Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Once again, George Allen brings shame to Virginians

It is easy to lampoon George Allen because his behavior is so over the top. From his days of playing at being a cowboy (unfortunately, Allen has continued playing make believe up until this very day) to taunting college students with racial epithets like "Macaca," his actions draw a lot of press.

How much? Let's just look at the latest Google news aggregator: over 340 articles about his staff attacking a constituent at a campaign stop. The top links are all Virginian TV stations, but in addition to the metropolian DC area (including Maryland), the story has run in papers and on TV in California, New York, North Dakota, North Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Ohio, etc. Basically, outlets across the nation have carried the story because they know that their audience is fascinated by the political bloopers of George Allen. (Like me. His self-combustion is riveting!)

Tomorrow and in upcoming days, the story will spread out even more across the nation. And then the international press will pick up on the story, and that's how you have a one week story, which takes us to Election Day.

Virginians cringe when they hear this, because they know that the image that George "Felix" Allen is exporting across the country is that of an incompetent bully who likes to stand by as his staff tackles defenseless constituents, when really voters crave real leadership, which Jim Webb, former Navy Secretary, is happy to provide. They're done with the maurading buffoon who doesn't deserve the title of Senator. Webb picked up 10 newspaper endorsements from across the state, including the Washington Post, whereas I can't even find the newspaper endorsement section of Allen's website (yes I went there and I do feel dirty.) Scanning through his press releases, only 2 Richmond papers endorsed Allen, which must be a blow to someone who has served in two statewide positions as Governor and Senator.

Now look at those states where the story picked up steam -- a lot of those states are swing states, or Republican base states, or places where presidential candidates go to pick up fat donations. They're the type of places Allen used to go gallivanting about when he thought his reelection to the Senate was so secure that he could afford to play at being a presidential candidate. Now his dreams of beinig the next idiot King George are over. Just for reference, back in March he was the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire GOP convention (a good way of getting face time with the first in the nation primary). Look how far Allen has dropped, and look how far Webb has come since the primaries:

Miller said Allen's national ambition is a concern.

"I'm a businessman," he said in a telephone interview last week. "If I'm interviewing a guy for a job and he wants to go off and have lunch with another prospective employer, I'm not going to hire him."

Miller and Webb have never held elective office and are not well- known to voters. Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., said they may lack the stature to make Allen's dual campaigning an issue.

"In theory, what Allen is doing is dangerous if you're running against a top-tier candidate," Coker said. "But there isn't a Democrat running against him right now who I would put in that category."

Part of it is that Webb is a great candidate with stellar credentials who Virginians have increasingly embraced the more that they know about him. The other half is that Virginia voters are too frequently embrassed by Allen, who really did take his eye off of serving the people of Virginia, going so far as to disparage his service in the Senate as "boring" via the New York Times:

CULPEPER, Va., March 21 — George Allen makes little secret that he is bored with life in the Senate.

"I made more decisions in half a day as governor than you can make in a whole week in the Senate," Senator Allen said earlier this month as he dashed into a recent Republican fund-raiser in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Over eggs and hash browns with a Republican crowd in Davenport, he lamented about being in the Senate, "It's too slow for me."

Well, Felix, you don't have to be worried about being "bored" for much longer. Jim Webb is eager to throw your faux cowboy boots out of office and to step up as a real and honorable leader for Virginia.

Allen is a bully, condones bullying

My last post was on George Felix "Macaca" Allen being a fraud and a bully. And today, we get footage of his campaign staff roughing up a voter who had the guts to ask him some questions about Allen's sealed arrest files, as well as the police report that describes an incident where Allen apparently spat on his ex-wife.

Yeah folks, it doesn't get much more Jerry Springer than this. Watch the video footage that a local TV station in Charlottesville caught on tape. What's crazy is that Mike Stark, a former Marine and University of Virginia law student, is simply ASKING A QUESTION. He's not threatening Allen, and three of Allen's goons jump him and throw him to the ground. Meantime, you see footage of Allen leaving the scene, with a smug grin on his face. That's patently DISGUSTING. Felix Allen could have stopped his aides from going too far by saying something, but inistead he walks into the ballroom of the hotel to shake his fatcat contributors' hands. Like candidate, like staff - and if your candidate is a poseur bully, then his staff are his henchmen.

Plus a new poll by Opinion Strategies came out today showing Webb in the lead for the first time in this highly competitive race: Webb 50, Allen 46. It's one week until election day, and you can try to muzzle Allen, but he still fucks up the news cycle. This story is going to feed into the meme that Allen is a privileged fraud and a racist bully, and the story will continue for another week most likely. I think Allen has an excellent chance of pulling it out. I also wanted to call attention to a WashPost article that describes the multilingual voter outreach that the Webb campaign is doing, including phonebanking in Korean and Vietnamese: "Webb's volunteers have started making telephone calls -- some in Spanish, Korean, Arabic and Vietnamese -- and knocking on the doors of their most likely voters."

Good call on Korean American outreach for Webb, since Korean Americans tend to vote Democratic. However, apart from Webb's wife being Vietnamese American, I'm not sure why their doing turnout in that communityy since they tend to vote 80% Republican - perhaps they feel they can make significant inroads.

Anyways, this race should be a squeaker, and I'll be watching the returns avidly on Election Day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

"Macaca" Allen is a fraudulent bully

With the new allegations that George Felix Allen spat on his first wife, teacherken at dailykos absolutely NAILS the problem with Allen -it's a question of character. Just when you thought that Allen's morality couldn't get any scummier, you find out tidbits like this that make you wonder how exactly he's managed to get elected to any office in Virginia, much less statewide positions like Governor and Senator.

teacherken also makes the apt point that while some may see this as excessively probing into Allen's personal life, Allen's lack of morals extends into his public persona as well, since he has no problem shamelessly stealing a whole bill from Dick Durbin and introducing it in front of the Senate and C-SPAN as his. Yes, Allen isn't a boy scout, and I applaud teacherken's introduction of this meme (read the whole thing.)

Actually, a new Allen meme occured to me just now: Allen is just a fraud and a copycat.

Let's hear it again, this time louder: Allen = fraudulent bully

What compels me to this conclusion? Even in his high school days in California when everyone was trying to figure out who they are, Allen had to take it further by wearing Confederate flag pins. Instead of figuring out who he was, he felt the need to copy "Southern" culture and claim it as his own. And he didn't drop what he refers to as his "rebellious" attitude, because he continues it right up through today with his cowboy boots at debates and his closeknit relationship with KKK type white supremicist groups. Well, hey diddle diddle, whoddathunk the cat's fiddle turned out not only to be a fake Stradivarius, but a plastic toy? Allen is about as much of a redneck as me, and I was actually born in the South, unlike Mr. SoCal here.

