Saturday, June 27, 2009



The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Taxes aren't high in Florida

Clean energy reform won't wreak havoc on local economies

Sonia Sotomayor is not an activist judge

Cap-and-trade will not cost American families $3,100 per year

The Dem health care plan won't leave 23 million Americans without health insurance

The stimulus money does create jobs

The public option is not responsible for the high CBO estimates -- it's not even included in those estimates

Climate change is not climate improvement

Important Reading


Good stuff you all should read from bloggers around the country...

Burnt Orange Report: Bill White, Twitter, & Social Media: Texas Democrats Adapt to Internet Organization

CQ Politics: Facebook: Opposition Research Dream Come True

Future Majority: The Myth of Partisanship Being a Bad Thing

Progress Florida (Ray Seaman): Civics Education: A Long-Term Fix for Florida Politics

AMERICAblog: One third of sharks now threatened

Jack & Jill Politics: The Jena 6 are Free!!!

Open Left: So You Want to Organize a Union?

Pam's House Blend: Heterosexual Privilege- Some Talking Points

madfloridian: Tired of hearing we "don't have the votes." Yes, we do have the votes to pass the Democratic agenda.

What's Going On: The Future of the Republican Party


Eye on Miami (Gimleteye): The Party of Jeb Stands for What?

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Go Lemmings Go!

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Pup Tent

Bark Bark Woof Woof: And Go Where?

The Spencerian: A Long Slow Road for Conservatives

South Florida Daily Blog: Are They With Us Or Against Us?

What's Going On: U.S. Senate


Wonk Room: Florida Senate Candidate Marco Rubio Speaks Spanish To Win Votes, But Espouses English-Only Policies

Down With Tyranny: The Right Riseth-- Rubio Is Just Burying Crist

Why Now?: Miller Endorsement

The Spencerian: Dropping Charlie Like a Rock

FLA Politics: Marco's Hypocrisy

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Florida Fault Line

Daily Kos: Polling and Political Wrap-Up, 6/12/09

Daily Kos: FL-Sen: The battle of the holier-than-thous

Down With Tyranny: Candidates' Reactions On Tough Issues Tell You What Kind Of A Senator They Are Likely To Be-- Kendrick Meek And Jennifer Brunner

National Politics Round-up


What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Progress Florida (Ray Seaman): Campaigning on Marriage Equality

2. Smooth Like Remy: What's Good For The Goose...

3. Bark Bark Woof Woof: Forgive and Forget

4. virtualista's posterous: Iran's Government Structure: Pretty Redonk

5. ReidBlog: As Michael's death sinks in

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else

Friday, June 26, 2009

CNBC: Alan Grayson Asks for Investigation on $306B Treasury-Fed-FDIC Citigroup Deal

Alan Grayson continues to do the job he was elected to do -- the job many other members of Congress refuse to do:

The text of Grayson's letter:

June 24, 2009

Neil Barofsky
Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP)
Office of the SIGTARP
1500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 1064
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Inspector General Barofsky,

Thank you for your service as the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. We face enormous challenges in restoring stability to the financial sector and repairing the economy, and I firmly believe that we will not succeed until we have a detailed and specific understanding of the terms of the various government bailouts to the financial sector. With that in mind, I write to ask you to conduct an audit of the various guarantees extended to Citigroup through the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Treasury TARP funds under your authority to oversee the use of bailout monies and associated guarantees.

Congress has very little information regarding the asset guarantee arrangements that the Federal government struck with Citigroup in November, 2008. According to what we do know in the Section 129 report filed with the relevant Congressional committees in November, 2008, the Treasury, FDIC, and Federal Reserve entered into a ‘loss-sharing arrangement’ with Citigroup on a designated pool of $306 billion in “primarily mortgage-related assets currently held by Citigroup”. This pool was “comprised of loans and securities backed by residential and commercial real estate, associated hedges, and such additional assets as may be agreed by Citigroup and the agencies.”

While the assets are still held on the books of Citigroup and the cash flow from these assets accrues to Citigroup, the total downside risk to the Federal Reserve alone from this loss-sharing deal is $234.4 billion. I have multiple concerns about the terms of the deal, including the circumstances under which it was struck, benefits to the government, potential losses to the taxpayer, the prevalence of mortgage fraud in the asset pool, and conflicts of interest regarding contractors involved in pricing and managing risk for the Federal Reserve. My questions are as follows.

1) How was this deal negotiated by Citigroup, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury? How does this loss-sharing arrangement benefit taxpayers?

To date, documents and transcripts describing the negotiations that led to this loss-sharing arrangement are not publicly accessible. How was this deal negotiated? Why did representatives of taxpayers extend more than $200 billion of guarantees to Citigroup, and how likely is it that Citigroup will begin to draw upon this guarantee? What were the benefits to the government in settling upon these terms?

2) What are current mark-to-market losses to the Federal Reserve in this loss-sharing arrangement?

The Federal Reserve has claimed that it will incur no losses, per page 4 of the Section 129 report:

In light of the substantial protections against loss provided by Citigroup, the Treasury, and the FDIC that must be exhausted before any financing would be provided under the facility, and the fact that any financing provided under the facility would be fully collateralized, the Federal Reserve does not expect that the Reserve Bank’s facility will result in any losses to the Federal Reserve or the taxpayer.

There are two reasons why I find this assumption questionable. One, the Federal Reserve made this claim about the $30B in non-recourse loans it extended to Maiden Lane LLC when brokering the sale of Bear Stearns to JP Morgan. According to the Fed’s hand-picked pricing firm, and with no outside auditing of these assets, the Fed showed at least a $3B loss on the books as of April, 2009. Claims that this drop in value is temporary and a result of a liquidity problem have not been substantiated. I see no reason why the Federal Reserve’s similar claims about the much larger pool of Citigroup assets should be taken any more seriously. Two, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit told the House Financial Services Committee that Citigroup put this loss-sharing arrangement (or ‘insurance’ as he put it) on his company’s balance sheet. Yet, the Federal Reserve has not put this guarantee on its balance sheet, arguing that Citigroup has not drawn upon the arrangement. This discrepancy needs to be reconciled.

3) What is the current cash flow from these assets? Are these assets performing?

