Thursday, March 30, 2006

Great Ad

Chevy and the The Apprentice had a cross promotional online thing to create your own Chevy ad.

I don't know how long this link will work, but this is what a web ad should look like!

(hat tip to jank2112)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

#1 recommended post at Daily Kos

Its a Saturday evening. Not much to do.
Oh hey, look.

The top rated post right now at Daily Kos is one I wrote about Ed Perlmutter.

Begging is good.

The cause is great.

Let's Take Back The House.

With Ed, Angie, Bill, and Jay we can make Colorado sky blue!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CO-7 Caucus

I have been juggling work and politics quite a bit lately, and journalism has had to take a backseat for a few days.

I was elected the Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman for God's favorite precinct, #7212630025.

I will also be going to the County Assembly as a delegate in the bizaare and interesting caucus process. It is a labryinth, but it is a wonderful expression of grassroots Democracy. I love sitting at a table with my neighbors and deciding which candidates and policies we want to see move up the chain.

I met Andy Kerr who is my new State House Rep. He was appointed on the first ballot by a vacancy committee to replace Betty Boyd, who in turn has been elevated to be my new State Senator. Sen. Boyd replaced the outgoing Sen. Deanna Hanna, and both of them were in attendence as well.

Mr. Kerr came over and introduced himself to our precinct and I congratulated him and asked him to support Morgan Carroll's anti-lobbying bill. I think it will take him a few days to be up to speed on what I was talking about, but when he does I am sure he will represent us well, and when the voters get to transform his appointed position to an elected one, I will be energized in my efforts to help him maintain the seat.

Peggy Lamm came by our table and she and I engaged in a bit of theater. I don't have a recording, but I believe the script went something like this...

TBTH: Hello Peggy.
PL: Hello it is good to see you.
TBTH: Are you participating in the caucus tonight?
PL: As you see, I am here tonight.
TBTH: Yes, but are you participating in the caucus?
PL: I am participating in many caucuses tonight.
TBTH: But are you intending to become a candidate through the caucus process?
PL: I am certainly a candidate. I will be on the ballot. I am collecting petitions.
TBTH: So you are not participating in the caucus process?
PL: I am attending many caucuses tonight.
Mr. X.: I think he wants to make sure his notes are accurate, so he is trying to get a clear answer.
PL: I am collecting petitions and I will be on the ballot.
TBTH: But you are not seeking support through the caucus process.
PL: I am hoping to get everybody's support.
TBTH: But you have not voted in any caucus tonight and you do not intend to get on the ballot through our caucus process, right?
PL: That is right.
TBTH: Ok, I just wanted a straight answer.
PL: Well, I don't think I can be any more clear than the answer that I just gave you. A lot of good people have gotten on through petitioning. Mark Udall and Mike Feeley did. A lot of good people have. Ok. Well, it was good getting to see you. Everyone have a good night tonight.

Mr. X.: You are such a brat, Aaron.
TBTH: Yes. I am a brat, but she is going to get a lot worse from the Republicans.
Mr. Y.: She really didn't want to give you an answer there, did she?
TBTH: She doesn't handle it well when people call her on what she is doing. That is why I think O'Donnell would crush her. She has too many places where they can attack her and she can never seem to defend herself without making things worse.

We took a straw poll. 9 votes for Ed Perlmutter. 1 absention who said he is leaning towards Perlmutter but doesn't want to commit yet until he learns more about Herb Rubenstein. Nothing for Lamm.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Underlying has Zero Intrinsic Value

Once upon a time, I worked on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, and I have a pretty solid background when it comes to reading the charts of stocks and commodities.

When trading Options contracts, there are two things that go into deciding a price. The first is the actual value of the stuff you are buying, and the second is a premium you pay depending on how much time you have left before you have to excercize the option or let it go.

This is a classic example of how a chart looks if the thing you are trading has no real value at all, and as it gets closer to expiration the price goes to zero.

The dots are Bush's polling numbers, from a chart by Stuart Thiel.
The black line is the % time Bush had left in office.

