Friday, April 18, 2008
7th District Democratic Convention April 18
Tomorrow, April 19th, Democrats across the state are going to be meeting to elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Those delegates, elected by congressional district, may or may not be seated in Denver, because Michigan broke the rules. But that's an entirely different issue.
So why am I writing about it here? Is it because Fitzy is a candidate for Uncommitted delegate and is trolling for votes? Well, yes and no. I am a candidate for one of the Uncommitted delegate spots, but the change in date to April 19th has made it impossible for me to attend the district convention (originally, it was scheduled for March 29). So I've given up on actually getting elected. (Mind you, if I were elected, I'd be thrilled to go to Denver.)
But there's something much more important than electing delegates to the DNC. This is going to be a gathering of some of the most dedicated Democratic activists in the district. What better time to talk about ways to defeat Tim Walberg? This is a phenomenal opportunity to collaborate and discuss and plan. And, sadly, I'm going to be missing it.
But I'd love to hear some first-hand accounts. If you're going, take advantage of it! Connect with Democratic leaders and build a winning campaign! And, please, report back to me. I want to hear about it. I really, really wish I could be there.
Sound like something worth doing? If you're a registered Democrat and eligible to participate in the 7th District convention (see the Delegate Selection Plan), consider attending tomorrow at:
UAW Region 1-C Hall
1002 E. South Street
Go, support the party, and help build the effort to vote Tim Walberg out of office.
Oh, and that other thing, about electing delegates to the Democratic National Convention? Sure, that's important too. The 7th District gets five delegates, three of whom will be for Senator Hillary Clinton and two for Uncommitted.
Below is the list of Uncommitted delegate candidates for the 7th District, via Michigan Liberal. I am somewhere on that list, though I'm not wild about broadcasting my actual name for all to see. If you're interested in voting for me at the district convention, contact me personally if you really want to know my name. If you figure it out (not really that hard to do) or guess correctly and leave it in the comments, however, I'm afraid I'll have to delete that comment. Like I said, I don't want my name out there for everyone to see. There are lots of people on the internet, and not all are friendly.
ABBEY, BRENDA 07 F
BASIR, AMINAH 07 F
BOBILLO, MARTA 07 F
BOLGOS, MARJORIE 07 F
BREHLER, JOSEPH 07 M
BRENNAN, FRANCES 07 F
COOPER, CYRUS 07 M
DE CONINCK, BRIAN 07 M
DEVINE, JACK 07 M
DILSAVER, DOROTHY 07 F
EAGLE, MARK 07 M
HARRINGTON, REBA 07 F
KENNEDY- WINDSOR, JEAN 07 F
LASKOWSKY, AMBER 07 F
LUKELA, JENNIFER 07 F
MC NAMARA, ALYSSA 07 F
MUSKO, ELSA 07 F
SIBLEY, FRANCES 07 F
SMIGIELSKI, LEONARD 07 M
STRACK, FREDRICK 07 M
TENNIS, JACQUELYN 07 F
WALTER, SANDRA 07 F
A few interesting names I noticed on first glance. Fred Strack was the second-place finisher in the 2006 Democratic primary for the 7th District. Frances Sibley is the head of the Lenawee County Democratic Party, and Leonard Smigielski is the head of the Jackson County Democratic Party and is the 7th District chair. I recognize a couple of other names, too, but can't quite place them right now.
Also via Michigan Liberal, here's the Clinton delegate candidate list for the 7th District:
ANDERSON, THOMAS 07 MFrom the Michigan Liberal diary, some of these names have been rejected by the Clinton campaign, but it's unclear which. Either way, a few names jump out again. Pam Byrnes is a state representative, David Nacht is a former congressional candidate, and Rosemary DiPonio is the head of the Eaton County Democrats.
Regardless of your presidential candidate preference, if you're planning on attending tomorrow, I'd encourage you to help lay the foundation for our campaign against Tim Walberg.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Schauer Raises $326,000 in 1Q
Unlike Sharon Renier, Mark Schauer's campaign finance information for the first quarter of 2008 isn't online yet. When available, I'll post it later this week.
However, the campaign did send out a press release:
SCHAUER CONTINUES TO RECEIVE STRONG FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM MICHIGAN VOTERS READY FOR CHANGE(Emphasis added.)
Every quarter, Schauer continues to impress me, and the fact that he's almost raised a million dollars this early is incredible. The fact that he's sitting on $750,000 right now is even more meaningful. He's spent less than a quarter of what he's raised, and he has more than enough resources to compete with Walberg this summer.
In 2006, we saw that more money doesn't always mean more votes. But when you're raising $326,000 in a quarter from over 1,000 donors, the vast majority of whom live in Michigan, it doesn't hurt.
Sharon Renier's First Quarter Fundraising
Sharon Renier was the first active candidate to file with the Federal Elections Commission for the first quarter of 2008.
Renier raised $275 this quarter, with $200 of it coming from one supporter. This brings her to a total of $1,830 raised for the election thus far.
