naturedance: crafting joy (crafting joy)
I typed some of this up as a response to a post by [livejournal.com profile] armchairgamer last weekend, but I wanted to post it here as well, along with some other links... this is a followup to my earlier post here about the current state of our country...

I trust Howard Dean, and the Democracy for America folks. http://www.democracyforamerica.com/ -- they're working to put progressive clueful candidates in races nationwide, from the local to the national. That's how I first encountered Barack Obama, who's pretty amazing... http://obama.senate.gov/

Habitat for Humanity is making a difference for good in the world... http://www.habitat.org/

Second Harvest is doing good work in the food bank area... http://www.secondharvest.org

Which reminds me... the Caltech Y has a group of folks who volunteer at a local shelter here in Pasadena, cooking meals... they also do beach cleanups and such. Easy, local, make a difference stuff in the Pasadena area... http://www.caltechy.org/program/calendar/

Mercy Corps is doing good things... some of my friends who dislike the Red Cross and/or the Salvation Army for various reasons give to them, and after doing a bit of research, I can see why... http://www.mercycorps.org/

Doctors Without Borders does good work... http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

Heifer International does, too... http://www.heifer.org/ (plus it's just pretty cool to give a family a critter that allows them a better livelihood, you know? Critters are cool.)

There's also The ONE Campaign To Make Poverty History at http://www.one.org/

There are a set of six websites which I try to click buttons on every day...
http://www.TheBreastCancerSite.com and
http://www.TheHungerSite.com and
http://www.TheChildHealthSite.com and
http://www.TheLiteracySite.com and
http://www.TheRainforestSite.com and
http://www.TheAnimalRescueSite.com.
You can click buttons for free and goods/money/services are donated to those causes. Setting one as a default homepage in a browser reminds me to click each day... it's not just that it's a free way to help out, but it's also a conscious reminder that I'm part of the larger world and that I can make a difference in it when I sit down at the web. They also have affiliated stores... http://www.gearthatgives.com/

That reminds me... about debt stuff... do you know how much your own credit card companies donate to the Republican Party each election cycle? What about the bank where you have your checking or savings account? I did some research on that last spring, got pretty angry/depressed, and realized I needed to make a significant effort to deal with my debts and my investments to make sure that megacorps weren't using my money or debt to advance their agendas which contradict mine.

Oh, and when I remember to, I check out where I'm spending my money to see if they are green or blue rather than red (and yeesh, color-coding sucks, but, hey...) I try to buy environmentally-conscious or Democrat-donating rather than Republican-donating:
http://www.buyblue.org/
http://spendingliberally.org/
And I just spotted another interesting place... http://www.alonovo.com/about

I get action alerts by email from these:
NARAL ProChoice America http://www.naral.org/
Planned Parenthood http://www.ppfa.org/
American Civil Liberties Union http://www.aclu.org/
MoveOn.org http://www.moveon.org/
NRDC BioGems http://www.savebiogems.org/
The Nature Conservancy http://nature.org/
The Sequoia Natural History Association http://www.sequoiahistory.org/

I also signed up to get news emails from my elected officials a while back... the Congressional folks all have such mailing lists, linked off their official websites. I haven't yet done the same for the state representatives or local government stuff, but I probably should.

Do you read http://www.dailykos.com/ or http://www.blogforamerica.com/? I don't read them as much as I feel I should... I find that I get overwhelmed if I read them every day, but I can handle the smaller doses at Kit's Concatenation (http://concatenation.blogspot.com/) and two journals by the Plaid Adder: http://www.democraticunderground.com/plaidder/index.html and http://www.livejournal.com/users/plaidder/.

After seeing image after image online of poor black people struggling for survival, and sometimes not making it, in New Orleans, I couldn't help thinking about the United Negro College Fund http://www.uncf.org/ and that also led me to the American Indian College Fund at http://www.collegefund.org/. I'm still looking for useful organizations for poor white folks and women to get help to pay for college.

V-Day has a press release with information about organizations assisting battered women in the Katrina disaster areas. From that page: "Following Hurricane Andrew in Miami, spousal abuse calls to the local community helpline increased by 50%. The Missouri floods of 1993 saw the average state turn-away rate at shelters rise 111% over the preceding year and an overall 400% increase in need for services." Numerous shelters in the gulf coast region need help to rebuild, and that press release has good links and info.

You can locate blood drives by US ZIP code at http://www.givelife.org/

And because I just want to link to pretty recycled and/or eco-conscious things right now... Natural Spaces looks like a really neat storefront.

