Sunday, May 28, 2006

I'm strangely attracted to this idea

Unity '08

Actually, it isn't strange at all, it is a lot of what I want in politics. Ideas over labels, (though we're better off as Dems), a conversation over monologue and an online convention to choose a candidate.

Here are a couple of suggestions though:

1. Have a local meeting function, so folks can get together. Online is great, but only as a tool to enhance and bring to the surface what is going on in real, face-to-face world. Don't sell out to, develop your own system.

2. Join the fight for ballot fusion. If you want this to go beyond the '08 Presidential campaign, there needs to be a way for that to happen. A Unity Party endorsing candidates could be the way to go. By the way, several of the states that ban ballot fusion are also states with the initiative process (hint, hint).

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mike Rechner not even talked to by Chronicle

The Centralia Chronicle was so sure they didn't want to endorse Mike Rechner, that they didn't even bother talking to him.

Let's just say that short of Richard DeBolt being convicted of serial dog kicking, he has the endorsement of the Centralia Chronicle pretty much in the bag. Of course, since they endorsed him in May, four months before even the primary election and even before talking to Mike Rechner, it seems to be a sure thing.

Mike's campaign guy Chase writes about the endorsement here at Thurston Blue, and I write a bit about it over here at Washblog.

Yeah, Out of the Blue: Washington state Dems do have a blog

We just never noticed. Or, they really aren't meaning to use it like a blog, but it seems to have been around since last November, just nobody noticed it. It is called Out of the Blue, and it seems to be a basic install of Word Press onto the site.

Comments are turned off, but it certainly seems like someone is intending on building some sort of blog.

This is ironic given Ken's suggestion last month.

I found it by following the link for the site's RSS feed from the front page. So, they could just be using the Wordpress install to produce an RSS feed, which wouldn't be that bad of an idea. But, if they did want to transition Out of the Blue into a real deal blog, they could.

Hey, turns out the state party does have a blog

They just don't advertise it.

Or, they really aren't meaning to use it like a blog, but it seems to have been around since last November, just nobody noticed it. It is called Out of the Blue, and it seems to be a basic install of Word Press onto the site.

Comments are turned off, but it certainly seems like someone is intending on building some sort of blog.

This is ironic given Ken's suggestion last month.

I found it by following the link for the site's RSS feed from the front page. So, they could just be using the Wordpress install to produce an RSS feed, which wouldn't be that bad of an idea. But, if they did want to transition Out of the Blue into a real deal blog, they could.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More Tim Sheldon thoughts: "shouting down"

I don't remember this happening:
One Democratic precinct officer spoke up on behalf of Sheldon on Monday.

"I was roundly shouted down, which I expected to be," Barbara Crane, a retiree who moved to Lacey with her husband eight months ago from out of state, recalled Tuesday with a laugh. Crane said the Democratic Party should have a place for someone like Sheldon, describing him as well informed and someone who looks out for his constituents’ interests in the 35th District.
I remember her standing up and speaking in support of Sheldon, something I thought was admirable, but the room was pretty quiet in my memory, and she wasn't shouted down. At least in the way I define shouting down:
Verb 1. shout down - silence or overwhelm by shouting
There were only a few people in the room that agreed with her, but the mood was solem and polite. Except for one exchange between Sheldon and (crap I can't remember his name) about whether Sheldon was using his state-paid-for end of session reports for campaigning, no one raised their voice.

Also, I had some trouble figuring out how Sheldon could support George W. Bush, while his wife was an activie member of Women in Black, but then I came across this:
During her husband's career in the House and Senate as an often-conservative Democrat, his wife has:
  • Protested his vote for parental notification for minors seeking abortions by sitting for eight hours in the gallery directly above his seat dressed entirely in black.

    "I've been on him about that," Sheldon said. "I had an abortion when I was 20. I think, with a 19-year-old daughter, he thinks he's being 'fatherly' with this restriction."

  • Filled his suit coat pockets with rifle cartridges each time her husband, a member of the NRA, was fixing to vote with the gun lobby.

    "He's so locked and loaded down there in the basement you'd think he was all set to fight the next world war!" she said. "We live out on the (Olympic) Peninsula on a tree farm and he claims the guns are so he can shoot cougars, but puh-leeze . . ."

