Orange Gearle

family, friends, politics, music and technology... that's what it's all about

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

the progressive wave dot net [roots]

I've started a new project. More accurately, I'm a part of a new project. PsiFighter37 (Asuka Nakamura) over at Daily Kos had an amazing idea for a website, diaried here. He and Ryan Thibodaux are working together to inform anyone reading, about the incoming freshmen within Congress.

"By building a community of bloggers from Congressional districts across the country, our goal is to support the progressive freshmen in Congress, document their accomplishments and experiences, and fuel future progressive waves."

I think it's a great concept and my previous post here on orange gearle (Dave Loebsack -- David to Leach's Goliath) was my first post on The Progressive Wave site about my adopted congresscritter, Dave Loebsack (IA-02). There will eventually be people all over the country contributing information about their congressman to this site. I think it's a great idea and I hope it flies. I am excited to follow Dave as he embarks on this new part of his life...and I'm sure I will learn a lot more about politics in the process.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dave Loebsack - David to Leach's Goliath

(cross-posted at Progressive Wave . net [roots])

On November 7, 2006 Dave Loebsack (pronounced LOBE-sack) surprised us all. No one predicted his win. In fact, most people, in and out of the party, didn’t think Dave had a chance. This race wasn’t even on most people’s watch list. Dave ran against “the gentleman” incumbent Jim Leach. Jim Leach gets everyone’s vote: republicans, independents, and more than a few democrats. He was one of the few in his party to vote against the war in 2003, never mind that Leach did get his start working for Rumsfeld. Dave, a political science professor at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA, (located between the two most populous parts of of IA-02) has even had Leach guest lecture for his class on more than one occasion. Dave Loebsack has never run for public office. In fact, he had to be nominated for his placement on the ballot due to (allegedly) not enough signatures on his election petition! Leach has been in congress for thirty years – which, most likely, lead to his demise. Dave ran with the slogan “Dave Loebsack, our voice for change.” Another sign said, “Had enough? Vote Dave!”

I liked this Loebsack quote from the Muscatine Journal:

"I always said I could win, I never said I would win."

The race was a clean and respectful one. Neither Leach nor Loebsack would allow the normal mudslinging that we have all come accustomed to. This race was unique in money spent as well. Leach accepts no money from lobbyist, businesses, PAC money, etc. In fact, when the GOP sent out attack mailers, Leach demanded that they stay out of the race. He even went as far as to tell Ken Mehlman that he wouldn’t caucus with his party in January if it continued!! You have to respect the guy for that at least.

The unofficial results from the Secretary of State say that Loebsack was the victor by just 5711 votes; 107,097 to 101,386.

I was not in Iowa City where Dave watched the results roll in with his family and Johnson County supporters. After much GOTV work the prior three or four days, I was at the Linn County Democratic Victory Party, just thirty miles north . I can tell you that the noise generated in Cedar Rapids by staffers, and volunteers as the Loebsack-Leach returns were coming in, was overwhelming. Nothing I have experienced in this type of setting before. People had tears in their eyes; tears of amazement, tears of opportunity, tears of hope.

Since winning the election, Loebsack has been very busy! Last week he traveled to Washington for freshman orientation. During this time he did get the opportunity to speak briefly with the President, and so did his wife, Terry, a second grade teacher in Mt. Vernon Iowa. A Des Moines Register article quotes Loebsack:

"I did mention to him my desire to work with him," Loebsack said. "We didn't have much time to talk but I mentioned the war in Iraq." He said his wife, Terry, also told Bush about her son, a Marine captain and Naval Academy graduate who served in Iraq, and her daughter-in-law serving there now.

"I think he really took that to heart, there's no doubt about it," Loebsack said.

Although Loebsack is against this war and called for Rumsfeld’s resignation long ago, that was only a part of what Dave spoke about on the campaign trail. The issues of civil rights and civil liberties for all (including GLBT people), the environment, alternative fuel, retirement security, student loans, and issues that help people, especially those that need it most...those that have been neglected by our current administration...were top on his list.

And now??

Dave is ready to get started doing good things for good people in the state of Iowa, as well as all Americans across the country. He is passionate about raising the minimum wage. He also supports H.R.676, the United Sates Health Insurance Act introduced in the house by Rep. Conyers (MI-14). As a fellow educator, I am interested in how he will support education as he leaves exits that field for Washington.