Lately, I've replaced a couple halogen torchiere lamps with fancy fluorescent bulbs in nicer torchieres. I'd had a fluorescent torchiere once before, but the circular bulb just didn't have the brightness I needed in two rooms of my current place. But I found an uber-fluorescent bulb that works, and I'm thrilled with it. It'll save money on power bills, and it doesn't get as hot, and the light is bright enough. Yay! I use fluorescents wherever I can.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (cascade)
I'm trying not to be political right now, but I'm really disappointed that this multibeaurocratic beast that we call the USA has failed so blatantly to take care of our fellow humans, and I have to say this:

I "lose sleep" all the time. That's a strange little saying, isn't it? It's not like I've misplaced hours of rest, that they're just sitting somewhere I've overlooked because I happened not to notice where I'd put them or why.

I think about all sorts of things, and I worry about all sorts of things. When I do manage to sleep when I'm really worried, I have pretty spectacular nightmares that are more exhausting than staying awake.

Usually, I cope... I'm not posting this just to wail and gnash my teeth. What I'm trying to say is that when I know badness is happening somewhere, it bothers me, and as a coping skill, rather than just worrying and awfulizing, I try to brainstorm things I can do to make a difference, do some research, make a checklist, and get off my butt about it, doing what I can. If I had to sum up my goals on this earth, in this life, it would be to leave this place in the black rather than in the red.

So how furious do you think I am to read that after getting a call from Governor Kathleen Blanco at 8:00 pm Monday night (the day the hurricane hit), asking him to send them "everything you've got", the President of these United States went to bed?

I'm somehow supposed to have sympathy for poor George. Having to cut short yet another five-freakin' week vacation to deal with the biggest natural disaster in the US in recent memory... but apparently still going to bed by 9pm. Not bothering to figure out what exactly was happening, how dire the sitation was.

By the way? I thought long and hard about taking a three day vacation right around Labor Day. Things have been really busy at work this summer and if I took any time off the catch-up would have been more brutal than just plowing through. I'm not saving anyone's life, I'm not doing groundbreaking scientific research... I'm just doing my part on a team keeping a university's central computing infrastructure working. I'm not deciding where and when to wage war, I'm not deciding who lives and who dies, I'm not deciding where to send limited military and civic resources to respond to disasters both natural and man-made. I'm just little ol' me.

And I'm furious.

I realize that disasters happen all the time, and that human suffering worldwide is a huge and ongoing problem. I realize that the scenes of refugees trying to get to safety on the Gulf Coast are no more or less poignant than similar scenes that happen around the world... and that American lives are no more and no less valuable than lives anywhere else. But it is frustrating and disheartening to see such poor coping skills, such lack of empathy and capability, such piss-poor organization of immediate assistance in crisis in my country. We have so many resources, there are so many of us, we should have been able to do more, sooner, to assist those in the path of Katrina. Mismanagement, miscommunication, lack of leadership, lack of planning, disaster plans that ignored the needs of the poor and the elderly and the ill... at this point, I don't know where all the various bits of blame should be laid, and I'm sure there are enough faults to go around about this, but I do know that there's one place where the buck stops for federal aid... the White House. At the end of the day, the captain of the ship has ultimate responsibility for his or her sailors and where the heck the boat has gone, you know?

I do my best to make a difference where I can. I work and I pay my taxes and I volunteer and donate where I can, and I doublecheck before I give of my money and my time to know it will be well-spent. I think about the big picture and what we as a species are doing to ourselves and our world. It's more and more obvious that though individuals may be like me, they're not the ones in charge of the power structures in this country.

MSNBC Newsweek: How Bush Blew It

Read [livejournal.com profile] plaidder. Read [livejournal.com profile] twistedchick. Read (...Parenthetically Speaking). And please, don't ask me how angry I am that many if not most of the rebuilding contracts for the damaged Gulf Coast region have been awarded by the US Government to Bush's friends at places like Haliburton.

I hope someone has the guts and the opportunity to speak truth to power. In the mean time, I'll try not to vent too much of my frustration here... that's not the purpose of this journal, and besides, I have work to do orienting all the new students so they don't infest the network with viruses, spyware, worms and spambots, plus my other job duties, and I'm digging into my second class of my graduate school program to get my MSIS.

Which reminds me... (...Parenthetically Speaking) linked to an article on computer security that I want to finish reading when I get a moment.

