Getting in the Game
My adventures in the world and the inlfuence of Sports Night.


2/15/2003  

On Grassroots participation and Kos' Idea

I have decided to weigh in on Kos' idea to bring grassroots money to the DNC. But inorder to do so I feel I should let you know who I am first. I am a recent college graduate where I spent most of my time studying marketing and working for an internet consultant. In that time I have work on a number of e-teams and are taking the succesful entertainment marketing strategy to other areas.

I have also been involved in politics since I was 12 and have worked on a lot of campaigns despite being young. I stopped working politics after a stint as a fundraiser for Al Gore because I could not stand the role of money in politics. Recently I have come back as my sense of urgency about the country is far more important than the issues I have with money. This is one reason Kos' ideas excites me. The other is that my marketing and street team experience gives me a couple ideas.

There is much discussion about Kos' idea to influence the DNC and such with some of the good ideas that come from his site and the liberal blogosphere. His solution is trying to raise $100,000 and donate it to the DNC, elvating him and his readers to the equivalent of the GOP "Pioneer" level. This could be done with the coperations of sites like MyDD, Atrios, TalkLeft, DU, and dKos. Getting 334 of their readers to donate $300 a piece ($25 a month).

The questions have come from two major ends: organization and message.

The organization must be a PAC or you cannot demand a unified voice of influence, and it is easier legally. Secondly the PAC should act as an umbrella brand, one whoose goal is simply: to ncrease grassroots involvment in Democratic politics. Then underneath that would be a system of nodes. Each node could be the sites listed above, people would gravitate to those site to donate to the umbrella PAC, those nodes would be how the PAC was Organized. Thsi will make it easier to get more involvement because the nodes could create street teams to help promote their ideas and raise money.

The PAC could actually raise much more than the $100,000 in theory and encompass a greater range of politcal beliefs that are contained within the party.

The message could be determined in one of two ways, or even both. The first is "nodes" have controls over their money so to speak in each one of those nodes the decsions are made to where the money is donated and how their access is handled. The second, even more egalitarian is that that we use a web donation system I have been working on.

The system allows to "earmark" their money for specific uses or general concepts. Half of their money would be free to use, and the other half would have restictions or prefences attached. For instance, if people want to make sure their money goes to taking back the house, they can note that. If they want to make sure their money cannot go to the DNC they can note that too. In the end, the system deals with the money in such a way as to allow people to "vote" while donating.

I think a combination of those systems are best.

However I think the most important thing to note is that Kos is on to something.

We need a grassroots PAC for our community, especially as it grows. The PAC should be dedicated to just that. Grassroots involvement. The "nodes" would allow for more segmented ideas to get through, and the donation system would provide for individual preference. The discussion system is something we already have here in the blogosphere.

E-mail me and let me know what you think: kmthurman@mac.com

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 03:58:00 PM
 

What happened to the will to survive

Slashdot has a small piece about keeping the public in the dark if the world is going to end.

Okay maybe that is an exaggeration. Essentially a advisor to the government says that nothing can be done, why cause unnecessary panic?

This reminds me of the attitude put forth by certain NASA officials about what they would have done if they knew there was a problem with the wing.

This experiment that is our lives and civilization is fragile and I am really getting tired of people who are willing to give up that easy. The assumption we can never do a thing is decent scientific philosophy, but it is terrible leadership advice. Doing everything you can to survive is the job of leaders, not to conform to what people think is possible.

When did everyone get so defeatist?

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 02:44:00 PM
 

Losing the other war

Oliver Willis has linked to an extremely interesting piece by an American living in Australia, Forbes I know he is cool because he reads Dave Hyatt's Surfin Safari.

Forbes points out that we are losing the proganda war. This is one way to put it. It also be said we are not being good leaders in a war on terror. This is obvious by the fact that people are not only not following, but the see us as:
frighteningly big and muscular, could conquer the earth if it wanted, and has declared that you're either invading Iraq with us, or we'll add your name to the Axis of Evil and deal with you later as Forbes puts it.

Forbes and I disagree on the war, but his article it great. It points out why so many people have a hard time with us. We are not the humble gentle giant we need to be to survive in this world. Instead many see us as Amerizilla, and that is one impression I do not think is just a lack of good propoganda, or can go away with victory.

I will say it again. America does simply need a direction for itself, it needs a direction to lead the rest of the world towards, and then rally them to it.

