This Wednesday, November 28, 2007 • 5:30 – 7:30 pm • 4346 W. Rose Hill
Join us for wine and cheese as we officially launch Women for Obama chapters in early states across America. We’ll hear from Michelle Obama live via conference call and meet other Obama supporters in the area. Bring your mothers, sisters, cousins and friends . . .the more the merrier!
Suggested donation: disposable diapers to benefit City Light Home for Women.
Click here to RSVP: http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/4v3wt
Update: The party was a great success, with several dozen women gathering to hear the conference call with Michelle Obama. We also viewed this great video that abundantly shows why Obama represents a vote for the politics of hope and an end to the politics of fear. Please share it with your mother, sisters, friends, nieces, and girlfriends!
Happy Thanksgiving! Here are a few actions you can take this weekend to help people nearby and around the globe.
FreeRice.com is a site where you can help feed hungry people while building your vocabulary. For every word you correctly define, the (unobtrusive) advertisers on the site will donate 10 grains of rice via the United Nations to help end world hunger. The site launched a few weeks ago, and already hundreds of millions of grains are being donated daily. Thanks to Betty Richardson for the tip on this.
Friday (November 23) is the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on the Grove in downtown Boise. For $10, you can get a hand-painted bowl full of hot soup from two dozen downtown restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Idaho Foodbank. The event, now in its 10th year, runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Brick Oven Bistro patio. Friday night also is the annual Christmas tree lighting on the Grove, with festivities planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Take a tag from the Giving Tree to help make the season bright for families served by the Women's and Children's Alliance, which helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
94.9 The River, Boise's best station for adult rock, is accepting nominations through Sunday (November 25) for its annual Concert for a Cause shindig, which will feature Curtis Stigers and plenty of other cool cats December 12 at the Morrison Center. Click here to learn more and nominate your favorite local charity. (As I did last year, I am nominating Interfaith Sanctuary. I hope this is their year!)
If you know of other Idaho projects to help celebrate this season of gratitude and compassion, please add them in the comments. This post will ride on top until Monday.
Bill Sali's vote against overriding the President's veto of the Labor Health and Human Services budget bill was more important than most people realize. The bill included $8 million for funding of the Special Olympics scheduled for Idaho in 2009. The veto, and the failure to override it, puts those games in jeopardy.
The override vote lost by just two votes. Bill Sali was one of them.
And, it wasn't just the Special Olympics funding that was lost. Some of the other Idaho projects included in the bill were a community detoxification center in Boise, a program for providing dental care for low-income, uninsured children though out Idaho, the Children's Home Society's Bridge Project for Foster Children, College of Idaho library technology upgrades, Northwest Nazarene University nursing facility equipment, expansion of the St. Luke's Hospital Children's Health Services, and programs at the Discovery Center of Idaho.
Our Congressional delegation says they will try to preserve these projects for Idaho, including the Special Olympics, by including them in future bills. But there is no guarantee.
Congressman Mike Simpson voted for the override. Bill Sali didn't. His apologists will undoubtedly say that he is standing up for fiscal responsibility. When, I wonder, will he start standing up for Idaho?
... that, given strong opposition, this guy will be gone from the Idaho Legislature next year:
"When used properly, hunger can motivate people so they can experience the joy of work and accomplishment.” - Rep. Steven Thayn
Enjoy your Thanksgiving! If you are in Boise, consider attending the 25th annual Thanksgiving Ecumenical and Interfaith Service at St. John's Cathedral at the corner of 8th and Hays streets. It starts at 7:30 tonight (Wednesday, November 21). Bring some canned food for the Idaho Food Bank and a donation to the offering, which will help the Women's and Children's Alliance. No matter what faith you practice, you will feel at home in this gathering of generous, humble, and grateful souls.
Check out (and share!) this new web ad, where Larry LaRocco takes a well-aimed jab at Jim Risch's fondness for the high life.
In a recent press release, LaRocco pledged never to use corporate aircraft for campaign purposes or while serving in the U.S. Senate. “Apparently Jim Risch has learned nothing from the recent Abramoff scandals,” LaRocco said.
"Jim Risch used state of Idaho resources to campaign in 2006 and, without missing a beat, is now using corporate resources. Working Idahoans do not have access to these resources in either case and neither should candidates for office. It’s time to end business as usual,” LaRocco said. (Read more here. New West has a commentary about Risch's pricey indulgence, too.)
Too much energy is spent debating the pros and cons of the celebrities at the top of the ticket. Not enough is exerted to increase the organizing to build a genuine progressive movement in more communities throughout Idaho. David Sirota asked everyone on Friday to prioritize this work. While he used the word "mundane" to describe some of this work, I believe he really meant that this is far more authentic work than the glitz of the big races.
To me, the most important players in that room on Friday evening were the ordinary people who over the past two decades organized lots of tough local campaigns in Ada County. The 12 Democrats elected to the legislature in 2006 (as well as all the statewide Democrats who carried Ada County) stood on their shoulders.
I hope everyone who heard David's words will take them seriously and exert more energy building relationships with people in communities all over Idaho who want to see change but feel powerless and ignored.
Whoever is at the top of the ticket - either for president or congress or governor - will not magically cause new progressive legislators or county commissioners to be elected in Nampa or Twin Falls or Blackfoot. The top of the ticket can add value to local campaigns but ONLY if there ARE local campaigns.