I hope the Red Cross and other relief organizations and simple heroic individuals can make the differences where our goverment has not. I made what donations I could this month as the hurricane made landfall. And now I've got to get back to work...
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
It's Veterans Day, and I remember something my Mom told me about her father, and it probably holds not only for all of my relatives who've served, but all men and women who've served. She said he'd fought in what had been called "the war to end all wars" but that so had all of the soldiers before him. We send our soldiers to war so that we will know war no more, so that our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, will not have to go to war.

It still hasn't worked.

I remember.

I thank all who have served, and who are serving, and who will serve... and I remember.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
I was feeling really under the weather this morning, so I rested and then went to vote before coming in to work at lunchtime. There was a line to vote at the Burbank courthouse at 10:30 in the morning. Inkadots rather than punchcards, and no electronic voting machines. Only half a dozen little kiosky things. I'm really glad I didn't try to go early in the morning... I can't imagine how long the wait must have been before the morning rush hour.

I stopped at Broad Cafe for a cup of chicken noodle soup, and everywhere I looked, there were people wearing the little "I voted" stickers, myself included.

May we have an accurate election, without confusion and chaos.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
I seem to be having odd dreams, and waking up unrefreshed. I'm not sure if this is because of the sinus meds I'm taking, or stress, or just sheer randomness. In any case, I'm not feeling rested.

My cat is doing better thanks to the insulin shots I'm giving her morning and night. She's more active, and just perkier, but she's still passing a lot of water through her system, so I suspect we need to increase the dosage. I need to take her back into the vet early tomorrow morning to have her glucose levels tested again.

There's ten tons of political stuff going on, as the election looms. It's stressful.

The deadline to register to vote for the November 2 election in California is October 18, 2004. More information from the CA Secretary of State:
Voter Registration Information
Voter Information
Election and Voter Information
The Official Voter Information Guide (Principal and Supplemental) for the CA November 2, 2004 Election

Cripes, I need to read up on all of those propositions. There's all sorts of important stuff going on.

League of Women Voters
LWV's site for Democracy.net Election 2004: Candidates and Information lets you type in your zip code for information about you specific candidates and ballot measures.

Yes, I'm aware of media spin and megacorps and all sorts of misinformation, propaganda and bullshit. Voting may not make as much difference as it should. But every citizen's voice is important. Voting, for me, is more than a right. It's a civic duty, a responsibility and an honor to cast my ballot now for me, and for those who came before, and for those who will come after.

Do you feel empowered yet? Feel like standing up and making your voice heard? Or do you need more inspiration?
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (spring valley)
Unpacking the dusty dishes yesterday gave me a bit of a headache this morning. Bleurgh. Other than that, I'm doing OK. Glad I got an iced coffee this morning, though.

Yesterday afternoon and evening were good. We found the dining room table in time to have sushi for dinner, and spent some time going through my ridiculously overflowing fabric stash.

It feels good to be simplifying some of my life... I've taken three or four carloads of excess stuff to Salvation Army over the past weeks. I'm usually very easy on my belongings, and I have so many interests... I accumulate a lot of stuff because it lasts and seems like it would be useful to have, but it's gotten to the point that I was more than a bit weighed down by it all. Someone will get some use out of the things I've given away, I'm sure. And I've still got a bit of optimization to do in the bedroom before I'll be satisfied with the shelves and tubs there, but it's progress.

Stuff still to do at the new place:
- finish organizing bedroom shelves and tubs
- get a wrapping paper box which actually will fit under my bed, rather than the one which is two inches too tall to do so
- secure the tall bookshelves
- secure the ethernet cable
- give away and/or recycle the collapsed boxes from the move, so we can reclaim our balcony
- hang up the art prints and sit out the random artsy objects
- hang the pressure rod across the washer/dryer closet doorway
- go through the file boxes and give the shredder a workout (why do I still have phone bills from 1993?)
- sort, put away, file and/or shred the contents of the three boxes and one laundry basket of fairly-recent paper-clutter labelled "sort me!"
- build our container garden on the balcony

Oh, [livejournal.com profile] fusion_reaction has links to women's issues in the news today, and Parenthetically Speaking has news from yesterday about Diebold voting machines being decertified in California. I'm also heartened that concerns are being voiced back in Indiana and other places as well. Sheesh. How very fragile is our democracy that a couple very powerful companies can decide whose vote is counted and whose isn't, and who finds out about the process? I hate megacorps.