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 11:33:00 AM
 

Konfabulator

I just wanted to let any Mac user know of the greatest program to come along since NetNewsWire is that of the strange name you just read Konfabulator.

Jason at O'Reilly Network has a great review of it.

But as for exactly what it is ... well it is a program that allows people to create and run other small desktop "widgets" Once you download Konfabulator it explains itself to you and you can download all kinds of great little programs that make your Mac an even better.

My favorite examples are some great clocks, news tickers, and some games.

Take it for a spin you'll enjoy.

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 11:11:00 AM
 

Three great notes about Intellectual Property

First, Aaron Swartz has a great explanation of the issue and why it has to change. My favorite part:

A property right is a positive right: ... A copyright is an entirely negative right: it gives you no new freedoms, merely the ability to prevent others from something they would otherwise be allowed to do.

Second, Slashdot is linking to some great new works on intellectual property. This is the more in depth and academic proof of what Swartz pointed out in his blog.

Finally, on a lighter note. It looks like Larry Lessig may not have a cartoon like Captain Planet, but like Buffy he has Fan Fiction according to Boing Boing. That has got to be some interesting stuff, he may get that cartoon or action figure yet. (side note: Jenny you should get into this stuff.)

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 10:43:00 AM
 

Democrats getting on the ball

New York Times is reporting that Congressional democrats are finally getting together on my issue number one: Homeland Security.

Then on another note Todd Gaedard's Political Wire is also reporting that the Democrats senior staffers have begun coordinating strategy at Weekly mondya meetings.

Granted both these pieces of news are Democrats playing catch up to the Republicans who have their number one issue (War on Iraq) and have been having weekly staff meetings for 2 years now.

However, it gives me hope, and it shows that Democrats are waking up and readying for a fight in 2004. If the Presidential Candidates can provide vision and Conrgessional democrats can weaken Bush's credibility, the the Democrats will walk away with 2004.

On a related note, Hillary Clinton is behind a lot of this (if you read between the lines) and I have to be honest, I would rather have her as Majority Leader than President.

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 10:26:00 AM
 

Interesting Reading

Found a great site: Internal Memos and on it some fascinating reading: a memo from Clear Channel about how to cover the War on Iraq.

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 10:25:00 AM
 

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Protesters against a war with Iraq are marching in London according to BBC News. They can't decide if there is a million or 150,000 and CNN is reporting the estimate fo 500,000. So which is it?

As I get ready to join my city's protest I tend to be a bit disturbed on how protesters are covered. Makes me wonder if going to First Ave is worth much besides for my own self.

I think the protesters whould try and work with the major news outlets in their city and a third party and work together to figure out the most accurate estimate. This way there will be little confusion about the numbers. I know protests like overestimate the amount of people as much as the police like to downplay it, but I think everyone would be better off if the protesters and everyone could just estimate together.

More importantly though, we need to figure out a new kind of protest and think outside the box, cause this is not working. It is being quantified like letter campaigns and faxes, and treated about just as significant.

What can it be? I dunno, I am working on that.

posted by Kevin | 2/15/2003 10:16:00 AM


2/14/2003  

If Hitchcock made modern political thrillers

In my new favorite blog of the day, little green footballs, I have found my favorite analogy about the War yet. It turns out, Mark Steyn, of the National post points out that:
Sadam is the MacGuffin. Like the top-secret formula in The 39 Steps or the uranium in Notorious, he's the pretext for the movie, but he's not really what the movie's about.

While I don't agree with his analysis politically. Mark's use of the MacGuffin analogy is well put. He is the thing that drive this plot, not the real conflict in it. Of course he left out the "tragic flaw" that Hitchcock's hero's usually had that this country also displays, but alas, I can't everything.

Professor Rose would be proud.

posted by Kevin | 2/14/2003 05:40:00 PM
 

Air Force nerds, a Mac, and a plastic Telescope

According to CNN those are the materials used to to capture the now famous image of Columbia. Thank god for smart nerds and their Macs, we have some more evidence on what caused this tragedy.

(My dad has been wondering why the image from the top secret telescopes used by the Air Force were so blurry, and Boing Boing has come through for him and me.)

posted by Kevin | 2/14/2003 01:25:00 PM
 

Politics over funding

Oliver Willis has updated his site to point out that Alex Knapp states that the BBC is lying.

First I challenge him to find a single lie in that story. All of it's facts and figures came from a Senate Republican and the head of the organization that distributes much of our humanitarian aid.

