Friday, June 30, 2006

CD 8-- Weiss and PACs: Pot Calls Kettle Black

Everyone seems to be rumbling with political indigestion (or should that be indignation) over campaign finance issues. Apparently no one who accepts PAC money can be free of bondage to “special interests.”

This lets the Weiss campaign out since it is already tainted. It has accepted $5000 from the United Transportation Union Political Action Committee. Patty has also accepted two ‘in kind’ contributions from the National Committee For An Effective Congress valued at $3000.

The National Committee, in turn, is the recipient of funds from PACs like the American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO, the International Association of Firefighters, and the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League. Hence the campaign sucks in what I suppose you might call the ‘second hand smoke’ of PAC contributions.

Oh, Patty…Patty…Patty

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CD 8 Note

The following comment landed in the Data Port's mail box with a date of June 27, 2006. It seems to have been tied to a very much earier post, why I don't know. At any rate what the writer ...wearetribal... says seems spot on so I am posting it here.

I see lots of attacks here...all of them lacking the ring of truth. Not a single one tells us where they found this or that evidence against Gabby.

Look, Gabby is just 35 years old. Sure, there may be some person out there who is 35 and has a better resume. But they are not running in District 8. No one who is running has a better resume, regardless of age.

Who is this anonymous and why are they anonymous? Clearly they are with one of the other campaigns, posting the same smears all over the blogosphere, and clearly they are dishonest. Gabby only went to private schools? She graduated from the same high school I did, and our family of six lived on less than $10,000 a year. Pretty sure I was never at a private school. By the way, that high school was University High where you have to test as top 3% just to get in. So she is actually known to be "one of the brightest on the block." Her older sister, a friend of mine in high school , is plenty bright also.

So, she is great at making connections and anonymous thinks that is a bad thing? That is one of the main skills she needs to get things done when she is elected. Clearly she has more of that crucial skill than her opponents.

And please folks, remember that there is a general election. I am not suggesting that you vote for the candidate that "can win." I have never believed in crystal balls myself. I am noting that a wise candidate who is planning ahead might very well avoid saying things that alienate the slightly more than 50% Republicans in the district. Maybe that is why Gabby is avoiding extreme statements.

I am a Green Party member and a volunteer for Gabby. I am a lifelong activist and a supporter of Gabby. I co-founded Students Against the Gulf War, owned the store Peace Works on 4th Ave, and I presented an academic paper at the Symposium on the Psychology of War despite not having a college degree (I was too busy doing activist work in college to finish). Gabby has read my paper. I could list twenty more examples of my progressive clinics for migrant farm workers, a new neighborhood park, the bike racks on 4th Ave...etc.

I do not just support a candidate on a whim. I volunteered for Wellstone in '88 and Harkin in '92, as well as Nader in 2000. Now I volunteer for Gabby. If you think Gabby is not "progressive" enough for you...well are you more progressive than me? Really?

Think for yourself, always, but please ask yourself why this anonymous has to come here and lie to you. Get your own facts and then decide.


CD 8 Democratic Primary, What’s It About?

An interesting notion has emerged down at the end of the comment thread to the last Data Port post. Ol’ Anonymous implies that what the Democratic primary is really about is reforming the Democratic Party. God knows that the Party needs reform, but that’s not what the election in CD 8 is about.

Pay attention, now: The election is about sending a Democrat to Congress, regaining control of the House, and putting the brakes on the Republican rot. Only then can we hope for some change of direction, some glacial movement toward tax reform, single payer health care, or a return of our rights to privacy.

These, and other issues dear to Democrats, are particular goals and projects that are specific and can attacked one at a time. “Reform” is a notion so formless and cloud-like that it’s hard to get a handle on. I fear that the Party, like Chicago, “ain’t ready for reform.” But we’ll see.

Anonymous suggests that Giffords supporters are all Independents and Republicans, which will certainly come as a surprise to the legions of hard core, lifelong, Democrats who throng the campaign office, and work for her election.

Finally, if “reform” really is a goal and if “being part of the caucus” is a necessary condition of that project, then Giffords is so overwhelmingly part of the caucus that the reformers should rush to her support.

Friday, June 23, 2006

CD 8 A Giffords Endorsement/ A Weiss Poll

I’ve been so busy touring that I haven’t mentioned the announcement of another major endorsement for Giffords: The League of Conservation Voters. The full text of the LCV announcement is available on the Giffords web site, here.