While mark-to-market accounting is one approximation to understand possible losses to the taxpayer, the mortgages underlying these assets do represent cash flows from real houses and businesses with real occupants and tenants. There is a substantial difference between the value of a mortgage backing a home in a healthy neighborhood and the value of a mortgage backing a housing tract in Las Vegas that is being reclaimed by the desert. What is this cash flow? If you take a sample of these assets, are they performing? Just how ‘toxic’ are the assets the taxpayer is guaranteeing?

4) Who should be held accountable for the reckless acquisition of a third of a trillion dollars in assets that ended up requiring a government guarantee?

I would like to know how this $306 billion was acquired, and the names of the risk officers and executives in charge of overseeing the concentration of this risk onto Citigroup’s portfolio. It is critical to understand who created this enormous liability for the taxpayer so that we can begin to hold them accountable. When we know who did what, the SEC and other regulatory agencies can begin to examine whether any relevant rules and regulations were broken, and whether these individuals are ‘unfit to serve’ as officers or board members of public companies. It would be truly tragic were this situation recur with these same individuals responsible.

5) Which vendors are pricing these assets, and are there conflicts of interest present in these vending arrangements?

I am concerned about possible conflicts of interest involved in the pricing and management of these assets. Which vendors are pricing and involved in handling these assets on behalf of the US taxpayer? What are the terms of the arrangements for these vendors? What conflicts of interest might this present to taxpayers when disposing of these or similar assets? For the Bank of America deal, whose term sheet is similar, the Federal Reserve is using PIMCO as a pricing agent for government-guaranteed assets. Yet PIMCO has created a vulture fund to buy similar assets, raised the specter of serious conflicts of interest for that deal. What about Citigroup’s government guaranteed asset pool, which is three times the size? Only a clear account of the terms of this entire deal will allow the public and Congress to understand fully the responsibilities we have incurred in allowing the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to sign these long-term arrangements using emergency powers.

6) Is the Federal Reserve guaranteeing assets generated from lender-induced mortgage fraud and predatory lending practices?

It is important to understand the extent to which the mortgages underlying the assets held by Citigroup and guaranteed by taxpayers was the result of criminal mortgage fraud and predatory lending on the part of unscrupulous mortgage originators. Did the Federal Reserve examine the loan tapes prior to guaranteeing these assets? Has it examined the loan tapes underlying these assets? Has Citigroup? If not, how is the Federal government managing the risk in the underlying assets it has guaranteed?

We have a tremendous responsibility to the taxpayer, and I look forward to working with your office to make sure that funds used to guarantee assets on Citigroup’s books are used as wisely as possible and that we find those who need to be held accountable.

Thank you for your work on this matter and I look forward to your response.

Alan Grayson
Member of Congress

Gen. Barry McCaffrey Calls for a New Approach on Cuba

This might be the best thing I've yet seen from McCaffrey on any issue. Key points:

It's time for a realistic policy shift on Cuba. In my judgment, Congress and the administration should move to:

• Remove Cuba from the State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. The poverty of ideas and resources forced the Cuban government to end its ineffective support of revolutionary movements long ago.

• Repeal enforcement of the ''Helms-Burton'' legislation. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton signed provisions allowing for waivers of the outmoded law's provision.

• End the economic embargo on Cuba. Market forces should determine the level of trade between our nations.

• End U.S. restrictions on travel by American citizens to Cuba. There are no similar restrictions to other nondemocratic nations, including North Korea.

• Close the detention facility at Guantanamo and return the base to Cuban sovereignty. The place has become an international embarrassment to us.

• End the ''Wet Foot/Dry Foot immigration policy'' and treat illegal immigrants from Cuba as we do those from Mexico or any other country.

• Formalize coordination on anti-drug trafficking matters with Cuba's law enforcement and security forces.

• Provide significantly increased funds to the U.S. Agency for International Development so that we can support economic development as democratic political transition inevitably occurs in Cuba.

• End U.S. opposition to Cuban participation in the Western Hemisphere multilateral fora (lifting Cuba's suspension from the OAS was a good start) because diplomacy and engagement, not shunning, will open Cuba to liberal political ideals.

There's a lot more, check out the whole thing.

Support The Historic House Energy Bill

Call your members of Congress and urge them to support the bill

Floridian Featured In OFA Web Video

Today, Organizing for America released “Denied,” the next in its series of “The Faces of Health Care Reform” web videos. The piece features Lisa Smith of Lake Worth, FL explaining how she lost her insurance when she lost her job and then was denied coverage by private insurers because of a preexisting condition. OFA, a project of the Democratic National Committee, has collected hundreds of thousands of personal health care stories over the last several weeks. OFA plans to release additional web videos that highlight personal health care stories as the debate over reform continues in Congress.

Lisa Smith of Fort Lake, FL has hydrocephalus – or water on the brain – and several other health ailments that require regular monitoring and care. Like millions of Americans, when Lisa lost her job, she also lost her health insurance. Lisa was unable to afford COBRA, but when she called around to inquire about coverage from private insurers she was categorically denied. “As soon as I told them about my situation,” Lisa says, they said “forget it; they absolutely wouldn’t even go any further.”

Without insurance, Lisa can’t afford her monthly prescriptions (which cost about $800) or the regular tests and doctors visits that help keep her healthy and able to function normally. Lisa has a shunt that drains the water from her brain to her abdomen. With regular checkups, it’s easier to control her condition; but without those visits, Lisa is forced to wait until her situation is dire enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. “Without regular monitoring I run a real risk of something serious happening and that scares me,” Lisa says.

“Like millions of other Americans, Lisa has a serious health condition that can be managed with regular care and medication,” said Mitch Stewart, the Director of Organizing for America. “But without insurance, Lisa can’t afford that regular care, so she’s forced to rely on emergency room visits, which is ultimately less effective and more expensive. Unfortunately, her story is indicative of what’s wrong with our broken system – we must reform our system to lower costs, increase access and protect patient choice.”

Organizing for America has collected hundreds of thousands of personal health care stories. The grassroots effort is building support in communities across the country for a plan that adheres to President Obama’s three principles for reform: lowering costs, preserving patient choice and increasing access to quality care. Tens of thousands of people in all 50 states participated in OFA’s June 6th Health Care Kickoff events, where attendees shared their stories, talked about the President’s principles for reform and started to plan activities in their own communities. This Saturday, June 27th OFA is organizing a national Health Care Day of Service. Earlier this week, OFA launched Health Care Stories for America an innovative online tool where hundreds of thousands of genuine health care stories can be shared, found and read, by city and state, from all across the country.

