Bill O'Reilly doesn't like this ad.
BillO has a psycho obsession with MoveOn, but he did have anything to say about this ad by the DCCC.
All told, 29 states and the District of Columbia had Democratic party affiliation advantages of 10 points or greater last year. This includes all of the states in the Northeast, and all but Indiana in the Great Lakes region. There are even several Southern states in this grouping, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
An additional six states had Democratic advantages ranging between 5 and 9 points.
In contrast, only five states had solid or leaning Republican orientations in 2008, with Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska in the former group, and Nebraska in the latter.
The most balanced political states in 2008 were Texas (+2 Democratic), South Dakota (+1), Mississippi (+1), North Dakota (+1), South Carolina (even), Arizona (even), Alabama (+1 Republican), and Kansas (+2 Republican).
Infrastructure: It's Job 1 to Americans
A poll finds near unanimous support for rebuilding.
By Frank Luntz
January 23, 2009
Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation's infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.
Fully 84% of the public wants more money spent by the federal government -- and 83% wants more spent by state governments -- to improve America's infrastructure. And here's the kicker: 81% of Americans are personally prepared to pay 1% more in taxes for the cause. It's not uncommon for people to say they'd pay more to get more, but when you ask them to respond to a specific amount, support evaporates. (That 74% of normally stingy Republicans are on board for the tax increase is, to me, the most significant finding in the survey.)
This isn't "soft" support for infrastructure either. It stretches from Maine to Montana, from California to Connecticut. Democrats (87%) and Republicans (74%) are prepared to, in Barack Obama's words, put skin in the game, which tells you just how wide and deep the support is.
LA Times - Opinion
The union way up
America, and its faltering economy, need unions to restore prosperity to the middle class.
By Robert B. Reich January 26, 2009
Why is this recession so deep, and what can be done to reverse it?
Hint: Go back about 50 years, when America's middle class was expanding and the economy was soaring. Paychecks were big enough to allow us to buy all the goods and services we produced. It was a virtuous circle. Good pay meant more purchases, and more purchases meant more jobs.
At the center of this virtuous circle were unions. In 1955, more than a third of working Americans belonged to one. Unions gave them the bargaining leverage they needed to get the paychecks that kept the economy going. So many Americans were unionized that wage agreements spilled over to nonunionized workplaces as well. Employers knew they had to match union wages to compete for workers and to recruit the best ones.
Corporations use bailout money to organize against Employee Free Choice Act
By John Amato (Crooks and Liars) Wednesday Jan 28, 2009
Sen. Whitehouse says we must look back at Bush crimes to move the
By Andrew Dunn
Whitehouse: As We Look Forward We Must Also Look Back
January 21, 2009
Full Video here:
I rise as we celebrate a new President, a new administration, a new mode of governing, and a new future for America.
Even in the gloom of our present predicaments, Americans' hearts are strong and confident because we see a brighter future ahead.
President Obama looks to that future. Given the depth and severity of those predicaments, we need all his energy to look forward to lead us to that brighter day; forward to what Winston Churchill in Britain's dark days called those "broad and sunlit uplands."
But, as we steer toward this broad and sunlit future, what about the past? As the President looks forward and charts a new course, must someone not also look back, to take an accounting of where we are, what was done, and what must now be repaired.
Our new President has said, "America needs to look forward." I agree.
Our new Attorney-General designate has said, we should not criminalize policy
differences. I agree.
And I hope we can all agree that summoning young sacrificial lambs to prosecute, as we did after the Abu Ghraib disaster, would be reprehensible. But consider the pervasive, deliberate, and systematic damage the Bush Administration did to America, to her finest traditions and institutions, to her reputation and integrity.
I evaluate that damage in history's light. Although I'm no historian, here is what I believe:
The story of humankind on this Earth has been a long and halting march from the darkness of barbarism and the principle that to the victor go the spoils, to the light of
organized civilization and freedom. During that long and halting march, this light of progress has burned, sometimes brightly and sometimes softly, in different places at different times around the world.