David warned us that we ignore core base-building work at our peril. The public will reject the narrow, elitist, top-down Republican agenda - often in a dramatic way - but only if local campaigns have consistently offered them local candidates that connect directly with their lives
In only a few months, we will cast our votes for President.
In deciding who you will select to be our Democratic Presidential nominee, what factors will you consider? Values? Issues? Electability? I would argue that all are extremely important, but let's think locally for a minute. What about the notion of selecting a candidate that will assist the Democratic Party score victories across the State of Idaho come November 2008?
Many people support Senator Hillary Clinton for President because they believe she is strong, smart, and capable. I agree. Would she make a good President? I believe she would. Can she win? Maybe. But is the 2008 election strictly about taking back the White House? I humbly decry that it is not. The 2008 election is also about restoring hope to our nation and scoring victories here at home, in Idaho. I have been approached by scores of Democratic Party leaders across our state for nearly 8 months with increasing concerns, who are not scared of a Hillary Presidency, but of a Hillary candidacy and what a successful nomination would mean for our local and state-wide candidates running for office.
Everything our Party has worked to achieve, all the sweat and tears our candidates have shed over the last 3 election cycles may be for not if we select Hillary Clinton as our nominee. I don't write these things in an attempt to discredit Senator Clinton as an individual, but because we are fighting for the political lives of every candidate presently in or running for office across the State of Idaho with the vote that will take place on Feb. 5th, 2007.
Personally, I support Senator Barack Obama because of his outstanding judgment and sound policies for America's future, but I can't help think about the consequences of nominating a candidate that will destroy our local efforts and stunt recent gains. A vote for Hillary Clinton will impose a major strike against our attempts to increase seats in the State Legislature and unseat the likes of Congressman Bill Sali and Senator Larry Craig. By no means should this be your only criteria for selecting the next President. I only ask that you consider it as one factor when making your decision. No candidate will bring out the Republican base in Idaho more than Hillary Clinton.
Obama's support is growing rapidly. At Friday's JFK Banquet in Boise, 4 tables were sponsored in honor of Senator Barack Obama. No other Presidential campaign had a table at the event. People showed up in droves to show their support for Obama (see picture below). Join us. Join hope. Join a candidate that will assist local candidates achieve victory across the State of Idaho.
Four hundred people packed the Boise Centre on the Grove last night to cheer a Democratic Party that, per capita, picked up more seats in its state legislature than any other state in the country in the 2006 elections. The occasion was the every-other-year Ada County Democrats' JFK Banquet, which also serves as a kickoff to the election year ahead.
The Ada County Democrats powered to a five-seat pickup in Boise last fall. With a sixth seat won in Idaho Falls, Idaho Democrats have gained 15 seats in the legislature since 2000, when we had only four. "I don't sense any discouragement from the people in this room," keynote speaker David Sirota said. Instead, the gradual but steady gains we've made show a party that's laid the foundations for a political shift that - when it comes - can be decisive.
Sirota, one of our leading progressive spokesmen, related his own recent experiences in Montana. When he arrived there earlier this decade, the state had a Republican governor, a GOP-led legislature, and two Republican U.S. senators. When he left, Montana had elected a Dem governor, a Democratic legislature, and two Democratic senators. Opportunity arose, he noted, in the form of a weakened governor (Judy Martz) and a senator tied to scandal (Conrad Burns). Combined with the star quality of candidates Brian Schweitzer and Jon Tester, Montana Dems were able to capitalize on the GOP's woes and lead a Democratic takeover of the statehouse and the congressional delegation.
Idaho is setting up for a similar switch, Sirota said. "This state has an embarrassing congressional delegation," he noted. Larry Craig has become nationally infamous, and the rest "are coasting on the fact that this is a reflexively Republican state. Everything you are doing here - all the mundane work - keep that in mind," he said.
Our objective, he added, must not be electing more Democrats. "The objective is to fix this country," he said. "We are in the midst of a historic crisis." Never mind the war in Iraq, he added; there's a class war "designed to lift the yachts and leave the rest of us in leaky boats." Democrats need to raise hell about a tax policy aimed at keeping wealth in the hands of a favored few and trade policy designed to exploit the world's cheapest labor. Defending the label "protectionist" assigned to people who want to keep good jobs in the United States and insist on worker and environmental safeguards elsewhere, Sirota asked, "What's wrong with wanting to protect things that are good?" Sirota mentioned none of the Democratic candidates by name (though you can see where he stands on the supposed front-runner by watching this video).
Earlier in the evening, the Ada Dems heard from U.S.Senate candidate Larry LaRocco, who emphasized his "Working for Senate" campaign and the seniority he'd bring back to Washington as a former member of the House of Representatives. We also heard a fired-up speech from 2006 1st District candidate Larry Grant, and more low-key addresses from Rand Lewis, who has been in the race since last winter, and Walt Minnick, who joined the fray three days ago. All agreed their main aim is beating Bill Sali next year.
One pessimistic note: Less than a year before the election, we still don't have a candidate to challenge Mike Simpson in the 2nd District. Simpson has been on the correct side of the House in some key votes lately, joining other Republicans in the Dem-led attempts to override George W. Bush's vetoes of children's health insurance and a major spending bill that included money for key human services and $8 million for the 2008 Winter Special Olympics Games here in Idaho. He's a hard man to beat. But Simpson is still wrong on other key issues, including the war, and Democrats need to give 2nd District voters a real choice next November.