I'll end with a quote from Dave. In this article from the Press Citizen, Dave sums up exactly what we are counting on from him....

"I grew up in poverty," he said. "I will never forget where I came from. I see no reason to become a Washingtonian," he said.

Friday, November 17, 2006

miss rhythm dies

A sad day for the blues. Ruth Brown died today.

Ruth Brown, the gutsy rhythm-and-blues singer whose career extended to acting and crusading for musicians’ rights, died on Friday in Las Vegas. She was 78 and lived in Las Vegas.

Story here. A Good Day For the Blues?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

parent wanted

God I wanted this kid.

Just over a year ago, this little guy walked into my classroom. He was shy, scared, angry, and adorable, among other things. He had the vocabulary of a sailor and did I mention he was angry? He is also an orphan. His name is Damarian.

He was put in my classroom, in a purposeful holding pattern. "The system" knew he wasn't ready for kindergarten, but they needed a place for him to go. So "the system" put him in my room, knowing he would repeat kindergarten. "The system", I suppose, is a whole different topic.

When I first met Damarian, he had already been a part of the system for some time. Who knows what he went through before that? His few short years must've been full of things that I don't even want to know about! They certainly weren't full of the experiences that little boys need....playing games, digging for nightcrawlers, fishing, going to the circus, etc. So, I decided that he needed to experience a few things.

We spent a lot of time with him outside of school. I took him to the mini-zoo in Cedar Rapids, we went to more than one park, we played games and shopped for fun toys. We went trick-or-treating together, carved pumpkins and watched movies. We took him with us to family functions, mine and The Soul Mate’s, and we celebrated all the holidays together. I seriously considered trying to adopt him. Had personal parts of my life been different (including, but not limited to, being married), I would’ve tried like hell to get him. I got as far as getting all of the info on fostering and adoption, I talked to former and current foster parents, and I even picked out (in my mind) how I would decorate his room…..trains, he loves trains.

After a lot of sleepless nights thinking and worrying and trying to make a decision, I decided that Damarian, like all kids, deserves a two parent household. I've raised (am raising) one by myself, and it's not it was selfishness (also) that lead me to that decision, I suppose. Someday, if I finally get my shit together, I will at least foster, though. My experiences as a teacher (and mother) have led me down that path. It will happen someday, just not for Damarian, no matter how much I love that little guy.

Why bring this up? Well, tonight he was on the news…..a story about kids that need foster homes/adoptive parents. I cried of course. He’s been in the system more than two years. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Here’s a link to the news story. If I can find video of it, you know I will post it.

FWIW: In the news story he tells the reporter that his favorite color is ORANGE (and pink). I wonder where he got that idea??

There's something about the hands in this picture(above)....I love the hands. Look at the size difference. I love that. There's just something about people's hands...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

pledge with me

Courtesy of my cousin, Marita...

Dear dismayed conservatives:

We hereby make these promises to you.

We will protect your lives and livelihoods.

We will listen to and respect your beliefs.

We will never try to force you to change your religion, sexual orientation, or first language.

We will do our best to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

We will have no tolerance for corruption and cronyism, even in our own party.

ESPECIALLY in our own party.

We will never tell you that you are unpatriotic.

We will never tell you that your opinion doesn't count.

We will never waste your lives for power.

We will hold our leaders to a high ethical standard and when they succumb to lust for power, WE WILL HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

If we forget this, please, please, please, remind us.

We need you to do this. You are America as much as we are.
Let's go.

mission accomplished

Friday, November 10, 2006

election reflection

Whew! What a ride. Tuesday night as the returns were coming in, State Senator Elect Rob Hogg said (loose quote):

“What a night for Linn County Democrats. What a night for Iowa Democrats. What a night for America’s Democrats. More importantly, what a night for America and Americans!”

I agree with those statements. Who cares that he was wearing his usual white tennis shoes with kaki pants and a dress shirt? You don’t have to have a good sense of fashion to be a great senator.

As I’ve mentioned a hundred times before, 2006 has not been the best of years for me. In fact, I’ve been through more than my share of losses this year. My dog died, I lost my one true love…you know, the basic Top 40 Country Song crap. It was nice to experience more than a few wins. Last spring when The Soul Mate broke up with me I lost the people that I talked most with about politics. He and his family are what my brother calls ‘commie pinko liberals’ as am I. My mom is more of a moderate democrat (my father doesn’t think so, but I do). ☺ Anyway, when I lost him, I lost them too, basically. So how is this an election reflection?? Well, it’s relevant, stay with me.

