Monday, January 30, 2006

A Rogue Weekend

Saturday and Sunday were Roguishly removed from politics. Saturday a group of folks from the Rogue Theatre “cleaned out the barn and put on a show…,” er, well actually we cleaned up a warehouse space and turned it into a rehearsal hall. The floor was swept, mats laid down and taped together on the cold cement and black drapes hung floor to ceiling along one wall.

The space, which is about the size of a small dirigible hanger, echoes terribly if something isn’t done to damp down the “liveliness.” Hence, the rugs and drapes. They're a help, but nothing can quiet the diesel railroad trains that roll by at regular intervals and hoot at a nearby railroad crossing.

Chairs and tables are moved in, a small fridge, a coffee maker, a costume gondola for the junk we drag in with us, and about twenty chairs. When we’re all moved in we have what Rogue people refer to as The Clubhouse. We’ll be there five days a week for the next seven weeks.

Sunday the cast gathered for a first reading of the show. As usual with the Rogue ensemble we began with a set of group exercises that are intended develop focus, concentration, and imagination. (I’ll touch on these in weeks to come.)

The play, which will open for two weeks on March 23rd, is “The Dead” by James Joyce. The stage adaptation of this Joyce short story was done by Cynthia Meier. The challenge for the 17 members of the ensemble is that they never leave the stage. They must keep in character even though some may have only a handful of lines (indeed they must find their character even though they have only that handful of lines) and do this while dancing, or pantomiming an entire holiday banquet.

The work will be exhausting but immensely satisfying. I’m pleased and excited to be part of the ensemble.

For a statement of what The Rogue Theatre is about read artistic director Joseph McGrath’s history of the theatre.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Candidate Eva Bacal

The Data Port needs to correct a misunderstanding about the FEC registration status of candidate Eval Bacal, who is running for the Democratic nomination in CD8. Ms Bacal's 2004 registration is still in place. Nothing shows for 2006 becasue she has not yet raised money for the current campaign. What is lacking, according to a campaign spokesman, is the filing of a new statement of reorganization,which is in process.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Print Journalist C.T. Revere Not Running in CD 8

In a story in today’s Tucson Citizen C.T. Revere announced why, despite years of covering the news in Southern Arizona, he was not competent to run for Congress.

“So I stand before you now,” Revere writes, “steadfast in my commitment to leave the contest for this unbelievably important job to those who actually might be ready to hold a seat in Congress.

“I can't help but wonder if former newscaster Patty Weiss shouldn't have done the same.”

Although he disclaims that his remarks are a “knock on Patty” he goes on to list the ways the other Democratic candidates are better suited for the job than Weiss:

“Some come with résumés that include serving in state and local offices; others with an understanding of the political game that comes from years of laboring inside their respective parties.

“Still others have served their country in the armed services, a background that is clearly applicable at a time of war.

“Is this the time for newspaper reporters or television news anchors to cash in on name recognition and potentially muddy the process?

“... We're talking about a congressional district that is the epicenter for some of the most crucial problems America faces today, most notably the immigration and national security issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border."

“This is a serious job for someone who knows how politics work.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Congressional Whip To Visit CD8

Congressional Whip, Democrat Steny Hoyer, will be in Tucson Sunday for a brunch meeting with the members of the Desert Caucus.

The Desert Caucus is a bi-partisan political action committee that supports Republican and Democratic candidates who favor strong Israel-US relations. The Caucus is a significant source of funding for candidates it favors.
The Data Port wonders whether Hoyer will kill two, or possibly, three birds with one stone by meeting with any of the Democratic candidates for Jim Kolbe’s old seat. Remains to be seen.

Old Web Sites Never Die In CD 8...

…and they never just fade away, either. Consider Eva Bacal’s web site, left over from her 2004 CD8 campaign against Jim Kolbe. It still exists, and is so general that you might at first think it belonged to her 2006 campaign until you look at the list of folks who endorse her and realize that many of them are supporting Giffords this time around.

According to the FEC Bacal has not yet registered for the 2006 election cycle, which ought to be---but isn’t---a slight embarrassment to the folks planning the February First Democracy For America Tucson candidate forum. It seems they had a requirement that candidates had to be registered by January 1st in order to take part, which is why Patty Weiss will have a table but will not be speaking.

