and statistics) reads on the economy we've built here in this country. We've shifted the risk from companies and the government on to the backs of individuals, and the benefits of this have all gone to a tiny slice of the population. As last week's gaggle of business & econ professors put it, skyrocketing inequality is "socially corrosive and economically dysfunctional...We don’t know where the breakpoint is for the U.S., but we would rather not find out."
If you feel like wonking out in (much) more detail, the source material for the macro readings in this article can be found here, at U of M's Panel Study of Income Dynamics site.
Friday, October 08, 2004
Earth to President Bush... Increase in U.S. Jobs Lagged in September
- "'I wouldn't want to be in President Bush's shoes. He had better prepare himself for an onslaught,' said private economist Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics, noting tonight's second presidential debate. "The reality is that a 96,000 increase in a work force of a 131 million base is an anemic rise, and is in no way a satisfactory increase."
Thursday, October 07, 2004
The deluge is about to begin. This was just at the edge of my awareness, but when I read this description of what comes next at dkos it rang true. The Republicans (starting with Cheney the other night, as I remarked) are using the same strategy that the News-Press editorial page used with devestating effect regarding inclusionary housing recently: flood the zone with so much disinformation that the opposition has no idea where to even start. They're gearing up to go nuclear. Read the post for ideas on how we can fight back. There's a very strong possibility this strategy will collapse in on them but we're going to have to push hard to make it happen.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Apparently a couple hundred business and economic professors are also tired of being trickled down on. The write, "If your economic advisers are telling you that these deficits can be defeated through further reductions in tax rates, then you need new advisers."
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
VP debate react. My first impression was that it was pretty close to a draw, but on further consideration I'm mostly focusing on the breadth of multiple dishonesties that Vice President Cheney attempted. Jon Stewart fixed the BC04 campaign slogan: "Unmitigated Gall." That was certainly on display tonight. If anything, I might give a slight edge to Cheney on style (he appeared authoritative) but a greater edge to Edwards on substance. Cheney's performance is not going to stand up to the fact checking that the So Called Liberal Media has recently (somewhat shockingly) been willing to perform.
On the one hand, it makes sense as a strategy: flood the channel so fully with disinformation that the opposition has to pick and choose what to respond to and can never get its side out. Given the choice the Vice President made on this, Senator Edwards performed admirably. To sample just one of these: is there or is there not a link between Iraq and Septemeber 11th, Mr. Vice President. Edwards took it straight to him in the opening on this and he never got close to answering the question.
Edwards did take a few dings. I found answer to why he deserves to be a heartbeat away to be just shy of completely satisfying. I think he answered it well over the course of the debate ("we've seen that a long resume doesn't necessarily indicate good judgement"), but I wanted a little more from him on that particular 120 seconds.
The most beautiful moment may have been when Edwards finally mentioned Cheney's godawful record in the house. So very many months we've waited for that to come out. So long they've kept us in the valley of darkness. Cheney was against MLK day, in favor of apartheid, against Head Start, and against Meals on Wheels. Lordy Lordy.
An insightful comment from over at BOPNews...
Of Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney, Bush appeared the lightest weight.
p.s. BOPNews is my new go-to site. Ellen Nagler (who re-pointed that site out to me, we watched the debate at her place) and Zephyr Teachout?!
Media Matters for America has been rocking out recently. There was a letter in the News-Press today about this "global test" BS. Here's MM's straight dope on this issue. Since the GOP got nothing on Kerry in the debate, they have no choice but to desparately twist his words around. Send voices at newspress dot com a letter if you can!
Monday, October 04, 2004
Some great population related news this morning, from the LA Times: California Cuts Its Population Projection. There was a story in Wired about a year ago that reflected this larger trend: births everywhere on the planet are peaking and starting to decline, bringing us closer to a sustainable population. Go Planned Parenthood!
Friday, October 01, 2004
After the mid-debate report last night, it actually got worse for Bush. About 45 minutes in he started repeating himself. He ran out of material! The slacker/C-student appeal thing that he had going on four years ago just isn't cutting the mustard in the post September 11th world. Here's the transcript.
One interesting aspect of all this is that despite all the moaning and griping about the 32 pages of rules that were set down, the campaigns (especially Kerry's) were smart to do this. They ended up generating the most substantive and gimmick-free debate of my lifetime. The sober, serious evaluation that was provided last night is exactly what this country needs right now. Good for the campaigns for managing the process and providing that.
The dimensions of President Bush's loss last night are profound. A lot of it stemmed from his inability to connect Iraq with September 11th. If Iraq and the war on terror are fused in voter's minds, then Iraq almost seems like it makes sense. But if they come unglued, as they did last night and are in reality, then Iraq seems completely insane. Bush's "Sept. 11th as the answer to everything" strategy WAS working. It's curious that he (mostly) abandoned it last night.
Bush's low point was this line: "I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises." So, tax cuts for the wealthy and a war in Iraq that's going to end up being at least $200B are more important than my security? Nice message.
Another low point is this whole "well you saw the intelligence too, you said he was a grave threat" line that the President tried a couple of times. Where exactly does the buck stop with this administration? Didn't Republicans used to yammer on a lot about personal responsibility? This is a reflection yet again of Bush's moral cowardice. He ordered this war, it's a collassal mistake, and now he can't even stand up and admit it.
Looking through the transcript now and there were a lot of low points for Bush, really. Like this...
- "And now we're fighting them now. And it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work.
Last, I think they've made a serious tactical mistake on trying to paint Kerry as a flipflopper. The were counting on the truth - that he's had exactly one position - not coming out. This is how Senator Kerry summed it up last night...
- I've had one position, one consistent position, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. There was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way.