I had the Daily Kos community, but I needed a political outlet with real people once The Soul Mate and his family were ripped from my life suddenly (gotta have drama, don’t I?). At the same time I read the book, Crashing the Gate and I decided I was sick of whining and doing nothing about it. I like wine not whine. So, to fulfill my political void, I decided to do a bit of ‘gate crashing’ myself and volunteer with The Linn County Democrats….and I took my daughter along for the ride.

The last five months have been amazing! I’ve made phone calls, canvassed, met congressmen, written letters, met presidential hopefuls, knocked on many, many doors, met other democrats, had a date that I didn’t know I was going on (seriously, I’m that dumb), made new friends, watched my daughter become politically aware, and I’d like to think we helped, in a small way, get a few good democrats elected. And as it turns out, Hollyanne took me along for the ride!!

Carrie and Adam -- our fearless leaders. They ran the show at the Linn County Democrat Headquarters. At barely 24 and 19 respectively, they had a big job and did it well. The canvassers that were there all summer had more than one rubber band fight. In fact, this summer at the office reminded me of Fridays at the Tech Office -- fun, childish, fun, crazy, and fun. Carrie will head back to Florida just in time for winter, and Adam, an Iowa Citian, will head back to New York for college. We will miss them both.

The candidates, most of which have added “elect” to their titles, were all so amazing. It was so interesting to meet them all in person, have conversations with them about many things; political, personal, and just fun. Being on this side of the process is a real eye opener. If you ever thought any political ad on TV had any truth to it, you are completely wrong. I used to think that there must be at least some truth to it, but most of the time, it’s so much more than spin...frankly, out and out lies. Anyone that is political at all, should get involved with at least one election. It’s an indescribable, revealing experience.

The last week of June Hollyanne started interning with the Linn County Dems and I attended my first Linn County Dems Central Committee meeting. We spent much of the summer at headquarters. Once school started, we were down to about 2 evenings per week. Until about October.

Throughout the summer we met many, many people. Living in Iowa has its advantages. I don’t mean the fact that on Monday of this week I was wearing flip-flops because it was so warm, and today it is literally snowing. An advantage of living in Iowa is that people even thinking about considering to run for president, make an appearance in our state. Most of them would show up at headquarters, and we’d try our best to be there. We met the likes of Biden, Warner and Obama, Edwards made a few appearances too. Pretty nifty opportunities for us.

We walked in many, many parades. Seriously. I even wore a rowboat. Yes, a rowboat. For Ro Foege. And SANG. “Ro, Ro, Ro’s my vote on election day, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, register and say….Ro’s Ro’s Ro’s my vote…..” IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. I know. Cheezzzzzyyyyy. But he got re-elected. And our entry even WON in the Mt. Vernon Parade (did I mention that Ro is from Mt. Vernon?).

When I agreed to become a “Precinct Captain” I had no idea what I was in for, or, more importantly, what the f&@k I was doing! We made it through, though. Hollyanne had her own precinct to deal with, so we have both been extremely busy, especially the last 2-3 weeks. I will repeat in ’08. Now that I know what’s going on, I will be happy to do it again.

Iowa is now BLUE. Navy Blue. We went from 1 out of 5 Democrats in the US House to 3 out of 5. Our State House and Senate will now have a Democratic majority, and our new Governor is also a Democrat. Amazing.

Now what? Now the Dems in Washington get to get their sh!& together and get’r’done. We evicted the Republicans on Tuesday. America has spoken. We now have the next two years to prove ourselves as leaders in domestic and foreign affairs, among other things. Then maybe, just maybe we will elect a Democrat for President in ’08.

