Archive for January 8th, 2010

Netroots Nation: What I Love About This Job

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

“Adam,” I’ve been asked (by the voices in my head), “What do you enjoy most about serving as chairman of the board of directors of Netroots Nation?  Is it being backstage with folks like Bill Clinton?  Is it the site selection process?  Is it access to the Chairman’s Suite, or the ability to append the word ‘Chairman’s’ gratuitously to whatever you’re doing?

And the answer is no.  My favorite part of all of this is what’s just started — our proposal submission and evaluation process.

Because at the core of what we’re doing in Las Vegas from July 22-25 (register now!), as it is every year, are the panel discussions, roundtables, training sessions and other substantive gatherings that you generate which occupy our days during the conference.  Through this process we define what it means to be in the Netroots every year — what issues do we care about, and what perspectives are worth hearing — making the conference itself a way to educate ourselves, informing and inspiring activism for the year which follows.  

This is a bottom-up process.  These ideas come from you, and if there’s one theme I’d have for the 2010 conference, it’s this: given what we now know, what do progressives need to do to make change happen?

We want to see proposals for panels that run the gamut of progressive policy, but, as always, we’ve set a few priority areas. We’ll be sure to cover:

  • Comprehensive immigration reform
  • Employee free choice and labor issues
  • The economy, job creation and financial reform
  • Organizing around the 2010 election
  • Long-term systematic and infrastructure changes to the political process

As members of the Netroots community, one of our greatest strengths is our ability to shun conventional wisdom in favor of new approaches. Each session should offer a Netroots hook and cover interesting topics from new perspectives — though, of course, some of that can involve bringing in non-Netroots folks to educate us and listen to us.  

We want forward-looking ideas that provide attendees with tools to make change and ideas to build upon. Feel free to browse our archive of previous sessions and check out our video archive to see what has been done in years past, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box with regards to topic or format.  (Indeed, really: moderator plus four speakers has not been handed down from Sinai as the only way to do things.)

When you’re brainstorming, here are a few things to think about:

  • How does my idea help the broader progressive movement?
  • How will it empower activists to take what they’ve learned and use it for the greater good?
  • Do my proposed panelists represent diversity — of ethnicity, gender, geography, age and viewpoint?

Click here to read the full list of guidelines and submit your idea.  (We take these guidelines seriously — there are numerical grades, spreadsheets, conference calls, the works.)  As you’ll see from the guidelines, your ideas need not be fully formed at this stage, but we will want to see a good level of thoughtfulness and planning.  (You can’t just give us a title and say “and I’ll find three awesome people to talk about it.”  Be as specific as reasonably possible.)

The deadline for submission is February 8, and feel free to email me at adam (at) netrootsnation dot org if you have any questions about this process.  Help us build a great conference in our return to Las Vegas.

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Late Afternoon/Early Evening Open Thread

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

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ND-Sen: Hopelessly obsolete poll

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

This was in the field Monday through Wednesday, through Dorgan’s Tuesday retirement announcement:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 1/4-6. Likely voters. MoE 4% (2/9-11/09 results)

Dorgan (D) 37 (57)
Hoeven (R) 54 (35)

Um, yeah. That’s why Dorgan retired. Last February, Dorgan was winning independents 69-19. This week’s poll, he was losing them 33-54. Note that Dorgan’s numbers got worse after his retirement announcement. He was losing Wednesday’s sample by 57-31, so these numbers are exaggeratedly bad due to his mid-poll announcement. But still, it was looking tough assuming Hoeven got in.

We’re back in the field next week in North Dakota (along with Connecticut and Colorado), so we’ll have a new look at the land with a new slate of candidates. Chances are, this will be a lost cause for Democrats.

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CO-Gov: Salazar Won’t Run, Endorses Denver Mayor Hickenlooper

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

Despite having the White House’s permission to quit his Interior Secretary post, Ken Salazar has decided to stay put, and won’t be running to fill the seat being vacated by Gov. Bill Ritter.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will not enter the race for Colorado governor and will endorse Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for the post….

“Colorado needs a strong, experienced leader with optimism and new ideas for carrying our state forward. That is why I am endorsing John Hickenlooper for Governor of Colorado,” Salazar said in a statement. “John Hickenlooper is a uniter. He transcends political and geographic divides to bring people together to develop solutions. If he decides to run, he will make an excellent Governor for the State of Colorado.”

Hickenlooper has not been reached for comment.

The Democratic mayor said yesterday that he would wait for a decision from Salazar before deciding whether to enter the race.