Watch Lisa Smith’s story:

Do You Want Your Name On TV In Support of the Public Option?

I do. I want your name and my name on TV. And we can both do it by signing up at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's We Want the Public Option web site:

People are outraged that Senate Democrats are lining up against a public health insurance option supported by 76% of Americans -- all while taking $80 million of health and insurance industry money.

So we decided to do something about it. We made a TV ad calling them out. And now we're inviting you (and your friends) to put your name in the ad before we air it in Washington DC!

Click here to see the ad -- and add your name.

This ad will air on CNN, MSNBC, The Daily Show, and other places that these senators and their staffers will be sure to notice. We'll continually rotate new names in. Please help this idea grow by passing this email on to anyone you think would like to add their name.

Together, we'll make the Senate listen to the vast majority of Americans who say: "We want the public option!" Thanks for being a bold progressive.

What If?

Battle conservative misinformation on President Obama's health care plan:

This ad is now airing in Florida and was produced by Health Care for America Now.

Avenging Amanda Terkel

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 4): Civilian Casualties

Thursday, June 25, 2009

National Politics Round-up


What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. madfloridian: Two Dem Senators pushing for offshore drilling in Florida. Democrats once opposed it.

2. Smooth Like Remy: I'M the President, Bitches!

3. Blue Herald 2.0: Violence in Afghanistan Reaches Record High

4. Natch Greyes: A Couple of Points (In the WSJ)

5. Pushing Rope: Fair and Balanced: Mark Sanford is a Democrat?

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

Sex Scandal Flow Chart

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

Obama Kills Fly Like a Ninja!

Capitol Offense: Where Is Congress on the Public Option

Today, I'm joining with Democracy for America, Health Care for America Now and Open Left in supporting the Stand With Dr. Dean Campaign. The idea is to put pressure on our members of Congress to find out where they stand on health care reform and whether or not they support Dr. Howard Dean's call for a reform that includes a public option. See Dean's statement here:

Chris Bowers has suggested that we use crowdsourcing techniques to find out where everyone in Congress stands, which also helps pressure them to take the right stand. So here's the plan:

1. Contact your member of Congress via e-mail and ask them the following questions:

1--Do you support a public healthcare option as part of healthcare reform?
2--If so, do you support a public healthcare option that is available on day one?
3--Do you support a public healthcare option that is national, available everywhere, and accountable to Congress?
4--Do you support a public healthcare option that can bargain for rates from providers and big drug companies?

Don't call, do this via e-mail because we want a written response. If they are vague in answering these questions, contact them again and ask for clarification. If they don't answer you, keep contacting them (and have your friends and family contact them) until they do give you the answers.

2. Forward the responses to me at We're going to publish an official response from as many of our members as possible so we know where everyone is. And we'll keep a track of who isn't responding so we know who to put pressure on. Similarly, once we find out who is on board and who isn't, we know who to put further pressure on down the road.

3. If you have your own blog, post the responses there, too. The more public pressure we can put on Congress, the easier we make it for them to do the right thing.

Here is the public contact info for each of our Florida members of Congress:

Rep Gus Bilirakis R FL-9

Rep Allen Boyd D FL-2

Rep Corrine Brown D FL-3

Rep Virginia Brown-Waite R FL-5

Rep Vern Buchanan R FL-13

Rep Kathy Castor D FL-11

Rep Ander Crenshaw R FL-4

Rep Lincoln Diaz-Balart R FL-21

Rep Mario Diaz-Balart R FL-25

Rep Alan Grayson D FL-8

Rep Alcee Hastings D FL-23

Rep Ron Klein D FL-22

Rep Suzanne Kosmas D FL-24

Rep Connie Mack R FL-14

Sen Melquiades Martinez R FL

Rep Kendrick Meek D FL-17

Rep John Mica R FL-7

Rep Jeff Miller R FL-1

Sen Bill Nelson D FL

Rep Bill Posey R FL-15

Rep Adam Putnam R FL-12

Rep Tom Rooney R FL-16

Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R FL-18

Rep Clifford Stearns R FL-6

Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz D FL-20

Rep Robert Wexler D FL-19

Rep C. W. Bill Young R FL-10

We'll also post the results of these at the WatchBlogs dedicated to each Republican member and at the Florida Democratic News blog.

You can also sign the petition on health care here.

I'm Kenneth Quinnell and I approve this message.

Read more on Florida politics at the Florida Progressive Coalition blog ( and the Florida Progressive Coalition Wiki (

Tuesday, June 16, 2009



The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Obama is not going to tell every company in America how much they can pay people

Bush Mirandized suspects in Afghanistan, too

Obama does not favor single-payer health care

Obama didn't take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bush did

A NASA report did not prove that humans didn't cause global warming

Bush's Guantanamo policies did not keep us safe

Obama did not say that he wants the courts to do more redistribution

Obama did not say that the U.S. is a Muslim country

Sheldon Whitehouse, who has seen the information Cheney says should be seen, says the Bush administration claims about waterboarding are completely false

The difference between Republican/Tom DeLay-style small government and Democratic/Obama-style big government is 2%



Links you can use...

Learning from Obama’s Financial Steamroller: How to Raise Money Online

The Advocate's Top 15 Gay(ish) Blogs

How To Tell People They Sound Racist

Blend workshop: how to engage on the topic of race and LGBT civil rights

Media myths and falsehoods about the Supreme Court

Fact-Checking Karl Rove’s Attacks Against The Public Option

Myths and falsehoods surrounding the Sotomayor nomination

Important Reading


Good stuff you all should read from bloggers around the country... (Sorry this one is Open Left heavy, I accidentally left out my Open Left RSS feed the last time I did this round-up)

Open Left: A New Path To Progressive Power

Open Left: Please Play Hardball with Blue Dogs, Too

Progressive Historians: Obama, John Rawls, And A Defense Of The Unreasonable

Open Left: Healthcare Crisis Stifling Rural Independence

Open Left: Bogus Process Arguments

Open Left: The Fear Factor

Open Left: Obama and the Left, Part 432 (and counting)

Open Left: Pew Analysis Mostly Shows Obama Has Been A Successful President So Far