Yeps, it turns out that Allen is Jewish. Bugger that for a lark - the pandering "Dixie"-lip-synching fake cowboy turns out to be a member of a minority community, and it gets discovered just weeks after Allen insults an Indian American college student as a "macaca" or monkey, in front of an all white group. In between his longtime fakery of a Southern Bubba and stealing legislation, leaving a severed animal's head in an African American family's mailbox, spitting on his wife, and denigrating the Jewish community that he can't believe he's a part of, he's just like Eric Cartman. Allen and Bush are the two playground bullies who no one ever liked, and they'd steal your lunch money to take their friends Big Oil and Big Pharma to go drinking and rob some more kids. Then when you expose them for what they are, they start throwing temper tantrums and crying, "that's not fair!" And everyone, including their supposed friends, backs far far away from them, leaving 2 losers in an empty lot. And with no one else to bully, they turn on each other.

Arrgh! Sickness kills travel (plus chicken soup recipe)

I was going to go away for the weekend but I came down with a nasty cold, so I made myself a heaping pot of chicken soup. It should last me through the weekend as I try to replenish fluids. I thought I would share my recipe with you:

Yummy chicken soup:

1 whole chicken, quartered (2 lbs or more of chicken legs work too)
2 cups of chopped carrots (baby are fine)
1 large onion
2 medium-large potatoes
whole head of garlic
olive oil
2 pats of butter
2-4 boullion chicken cubes
To taste:
pepper (freshly ground is best)
sprinkling of Paprika

Optional (these are items I've added to variants of the soup before and enjoyed):
chopped Celery
Sliced Mushrooms
Sliced Broccoli stems
white wine
pasta (penne, shells, rotini are good)

1) Roast the garlic in the oven at 350-400 degrees. Put 2 pats of butter into the stockpot and drizzle olive oil into the stockpot, just covering the bottom. Add liberal dashes of salt and pepper, and a little of the herbs.

2) While the garlic is roasting, dice the onion and potatoes. Onions should be no more than an inch square, and the potatoes should be in between a half inch and an inch cubed. When the garlic is done roasting (you can tell because you will smell it and a knife will run through it like butter), carefully squeeze out the garlic into the pot (use an oven mitt) and let it swirl around the oil and butter, set the flame on very low. After 2 minutes, add the onions and potatoes and saute in the pot (turn heat to medium high.)

3) When the onions have turned translucent, add water a third of the way up the pot and add 1 boullion cube, more salt, pepper and herbs. Put the lid on and wait for the water to boil.

4) When the water has come to a boil, add the chicken and reduce heat to a very low flame. Add a sprinkling of paprika and cover for 2 hours. The challenge is to let it simmer for 2 hours without peeking and inhaling every 5 minutes! You should stir about every half hour, and after an hour has passed, taste the broth and see if it needs more salt, pepper or herbs. Add the carrots at the hour mark.

5) At the half hour mark, taste again. (yums!) This is where you can add the mushrooms, celery, broccoli or wine if you so choose. Keep in mind, if you add more vegetables, you need to add more water. And for about every four cups of water, I like to add a boullion cube which enhances the flavor of the broth.

6) After two hours (or longer if you can stand it - the longer it simmers the tastier it is), your broth is done - enjoy! If you really can't stand waiting, you can start eating at about the 1.5 houor mark but the flavors will fully develop at 2 hours.

Notes: you can also substitute the chicken with 2 lbs of a white fish.

The saints are coming

Just saw the U2/Green Day video "The Saints Are Coming" which intersperses footage of US troops that were redeployed from Iraq to New Orleans with glitzy shots of them playing stadium concerts. Very striking. Especially the footage of all the planes and helicopters flying over the Superdome, doing food and first aid drops to people on the ground - it really emphasized how the situation down there was like any third world country where we send our troops. It made me wonder what those US troops thought and how they felt about having to come home to rescue their own people, did it make them wonder what they were doing in Iraq?

It doesn't have the stark imagery of the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice" but it is compelling regardless, and I highly recommend watching it. It's a good reminder of what the stakes are this midterm election - a choice between a Republican-led Congress that has rubberstamped President Bush's failures abroad and at home, or a change in policy and leadership under a Democratic just and fair vision that doesn't believe in exporting our troops to start wars to "avenge our daddies." The saints are coming indeed, and the GOP is quaking in their bunkers on Capitol Hill.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

All apologies

You might have noticed some slowed down action on Power and Politics recently. It's due to two factors: 1) an increasingly busy schedule where I'm juggling, juggling, and making it work; and 2) blogger being down every single time I feel compelled to blog about something I've read or seen. My schedule right now is one such that I can't just take an hour off here or there to blog, so if I see something, I want to say something (in a bad ripoff of our public transit system warnings.) I don't have the excess memory right now to note where I read the article, and I read so many articles from different papers across the country on a daily basis that I really can't remember where I find interesting tidbits.

So blogger needs to work more consistently for me to post more. Hopefully I'll have some more time over the holiday weekend to post on scary monsters and hobgoblins in the world of politics. I'm off to a strategy meeting to figure out how to slay our local dragon.

Meantime, stay strong out there, and fight the good fight! If I don't see you before All Hallows', remember to engage in some trick or treat voter education and hand out some fliers for your favorite local candidate as you go door to door. Every vote, every action counts.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Political roundup

1) VA-Sen: Senator George Felix "Macaca" Allen's poll ratings are going up as his campaign has muzzled him for the duration of the campaign cycle. As I said before, a wise move, if unfortunate for the Webb campaign.

2) CT-House 4th CD: Damn, I am impressed with this Green candidiate's ability to build coalitions (and future goodwill.) Richard Duffee, the Green Party candidate and potential spoiler in Democratic challenger Diane Farrell's race against Republican incumbent Chris Shays, decided to drop out of the tightly contested raced:

The race is a rematch of the 2004 contest, which Shays won with 52 percent of the vote to Farrell's 48 percent. Shays won by about 14,000 votes.

The Green Party believes it can deliver about 1,300 votes from the 4th District. Statewide, there are approximately 2,000 registered Green Party members and about 1,000 mostly unaffiliated voters who support Green Party candidates in elections.

Duffee and Farrell made the announcement Monday at a news conference in Norwalk.

Sieh said Farrell's campaign approached the Green Party about three weeks ago. Both sides have been negotiating since. On Saturday, 4th District Green Party members met with Farrell, held a convention and decided to notify the secretary of the state to black out Duffee's name on the Nov. 7 ballot. The deadline for such a request is Tuesday, Sieh said.

I wish Nader had considered this, almost 6 years ago when the race was so tight between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Sieh called the alliance with the Democrats "an historical event" and said it will ultimately empower the Greens and improve voters' perceptions of the minor party.

"We are not spoilers. We want to let the press and the country know that we are modern 21st century politicians," he said. "We're way beyond egos. We're about issues and getting them done.
They know what their weak point is, and are according on message. Hurrah for someone with longterm vision! Plus, I do believe that it will ultimately help build their party to be seen as bridge-builders and pragmatic leaders who are willing to put aside egos for the greater good.

