Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Update: White House Website

Here's an update on the story about the White House website trying to hide news on Iraq. The White House has issued an explanation: in short, to avoid duplicate search-engine entries. And the conspiracy-theory folks have come up with a motive: in short, to avoid the ability of website-watchers to notice the changes in old news stories to benefit the current context. The examples are in changes in headlines (from "Combat Ends" to "Major Combat Ends") rather than in actual quotations.

By the way, I don't think that "conspiracy-theory folks" means "nut cases." Last week, I watched Oliver Stone's film "JFK" for the first time. I'd highly recommend it for people who find it hard to believe that the government, the military, and the press can all cooperate to hide a major, complex scandal from the public. The parallels between the JFK assassination and the attack on Iraq are numerous and frightening.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Get Active: Take your Dean Petitions to the Polls

We're working here in North Carolina to collect 10,000 valid signatures to ensure Governor Dean can get on our primary ballot even if he does decide to forego taking matching funds for campaign contributions. We're hoping to make big progress tomorrow and next Tuesday when we have a host of local elections. It's a great way to get in touch with the people who actually vote.

Even if you aren't looking for signatures, think about setting up an information table at your precinct or at a heavily Democratic precinct. We've only got a little over a year in which to take our country back.

Hubris: White House Tries to Out-Fox Internet Search Engines

Slashdot today covers a pitiful attempt to keep the public from tracking its changing stories. Read about how the WhiteHouse.gov site uses the optional robots.txt files to discourage the gathering of information from its site.

It's the technical equivalent of, say, securing your laptop on the front seat of your unlocked car by putting a sticky note on it that says "don't steal this laptop .. and please don't take the money out of the glove compartment either."

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Get Active: Candidates Represented at Wake County Senior Democrats

I had an opportunity to talk to the Senior Democrats of Wake County, NC, about Howard Dean yesterday at their monthly meeting. About twenty members attended. Dean, Edwards, and Clark representatives were allowed 10 minutes to introduce their candidates, then we had Q&A.

The other candidates weren't represented because the organizer didn't know how to contact the local people. Deaniacs, please make sure that your county and state Democratic Party representatives know how to get in touch with the local Dean groups by phone, email, and snail mail.

The Seniors for Dean site was a great resource. It helped me find Dean's Agenda for Seniors and had large-print versions of several handouts.

Grassroots Money: Dean's FEC Report Taller than Dean

CNN features Dean in its amusing story on the third quarter financial reports. It says, "Dean is on top in all the 'good' categories (such as fund raising and cash-on-hand) and near the bottom on all the 'bad' ones (like debt ratio)." Towards the end of the article, the celebrity spotting is fun too: Emmy Lou Harris, Robin Williams, and Leonard Nimoy all donated to Dean, while John Edwards' only celebrity listed in Ted Danson.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Get Active: Civil Rights, Women's Suffrage, and Howard Dean

Great night last night. The League of Women Voters invited its new members, including me, to a tour of the new Women's Suffrage exhibit at the Raleigh City Museum. Our tour guide took us through the whole museum, including the mesmerizing exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement in Raleigh. The photos really brought it home. Hooded Klan members parading down the main street. Women in church dresses, hats, and spike heels marching the same street with a sign proclaiming "NAACP: 1000 Strong." Student protesters looking out from between the bars of a jail cell.

The Women's Suffrage exhibit also gave me chills. More marching people in white, but this time women marching for their right to vote. The exhibit emphasized the connection between race and gender rights. Opponents worried that if white women got the right to vote, then black women would vote. Then ... oh horror ... black men might vote.

A photograph showed the state headquarters of the Women's Suffrage and the Anti-Suffrage movements next door to each other. The good gals wore white flowers and the bad gals wore yellow ones. Don't you wish you could have been there to watch the interactions at lunch?

My favorite quote in the exhibit was:

"Raise fewer dahlias and a lot more hell. The place is here. The time is now. The opportunity is yours. It is not the time for women alone. They must all work together." (Louise Brevard Alexander, suffrage activist at the State Normal and Industrial College.)

The exhibit included a list of "women's firsts" in North Carolina. Our group was privileged to have one of those pioneers in our midst: Betty Ann Knudsen, the first woman to be a Wake County Commissioner.

At dinner afterwards, someone asked me what was up with the local Dean campaign. I told them about our new petition drive to ensure Dean will be on the North Carolina ballot. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I passed the petition around the table. What an honor that Betty Ann Knudsen herself was the first to sign.

I couldn't stay for the dinner, because I had to dart over to the Wake County Working Meeting for Howard Dean. We're gearing up for the signature drive and the long haul to victory. I hope we win our country back now so we don't have to go to the extremes that the Civil Rights and Women's Rights activists did. Seeing the determination, sacrifice, and ultimate victory of these movements gave me hope that we shall succeed, whatever it takes.

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