Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Blogaround 

So, we made it through February. Let's see what The Liberal Coalition is talking about on this first Friday in March.
  • All Facts and Opinions has an interview with the other man running in the Pennsylvania Senate Primary, Chuck Pennachio.
  • archy is looking for suggestions for a new license plate slogan for Idaho.
  • Bark Bark Woof Woof on the lessons learned by stealing a cookie.
  • blogAmY is busy.
  • bloggg on dining in public with a special needs child.
  • Collective Sigh gets ready to spring into the shag.
  • Dohiyi Mir on what separates the Simpsons from the Jeffersons.
  • Echidne on being polite.
  • farm run-off on speaking freely.
  • firedoglake offers the "token Democrat" talking points.
  • First Draft on the aftermath of Katrina that no one discussed.
  • The Fulcrum on the renewal of the "Patriot" Act.
  • Happy Furry Puppy on the symbols that represent Texas.
  • iddybud on the curiosity of a pet rock.
  • Left is Right has some fun links.
  • Lefty Brown has moved to a new site. Update your link.
  • Liberty Street notes that Mississippi is set to follow South Dakota.
  • Make Me A Commentator offers advice to the Republicans.
  • Michael explains the meaning of Ash Wednesday.
  • Pen-Elayne overheard something.
  • Rook's Rant on a peculiar addiction.
  • rubber hose on what makes a plutocracy.
  • Coturnix has a good list of recommended readings.
  • Scrutiny Hooligans saves the woodlands.
  • Sooner Thought gets a charge out of Tom DeLay.
  • Speedkill on the new totalitarianism.
  • Steve Gilliard on the crazy pizza guy and his nefarious plans for Florida.
  • T. Rex proves that no good deed goes unpunished.
  • The Countess takes on The Force.
  • The Invisible Library cites Rushdie.
  • Wanda has a guest poster discussing the real reason for war.
  • WTF Is It Now?? on the king's men.
  • The Yellow Doggerel Democrat on the AP changing the story.
  • ...You Are a Tree wants a warhead.
  • Have a great weekend.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Blogging Man Brings Conservative Bloggers Together 

    Got this email at work...looks like they are organizing, the way conservatives do...traveling in packs, etc.

    “Blogging Man 2007” - Organizing A Revolution?

    March 1/2006/ - So much for smoke filled back rooms. Organizers for a national
    conference of conservative bloggers and other “new media” participants have
    announced “Blogging Man 2007”, considered to be the first time ever that
    bloggers, ezine publishers, radio talk show hosts, activists and writers have
    come together on such a scale to develop and coordinate their efforts.

    According to a spokesman for the event, “Blogging Man 2007” is expected to
    attract over 4000 participants from across the country and will include
    speakers, such as Hugh Hewitt, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and
    well known conservative political pundit.

    Chairman of the conference, Eric Odom, says that “Blogging Man 2007” promises
    to be a significant milestone in the evolution of the new media”; Further
    stating that: “the interest expressed to date has already far exceeded our
    initial expectations.”

    Other figures that will be playing a key role in “Blogging Man 2007” include
    the New Media Alliance, Inc. (www.thenma.org). The New Media Alliance, Inc.
    is a recently formed national coalition of writers, journalists and new media
    outlets that produce and publish daily news and commentary.

    Gary Schneider, President of the New Media Alliance, Inc. says that
    “initiatives such as 'Blogging Man 2007' represent a larger trend of
    coordination and consolidation within the new media and we are extremely
    excited and proud to be involved in this effort.”

    Whether or not the “new media” truly begins to challenge traditional media
    outlets as the predominant source of information remains to be seen.
    Nevertheless, studies do indicate that there has been a dramatic decline in the
    readership/viewership of print newspapers and major network news in recent
    years. Conversely, nearly 70% of Americans now claim to obtain all or some of
    their news via the internet.

    “Blogging Man 2007” is scheduled for October 11th, 12th and 13th, 2007 in Reno,
    Nevada. For more information, go to: www.bloggingman.org

    Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan 

    Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan: "NEW DELHI, March 1 -- President Bush made a previously unannounced visit to Kabul Wednesday to rally U.S. troops in Afghanistan and praise the embattled Afghan leader Hamid Karzai at a time of rising violence from the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists."