Grace and luck

It's weird to be on the road again, but with a crew I really trust and like. There's just no substitute. I look at where I was half a year or more ago, miserable and in denial, and I've let all that hurt and anger go. (Mostly.)

I'm in a good place unlike earlier where life and work and love are balanced, and my health is under control. It's funny because sometimes I think it's hard for me to see how my work affects my health since I'm so caught up in what I do. In the past I've ignored my friends' pleas to pay attention to my health over the needs of whomever I'm helping. Now I don't have to make these decisions between my health, happiness, and fulfilling my job requirements.

With a lot of luck, and the support of my friends, I made it out of that hole. Now, by some grace, I am no longer one of the walking wounded. I'm back and I'm stronger than ever.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Susan Ralston and the Filipino American community

Rodel Rodis has what he calls "a second lok at Susan Ralston" in the Phillipine News. I think it slants on the forgiving side, as it discusses her effort to open the door to policy discussions on Filipino veterans' equity, an issue that has even made it into mainstream pop culture via apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas. (At the time, The Apl Song was the rare look at a social justice issue through the eyes of a prominent Asian American artist that made it to MTV and the video was very poignant.)

FYI, Filipino veterans' equity refers to gaining the same rights and benefits for the Filipinos who served during WWII while the Philippines were a U.S. colony - the benefits include the same quality of health care and recognition as U.S. soldiers. Historically, part of the agreement that the Philippines government had with the United States was that these soldiers could become U.S. citizens. Naturally, our government failed to keep its word, which is the same thing that happened to the Hmong soldiers after the secret war in Laos when the U.S. covertly asked the Hmong, an ethnic minority within Laos to fight against the Communist-affiliated Pathet Lao with the understanding that if the Hmong lost the US would pull them out and bring them to America. So the United States seems to have an unfortunate history of asking people from poorer countries to fight for us, making promises that are unkept along the way, which greatly dishonors the spirit of veterans. Then again, it is not wholly surprising given that our government doesn't give veterans who are U.S. citizens their due.

Now that you have the historical background, Ralston originally refused the requests of the Filipino community to help get the veterans equity, claiming that she doesn't do "policy."
The article also says that she later arranged for a meeting with the White House policy advisor, and other meetings on the issue, after criticism and pressure from the community.

According to Ganio, Ralston had arranged for meetings of ACFV officials with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, with the White House staff and a key National Security official to obtain Bush’s support for the Filipino Veterans Health Care bill, for Senator Daniel Inouye’s pension bill and for the U.S. grant-in-aid to the Philippine Veterans Medical Center.

I have my doubts on the efficacy of Ralston's meetings on an issue that wasn't going to net her big bucks, but what I think is most disturbing about the article is the forgiving tone:

The qualities that got Ralston her White House job were the very same reasons she stepped down. Aside from her professional competence, it was her loyalty and sense of gratitude -- two virtues held in high regard in the Filipino community -- that caused her to resign.

Ralston was grateful to Abramoff for recommending her to Karl Rove where she ended up as the right hand” of President Bush’s “right hand man”. The favors she did for Abramoff was her “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude).

She was loyal to Rove and to President Bush, refusing to say anything or do anything that may cause them any damage. She was willing to “fall on the sword” for them.

But let's not forget that she funneled her old boss and convicted former lobbyist and swindler Jack Abramoff's requests to top decisionmakers at the White House:
Doing so, Abramoff directed government appointments, influenced policy decisions and won White House endorsements for political candidates — all in the service of his clients.

The report found more than 400 lobbying contacts between Abramoff's team and the White House.
When will we hold our community members up to higher standards? Hold them accountable for their actions? We should not engage in some kind of whitewashing of what Ralston did, because it was despiccable. So what if she was loyal to some criminals and scumbags? What about loyalty to our country and having some kinds of morals? Wikipedia's entry on Ralston reminds us of what she did for Rove and Bush and Abramoff:

Email records from 2000 suggest that Susan Ralston helped Jack Abramoff pass checks from eLottery to Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and also to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), en route to Ralph Reed's company, Century Strategies:

"I have 3 checks from elot: (1) 2 checks for $80 K payable to ATR and (2) 1 check to TVC for $25 K," wrote Ralston in 2000, "Let me know exactly what to do next. Send to Grover? Send to Rev. Lou?"
On January 3, 2006, Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and related charges, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a corruption probe in Washington.

David Kuo, former Assistant to the President under W and Deputy Director for the office of Faith Based initiatives for the White House, recently came out with a book called Tempting Faith that shines a big bright light on how the WH operated, and the low regard that political masters like Rove had for their conservative Christian voting base. He wrote it because he saw the light, which is that the Bush gang didn't really hold anything dear except for power and money. Ralston will probably never do anythinig of the sort, insteading hugging Abramoff and Rove's skeletons all the way. But she should come clean, because the American people deserve to know about all the shady backroom dealings that went on, and exactly how high up the corruption went.

And I don't think that she deserves our respect for hiding dirty laundry. I can't see how community members would feel sad that she is gone. I say, good riddance, she gives us a bad name as a conspirator in executinig Abramoff's wishes and commands.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Allen, Webb in statistical dead heat and the democratization of youtube

The latest Washington Post poll finds that Allen is in a statistical dead heat with Webb, at 49-47, with a margin of error of 3 points. So it's not terribly surprising that Allen's campaign has decided to muzzle him for the last few weeks of the campaign.

Especially when you take into account the youtube phenonmenon. As I have said before, youtube truly democratizes politics and policy - average people can catch their senators falling asleep during key hearings, and watch as candidates denigrate college students. Unlike C-SPAN (which I love but is watched by few people outside of the beltway), you don't have to pay for cable just so you can watch a subcommittee hearing. With youtube, you can catch the highlight and bloopers of the 535 (mostly) men and women of Congress - for free. Moreover, I've also stated that our elected representatives say some pretty horrendous and ignorant things during these sessions, statements which if caught on tape and shown to their constituents back home, would make them cringe in public with shame. (Not that they would actually regret what they said, just that they had been caught.)

Part of the reason why the "macaca moment" was such a perilous step for Allen is because everyone who had access to the internet could watch his smug demeanor and listen to his cadence, watch how he played off his white audience to deride S. R. Sidarth, an Indian American college student. There was no parsing his intentions, because everyone who has ever been bullied recognized that Allen was using his position of power and privilege, his literal and metaphoric bullhorn in an attempt to mortify his prey. Allen blatantly cast Sidarth as the Other, and anyone who has been harassed for being different saw a familiar look in Allen's sneering face. It made the insult real to Virginians, and the rest of the nation, and has sideswiped the seemingly impervious Humvee of an Allen presidential campaign.