Open Left: Why Not A Progressive Foreign Policy? Part 2: The Whole Enchilada

Open Left: Why Not A Progressive Foreign Policy? Part 1: The Military

Action Alerts


Send an e-mail: Ask your senators to support upcoming legislation to guarantee federal workers four weeks of paid parental leave for a new child, as a first step toward universal paid leave. (NOW)

Send an e-mail: Strengthen the clean energy bill (MO)

Send an e-mail: Tell President Obama to urge the Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea (NRDC)

Send an e-mail: Urge Your Representative to Support the American Clean Energy and Security Act (UCS)

Sign the petition: Will Dell & HP help China censor the Dalai Lama? (Credo)

Capitol Offense: Calm Down, Have Some Dip

The title of this post today makes reference to an old George Carlin joke. The basic idea is that someone is overreacting, coming up with a response that is out of preportion with the offense presented to them. Today, this is in reference to people's reactions to the early days of the Barack Obama presidency.

Most people reading this are probably familiar with the term Obama Derangement Syndrome, the idea that people are so upset and angry at the election of President Obama and his perceived policies that they go to extreme lengths to express their displeasure through verbal or physical attacks. Think Rush Limbaugh or James Wenneker von Brunn. In direct terms, these people are very dangerous because the type of derangement we're discussing can lead to actual violence like in the latter case or in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller. People like Limbaugh are hugely responsible for these types of activities, because their constant overinflated and factually inaccurate rhetoric leads people to think drastic things and think of even more drastic solutions to those perceived problems. If I thought that Obama was the most evil man in history and he was bent on destroying the U.S. and turning everything over to fascist, communist, Muslims, I might be willing to shoot him, too. Keep in mind, that my hypothetical example her isn't actually hypothetical, these are the actual things that Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and their allies are saying. On the publicly-owned airwaves. Quite a few laws are being broken by these men (and a few women), not the least of which are treason and sedition.

More importantly to the long-term success of the country and the success of the Obama administration, though, are the overreactions coming from the left and from nominal Obama supporters. There are obviously things to criticize with what Obama has done so far and legitimate criticisms should always be brought up. They should, however, be accurate criticisms and they should be brought up in constructive ways. I'll save the legitimate criticisms for another day, and instead I'll focus on several areas of false criticism.

First off is when people criticize Obama for failing to deliver on something he didn't actually promise to do. Take the war in Iraq, for instance. All throughout the campaign, Obama was consistent in stating that he favored ending the war in Iraq, but that he would do it over a year-and-a-half or so and that afterwards, there would still be residiual forces left behind. Now people are saying that he betrayed his supporters or the will of the people by pursuing exactly this plan. In reality, he's doing what he said he would do. If you want to criticize him on this one, do so accurately by pointing out that his plan might not be the best option. Don't go off saying that he's changed, which he hasn't, or that he is betraying anyone, he's not. He told the people this was what he was going to do and they voted for him knowing that. Same things is true with other issues, such as gay marriage. People are upset that he opposes gay marriage. He always said he opposed gay marriage. Nothing has changed. Criticize him for opposing gay marriage, not for going back on his word, which isn't what he did.

People also criticize him a bit much for things he doesn't have the power to do. Keep in mind that our system is one of checks and balances and separation of powers which makes pushing forward with policies quite difficult, particularly if there is opposition from the majority of members of Congress. People complain that he hasn't closed Guantanamo yet. He can't. He issued an executive order to close the prison, but Congress balked at funding that order. Without the money, there's nothing he can do. Sure, he can exert his leadership and do what he can to convince people to follow his policy preferences. But they can say no. And since much of this type of thing is done behind closed doors, who's to say that Obama isn't doing just that. Make sure that when you criticize someone for a policy not being enacted yet, that you criticize those who are actually preventing it from moving forward. And don't skip over Obama and blame "congressional Democrats." Again, many of those people voted the right way or would vote the right way on most issues. Blame the specific Democrats who opposed the policy. Or blame the Republicans who used obstructionist tactics such as the filibuster.

Finally, people are criticizing Obama for things that members of his administration have said or written or done. There is some legitimacy to this, but, in reality, much of what people complain about in these areas are things that Obama was not aware of and that he didn't explicitly approve. Yes, he appointed these people, so he gets some responsibility for that, but with 3000 appointments, it's impossible for there not to be someone who does something that he or we don't like. The key reason to criticize Obama in this area is if he does nothing to fix the situation or allows it to be repeated once he's been alerted to a particular problem.

One last thing I'd like to say is that we really should be giving Obama the benefit of the doubt on a lot of this stuff at this point. What gives us the hubris to think we understand more than he does how best to get something done? This is politics and quite frequently policies can't be enacted in obvious and straightforward methods without doing collateral damage. Sometimes policies have to be brought in gradually or they won't be able to be enacted at all. Sometimes you need to build a groundswell of support in order to have the clout to get something passed. And sometimes you need to test the waters first to see where the opposition is going to attack you. Rushing in to a particular policy proposal can often lead to its defeat because we didn't know where the opposition was going to come from. I'm not saying that we shouldn't criticize Obama, we certainly should, but that criticism should be accurate, constructive and strategic. Probably the best thing we can do is not focus so much on criticism, but spend more time building a groundswell of grassroots public support for our ideas and proposals so that when it comes time for Obama to act upon them, the politically expedient thing to do will also be the right thing to do.

I'm Kenneth Quinnell and I approve this message.

Read more on Florida politics at the Florida Progressive Coalition blog ( and the Florida Progressive Coalition Wiki (

Help Kendrick Meek Get on the Ballot

The following post does not constitute an endorsement from FPC and we will post other noteworthy releases from other Democratic or progressive campaigns in this, or any other, race from Florida. I think I speak for everyone at FPC, though, in endorsing the idea of getting on the ballot via the petition method as the more democratic approach.

From the Kendrick Meek campaign:

Dear Friends of Kendrick's Grassroots' Movement:

My name is Kate Nowak, and I am the Petition Director for Kendrick Meek for Florida. Instead of showing up in Tallahassee with a check in hand to qualify for the ballot, Kendrick Meek has chosen the path less travelled. He will be qualifying for the ballot by petition, and to get those petitions signed, he needs your help. Every time someone signs a petition, they own a piece of this campaign. Because Kendrick chose this route you will be the reason why he's on the ballot. You have a voice.