Ah, well, the coffee's kicked in, so I'm back to work. Whee!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
http://www.democracyforamerica.com/
http://www.johnkerry.com/dean/

Yes, I sent in my first contribution to the Kerry campaign today.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
Dean for President 2004 may be over, but Dean for America is only beginning.

I got involved in the campaign to take my country back from faceless megacorporations and special interest groups with hidden agendas. I got involved because I wanted my voice to be heard. I got involved because Howard Dean was a catalyst for hope.

The movement which sprang up around him is only beginning. We have much work to do, and more direction now than we had before we began to talk with each other, connect with each other, and work with each other.

Thanks for the wake-up call, Dr. Dean. And thank you for making me proud to be a Dean Democrat this year.

If anyone wants spare buttons or bumper stickers, please let me know... I have plenty spare for anyone who, like me, is not slipping quietly back into complacency but is instead continuing to stand up and make a difference.

We've found our voice, now we need to continue to organize on a broader scale. The Presidential election is not the only important one, and community service and political activism are growing because of the Dean campaign. We are Dean for America, and we're taking our country back.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
"A Column You May Not See in the Media -- so I'm posting it here.

*********************************************

Commentary

"THE CULT OF DEAN"? OR SOMETHING MORE?

Dr. Dean's words and actions strike chords deep in the core of the American psyche

by Ben Bloggin

DNN-- We've all heard of them-- "Deaniacs". The term implies the phrase "Dean maniac", as in a wild-eyed, irrational fringe personality emotionally super-glued to their candidate. 'Mania' may be an explanation to start, but what about Dean can inspire such tenacity in the first place, and why among so many?

Some will say, and undoubtedly have, that it is a "personality cult". That something about Dr. Dean himself attracts these people. Examining this theory in detail, I find this a difficult sell.

For one, the good Doctor is not what one would call physically awe-inspiring. He stands a "hulking" five-foot-eight in his stockinged feet, and is rather ordinary of appearance. His tenor voice cracks when he shouts. Charleton Heston he is definitely not. We are left, then with Dean's words and actions themselves.

Dean speaks in simple, clear declarative sentences. Often, the sentences are brutally declarative-- he pulls no punches when criticizing this policy or that individual. The matters he speaks of are matters of fundamental American policy-- shall we provide health care to all our people, or not? what budgetary policies should we follow? what should our foreign policy be?

Dean's speech furthermore is steeped in the phrases and attitudes of those documents which are considered to form the cornerstone of American Philosophy, of the world view which distinguishes American culture from any other culture of the world. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, Thomas Paine, the Federalist Papers, and the speech and writings of Martin Luther King flavor his declamations. When one listens to Dean, one is transported back to the schooldays of one's youth, when we studied the founding of America itself, and our hearts swelled with pride at the courage and nobility of our founding fathers. The spirits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry prowl in the back of our dreams-- and Dean, when he speaks, brings them to the fore. It may fairly be said that Dean, to his supporters, is thus a living, breathing incarnation of the founding, the foundational, principles of America. Or in another way, he is a talisman of those principles, which ordinarily are invisible, untouchable things-- but in Dean, take form and gain a voice.

This alone does not complete the story. It is possible (as many of us remember from those same school history classes) to speak of the founding documents of America in a very dry, unexciting fashion. I believe there is also a completely different Dean factor at work, one which operates on an extremely basic, almost limbic human psychological level. This is the phenomenon of The Good Pit Bull.

We've all seen one. A large, powerful, toothy family dog which dotes on the family toddler. The dog curls up around the child, allowing the tot to tug its ears and pull its tail, and bears all small-fingered torments with gentle indulgence. Let a stranger attempt to bother the little one, however, and the dog is airborne, fangs ready for blood, with no higher goal than to tear the interloper limb from limb. Listening to Dean speak, one gets the impression time and time again that Dean is the pit bull to America's, to Americans', toddler. He is not just savage, as the media love to point out. He is savage *in defense of us*.

This evokes a protective response from his followers in turn. The pit bull's family cares deeply for the dog, often going far out of their way to ensure his welfare. You see this same response among Dean supporters. Far from fearing his toothy wrath, they offer him cold remedies on his campaign web-log, and urge him to get enough sleep. As he curls around and offers to protect them, they seek to protect him in turn.

