Friday, September 29, 2006

Adopt a right wing blog program

Andrew's post from today on "catty blogs" reminds me of something we should all be doing. Reading right wing blogs and keeping them honest.

Maybe they'll do the same thing to us.

I started reading Thurston Pundits awhile back, and started righting writing about it when I noticed that my comments on the blog weren't being accepted. Andy doesn't accept any comments (despite keeping the line of code that implies he accepts comments) so I don't take it personally. So, I just started typing my comments in my own blog and linking back to his post.

Its kind of sad though, if you check Andy's technorati profile, I'm one of the few who cares enough to actually write about what he's writing about.

Effin' Unsound is a much larger effort to do this. Maybe Carl should open that blog up a bit and let the rest of us play.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Andy says: academics should fear politicians

There should be no independent research in our state funded universities, especially when they touch upon topics that matter to some people. And, if a university happens to research something that politicians don't like, they should be punished.

Or so says Andy over at Thurston Pundits. He also thinks interrogatory sentences no longer need to end in a question mark. But, that is open to discuss here.

Take it away Andy:
Remember the politcally motivated study the UW is releasing to thwart 933.

Bad move UW. Bad move. One has to figure they didn't really count on the back lash from the folks that butter their bread on the broader spectrum. I understand that at an org that size, 99% of managers could not find a clue if it bit them in the ass anyway, but this one will come back to haunt them.

Initial reactions to "Applebee's America"

I've been reading Applebee's America the last few days, and I want to write down some thoughts. Here is one of the first.

I was wrong about the exurbs, or at least the "community" part of the exurbs:
These are people that seem to have a few major commitments. First of all, their family. I can't fault them for that, the main subject of the story was obviously dedicated to her husband and the enrichment of her kids. Second, what I said above leads us into money, which obviously plays a roll in their decisions to move around so much.


I don't know, but their frequent abandonment of towns and communities doesn't speak to a deep connection to people around them. If the roads are so bad getting around suburban Georgia, who really cares about fixing the problem of poor planning, if you are going to leave in a few years anyway?

Anyway, much was made about George Bush's ability to win the so called exurbs last fall, which was one of the things that put him over the top. If these are the people that populate the fastest growing counties in the country, do I care?


I suspect that much of the exurbians political tendencies come from their personal choices of being rootless, not feeling connected to a particular place or holding your ground for a community. These are things that I expect the Democratic Party to stand for, and so I would assume that we would lose among with the relos.
While Democratic Party policies speak to a community commitment, the Republican Party actually sounds like they prefer people to be connected to one another. And, more importantly in 2004, they campaigned like community mattered in the exurbs, where people saw the greatest need for good old fashioned community.

People in the fastest growing communities feel the need for connection, for community, and it makes sense that businesses such as megachurches and Applebees, that provide this kind of service, would do well there.

I was wrong about exubians running away from community. They may be running away from their own responsibility to build community, and rather like to have it delievered to them through church or a place to eat. That may sound harsh, but I'll admit there is a desire for community, but no one talking locally how to actually build it, rather just sell it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Looks like Yes on I-933 does have real reason to fear the UW

First, they took out UCLA, now the Huskies are taking on another visitor from the south, property rights initiative 933.

Back in 1995 the UW issued a killer study to a similar initiative, pointing out the millions it would cost taxpayers. OFM released a study pretty much saying the same thing about I-933 last week, now Dan Woods, head of the Yes on 933 campaign is seeing shadows on the mid-90s in this rambling email:.
To: Yes on I-933 Grassroots Leaders & Supporters
Fr: Dan Wood
Re: UW to Release Anti-933 Study Tomorrow



Write to local and regional newspapers today and tell them what you think about this bogus study that was bought and paid for by the opposition to the Property Fairness Initiative. Here are some thoughts:

* The foundations sponsoring this study are run by the same super-rich backers funding the opposition to the Property Fairness Initiative. They want to buy the election, and buying credibility from the UW is part of their strategy.

* These millionaire and billionaire activists live by difference rules than the rest of us. They build their mega-mansions on the waterfront and use their property in ways that regular people cannot. Then they contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars (pocket change for them) to organizations that want more government control over the rest of us.

* The opposition is using taxpayer resources (the University) for political campaign purposes. It’s flat out wrong, just like state agencies and local governments have spent taxpayer resources to campaign against I-933, which will hold them accountable for the cost and affect of their unfair regulations.