  • Sent a toilet paper holder and a roll of toilet paper inscribed with the "Contract on America" to Olympia with her husband so he could mount it on the caucus wall.

    "It was right after Newt (Gingrich) and his boys took over Congress and I was home-schooling (daughter) Alexandra. So we did a whole big lesson on the Salem witch hunts and mass hysteria and I had her make the paper roll as a project. Timmy was so pleased.

    "If you've got to live with this guy you might as well laugh about it," Sheldon said.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tim Sheldon fails to get campaign services from Thurston County Democrats

State senator Tim Sheldon, who is running in a contested primary against Kyle Taylor Lucas in the 35th LD, failed to get campaign services from the Thurston County Democrats. The party central committee voted to accept the report from the campaign services committee, who suggested that Sheldon not get services. Campaign services are things like using the county campaign office, using our lists... things like that.

But, it is pretty close to a what a county party can do in terms of an endorsement. Even in a contested primary, the party will typically give campaign services to all of the candidates. Not in this case though.

Below are my notes from last night when Sheldon got up to address the Central Committee. The format was a Q&A from the crowd, so if I haven't pointed out who said what, it was probably Sheldon.

Jerry Muchmore reports that Anne Hirsh gets campaign services. And, that Sen. Tim Sheldon not, on a split vote.

No motion, so Sheldon gets up to talk.

He brought end of session reports.

Sheldon says: One of the reason I brought these, to give you some idea of the 35th District, because no one on the campaign services committee was from the 35th, and it is much more conservative than what you think.

Elected seven times to the leg. And served in the leadership. Being supported by the DSCC.

There is a big difference between Thurston County and Mason County.

He says: I've always voted to organize with the Democrats... I have a commitment to my district. If they didn't they wouldn't send me back. 81 percent as a Dem in the primary.

It is proper to endorse the incumbent. I think it's important for the party to support incumbents.

Jennifer Speiler: what was with the Democrats for Bush?

Sheldon: There were two defining moments in my political life. JFK assassination and 9/11. In that election I thought President Bush would do a better job, and I encouraged other Democrats.

Did I feel I would turn the tide? No, it was just the way I felt.

I voted for Dino Rossi, I served in the state senate with him for seven years. I think Gregoire is doing a good job as well.

I-933? Sheldon: I'll probably support it; I think it is a fundamental tenant of especially our state constitution. The negative aspects of it have been overblown.

What is your stance on Tim Eyman's initiative 65?

Sheldon: I'm not going to say, he voted to bring it to the floor. He didn't vote for it, because it wasn't something he thought his constituents would endorse.

SB 1458. Mason County used to have a more aggressive monitoring system. He voted against the on site sewer system measure.

Danielle Westbrooke. I want to give you credit

Sheldon: "I'm feeling a bit filleted."

Someone: Why did you run as an independent for county commisioiner?

Sheldon: I wanted to keep the job from being political. I wanted to become the first independent, non-partisan county commissioner. I prefer to call myself non-partisan.

Jerry (on the campaign services report): it was not a unanimous decision (4-1), the senator's record didn't support Democratic values. His constituency is vastly different than Thurston County. Democrats for Bush, which had something to do with it.

I didn't vote last night (I'm a proxy, and my PCO was there), but if I had I probably would have voted against giving him services. How one votes in the Senate is one thing, I can't really argue given his district and how I feel about personal choice. Everyone has to vote their concious in the senate.

But, Democrats for Bush and supporting Dino Rossi would have turned it for me.

Introducing Thurston County Blue... or whatever we end up calling it

Whatever it is called, it is the community blog of the Thurston County Democrats.

Inspired by Ken Camp's (PCO Belmore) paper on internet strategy for the state party, Thurston County Blue is a civicspace based community.

While PCOs, PCO-proxies and (dues paying) members are the only folks that can post to the front page, anyone who signs up for an account can join the conversation through comments. I think this is important because everyone who is involved in the party can decide what to talk about, not just a small blog committee, and anyone (who isn't a total jerk) can join in.

We also haven't yet decided on a final name for it yet. I like "Blue," but we're leaving that part open.