Dean and his supporters have bonded together, as a human tribe does, in pursuit of the common goal of making America more closely resemble its foundational American Philosophy. Perhaps it is fair to say that this is one of the first, or at least one of the strongest, new tribes of the electronic age. Gathered around that Internet "campfire" known as "the blog", the Tribe of Dean warm each other with cameraderie and encouragement, share information and advice, remind each other of the principles that Dean speaks, and share the latest news and ways to further the campaign. A family-outside-the-family, the Dean campaign is a way for these humans to feel like part of a larger world, part of a larger family. These are powerful, basic human motivators, fundamental glue of human social bonds, and are difficult to break.

Posted by Dean Nut In Sandy Eigo at February 9, 2004 08:07 PM"

Have I mentioned how much I love this candidate, this campaign, this country? Go Deaniacs, go swing that bat again. Wisconsin awaits.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bright dreams nasa)
From http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/003587.comments.html

From Larry in Austin )

From Christine in Mass. )
---

And a "what the..." moment regarding Kerry and Wal-Mart. I knew he and his wife were loaded, but cripes. Billions of bucks. Right. Teresa Heinz Kerry. That must've been one doozie of a pre-nup. Yowza.

But because I do try to be at least slightly balanced... from the Kerry campaign website: Kerry Takes On Wal-Mart. Right.

Yeesh.

ETA: This is the Dean movement in a nutshell: go to http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/003587.comments.html and do a search within the page for the commenter "Freethinkin". See the first post at February 7, 2004 12:15 AM ? That's a real live undecided Michigan voter right there. Read the comments from there on down... at least to this one:

Okay, wait a minute. This is unreal. Here's my night.

Log onto the Kerry blog, it's so slow I couldn't stand it.
I got yelled at and called a troll by just about everybody over there. Kinda scary really.

I go to Clark blog, not a word. nothing

I come here and there's this bucketload of people willing to help and talk and. WOW.

You guys are the best reason to vote for Dean. That's just what I'm doing tomorrow. Thanks. Now I can rest easy.
Posted by Freethinkin at February 7, 2004 12:41 AM


I'm happy.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
Mike McAuly and I hosted more than thirty people at the Bakers Square Meetup in Pasadena last night; at least a dozen were new and most were very pumped up about getting involved. Our venue had lots of energy, good ideas, determination, enthusiasm and a whole bunch of great folks! I haven't heard yet about all of the other local venues, but I know Mijares had a good turnout.

People seem to be taking their anger at the media and turning it into even more activism. We offered bumper stickers, buttons and lawn signs, as well as a pile of DVDs from http://howarddeandvd.com/ I'd bought, and by the end, everyone was happily taking armloads home to do their own visibility and "get to know Dr. Dean" gatherings. We wrote all of the postcards to WI and VA and also went over information for the CA district-level delegate caucuses that are happening this weekend. We had plenty of Common Sense pamphlets and the new color ones and most of them got carried out the door along with pledges to continue spreading the word.

Some of our more experienced Dean enthusiasts talked about their experiences writing letters, precinct walking, phone banking and tabling. Suzanne Harris the letter-writing champ was great, and we also mentioned the phenominal Montrose tabling team.

We talked about the deadline to register to vote in the CA primary, welcomed a couple of folks to the Democratic Party, and sent forms home with a few more so they can get their friends and families registered in time to vote in the Primary.

Hopefully our Meetup attendees will soon post the events they were talking about last night on http://commons.deanforamerica.com/ and http://www.sangabrielvalley4dean.org/ and http://www.lafordean.org/ -- as soon as they are able. Some are new to Dean and unfamiliar with some of the tools, but we gave them an introduction and our contact information if they need help.

Also, various attendees mentioned that they are willing to precinct walk and phone bank and they'll be looking for those opportunities to help out on the three websites I listed above. If you need volunteers, please post your events' information there!

There was a lot of interest in writing letters to newspaper editors, TV and radio stations, so we talked about the Rapid Response efforts at http://www.deanrr.com/ and how to get involved with that. A couple of the ladies had already had their letters to the editor published in two of the LA papers, which was a great encouragement to those of us who've yet to take that type of action.

The http://letters.deanforamerica.com/ site has addresses of undecided voters in key states if you can write more personal letters.

Dr. Janice Nelson, and two ladies who are up for district-level delegate candidacy, were there to help us talk about some of the details of the caucuses this weekend... almost everyone else in the room had never been to (or in some cases, never even heard of) how the local delegates are chosen.