* This is the same campaign tactic as last time. Use taxpayer resources and opposition funding to try to convince voters that there is legitimacy to the opposition message. We won’t buy it this time. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

* When the same people, led by the same person (Glen Pascall) did this before, they were discredited as “bordering on fraud.” Taxpayer resources should not be used for fraudulent political campaign messages.

* Visit to read the initiative for yourselves.

* In Oregon, not a dime has been paid in compensation, yet that does not show up in this so-called “study.” The result in Oregon is that government is considering the cost of their actions and working with property owners. We should have the same fair treatment in our state.


Last week, we filed a public records request demanding that the University come clean with documents relating to this study. We have received no response to our request for records. Failure to respond will be yet another violation of state law.

You can read about the request and the bogus study below.


Our grassroots campaign can beat back their attempt to buy this election.

Farm Bureau Demands Documents from University “Study” Funded by Opposition Groups

OLYMPIA – Washington Farm Bureau today filed a public records request with the University of Washington, asking for public records related to a planned “study” on Initiative 933.

“We want them to reveal who is behind the study, who is directing the study, and what the connections are with the special interests that are funding the anti-fairness campaign,” said Dan Wood, government relations director for Washington Farm Bureau.

“This study is paid for by the same environmental extremist organizations that are backing the campaign against the Property Fairness Initiative,” said Wood. “They are trying to buy credibility from the University and they are using public resources to do it.”

Because the University of Washington is a state agency, it is required to provide public documents, whether on paper or in electronic form, under the state Public Records Act (RCW 42.56).

“It’s an abuse of public trust for any agency to engage in these types of campaign activities,” Wood said. “Under the law, they will need to come clean with the connections to the anti-fairness campaign and they will need to show who is buying this so-called study.”

The Northwest Center for Livable Communities, a division of the University, is coordinating the study on behalf of the Bullitt Foundation, Brainerd Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation and others.

These same foundations funded a University of Washington “study” in 1995, released lat in the Fall campaign. In that year, a similar measure, Referendum 48, sought to address excessive regulations that treated property owners unfairly.

Wood said the late release of the so-called study was a death blow to the referendum, and that opponents hope to repeat the scenario in 2006.

“They’re planning another ‘October Surprise’ for this year,” said Wood.

“This time, the voters aren’t going to be taken in by their tactics.”

In 1995, the University of Washington administration sent two letters to the anti-property rights campaign, telling them to “immediately refrain from the use of the phrase ‘University of Washington’” in their ads against referendum 48.

In similar communication, University Associate Vice President Norman Arkans told the No on 48 campaign that their “wording is misleading in that it suggests that the University commissioned the study when it was paid for by private foundation grants.”

An earlier letter from Arkans told the campaign that, “under state law, the University may not be involved in any way in the promotion of or opposition to a ballot proposition.” He concluded by telling the campaign that “you are not authorized to use the University of Washington name, trademarks, symbols or logos in any material opposing ballot proposition 48.”

“We hope the University still holds the same values of abiding by the law and not being used for political purposes,” said Wood.

The purchased study in 1995, led by Glenn Pascall, was met with harsh criticism.

The Washington Institute for Policy Studies, which included Pascall on its board of advisors, wrote to Pascall and told him that the study “leaves us with grave concern.”

Cost estimates were based upon “pure analytical fabrication” and the study contained “rhetoric and conjecture without any supportive analysis.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Research Council labeled the study as “bordering on fraud” and pointed out that there was no peer review of the 1995 study.

“This is an example of academic opinions for sale,” said Wood. “Voters were fooled once by this tactic, but they won’t be fooled again.”

“Unfortunately, the University’s credibility will be the biggest price paid for this study. But the anti-fairness campaign is only concerned about buying a campaign message.”

“We’re looking forward to the University complying with the public disclosure law and coming clean about who is buying the study,” said Wood

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Participation, Sheldon, our orgs and community

Over at the 35th LD blog there is a lengthy and (it reads at least) angry post on open primaries and how a lot of Republicans must have jumped over to vote D to push Sheldon last week. I don't doubt that, but I have a problem with the authors contentions. So, I left a comment.