The light shone in Athens, when that first Senate made democracy a living experiment; and again in the softer but broader glow of the Roman Empire and Senate.
That light burned brightly, incandescently, in Jerusalem, when Jesus of Nazareth cast his lot with the weak and the powerless.
The light burned in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and
Cordoba, when the Arab world kept science, mathematics, art, and logic alive, as
Europe descended into Dark Ages of plague and violence.
The light flashed from the fields of Runnymede when English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, and glowed steadily from that island kingdom as England developed Parliament and the common law, and was the first to stand against slavery.
It rekindled in Europe at the time of the Reformation, with a bright flash in 1517
when Martin Luther nailed his edicts to the Wittenberg cathedral doors, and
faced with excommunication, stated "Here I stand. I can do no other."
Over the years across the globe, that light, and the darkness of tyranny and cruelty,
have ebbed and flowed.
But for the duration of our Republic, even though our Republic is admittedly imperfect, that light has shone more brightly and more steadily here in this Republic than in any place on earth: as we adopted the Constitution, the greatest achievement yet in human freedom; as boys and men bled out of shattered bodies into sodden fields at Antietam and Chicamagua, Shiloh and Gettysburg to expiate the sin of slavery; as we rebuilt shattered enemies, now friends, overseas and came home after winning world wars; and as we threw off bit by bit ancient shackles of race and gender to make this a more perfect union for all of us.What made this bright and steady glow possible? What made it possible is not that we are better people, I believe, but that our system of government is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Why else does our President take his oath to defend a Constitution of the United States of America? Our unique form of self-government is a blessing, and we hold it in trust; not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren down through history; not just for us, but as an example out through the world.
That is why our Statue of Liberty raises a lamp to other nations still engloomed in tyranny.
That is why we stand as a beacon in this world, beckoning to all who seek a kinder, freer, brighter future.
We hold this unique gift in trust for the future and the world. Each generation assumes responsibility for this Republic and its government, and each generation takes on a special obligation when they do. Our new President closed his Inaugural
Address by setting forth the challenge against which future generations will test us: whether "with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generation." There are no guarantees that we will - this is a continuing experiment we are embarked upon - and a lot is at stake; indeed, the most precious thing of man's creation on the face of the Earth is at stake. That is what I believe.
So from that perspective, what about the past? No one can deny that in the last eight years America's bright light has dimmed and flickered, darkening our country and darkening the world.
The price of that is incalculable. There are nearly 7 billion human souls on this world. Every morning, the sun rises anew over their villages and hamlets and barrios, and
every day they can choose where to invest their hopes, their confidence, and their dreams.
I submit that when America's light shines brightly, when honesty, freedom, justice and compassion glow from our institutions, it attracts those hopes, those dreams; and the force of those 7 billion hopes and dreams, the confidence of those 7 billion souls in our lively experiment, is, I believe, the strongest power in our national arsenal - stronger than atom bombs. We risk it at our peril.
And of course when our own faith is diminished at home, this vital light only dims further, again at incalculable cost.
So when an administration rigs the intelligence process and produces false evidence to send our country to war;
When an administration descends to interrogation
techniques of the Inquisition, of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge - descends to techniques that we have prosecuted as crimes in military tribunals and federal courts;
When institutions as noble as the Department of Justice and as vital as the Environmental Protection Agency are systematically and deliberately twisted from their missions by odious means of institutional sabotage;
When the integrity of our markets and the fiscal security of our budget are opened
wide to the frenzied greed of corporations, speculators and contractors;
When the integrity of public officials; the warnings of science; the honesty of
government procedures; and the careful historic balance of our separated powers
of government, are all seen as obstacles to be overcome and not attributes to be
When taxpayers are cheated, and the forces of government ride to the rescue of the cheaters and punish the whistleblowers;
When a government turns the guns of official secrecy against its own people to mislead, confuse and propagandize them;
When government ceases to even try to understand the complex topography of the difficult problems it is our very purpose and duty to solve, and instead cares only for these points where it intersects with the party ideology, so that the purpose of government becomes no longer to solve problems, but only to work them for political advantage;
In short, when you have pervasive infiltration into all the halls of government - judicial, legislative, and executive - of the most ignoble forms of influence; when you
see systematic dismantling of historic processes and traditions of government that are the safeguards of our democracy; and when you have a bodyguard of lies, jargon, and propaganda emitted to fool and beguile the American people...
