A letter to vacillating volunteers, from Abraham Lincoln.

CONFIDENTIAL.

To Messrs. —

Gentlemen:—In obedience to a resolution of the Whig State Convention, we have appointed you the Central Whig Committee of your county. The trust confided to you will be one of watchfulness and labor: but we do hope the glory of having contributed to the overthrow of the corrupt powers that now control our beloved country, will be a sufficient reward for the time and labor you will devote to it. Our whig brethren throughout the Union have met in convention, and after due deliberation and mutual concessions have elected candidates for the Presidency and Vice presidency, not only worthy of our cause, but worthy of the support of every true patriot, who would have our country redeemed, and her institutions honestly and faithfully administered.

To overthrow the trained bands that are opposed to us, whose salaried officers are ever on the watch, and whose misguided followers are ever ready to obey their smallest commands, every Whig must not only know his duty, but must firmly resolve, whatever of time and labor it may cost, boldly and faithfully to do it.

Our intention is to organize the whole State, so that every Whig can be brought to the polls in the coming presidential contest. We cannot do this, however, without your co-operation; and as we do our duty, so we shall expect you to do yours[.]

After due deliberation, the following is the plan of organization, and the duties required of each county committee.

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Abortion Rights Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Cory Gardner isn't the only wolf in sheep's clothing on the abortion issue. Extremist Republican candidates routinely attempt to hide their actual agenda regarding abortion rights.

Another recent, albeit lower-profile "evolution" in Weld County is the flip of HD 50 candidate Isaia Aricayos.

In 2013 Aricayos' website included: "I oppose abortion in all cases except where the life of the mother is in imminent and mortal danger." (Screenshot from July 2013 below the fold.)

But now in March 2014, his website includes only that he believes in the "sanctity of life" and that "life begins at conception." For a lot of voters, what's important isn't that politicians play games to get elected. What's important is what the politicians really think, and what they're going to try to do once they're in office.

So what does Aricayos really think should be our policy?

Well, in January earlier this year, he trumpeted the endorsement of Steve Humphrey, and praised Humphrey's HB 1133. (This screenshot below the fold also, although as of today the post is still up on his Facebook page.) Which is a law to make prescribing anything that aids in an abortion a class three felony. Which means a doctor that prescribes an abortion for a woman who's fetus is badly damaged and would never have a normal life, or a hospital that provides an abortion to an underage rape victim, would be going to jail for four years. Depending on how you read the statute, even a store that sells plan B over the counter or someone who purchased Plan B for a friend who couldn't afford it, would be going to jail for four years, because the statute appears to ban even Plan B, which can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. (Note: an earlier version of this diary did not recognize that the statute is a little ambiguous with respect to whether Plan B would be included in the ban. See the comments.) Or more–four years is the standard minimum sentence for a class three felony.

Don't believe me? Here's the main text of the bill:

"A person shall not knowingly administer to, prescribe for, procure for, or sell to a pregnant mother any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination" [of a pregnancy].

"A person shall not knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant mother with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of [the pregnancy].

A violation of this section is a class 3 felony."

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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's letter from his jail cell in Birmingham. The letter can be read in full online through the Atlantic Monthly here. 

Civil disobedience without right moral outrage is simply petty lawlessness. But civil disobedience on the part of those with right moral outrage is a high form of social leadership, presenting all of us with a decision to either speak out as well, if not necessarily at the same personal risk, or to stand aside from apathy or cowardice. 

What's the big moral issue of today? On an ongoing basis, scientists such as James Hansen risk going to jail to stop climate change. And we all remember Occupy and students are getting pepper-sprayed to protest income inequality. What's worth going to jail for? I'm an old fogey and can't figure out the new site's polling function (anyone who can explain that in the comments?) so just write your response in the comments I guess.

Here are your choices for issues worth going to jail for:

A) The 2005 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Heck, I'd go to jail just for the centerfold.
B) Gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer rights. 
C) Keeping our guns. No comment on how we'll use 'em if we're in jail though. Our preparations depend on secrecy.
D) Domestic civil liberties, such as the growth of domestic surveillance.
E) Stopping climate change before it becomes irreversible, and destabilizes civil society.
F) Protesting the next war, the military-industrial-lobby-congress industry, or just plain protesting war.
G) A firm commitment to a set time table for the creation of Newt Gingrich's moon colony. 
H) Tougher sentencing for hardened criminals, and of course, world peace.

If you can't pick one, just rate 'em in order of preference. For me, of course, it's got to be A, A, and then A. 

Twelve Reasons Women Will Vote for Obama

(We appreciate the effort scanning these mailers in – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Want to see what the DNC’s been mailing to female likely voters around the country?

Only men currently live at my address, but we briefly had a 30-year-old woman (and regular voter) living with us, and she must have registered to vote here last year at some point.

Here’s 2 of the 12 pieces of mail she’s gotten from the DNC in the last three weeks (posted with her permission, name/address redacted). Hit the comments for the rest, then answer the poll!

Number 13

Pulpit rock

Ten more in the comments. A poll on effectiveness after the jump.

Which one fact is most persuasive in these mailers?

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SOTU Predictions BONUS: suggested drinking game rules below the fold

My predictions for the coming SOTU:

1. Bipartisan hand-holding, and/or the lack of it, will receive more media coverage than what is in, or not in, the actual speech. (This will not be entirely Mark Udall’s fault, but I’ll still curse his name quietly into my beer.)

2. The speech will not use the phrase “the ninety-nine” or other Occupy lingo. If it mentions climate change, it will be in the context of clean energy jobs–not floods, droughts, sea level, crop failure, or you know, other such changes of climate.