I fear Eric is correct, that is really isn't all that important for one to befriend the local LD or county organization to win an election. Though, I don't think this problem is soley Democratic.

My contention is that local parties need to be broader in terms of who plays. More participatory, more focussed on civic engagement and less on winning elections.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Election wikis for a radio show

Radio Open Source is putting together a wiki on which to base their coverage of the 2006 elections. They've already done a couple of shows so far, one on "Meaning of CT" and on the 2006 elections overall.

Open Source airs on KUOW at 9p, and live on the internet at 4p.

I've tried to flesh out the page on Maria vs. Mike, but there are some mostly blank pages on WA 4 (Hastings v. Wright), WA 5 (McMorris v. Goldmark) and WA 8 (Reichart vs. Burner).

If you've never listened, Radio Open Source is a unique production in that it regularly brings on bloggers to talk about what they blog about and their show discussions are influenced by the comment threads on their own blog.

Plus, they are the first show I know of to ever say "Emmett O'Connell from Washington comments..." (during the show on Gerrymandering).

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thailand and Bush Doctrine hypocrisy

I don't write about foreign affairs all that much, although the topic probably takes up nearly a third of my reading list. My interest was rekindled by this book, and it carried along by an entire category of blogs, including this one and this one.

My tepid nature toward expressing any opinion on foreign affairs can be pretty much summed up by my confusion over the Democratic response to the Bush Doctrine (Freedom everywhere I guess). Instead of calling bullshit and pointing out that he doesn't believe it himself, we play it straight as if Bush really is working to advance freedom and argue for a sort of bubbly non-interventionist blah blah blah... Ugh.

For me, freedom everywhere is important. Should be the one point on foreign affairs that we don't dicker on. I like the idea of an international democracy organization, and I don't like the double speak on dictators that are our "friends" on one hand and dictators that stand up to us on the other.

What is the difference between Hosni Mubarak/Pervez Musharraf and Hugo Chávez? The first two like Bush's foreign policy so their distaste for democracy is ok, while Chávez openly doesn't like the President, so he's an evil strong man.

Anyway, the point here is to point to another post that put me on this overlly long rant. Jon Perr has a series of really good points that I won't try to repeat. This is just the first part, read the entire thing:

This week's coup in Thailand highlighted once again the yawning chasm between rhetoric and reality when it comes to President Bush's clarion call for the global expansion of democracy. The tanks rolled in Bangkok at virtually the same moment the President lectured the United Nations about people "from Beirut to Baghdad" making "the choice for freedom." Yet the White House was silent regarding the overthrow of the democratically elected if corrupt Thaksin government.

It's hardly the first time the global community heard crickets chirping from the Bush White House as democratic regimes were swept away on its watch.

Bush policy has been and continues to be at odds with the lofty rhetoric of democracy promotion. The American confrontation with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez stems in large part from Bush administration support for the 2002 coup that briefly removed him from power. Chavez may well be a thug and friend of Castro, but he was democratically elected, prompting 19 OAS member states to denounce the coup. But in Washington, press spokesman Ari Fleischer blamed Chavez for his overthrow and signaled tacit White House support. Following the collapse of the coup, Condi Rice could only mutter, "I hope that Hugo Chavez takes the message that his people sent him that his own policies are not working for the Venezuelan people." It is no wonder Senator Chris Dodd protested the Bush policy in Venezuela, worrying that "to stand silent while the illegal ouster of a government is occurring is deeply troubling and will have profound implications for hemispheric democracy."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New Carl Ballard Blog: EFFin’ Unsound

Carl Ballard of Washington State Political Report has launched his new blog, and it looks to be a good one:
Q: Do I know you from some other blog?

A: It’s possible. I used to write here. And like everyone else, I write on Kos regularly. And elsewhere with less frequency.

Q: What does EFFin’ Unsound mean?

A: Well the two biggest local right wing assholes (but I repeat myself) are the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) and (Un)Sound Politics. But there are a lot of righties in Washington who are EFFin’ Unsound.

933 folks should have been worried about OFM, not UW

Back in 1995 when Dan Wood was shilling for R 48, the grandfather or I-933, the University of Washington came out with a study that pointed out how much that property rights referendum would cost. The 1995 study, which said the refendum similar to I-933 would cost between $3.8 to $11 billion a year, is usually credited with killing R 48.

