Sunday, February 24, 2008

March 4 Watch Party (TX, OH, RI)

Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island will tell us on March 4th who they want to be the Democratic Presidential Candidate. Texas is the last state with over 200 delegates at stake, and between these states, there will be 355 delegates awarded based on the people's vote.

So, come watch the results with us at Mo Diggity's! This is a 21 and over event, because Mo Diggity's is a private club. You don't need to worry about a cover charge to come watch the debate, though.

Mo's has a really great kitchen (I recommend Tenley's Famous Philly!) and the room we will be watching the results in is non-smoking. There are Love Sacs and plenty of seating. Mo and Digg let us watch a debate here last fall, and everyone had a really good time.

I hope that you'll join us! More information may be available later, so please check back, or watch your email.

We are hoping to have as many watch parties as possible, so if you would like to host one yourself, please contact me.

Time: Tuesday, March 4 at 6:00 PM
Duration: 3 hours
Host: Misty Fowler
Contact Phone: 8013867729
Mo Diggity's (Salt Lake City, UT)
3424 S State
Salt Lake City, UT 84115

Directions: Look for Arby's, and you'll find Mo's in that parking lot!

You can RSVP here, to stay informed of any additional information.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama Needs The Spanish Vote

I saw this over on Brown Views, and just about died laughing. That was before I even had the lyrics translated for me!

According to my friend Joe, here's the translation:
in order for obama to win.

he needs a lot of latin votes

up up, i will register.

I am not a clinton supporter


in order for obama to win.

he needs to explain his positions

for you and for me

in order for obama to win.

he brings change

the kennedys like him, and so does oprah, and scarlet johansen

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Late Wednesday Edition

I'll be at a Regional Directors Meeting for the SL County Party, so I won't be able to watch the debate live, which means I'll probably only be able to hit the highlights. The debate coverage from Wired Danger Room ought to be fun, though.

  • The first item up today is a preview of the housing we may someday have to consider, when everything floods due to global warming. And I thought the FEMA trailers were bad.
  • MAKE always has neat stuff, but today's photos from the 2008 NYC Toy Fair are pretty fun. Of course, my favorite is the Barack Obama sculpture, even if they didn't capture his tall, skinny aura.
  • Heckler & Koch, gun manufacturer and makers of my favorite knife I've owned, are breaking up with Blackwater. As Wired said: Wow, when you're not good enough to hang out with a gun manufacturer, it's time to really take another look at your public image.
  • Did you see the challenge that Glen Warchol issued to the Utah Democrats? Glen, dear, have you seen what's going on with Utah Democrats this year? We're kicking ass and taking names when it comes to being organized. And it's only going to get better from here. And the Obama campaign has a whole lot of activists with lots of energy that will likely turn towards the Democratic Party in Utah.
  • Speaking of lynch mobs, Bill O says he doesn't "want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels". Wow, is there some kind of virus going around that only affects Republicans, causing them to spew hate?
  • You've seen me complain a lot about campaigns (especially Ron Paul) who break FEC rules. This time, Clinton has a 527 spending money to help her campaign in Texas. In December, both Barack Obama and John Edwards demanded that 527s purporting to support them cease their activities and denounced their efforts; will Clinton do the same?

One last thing for tonight. As of this writing, 929,843 people have donated to the Obama campaign. If you'd like to be part of this million man movement, please consider donating through the Utah for Obama group. Even $5 will get you in this not-so-exclusive club. And your voice will be yet another adding to the growing chorus that says our voices will be heard. Obama's campaign has been funded mostly with donations under $100, and that is just another reason why I believe that the hope isn't just a fantasy, it's real, and we are a part of it.

That's all for tonight, folks. Ciao.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

xkcd: Sympathy for My Partner Edition

After seeing this, I feel this sudden urge to go hug my boyfriend and put down the internet, at least for the rest of tonight:

Alt: What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

(Baby, I love you and I'm shutting down as soon as I send you the link to this post, so I can come give you that hug.)

Obama's Victory Speech

I received this email from Senator Obama earlier this evening:

Misty --

Today, the people of Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new kind of politics.

They rejected an onslaught of negative attacks and attempts to distract them from the common concerns we all have about the direction of our country.

No doubt we'll hear much more of these attacks and distractions in the days to come.

But the noise of these tired, old political games will not drown out the voices of millions calling for change.

You can help bring a new voice to our political process. By giving through our matching program, you will double the impact of someone giving for the first time this year.

We're nearing our goal of 500,000 people giving so far in 2008. You've already donated to this campaign -- but now you can help push us over the top and bring in someone new.

Make a matching donation right now:

We won't know until late tonight the results of today's Hawaii caucus, but we'll let you know how that turns out tomorrow.

If we win in Hawaii, it will be ten straight victories -- a streak no one thought possible, and the best position we can be in when Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont vote on March 4th.

Thank you for making this possible,



Congratulations to Senator Obama on Wisconsin Win!

