Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween

From Teresa Heinz Kerry and Thomas the Pirate

Three Hours, One Vote

Mike and I just drove across Jacksonville (America's biggest city in terms of surface area, I've learned) to bring an absentee ballot to an elderly voter who said he had no way to get to the polls. When we got there, the guy barely spoke to us, walked ably from chair to kitchen (where another able-bodied person was standing) for a beer, signed, then sent us out past the two new vehicles in his driveway.
We then went on a 45-minute ride to the Supervisor of Elections Office (where the Republican 'filming' was going on last week.) They're early voting there even on Sunday, and it was hoppin.' There are crews of Republican operatives with giant lanyarded credentials and outfits that look more IBM than Intracoastal Waterway in 85 degree heat.

Got the ballot, tomorrow, we go back to collect it.

The Best Part Of The Game

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.
...was talking to this lady, a true undecided voter whom I met in line for chair massages in the beer tent. We started talking about how hot it was, Atlanta, the shrimp stand, then she noticed my "When Clinton Lied, Nobody Died" pin and started asking questions. 45 minutes later, the issues that made up her mind:
1) She's smart enough to know that 'abstinence only' programs are not going to keep her 19-year old daughter from "doing what kids and hormones do." So having the right to choose made safe for the next decades is a big deal.
2) She's a Christian but not everyone has to be; she wants a President who makes decisions based on facts, not 'faith.'

Nice Theme

W had been using Orleans' 70's Muzak chestnut "Still The One" to open and close his rallies-until he got a cease and desist order from the songwriter (who's a former Democratic legislator, hmm, do you think they might have anticipated his consternation?) this weekend.

Looks like they can't even keep a promise about a soundtrack:

"Out of deference to Mr. Hall's views, the song will no longer be played," Bush campaign spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish said. Hours later, however, the song popped up on the sound system at a Bush rally in Columbus, Ohio. A campaign spokesman said the song was piped inadvertently into the arena as part of a video montage.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Kerry Better For Gators

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.

Flies With Honey

As the afternoon goes on, we've been happily swamped with people from this lively crowd of nearly 90,000 who have come to take stickers, yard signs, and high fives from our team. It's helped me keep a happy attitude. I'm having fun smiling and waving at the W fans who scowl, complimenting the girls on their shoes or tube tops, wishing the fellows good luck and a happy time at the game. The kind of thing a love child of Gandhi and Elle Woods would do.

Some find this confusing, some relax a bit and seem to accept that we are all here together, as fortunate free Americans who are more concerned about this game than silly politics.

One guy came over with his buddies, who were all Kerry supporters. He, the tallest and the apparent Alpha of the group, had on a Dawgs for W button. His hair was artfully gelled in faux dishevelment: "Are you allowed to put one of your Kerry stickers on my ass?" he inquired.

I winked and said: “Anywhere, we get high visibility, buddy. Bend on over.”

Kerry Better For Dawgs

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.

New Heckling Response From JK's Fellow Vets

vets4kerryI just met three guys who served in Vietnam. They're here with Vets for Kerry, and we were chatting about their going back to the country this summer when a herd of frat boys came up and started screaming "BUSH! BUSH! YOU SUCK!" in our faces. One of the vets calmly smiled and asked:

"Why aren't you in Iraq?"

No answer.

Kevin Channels Vanna

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.
Football fans, we're ready.


For the 82nd year, hordes of fans are in Jacksonville for the Big Game. I'll be there too, running the Kerry tent and table outside the stadium. Kevin, my 'co-chair' told me: "The game is just a small piece of the puzzle: there are a dozen other events around town for Kerry...the most exciting thing about the campaign is that there seem to be so many more democrats than I've ever seen around here. They're 'coming out of the closet' because so much is a stake. They'res fear in the eyes of the W people. They were overconfident and they've been suprised at the response that Kerry has gotten here in Northeast Florida. They've had to start spending money here."

Not A Panther

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.
I've called it that four times this morning and I keep getting strange looks. It's the Jacksonville Jaguar.

But those are nothing compared to the looks I've been getting from people with Bush stickers plastered over outfits ranging from Steeplechase Chic to Go-Kart Derby. True, virulent feeling here on this searingly hot afternoon.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Your Must-See For the Next 4 Days

Bookmark this, play often until the desired result is achieved.