Dan Wood is back with I-933 this year, and a couple of days ago he was worried about another UW study. Turns out the killer study came from OFM, but he did have time to send out this hyperventalating email:
WFB Demands Disclosure from University of Washington

The Washington Farm Bureau today filed a public records demand from the University of Washington regarding a “planned study” on Initiative 933.

We want them to come clean on who is behind the so-called “study,” who is directing the “study” and to disclose whatever connections there are between the University and the special interests that are funding the anti-I-933 “study.”

The study is to be paid for by the same environmental extremists that are backing the campaign against the Property Fairness Initiative. If true then why do these extremists have to turn to U-Dub to buy credibility and are public resources being used to conduct the study?

Because the University of Washington is a state agency, it is required to disclose public documents – on paper and in electronic form – under the state Public Records Act. (RCW 42.56) We expect an immediate answer from the University.

The Northwest Center for Livable Communities, a division of the University, is conducting the “study” on behalf of the Bullitt, Brainerd and Wilberforce Foundations along with others. These are the same foundations that funded a UW “study” released in 1995 when a similar measure – Referendum 48 -- sought to address excessive regulations that treated property owners unfairly.

The University of Washington was embarrassed then and should be now!

In 1995 the respected Washington Institute for Policy Studies examined documents prepared by the University and Evergreen State College and declared that the “studies bordered on fraud.”

“There was no peer review…no ability to replicate their numbers or to independently verify their conclusions…and that the documents did not comply with basic academic standards…”

The authors of the 1995 study acknowledged in their background methodological statement that their estimates of takings costs…”were difficult to prepare due to data limitations, time constraints and the wide range of variables.” The authors themselves called the study “Mission Impossible.” Yet, environmental extremists used the “study” to deceive the public and ran advertisements before the University could stop them.

The Institute’s analysis of the so-called study went further, alleging that the study went beyond the collected data and that the six page document attributed to the University of Washington was pure analytical fabrication with two pages of rhetoric and conjecture without any supporting analysis.

In 1995 environmental extremists used statements from the “study” in advertisements opposing R-48. At that time the University demanded that they cease attributing the “study” to the University. In fact, state law prohibits state agencies (including universities) from taking a position for or against any ballot measure.

If the University releases a property rights study between now and the general election there would be no way to characterize it than as an effort to influence the outcome of a ballot measure.

Our opponents are using tired and worn-out ideas to attack I-933 at a time when citizen awareness of government abuses is at an all time high.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lois McMahan loses again

Looks like all the patriot gestures Lois will be making will be at home in Kitsap County, not in Olympia.

As much as I would like to have seen anti-Islamist Lois McMahan facing off against Derek Kilmer again, it is pretty sweet to see her lose in her own party's primary. Jim Hines, though, will likely be a more difficult opponent for Kilmer. Hine may be just as conservative, but not as crazy as Lois.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Conservative judicial races 0-fer

I know it is still pretty early, but with King County still yet to report, I feel pretty safe saying that all three sitting Supreme Court Justices and both targeted Appeals Court judges (Mary Becker and Joel Penoyar) are going to win.

What does spending millions, $1.5 million on one alone, get you? Nothing so far. One race, between Justice Owens and Stephen Johnson, may yet go to a run off in November.

Despite this, I hope we still find a way to transition this debacle into public funding for at least judicial races. While I think all elections should be, at least in part, publically funded, judicial seats especially should have the protection from special interest money.

Judgeships, especially, should not be bought. And, this year they won't

Open primary grandstanding

One of the things that I find sad is the holier than though grandstanding by Democrats and Republicans over the fate of our primary. Yes, the open primary is probably here to stay, for a bit. The blanket primary and the Top Two were always unconstitutional and the parties have every right to organize their nominations any way they want.

Doesn't mean that dancing on the hurt feelings of thousands of Washington voters is the right thing to do.

This discussion over at Washblog is a good example of not doing this.

Andrew's post last night, which inspired this post, is a good example of forgetting that more than 60 percent of Washington voters don't like the current system.

What I had hoped for would be a broader discussion on how we vote and how exactly parties are relevant and important in today's political world. People keep telling me that, and I too believe it, but it shouldn't simply be something we say. We should worry about how parties are relevant.

How we vote, that we need to pick a ballot, does not instantly make the parties relevant.

