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                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Congressman McNerney and Iraq

I posted the following in a thread at Calitics:

Jonathan Weisman is not a reporter who wins awards for doing Democrats any favors. Weisman's basic position is that if he perceives divisions behind the scenes in the Democratic Party, especially in the leadership of our Congressional delegation, then he's going to write a story that reflects that. With Steny Hoyer's leadership/stewardship being what it is...Weisman will ALWAYS have material to work with.

Second, Congressman McNerney wants to bring our troops home from Iraq. He's voted against permanent bases and FOR withdrawal with a date certain. In this, he is more or less in much the same position as other folks in the class of '06: Chris Murphy, Tim Walz, Joe Sestak, Jim Webb, Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill. These folks were elected to end the US occupation of Iraq and they all know it. We helped elect them.

The current battle over the particulars of what Jerry has said/been quoted by Weisman is a tempest in a teapot when compared to the political reality we face as Democrats in August/September of '06 facing this war:

-we need unified leadership in the Democratic caucus (that includes folks like Hoyer and, yes, Murtha)
-we need a unified voice from our freshman class of electeds
-we need to pull GOP votes to our side and pass legislation that starts bringing our troops home now

In effect, that's what Jerry told the Washington Post. Why is he being hung out to dry?

My challenge to the netroots is this. Are we going to help Congressman McNerney do the right thing or are we going to retreat to our silos and complain? I think the Front Page posts at dailyKos were deeply irresponsible and did none of us any favors.

I'm tired of the whining already. If we want a politician to do the right thing, we have to HELP THEM do it. Expressing disappointment is "nice" but I don't see things that way.

We in the netroots have the privilege of speaking in public as the face of the thousands of folks who don't have the time or energy to blog, folks who gave tens of thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours in service to defeating Richard Pombo and electing Jerry McNerney. The vast majority of that energy was motivated by a firm desire to end the occupation of Iraq.

I do not believe for ONE SECOND that Jerry McNerney isn't for what he's said he was for all along: removing our troops from Iraq in a responsible fashion starting now and with a date certain end point.

I think quibbling over what Jonathan Weisman chooses to print in the WaPo is a WASTE OF TIME and a distraction. I've spoken to Weisman on the phone and interacted with him in emails. He sees his job as pointing up dissension among Democrats. Why are folks giving him the privilege of the benefit of the doubt? He's not doing us any favors. If anything, he's allowing Steny Hoyer's office a chance to play the netroots. That's the real story here.

Our job is to help Jerry and every last Democrat do the right thing. That's the paradigm we are building here. That's the movement we started. Our support must mean follow through and the perseverance to wade through tough times.

At the end of the day, there will be a chance, and soon, for Jerry to cast a meaningful vote of consequence on withdrawal from Iraq. Let's help him join with the entire freshman class of Democrats and a coterie of GOP electeds to do just that.

That's what this is about, period. That's the big picture. Jonathan Weisman won't write about that.

We should.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brooke Astor: a thank you

Brooke Astor died today at 105. Through the Vincent Astor Foundation she contributed to my education at Columbia University:

Columbia University has received a $1 million gift from the Vincent Astor Foundation of New York. The fund will provide financial assistance to 40 needy undergraduate students a year.

The foundation's director, Lillian Gillies, said her organization did not generally support higher education, but in this case the scholarship money was donated because of the Reagan Administration's reductions of Federal funds for student aid. Mrs. Gillies said the only condition was that the money be made available to Columbia College students in any area of study.

The gift will be known as the Astor Presidential Scholars Fund and be part of the Presidential Fellows program that was established earlier this year to encourage outstanding scholars to pursue degrees. The first such fellow was Barry Rosen, the former hostage in Iran.

I expressed my gratitude to Mrs. Astor in letters when she was alive. I think it's fitting to acknowledge her assistance to me and other undergraduates in Ronald Reagan's 1980s at this moment, and to acknowledge Mrs. Astor's lifetime of giving and commitment to the people of the city of New York.

Brooke Astor made a profound difference in the lives of so many in a city she deeply loved.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Chicago Voices 07

I wanted to share with readers here some of the thoughts and reflections of participants in the Chicago Voices project written in their own words on their own blogs. (I'll be featuring more on each of the grant participants, but, for now, I thought I'd just share some of the blogging that's been done. It's awesome.)

Atlanta, Georgia BlogforDemocracy blogger Bernita Smith did a complete run down of the Ykos experience:

Bernita Smith YKos Day 1
Bernita Smith YKos Day 2
Bernita Smith YKos Day 3
Bernita Smith YKos Day 4

Blogger Susie Madrak had this follow up to one of the hot stories of the convention, ideas for a Blogger's Union:

Susie Madrak: Suburban Guerrilla Unions
Susie Madrak: Suburban Guerrilla YK Trivia

Brandon Q. White of the SuperSpade had these reflections, and was joined by Chicago Voices grant participant Amber McZeal in the comments section:

Brandon White on going to Chicago
Brandon White and Amber McZeal on Save Our Girls (Amber's response here.)

Dkos diarist Land of Enchantment spun out a fascinating project called Steppin' Out at YearlyKos:

Land of Enchantment: Steppin' Out

Blogger Matt Ortega summed up his thoughts and liveblogged at 3AM:

Matt Ortega on A Sense of Community
Matt Ortega: Sun Rising over Lake Michigan means it's Time for Bed

Blogger John Leek of Mississippi's Cottonmouth blog had these reflections public transportation in the Big City:

John Leek on the CTA
Cottonmouth Blog on Mississippi Elections

Nezua of the Unapologetic Mexican has begun his posting on his experience:

Nezua: the Unapologetic Mexican on the journey to Yearlykos

Nezua: Back from YearlyKos part II
Nezua: Indig Nation Back from YearlyKos part III

Blogger Kenneth Quinnell from Florida writes at T-Rex's Guide to Life:

Kenneth Quinnell Off to YKos

Kenneth Quinnell The Final Word on YearlyKos
Kenneth Quinnell Tips for Attending YearlyKos
Kenneth Quinnell Yearlykos Link Guide

KQ Session LiveBlogs samples:

Connecting Major Donors to the Netroots
Creating a Culture of Online Giving
Wesley Clark at YKos

Blogger and Deaniac Terri-in-Tokyo did some liveblogging in this diary:

Terri in Tokyo Liveblogs YearlyKos

Jose founds a New Blog coming out of YearlyKos

Don't Just Dream, Act, a new blog!

Ryan of the DailyKingfish kept blogging locally through the convention

The DailyKingfish
Ryan McCleod blogs on Amber McZeal and the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project

Carla from the Oregon Blog Loaded Orygun had these YKos-themed posts:

Carla Live from YearlyKos
Carla Live from YearlyKos Day 2
Carla Live from YearlyKos Day 2 ii
Carla Live from YearlyKos Day 3
Carla Liveblogs the Obama Breakout session
Carla Liveblogs the Keynote
Carla's Final Thoughts on YearlyKos

Blogger Matt Thompson of South Dakota used the trip to YKos as an impetus to create a South Dakota blog alliance:

South Dakota Blog Alliance