We need all boots on the ground, all hands on deck. This is also a historic movement - Kendrick Meek will be the first statewide candidate in Florida history to qualify for the ballot by petition. We need you to join our campaign and make history. Please sign a petition and have your family members and colleagues sign a petition! Make a Petition Pledge. How many can you collect?

Download the petitions by visiting or by calling 877-FL-4-MEEK (877-354-6335) and we'll mail you as many petitions as you want.

Once you've signed your petition, and collected petitions on behalf of this campaign, we need some more help. We need you to take the next step, for Kendrick, and for this state. Please join our $20.10 for 2010 Club-I'm a member! Can you commit to just $20.10 per month until the election in November 2010? This is less than a dollar a day, but will build the foundation we need to compete in 2010. Join the club!

But your work doesn't end there. Have you visited and signed up to volunteer? Are you Kendrick's Facebook friend? Are you following his twitter updates?

This campaign will succeed because of you. Own this campaign by filling out a petition. Call our offices at 877-FL-4-MEEK (877-354-6335) and we'll mail you as many petitions as you need to sign up your friends and family. And please join our $20.10 for 2010 club. We need your help.

Join me, join Kendrick, join Floridians and be part of the movement for the next step for change.

Thank you,

Kate Nowak

Link to Meek's campaign site

Monday, June 15, 2009

Capitol Offense: Technology as the Great Democratizer

I think anyone reading this post is likely to recognize the important role that technology can and is playing in changing the way politics and government work, both in the U.S. and beyond. Whether it be the new methods of disseminating news and current events or online fundraising or the use of Twitter and other technologies in the events going on in Iran right now, we're seeing clear evidence that the new information technology that people are incorporating into their leisure time is also being incorporated into activism and social change to some success.

But there is a long way to go, particularly at the state and local level, before we see the true possibilities of these technologies or before we see the limits they may face over the longterm. We know that we are far from seeing the upper limits of where the technology can go, so we are also far from seeing what impact it can have on people's lives in terms of freedom and democracy.

There is no question that it can have a major impact, though. They key to running a repressive society is control over information. If a population doesn't know that there are alternatives to the repression they face, they are unlikely to revolt. If they don't know how to revolt, they can't do it. And if the people can't communicate with each other on a large scale, a revolution is unlikely to have much success. Totalitarian regimes have always realized that if they undercut these avenues for sharing information, they have a much easier time dominating their population. But they need technology to control and disseminate their propoganda to the masses. The problem, for them at least, is that the same technology that allows them such control, can also be their downfall. As soon as the government figures out how to block information, someone else has already figured out a way to get around those methods of supressing information. Ask the RIAA.

The Republican majority in Florida (and elsewhere), works under very similar premises. They present themselves as moderates who represent the will of the people -- that the masses are with them -- while at the same time pursuing a radical corporatist agenda that, when successful, does harm to the masses, while keeping a few rich people rich. They've been very successful in Florida because of the inherent biases and laziness of the media in modern society and because of the decline in revenue the news industry faces, leading to cuts in coverage and information gathering at the state and local level. This means that the average Floridian lacks in the basic information she or he needs to make key decisions to help themselves and to help the people in general.

Technology can be part of the answer. There are more people with a progressive point of view than a conservative one. There are many people with the inexpensive technology -- cell phones, PCs and Macs, digital cameras, flip video, etc. -- more than enough to gather and disseminate the information through places like blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. All we need is for the people with that technology to realize that they are no longer passive consumers of information, that they are the ones who should be gathering the important information and passing it along to the rest of the population. Once people realize that, democracy stands a really good chance, not only in Florida, but everywhere.

That's not to say that technology alone will solve our problems and move everything forward. Obviously, we need people to use that technology to gather the right information, we need people to run for office that can use information to change things for the better and we need money to pay for it all. But technology means that we don't need nearly as much of any of those as we used to. Time is on our side and progress will come. Technology will be one of the key reasons.

I'm Kenneth Quinnell and I approve this message.

Read more on Florida politics at the Florida Progressive Coalition blog ( and the Florida Progressive Coalition Wiki ( You can check out any of the Florida blogs mentioned in this article by checking out the sidebar on the FPC blog.

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

This Week In Blackness

Did You Know 3.0

Not directly political, but there is a lot in this video of importance to people in politics and government.

How To Tell People They Sound Racist

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's Going On: The Future of the Republican Party


South Florida Daily Blog: Republicans: Let's Play Grown-Up

The Spencerian: Plotting the Course of Republicans in the Wilderness: They're Far Out

Natch Greyes: Democrats Maintain Lead As Republican Succumb To Infighting

BlueHerald 2.0: The Persistence of Ideology

Morning Martini: Republican’s Plans

Daily Kos: Who Speaks For The Republican Party?

Down With Tyranny: The struggle for the soul of the Republican Party (and the conservative movement): It's the age-old war between crazy and stupid

Democratic Strategist: Conservatives Should Disown Hate Speech

Democratic Strategist: Honkey Chateau

Pam's House Blend: If the GOP wants to resurrect itself, it needs to cure its addiction to hate and bigotry



The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Health care reform will not kill more people than it helps

Conservative judges are the actual judicial activists

Americans prefer federally-run health care

The public supports an activist government

The Justice Department is fighting voter supression for legitimate, not political, reasons

Terrorists have been frequently prosecuted in the past through the normal criminal justice system

Obama's still not a Muslim

Fox News is still not fair and balanced

Tobacco Lollipops are being marketed to kids

Cap-and-trade won't hurt farmers

No, Judge Sotomayor doesn't want to take your land

Judge Sotomayor has consistently followed precedent on the Second Amendment

Judge Sotomayor is not a racist

Employers have increased use of coercion and punitive tactics to discourage unionization

The DHS report on right-wing extremism was backed by solid evidence

Important Reading


Good stuff you all should read from bloggers around the country...