Tacky Thieves For Kerry

A guy just came in with a check for $100. "I'm here to make a donation!" he shouted out, red-faced. The lady at the desk thanked him and asked "anything in particular that inspired you to come in?" "Yeah!" he said, slightly calmer. "Some SOB stole my Kerry yard sign for the third time. So, today, I made a new sign: "YOU STOLE MY SIGN. YOU'RE UNDEMOCRATIC. I JUST DONATED $100 TO THE DEMOCRATS. STEAL AGAIN, I GIVE AGAIN. THANKS, MORONS."

Made It!

Got to Florida right after sunrise, reached Dem HQ as the opened. It has been quite a trained as a "Poll Greeter" (no, you don't get a blue vest with flair), and talked to a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Consitution doing a story on the flood of folks descending on the Sunshine State.

For the past two hours, I've been helping the guys on the 'computer crew' wrestle lists of poll watchers into an Excel database. Those of you who know me know that spreadsheets float at the bottom of my list of least favorite, John Kerry, if you ever doubt how much I want you to win, think of me and my bleary eyes, having a blast.

Hey, the self-timer does work-even at 6:30 a.m.

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.

Getting there...thanks to iPod, ABBA, and Evita.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Calling All iMovie Patriots

Got a problem with voter intimidation and election stealing? Got a camera? Sign up with Video Vote Vigil and you can help...also features W's classy 'victory salute.' (I know, I can't exactly say too much given the nerve disorder that causes that one finger to flick up every time I see a Bush sticker. Carpal Tunnel Tourette's.)

Hey George-Sizzler is hiring!

Big issue in Florida: Amendment 5 would increase minimum wage in the state from the current Federal rate of $5.15 (Bush has prevented raising it not once, but seven times) to the princely sum of...$6.15. Combined with an earned-income tax credit, this would bring low-income families (gasp!) a little bit closer to a living wage. To put things in perspective, if you work full-time at the current extremely minimum wage, you make around $10K a year, 30% below the poverty line.

12 other states and Washington, D.C. have taken similar action, and it does not cost jobs or hurt the economy: Raising wages actually by putting more money in peoples’ pockets, meaning more spendable income. A minimum wage worker would get a raise of $2000 per year that will then help support businesses.  And virtually every reputable economic study has found that workers don’t get fired when minimum wages are passed or increased.

Bags Are Packed

What's inside:
Pocket-sized digital camera - Video camera (that's right, I can film election blockers right back) -VOTE T-shirt (model popularized by Avril LaVigne) - John Kerry T-Shirt - Lucky Black Boots (You have never failed me. Now get me a new President) - No C.A.R.B. T-shirt (Cheny, Ashcroft Rumsfeld, Bush, absolutely no Rice) - Bathing suit for beach canvassing -
Red Sox Hat - Baby Pink Saucony sneakers - Democratic Halloween Costume (to be revealed later) - Dress outfit for victory party

Economist endorses Kerry and Checks the Grass Roots

They endorsed W in 2000. Here's their new article on the "ground game."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Part of the Solution-Thanks, Dad

I just got the sweetest e-mail from my father.

A snippet: "Have been thinking about you and what you are doing for the election--I am very proud of you and I truly believe that its people like you who are going to make the difference..."

Aw, I'm just one of a lot of passionate people who are going to make a big difference, in all kinds of ways and places. My Dad will be a poll worker again, as he's done for years, both in Florida and in New York. I helped him out when I was in high school and remember that the donuts they brought in around midnight were the most exciting thing that happened at the Board of Elections. Back in the day...

I'm lucky and grateful to have been raised by parents who quoted and lived by this line of Eldridge Cleaver's: "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

Dear "Yes Bush Can" team: Thanks!

Yes Bush Can: A group that tooled around the U.S with a tricked out bus bearing W's likeness, using lights, confetti and videos to enliven stump speeches on Bush policies. You could sign your very own Patriot Pledge when the bus came to town. They asked bloggers to help 'de-bunk' stories such as DUI arrests for Bush and Cheney and the underage boozing of the First Twins. Their site had a movie of "Cheney: A Great American Hero" (wonder if he had on a curly wig and tights? Or is that the Greatest American Hero?)