People responded in a visceral way to the video because it portrayed a David and Goliath scenario - a student armed only with a camera, endures the slurs of Allen, his United States Senator who knew he was being videotaped and proceeded to insult regardless. Then Sidarth uses the catapault of youtube to launch his stones against the giant. Whoever said that "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" didn't work in Washington DC because Sidarth's video uses Allen's own words and deeds against him. He had documented Allen's taunting the way that I am sure pretty much everyone has wanted to do to a bully at some point in their lives, and then he fought back. Far from being a victim, Sidarth demanded an apology, and received one. He captured Allen's arrogance, which was broadcast to the world via youtube.

Youtube is the great equalizer, a means of "owning the press" for the rest of us who aren't named Rupert Murdoch, or at least of having our 15 minutes of fame. It is a great and cheap means of holding our elected officials accountable for what they do and say. Anyone can watch videos, even without logging in, and if you wish to be a citizen journalist, all you have to do is to create a login and password, and upload your video, your vision, your mantra to the web for the world to see. And for viewers, it is like TiVo on crack - free and accessible, using a search engine to find whatever content you want. And if it's not there, you can post your own. It's a platform with almost unlimited uses.

Reuters has a new article out about the grassroots power of the macaca/youtube phenonmenon:
Internet experts call the trend of sending around unscripted video clips a ``macaca'' and predict new media such as YouTube will have a great impact on campaigns.

``The Internet and new technology are radically changing every part of our lives, and politics is no different,'' said Phil Noble, the head of PoliticsOnline, a political Internet site. ``It's happening in a big way and it's going to be many, many, many times bigger than it has been so far. It's going to radically change everything.''

``Anybody with a video camera, a little bit of technology and some great creativity and energy and luck or skill can become an important player in the political process,'' he added. ''And that's the power, that's what makes it so radical.''

(No, I don't own any google stock, but I wish I did because their purchase of youtube is freakin' brilliant!)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

George Allen muzzled by campaign

Kos picks up the report from the Washington Post:
Weeks after George Allen 's mouth got him into serious trouble, the senator's advisers have apparently decided that he should shut up. . .

With less than a month before Election Day, Allen (R-Va.) has become virtually impossible to interview directly, giving his campaign handlers much more control over the message they send to voters. What voters see this month will be -- they hope -- only what they want voters to see.
If I were on his campaign staff, I would have told him to shut up and not do any on the record events a long time ago. Granted, that's a hard thing given that he's actually trying to keep his Senate seat, but when the media attention is ALL bad because you insulted a poor college student with an arcane racial slur, and then delayed your apology for so long, leading media and the general public to remain interested, resultinig in more articles about your history with Confederate-mania, and your aceptance of donations from pedophiles like Republican congressman Mark Foley, there are no other options.

The idea, apparently, is to avoid any further gaffes. In August, he called an Indian American worker for his challenger "macaca," a slur. Last month, in the middle of a story about his recently discovered Jewish roots, he told a reporter that his mother still "made great pork chops."

Now, though, he has turned to some of his longtime advisers, who have concluded that if Allen simply doesn't talk to the media, he can't make any more of those mistakes.

Going silent is a decidedly risky move this close to the elections, but having served as Governor and Senator, and as the son of a famous football coach, Allen has a very high name recognition across the state. Unfortunately, it's all tainted now - his name is mud. So it will also be hard to change that perception. Additionally, the last big story that captured the public's attention on Allen was him giving Mark Foley's campaign donation to charity. Damn hard to shape a postive public opinion that way. It's like having the last word in an angry, bitter breakup that you didn't want to happen. It's a pyhhric victory, because in the meantime, James Webb is holding press conferences galore, winning the favor of political reporters who need to fill their pages, and upping his name recognition to the general public.

Honestly, I'm not sure whether Virginians are going to want a senator whose mouth is such a liability that his own campaign has to put him on such a short leash. It sounds like another "elected" official who uses a tightly scripted Rose Garden strategy, and well, so far that guy's been successful in abandoning a drowning city, increasinig the ranks of the unemployed, starting up wars he can't finish, and turning our national surplus into an insurmountable deficit.

Virginians, there's a way to ensure that George Felix Allen's muzzle stays on for good - if you vote him out, you'll never have to hear him embarass your state again, whether by calling people monkeys, or by stealing legislation. Vote for a real leader not a quitting cheater - vote for James Webb.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nevada in play for 2008 and Asian American swing voters

DNC primary calendar changes to iniclude Nevada recognize the large Asian American population there and our presence as a swing vote:
“Nevada had all those magic things in terms of being a Western state, having a large Hispanic population, a large Asian population and a labor population,” said Stacie Paxton, a Democratic National Committee spokeswoman. “We will work with officials from the state party to make sure they are ready to have a successful caucus.”
Still bummed that the Dems couldn't get it together to hold the convention in the Twin Cities and that they ceded that prime real estate (swing state votes and media attention and very politically active Asian American voters) to the RNC which beat them to the draw in picking Minnesota for their 08 convention. But at least we get a caucus.

Hey, last time around, the margin of victory was something like 20,000 votes and there are over 30,000 Asian American voters in the state. We could be the swing vote that picks the next Democratic candidate that either makes or breaks us in 2008. Dig it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October surprise

Chuck Todd over at Hotline has a good take on why the Foley scandal has taken some flatfooted Republicans unawares - namely, the Repubs being caught up in the Foley October surprise are the ones who felt secure in victory months earlier. However, because this scandal only went public in the final month, these Republican incumbents have done virtually no campaigning and have not defined themselves to their constituents. A snippet of his "Backseat Driving":

The most embattled Republicans, many of whom we identified 18 months ago, seem to be weathering "Hurricane Mark" better than expected. The reason: Incumbents in places like Connecticut, Missouri or Pennsylvania have been preparing for what they feared would be a rough 2006 for nearly 18 months.

What this proves is that campaigns are rarely won or lost in October; the decisive moment happens much earlier in the cycle.

For some races, the decisive moment was filing day (see Florida Senate). For other races, it could have been Election Day 2005 (see New Jersey Senate), and for still others, the campaign's mindset going into the cycle will determine the outcome (there are too many of those to single out).

Ouch! He slapped Kathleen Harris a new one! This whole snarky political reporter bit is puzzlinig though, and new to me. . .

Todd does a thorough overview of the most discussed races, and has an insight on why Lamont is still trailing Lieberman: he didn't go in for the kill when he had the most momentum.

In the two weeks immediately following Lamont's primary victory, Lieberman was reeling. He had no party, little support, little staff and not much money. And what did Lamont do during this critical period? He took his foot off of Lieberman's throat.

There was a period when Lieberman could have been branded a sore loser. In fact, it wouldn't have been the first time Lieberman would have felt that sting. (Think back to the national landscape in 2000.)

There was a period when Lieberman could have been branded a sore loser. In fact, it wouldn't have been the first time Lieberman would have felt that sting. (Think back to the national landscape in 2000.)