The announcement of the Weiss poll slipped by me entirely, but not by the political observers who regularly comment here at The Data Port. Lacking a fresh post here they had to tack their comments on my June 20th post, below. The comments are well worth reading. (link)

Here’s a link to the text of the poll from the Weiss web site. (link)

My take? I don’t think there’s anything there to cause the Giffords camp any concern. As one commenter pointed out, less than half the people who have heard of her said they’d vote for her. Weiss's only argument for her election continues to be that everyone knows her name.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

On Line On The Go

Sometimes it seems to me that the old days really were better. We lashed our belongings on a clunky but reliable scoot and adventured off with a supply of spare parts. For the length of our trip we were as disconnected from national and business reality as hobos.

We did not carry: I-pods, transistor radios, cell phones, GPSs or high-tech camping equipment. We certainly did not carry computers. My computer experience this trip has been on-again/off-again. After having solved problems in Gallup I arrived in Gunnison absolutely unable to get my motel’s wi-fi connection to work. Nuts! Despair! Phooey!

I had given up when our fifteen year old assistant motel manager, hearing us complain, said, “Hey, I’ll reset it for you guys.” I didn’t have much faith so I went riding. Got back to the room this afternoon and found I had a connection strong enough to burn the bark off of trees!

Incidentally, two things I really miss on the road are NPR and decent Jazz. If you are one of those who mourned KUAZ’s replacing jazz with talk, or who can’t find an NPR station when you are spending a night in Dismal Seepage Nevada, let me remind you that you’re never without either if you have your ‘puter with you.

Right now I am listening “locally” to Tucson Jazz Radio. Listen here!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bikin' With The 'Puter

Never done this before. After all, a road trip is supposed to be a break from the ordinary routine. There are advantages to having the ‘ol laptop along, though, and I don’t mean the chance for continued exposure to political rants. For instance, I am listening to some very mellow jazz from Denmark’s DR Jazz as I write this.

The computer has survived the bouncing about it received in the process of trying to reach the mystery motel, which was completely surrounded by road construction, broken pavement, and assorted detour signs pointing in different directions.

It was a great ride, and there was a wonderful ‘gas station moment’ in Holbrook. We’d gassed the bikes, soaked our cool vests and were about to leave when the last of a dying breed rolled in: Five Harley riders on a cross country run to the West Coast.

These were not RUBs, rich urban bikers. Their bikes looked to have been assembled from pieces found elsewhere, their luggage was an odd assortment duffels and stuff wrapped up in towels and lashed in a clutter to their bikes. The extended forks, ape hangers, and lack of suspensions would have broken the backs of lesser men. These were basic bikes,a frame, an engine, and two wheels.

The riders were in good spirit, even the big guy who was riding shirtless, with nothing to protect him but his tattoos in hundred degree heat. A woman who was waiting for a new tire rushed out to take a picture of this mob. That was okay with the big guy but he asked that she wait until his buddy stopped rubbing him all over with sun block.

“I don’t want to look queer,” he said.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

CD8 A Quirky Open Thread

Here’s a kind of Open Thread for Data Port commenters. Your challenge: Find the humor in politics. For instance---

Patty is fond of saying that she’s a citizen candidate, not another politician. The sly implication is that her opponent is “just another politician” with all the baggage that phrase entails. Hello? Reality check, please. Patty, you’re applying for the job of politician. You’re telling us that you can do a better job of politics, take better care of the nation and the District, than Kolbe did or Giffords would.

If politician is a dirty word, and a bad thing to be, then apply for the job of somebody’s press secretary. That at least is a job for which you have the experience.

And have you all noticed that many Progressives are either scornful of, or dislike and resent, something called “the establishment,” by which they mean the men and women in the Democratic Party and in National organizations who wield power and influence both in and behind the scene in Washington?

These are exactly the people who can help a novice congressperson’s legislative career by telling them where the political bodies are buried, or help with a bill by nudging an important sub-committee member in their direction. It’s good for a congressional freshman to have a connection to the establishment.

Jeff will have great establishment connections if he is elected…the military-industrial complex, with which he has been connected most of his working life. I’m sure his former colleagues will be quick to advise him on issues of military funding and defense, in case the congressional enthusiasm for the War On Terror flags.

All that being said, have at it guys and gals.

64 Years Later...Making Do

Oh, poor me! Lacking my yearned-for Ural I have had to make do with this outfit, graciously loaned to me for the past six months by a dear friend and riding buddy. The bike was a BMW K1200RS. I say "was" because it has been so thoroughly modified...altered steering geometry and humungus Pirelli car tires...that it could no longer be ridden solo.