So, if you're in Thurston County, feel free to join in. If not, just enjoy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Netroots Agenda, an outline

Cross posted at Washblog.

The following is an outline of what I think it would take to pull off a "Since Sliced Bread" type project to develop a Washington State Netroots Legislative Agenda for the 2007 legislative session. Please pass this along to anyone you think might be interested in any of the below points (especially number one) and comment.


My original post.

1. A place to host it.

I see two ways to think about this one, either we can use an existing website (such as or or the website of a political organization (such as Progressive Majority Washington or the Young Democrats of Washington). Using an already existing location as a sponsor would bring some instant credibility to the project. Plus, no one would need to pay any additional web hosting fees to make it happen.

The other option is to strike out on our own, register a domain name and buy some web hosting. This would only cost $100 for a year of hosting. But I think we would lose on the credibility side as we would need to work harder to introduce people to the idea.

2. Folks to help run it.

The idea is essentially a conversation about legislation, which would need some guidance from a handful of moderators. These people could help guide the conversation, find resources, and sometimes be the adults in the room and shut down threads when they get too raucous.

Other tasks might include creating new topics under which to file ideas, promoting the project on other sites and developing the surveys when we're winnowing down the ideas.

3. Schedule

Now to mid-October. Promoting the site, gathering and discussing ideas.

Last week of October. Starting the process of winnowing down the ideas. We could ask people to nominate one idea that isn't their's and after a couple rounds of voting, the top five ideas become the "Legislative Agenda."

Early November. Announce the Agenda and during "committee week" in Olympia (which is typically in November), officially deliver the Agenda to the offices of individual legislators.

January. During session we could also lobby for our ideas, and possibly hold a "Netroots Day" in Olympia.

4. Technical Stuff

Because I am most familiar with Drupal/Civicspace software, I have loosely sketched out an configuration that would work. The following are the modules that we would need to use and a short desciption on what role they would fulfill.

Blog. Users post ideas.
Comment. Users discuss ideas.
Category. To create categories for ideas to be filed under.
Subscriptions. To allow users to track comments on their favorite ideas.
Webform. To poll users on their favorite ideas.

There are a few others I would install, but those are the major ones.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Upthegrove blogs, and I mean really blogs II

Yesterday when I was looking around the internet for Rep. Dave Upthegrove's campaign website, I didn't find anything because I googled it. I should have just wrote about his blog at myspace and then just watched my incoming links, because I found it that way.

Dave, one way to increase your google ranking is for people to link to your website, so here you go. Nice Mambo (or is it Joomla)? site, by the way. There also seems to be a font-ish sort of problem on your recent news page, but I've never worked in Mambo before so I can't be sure. Seems to be something about copying and pasting text without reformatting it. But, I can't be sure.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Upthegrove blogs, and I mean really blogs

Rep. Dave Upthegrove of lesser King County (Des Moines, eh) actually blogs. I don't mean he has a blog on his campaign website, but he began in April and regularly maintains a blog on

Upthegrove goes beyond the cool bloginess that even the best campaign blogs, even Scott Chacon in California. By staking out a place at, he is moving himself outside the realm of people who would normally cruise political blogs. Its like setting up shop at a mall compared to a library.

And, even though he talks in normal terms about his work as a politician, it comes across as natural:

Busy day for a Saturday. I had brunch with a friend who is active in local Latino affairs and is on the editorial board of Sea Latino-- the major Hispanic newspaper in the state. It was interesting to get his perspective on the recent national immigration debate-- but we mostly talked about how to bridge gaps between political leaders and the Latino community.

I then changed into my suit and sped off to Seattle to give a luncheon speech at the Washington Conservation Voters candidate training. I talked to 16 candidates for the State Legislature (House & Senate) and about 20 campaign managers, about how to run a successful campaign. I mostly shared stories from my experience to illustrate points they were taught in the rest of the training. They asked lots of good questions.

I then scooped up my cousin Ashley (see my myspace friends top 8) and we went to the King County Democratic Convention at the Machinist Union Hall in South Park. Senator Maria Cantwell spoke and did a great job. She was introduced by Kate Michelman (past President of national NARAL), who talked about the need to protect a womens right to choose, and the importance of electing Maria Cantwell. Maria was passionate and well-received.