There is power and energy here. Anyone who was losing faith in this movement and may have skipped Meetup is more than welcome to come recapture the energy... come to any of the local events near you, and if there aren't any, schedule your own and put them into the Commons site and this San Gabriel site. If you plan it, people will come.

I am so proud to be part of this campaign, of the people, by the people. Go Dean!!

And is that a bat I see for Wisconsin on BlogForAmerica? Yes, it is! We all know what to do with bats... *schwwwing!*
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
If anyone wants to donate to an independent effort, completely unaffiliated with DeanForAmerica, to put ads on radio and possibly television in Washington, Maine, and other states between now and Wisconsin, check out http://www.aspenwilde.com/dfa.htm

I'm not an expert on this sort of fine print thing, but from reading the websites involved and by reading the comments in the blog threads, it is my understanding that because the effort is being coordinated through http://www.truthandhope.org/ which is a 527 organization, completely unaffiliated with DeanForAmerica, donations for these ads are completely unrelated to the individual donation legal limit of $2000 to DeanForAmerica. If folks have maxed out their DFA contributions, you can donate for these ads.

I saw the information about this in comments on the blog threads starting last night, when one woman in Washington state began pricing local radio and newspaper ads and then she connected with the TruthAndHope.org folks. It grew from there, and continues to grow.

You can listen to two of the radio ads from that aspenwilde site I link above. They're just excellent... hopefully this effort will help us make a respectable showing on our way into Wisconsin. Any momentum we can pull together now puts us in a better position for the 17th.

Another thing you can do tonight is join the Dean Rapid Response group, either nationally or in your state. http://www.deanrr.com/ -- responding to media wherever they may be. A lot of people at our Meetup in Pasadena last night were interested in writing letters to newspaper editors, TV and radio stations.

Go DEAN!!!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
I appear to have gremlins in my work computer. Blue error screen coma a couple of the past few nights... not good. I've spent the better part of today debugging, defragging, virus scanning, error checking, cleaning up, backing up... cripes.

However...

I'm really happy about last night's Dean Meetup. See, from what the TV has been telling everyone, the race is already over, Kerry's been crowned, yadda yadda yadda. I went into organizing the Meetup keeping my eye on the prize... getting Bush out of the White House and glad that Dean's message if not the man himself is now at the forefront of the Democratic Party. (Yes, I've been watching the speeches and websites of the other candidates, and they're all sounding a heck of a lot like Dean, well, except for maybe Sharpton.)

Anyway, I renewed my decision to keep making a difference, to not giving up, but I was starting to think that the media and the big faceless corporations had gotten the better of all of us.

I got to Bakers Square wearing a brave face and with information about the campaign's plan and what people could do to help, if they still wanted to. Our regulars started coming in the door asking what else they could do to help, what we could all do differently to get the real message out to people, and then even more Dean supporters arrived, most of them brand new to Dean and Meetup... wow. Incredible energy. Absolutely incredible. We had about the same number of folks at Meetup as we did last month, and I believe we did have more local venues this time around, although reports are still coming in.

I've been checking http://www.blogforamerica.com/ when I could today, and I'm completely fired up again. It got me thinking big thoughts... apologies to Shakespeare, but I just have to say this:

This story shall the good citizens teach their children;
And another election shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We Deaniacs, we happy Deaniacs, we band of activists;
For they today who hit the bat with us, who stand with us,
Shall be my brethren; be they previously of any other political party or in any candidates' thrall,
This year shall they register and vote Democrat for Dean:
And media-believers now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their dedication to democracy cheap whiles any speaks
That stood with us during this election.

Well, it's not perfect, and yes, part of me feels rather sappy, but it does sort of capture how I feel right now. Go Dean!!

I think my next post is going to be more information on what folks can do, right here, right now, to make a difference in this campaign. We still have the power, and the time is now to use it. If you've considered donating (or donating more) to the Dean campaign, now is the time. Check out the blog for details.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
I'd make a video debunking that stupid Club For Growth ad.

I posted the following as a comment to http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/003027.html

I would love to see more postcards like this to build a TV ad, but with entire real families... everything from the standard white two-parents-two-kids-two-grandparents-a-dog-and-a-cat kind of Norman Rockwell folks to every other variation that's part of the campaign and our country.

Use the blue sidebar for basic info about the families. Grandma and Grandpa can wear their Seniors For Dean shirts. The parents can wear the standard official Deanwear. Use Dean families who have a child in the military, fire department, law enforcement or medicine (dressed recognizably or if they are deployed overseas, represented by a framed portrait) and another child or two in college or high school with Generation Dean wear. Put Fido and Fluffy in their Pets For Dean outfits.