But Lamont (and the media) gave Lieberman enough time and oxygen to become an "independent," and that seemed to marginalize Lamont's victory. Too many Connecticut Democrats view Lieberman positively right now. Lamont could have gone on the air immediately in August -- even guilted his new Democratic friends to cut TV ads for him -- and created an atmosphere that might have made Lieberman think twice about continuing his bid.

But that didn't happen. Lamont could still win, but Lieberman seems to be framing the debate and appears to have the momentum. If he wins re-election, Lamont and his supporters will look at August as their "woulda, coulda, shoulda" moment.

I hada a fear that Lieberman would win in the end, given that Connecticut is no California, and doesn't like radical populists, instead prefering staid known quantities. I just hope Lieberman doesn't screw Dems over badly if he gets reelected. Okay, I mean, screw us over more by NOT voting for Reid as Majority Leader.

"So while every move a campaign makes these next few weeks seems incredibly critical, don't underestimate the problems caused by a February, March or April decision. Remember, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., didn't vote for or against anything in October."

Ultimately Todd concludes that it's the mistakes earlier on in these races that cost elections (and the Lamont-Lieberman race will be expensive indeed. Lamont's pouring another 2 mil of his own cash into the race.)

I wonder if part of the problem is that Lamont's campaign manager, being a lefty, knew how to win an intraparty skirmish but didn't know how to appeal across the broad swath of Connecticut voters and their values? After all, you know that it's kind of a desperate move to say that one reason Lieberman might not win is because of his ballot placement. I'd guess that ballot placement will only make the difference in a very tight race, and I give the voters of Connecticut more credit than that. I think they'll stick to what they know, and look for the Lieberman name regardless of where it falls, or what party he's listed with. What is worrisome is how many Connecticut Dems Lieberman is taking with him - he's retained a goodly number more than I would have liked. And I worry that if Senator Joe retakes his throne, he'll decide to reward the loyalties of the Republicans who fundraised for him and threw their support to him from the national level (Rove, Bush) down to the local.

It could have been a different story if Lieberman had decided to drop out of the race and it was a race between two relative unknowns, Lamont and Schlesinger (Republican candidate who is like a proverbial straw man.) Then it would have been an even playing field. I sure hope that hindsight isn't 20-20, because I would not like Lieberman to be a permanent albatross around the Democratic party's neck, like a Zell Miller who just won't go away.

Asian American youth politically engaged

The second most civically minded, after African American youth, according to a new study by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Also, Asian American and African American youth are tied for the group most likely to donate or volunteer for a social organization.

"According to the study, African American young people are “most likely to vote regularly, belong to groups involved with politics, donate money to candidates or parties, display buttons or signs, canvass and contact the broadcast media or print media.”

The study also said Black people between the ages of 15-25 were most likely to raise money for a charity, tying with Asian Americans."

Pretty cool, no?
Asian American youth came right behind African Americans and like African Americans are more likely to volunteer, sign petitions, raise money and persuade others about elections.

In direct comparison to young Whites, the study said “Whites are the most likely to run, walk or ride a bike for charity and to be active members of a group. They are least likely to protest, donate money to a party or candidate or persuade others about an election.”

The study showed that Latino youth had the highest levels of disengagement and were the least likely to volunteer, contact officials or boycott. But 25 percent of young Latinos have protested “more than double the rate for any other racial/ethnic group.”
However, the findings were not wholly rosy as about half the kids couldn't identify Republicans as the more conservative party!!!

What it does indicate though is that Asian American youth are engaged and receptive to organizing efforts including voter education and outreach.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I have been making up and trying out new recipes recently, inspired by a friend's "BYOF" (that's bring your own food" party, where everyone brings an ingredient and then we try to make something out of the mishmash that people brought. It's an everything but the kitchen sink attitude that sometimes leads to delicious creations. Sure, it's a risk when you wind up with some weird flavor combinations, but with judicious mixing and a healthy dose of risk, you can win big.

It's sorta like politics. I wonder if our nation wouldn't be better off if electeds weren't so risk-averse that they never tried anything new, never bothered to try new combinations and permutations to see what sticks. What are the rewards for being innovative and daring in public policy? Massachusetts is the firt state in tha nation to try universal health care (yeah, it's not perfect) but we'll see what comes from it. What of other states? Other issues?

Sometimes it seems like the only things that motivate politicians to try new approaches is when they are set to leave, and secure in knowing that they don't have to justify (pander) to the voters in their district.

Colbert Nation

It's Stephen Colbert's nation - we all just live in it. New York Magazine has a total lovefest to Colbert, and I enjoyed every word of it:

"It’s been a very good year for Stephen Colbert because it’s witnessed the birth of the Colbertocracy. We’re just voting in it."

So true.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Reynolds steps in it, but deep

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of viewing one of the WORST political ads I have ever seen. It wasn't bad like it used lots of stock images or was really boring, it was awful in the way it makes NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Reynolds come off (angry and unhinged.) Plus if people in his district didn't know that he participated in covering up the Foley scandal, this video's vehement denials only serve to intrigue those who didn't know into finding out more in a Nixonian "I am not a crook" fashion. For those who did know, it reinforces the connection between Rep. Reynolds and disgraced former Rep. Foley.

I can't believe the Reynolds campaign paid good money to put this ad on TV, much less having it made in the first place. I spent a good 5 minutes laughing at it, showing it to friends, and then laughing some more. Mind, I'm not laughing at the fact that Foley was harassing underage teen pages, but rather at how Reynolds has chosen to respond to his involvement in this video, which is to say, terribly ineffectively.

Also he lies by saying that he forced Foley to resign. Reynolds actually recruited Foley to run again for office this year, despie Foley thinking that he should step down. So Reynolds not only covered up predatory behavioir, he then encouraged Foley to stay and do more. But I'm touched that Reynolds is "angry and feels personally betrayed" despite covering up for a pedophile.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Out with the trash

Susan Ralston, White House "Prince of Darkness" Karl Rove's right hand woman, resigned recently. Ralston was the most powerful Asian American in the White House, and previously served as Jack Abramoff's aide. She resigned after an internal review "discovered" over 400 contacts between Dirty Jack and the WH.

Why does this matter?
"Critics have pointed to Ralston as evidence that Rove — and thus Bush — are possibly closer to Abramoff than the White House has acknowledged. Ralston was Abramoff's administrative assistant at his lobbying firm and, after Bush took office, assumed the same post with Rove."

Lots of news items are getting tossed out with the trash this holiday weekend,
when people aren;t paying as much attention.

To note, George Allen failed to disclose stock options that he had gained, and is hot water with the Senate Ethics Committee. One of those companies was absorbed into Tyco. He had helped the high tech companies while serving as Gov. of Virginia, and then conveniently served on their boards.
For the past five years, Sen. George Allen, has failed to tell Congress about stock options he got for his work as a director of a high-tech company. The Virginia Republican also asked the Army to help another business that gave him similar options.
THe AP got the goods on Felix.