Daily Kos: Smacking Down Anti-Choice Terrorists Without Smashing Civil Liberties

Daily Kos: The George Tiller I Knew

AMERICAblog: The goal isn't to be bipartisan. The goal is to pass effective health care reform that helps everybody

Democratic Strategist: Lakoff: GOP 'Stealth' Attack Seeks to Reframe Empathy

techPresident: Did a "Google Surge" Help Creigh Deeds Conquer Northern Virginia?

techPresident: Creigh Deeds Virginia Victory Teaches a Fundamental Lesson about Politics

Wonk Room: Obstruction 101: First Manufacture A Controversy

Wonk Room: Yes, Dr. Tiller’s Murderer Is A Terrorist

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

O'Reilly defends gay penguins


I guess we're all socialists now. Or some of us. Or almost none of us.

We're not socialists

(via Daily Kos)

National Politics Round-up


What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Re/Creating Tampa: Barack Obama doesn’t like gay people

2. South Florida Daily Blog: What I Learned On The Radio Today

3. Eye on Miami (Gimleteye): Change we can't believe in? Obama, careless in subcabinet appointments

4. ReidBlog: Has Pat Buchanan jumped the shark on Sotomayor?

5. Pensito Reviw (Trish): NOW Sanctions Letterman Over Palin Jokes

Action Alerts


Send an e-mail: Take Action for Florida Wildlife (DOW)

Send an e-mail: Cap Global Warming Pollution Now (ED)

Send an e-mail: Support EPA's Global Warming Endangerment Finding (ED)

Sign the petition: Remember Dr. Tiller (NARAL)

Sign the petition: Strengthen the clean energy bill (MO)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's Going On: U.S. Senate Race


FLA Politics (dantilson): The Two Faces of Charlie

FLA Politics (Senate Guru): FL-Sen-GOP: Jeb Bush Sons Oppose Charlie Crist

Pushing Rope: A Very Special Endorsement For Marco Rubio

Equality Florida: Fla. Christian Coalition head Baxley quits to endorse Rubio

Generation Miami (Giancarlo Sopo): A Meek Statement

Pushing Rope: Flashback

Blast Off: Charlie Crist: careening to the right

Eye on Miami (Gimleteye): While Gov. Crist and Marco Rubio lock in battle for the US Senate, Florida is the victim

Re/Creating Tampa: Dan Gelber Drops Out of Senate Race

Flablog: Will Brown go rogue - well, more rogue?

Miami-Dade Dems: Meek/Burns/Gelber US Senate politics at JJ meeting

ReidBlog: In Florida Senate race, Democrats fall in line

Eye on Miami (Genius of Despair): "Miami New Times” describes Marco Rubio as a “Right Wing Whack Job.”

Swing State Project: FL-Sen: Corrine Brown Explores Senate Race

TPM: National Dems Launch Joke "Scheduling Office" Hotline Against Charlie Crist In Florida Senate Race

What's Going On: Cabinet Races

The Cabinet

FLA Politics (Tally): Gelber Looks Good

FLA Politics (Tally): Draper Shines

FLA Politics: McCollum refusing to investigate "Jeb!"

The Spencerian: When Unity Matters

Florida Netroots: Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg run for Attorney General

Pushing Rope: Dan Gelber Official In Attorney General Race

Miami-Dade Dems: Dan Gelber announces for attorney general

Miami-Dade Dems: Dave Aronberg announces for attorney general

Blast Off!: Not enough offices to go around

Blast Off!: Annette Taddeo for Florida CFO

What's Going On: Cuba


South District of Florida Blog: Will Supremes grant cert for Cuban 5?

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): Spies and US interests

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): “Suspects”?

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): Enemies everywhere they look

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): Cuban spies, conspiracy theories

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): A Conversation about the Future of Cuba with Joe Garcia

Generation Miami (Giancarlo Sopo): A Meek Statement

What's Going On: U.S. Holocaust Museum Shooting


Bark Bark Woof Woof: Holocaust Museum Terrorism

ReidBlog: How Wackenhut failed Stephen Johns

ReidBlog: Irony alert: Fellow white supremacist on Von Brunn

ReidBlog: Holocaust museum victim's final act of kindness was to his killer

Sunshine Statements: Two Questions About Holocaust Museum Shooting

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Not Alone

ReidBlog: James Von Brunn: another right wing nut acting out

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): Am I surprised?

What's Going On: The George Tiller Assassination


Pushing Rope: Compassionate Conservatism: Wiley Drake Edition

Pushing Rope: We All Are Dr. Tiller

Incertus (Brian): Terrorism worked

Pushing Rope: Anti-Abortionists Rewriting Their History

Pushing Rope: Bill O'Reilly's Free Speech

Pushing Rope: Tiller's Death Brings Out Worst In Bloggers

BlueHerald 2.0: Domestic Attack From America’s Taliban

litbrit: Keith Olbermann: O'Reilly and FOX created the climate for Dr. Tiller's Murder

Natch Greyes: George Tiller & Media Responsibility

Morning Martini: What about the other possible victims?

Bark Bark Woof Woof: It's All About Him

ReidBlog: It didn't take long: RedState plays the Ayers card

Why Now?: Who Knew Some Many Were Seers?

Rated "R" Revolution: This is really upsetting.

ReidBlog: Fox News: the assassination station

Equality Florida: Frank Schaeffer: How I (and Other "Pro-Life" Leaders) Contributed to Dr. Tiller's Murder

Workbench: Groups That Pursued Tiller Share Blame for His Murder

Incertus (Brian): Mac Ranger is an idiot

litbrit: Waterboard Operation Rescue

Pensito Review (Trish): Whose Hands are Bloody Now?

BlueHerald 2.0 (Buck): America’s Christian-Right Taliban

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Collateral Damage

Incertus (Brian): The Murder of Dr. George Tiller: Right Wing Reactions

ReidBlog: Tiller murder suspect believed killing abortion providers was 'justifiable homicide'

Why Now?: Religious Terrorism

ReidBlog: After Tiller's murder, fears of right wing extremism

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Terrorism in Wichita

BlueHerald 2.0: Abortion Doctor Killed

ReidBlog: Doctor who performed abortions gunned down at church

Re/Creating Tampa: Pro-Life Activist Kills Doctor

Huffington Post: Randall Terry, Operation Rescue Founder, Says He's More Concerned About Obama's Reaction Than Tiller's Murder

What's Going On: Sonia Sotomayor and the Supreme Court


The Spencerian: A Deck Supremely Stacked

Southern District of Florida Blog: All Sotomayor all the time

Southern District of Florida Blog: A Hispanic judge is nominated to the Court...