Well, something very serious in the history of our republic has gone wrong, something that dims the light of progress for all humanity.
As we look forward, as we begin the task of rebuilding this nation, we have an abiding duty to determine how great the damage is. I say this in no spirit of vindictiveness or revenge. I say it because the thing that was sullied is so, so precious; and I say it because the past bears upon the future. If people have been planted in government in violation of our civil service laws to serve their party and their ideology instead of serving the public, the past will bear upon the future. If procedures and institutions of government have been corrupted and are not put right, that past will assuredly bear on the future. In an ongoing enterprise like government, the door cannot be so conveniently closed on the closets of the past. The past always bears on the future.
Moreover, a democracy is not just a static institution, it is a living education - an ongoing education in freedom of a people. As Harry Truman said addressing a joint session of Congress back in 1947, "One of the chief virtues of a democracy is that its defects are always visible, and under democratic processes can be pointed out and corrected."
Entirely apart from tentacles of the past that may reach into the future, are the lessons we as a people have to learn from this past carnival of folly, greed, lies, and sabotage, so that it can, under democratic processes, be pointed out and corrected.
If we blind ourselves to this history, if we pull an invisibility cloak over it, we will deny ourselves its lessons. Those lessons came at too painful a cost to ignore. Those lessons merit discovery, disclosure and discussion. Indeed, disclosure and discussion is the difference between a valuable lesson for the bright upward forces of our democracy, and a blueprint for darker forces to return and do it all over again.
A little bright, healthy sunshine and fresh air, so that an educated population knows what was done and how, can show where the tunnels were bored, when the truth was subordinated; what institutions were subverted; how our democracy was compromised; so this grim history is not condemned to repeat itself; so a knowing public in the clarity of day can say, "Never, never, never, again;" so we can keep that light - that light that is at once America's greatest gift and greatest strength -brightly shining. To do this, I submit, we must look back.
I yield the floor.
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
19 points - Young Democrats
A significant generational shift is occurring in the political allegiance of young voters, with a 19-point gap in party identification favoring the Democrats among those under age 30. Almost half of voters ages 18-29 identify as Democrats (45%) compared with 26% who identify as Republicans and 29% as independent. Such a sizeable gap -- or any gap -- has not always existed among younger voters. As recently as 2000 -- as well as in 1992 and 1984 -- party affiliation was split nearly evenly within this age group. Read more
... For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the
economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create
new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and
bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us
together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's
wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the
sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we
will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of
a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do. ...
January 20th, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
Our nation is currently in the midst of an educational crisis. The millennial generation, my generation, is the first in our country’s history to be less educated than our parents. America’s high-paying, unionized jobs have largely disappeared, and the few options available for workers without a college degree are in the low-paying, no-benefits service industry. The purpose of public higher education is to provide the state and nation with an active and informed citizenry with the tools necessary to develop creative solutions to many problems, whether they are financial, medical, societal or otherwise. Without significant changes to our educational system, affordability in higher education will continue to spiral downward, further exacerbating recession.
Many people are trying to develop solutions to the economic crisis, and some ideas are better than others. One of the worst ideas, especially in a time of such negative economic conditions, is to cut support for public higher education. A highly educated and adaptable workforce is the key to Washington State's ability to weather this recession and emerge at the forefront of economic development. Some have come out in favor of cutting state support to higher education while at the same time empowering universities to set tuition rates, deeming it an option to save money while maintaining educational quality. I firmly believe in the importance of quality, but this cannot be levied on the backs of already overburdened students.