What a difference 64 years have made. Here we have fuel injection, water cooling, computer managed engine, and a hack wheel that steers with the front wheel of the bike. (But no two-wheel drive and no reverse as on the URAL, Nyeah, Nyeah, Nyeah.)

This outfit is blindingly fast and light as a feather. Its proud owner and tuner is coming back to Tucson (sob) to reclaim it and we're ducking business and politics for a merry chase through the twisties in Colorado. I'll be pursuing him on my trusty old k75. A good time will be had by all.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Greatest Bike of 1942

I have an irrational desire for a new motorcycle. I don’t suppose, under ordinary circumstances, that wanting a new scoot would be classified as irrational. I mean, this sort of thing happens to motorcycle people all the time. The sophisticated esthetics and mechanical elegance of the latest offering from Kawasaki, or BMW, or Honda seduce us and it would be crazy not to want that new motorcycle.

In my case I’m not sure. I find that I’m obsessed by what someone has called “the coelacanth of motorcycles,” the greatest motorcycle of 1942, a Russian copy of BMW military motorcycle that by today’s standards has the mechanical elegance of a tractor: The Ural.

It’s really too slow for a run down the interstate but it’s a perfectly adequate ‘blue highways’ bike. A reverse gear and a driven sidecar wheel makes it the master of every dirt road and logging trail. It’s really quirky to want this bike. Maybe that’s why I want it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

CD 8...Emily's List Endorses Giffords

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- EMILY's List, the nation's largest grassroots political network and financial resource for women running for elective office, today announced its endorsement of Gabrielle Giffords in her bid for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

"Gabrielle Giffords is independent, passionate, and ready to effect change in Washington just as she has in her home state. Gabrielle knows Arizona. She has experienced it from every angle, from small business owner to state senator, and she understands and is willing to fight for what is important to Arizonans," said Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY's List. "Support for Gabrielle throughout Southern Arizona is impressive, and EMILY's List sees her campaign as a tremendous opportunity to take back this seat in 2006. This is one of EMILY’s List’s top priority races, and our membership will use its significant strength to ensure a victory for Gabrielle Giffords.”

Full text available here.
The Emily's List home page is here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

CD 8 Giffords Sets Petition Record

One of the classic rituals of every campaign is the delivery of nominating petitions to the Arizona Secretary of State. It’s a photo op and the chance to celebrate with your supporters. You hope for a little press coverage, which it’s unlikely you’ll get, and move on to the next stage of your campaign.

Giffords has turned in a record 7015 signatures, about three times the number of the next nearest candidate. Signatures were collected from every county in the Congressional District…Pima, Santa Cruz, Pinal, and Cochise. That she covered the District is not a fact that political junkies will find unusual, although the number of signatures certainly is.

What is worth noting, however, is the fact that signatures were collected from every one of the 345 precincts in the district. The campaign is surely going to argue that this is evidence of the breadth and depth of Gifford’s support. According to a campaign spokesman about 20% of those signatures were from high voting propensity Democratic voters, who they now hope to recruit to the campaign.

Whatever is made of these figures by her opponents it is hardly open to debate is that they are evidence of an extremely well organized, efficient, and far-reaching field organization. This is certain to be noted by players on the national scene who want to focus their support on those campaigns that promise the greatest success in re-capturing a House majority in Congress.

Friday, June 09, 2006

CD 8 Notes

* A press release from the Weiss campaign reports that Nina Roosevelt Gibson, Granddaughter of FDR, has endorsed Weiss. The endorsement is part of the fund-raising push of the Weiss campaign, and stresses the “I am not politician, I am a citizen candidate” meme.

As of this post there is no link to the press release on the Weiss website, the press release section of which hasn’t been up-dated since May 17th. I imagine that the new Weiss communications guy, Andrew Myers, will be taking care of this.

* There’s a new blog covering CD 8 politics with emphasis on the Republican side of the aisle: Arizona 8th.

* Why you need bloggers: Today’s Arizona Daily Star has 25 articles and six blogs about sports. It has no story that I could find about local politics. I grant that bloggers are not certificated “professional journalists” but at least they let the rest of us know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

CD8 Arizona Education Association Endorses Giffords

A press release from the Giffords campaign today announced her endorsement by the AEA.