Hickenlooper is the extremely popular Mayor of Denver, and now that Salazar as turned the bid down, is almost certain to run. Recent Rasmussen polling on Colorado is typically down on the Dems, but showed Hickenlooper performing better than Salazar against the likely Republican in the race.

The poll shows likely Republican nominee Scott McInnis beating Salazar 47%-41%.

Salazar has emerged as the most likely candidate to replace Governor Bill Ritter, who announced Wednesday he would not be running for reelection in 2010. However, Rasmussen showed Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, another prospective candidate, losing by only three points, 45%-42%. The poll also found Hickenlooper’s favorability rating to be 5 points higher than Salazar’s.

That favorable rating is high, 57 percent.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) has also been tossed around as a potential candidate, but given that Salazar has expressly endorsed Hickenlooper, his entrance seems highly unlikely now. Despite the fact that he’s the Denver mayor, and the rest of the state–particularly more rural areas–tends to grouse about those Denver politicians, Hickenlooper is popular statewide.

We’ll have a Daily Kos poll on the race next week.

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GOP message of the day: Shut up, Michael Steele

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

In the wake of Michael Steele’s “shut up” or “fire me” message to his Republican critics, Reid Wilson reports that senior Republican press aides told RNC staffers that Steele needed to be quiet on their regular daily message call.

House and Senate leadership aides are furious with RNC chair Michael Steele and have angrily confronted the RNC’s press shop over their inability to keep the chair on message.

In the course of a regular daily conference call between senior Congressional communicators, House and Senate aides berated RNC staffers over Steele’s comments that the GOP would not be able to take back the House, and that even if they did, the party would not be prepared to lead.

A senior Senate aide brought up Steele’s comments, arguing that he was ruining what should be several days of glowing press for the GOP in the wake of retirement announcements from Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Chris Dodd (D-CT).

“Steele is setting us far back with his comments and it needs to stop,” the aide said, according to 2 sources who were on the call.

I don’t know about you, but as RNC chief, Michael Steele gets my enthusiastic vote of confidence.

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Economic Outrage du Jour: Emails Exposed

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

Hugh Son at Bloomberg reports that e-mails forced into the light show that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, parts of whose job is supposedly to be curtailing bankers’ riskiest impulses, told American International Group to conceal information about its payments to banks while the financial crisis was unfolding:

AIG said in a draft of a regulatory filing that the insurer paid banks, which included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA, 100 cents on the dollar for credit-default swaps they bought from the firm. The New York Fed crossed out the reference, according to the e-mails, and AIG excluded the language when the filing was made public on Dec. 24, 2008. The e-mails were obtained by Representative Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. …

“It appears that the New York Fed deliberately pressured AIG to restrict and delay the disclosure of important information,” said Issa, a California Republican. Taxpayers “deserve full and complete disclosure under our nation’s securities laws, not the withholding of politically inconvenient information.”

You won’t hear any applause in this corner for the obstructionist, ultra-wealthy Darrell Issa. His self-funded recall petition encumbered us Californians with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governorship, a position Issa himself hoped to capture. His support for English-Only laws, right-wing attacks on ACORN, dissing of the 9/11 widows and other antics since his self-funded campaign put him in Congress epitomize the politics progressives are duty-bound to grind into dust.

But, frankly, if the disclosures in those emails are what Bloomberg and Reuters and others are saying, congressional Democrats ought to be on top of this issue. Must we depend on the richest man in Congress to engage in an oligarch vs. oligarch battle to give us the skinny about what’s going on?

Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns says, quite correctly:

At issue is whether the 100 cents on the dollar payments by AIG to its credit default swap counterparties were a backdoor bailout.  Most market watchers believe that AIG counterparties would have received significantly less on the free market, exposing them to tens of billions in losses instead of taxpayers (see CW story from March 2009 on this issue). So, in a very real sense, many believe taxpayers were defrauded by the government’s handling of the AIG affair.  This latest revelation only adds to that belief.

Moreover, in regards to Tim Geithner personally, this revelation is extremely damaging. Not only did he, Paulson and Bernanke mishandle the Lehman bankruptcy which triggered the panic central to the financial crisis, but he has now been personally implicated in withholding – covering up, if you will – vital evidence on the looting of taxpayers to the benefit of financial companies, some of whom are not even domestic institutions. You have to see this in a negative light.

With the economy continuing to show signs of at least short-term improvement, many Democrats and some progressives in and out of the party, seem unwilling to second-guess what was done on the fly at the height of the financial crisis. And, with an election year already under way, there may be a tendency to stand publicly and firmly behind Geithner. Hoping for what? That even more damaging revelations don’t come to light before November? How much that was unknown when this was written might become known by then?