Show the same sort of thing, over and over using real families from across America. Have them use their own voices to briefly say the really short talking points of why they support Howard Dean. Have someone in the families each wear their Deanwear appropriate to their message, Nurses For Dean, DeanCorps, Independents for Dean, Christians For Dean etc. One person from each family would speak... "We are Americans." Next family: "We believe in the value of the truth." Next family: "We believe health care should be available for everyone." Next family: "We believe in fiscal responsibility." Next family: "We believe in tolerance." Next family: "We believe in charity." Next family: "We believe that our country is less safe now than before the war." Next family: "We believe in the strength and character of the people of the United States of America."

End with a quick slideshow of an image of each family, in the same order they appeared, with them saying, each family together, "We are" "we are" "we are" "we are" "we are Howard Dean." Put the campaign contact information in the blue bar for that part of the ad.

If I were a video-making kind of person, that'd be the kind of video I'd make.

People Power. Go Howard Go!!!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
The Commons is the place to find local events, plan your own events, and get connected with other Dean supporters. It is the new incarnation of DeanLink and Get Local, and it's awesome! http://commons.deanforamerica.com/

The San Gabriel Valley For Dean site is also awesome; this is the local organization here. http://www.sangabrielvalley4dean.org/

The Dean For California (Californians for Dean) site is cool, too. http://california.deanforamerica.com/

Here is information about how to register to vote absentee or early in California: http://beta.deanforamerica.com/site/cg/index.html?type=page&pagename=cavote

The California Democratic Party site at http://ca-dem.org/ has information about to become a district-level delegate to the national Democratic convention. It's kind of a complicated process, and one that I'm only now understanding, so I'll probably type up a whole entry about it soon, but please do read this. http://ca-dem.org/delegate_info_2004.php?PHPSESSID=96cb1844c735d1275f0345b1333d767b
Also http://california.deanforamerica.com/primary has some additional information about it, as well.

You can download flyers and such at http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/cg/index.html?type=page&pagename=downloads

The "post one and pass it on" printable posters, 8.5x11", are at http://www.velocityxperts.com/?id=580

The posters, yard signs, buttons, shirts, hats... all sorts of goodies, union-made, are available at http://demstore.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/scstore/Dean/?E+scstore They also sell the Meet Howard Dean DVD.

There are Howard Dean-related DVDs available in bulk at http://www.howarddeandvd.com/ They come with pretty little mailers; this is the same kind one of the ladies had at Meetup last night that we passed around a bit, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over.

If you're looking for more interest-specific shirts and totes and such, there are about a zillion little CafePress storefronts which are not affiliated in any way with the campaign. http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/search/?q=howard+dean

If you're looking to download computer-viewable video or audio of Dean's speeches, appearances, or debates, check out the official site at http://www.howarddean.tv/ and an unofficial collections at http://deancore.blogspot.com/deanvideo.htm and http://deancore.blogspot.com/deanaudio.htm

Oh, and the Southwest Victory Express site is at http://swve.fordean.net/

So, does anyone else have cool helpful links to share?
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
(This is crossposted to the San Gabriel Valley For Dean blog. I'll be making another entry here at my journal with all of the links that we discussed, probably in the morning.)

Thanks to everyone who helped make tonight's Meetups a success! I wanted to type this up while all this excitement is very fresh in my mind, but that means that it's late and I'm not remembering everyone's names... my sincere apologies if I forget to mention you and should have.

Mike and I hosted the Meetup tonight at Bakers Square in Pasadena. We got some great help from Mike, Shazia and Suzanne, too. We were expecting two dozen or so, and nearly forty people attended! We had a wonderful time. I believe about fifteen people were brand new to Dean Meetups... they brought plenty of enthusiasm, too!

We started by taking some time for everyone to introduce themselves to their tables and to talk about why they're interested and supporting Dean. Then we moved on to providing forms for voter registration, information about the CA primary, information about the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries and the Big Seven primaries. Then we talked about travel for Dean, to Iowa and New Hampshire and on the Southwest Victory Express to Arizona and New Mexico. Quite a few people mentioned that they're able to travel for Dean, and at least one started organizing her pledges to join the Express right at her table! That's great, Jackie!