The most obvious reason against institutional tuition setting authority is that it establishes an inherent conflict of interest. Such a move would allow schools to set their rates of revenue while minimizing the legislative oversight so critical to the existence of public agencies. The likely result of a policy change like this would be the establishment of a high-tuition, high-aid model similar to that of many private schools. The rationale for such a model is that the wealthier students pay a higher rate of tuition to support poorer students in an attempt to keep rates of tuition, after financial aid, relatively low. While this might look good on the surface, such a move would have far reaching negative consequences.
We as taxpayers need to constantly hold our leaders accountable. One of the most prominent problems posed by the model detailed above is that public universities would essentially take the burden of taxation away from lawmakers who lack the political will to make the hard choices necessary to establish viable long-term solutions to many of today’s problems, giving them the green light to further cut support to higher education. This slow march toward privatization will destroy college affordability in a state that already receives an F in that area by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
Study after study has shown the number one barrier to attending college is the published rate of tuition. While it is often not the price students actually pay because of scholarships and grants, tuition costs are nonetheless the largest barriers to students attending college. These instances of “sticker shock” have been found to disproportionately affect those from minority populations or of low-income. A 2003 Congressional study on the “College Cost Crisis” found that “cost factors prevent 48 percent of college-qualified high school graduates from attending a four-year institution, and 22 percent from attending any college at all.” It was also determined in that study that by the end of this decade 2 million qualified students would not be able to attend college because of costs.
It has long been the official stance of the Associated Students at Western Washington University that “low tuition is the best form of financial aid.” While some may dismiss this statement as naive, it stands as true today as it did when first adopted. The truth of the matter is that regardless of the financial backgrounds of our current and past students, the vast majority are middle class. Because most college students are under the age of 24, they are considered dependents on their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). As a result, their parents’ income determines aid eligibility. What the FAFSA does not address is the fact that these assessments are based on past income, which do not take into account sudden changes like job loss or divorce.
Another solution that has been proposed, but is equally dangerous to the future of college affordability is a graduated tuition rate. This is enticing because it enables proponents to sidestep the psychological barriers associated with a high-tuition, high-aid model by setting different sticker prices for different income brackets. Wealthier and upper-middle class students would pay tuition closer to that of a private school, while lower-middle class and poor students would pay a rate traditionally seen at a public school. The argument for this model is very similar to the one previously discussed, the wealthier students would subsidize the cost of education for poorer students. Unfortunately, this opens a whole new can of worms.
The potential for abuse is significant. Schools, under the strain of low revenue from poorer students, could begin admitting students based not on merit, but on their financial means. This could easily decrease the quality of institutions as they focus more on financial qualifications rather than academic qualifications. This could have the opposite effects as intended, putting college more out of reach for those who need that financial support now more than ever. Education should be the great equalizer, and we have the opportunity make that change. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has said that if all minorities in Washington State reached the same level of educational attainment as whites, annual personal income would increase an additional $7 billion dollars. This is the time that we should be closing the
achievement gap, not widening it.
Even with higher incomes, many families are unable to afford tuition as it stands now. According to the Federal Reserve, nationwide consumer debt doubled from 1992 to 2002 from $1 trillion to $2 trillion and is now over $2.5 trillion. By the end of 2004, the American savings rate hit zero and the average household owed 113% of its annual take home pay. Now, according to the Center for American Progress, the figure stands closer to 133%. The traditional means of saving for college have been crippled as State-based 529 college saving plans have been hit just as hard as 401ks and IRAs. So not only were families not saving enough for children’s education, even if they did it would be of little help because of the current financial crisis. Subsequently, with tuition increases, more students will be forced to take out loans in larger sums in order to pay for their education.
Already, 2/3 of the nation’s students borrow for school. According to the 2003-2004 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study published by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average amount of student loan debt is around $20,000. Multiple surveys have shown that college students often overestimate future incomes and underestimate loan payments, setting themselves up for even more debt. It is estimated that 39% of student borrowers now graduate with unmanageable debt burdens. Another survey found that 59% of recent graduates said their student loan debt makes it difficult for them to fulfill their financial goals. The benefit of higher education, much more so than personal growth, is that of public good. With higher education, one can be more productive, more adaptable to change, and less a burden on state resources (such as basic healthcare and corrections) due to increased income potential. If 39% of our college graduates are unable to contribute to society and the economy due to their student debt, and 59% are unable to save for retirement or a home, then something is seriously wrong with our current system.