This quarter, she spent $281.73. Her current cash-on-hand is $45.04, but her campaign carries debts of $5,200.
Renier insists that she can win without money in a grassroots-powered campaign. All I can say is, even people-powered movements have more than $45 in the bank. Eventually, she'll need some money if she hopes to compete against Schauer in the primary or Walberg in the general.
I like Sharon a lot. She's passionate and she gets people energized. But I can't help but wonder how serious she is this time around. I'm not a big fan of vanity campaigns.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
SEIU Endorses Schauer
Last month, both Mark Schauer and Sharon Renier competed for the endorsement of the SEIU Michigan State Council. SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, represents nearly 80,000 workers in Michigan in health care, state and local government, and building services. These aren't the flashy people who get all the headlines. These are the people who actually work for a living, making the essential services we rely on actually work.
Both Schauer and Renier participated in the "Walk A Day In My Shoes" program, in which each of them spent a work day alongside actual SEIU members, doing their jobs alongside them. In their press releases for each candidate's working experience, SEIU writes:
"Our decision to endorse a Congressional candidate will come directly from our members in the workplace," said Phil Thompson, SEIU Michigan State Council president and executive vice president of SEIU Local 517M. "SEIU members want to know that people running for office understand what it's like to do their jobs and walk a day in their shoes."Schauer spent his day in Adrian alongside Annette Freeman, a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Lenawee Medical Care Facility. Renier spent her day working with Denise Mazuk, a home care worker who cares for the elderly in the Battle Creek area.
Ultimately, the SEIU Michigan State Council chose to endorse Schauer. In their announcement, they explain:
Congratulations to Senator Schauer for the endorsement, and thank you to both Mark Schauer and Sharon Renier for taking the time to seek this endorsement. Thank you for choosing to spend time with the people whose lives you will affect should either of you be elected to Congress.
Which brings me to something from their announcement, which I find very telling:
To obtain the SEIU endorsement, Schauer and his opponent in the Democratic primary went through a multistep, member-driven process that included filling out a questionnaire on issues important to members and their families, participating in a candidate “meet and greet” with members and taking part in a “Walk A Day In My Shoes” event, where candidates spent a day working side-by-side with SEIU members. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), the incumbent Congressman in the 7th District, did not respond to the SEIU’s invitation to participate in the endorsement process.(Emphasis added.)
I know that SEIU is a union, and Congressman Walberg is a Republican, so the odds were slim to start with. But wouldn't it have been nice to see our representative choose to work alongside the men and women he represents, and try to convince their union that he really can bring about positive change? Even if it was a lost cause, that kind of effort would have meant a lot to me and to a lot of other people.
I suppose Walberg enjoys the company of his friends in the Club for Growth more.
A ROMP With Tim Walberg
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a program called "Red to Blue," in which they pick districts with strong Democratic candidates or weak Republicans (or both) and provide additional attention. This is purely offense, seeking to, well, turn "red" districts "blue" and elect more Democrats. (The incumbent protection program is called "Frontline.")
State Senate Majority Leader Mark Schauer, a Democratic candidate in the Michigan 7th, was selected for the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program for 2008.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the DCCC's counterpart, doesn't exactly have the same sort of thing that they publicize. However, Daily Kos front-page blogger brownsox brings us this:
In his post, brownsox is kind enough to give both the list and a startling observation:
Hmm... In addition to having only $5 million cash-on-hand, while the DCCC has $38 million cash-on-hand, things don't look great for House Republicans in terms of regaining that majority.
And, in case you didn't notice it, our very own Congressman Tim Walberg made it to the ROMP list. This is a district which George W. Bush carried with 54 percent (2004), Joe Schwarz carried with 58 percent (2004), and Nick Smith carried with almost 60 percent (2002). And House Republicans think Tim Walberg has a good chance of losing it.
Hey, 7th District Republicans! I hear that Clark Bisbee is interested in running! Are you sure you want to stick with Walberg?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Walberg, Schauer on FISA
Many of you may remember the controversy caused by the Bush Administration got not too long ago involving their use of warrantless wiretaps and other surveillance, sometimes domestically. Critics said, "Hey! You can't do that! It's illegal!" The Bush Administration said, "... But we're using it to fight terrorists!" The critics again replied, "It's still illegal!"
Just to be even more clear about it, when the House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Authorization Act last year, they added an amendment regarding such surveillance programs. Here's what I wrote when that happened:
Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, offered an amendment yesterday.It was one of my rare moments of actually agreeing with Tim Walberg. It was amazing.AMENDMENT PURPOSE:In other words, no more warrantless wiretapping by the Bush Administration. For those that have forgotten, President Bush has asserted in the past that the FISA court, which allows the government to secretly conduct domestic surveillance with only a handful of people knowing, was too slow. Instead, the president felt that he was justified in ordering the wiretapping of anyone, anywhere, at any time without a warrant from any court, and without any oversight. We were supposed to trust that he'd only watch the terrorists, of course.