    You know, I have tried to work up some enthusiasm for this, but I just can not seem to muster the necessary excitement. Maybe it is because of news like this:

    Growing Threat Seen In Afghan Insurgency. The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress yesterday that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing and will increase this spring, presenting a greater threat to the central government's expansion of authority "than at any point since late 2001."

    "Despite significant progress on the political front, the Taliban-dominated insurgency remains a capable and resilient threat," Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples said in a statement presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee at its annual hearing on national security threats.

    Or possibly this:

    Veterans Report Mental Stress. More than one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq later sought help for mental health problems, according to a comprehensive snapshot by Army experts of the psyches of men and women returning from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places.

    The accounts of more than 300,000 soldiers and Marines returning from several theaters paint an unusually detailed picture of the psychological impact of the various conflicts. Those returning from Iraq consistently reported more psychic distress than those returning from Afghanistan and other conflicts, such as those in Bosnia or Kosovo.

    So, please forgive me if I just can not find anything of value in a surprise visit to Afghanistan by the very man responsible for having created this mess in the first place.

    Cross posted at Rook's Rant.

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    History Lessons: A Conversation with Chuck Pennacchio 

    "The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united. From the conclusion of [their] war [for independence, a nation begins] going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of [that] war will remain on [them] long, will be made heavier and heavier, till [their] rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion." -- Thomas Jefferson from Notes on Virginia Q.XVII, 1782

    If the [Democratic] Party is to have a future, there sure as hell better be a place for progressives. -- Dr. Chuck Pennacchio, Pennsylvania Democrat and candidate for US Senate


    Founding father Thomas Jefferson once said, "Every generation needs a new revolution." For many Americans, the time for massive change in government is now, and that need is felt acutely by many in Pennsylvania. Since January 1995, Keystone Staters have been represented in the US Senate by Rick Santorum, an ultra-conservative Republican who supports the Bush Administration and its Iraq policy and opposes basic American values such as the right to privacy and equality for all under law. The Democratic Party elite, now entrenched in its often losing strategy of pitting centrist and right-leaning candidates against strong Republican incumbents, is at this point throwing its support behind state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., whose stands on the issues have led him to be labeled "Santorum-lite" by liberals and progressives. But there is another Democratic candidate, a brash, tell-it-as-it-is history teacher who is taking aim at both Casey and Santorum in his hope of restoring true American values, returning this nation to a place of integrity, and turning the government's focus back to serving its citizens.

    Chuck Pennacchio His name is Dr. Chuck Pennacchio and he is a professor of history and director of the history program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The 46-year-old educator lives with his spouse Nancy and their children in rural Bucks County, PA. For more than 30 years, he has been laser-focused on pushing a progressive people's agenda - working as an aide to former California Sen. Alan Cranston and as Military Personnel Advocate for former California Rep. Ron Dellums; organizing successful campaigns for Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tim Wirth (D-CO) and the late former Minnesota Sen. Paul Simon; serving as a community leader and activist working for positive, progressive change.

    Chuck Pennacchio is a man on a mission: He is determined to fix the nation's and Pennsylvania's schools, to ensure that equal opportunity is available to all, to protect reproductive freedoms and privacy, to bring poor and working-class people out of poverty, to ensure marriage equality under law and protect our constitutional rights, to establish a "sane," justice- and security-focused foreign policy and restore America's good name throughout the world. And though seen as an underdog - many media accounts preface his name with the word "unknown" - his message is breaking through to people who see his old-school progressive platitudes - calls for a living wage and Democratic core principles - as nothing short of revolutionary.

    The more people know about this bright, experienced, tough, passionate, and exceedingly positive young man, the more they see that perhaps he is the hope to quash the Democratic policy of appeasing the right wing, that maybe Chuck Pennacchio is the one person who can energize an apathetic, acquiescent, fearful, defeated base and put Rick Santorum out of office.

    A January survey by independent pollster Zogby (and commissioned by left-wing blog OpEdNews.com) bears this out. The poll found that when likely voters examined Santorum's, Casey's and Pennacchio's stands on issues facing Pennsylvania and the nation, they were inclined to support the truly progressive candidate. It makes one wonder: What is Chuck Pennacchio saying? And why are informed people considering him a revolutionary who can bring real American values of justice and freedom back to the forefront?