How the parties act, whether they are of service to voters (for example) beyond brand names, make parties relevant.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Write your own laws

Ever since Sinced Sliced Bread, I'm surprised that more projects to collect "good ideas," especially for laws, haven't cropped up. If you were a organization like People for Puget Sound or... geese what's another one... well, another single issue organization, it would be cool to send out a letter to all your check writers and ask them to come up with the next great "idea" in your little slice of the world.

How to best clean up Puget Sound or best way to keep farms in business. But, from what I've seen, no one (in an organizational sense) has jumped on the Idea Train.

There are a few examples of broader efforts:

The first is totally self promoting, but I'm part of a loose group of bloggers who are trying to put together the "Washington Netroots Agenda," a grassroots written collection of laws for (hopefully) the 2007 session.

We had a pretty good start, but in the last three or four weeks, things have pretty much tapered off.

Second is a group that has made a pretty good name for itself in the past several months, More Perfect is a wiki site that lets users rewrite things like the constitution, the bill of rights, and my favorite, Priorities of Government for Washington.

The Netroots Agenda has hooked up with More Perfect, by the way, on this page.

Scott Chacon, a former congressional candidate in California has launched, which seems to be very similar to the Netroots Agenda, but with a much broader scope.

One of the major differences is between the NA and TOBAL is Scott is looking for politicians or lawmakers (strange distinction now) to sponsor a few of the bills suggested in TOBAL, bring them to the front of public debate.

He also allows people to suggest changes to a bill, which the bill sponsors can keep if they want. Something I wish I was a cool enough coder to understand how he did.

If I was to find one point to all of these sites, it would be that the "sausage making process" that lawmakers imply we don't want to be any part of, or even see, is actually the most important process. What gets traded out, what we can live without and what we won't back down on in terms of our laws, is the most important conversation, politically.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Illegal robocalls going after Judge Penoyar

Jon DeVore points out inaccurate and illegal robocalls are going out against Appeals Court Judge Penoyar, who deserves reelection. Especially over a partisan hack who has no experience as a judge.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

20 percent in Snohomish, 15 percent in Pierce either sloppy or pissed off

From the TNT this morning:
A random test shows 85 percent of the Pierce County primary election ballots are being marked properly and will be counted for partisan races, Auditor Pat McCarthy said Tuesday.

The checks of 200 randomly selected ballots – made Monday at the request of state elections officials – showed 169 voters indicated a party choice by connecting the front and back of an arrow with a line.

Conversely, 31 voters, or 15 percent, did not choose a party. As a result, their choices in partisan races can’t be counted under state law. Of the 31 ballots that did not indicate a party choice, 19 were marked along straight party lines, 11 were marked for only nonpartisan races and issues, and one was left blank.

Why is 20 percent in Snohomish County bad, but 15 percent in Pierce ok?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Club for Growth endorses McGavick

I hope they run some ads in Washington. Civility be damned, we got some taxes to cut!

Stupid latte drinkers...

Either sloppy or pissed off

The pick a party primary has turned 2o percent of Snohomish County voters into either sloppy or pissed off people:

Failure to complete the ballots properly likely reflects two problems, Diepenbrock said.

"Partly, people aren't reading the directions, and, two, they don't want to pick a party," she said.

State law requires voters in the primary to stay within one party in selecting candidates for partisan races. With touch-screen voting machines in use before the switch, each voter had to select a party before being allowed to pick candidates.

This is the third year voters in the state have had to pick a party since the open primary, in which voters were able for decades to choose from among all candidates from all parties for each partisan office, was found unconstitutional.

Some voters write angrily on ballots about being forced to choose a party affiliation, and election workers have received as many as 250 telephone complaints on that issue since ballots were mailed Aug. 30, Diepenbrock said.

Rosenberg is wrong, life can be good

Matt Rosenberg is correct in his assessment of politics (in relation to a wiki-politics site like "people need a little bit of blood and guts to really become engaged in politics," he said. "Politics is a contact sport."

What he is wrong about is that he seems to assume that it is supposed to be this way. Politics, and our democracy, I've heard recently described (pdf file) "how any given society functions to achieve ends transcending social tensions." (emphasis mine). Transcending social tensions, not becoming social tensions.

According to Morris Fiorina politics are a contact sport because the 20 percent who care a lot, and aren't worried about compromise, control the conversation. They are the loudest, they are the most eager, and they hardly ever listen.