As things stand, over the first few months of ’07, I hope to see things like a minimum wage increase, stem cell research resume, and a plan put forth to get the f*@k outta Iraq. Democrats need to become the party of ideas and action. We won this election because The People are fed up with what this administration has done to America and Americans. We were losing the heart and soul of Americans. Checks and balances will be restored. Civil Rights of all Americans now have a chance of reaching fruition. And maybe, just maybe some of the people that have led America astray will be accountable for their actions. But let’s not make that our first priority. So, even though when you open my cell phone the words “Impeach Bush Now” are written on the face of it, I don’t want that exactly…..maybe I should say, it’s what I want but not what I need…it’s not what Americans need. Hope is what we need. Tuesday brought Americans hope again. And now Democrats need to use this opportunity to restore what this administration has broken and get on with it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

gotv - obama style

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I’m “precinct captain” for my precinct. Basically that means I organize GOTV for my precinct, and make certain that things are progressing in a legal manner at the polling place. Hollyanne is precinct captain for a different precinct – one that was in need of a captain -- obviously we vote within the same precinct.

So, things have been pretty friggin’ busy around these parts. Upon returning from Madison, I have spent most of my “free time” (whatever that is) at Headquarters, making phone calls, organizing a GOTV team for my precinct, and attending different trainings. Friday night while we were there, The Cedar Rapids Gazette took a bunch of pictures of Hollyanne and I making phone calls. I think they got a few of my mom, too….three generations might make the paper tomorrow. Kinda funny because we all have the same last name….and most of us with that last name AREN’T Democrats!!! I am anxious to see if it’s put in the paper, and more importantly, if there are any repercussions within the family for that. Whatever.

Saturday we attended another training and then knocked about 120 doors in our precinct. Whew! I was tired after that! I can hardly believe that 48 hours from now we will know the results.

Tonight Hollyanne and I attended a rally in Iowa City. Barak Obama was there (and a zillion people). I would actually like to know how many people attended…it was AMAZING.

After finding a place to park, which is no small task in Iowa City, Hollyanne, Justin and I headed for the ped mall. We could hear the music from the parking ramp, and I was reminded, once again, how much I love Iowa City. There was a pretty big crowd, and as we smuggled ourselves toward the front, the crowd kept growing. There were even people climbing the trees to see!! The national news was there, of course, including Terry Moran (I took a picture).

There were many state candidates as well as elected officials, Ro Foege, Sen Tom Harkin, Gov. Tom Vilsack, etc. This was a big rally for all, but specifically for Future Governor Chet Culver, and Future Representative Dave Loebsack.

I’m sorry, but I can’t even put into words how motivating the many, many speeches were. Iowa has 5 Representatives in the US House. Currently, four are Republican. Nussle has given up his seat to run for Governor, so his seat is open. The lone Democrat is up for re-election. A thirty-year congressman, Republican Jim Leach, is also up for re-election. By winning each of these elections, Democrats will gain two seats in the House. Our state has the opportunity to have a Democrat in the Governor’s Mansion, AND have a Democrat led Iowa Congress. Wouldn’t that be amazing??

When Sen. Harkin was speaking he talked about a lot of things....but.....When he was talking about Bush, the fact that this administration is incompetent, and the fact that we need a change, there was a brief moment of quiet...just enough time for Hollyanne to yell "IMPEACH BUSH" loud enough that others followed along the same vein. Harkin laughed a bit, and then very seriously spoke about the fact that he (Harkin) is in a leadership role within the Senate....and that impeaching Bush will NOT be on the agenda of a democratic lead congress. He was quite serious. Then he said that he doesn't know ONE Democrat that would want to have Cheney for President as a result of Impeaching Bush. The crowd cheered.

Barak Obama gives a great speech. My mother is particularly taken by him, and calls him a “rock star”. He does have Rock Star Status. The national news was there, and I think we may have made it on camera. Barak talked about all the usual stuff…healthcare, minimum wage increase, etc. But when he talked about the war, the audience was silent…..almost completely silent. The girl next to us (that passed out several paper plates with peace signs, and peace slogans written on them for all to hold up at appropriate times) was in tears during this portion of the speech. I got it all on video…here (not the tears, but the speech).

Afterwards, the Governor, Senators, etc. crossed in front of the stage, ground level, shaking hands and signing autographs. We got a picture, and Hollyanne got Barak Obama’s autograph.

I have no idea why I chose to wear a stocking cap! What was I thinking?

Less than 48 hours to go. Have you voted? Have you made phone calls? Have you knocked doors?

See...Terry Moran!! LOL

Saturday, November 04, 2006

number two

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Friday, November 03, 2006

bob video from the concert

the first song of the concert:

Bob Dylan - 10/31/06 - Maggie's Farm

the last song of the concert:

Bob Dylan - 10/31/06 - All Along The Watchtower