    On Feb. 24, I had the pleasure and privilege of chatting with Chuck Pennacchio about his campaign, the Democratic Party, the nation's past and its future, the responsibilities of citizenship, and his undying faith in American values and people. Please take a read and meet a true believer who looks to be Pennsylvania's great progressive hope.

    Natalie Davis: You started your campaign in 2003 as a grassroots, progressive candidate. What was it that motivated you to run to represent Pennsylvania in the US Senate in the first place?

    Chuck Pennacchio: I think it was the idea that I don't like train wrecks. I saw the prospect of Rick Santorum winning reelection as a train wreck. That's quite literally how I visualized the Senate Democratic politics of Pennsylvania. Democrats in Pennsylvania don't know how to win US Senate seats. So my first motivation was: How do we stop Rick Santorum from being reelected in 2006? And I scratched my head and I looked at the history of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania and realized that they've lost 14 straight US Senate elections since 1964. The last one who won, in 1962, was Joe Clark, who was progressive. And I said to myself, this party is not going to choose a candidate who can beat Rick Santorum, I'm sure of it. And it's come to fruition. That's the reality: They've chosen a guy, Bob Casey Jr., who, is as contrary to Democratic core principles and values - at least the values that I think of when I associate myself with the Democratic Party... He's as contrary to those principles and values as anyone they possibly could have scrounged up anywhere or any place within the boundaries of the Keystone State. They've tried to go with this person who can not beat Rick Santorum; I'm absolutely convinced of that. So, in that sense, the thinking of November 2003 has been competely validated by a party that does not know how to win.

    ND: It seems to me from looking at the media, that even so-called progressive groups are lining up behind Casey. You've got MoveOn, you've got Progressive Democrats of America, you've got the Human Rights Campaign, for heaven's sake... Why do you think they do that? Why do Pennsylvanian Democrats consistently pick candidates who just have no shot?

    CP: We do need to make a correction here: Progressive Democrats of America - I'm actually a member of PDA and Tim Carpenter is their executive director - they're not lining up behind Casey, they're absolutely not.

    ND: OK, I just read something that said otherwise.

    CP: It was probably OpEdNews, which is written by Rob Kall. He wrote a piece where he lumped MoveOn in with PDA and DFA [Democracy for America]. And it's not even true that DFA has supported Casey. We're picking up more of the DFA and PDA support every day. But the point I think Rob was making is that these groups have been so slow to move. In the case of MoveOn, it's actually is true. They're willing to sell out just to secure a place at the table with the Democratic Party. That's what it's all about.

    ND: Do you think there is a place for progressives, true progressives, in the Democratic Party? I think back to, uh, the last presidential election and the Dennis Kucinich campaign and how the progressive wing of the party was all but ignored, which is why so many moved out of the party and toward the Greens or to become Independent or to give up on the political process altogether. Is there a place for progressives in your party?

    CP: Yes, there is. It might not be easy for people to figure that out, but there is definitely a place. In fact, look at the Congressional Progressive Caucus, those in the House of Representatives who consider themselves progressive. Three years ago, there were 24 members, and most were also members of the Black Caucus. Today that number has grown to at least 82 - that's only three years later.

    ND: But at the same time, a lot of people call themselves progressive when they consistently don't support progressive principles. Even the late Paul Wellstone - and he was the progressive, god bless him - voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was not progressive, so...

    CP: You're right, and he voted in favor of the first Patriot Act.

    ND: Exactly. Wellstone was a progressive who made a couple of horrible politicaly motivated votes, but many people call themselves progressive when they aren't.

    CP: That's true. What's really twisted is the term has been co-opted and bastardized by centrists, [former Pennsylvania Rep.] Joe Hoeffel among them. For a very long time, he was shilling for Casey and calling Casey a progressive. This went on for months on end until people started yelling at Joe - really, literally shouting him down. Finally, he let go of using that term, because he had so completely distorted it and turned it inside out. It's not unlike George Orwell's 1984 or even the French revolutionary Robespierre, who literally turned ideas on their heads and gave rise to modern revolutionary thinking. It's a sham, a lot of people who present themselves as progressives... Joe Hoeffel still does; he still presents himself as a progressive and he still supports Bob Casey. It's a sham and it's a shame.

    I guess the answer to your question is, Is there a place for progressives in the Democratic Party? Well, if the party is to have a future, there sure as hell better be a place for progressives. There has got to be a place.

    Read the rest at ALL FACTS AND OPINIONS.