Better put by him:
Republican and Democratic elites unquestionably have polarized. But it is a mistake to assume that such elite polarization is equally present in the broader public. It is not. However much they may claim that they are responding to the public, political elites do not take extreme positions because voters make them. Rather, by presenting them with polarizing alternatives, elites make voters appear polarized, but the reality shows through clearly when voters have a choice of more moderate alternatives...
Democracy isn't just about being heard, it is also about listening and compromising.

We all compromise in our daily lives. We compromise with our families, our children, friends, and especially at work. We don't see this as a failure, but rather as a good way of getting things done. Its effective, and in the end everyone gets close to what they want. Only the most selfish person would ever go through life never compromising.

And democracy is just life with people you don't know, but you still should listen. So, yes, something like can and should work.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tim Eyman has been hemorrhaging supporters since 2001

The recent failure of Tim Eyman's I-917 could probably have been foretold before last week. Probably even before the Secretary of State took in his signature petitions. If someone looked at the number of individual contributors to Eyman's campaigns, they would have seen a sharp drop since 2001.

Click image for larger version:

From a high of over 5,000 in 2001 with I-747 to a low this year of just over 700, Eyman's initiatives have seen less and less support from the kind of people who write checks.

There are a few reasons for this, the biggest of all would seem to be that the shine is off Tim with his supporters (or former supporters). The big drop from over 5,000 checks to half that came in 2002 after it became public that Eyman lied about not taking a salary.

I also think that his caustic message can only hold out for so many cycles before people get tired of hearing it. Not that they suddenly support progressive ideals, but that these sort of supporters don't tend to support ongoing political movements. The entire Libertarian Party conundrum.

Also, how many supporters do you think will really hang on simply with an email list and some very poorly written emails? That gets tired after awhile too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Why I'm Democratic, but I like Kinky as well

From the Political Wire:

GOP Hopes Rest on Low Turnout

GOP Planning Negative Ad Barrage

A party planning on convinving people not to vote is a party not worth supporting. I only wish the Democratic Party was as bold as Kinky Friedman:
Convincing People to Vote: We think that it's not Kinky Friedman vs. Rick Perry. It's Kinky Friedman vs. apathy. If we get a big turnout, I win. Almost everybody agrees with that. The last thing Rick Perry wants to see is a big turnout. That's the last thing he wants to see. And that's a shame because our elected leaders ought to want to see democracy in action -- instead of the last turnout, which was 29.3 percent. For governor! $100 million spent, 29 percent vote. It's sick. If we could get it up to 40 percent, I'm governor.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cool find on Party Builder

Washington Bloggers group. The Online Outreach Coordinator for the (state?) party, Tracy Joan, started a group for us bloggers. Sweet. Go there and join. Its a private group, so she'll have to let you in. But, join anyway.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Can't get my Party Builder on (because I'm stupid)

And, I'm so freaking confused about it too. Though, before that, this is a good review of whole PB thing from Hotline (hat tip Matt Lewis):

In the simplest of political theories, each party's tool is reflective of their respectivie philosophies. Talk about competitive market: RNC users compete to get points, dollars and yes, the elusive "official" GOP ipod. With what is most like an intentional emphasis on competition, MyGOP users how much money they've raised (up to $200), voters they've and volunteers they've recruited. The DNC's Party Builder is all about building and communicating within a community.

Most important is to check out how each party gathers information about the user. The RNC has different logins for different features, such as the blog, personal homepage and volunteer recruitment center. It's a model for different levels of engagement and getting lots of names without shoving committment into a user's face -- and typically getting a larger drop-off rate in return. The DNC takes a different approach. By singing up with Party Builder, the DNC gets basic information in the login and then collects information through the user's profile, signed petitions, signed letters to the editor and their network/group memberships. So why do we care? These users are the party's next loyal supporter and volunteer. And how much information the parties have on these folk will determine the strength of their online activism in '06 and '08, which is conveniently transferable to field staffs across the country.

Party Buider is superior because it uses online political activism in a social sense, not simply as a way to draw people to a website, the way EPSN or Yahoo! would. See Kari's review of the fall-down-the-stairs failure of MyGOP.

All that said, here has been my problem with Party Builder. I created an account at awhile back so I could comment on the blog. I tried to use that login for Party Builder, which I assume is the point.