Pushing Rope: When Mel Met Sonia

Pushing Rope: Sotomayor Questionaire Released

Generation Miami (Alex Barreras): The fallacy of color blindness

Pensito Review (Buck): Why Republicans Resist Sotomayor

ReidBlog: Lindsey Graham: Sotomayor should apologize to white people

Bloggy Bayou: Really Really Tiny Penises

ReidBlog: Whither the Republican Senators on Sotomayor?

Pensito Review (Trish): In the Republican Race to the Bottom, We Have a Winner!

Deep Something: GOP Hypocracy and The Sotomayor Nomination

Miami Progressive: La mejora Sotomayor…

ReidBlog: Countering the oppression of the white man

Pushing Rope: Sotomayor In Action

Stupid Enough Unexplanation: Good quote from Sonia Sotomayor

ReidBlog: Tony Scalia: the courts ARE where the law is made...

ReidBlog: CNN 'shook' by Olbermann: reading full Sotomayor statement now

Flablog: Sotomayor and Florida Sotomayor By the Numbers

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Alito the Activist

Natch Greyes: Is Sotomayor Catholic? And What About Roe v. Wade?

ReidBlog: Alito, Thomas and the dreaded flashback

Pushing Rope: When Racists Play the Race Card

Re/Creating Tampa: Name the Source

tinylittledots: Sans Hoods

Bark Bark Woof Woof: He's Got Your Empathy Right Here

Why Now?: News Flash!!!!!

ReidBlog: It's official: Sonia Sotomayor has driven the wingers insane

ReidBlog: Oh here we go ...

Incertus (Brian): The Myth of the Most Qualified Candidate

Re/Creating Tampa: Without Empathy

The Seminole Democrat: Presidential Pick Hoplessly Unqualified

Blast Off!: No filibuster on Sotomayor nomination ... provided Mel Martinez is a man of his word

Stupid Enough Unexplanation: The Childish Conservatives

Betty Cracker: They got nothing...

Smashed Frog: Sonia

Morning Martini: Judge Sotomayor

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Identity Politics

tinylittledots: Unexamined Privilege

ReidBlog: Republicans would be crazy to attack Judge Sotomayor ... but they'll probably do it anyway

ReidBlog: Sotomayor is the SUPCO pick More on Sotomayor

tinylittledots: History

Pensacola Beach Blog: Greenwald on Sotomayor The Sotomayor Nomination

Natch Greyes: More Information on Sotomayor

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Obama to Nominate Sonia Sotomayor to SCOTUS

Natch Greyes: Obama To Name Sonia Sotomayor To Supreme Court at 10:15 Today

Important Reading


Good stuff you all should read from bloggers around the country...

Scholars & Rogues: How long can volunteers sustain community blogs?

South Florida Daily Blog: Why Bloggers Give Up

South Florida Daily Blog: On Outing Anonymous Bloggers

South Florida Daily Blog: 21 Blogging Mistakes

Ben Metcalf: On simple human decency

The Campaign Manager: Voter Contact – More than Just Field

BlueHerald 2.0: Another Blogger Outed

Incertus (Amy): A Reminder: Abortion is ugly. But not having access to abortion is uglier...

Natch Greyes: Carbon Offsets, Generally Ineffective

Progress Florida (Ray Seaman): Center-Left America

Deb on the Rocks: All Meta in the Hizzie



The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Abortion is not widely used as birth control

Obama is not targeting Chrysler dealerships owned by Republicans for closure

There are successful unionized companies in the U.S.

The TARP fund is making a profit

Only 10% of the deficit comes from Obama's policies, another 20% comes from Obama continuing Bush policies

Measures that show that Florida's education system is good are misleading, those stats only account for those who actually complete schooling here, where we have a horrible graduation rate

The Postal Service is a highly efficient government program

There are tremendous restrictions on abortion in most states already



Links you can use...

The "Pro-Life" Movement's Hot Rhetoric and All-Out Lies

The Stand Up For Health Care Blog

OpenCongress presents Project: RaceTracker

Progressive Hashtags on Twitter

10 facts you should know about hunger in America

Bringing the Hammer Down on Derivatives

The Difference Between a State and a Commonwealth

Daily Humor

Republican culture of corruption

Today's reason to laugh...

Governor Gridlock is now the butt of editorial humor

Crist-Burns Pic

National Politics Round-up


What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...


2. Rated "R" Revolution: Pastor Drake Prays For Obama's Death

3. Natch Greyes: Then & Now: Newt Gingrich

4. The Spencerian: Don't Ask... It's Not Picture Perfect

5. Bark Bark Woof Woof: Annals of Wingnuttery -- A Continuing Saga

Action Alerts


Donate money: Be One or Back One: Sponsor a Pride Team (EQFL)

Send an e-mail: Tell top shoe brands to protect the Amazon and the climate (GP)

Send an e-mail: Fund President Obama's proposed investments in early education! (NSFS)

Donate money: Support NOW's Campaign for Reproductive Freedom! (NOW)

Make a phone call: Tell Congress to include retroactive “stop-loss” payments in the war supplemental (IAVA)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Racist Conservative Karate Chops Black Woman

Torture Pictures A Lot WorseThan Expected

Was Craig T. Nelson Drunk On Glenn Beck's Show?

Obama: Health Care Organizing Kickoff Video

CPC Questions and Answers June 4, 2009 - Healthcare Reform

The Congressional Progressive Caucus does what most groups in Congress don't do -- answers the questions of the people. Pretty cool.

Bob Smith Is A Sunshine Patriot

Or not. I'm not sure he knows...

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh... Be forewarned, though, this one is kind of disturbing.

Drill Baby Drill, Ep. 1 - Beck In The Saddle

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) was endorsed by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO (BCTD) for the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Florida.

“Members of the Building Trades Unions work with their hands and minds everyday to make Florida prosperous again,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek. “They are on the front lines working to rebuild our state and know firsthand the impact that reckless policies can have on our communities. The federal stimulus package passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama will enable the Building Trades to help put Floridians back to work and revitalize our economy by producing green jobs. The Building Trades family represents the everyday man and woman who I look forward to representing too in the U.S. Senate.”

The BCTD Governing Board of Presidents voted to endorse Meek on Monday.