Illinois Republican and Speaker of the House Denny Hastert is apparently radioactive to Republican congressional candidates, cancelling a number of upcoming fundraisers for them. Hotline lists those who no longer want to be seen and heard with the Speaker:
He'll no longer fundraise for candidate/state Sen. Joy Padgett (R) in OH 18 10/12. Hastert called her office to say "his travel plans had changed." Padgett "declined to say" whether she would've cancelled the event." (Examiner).

And in IN 09, Hastert cancelled a 10/10 event to support Rep. Mike Sodrel, who faces a "tight" re-election race with ex-Rep. Baron Hill (D). Sodrel: "I suspect he's busy with other issues right now" (AP/Fort Wayne News-Sentinel). What's more, write-in candidate Shelley Sekula Gibbs (R) in TX 22 "has decided not to accept Hastert's offer" to visit and fundraise for her.

Let's throw them all out with the trash. Hastert, Ralston, and George Allen Felix.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tidying up

Ugh, I noticed there was a spam comment, so I had to reinstate word verification. Hopefully the spambots will go away and leave me alone and I can return it to how it used to be.

Thao Worra fleshed out the Quincy story for me, thanks, I was too tired last night to come up with some good ole fashioned outrage and whoopass. Also, it's a pretty crazy thing to say. I can (almost) understand someone saying, "Stop thinking of China. You're on American soil, so fly the goddamn American flag."

What I don't really get is how it's a bad thing to be a hyphenated American - it is generally acknowledged that Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Polish Americans, German Americans helped to build this country. French Americans during the 1800s explored and claimed territory that later became part of the United States. What's wrong with being hyphenated again?

Also, isn't Quincy the town where that Chinese American activist got beat up by the police? Something's not right in the city of Quincy...

Consider the fit

A best fit line is a smooth line that is a composite of a number of scattered dots. It's the line that is on average, the smallest distance away from each dot, and is the truest to the overall information represented.

In considering my work and personal experiences, my sum knowledge and attitude is a combination of everything - the good, bad and ugly. I am a best fit line of my surroundings, and yet, am free to disregard the outliers. (I pray that the previous unhealthy environment I was in is an outlier!)

This is what I was thinking about while reading an admittedly cheesy, but true article on yahoo: Before Taking a Job, Consider the Fit. One of the lines that absolutely rings true is the following advice:
When you cut through all of these issues, the most important consideration is the people equation: the fit. If you accept a job and misjudge the fit -- even if everything else is right --you will, in all likelihood, fail.
If I had considered this before joining my last team, I would have known to get out way sooner, or to never have taken the job at all. I would go to work parties and not want to go and mingle, since I always felt awkward. I didn't agree with my boss' ideology, and I never felt comfortable with my coworkers, who mostly shared my boss' ideology. (For the most part, they also weren't the type of people who I really wanted to go and have a beer with.) Now I'm with a new team, and I couldn't love the people more. I actually enjoy hanging out with them after hours.

The analogy between hiring a new person and an organ transplant is particularly apt, and as true about fitting in with a new group of friends as with coworkers:

Making career decisions and hiring decisions are two sides of the same coin. Think of it this way: When a company hires a new professional, it's like an organ being transplanted into a body.

To the extent that the body is receptive to the organ and comfortable with the fit, the connective tissue grows and the organ becomes integral to the functioning of the body. In a company, this is when relationships take hold and internal people become champions for the person's success.

When the fit is bad, however, antibodies attack and the body rejects the organ. In business, this happens when off-handed comments like "he just doesn't get it" are thrown around, or the person is excluded from key meetings, or subordinates circumvent a new manager and go to the old one instead.
Partially, I don't think I tried hard enough to fit in, but I got enough weird vibes and saw enough power trip struggles at that place that I didn't want to have to play the same bizarre head games or make the same petulant claims. To put it simply, I didn't want to be grafted to such a diseased body, to an organization that was rotting from the inside out. One of the top managers there once asked if I could take some photographs for a company-wide event, a priority fundraiser. As I was looking for my normal camera, I noticed it was gone, and so was my backup. So I took the only camera left, which happened to be our newest and most sleek. Then I forgot to bring the camera in the next day, and had to go home to retrieve it. Was it so that I could download the photos? No, it was because he wanted to take the ultranew and fancy camera with him on his 4 day fishing excursion. Priorities straight? I think not.

Looking back, the funny part was that the person who informed me of this was didn't even bother to lie, and instead indicated that the manager in question was throwing a temper tantrum. Leaving aside questions of what right he had to be using company property on his vacation, and might company resources be better put to company use, bringing a digital camera on a boat for 4 days is the stupidest thing I have heard. The high likelihood of damage or accidentally dropping it overboard is not worth the $2o0 it would cost to buy yourself a digital camera. What a cheap bastard. He was making one of the top salaries in the company too.

The columnist concludes with three simple questions:
  • "Do you like and respect the people with whom you would work on a day-to-day basis?"

  • "Is the environment and culture one in which you can truly be yourself?"

  • "When you consider the senior-most leadership of the organization, do you aspire to become like them one day?"
With "yes" answers to all three questions, Phil was good to go. This worked for him, and it will hopefully work for you, both in your next big career turning point and your next big hiring decision.

I wish I could take back the time that I spent with my old team. While
Phil answered yes to all three, I would have answered no to all. I always felt constrained, I didn't like or respect my teammates, and there was no way I wanted to be as personally and professionally dysfunctional as the top management.

So I urge jobseekers not to jump at the first chance you get if you are looking for something long-term (same goes for looking for a relationship), but rather to consider the fit. It'll save you lots of stress in the end.

Now I'm going to post this article up as a reminder. To thine own self be true, and success will follow.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Asian American media wrap up

So everything in the political blogosphere is Foleygate, which I'm pretty much done discussing because it's really disturbing. Of course this means that my favorite topic of discussion, George Allen, has taken a backseat. Finally Allen gets some relief from the tidal wave of negative stories as the national media's Eye has turned its spotlight on the hapless Foley.

Archpundit's got the goods. Too funny! I always thought Hastert reminded me of someone.

Also, UN Ambassador John Bolton and his moustache? So over.

Just like Denny Hastert's career.


Just want to plug photographer Nikki Lee, who could be described as an Asian American Cindy Sherman.

So let's look at what this media cycle has been saying about Asian Americans:

-Asian American youth are the most civically engaged (per a Pew study.) No surprise to me that our youth do the nost volunteering.

-Muslims, Arabs say anti-workplace bias on the rise (LATimes)
In a case filed recently by EEOC attorney Park, seven Yemeni sailors working for Norwegian Cruise Line were fired in rapid succession "because they looked Muslim," Park said.
I guess their staff has to, well, look more Norwegian. Seriously, though, this is crazy.