Quotes from that release:

The Arizona Education Association is the largest professional organization in Arizona, with 35,000 teachers and education support professionals. It is a state affiliate of the National Education Association, the largest professional organization in the United States, with 2.7 million members. They are dedicated to advancing the cause of public education, and they both joined together to announce their support of Gabrielle.

In the legislature, Gabrielle Giffords helped lead the bipartisan Children's Caucus, which worked to improve education and health care for Arizona's children. She worked closely with Governor Janet Napolitano on the promotion of all-day kindergarten. She supported our schools through sponsorship of supplemental state aid through bonds (SB 1344, in 2004) and tax credits that could be used for school supplies (SB 1355, in 2003). She also sponsored a bill to improve air quality in the schools (HB 2272, in 2004) and pushed for accountability on school spending (SB 1297, in 2004). Thanks to her support of reading in the curriculum, she was awarded Arizona Family Literacy's Outstanding Legislator for 2003.

She has also worked to improve higher education in Arizona. She sponsored legislation to support our universities and community colleges with research infrastructure (HB 2529, in 2003) and technology support (HCR 2028, in 2003). Locally, she serves on the advisory board of the University of Arizona College of Business and Public Administration.

The AEA and NEA have joined a large coalition of labor unions and professional organizations that have stood in support for Gabrielle Giffords' campaign for a government that works for all of us – not just the privileged and connected. The coalition includes:

United Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 104.
Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS), Local 7077.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 99.
Associated Highway Patrolmen of Arizona.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America (Southwest Regional Council).
Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona.
Arizona State Council of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Tucson Fire Fighters Association, Local 479.
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

California CD50...An Expensive Win

As a follow-up to the last Data Port post, here’s a backward look at a close Democratic loss in California’s 50th Congressional District, where Democrat Francine Busby narrowly lost to Republican Brian Bilbray. Rahm Emanuel, DCCC Chairman, writes: (The high-lighting is mine.)

"After spending more than five million dollars - more than 20% of their reserves for November -- and using national Republican leaders like George W. Bush, John McCain and Laura Bush, and running viciously negative ads, Brian Bilbray and the NRCC were able to pull out less than 50 percent of the vote in a solidly Republican district. We've got them on the ropes, but we also know that they are not going down without a fight. The fact that the DCCC and Democrats across the country are already competitive or ahead of Republicans in campaign funds and polling numbers is unprecedented, but we need to keep up the momentum until November."

This was a solidly Republican district. The Democrats made the Republicans pay dearly to hold onto a seat that will have to be contested for again in November.(You may remember that Cunningham, the former Congressman, is now doing eight years in the slams for corruption.)

Make the Republicans fight for every office, and every Congressional seat! Needed Info: What did it cost the Democrats to lose?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

LD 26… A Senate Candidate Found

The Democratic Party is doing a full court press on candidate recruitment. A good thing, too. Gone are the days of conceding some districts as “unwinnable” because they were heavily Republican. The new strategy, which is as old as Michigan’s Democratic chief, Neil Stabler, in the days of Governor G. Mennon “Soapy” Williams: Make the bastards fight for every office.

The candidate is Charlene Pesquiera and she has a daunting task, gathering 400 signatures by June 14th. Want to help? Contact fellow LD 26 candidate Lena Saradnik here: 520-229-3375

CD8 Post-Vacation Post

When I’m out of the country, or out in the boondocks, I pay no attention to the news. That’s okay, because when I am finally re-connected to the media babble I find that nothing much has changed. The characters may be different, but the play is still essentially the same.

The wrangling amongst anonymous posters in comment threads continues, probably to have no great affect on the outcome of any issue with which they are concerned. The wordy repetition of heart-felt beliefs reminds me of the Shakespearean observation:

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.

Latas supporters seem still to be immensely impressed by the Lieutenant Colonel’s position on Iraq, but I’m blessed if I can see any substantive difference from Giffords’ views.

From the Latas Web site:

* Reposition forces out of the cities, and eventually out of the country, at the earliest practicable date.
* Deploy a quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence in the region.
* Pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy

From the Giffords web site:

*Declare that we will have no permanent bases in Iraq.
*Commit to a targeted plan that brings our troops home as quickly as possible, while transitioning security responsibilities to the Iraqis.
*Encourage European and Middle Eastern countries to help financially in the rebuilding efforts.

On the basis of the Latas position on Iraq alone I see no reason to support him rather than Giffords. Incidentally, detailed statements of the Giffords positions, voting record, and testimonials are available here.