Right now we have about 35% of his time left, and he is at about 35% in the polls.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

News Flash [classified]

Something happened today, but I don't know what.

Based on secret evidence a Federal judge made a classified ruling.
The defense was not permitted to see the evidence or get clearance to read the Judge's decision.

The defense made a motion. The Judge and the prosecution went behind closed doors. The Judge came out and told them their motion was denied for classified reasons.

Try and appeal that ruling, suckers.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I just wanted to host this photo somewhere

I was just sent a copy of a photo that I took with another person's camera.
This is Fighting Dem Jay Fawcett, candidate for CO-5 shaking hands with Sen. John Kerry.

I am hosting it here so that his campaign and his supporters can use the image as they wish.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Drinking Liberally with Morgan Carroll CO-HD36

I don't know if we have the political will to go in, and make the enemies we need to, to solve the problems.

There are Democrats and Republicans and then there is The System.
The parties compete like two children fighting over the leash of a very large dog; no matter who wins, the dog still runs where it pleases.

Morgan Carroll is the Democratic State Representative from Colorado House District 36. It was not at all an easy seat for a Democrat to win. It straddles the federal turf belonging to Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez, and takes up the part of Arapahoe County that is home to Raytheon and the Buckly Airforce Base. It is not exactly a hotbed of progressive activism, but Ms. Carroll got the job done and now sits with the majority party in the Colorado General Assembly; holding onto the leash of a very large dog.

After forty years of Republican tinkering, the system is no longer designed for the voters. For every legislator there are eleven lobbyists. Citizens can speak on the bills that arise, but more often than not, nobody does. In a single year a legislator may see 800 bills, most on specialized topics outside of even a well educated person's expertise. Decisions are made based on the information provided by the smiling friendly lobbyists. There are pharmaceutical company lobbyists, oil company lobbyists, mining lobbyists, but few lobbyists for the common voter. Even well intentioned lawmakers have to go with the information they have. Garbage in. Garbage out.

Morgan Carroll is trying to change the process, and while she may be a bit discouraged by what she has seen so far, she seems determined to stick with it and make a Democratic majority mean something worthwhile. I was lucky to have a chance to talk to her at tonight's Drinking Liberally meet up in Denver, where she shared some of her concerns about the state of Colorado politics.

It was refreshing to sit down and talk to a politician whose focus did not seem to be on winning the next election, but who was focused on doing her job well. She didn't use the campaign literature words that make for a pleasant brochure. She used the words you use when it is time to get the job done. I was sometimes frustrated to hear about the unnecessary obstacles being put in her way, but this woman knows kung fu (both literally and figuratively), so I think she is up to the task of removing those barriers.

We talked about her lobby reform bill. It had been drafted before influence peddling had become such a hot issue. Her first version was gutted by members of her own party. It seems that some took the whole concept of reform as an accusation that they were guilty of malfeasance. Some just didn't believe that the six and a half million dollars spent each day by lobbyists was having an influence on their votes. At least one Representative seems to have argued against the bill without reading it, saying that "what we really need is more transparency." The bill is all about transparency, and it has been revived. Carroll saved some parts of it, broke others off into a separate measure, and she is now navigating it through a vote at the end of this week. The big concern at this point is how her colleagues might amend it to death, weakening some parts and perhaps trying to poison it by overreaching and unconstitutional amendments that pull it too far in the other direction.

Exacerbating the problem are forty years of institutional lies that have begun to sound true through repetition. If a bill seeks to help consumers or help workers, then the chorus chants that it will hurt business and workers will get fired. Despite the Democratic Party needing the support of the average voter, the Democrats in office are led to side with the large corporations through the triple pull of lobbyists, fundraising, and a conventional wisdom that tells them over and over that any change in the system is unworkable.

Carroll used Health Care as an example. You can't make the employers pay because they will threaten to move away. You can't make the State pay because of deficits. You can't make the people pay because then you are left with legions of uninsured.

There are only so many options, but they are unwilling to be unpopular. The 'placate everybody and accomplish nothing' approach is ruining our party.