But, doesn't remember me. I don't remember myself. Forget all that was here before, the DNC tech team is fine. Do their jobs great. I'm stupid.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The best argument against a closed primary

From a comment at the Replace the Pick A Party Primary blog:
I don't want the parties to get my address and start sending me mail.
From the Cluetrain Manifesto:
The Axe in Our Heads

Every one of us knows that marketers are out to get us, and we all struggle to escape their snares. We channel-surf through commercials; we open our mail over the recycling bin, struggling to discern the junk mail without having to open the envelope; we resent the adhesion of commercial messages to everything from sports uniforms to escalator risers.

We know that the real purpose of marketing is to insinuate the message into our consciousness, to put an axe in our heads without our noticing. Like it or not, they will teach us to sing the jingle and recite the slogan. If the axe finds its mark we toe the line, buy the message, buy the product, and don’t talk back. For the axe of marketing is also meant to silence us, to make conversation in the market as unnecessary as the ox cart.

The overwhelmingly popular vote in favor of I-872 two years ago and the continued support for something other than the closed primary has as much to do with buying a car as democracy. Buying a car and democracy are both necessary (well, not really the car, but you get my point) and during the process of both, you feel like you're being sold on something that you dont' really want.

One of the fears of closing up the primary system is that if you vote for a candidate, then whatever party that person belongs to will suddenly consider you a member. That is the downfall of many closed primary systems back east. Great for the parties, but sucko for the voters.

Actually, not so great for the parties, because their mail will soon be part of that junk mail we open over the recycle bin. It would be better to need accurate (junk mail) lists less and find other ways to engage voters.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

RSCC memo lists Sen. Tim Sheldon as a Republican

While Sen. Tim Sheldon considers himself a Democrat, as is his right, he should tell the state Republican Senate Campaign Committee about his political affiliation. They're under the impression that he's a Republican.

From an RSCC memo (click image to enlarge):


Its funny, that second page points out that both Kerry and Gregoire won the 35th. So much for Democrats for Bush.

Friday, September 01, 2006

One last time with Re: "Suppression of Dissent in Mrs. Gregoire's Amerikkka"

Both the Times and PI have reviews of the issues surrounding Stephan's really off the wall blog post about Toby Nixon not running afoul of the legislaitive ethics rules.

Seattle Times: Free the press releases
Seattle PI: Deciphering ethics in the digital age

Both seem to center on the webiness of the issue, that you can't really fault someone for pointing to something on this big wide crazy web. On the other hand, It does seem wrong for a candidate to use the efforts of paid public servants to campaign.

He could just get someone to rewrite press releases if he's going to cut and paste them onto his website. But, that's just me.

Still can't figure out what this has to do with the Klan or the governor.

I get quoted, the Seattle Times column on politics and youngins

I try never to get quoted during work. Ironically, yesterday I had a conversation with one of my co-workers on how to best send a press release so a particular newspaper doesn't attribute anything to you. You have to be sneaky.

But, today, Ryan Blethen quotes me and I'm happy. Good column, its about politics in general and how my generation relates. I think I have a good point, but the entire column is pretty good. You should read the entire thing, but here is my part:

Emmett O'Connell, a 29-year-old respondent from Olympia, summed it up best during a telephone interview this week: "People see the parties being solely focused on winning elections, so they don't want to get involved."

O'Connell is not a bystander. He is the Web master for America For Richardson, the unofficial site for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's possible run for president. O'Connell also writes for a number of blogs, including Western Democrat and Olympia Time.

Even with an insider's view, O'Connell craves what the other respondents want.

"More than anything, we want authenticity," he wrote. "We're the generation of cable television, telemarketing, infomercials and junk mail. We don't want to be sold; rather, we want to be engaged."

I'm hardly an insider though.

I think this is a paragraph I influenced as well, it includes some points I made:
The only way to force open the seemingly impenetrable boundaries of party politics is for a new generation to get involved and not lose sight of the reasons for doing so. Involvement does not necessarily mean working for a candidate or getting a job on a politician's staff. Political involvement should include civic involvement. Only by being engaged in a community can a person truly understand its needs.
I know it sounds silly. Politics should be about more than just electing the right person. It should be about making better communities, and often times that is more than electing someone.