Today, they endorsed John Kerry. They joined 36 newspapers that had originally endorsed Bush as wll as American Conservative Magazine. (editor: Pat Buchanan) Yes Bush Can will be adding Jacksonville to their new itinerary, going door-to door in this mostly African-American city where 11,000 votes were never counted in 2000. If I see any of them, I'm going to offer them a drink (of water or Diet Rock Star from my travel pack, of course.) It takes guts, boldness, and what I think is true patriotism to change course in the face of facts, and to marshal your efforts to do what you've come to see is the better thing. (i.e. John Kerry/Veterans for Peace)

"In the course of our travels, we ended up learning more about Bush's policies than he wanted us to know," said Harmon Spellmeyer, one of the Yes, Bush Can team. "We came to see that this administration is a catastrophe for most people."

For My Republican Friends

Yes, I do have them. Excellent people who are kind, lead great lives, have fantastic families and robust senses of humor. I hope that any of them who may still be in the undecided zone take a look at this excellent post by Halley:

"Democrats have their laundry-list of objections to Bush's last four years. But I still think it's the Republicans who've suffered the most. Republicans have really been kicked in the gut by their leader and will let him know how they feel about it. Bush has made it embarrassing to be a Republican and nearly impossible to call yourself a conservative.

There's no "there" there in this Republican party. You can't stand for fiscal responsibility and restraint if you're a Bush supporter. You can't stand for fairness or for that tattered document, The Constitution, if you're a Bush supporter. You can't stand for the separation of Church and State if you're a Bush supporter. You can't be proud of his record as the leader of our military. You have nowhere to stand.

Shall I post some pictures of Abu Gharib prison? Shall I describe the monsterous deficit and the direct correlation between that terrifying number and the happy folks who earn over $200,000 annually with tumbling tax rates? Shall I ask where the missing 377 tons of munitions are? Shall I ask why it's okay for Bush to have a tenuous grip on reality but boast of a direct line to God?

I think we'll all had enough and in the final weeks, I think rational Republicans are going to be left with a difficult decision. I think they cannot vote for Bush. And I think they cannot NOT vote. I think they may just be angry enough to vote a far more conservative candidate, John Kerry, into office."

Read the whole post: "Kerry Landslide"

Dirty Tricks, Noticed

Just heard on Air America's "Morning Sedition" that the BBC story below led their broadcast and a number of other international newscasts last night. Did you see it on your TV?

One thing I learned this morning: the Democratic Party has taken a pledge not to block voters (the Klan was known for doing this.) The Republicans have not.

Too Bad This Is On Vs. The Red Sox

Tonight's '60 Minutes' will take a look at the ways the "e" in e-voting might as well stand for "evil" or "evasive." Hit theTiVo or read about it here.

A peek:

"New computerized voting systems are the target not just of lawsuits. There are also fears that the vote could be rigged by people making or running the machines. The head of one of the companies that makes touchscreen devices, Diebold's Wally Odell, touched off controversy when he wrote last year in a GOP fund-raising letter: "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dirty Tricks in Jacksonville

This BBC Newsnight story details some of the unsavory ways Republicans are working to keep African-American voters away from the polls:

"Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list". It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida. An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight:

"The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day." Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot...Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the list was not put together "in order to create" a challenge list, but refused to say it would not be used in that manner...she did acknowledge that the party's poll workers will be instructed to challenge voters, "Where it's stated in the law." There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington. "

Reporters spotted a private detective filming all the "early voters" (primarily African-American) from behind a car with its' windows blacked out (the better to see them with?) These folks are almost all Democrats.

Well, evildoers, I have this to say: I know what you're up to, and I strive to always be camera-ready. I hope you'll like my Halloween costume.

What is this thing called Blog?

Since you're reading, this, you already have a good idea. But since I've encountered a few blank and semi-blank looks when talking about recording my Florida trip in blog form, here are the basics: A blog could be described as an online journal. Technology makes it possible to publish instantaneously and with as much ease as penning an e-mail. Blogs generally link to other blogs and spice up their postings (entries) with links to other sites. You can take part in the conversation: there are generally spaces for the reader to send in a comment or question.