It’s pretty hard to believe that Weiss is not a viable candidate, who should have a chance to appear, for comparison, with her fellow candidates. Never mind that she did not register with the FEC until January 19th.

In an e-mail exchange DFA Tucson explained that it was news to them Bacal had not yet registered for 2006 and they could hardly “disinvite” her now. Weiss would have a chance to appear at another DFA Tucson meeting.Why not squeeze Weiss in? I guess there just wouldn’t be time. They have to clear the hall and turn off the lights by 9:00 pm.

It’s a funny world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Campaign Chuckles From CD8

I notice that Republican candidate-to-be Mike Hellon is describing himself as a “moderate conservative,” whatever that might be. Wellll, okay… but he’s doing business at the same old neo con stand when it comes to campaign tactics.

He could hardly wait to get off a zinger at Randy Graff. “A vote for Randy Graf in the primary is a vote for Satan, er I mean Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of The House.”

Thanks, Mike, it’s good to know where we stand.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mad Dogs and Fire-Breathing Dragons

It sees as if every progressive friend on my e-mail address list has sent me a copy of Molly Ivins’s recent column, “Not. Backing. Hillary” If you haven’t read it you may do so here.

Hillary is used as the whipping girl for an all too common Democratic failing, a kind of weaseling tiptoe dance down a center line that the Dems hope will make them seem all things to all people. The end result is that they end by seeming not very much of anything to most of us.

To be fair we notice a certain stiffening of the spine lately, but it still falls short of what some of us wanted the Dems to be: Mad Dogs and Fire-Breathing Dragons, constantly on the attack from the bully pulpits of their Senate seats.

I once (unwisely, I now judge) suggested that we should be happy with a thirty seat minority in the Senate if only the thirty were “real” Democrats. So what if we couldn’t accomplish much…just remind our fellow citizens how badly they and we were being screwed and eventually a populist revolt at the polls would clean the stables.

Two paragraphs in Molly’s column, however, remind us that much of what the Progressives espouse is actually pretty mainstream:

The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Makes a lot of sense to me. All together now: The Emperor ain’t go no clothes.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Name Recognition

It’s best to keep a firm grasp on your sense of humor during the political primary season. After all, when it’s time for the general election you want to get all your folks back in the same tent. In the words of an old song: “Tell your parents not to muddy the waters around us…they may have to drink them some day.” Probably applies to battles within a political party, too.

I did have to chuckle about Patty Weiss’s name recognition. That only counts if it’s the name on the ballot, and to be the name on the ballot it has to be her legal name.

Not to worry, Patty went to Superior Court and petitioned for a name change. Hence, Patricia Bryers Gelenberg is now legally Patricia Gelenberg Weiss.

Incidentally, the Arizona Daily Star story reporting her candidacy also reported that Jeff Latas was “among the first” to declare for the seat. Oh? I thought he was the first. Well, I’m sure the Latas fans will set us straight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Thanks For CD8 Comments

A number comments have popped up to earlier posts by The Data Port, and even when they marked some level of disagreement with what's been said here they are a welcome addition to intelligent political discussion.

Here are some sources of reliable background information about candidates, issues, and finances.

Start with Project Vote Smart, a great site for reliable general info about the current political scene. (link) Move on to Open Secrets, the web site of the Center for Responsive Politics. This is billed as your guide to money in politics. (link)

And for fun, if you want to find out who your neighbors have supported with their money, and for how much, browse the Political Money Line. (link)

Finally, an annonymous comment has suggested that Gabrialle Giffords is a supporter of WalMart. Certainly not to my knowledge, so let's have a citation of sources for that claim. In the past Gabrielle has been supported by the S.E.I.U (Service Employees International Union.) It seems unlikely to me that any union would have supported a pro WalMart pol.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Whose Mess? Maybe Ours

Writing of "The Turbulent Fifties," the 1850s in America, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes:

"The America of 1850 was a largely rural nation of about 23 million people in which politics and public issues-at every level of government-were of consuming interest. Citizen participation in public life far exceeded that of later years. Nearly three fourths of those eligible to vote participated in the two elections of the decade.