The result is status quo, or terrible laws spoon fed in by the health insurance industry. Did you know that waving a co-pay deductible is illegal in Colorado?

Health care is not the only place with stupid laws. Morgan Carroll shared a few other products of our broken system. With only two opposing votes, they completely deregulated dynamite in Colorado. For now there is still some protection under Federal law, but someone had the bright idea to deprive the state of the ability to bring action if they need to, or to maintain a level of safety in our state if the Federal government decides to loosen their rules. While we were busy deregulating high explosives, one of our Reps called for a regulation in a much more important area. He wants to restore the rule that requires a television and a bar in every limo. Maybe we should just fire them all.

I vote that we keep Morgan. She is doing something about it. She has been instrumental in setting up GRAPEVINE, a grass roots advocacy site to get people involved and aware, and she has been working to wake up the members of her party who seem not to have gotten the message that they were sent to get things done. She knows that many on our side of the aisle are just as driven to take on the hard work of reform as she is, but there are others she would like to awaken.

It is like after the Emancipation Proclamation. After people got their liberty some would not embrace independence after so long without a voice.

The Representative was asked to finish the sentence, "My 1st term will have been successful if...," and she replied, "...if I can force the dialog about these issues. If I can at least get them on the table."

She was asked about immigration, and she felt that while aspects of the issue were just "political messaging" it was at the same time a real issue with real "populist outcry" behind it. She decried the incentives we have created by slowing the process of legal immigration, by ignoring the profiteering of the employers, and by maintaining the economic imbalance between the countries.

After explaining that the problem was essentially Federal, she gave three points from the Democratic platform where the State could have an impact. The first was by pulling State contracts from illegal employers. The second was to enforce stronger wage, overtime, and safety regulations for all workers. And the third was to make it harder to forge state documents, and to crack down on identity theft.

Even though there are things the State could do, she seemed skeptical that there was much that this Governor would do. In a state where 7200 labor complaints were met with zero court action, it is unlikely that any regulations will be enforced.
We could check all Social Security numbers through the Federal Database, but the Republicans balk when they realize that it would require even the slightest burden on the businesses that profit from migrant labor.

The last part I want to mention about Rep. Carroll was her reply to a comment from one of the crowd. She was told that when the Republicans came after her trying to smear her, she had to hit back hard and go down to their level. Morgan replied that there were two kinds of negative. The first involves being amoral or making things up. She had no interest in meeting anyone on that road. But there was another kind of negative, and that was when you were telling the truth and that truth just happens to be negative.

I thought that summed up my impression of her. The entire time she was scrupulously speaking truth. There were times when they were not the happiest truths, but there were also times she spoke with a real joy. I believe she has the political will to solve the problems in front of her, even if that means making some enemies, and with that kind of integrity I know she made a few friends tonight.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What is wrong with this picture?

This picture from the Ft. Collins newspaper The Coloradoan might start a court martial against the soldier that Musgrave is using as a backdrop.

The picture was taken while she was introducing him at the GOP Lincoln Day dinner.

Appearing in uniform at a partisan event is a violation of military regulations, and speaking at one is worse. (With the caveat that if this man is not on active duty, the law may be different.)

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo is following the story, and Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft tells me she will have a column up at tomorrow and will then cross-post it at TalkLeft.

Update: A second photo that was at the Larimer County GOP website has now been deleted and scrubbed away. I am told it looked like this...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

CO-7 Perlmutter, Lamm and Rubenstein for Congress

The Democrats have a contested primary in the Seventh. As everyone here knows, I am supporting Ed Perlmutter, but in order to create a way to help people donate who may or may not prefer any specifc Democrat in this race, I have been setting up an ActBlue fundraising page where people can donate to each candidate individually, all the candidates equally, or even make a donation to the general election fund that will be held until a single candidate emerges as the nominee.

Check it out, and help me make it a better page with your suggestions, and of course... Donate!

(Of course, if you would just like to make sure your money goes to Ed, you can always use the handy button on the right side of this page just above the blogroll!)