Upon the conclusion of that vote, President Mark H. Ayers said, "We are excited about the prospect of helping Kendrick Meek become the next U.S. senator from Florida. Throughout his life, both as a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol and most recently as the congressman from Florida's 17th District, Kendrick has held firm in his belief that government should work for all the people, not just the privileged few. We are honored to issue this endorsement and we will do all that we can to educate and mobilize our members on his behalf in 2010."

Mike Williams, President of the Florida Building Trades Council said, “Kendrick Meek’s record on issues that concern the Building Trades Union is a model of perfection. He understands that when our members in Florida are working, the families and communities of the state are benefiting. We serve as the barometer of our state’s economic health, and the Florida Building Trades are thankful that Kendrick supported the much needed economic recovery plan. Our membership spans the state and we will work as hard to rebuild Florida as we will to elect Kendrick Meek to the U.S. Senate.”

The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO is an alliance of 13 national and international unions which collectively represents 2.5 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada.

The Building Trades includes the following unions: Insulators/Asbestos Workers, Boilermakers, Bricklayers, Cement Masons, Electrical Workers, Elevator Constructors, Iron Workers, Laborers, Painters, Roofers, Sheet Metal Workers, Teamsters, and Plumbers and Pipe Fitters.

Since announcing his candidacy on January 13th, Congressman Meek has received endorsements from SEIU, United Teachers of Dade, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and AFSCME.

Action Alerts


Send an e-mail: Act to Restore America's Everglades (Sierra)

Send an e-mail: Tell the White House: Protect Roadless Areas of National Forests (EJ)

Send an e-mail: Fire Casey -- We Need a New Top Dog in the Army! (WDFC)

Sign the petition: Stand With Sotomayor (OFA)

Sign the pledge: Sign teh Pledge for Reproductive Freedom (NOW)

EXCLUSIVE: Air Raid Victim Tells Obama to Leave Afghanistan at Once

Republicans Are Doomed

If they've moved so far to the right that they think Charlie Crist is a communist, then they are doomed to longterm irrelevance in the U.S. based on the fact that they are so disconnected from both reality and the American public. I don't mind.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Daily Humor

You may have already seen this one, if not, prepare to laugh.

Sex With Ducks: the Music Video by Garfunkel and Oates

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

#afn: Liveblogging Big Money and Stray Dogs: Taking on the Folks Who Stand in the Way

11:00: This session is moderated by David Sirota and includes Digby and Matt Taibbi.

11:04: Sirota: The 2008 election was just the potential beginning of something, not the conclusion. The Democratic Party is still having an identity crisis, a lot of internal battles. In reality, there is the Money Party (most Republicans and many Democrats), and the People Party (a smaller group of Democrats).

11:06: The agenda of the People Party: Fair trade, pro-middle class, pro-financial regulation, for regulation in general.

11:07: People are winning in "conservative" districts by being more socially conservative and more economically populist. This is good on economic issues.

11:08: The People Party folks in Congress (and elsewhere) can stop bad things from happening, but Blue Dogs and New Democrats can stop good things from happening.

11:09: Sirota thinks that Blue Dogs/New Democrats will water down health care when it comes up, just like they have on other issues.

11:11: Blue Dog-ism has changed. They used to be some of the best allies of the progressive movement -- you could rely on them for support on issues that didn't cost money. Now they are much more focused on preventing or cutting down on regulation, not so much on the budget and government spending.

11:13: The best news is, that when you look at polling and campaigning, regulatory issues move the most people. Regulation allows candidates to talk about "cracking down," "getting tough" -- allows them to speak strongly against unpopular groups that are causing problems in society. The key for us, as a progressive movement, is to hold them to their promises and keeping their feet to the fire. We have to pay attention to the details.

11:15: The mantra of the administration is don't publicly criticize a particular plan because small change is better than nothing. Sirota argues we need to ask for more than that, particularly because it'll give us more chance at achieving more.

11:16: Digby: She says that the "Deficit is Evil" crowd is using the shock doctrine to try to scare people into huge cuts to entitlements.

11:24: Be very wary when you hear people speak of "entitlement reform," chances are they are talking about cutting Social Security or other programs.

11:25: Taibbi: He argues that many Democrats were complicit with the law changes that led to the financial collapse, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act (the Financial Services Modernization Act), the Commodities Futures Modernization Act (allowing the credit default swap mess, among other things), the Bankruptcy Bill (which helped accelerate forclosures by about 30k per quarter, another big part of the economic collapse) and others. Most of the economic actors behind these changes are now very wealthy and part of the Obama administration.

11:38: Floor now open for questions. Cenk Uygar gets the first question and asks "what do we do about it?" He says credit default swaps should be banned. Taibbi says the two parties are both in agreement on the core issues here, and it'll take a worse crisis to change things. Sirota says we can put pressure on Chris Dodd, head of the banking committee, who now has to prove his progressive credentials in order to win his primary -- a nervious politician is one that is one we can work with. Dodd's position and troubles improved the credit card bill and others, at least somewhat. You have to make your members of Congress nervous on these issues. We also have to have some discernable, concrete asks that we can present to them, particularly toward people who are on the right committees.

11:43: An audience member notes that we need to connect the dots and make these issues easier to understand for the general public. People will get behind us on these issues if they can understand them.

11:46: Sirota: The people who want bad things to happen in the regulatory area are very organized, those of us who oppose them are not. The time doesn't get better than right now to jump into this issue and have a chance to have an impact.

11:50: Digby: We need to figure out how to use emotion in terms of these issues and communicating them to people. The other side is doing a lot of misdirection -- towards entitlements, for instance. The outrage that people have on these issues is legitimate and not manufactured. If we don't channel it in the right direction, conservatives will channel it in the wrong direction.

11:55: Sirota: The fundamental problem is that some Dems don't feel forced to do the right thing. We need people in their communities to force them to do the right thing by threatening their jobs.

11:56: Taibbi: Politicians aren't really afraid of a few individual donors not giving campaign contributions, they'll still get huge sums from the corps and their donors. Politicians are afraid of losing the big groups of people -- in the thousands.

12:00: Sirota: We need to portray issues like the Employee Free Choice Act as an issue of fairness. That's what gets people to jump on board with an issue.

12:01: Sirota: People aren't in the midstate where they worry about things like "card check." They're worried about keeping their jobs and things like that. Messaging needs to connect with people where they are. Talk in terms of rights.