Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Salute to Volunteers

After the glow of activist participation has dimmed a few things will come to mind:

One can never thank the volunteers enough.
When planning an action - keep in mind that people are participating by donating their time, personal resources, talent and funds to its success. If you're going to write a summary of the day, ask yourself, have I written a note of thanks to the volunteers yet? If the answer is no, then get those emails written first. Because folks will compromise their schedules to fit these actions in, so while you're sending follow up emails to the new contacts in your Palm Pilot, send a personal thank you note to the volunteers, too.

Volunteers can't live on love-of-country alone.
I've worked on independent film projects where many folks are donating their time and talent for free. We, at the very least, will provide a break for folks to grab a bite or provide lunch, snacks, beverages. If this is not in your schedule, then you haven't planned it through. If you can't do this, then find someone who can.

DO NOT get huffy with volunteers.
You lose your temper, you lose respect. Check acerbic tendencies at the door. Consider yourself Ambassador to VolunteerLandia. If your strength isn't dealing with people, then allow someone else to guide your volunteers.

Just remember that each member's participation is invaluable. Make it a beneficial experience for them as well.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

People Powered Politics

Net Roots is something you should know about. It's a group of folks gathering in their states, not in person, but online through Google Groups. They've decided to do more than just complain about state and national politics.
For example, take a look at what us New Yorkers had the gall to do recently:

Yup, we actually visited our Senators' Offices. I wrote to friends about the stark contrast between our reception at each office and I have to share this response, from a wise friend, with you:
Hillary Clinton's reception (or lack thereof) of the group is a further illustration that she is not much better than her Republican counterparts. If she is the best candidate we have to do battle in 2008, we are in trouble (again). Interesting how the receptionist wanted to know what company these people represented; a further example of who many, if not most, members of congress believe their constituency is.

The Schumer response was much more what I would expect my senator to do.

Regarding Nancy Polosi: I admire her spunk, and side with her positions, but she lacks the ability to deliver an off the cuff speech that can hold the attention of those "not in the choir". Also, her energy message does not tell the complete story. We Americans have been spoiled by cheap gas for ages while citizens of most other nations endure prices up to twice what we pay at the pump. Of course, the pump price is not our actual cost, which comes in the form of higher taxes to protect our access to the oil supply. These other nations have dealt with the real price of energy by using mass transit and driving sensibly sized vehicles. They don't give tax breaks to business owners to offset the cost of a Hummer or Lincoln Navigator, at the expense of every other taxpayer, not to mention their impact on the environment.

If the Democrats are looking for a cause, The Environment is the place to be. Within that subject are issues of the carbon effect on severe weather patterns, national security (energy independence), health and managing personal finances through tough times of energy procurement.

The Republicans will throw up political smoke screens in the form of Anti-gay marriage, Anti-choice, and Anti-immigration initiatives, all in an effort to diffuse the real issues of sustainability and survivability in the competitive global market place. Cogent arguments why environmental issues affect people's lives in real ways, in language understandable by the masses must be presented and the voices of our spokespersons must be heard above din. The concept of Global Warming is not something that is readily understood by most of our citizenry, and new terminolgy must be developed to better advance the message.

Join Net Roots by sending an email to:, list your state as the subject of your email. You will be added to your state's discussion group. Participate as much or as little as your schedule allows. It's your group. It's your country.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bush is Tracking YOU

Listen up: Bush wants to know who you're calling and emailing...wait, he already knows!
The Times article disclosing the data mining program last December quoted officials in the government and the telecommunications industry who have knowledge of parts of the program as saying the N.S.A. has sought to analyze communications patterns to glean clues from details like who is calling whom, how long a phone call lasts and what time of day it is made, and the origins and destinations of phone calls and e-mail messages. Calls to and from Afghanistan, for instance, are known to have been of particular interest to the N.S.A. since the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said.

Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who is also on both the judiciary and intelligence panels, expressed dismay over what he termed the administration's "arrogance and abuse of power." He said the United States can fight terrorism and still protect privacy, "but only if we have a president who believes in these principles."

We'll have to wait until 2008, Russ.

Excerpt from NY Times article, Written by By John O'Neil
Image By Dan Heller,