See this is why it so hard to have political discussions. Everyone throws around words like lies and then doesn't look at the subtleties that the reporters are writing about.

The reality of budgets is that this omission means two things: It was not a priority for the Administration to request humanitarian funds for Afghanistan and the Bush white House is going to force Congress to ad it to THEIR budget.

The BBC story simply points out that the Republican Chairman of the House Appropriattions Subcommitie now has to figure out how to pay for it since the White House decided not to. If that is not showing a lack of priority I don't know what is.

It was not included in the budget they sweat over and treat as a statement of priorities. In fact, budgets have been known to have place holding sections, for priorities that have not been fleshed out yet. No one at State or the West Wing asked for that figure? Or even wanted to put in a place holder??

That is absolutely no Marshall Plan. It is getting less funding in the 2004 budget than Syria. Who do we have more a responsibility to?

UPDATE: I inccorectly promoted Congressman Kolbe to the Senate and the Foriegn relations comm. earlier, thank you to Jay Caruso for pointing that out.

posted by Kevin | 2/14/2003 01:08:00 PM
 

Terror Alert Based on Lies?

According to ABCNEWS.com the terror alert was partly based on lies. I read this on Blog Left: Critical Interventions, and honestly I am aghast.

The terrorists don't even have to do anything to strike fear in Americans and our officials. "Chatter" still increased the alert also, we are told, but still.

I have a question for our intelligence community: If a lie this lame can't set us off this much ... how can you know the truth?

Intelligence should be able to spot lies like this, but we know so little we can't. We still have a long way to go.

posted by Kevin | 2/14/2003 12:39:00 PM
 

No aide to Afghanistan in our budget, can we ever belive what the White House says?

Seems that Oliver Willis has pointed out another news nugget that makes me sure I am on to something. It seems that Bush has cut funding to aide Afghanistan. Good thing even his party mates have had the sense to throw it back in.

This story got me thinking. Here is what it got me thinking about:

- This is further proof that Bush Admin has a large "Credibility Gap" even with Republicans that they have to fix the mess of his budget, and claim they increased spending.

- It increases my understanding that the in the promotion of democracy (as opposed to capitalism) should be the number one tenant in our Foreign policy.

- Where is bush on the drug war? With no aide to Afghanistan opium production can only go up, and it is already high

- Finally, the good news, I think the Democrats problem will not be finding an issue to beat Bush, but that there are just too many things to say about this Administration on a policy basis it will be hard to pick which ones to point out.

posted by Kevin | 2/14/2003 12:20:00 PM
 

Seems like Hart is getting his first flack

Over at TalkLeft they are explaining and discussing a comment that my favorite non-candidate Gary Hart made in a speech in San Francisco. The comment is as follows:

"We must not let our role in the world be dictated by ideologues with their special biases and agendas, by militarists who long for the clarity of cold war confrontation, by think tank theorists who grind their academic axes, or by Americans who too often find it hard to distinguish their loyalties to their original homelands from their loyalties to America and its national interests."

A lot of people are taking this as an anti-semitic remark. Talk Left, after sitting down with Gary Hart, was able to provide a great analysis of the context of that statement and how ridiculous that analysis is.

Gary Hart stated "homelands"

Most jewish people in the US are not from Isreal. So how could this be more towards them than say the Cubans.In fact, this is a man who has written two novels about Cuba, so maybe he was refering to Cuban immigrants, or maybe mexican, or perhaps, all immigrants.

I have a feeling this kind of hunting for for issues will haunt Hart over his campaign, if he runs. Because he talks in long term and thinks broadly (like a President should) and the press doesn't make money from that.

posted by Kevin | 2/14/2003 11:53:00 AM


2/13/2003  

Computer issues ....

It seems as if my QPS Hard Drive is "not supported on OS X" What kind of ridiculous notion is that, it's a hard drive, not Quark!

Anyhow as you can tell I am fixing computer issues. I will resume blogging this afternoon.

posted by Kevin | 2/13/2003 10:49:00 AM


2/12/2003  

Gary Hart on CNN

Yesterday's speech in San Francisco made CNN's morning show. Looks like momentum is building. 3 days and counting until the "Draft Gary Hart" site goes live. Here we go ...

posted by Kevin | 2/12/2003 08:33:00 AM
 

Is there NATO-al Queda Link?

Emmanuel Goldstein at ArstripOne points out that Osama bin Laden supported NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo, because we on the muslims side.