3. This time the Supremes and congress will maintain their composure. Although the credit (blame?) belongs with the media, who will almost certainly make as big a story out of whatever perceived protocol breach does occur as what is actually said. (Oh! For the days when Andrew Johnson could arrive at an inauguration drunk, and somehow people were impressed by what was actually said… okay, actually, mostly things are better now. But come on, you have to wonder what a drunken, extemporizing Joe Biden would come up with…)

4. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, feel your pain, unemployment, jobs, obstructionists in Congress, jobs jobs jobs.

What am I forgetting?

Some suggested rules for your annual SOTU drinking game:

1. Identify the congressman you think is likely to stand the least often, or if you don’t know, go with Mitch McConnell. Any time he or she stands and claps, and anyone else remains seated, finish your drink.

2. Before the speech begins, ask yourself what is the one issue that is most important to you, other than jobs, unemployment, or the economy. If that issue is raised in a way you find thoughtful and constructive, finish your drink.

3. This is America, so without a doubt the speech will be optimistic and forward-looking. President Obama, for example, is unlikely to talk about the percentage of black men who are in prison in this country, or the fact that the country’s attitude on climate change has been changing in the wrong direction, or that every day x number of veterans kill themselves. If you become depressed wondering if the happy talk is forced, or if President Obama really is as confident about the future as he appears, finish your drink. Try not to sigh too loudly.

4. When the speech ends, finish your drink.

And here are a few good ‘take a drink’ rules:

1. Take a drink the first time a congressman is caught on camera writing a tweet during the speech.

2. Take a small sip each time President Obama says “economy” “jobs” or “unemployment.” Consider using a drink of water for this rule, if you are a lightweight, or need to stave off a hangover.

3. Each time President Obama clearly means “Republicans” but refers to them obliquely as though to remain above the fray, take a drink. For example, if he says, “…those who are more interested in scoring political points than taking our country forward…” or refers to “obstructionist douchecanoes” take a drink.

Now make up your own! (Please drink responsibly.)

Getting Money Out of Politics

Here’s a letter (okay, an email) I sent to Mike Foote’s campaign today:

Dear Mike Foote,

I’m suggesting a New Year’s resolution for you. For the New Year, why don’t you start turning down special interest campaign contributions?

Congress and state legislatures are running at record low approval ratings. Funding your campaign from individual contributions instead of corporations, unions, and other interest groups would help improve how the people think of you, and help prove you want to be a voice and representative for people–not PACs and moneyed intersets.

If you do this, I will feel a lot better about supporting you with my time and money. I know I’m not the only voter you need to win over, but for what it’s worth, I want you to know that my full support depends on knowing you are not accepting special interest money. Although I think you’ll be a decent representative either way, I want to use my influence, small or big, to support the candidates who put themselves on the line to improve our broken system.

Sincerely,

DanleySteel

(I plagiarized most of this from CleanSlateNow.org, Ken Gordon’s group trying to reduce the influence of money in politics. I sent a few other candidates similar emails. Of course, the actual emails use my real name, not my screen name.)

Now, what I’m wondering is this: aside from direct letters from Average Joes (because we all know that’s all it takes to persuade a politician to turn down money… I’m not cynical. Heh.)–aside from letters, what’s the best chance at actually seeing a meaningful decrease in the extent to which money dominates politics?

Which offers the best chance of causing a meaningful decrease in the extent to which money dominates politics?

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What’s the best-written ask you’ve seen this holiday season?

‘Tis the season!

As Tom Lehrer put it:

“It’s always seemed to me, after all, that Christmas, with its spirit of giving, offers us all a wonderful opportunity each year to reflect upon what we all most sincerely and deeply believe in.

I refer, of course, to money.”

So: what’s the most effective fund-raising ask you’ve been hit with this holiday season, and what made it special? (My favorite so far this season is after the fold. I like the attention-getter it has, the way it concisely states the unique contribution of the cause, and closes with a direct ask and a thank you. I’m always amazed, but I never fail to get at least one fund-raising letter each holiday season which doesn’t tuck a “thank you” in at the end.)

I could wait for this diary a couple more weeks. But then we’d all be without the perfect opportunity to plug our favorite charities just as other people are thinking of opening their wallets.

And there are no shortage of fascinating opportunities to make a difference with some cash–and no trivial amount of well-dressed scams and flashy money-pits as well. I want to know where all y’all recommend giving…

From Wikipedia author Aniruddha Kumar

I can speak Hindi, Urdu, English, Sanskrit and Moroccan. But I can’t read what’s on my computer screen.

Being blind online means I have to listen to all the text — including ads. That’s one of the reasons I rely on Wikipedia so much. It doesn’t waste my time by making me sit through advertising like almost every other website.

Wikipedia is one of the most beautiful things in the world. It takes the concept that everyone has a basic right to information and makes it into something real — a tool that’s free for anyone to access, even blind people like me, and completely neutral.

When I first found out about Wikipedia — that I could be part of this amazing collective project — I knew I wanted to contribute. And I’m asking you to join me.

Will you support Wikipedia with a gift of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can afford?

Wikipedia gets almost as many visitors as huge sites like Google and Facebook, but it operates on a tiny fraction of their resources. And it depends entirely on donations from readers like you.

Instead of ads, Wikipedia has a community of millions of volunteer editors double-checking every word and citation. I’m so grateful for them – their work makes learning online possible.

The philosophy of Wikipedia is to make a sea from drops. And it applies to everyone who contributes, whether a few edits or a few dollars.

Thank you,

Aniruddha Kumar

Wikipedia Author