"The principal weapon of political combatants was the speech...(snip)
The issues and declamations of politics were carried to the people by newspapers--the media of the time. Newspapers in the nineteenth century, author Charles Ingersoll observed, "were the daily fare of nearly every meal in almost every family; so cheap and commo, that, like air and water, its uses are undervalued."

We were a nation of newspaper readers, a nation of newspapers, and a nation of people for whom a continued interest in and participation in politcs was not only an entertainment, but a passion. Now, why to I quote this?

Because it seems to me that all of us, as American citizens and as voters, bear a certain responsibility for the current shameful moral condition of both sides of the aisle in Washington. We don't pay attention, we don't vote, we avoid the discussion of politcal affairs at 'polite gatherings,' we have lost passion for self-government that motivated those but barely removed from the revolution. And we have not demanded better of the press.

I have said this before, but it deserves repeating. Some of our fellow bloggers deserve more credit for pointing our noses in the direction of bad political smells than Tucson's two dailies. Just imagine what sports reporting would be if they reported on sports the way they report on Arizona's political life. No backgrounders, no high school, and forget basketball untill the Final Four.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Giffords and Arizona CD8

The growing ranks of Gabrielle Giffords supporters point to her record of preparation for the current run at the Democratic nomination for the Arizona CD8 seat. It’s interesting to take a look at the Giffords resume, which indicates the breadth of her political preparation and solid record of recognition for support of progressive issues. (link)

Political Leadership

Aspen Institute
Aspen-Rodel Public Leadership Fellow 2005-2007
Democratic Leadership Council
National "100 to Watch" 2003
State Legislative Advisory Board 2001-present
National Council for State Legislators
Environment and Natural Resources Committee
National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
Arizona Representative
The German Marshall Fund of the U.S
Manfred-Wšrner Fellow, Germany and Belgium 2004
American Swiss Foundation
Young Leaders Conference, Switzerland 2004
National Committee on United States-China Relations
Young Leaders Forum Fellow, China 2003
National Center for Policy Alternatives
Flemming Leadership Institute Fellow 2002
Atlantic Association of Young Political Leaders
International Bureau, Vice President, present
Delegate to Italy 2004
Delegate to Bulgaria 2003
Delegate to Turkey 2002
American Council of Young Political Leaders
Host for Argentina and Uruguay 2002
Delegate to Vietnam 2001
American Jewish Committee/ Project Interchange
Delegate to Israel 2001
Arizona Democratic Party
State Committee and Precinct Committee Person 2000-present


Tucson Business Edge Top 40 Under 40, Woman of the Year 2005
YWCA of Tucson, Women on the Move Recipient, 2005
Arizona Small Business Association, Eagle for Enterprise Award 2005
Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Arizona, Golden Eagle Award 2005
League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Award of Distinction 2005
Sierra Club, Most Valuable Player at the Arizona Legislature 2005
League of Conservation Voters, 100% Rating 2005
Mental Health Association of Arizona, 2004 Legislator of the Year
Gannett News Service, Top 8 Young Leader Worth Watching 2004
Scripps College, Outstanding Alumna 2004
Arizona Coalition to Prevent Homelessness, Legislator of the Year 2003
Arizona Technology Council, Top 10 Tech Award 2003
Arizona Planning Association, Legislator of the Year 2003
Arizona Family Literacy, Outstanding Legislator 2003
Hadassah, Lifetime Member 2004

The Data Port’s Ironic Afterthought

Ms Giffords has ‘always had an interest in the news.’ If her run for Congress fails she can apply for the job of news reader at KVOA.

The Bedside Table

Current Reading: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”The Political genius of Abraham Lincoln. This is not a book one has to slog through but one you read with the ease of a political thriller; history writing of the highest order.

From the book jacket: On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry…(yet he) brought his disgruntled opponents together, to create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Rumor Gnomes

It’s time for the rumor gnomes again. The Data Port hears that Patty Weiss has launched a second poll. Is this a case of “if at first you don’t succeed?” We’re also hearing that the last campaign’s Democratic hopeful, Eva Bacall, is polling too. A decent poll is not cheap…so much for the “money is not all that important” crowd.