And, about non-political stuff:
Our team got CREAMED in basketball tonight. The only cool part was playing in the Furtado Center-- the practice facility for the Sonics and the Storm. I made the mistake of working out really hard this afternoon, so I was exhausted for the game....and we only had 5 players so we all had to play/run the entire subs.
This is what Kari Chisolm referred to as using "Skutnick," or humanizing yourself. Folks who aren't that interested in politics often think of politicians and the entire process for that matter not very human, and pretty contrived. By using myspace and talking pretty much like I assume he would talk on a normal day, Upthegrove is using blogs as he should. As we all should.

That said, there are some design issues that he should think about. The headlines are totally unreadable because they're the same color as the background. You can only see them if you highlight them. He has a similar problem with his datelines, they're too dark for the blue background. Change colors Dave.

Friday, May 12, 2006

My mea culpa to Tim Goddard

Yeah, your candidate is a Slade Gorton/Bob Packwood clone at best and a dangerous putz at worst, but you posted my comment, responded to it and even came over here to respond again. So, yeah, you have a blog, just a slow one.

At least you have a blog. Maria Cantwell should have a blog, but that is a post for another time.

That said, I stand by my initial comment. I'm serious when I talk about how selective we are in who we choose to get after. Republicans are happy going after guys like Saddam and Ahmadinejad, who I agree, are pretty bad folks. But, there are plenty of other bad folks (Mubarak, Karimov) that we sit back and accept.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Olympia's old youth center vs. Tumwater's

The Olympian this morning pointed out the difference between Olympia's youth outreach efforts and the Tumwater youth program. Olympia recently cut their $30,000 or so program because it didn't attract much of a following and Tumwater's $120,000 program is roaring along.

In addition to the obvious difference in budget, one reason why Tumwater's is working while Olympia's failed is summed up here and with a couple of maps:
Colton Rose, 16, a student at Black Hills High School, walks to the center in the afternoon to get away from his brothers, he said.

“It’s a pretty fun place to hang out,” Rose said, adding that he goes there to play pool, listen to music and visit with friends.

Olympia's old teen drop in program (the red box) was surrounded by (green) commercial zone and Tumwater's program (also red) is surrounded by residential purple. In a city that strives to be pedestrian friendly, we need to put appropriate services where they are needed. Teenagers who can drive to a drop in center in downtown Olympia aren't going to drive all the way downtown to play pool, they're going to their jobs or somewhere a bit more fun.

Teenagers who aren't old enough to drive or don't will walk to a drop in center near their home. To that end, a joint program between the city and the school district for a couple of drop in centers on the west and east sides would likely work a lot better than one downtown.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Proof this is my personal blog

And, not somewhere I can just talk about politics:

Liam Joseph O'Connell, born 8:01 p.m. at St. Peter's in Olympia. Eight pounds, 12 oz. and 22 inches long. Red hair.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

McGavick's blog really isn't

Cross posted at Washblog.

UPDATE: Tim Goddard posted my comment thirty hours later and added his own comment 30 minutes after that. He makes a good point about Angola improving (uh, relativly speaking though) and I sent in for approval (not added) another comment putting Saudi Arabia into the mix as well.

I'm not a blog purist, not one of those people that say a blog should have a certain list of things to be a blog. But, if you put a comment area on your blog, I assume you're inviting conversation.

Earlier this morning I posted a comment on McGavick's blog. It was a nice comment, I didn't rail against him by any stretch, and actually asked a nice question.

On Mike McGavick's blog there is a post linking to an editorial written under his name advancing the notion that FIFA should remove Iran from the World Cup because of the nuke thing, and also I hope, because they're a nasty regime to their citizens.

I wondered whether he would make the same request regarding Angola (also currently in the World Cup), since they're not so nice to their own people either. I realize now I should also have included Saudi Arabia, also not so free, but I was in a hurry.

It has now been almost five hours and no sign of my comment. Actually, there are no comments on any of the posts on his blog, which makes you wonder what the hell is the point of asking for comments.

I would assume that "cutting edge of web-based campaigning" includes approving at least some comments.

Oh well, at least he claims to have a blog.