From tough stories that might not otherwise be broken to gossip trashy enough for the best water coolers, blogs thrive "unconstrained by such journalistic conventions as good taste, accountability and objectivity - and that can be a good thing. Accusations of media bias are thick on the ground these days, and Americans are tired of it. Blogs don't pretend to be neutral: they're gleefully, unabashedly biased, and that makes them a lot more fun." (from a June TIME magazine cover story)

I'm lucky enough to have been initiated into this world by one of its leading women, Blog Czarina Halley Suitt. She's a funny, feisty, ferociously smart woman who wrote "How To Become An Alpha Male In 18 Easy Lessons" on her addictive blog, Halley's Comment.She's appeared on 'Oprah' and written for the Harvard Business Review - and for Penthouse. Halley calls blogs by many names: "the last place on earth to tell the truth, watching brains at work, a love letter, a diary, an open head - for the reader's convenience."

Bodacious Bumper Stickers

Recently spotted in Atlanta:

>A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds -Emerson
>No one died when Clinton lied
>Re-defeat Bush
>Help the environment: plant a Bush back in Texas
>If you can read this, you're not President
>Bush/Cheney for Prison
>Bush: President in need of an Intern

Esther Weighs In

"Our greatest risk is not terrorism, and it’s not Iraq or the Axis of Evil. Our greatest risk is a lack of leadership, a lack of honesty, and a complete lack of consciousness."

-Madonna on W

Monday, October 25, 2004

Kerry Phone Team's Newest Member

Originally uploaded by kaytwhy.
This is my mother, Jane Yandoh, who started calling people in swing states tonight using the super-easy Kerry phone feature .

My mother is not a fan of technology. She doesn't enjoy talking to strangers as much as I do. Until yesterday, she wasn't sure what a blog was.

But she took a few minutes, dialed Wisconsin, and made a difference while wearing her bathrobe. Snaps, props, and a round of applause!

Want to see a Florida Voting Machine?

Aah, the fun folks at Boom Chicago-Amsterdam provided me many a chuckle when I used to go see them perform on the Leidseplein. Thanks to Larry and Mo-Mashu for sending me this video to prepare for the trip.

Livin' On A Prayer, Raisin' A Cool Mil

Jon Bon Jovi just raised over $1 million for Kerry at a New Jersey house party. The new album is called "This Left Feels Right." Here's what he said:

"I’ve received hate-mail at my house. I’ve had people drive by my home and shout things out," he said. "And I think that they question my patriotism because I decided to stand up and have a voice. And I stood up to have a voice because I think that’s the most American thing that you can do."

Baby, you give America a good name.

A-Town: Get Your Vote On

Today is the first day of early voting in Georgia. I parked right in front, was in at 7:20, out by 7:45, and met a lot of nice folks, including a few local candidates. The only thing that would have made it better: some kind of paper evidence of my vote, not available thanks to those who think that: 1)Nothing ever goes wrong with computers and 2) Stealing is still winning.
Enough of that: here's where to go if you are in the Atlanta Metro area.

Five reasons to vote early:
1) You're free to volunteer on Election Day: drive folks to the polls, hold a sign, phone bank, do what needs to be done to win as many votes as possible
2) Less traffic, lower blood pressure
3) You'll be among friends. From the AJC: "Those laboring in Georgia's political trenches generally agree: This November, Georgia Democrats should squeeze a few more votes out of the five extra days of balloting than Republicans. Numbers from Secretary of State Cathy Cox bear them out. In the July primary, Democrats cast nearly 9,000 more advance ballots than Republicans did."
4) Wear your cute "Georgia Voter" sticker a few days longer and inspire more "hey, have you voted?" conversations
5) Fight against possible disruption as described here (WARNING: a little long and quite scary. Scroll to the bottom for a possible scenario for this election.) The author, Wayne Madsen, is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He served in the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Base of Operations

I wonder if I should bring some extra Kerry signs for the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, where we'll be staying?

"Under Democrats, the rich get richer....and so do a lot of other people. That's the difference."
-Floridian and Talk Show Queen Randi Rhodes

Regime Change: 9 Shopping Days Left

Look hot in one of these:

I love my Todd Oldham V-OTE shirt (thanks Larry and Wade!) and it has inspired many conversations with undecided voters (as well as those who just like to ogle chests. Hey, whatever it takes.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Vehicle For Change

The next time you see one of those yellow ribbon "support our troops" magnets next to a big flag on an SUV, think of this:

Lys Swift, Minnesota mother of two, veteran, citizen, out in the cold with a grease pencil, writing. She's covered her car with the names of every single coalition soldier killed in Iraq and the date the died. She's added the names of civilians on the Geo Prizm's roof. ("I have looked at a list of Iraqi war dead, but only 3,500 or so of the thousands who have died have been identified, so I put the names of people working for the coalition, like contractors who've been killed" Swift explained.)