Next week, Chairman Phil Angelides will hold the first hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that was approved in May. Some people hope this will operate with the same spirit as the 1930s investigation that came to be known by the name of its last and toughest chairman, the Pecora Commission. If Tim Geithner’s name doesn’t come up a few times during those hearings, it will be a very big surprise.

= = =
The emails are here. (h/t to fladem)

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Midday Open Thread

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments
  • Well, isn’t this special — the attempted murder of nearly 300 Americans is good for Pete Hoekstra (R-MI):

    GINGRICH: In Michigan, I think Pete Hoekstra is putting together such a good campaign and has gotten such a boost out of having been intelligence committee chairman now with the attempted attack on Detroit that Pete really is becoming a dominant figure in the state.

    If by dominant, Gingrich means the disgust normal people felt at seeing Hoekstra trying to cash in on the attempted bombing, then yes, it was great.

  • How much would you pay to hear Sarah Palin wax poetic to teabaggers? And how much does it cost to get her to talk to “real” Americans?

    This morning, I asked whether Sarah Palin’s decision to speak at the Tea Party National Convention — while eschewing the much higher-profile Conservative Political Action Conference — had anything to with money. Conservative blogger Dan Riehl is reporting, based on “forwarded communications,” that Palin is making at least $75,000 and at most $100,000 for her speech. Tickets for the speech along are going for $349 — tickets for the whole convention are $549.

  • You can listen to radio ads for John McCain’s (R-AZ) reelection campaign here. Please listen and then mock liberally.
  • And then check out a tweet from McCain that will have your eyes rolling to the point of pain.
  • It figures:

    “States with the most to gain under health care reform are overwhelmingly represented by Republicans, while those states likely to do worse are much more likely to have Democratic senators,” conclude the study’s authors. From their findings:

    [T]he states most likely to “win” as a result of health care reform are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah. All of these states have a relatively high number of uninsured and all are in the bottom half of states in terms of cost under both financing mechanisms.

  • Sally Quinn’s column in today’s WaPo is a sort of Rosetta Stone for Village mores. – Jake McIntyre
  • Does the inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline that connects Iran’s northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan’s natural gas fields signal the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony? – Meteor Blades
  • Have you heard of the death star that could wipe out the earth? Well, don’t start panicking just yet. –DarkSyde
  • Alabama GOP gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne gets caught up in a latter-day impromptu Scopes trial, as he is forced to recant his earlier insinuation that there might be some parts of the Bible that are not “literally true”. This led to a mini-kerfluffle where some outraged citizens threatened not to shop at the Piggly Wiggly, whose executive officer was appearing at a press conference endorsing Byrne. –Steve Singiser
  • To steal from an old gag at Sports Illustrated magazine, here is This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse: Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is paying The Salahi’s (better known as the WH party crashers) to headline a party at one of their nightclubs. The gig is going to pay them $5000. –Steve Singiser
  • 19-year-old single mom/apparent political phenom Bristol Palin is opening her very own public relations and political consulting firm, BSMP, LLC. Family (and now business) representatives say Bristol does PR as a Candie’s Foundation “Teen Ambassador” on the prevention of teen pregnancy. No, really. Others say it’s a great way for the family to legally pocket the lucre now collecting dust (and interest) in the coffers of SarahPAC. – David Waldman

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State of Daily Kos

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

Remember me? I used to run this joint. You may have noticed that I was relatively scarce in 2009. Part of that is that administrative duties are taking up an increasingly bigger chunk of my time. We’ve got some big changes planned for the site this year, and getting all the ducks in a row takes time and energy.

We are now about to start alpha testing on DK4, the next-generation platform for this site that will radically change the way we interact with each other. It’ll either propel the site to that metaphorical next level, or it will mark the site’s jumping of the shark/nuking of the fridge. Either way, I can’t wait to find out. Beta testing will commence hopefully in a month or two, after the first batch of bugs are stomped out. I’m hoping for a Q1 relaunch, but we’re not going to switch over to the new platform until it’s solid.

Also, economy-willing, we plan a major expansion of operations. I’m not going to announce anything until we’re closer to making those plans a reality. I’ve learned my lesson from DK4!

I’ve also been working on my third book, which I hope to wrap up by mid-February, for September publication. That obviously takes time, but it should be worth it. It’s my first polemic, and it should be a barn burner. Can’t wait to unveil it. I’ve also had to dedicate more time to making appearances outside Daily Kos. While I’ve long been asked to do more TV, I finally started doing more of it this past fall, and that should accelerate in 2010. Not that I particularly enjoy it — I’d rather write. I’ve never felt very comfortable in front of a camera. But we can only grow the movement by pushing the message outside of our little home here, and into new audiences on TV and other publications.