Will we ever know? Probably not if…if, that is, the polls disappoint the candidates. On the other hand if a poll indicates that the candidate is the greatest thing since sliced bread you can bet your buttons we’ll hear about it.

In the interest of full, if meaningless, disclosure no one at The Data Report has been polled.

No rumor here, The Giffords campaign last Friday announced that it had raised $252,900 in five weeks. If cost estimates for this campaign are anywhere near correct that leaves about $1,750,000 to go.

Statistics: 411 donations from Arizona residents; 331 from Southern Arizona; 46 contributions from out of state. The press release reports “232 donations came from working families in amounts of less than $200.” I like that “working families” touch. It’s nice to know that the horny-handed sons of toil support you.

Possibly most important is the fact that at a December 14th “do” at the Congress Hotel more than 300 people pledged time and support to the campaign.

If any of the other campaigns have press releases The Data Port would be happy to have them.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Gentle Genocide

Mark Fiore’s latest animation is titled “Gentle Genocide.” It’s an anguished commentary on the genocide in Darfur, which has already claimed more lives than last year’s Tsunami. (Darfur count=400,000.) The tragedy unfolds while we are distracted by other more ‘interesting’ news stories.

At the end of the animation CD8 gets a special mention—makes a fellow proud—for CD8’s Congressman Jim Kolbe’s participation in cutting 50 million dollars from African Union Funding. The money would have funded more peace keepers.

Fiore’s Animation here: link
Background on Darfur here: link

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Fever

I attended a dress rehearsal of Wallace Shawn's "The Fever" last night.I happened to be in the company of a group of actors, members of the Rogue Theatre company, and as actors they were well and truly knocked back by Joe McGrath's bravura solo performance. Me too, of course.

My guess is that I was perhaps the only "political" in the audience and the experience was like having a mirror held up in front of me on which all the irreconcilable moral imperatives of my own life were held up for painful examination.

“A nameless person from a privileged world, suffering from a sense of disconnection from his comfortable life, travels to a country in the midst of civil war. Suddenly deliriously ill, the narrator collapses in a hotel bathroom, and confronts an internal chorus of conflicting voices: dreams of comfort, images of physical and economic violence, accusations of indifference, and cold-blooded arguments in favor of oppression. The central question: what, if anything, is a morally consistent way to live in the world as it is?”

-----Eli Bishop, A Wallace Shawn Reference

Check the Rogue site:
Eli Bishop's "A Wallace Shawn Reference:

If you are in or near Tucson don't miss this play!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Is Weiss Closer to Candidacy in CD8?

It begins to look more and more certain that Patty Weiss will leave “exploration” behind and embrace “candidacy.” The Data Port’s gnomes keep whispering that she is a) currently working with, or b) has actually tapped the former director of Howard Dean’s Arizona campaign, Frank T. Costanzo to be her campaign manager.

Does this position her in the “progressive” wing of the Democratic party?

When Weiss first declared her interest Paul Eckerstrom, Pima County Democratic Party chairman, waxed lyrical about name recognition that was worth, he felt, 2 million bucks. Weeellll…maybe. But the thing about name recognition is that it ain’t fungible. You cant take it to the bank and you can’t rent office space or pay printing bills with it.

You still need to raise money, and folks on both sides of the political fence seem to think the CD8 race is going to cost each side at least 2 million plus real dollars. The folks who need to recognize your name are the movers and shakers at the top of the Democratic party.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Plot Against America

I’ve always been a fan of alternate histories, “what if” tales of how things would be different if the South had won “the War of Southern Independence,” or the Russians successfully invaded the United States.

Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America” is the tale of Charles Lindbergh’s defeat of FDR in 1940, and the consequent rise of organized anti-semitism. When elected Lindbergh, who had campaigned on the simple slogan “Lindbergh or War,” meets in Iceland with Hitler and negotiates a non-aggression pact.

I think that what makes this novel so frightening is the great subtlety with which the systematic oppression and dispersion of Jewish families takes place. Part of the fascination, for me, was that I remember 1940 and the events and people described there so that the historical alternative seemed so much more believable.

Roth includes an historical postscript with biographies and background on the historical players of the time.