Still, that didn't settle the controversy. The FISA court, many felt, was too slow and not able to handle modern threats, so people proposed a few possible fixes. This was the subject of much debate, most of which isn't relevant to this post. If you're really interested in more of the details, start with Wikipedia, and continue from there.
A major point of dispute did arise, however, and continues to be an issue. The Bush Administration requested an amendment to any bill which "fixes" FISA which would include retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that helped the Bush Administration while it was breaking the law in its warrantless surveillance program.
Let's be clear about this. The telecom companies knew they were breaking the law. They've got lawyers and everything, and I think most lawyers are at least vaguely familiar with the Fourth Amendment, which says that unreasonable searches and seizures (like listening to your phone calls without a warrant) aren't allowed. They're probably even familiar with some of the Supreme Court rulings and complicated legal arguments around the issues. I mean, lawyers generally know the law pretty well. And a big corporation doesn't do anything without talking to its lawyers.
It also doesn't help that the Bush Administration refuses to show congressional leaders documents related to their warrantless surveillance program. It's hard to forgive someone for something when you don't even know exactly what they did.
After a great deal of debate and leadership from Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) against granting immunity, the Senate passed a bill with retroactive immunity and the House passed a bill without retroactive immunity.
Congressman Tim Walberg, a proud supporter of President Bush, voted No on the bill without retroactive immunity.
Congressman Walberg then went to the Battle Creek Enquirer to offer his thoughts in an op-ed:
As we enter into April, our nation begins its seventh straight week of being more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.Ah geez. From the sounds of it, Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers pretty much invited Osama bin Laden to tea!
Really, this is ridiculous rhetoric. Congressman Walberg, if our national security is really at stake, why not support the House version-- which gives President Bush all the tools he asked for-- and deal with retroactive immunity later? If it matters as much as Walberg says, if terrorists are plotting to exploit this weakness, why not support any bill that strengthens our intelligence agencies? Can't telecom immunity wait for a week or two?
But Walberg does address the issue of retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies in his op-ed:
House leadership will not support current FISA legislation because the bill would prevent trial lawyers from suing American telecommunications companies who cooperate with American intelligence agencies' monitoring of foreign terrorist communications.That's right... blame the trial lawyers. Obviously, the only reason anyone is suing the telecom companies is because they're greedy. They're not suing because the NSA potentially invaded our privacy.
Congressman Walberg, however, is pure and altruistic on this issue, standing up for telecommunications companies because they were patriotic! It has nothing whatsoever to do with getting a $2,000 contribution from AT&T's federal PAC. Those things never matter to politicians.
Nevermind the fact that the telecommunications companies broke the law. Nevermind the fact that instead of giving them blanket immunity, we should be giving them a chance to state their case and defend themselves in federal court, as the House bill does. And nevermind the fact that we'd be giving them immunity without even knowing exactly what they did.
I agree, FISA probably needs updating. So, Congressman Walberg, just update FISA, and let the courts decide whether laws were broken and what the punishment should be. Isn't that why we have courts? Aren't we a nation of laws?
And stop making people like me seem like terrorist sympathizers. We're not, and you know it.
Now, if you noticed the title, you saw that it was "Walberg, Schauer on FISA." You're probably wondering where Mark Schauer comes into this, right?
Schauer, a Democratic candidate for Congress, released this video:
It's great to see that Schauer is taking a firm stand on this, and this is a great issue to define Walberg on. "I believe that corporations who break the law should be held accountable in court. Tim Walberg thinks we should give them immunity after they've broken the law."
These issues matter, and it's good to see Democrats standing up on them.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Congressman Tim loves his Pork!
Remember when Candidate Tim kept criticizing Good Ole Joe about his nasty habit of "bringing home the bacon"?
Well, I guess things change from Candidate to Congressman. The Citizens Against Government Waste released their report on the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget and Congressman Tim is listed for 17 projects! On six projects, he is the only House Sponsor.
Lets take a quick look, shall we?
These are projects he sponsored with other House members:
$111,216 for Armilliaria Root Rot Research
$368,403 for Apple Fire Blight Research
$262,152 for Bovine Tuberculosis Research
$156,894 for "Improved Fruit Practices" Research
$283,005 for Sustainable Agriculture Research
$368,403 for Phytophthora Research
$3,200,000 for Fleece Insulating Liners for extended cold weather for the Army
$2,000,000 for Multi Climate Protection System for the Navy
$2,500,000 for Sonobuoys for the Navy
$2,400,000 for Cold Weather Layering System for the Marine Corps
$1,722,700 for the Great lakes Fisheries Office, Fish Mass Marking Equipment
These projects are those where he is the lone House Sponsor:
$1,600,000 for Total Perimeter Surveillance
$487,000 for Adrian College for Nurse Training Programs
$195,000 for Siena Heights University, Adrian, for Nursing Programs
$158,000 for ProMedica Continuing Care , Adrian, for a telemedicine initiative
$343,000 for ITA Bus Replacement, Jackson
$490,000 for W.K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Runway
I will attempt to define some of these projects over the coming weeks, but, Congressman Tim needs to explain his "conversion" to Pork!
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