Maybe the rest NATO is also allied with al Queda, I mean they are balking at Turkey's invocation of article 4. Of course this is paranoid and stupid, but is the the kind of logic supporting our government's actions right now.

I forgot about Bosnia a while ago. Granted since then we have rooted out those cells, but the point is, someone agreeing with you doesn't mean you are working with them. That logic is indefensible and is the kind of logic that hurt us so much while enforcing the policy of containtment.

posted by Kevin | 2/12/2003 05:40:00 AM


2/11/2003  

On the Iraq/al Queda link front .... Powell trips

DailyKos posted about the new Osama bin laden tape explaining that Osama bin Laden, calls for attacks against US involvement in Iraq, but also calls the Sadam and his foverment "Infidels" The point, there is no link. Just two enemies that agree that the US should not exist for completely different reasons. Read what Kos has to say for the "proof"

posted by Kevin | 2/11/2003 10:51:00 PM
 

Security Moms and Two Wars

Joe Klien has written an article I wish I had written myself. I link to a lot of articles, but I believe that Joe Klien's article is the best I have read in recent memory.

It incoporates a lot of concepts I agree with both electorally and politcally about the war in Iraq and the war on terror. While I have tried to keep my discussion of these topics to a moral and apolitcal tone, I think the world has passed that kind of debate by. Therefore, Joe Klien comes in at the right time for me to explain the situation and lay out how I disagree politcally with the Bush Adminstration and the Republicans.

His article is a great analysis and his characterization of "Security Moms" opinions are the same as the ones I hold. He argues there are two wars to fight, one at home and one abroad. The one at home is a priority and the one the swing voters of the past 3 elections will care along with me.

He points out our first responder do not have resources. He doesn't point out my main problem, the democrats don't have a plan.

Enter Gary Hart. Who does have a plan and should run if only to epxlain that to America.

Things are begining to fal into place and people are strating to p[rove my hunches right. I have to look at this as good news, that somehtign might change, because if I think it is bad news, then it could only be getting worse. Here's to the hope for the "security Moms"

posted by Kevin | 2/11/2003 10:47:00 PM
 

Updating the site and links

Just wanted to let the three family members, couple friends, and random people that read this site that it will be in transition over the next week or so. I will be moving to a new domain and adding some other great stuff.

While all along updating the links and other little improvments here.

For now though I want to point you to Salam's site.

Salam's blog is interetsing because, well, he lives in Baghdad. As you can guess, he has a lot to say these days.

Here it is ... Where is Raed?

posted by Kevin | 2/11/2003 09:54:00 AM
 

Is there something more interesting than NATO bickering on the Turkey front?

While you are hearing that France Germany and Belgium are balking at sending NATO forces to Turkey right now.

The more important story in the long term is what else is happening in Turkey.

Turkey's decision to allow US troops to cross their border to invade Iraq was done in secret. I don't mean a secret committee meeting or anything like that but instead a secret parliment meeting, which the public was not allowed to witness. Then the President informed the Turkish people about the decsion. It seems democratic principles are falling by the wayside. This is a country that has a hard time being admitted into the E.U. because of concerns about economic and democratic reforms. Meanwhile the US assits in undermining there ability to join in the future.

On another note in regards to Turkey, it seems as if the likely invasion is already creating tensions in the northern Iraq regions. Turkey insists on control of its troops and as I pointed out earlier will control part fo northern Iraq. This is a recipe for disaster and unrest in the Kurdish region, and the US seems to be less hardline with Turkey than we are with France.

Beyond the direct effect of the US policy on Turkey and its citizens, it seems that we have also decided to disregard our concern for democracy as a value. The US must change that direction and must switch from a concentration on capitalism to democracy. NATO countries will eventually defend Turkey if needed, but I doubt the US would force it's non-democratic allies to change their way, if push came to shove.

posted by Kevin | 2/11/2003 08:04:00 AM
 

I am back ... with a great article

I have been looking for some good, impartial analysis of what will happen to Iraqi oil if there is a war against Iraq.

And I have found it here from CSM.

Of note int he article, while it is obvious that the US will not be selling the oil, it will definatly be buying it at much cheaper prices, and most likely from US companies. However one thing this article does not talk about one of the obvious ways to move the oil: being sold to Russia and then back to the US, making sure everyone gets some money. More importantly, that solution would definatly not give the Iraqi people what they deserve.

posted by Kevin | 2/11/2003 07:40:00 AM
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