We covered information about the California Democratic convention delegate selection process, which is fairly complicated, and I was very glad to have our regional director for the district-level delegates caucuses process there to answer some questions, though her name escapes me at the moment and I'm not quite sure I've got that title correct. Dr. Janice Nelson also stopped by with yard signs, which were a huge hit. I think she even ended up dashing home to get more for us! We'd brought bumper stickers and buttons, too, and they were also very popular. I look forward to seeing more Dean-mobiles on the local streets and freeways!

We talked about the new Commons site at http://commons.deanforamerica.com/ and a whole bunch of upcoming local events in the next month, including phone banking to Iowa, victory days letterwriting parties for Iowa and South Carolina, working meetings, the DeanCorps event benefitting InnerCity Struggle, and Get Out The Vote planning meetings.

Suzanne described her experience working in the phone bank in LA last weekend; it was great to have a first-hand account of what that's like and how easy it is!

We brainstormed a bit about quirky ways to spread the word about Dean, including wearing t-shirts while travelling, having business cards to pass out with you, hanging banners in your windows, giving Deanwear and Dean DVDs as gifts, and remembering to actually stick your bumper stickers on your car. Nearly everyone is already enthused about doing phone banking and precinct walking and working voter registration tables for the CA primary... the next 54 days are going to be very exciting.

Then we got down to business and wrote letters to Iowa and New Hampshire. It's always amazing to watch new Meetup-ers thinking about what they want to write, and then setting pen to paper. Reaching out to a fellow American whom you've never met, and writing about your own concerns for our country and our future is an incredible thing, and it shows.

I'm really looking forward to the local events coming up in the next month. I'm looking at my calendar trying to figure out if I can spare a weekend for the Southwest Express. And I'm really looking forward to the next Meetup. If the other Meetups nearby were as large as ours, we're going to need an additional venue or two next month!

Most important of all, the energy in the room was exceptional... people from all different backgrounds coming together and making a difference, right there, making new friends and motivating ourselves and each other. We really are taking back our country.

Thanks for a wonderful evening, everyone!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
I was one of three coordinator-hosts for the Dean Meetup at the Coco's in Pasadena tonight. We had a lovely little crowd of fourteen, good food, better conversation, and much enthusiasm. Our group was one of many that met in the local area and one of very, very many who met nation-wide (and world-wide, the Expats for Dean are incredible, too!) tonight.

I feel like I could march outside and take on the whole wide world right now.

Please, if you haven't already, read over Howard Dean's Common Sense for a New Century pamphlet.

If you live in the local area, check out the new website of the San Gabriel Valley For Dean group, at http://www.sangabrielvalley4dean.org/ -- there are Victory Day events on December 18th and all sorts of other good stuff.

Wherever you live, check out the Get Local tab on the official blog and website, and type in your zip code and how far you're willing to travel. It will show you all sorts of events in your local area that other Dean supporters have organized and put into the Get Local system... flyering, voter registration tables, fundraisers, Dean Corps community volunteer events, plays and benefit shows, charity walk/runs, steering committee meetings, groups getting together to travel to the early primary states to volunteer... all sorts of things you can do right now, right in your local area, to make a difference, whether small and personal, or huge and national.

There's also DeanLink to help you connect with other folks to attend and organize your own local events.

We're part of something really big and really powerful and really wonderful here, folks. We're making it happen.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Howard Dean)
I was feeling kind of under the weather, so I almost skipped out and just came straight home from work, but I had second and third thoughts about that and I'm very glad that I did.

I went to a planning meeting for the next Dean Meetup, since I'm now an officially approved data entry person for the San Gabriel Valley For Dean group. Exciting stuff. Brainstorming and ideas for flyers and increasing both numbers and enthusiasm at Meetups and other events, sharing information on how to get more information about local events going on for volunteers... there's some amazing energy going on.

Met some great people, tried not to over-commit myself so I don't end up burning out and letting people down, but at the same time, I really care about this campaign and want to do my utmost.

I don't naturally strike a very good balance... I've been told that I tend to have two speeds: bat outta hell and full stop. This makes activism a bit tricky at times.

It's going to be an interesting ride, from now until November 2004. Go Howard Go!!


And then I came home to a package sitting on my doorstep with my order from Wil Wheaton. Please pardon me, I seem to need a bit of a fangirl moment... oh, he's such an awesome writer, and he's really a nice guy on top of that, and I am very happy right now... *deep breath* OK, I'm fine now. *happy smile*

Hey, Wil, if you're reading this: Thank you! You rock like a rocking thing, and I'm proud to be part of your posse!

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