-Outside of Boston, a Chinese American organization gets flack for flying a Chinese flag alongside an American one, prompting remarks like this:
"If you want to live in America, don’t be a hyphenated American,’’ said Ward 6 Councilor Brian McNamee. ‘‘Don’t keep one foot planted in your country of birth and another in this country. Put both feet firmly in America.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blogdict (or, writing and ferocity)

It's official, in the past day and a half, I have become a blogdict. Despite the vast amounts of work I have to plow through before the night is done, and sleep greets me like an old lover, I am here typing away on blogger.

Part of it is because I am procrastinating the piles of work (both physical and intellectual) that I need to mow through. Part of it is that being online keeps me connected to communities across the world, via newspapers and blogs. It gives me a voice and a means of sorting through my turbulent thoughts, even if I'm just posting about some stupid political gaffe.

I remember going through cycles of being outgoing and shy as a kid. Usually the quiet interludes were due to some school-induced trauma. In those voids, my voice was carried through my writings. Whether angst-filled love poems referencing Greek myths of yore or quotidian musings upon the bus ride home, I honed and developed my life philosophy through my writing. I could make everything whole in my stories, or more frequently, provide context and nuance to my understanding of events past.

Some observations: I tend to write when I'm lonely, trying to resolve conflict (internal or external), seeking to excise some demon or fixation, or trying to make sense of somethinig bigger than me that I can't explain logically. Right now I'm attempting to work through some ideological and personal conflicts that are sadly intertwined.

The ferocity lies under the surface mostly, under a placid smile and burnished words. But sometimes it surprises even me and pours forth like a hard-charging knight to save the day. It comes from times that I kept my mouth shut, then spent the whole time home thinking of clever rebuttals and whipsmart comebacks. It comes from all the times that I held my tongue and my hands back, not wanting to create a public commotion. The ferocity comes from the frustration of seeing the world in its fragile, fucked up state, and only being able to change so much at any one time. To reach so few people in a given week. And it comes from the instances that I actually said what I felt, and then blamed and guilted myself for weeks afterwards. Sometimes the gatekeeper's watchful gaze slips. . ."Quis custodiet ipsos custodes," indeed.

Lastly, the ferocity resides inside, always. Like I have an unlimited amount of opaque oratory with only my computer to understand me. To justify my actions in the daily, waking world. The ferocity is also my clarion call to arms - my harder than granite stare upon an urban maelstorm.

And so begins the parting of the seas under pressure, as if I could force these towering obelisks of Babel to move.

George Allen in Trouble

Still, the unrelenting news cycle is steamrolling over Allen's chances to get reelected to his Senate seat, forget his presidential ambitions. When I just googled "George Allen" in google news, the top three links were:

Gaffes put presidential hopeful Allen in trouble - Reuters (national wire)
Allen tries to change topic with different ad - WSLS TV (local)
Allen, Wilson give Foley contributions to charity - WDBJ7 TV (local)

Not such a rosy picture if your top results are a national wire service talking about macaca (yes, even 2 months later), and local TV stations are all about how you are desperately trying to change the topic off of race, and about how you took campaign contributions from a Congressional pedophile, and now are giving the money to charity. (HINT: The brownie points from a "kind act" of giving money to charity totally gets blown away by the fact that you took dirty money. From a pedophile nonetheless.) If anything, the best way to manage that story is to not continually discuss it. Just give the money and move on with it.

You know what else the "macaca moment" and Foleygate have in common? The sheer ludicrous nature of their hypocrisy - Allen hanging out with white power folks and then being reluctantly outed as Jewish, and pedophilie Foley being the Chair of the Committee on Missing and Exploited Children. It's the irony that makes these stories stick in the public's minds.

Macacagate meets Foleygate

Disgraced Rep. Mark Foley (R)epulsive-Florida who resigned over pedophilic emails and IMs to young Congressional pages as young as 16 (he tried to solicit meetings with them!) raised money for Senator George Felix Allen (R)acist-Virginia, he of "welcome to the real Virginia, welcome to America, macaca." And the photo to prove it comes via Wonkette.

Additionally, remember how I told you Virginians were going to get sick of being tarnished by Allen's constant inability to keep his mouth shut on race and ethnicity? Now the WashPost has an article out about exactly that:

Senate Race Already Has One Loser: Va.'s Image

None of it is a laughing matter for the participants, who are struggling to talk about issues amid the accusations and jokes. But the hoopla is also tarnishing Virginia's image as the commonwealth prepares to celebrate its 400th birthday next year.
Parodied on national shows like Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno's Tonight Show, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, not only has Allen's remarks damaged the pride of Virginians, it can be bad for attracting investors to Virginia's booming tech valley. Poor Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine has to try to keep his chin up about the whole thing and work hard to attract jobs to Virginia, despite all the ruckus Allen is stirring up:
That kind of attention can be tough for Virginia, which is constantly trying to attract international investment. In fact, Virginia has been working -- with some success -- to attract Indian companies to rural southern Virginia, where jobs are scarce.
George Felix Allen - bad for Virginia's pride and economy. (Now that's a tagline to stick on an attack ad.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006


A desi postsecret from someone who secretly wishes they were white because it would be easier. I really can't say I've ever had this sentiment, even when I was younger. Although I can certainly understand that particularly in a post-9/11 world, flying while brown is difficult if not hair-pullingly impossible.

It's the first Asian American-specific postsecret I've seen, so I thought you might be interested as well.

Dear reader, if you haven't been to postsecret before, I encourage you to check it out. It's people's private musings, joys, and shames put on display. It's a mix of public-private confessional and therapy. And you, where do you put your secrets?

Senate votes for a 700 mile fence between US-Mexico

In the midst of all these scandals and different stupid Republican mistakes, I want to call attention to something that will have a direct and vast impact on people: on Friday the Senate voted 80-19 to build a 700 mile fence between the US and Mexico, in a bone to conservative Republicans. The bill had previous passed the House 283 - 138.

What's surprising is which Democrats voted yes:

Obama (D-IL) who is supposed to be a progressive superstar, and beloved by Illinois residents. Since he doesn't have a competitive Senate race, perhaps this is positioning for a presidential run? His senior senator, Dick Durbin didn't vote for a fence, which would provide him political cover for a similar vote.

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) who is never going to have a hard race in Maryland, so she could afford to vote her conscience, like her senior senator Paul Sarbanes, who is leaving office.

Schumer and Clinton (D-NY) - again, not terribly surprising given their votes on previous bills, but more given NYC as the cradle of immigrants. Schumer can't think he will win the presidency, and Clinton needs to find a backbone.

Feinstein and Boxer (D-CA) - ugh, another disappointment. They, like Schumer and Clinton, represent immigrant-rich states, and also will easily win reelection. Grow a spine!