See her car, read her story here.

Then and Numbers

We have always known heedless self-interest was bad morals. We now know that it is bad economics.
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

$127 billion - Amount of U.S. budget surplus in fiscal year 2001, the last year Clinton was president.
$374 billion - Amount of U.S. budget deficit in fiscal year 2003.
#1 - This year's deficit will be the biggest in U.S. history.
$7.29 trillion - Current national debt .
$1.98 billion - Amount on average the national debt increases each day.
$139,797,356,981 – Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to U.S. citizens.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Why Florida, Why Kerry, Why Blog?

Less than two weeks until the election, four days until I leave for Jacksonville to volunteer with the Kerry campaign. I've never been this politically active-or this angry.

I live just a few hours drive from the nutty king of all swing states, the place you've become tired of hearing will decide this election. (Wouldn't it be great if we had an election this time instead of an appointment?) Thanks to the hospitality of my dear friends (who may even be Republicans but are hosting me anyhow) Jennifer and Mike, I have a place to stay while volunteering as a Kerry Traveler

In the proverbial nutshell: George W. has misled our country into a disasterous war, capriciously ignoring two centuries of American political doctrine and killing and injuring thousands of people while providing Al-Queda with a the recruiting poster of their twisted dreams. He's against a woman's right to control her own body and future, he's fiscally irresponsible, environmental poison, anti-gay, and he was a cheerleader in high school. (OK, the last one is forgivable-but true.)

John Kerry is a smart, tough, principled man who can restore America's respect abroad, help Americans besides the very rich, white, and Christian. He'll increase funding for education and make a health care a right for all of us, and he has a plan to pay for it. He has an Atticus Finch quality about him and he's been a friend to women since he helped set up one of the country's first rape crisis centers in the 70s.

This blog will give you a peek into a time in history you'll want to tell your granchildren about. I hope that won't be with tears of frustrated rage in your eyes.

Even Your Cousins Think You're Bad For America

Interesting perspective

Got 10 Minutes?

The new phone banking feature on the Kerry site is nothing short of amazing.

Here's the deal: you click on, and 'sign out' the names and numbers of five people in swing states. These are all folks who have gone to to volunteer. You'll see info about a canvassing (=going door-to door, in groups, to chat with the undecided) event in their area, and you simply give them a reminder and the necessary information. The screen allows you to note if the person was home, if they're interested in attending, and leaves you space to write their comments to share with the campaign team.

I've talked to people from Washington State, Wisconsin, and Florida. One was a woman who's volunteered for Kerry since his first Senate campaign. One runs a business providing needy senior citizens with more affordable prescription drugs. Another is going canvassing with her three-month old twins in a tricked out Kerrry-Edwards stroller.

Most of us have either cell phones with unlimited plans or internet phone service, making it free and easy.

Get started here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Vote for Verbalizing

A post I wrote for the blog of Worthwhile Magazine


It's not even noon, and I've already had three passionate conversations with total strangers: only one of these talks was about the stunning Sox. We've heard a lot about this being an autumn marked by unprecedented levels of political debate spilling from the water cooler to the gas pump to the 'pick up your beverage here' line.

I think this is fantastic. If the twist of reality shows and celebrity sex scandals can regularly earn chatting time, why can't themes which truly impact our lives do the same? Yes, people are revved up, but I'm glad so many have moved off 'idle'. Plus, knowing that the choice of President could be a talking point at any second has encouraged me to read more, look harder for facts, and practice the fine art of gentle, balanced disagreement. It's helped me practice respect for differing points of view and for those exercising the option to say: "You know, I'd really rather not talk about it [at work/at this party/ever in order to maintain our friendship]."

Shelle Rose Charvet, author of "Words That Change Minds: Mastering the Language of Influence," recently wrote: "Political discussions, if handled properly by co-workers, can be an opportunity to increase respect in the workplace....When someone makes a statement of a political stance, co-workers can respond by saying: 'Aren't we lucky to live in a country where we can hold and discuss different points of view? Your comment makes me be grateful for that. My view on this is different. Can I tell you what I think?'"

A bit of a mouthful, but an interesting approach.