What we need in Washington State, as well as nationally, is a renewed commitment to higher education. We need citizens, university administrators, and lawmakers with the political will to stand up and demand investment in the future of our children as well as ourselves. We need all stakeholders to sit at one table and create a solution that truly works for current and future students. I know that hard decisions are being made every day, but the truth of the matter is education is the key to our global competitiveness and economic well-being. Without a highly educated and skilled workforce, America will continue to slide downward in the areas of innovation and economic growth. Please, take some time to call or write your legislators and ask them to preserve the quality and accessibility of higher education for years to come.
President, Associated Students of Western Washington University
........In 1994, Congress transformed the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday into a national day of community service to further commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others. As a tribute to that legacy and the very real needs of our nation, the President-elect and Vice President-elect have launched a national organizing effort on the eve of their Inauguration to engage Americans in service. This national day of service will fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 19, 2009 and, unlike past calls to service, President-elect Obama is calling on all Americans to do more than just offer a single day of service to their cities, towns and neighborhoods. He is asking all of us to make an ongoing commitment to our communities. Never has it been more important to come together in shared purpose to tackle the common challenges we face.
"The only book of the last few years in American publishing that I would describe as a mandatory must-read. Literally the only one."
The Employee Free Choice Act:
- Helps America’s working families improve their standard of living. Workers
in unions earn 30 percent higher wages and are 59 percent more likely to have
employer-provided health insurance.
- Fixes a broken system that gives corporations far too much power. When
workers try and organize unions, they are often harassed and intimidated; 25
percent of companies unlawfully fire pro-union workers.
- Restores fairness and the promise of the American Dream, with a robust
middle class, economic growth, and shared prosperity.
Rick Warren’s Africa Problem
Posted by Max Bluementhal in January 7th 2009
Rick Warren joins Chuck Colson and other Christian
right activists to oppose funding condom distribution in AfricaAttention congress: this is especially disgusting. Can we please get the Lantos bill passed? Sex is a very strong drive in the human and to legislate how it can be done or not done and prevent humans from protecting themselves is criminal. It’s infuriating to me to think that my tax money is being used this way..............Troubled by what he was witnessing in Africa, Rep. Tom Lantos
led the new Democratic-controlled Congress to reform PEPFAR during a
reauthorization process in February 2008. Lantos insisted that Congress lift the abstinence-only earmark imposed by Republicans in 2002, and begin to fund family planning elements like free condom distribution. His maneuver infuriated Warren, who immediately boarded a plane for Washington to join Christian right leaders including born-again former Watergate felon Chuck Colson for an emergency press conference on the Capitol lawn. In his speech, Warren claimed that Lantos’ bill would spawn an increase in the sex trafficking of young women. The bill died and PEPFAR was reauthorized in its flawed form. (Days later, Lantos died of cancer after serving for 27 years in Congress.)
full post (it's a great one)
The Washington Post reports that Barack has chosen Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia, to succeed Gov. Howard Dean as chair of the Democratic National Committee. The official announcement is expected soon.
But at least one question still remains when it comes to the future of the DNC: When will they reinstate the 50 State Strategy?
The 50 State Strategy will go down as one of the most successful long-term programs the Democratic National Committee has ever implemented. Not just for Pres. Elect Obama but for candidate up and down the ballot all across the country. With special elections, local mayor and city council races all coming up soon, this is one decision that can't wait any longer.
It's time to make sure Gov. Kaine knows that without organizers on the ground right now opportunities may be missed to keep Republicans on their heels. Add your name and call on Tim Kaine to immediately reinstate the 50 State Strategy and we'll make sure he gets the message.
Reinstate the 50 State Strategy - Add Your Name