Mark Dayton (D-MN) is leaving the Senate in just a month, and given how many Hmong and Somali immigrants and refugees there are in Minnesota, you'd think he could stand up for the little guy.

Also of note:
Ted Kennedy (D-MA) didn't vote, although he is supposed to be a champion of the immigrant rights movement. Kerry, his junior senator, did vote against the fence. (Thanks!)

Joe Lieberman (?-CT), with his feet to the fire, voted no.

Only Republican to vote no? Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), also with his feet to the fire, a man who many consider to be the most liberal Repub in the Senate. He, like, Lieberman, has a tight race f or reelection.

Democrats who voted no who didn't have to include: Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader, and Bingaman (D-NM), which is a border state and therefore prone to less political cover and more pressure from groups like the Minutemen, and Menendez (D-NJ) who is in a tight political race against political scion Kean in Jersey. Let's also recognize our 2 Asian American senators for voting their consciences - Senators Akaka and Inouye from Hawaii! (Congressman Ed Case, who wanted Akaka's Senate seat, took the coward's way out and didn't vote. Good thing Akaka won the primary.)

Senate Roll Call below, and no more posts for tonight.

YEAs ---80
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bond (R-MO)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Burr (R-NC)
Byrd (D-WV)
Carper (D-DE)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
Dayton (D-MN)
DeMint (R-SC)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Frist (R-TN)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Santorum (R-PA)
Schumer (D-NY)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs ---19
Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Chafee (R-RI)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Not Voting - 1
Kennedy (D-MA)

Gov. Dean's profile in NYTimes

Check the NYTimes Magazine's profile of Gov. Howard Dean - Matt Bai concurs with Dean's vision of a truly national, 50 state party. It covers Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's dustup with Dean over more money for the 2006 midterms (and continued grousing by Emanuel, who doesn't come off as well, IMO) and quotes from Donna Brazile and a look at Alaska's Democratic Party's ground game.

Interesting grafs include the insight that Dean was adopted by the disenfranchised outsiders of the party rather than him catering tot heir opinions:
These Democrats opposed the war in Iraq, but they were also against a party that seemed to care more about big donors and swing states than it did about them. Attracted to Dean’s fiery defiance of the Washington establishment, these voters adopted him as their cause before he had ever heard of a blog.

“What our campaign was about, not that I set out to make it this way, was empowering people,” Dean told me recently. “The ‘you have the power’ stuff — that just arose spontaneously when I realized what incredible potential there was for people to get active who had given up on the political process because they didn’t think either party was helping them.”

Another great glimpse at Dean's mind, and how his campaign evolved. I remember back in the winter of 2003, watching his speech to the California Democratic Party in San Diego on C-SPAN, how incredibly evocative and energizing his words were. His raw determination to fight, and to empower us, ending with those stirring words. More on Dean's affiliation with activists within the party:
The Colored Girls, as a whole, are unusually influential with Dean. It’s an odd pairing, given that Dean governed one of the whitest states in the country, but what Dean and these women share is resentment, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, of the elite Washington Democrats who have always run the national party. Activists like Flournoy and Brazile have attained star status in the party, but they have never thought of themselves as insiders. This is partly because they are black women in a party dominated by white men — men who often seem to prize them more as symbols of diversity than for their expertise. But it is also because the women came up in Democratic politics as local field operatives — that is, as young organizers who knocked on doors, principally for Jesse Jackson — in an era when all of the power in the party was concentrated in the hands of the Washington consultants who made TV ads and polled the electorate. Dean came to Washington vowing to take power from the insiders and give it, instead, to ground-level activists. “That’s our loyalty to Dean,” Brazile says. “He gets it.”
Reading this profile, I'm struck by how similar it is to a profile that Bai did of Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union - both focusing on whether the two men are trying to rebuild their respective institutions by gutting most of the framework and rethinking long-held beliefs.

Also striking is how much more favorable this profile is than the one of Gov. Mark Warner (at least the photo is much much better.)


Art teacher fired for taking students on approved museum tour

Only in Texas - a public school art teacher took her fifth grade class on an art museum tour that was approved by the school and principal. During the tour, they passed some nude classical statues. Then one of the children's parents complained, and the next day, 51 year old Ms. McGee (who had won a local teaching award, and had taught for 28 years) was in the principal's office and out of a job.

"Ms. McGee, a fifth-generation Texan who has a grown daughter, won a monthly teacher award in 2004 from a local newspaper. She said the loss of her $57,600-a-year job could jeopardize her mortgage and compound her health problems, including a heart ailment."

This is crazy, and no way to retain quality teachers. If I recall correctly, back in the day when I would go on school field trips, parents had to sign permission slips to allow their kids to participate. So if it is the same case in this school, the parent who complained got a dedicated, outstanding teacher fired for taking their kid on a field trip that they themselves had approved of?!?!?! More to the point, if you know that your kid is going on a field trip to an art museum (regardless of whether or not your school has signed waivers), you have to expect that there will be some classical nudes. So if you objected to the idea, you shouldn't have let your kid go in the first place.

On another note, I'm surprised by how poorly she's getting paid for almost three decades of service. In my old school district, teachers with that many years made in the high five figures, and sometimes into the low six figures depending on the number of degrees they had, what afterschool activities they supervised, and whether they were chairs of the department. And I received an excellent education, no doubt because my district was willing to pay top dollar to attract premium talent.

I feel for Ms. McGee and the other kids who lost a great teacher - they're hard to find at such low salaries.

Rep. Foley resigns over incriminating IMs to underage page

This is a weird and distasteful story that the GOP did NOT need 5 weeks before the midterm elections. Congressman Mark Foley (R-Florida) resigned on Friday after it was made public that he had been harassing underage Congressional pages in an incident that was known by the top of the House Republican leadership including Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (R-IL), Chairman of the House Page Board John Shimkus (R-IL), and National Republican Congressional Caucus Chair Tom Reynolds (R-NY) and kept quiet for 11 months. It's like the Mafia or something - they keep their own secrets.

Wonkette has more, and the disturbing IM transcripts. Not going to quote from them, they are terribly perverse. What gives the story legs, as they say, is that Foley chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. No joke. ::shudder:: Ick!

UPDATE: Apparently the House GOP staff warned pages against spending alone time with Foley in 2001-2002, but some people like Congressman Shimkus continued to approve of Foley spending time with pages, even taking one out to dinner. Ewww! Americablog has the scoop.

Webb ties Allen in poll

The most recent Mason-Dixon poll has Allen and Webb TIED at 43-43 with just over a month to go before the elections.

Key line from the story:

"Allen, who was positioning himself for a 2008 presidential race as he sought re-election, led Webb by 16 percentage points in a Mason-Dixon poll two months ago."

Expect momentum to tilit in Webb's favor as the days before the general election shorten - Webb, who has been at a fundraising disadvantage, has taken in 3 million for the past quarter.

How do you like them apples, Senator Allen?