What else? Oh, we just ordered a block of 200 polls for 2010. In other words, we’re going to poll the shit out of these mid-term elections. That’s the weekly poll, plus an average of three more per week. Daily Kos ran more media-sponsored polls in 2008 than any other media organization in the country (about 100). We ran even MORE polls in 2009, an off-year. And we’re upping the ante in 2010. We’re going to be drowning in numbers, and it’s going to be glorious!

Finally, I’ve got some good news — we’re announcing three new Featured Writers at Daily Kos: Dante Atkins (formerly known as Hekebolos), Angry Mouse, and exmearden.

Our writing crew here at Daily Kos is getting quite big, as is the spotlight. This site is now among the highest profile soapboxes in progressive media, and it can be daunting to step into the withering fire that we get as a matter of course. I’ve gradually acclimated to the pressure–remember,  zero people read the site when I started writing it. When people like SusanG came aboard, the numbers were tens of thousands of readers. Now, we average between 1-3 million unique visitors every month, and are a top target of our friends on both the Right and the Left. This is certainly a different gig than even just a few years ago, and we long-timers need to be cognizant of that, especially since we remain committed to continuously adding new voices to the site’s front page.

Therefore, featured writers will get eased gently into this pressure cooker, writing on weekends when everyone is in a kinder, gentler mood and the stakes don’t seem as high, and it’ll be a nice way for both sides to gauge whether there’s a good ultimate fit. I’m thrilled with our three new featured writers, and expect big things from them. Give the new writers a welcome.

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Obama Pushes Excise Tax, House Dems Fight It

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

President Obama remains steadfastly committed to forcing the Senate’s Chevy tax on health plans over the House’s millionaire’s surtax.

WASHINGTON — President Obama told House Democratic leaders at a meeting on Wednesday that they should include a tax on high-priced insurance policies favored by the Senate in the final version of far-reaching health care legislation, aides said.

The White House has long expressed a preference for the excise tax on high-cost plans, which health economists say could be an important tool in controlling long-term health care spending for the government and for individuals and families….

Senate Democrats are generally believed to have greater leverage in the negotiations to reconcile the two bills because they cannot afford to lose a single vote and some centrists have warned that they would turn against the bill depending on how it changes.

The Senate approved its bill on a party-line vote, 60 to 39, on Dec. 24.

But the House does not have much wiggle room either. It approved its bill on Nov. 7 by a vote of 220 to 215, with just one Republican joining 219 Democrats in favor. That means Ms. Pelosi could spare just two votes without jeopardizing the bill’s chances.

This is undoubtedly not a smart tax in terms of politics.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) notes that Obama pledged not to raise taxes on anyone earning under $250,000 and that he attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the campaign trail in 2008 over his plan to do away with the tax-free treatment of employer-provided benefits. Pro-Republican groups are already turning the tables by running ads accusing Democrats of wanting to tax benefits.

“It’s a plan that has great political risk for the Democrats,” Courtney said.

And it’s so unpopular in the House that Courtney has the signatures of 190 Dems who oppose it.

Courtney actually collected the signatures against the excise tax back in September and October, but he said that in the only caucus of House Democrats before Christmas, the majority of comments from members objected to the tax. He said that the Senate is “leaning hard for their position,” and they have some support from the White House. But judging from Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments, “this is where there’s the most resistance to the Senate plan because she knows this is where the caucus is.”

Courtney believes that the feeling has intensified among House Democrats because of input from constituents at town hall meetings and polling, both public and private. He cited several public polls showing 2-1 opposition to the excise tax, and said that members have conducted their own polling showing the tax to be “politically toxic.” He added that “on policy and political grounds, the House approach is right approach.”

The millionaires’ surtax, supplemented by the Medicare tax on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year from the Senate bill, is much fairer, better politics, and doesn’t have the potential policy problems that the excise tax could bring.

Colt McCoy Injury VIDEO: Injured Longhorn Taken Out

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments



(AP) PASADENA, Calif. — Texas quarterback Colt McCoy has been injured on the Longhorns’ first drive of the BCS championship game and was taken to the locker room for further examination.

Team officials did not immediately have any details, but trainers appeared to be examining his right arm, which is his passing arm.

McCoy kept the ball on an option to his left and was tackled for no gain. He got up and appeared to be OK, but then went to the sideline and backup Garrett Gilbert ran in and called timeout.

Throughout the break, McCoy was being examined on the ground. Several minutes later he went to the bench and consulted with trainers.

The drive ended with a Texas field goal for a 3-0 lead.


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