I am looking forward to finding out how the Hawai'i caucuses went, but in the meantime, Obama's 9th straight win in Wisconsin is great news!

According to MSNBC, he split the female vote in Wisconsin with Hillary, which makes me believe that women who previously were going for Hillary solely because of her gender may now be looking for something more, and have found that in Barack.

With 60% currently reporting, Barack has 56% of the vote, with Hillary at 43%. That should give Barack a pretty good chunck of Wisconsin's 74 delegates.

Yes we can!

Things You Must Read - Your Random Tuesday Edition

This first item just leaves me speechless. Martha Stewart bought the rights to Emeril Lagasse! I can't tell from the story if she purchased from Emeril himself, or if the rights belonged to Food Network. Either way, I hope this doesn't change anything!

Val Kilmer apparently has a new gig - Kitt, as in Knight Rider. Apparently, it's only redeeming feature is that the bad guys are the BlackRiver Security Corporation, who are attempting to take over the world. I may just have to watch.

As far as Pledged Delegates go, many of us have been up in arms that there is a very real possibility that pledged delegates, and not citizen voters, may determine the outcome of the Democratic nomination. How pissed would you be if one of the campaigns planned to try to sway pledged delegates to the other side? You heard me - pledged delegates, not unpledged. To
flip or not to flip?

The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Snelgrove Ice Cream is going the way of the dodo bird. Speaking of the Trib, does anyone else have an issue with their "Was this article worthwhile" question? The way most people seem to be using it is to indicate if they like or dislike the subject of the article, or the views presented therein. So, since I don't like the idea of Snelgrove going buh-bye, if I go with the crowd, I would hit the thumbs-down. However, since I'm glad the Trib reported this, shouldn't I be giving it a thumbs-up? They should refine the question somehow.

Tomorrow evening, a total eclipse of the moon is expected starting around 6:45 PM until 10 PM. More information about watching the eclipse from various parts of the state is available on the Trib.

In case you're bored, Woot has come up with a Best of the Worst List for your jaw-dropping pleasure.

And as a final note, watch Brit Hume talk about Michelle Obama:

As C&L said:
Ya know, I thought we’d hit bottom on right wing stupid with Glenn Beck’s “ugly women are progressive” comment. Guess what? The admittedly lovely Michelle Obama?[...]
Brit? It takes a lot to out-stupid Glenn Beck. Congratulations, my friend.

I just think it's hilarious that this seems to be the worst that the right-wing can throw at the Obamas. No wonder the polls say Obama would definitely win against McCain.

On that note - Good luck to Senator Obama in Wisconsin and Hawai'i tonight!

Monday, February 18, 2008

XKCD: Catch Up Edition

Alt: It was also fun when those teenagers tried to egg our house and it insta-cooked the eggs in mid-air.

Interestingly, MAKE covered trebuchets today.

Alt: Oh, look, the 'make everything better' button was here behind the bookshelf all along.

That's right. But the desire to is in our makeup.

Alt: But seriously, there's loads of intelligent life. It's just not screaming constantly in all directions on the handful of frequencies we search.

Alt: It's pi plus C, of course.

Ben and Jerry to unveil new flavor?

This really belongs in a "Things You Must Read" post, but it'll have to do all by itself.

Barack Obama's latest round of endorsements includes Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. You read that right, folks. Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame have endorsed Senator Obama.

My main question here is.... what's the new flavor going to be?

I know, I suck

I won't be abandoning my blog forever, and I hope everyone will forgive my little hiatus from blogging. The last year of the Obama campaign really wore me out, and I didn't realize how much until Super Tuesday was over. February 5 was a goal and when it got here, and was so successful, I was thrilled. But, being able to know that if I don't check my email for an entire weekend, nothing will blow up, has been a huge mental relief. Combining that freedom with getting a new puppy, having my youngest son's 8th birthday, and getting back to relationships I've ignored has left me without as much time to pay attention to all things Obama and all of my online buddies. Oh, and the email! Since Super Tuesday, every mailing list I'm on has gone into hyperdrive. I've been using Google filters to move stuff out of my inbox. I'm not really reading much of it, but once I finish sorting it, I think I'll be able to keep up with it again. Once that's done, and I catch up on reading local blogs (I can't possibly miss a post from JM Bell or the Utah Amicus or many others, so they're sitting marked as unread in my RSS reader), I will be back. So will "Things you must read". :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rant: Finding a New Doctor Makes Me Need Valium

If I had a top ten list of things I hate in life, finding a new doctor would be right up there at the top. Along with paying bills (can't I pay someone to take care of all of that for me??)

Anyway, I've been waking up every day for about a week with back pain, and it gets worse by the day. So, time to see a chiropractor, right? No, because I'm scared that they'll mess my back up, and so I won't go unless they come highly recommended. And they don't do all sorts of new age, homeopathic type stuff. The only one I know of that fits that bill is in Draper, and I can't get out there on a regular basis. So, it's on to finding an orthopedic specialist. I decide that finding one from the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital would be a good place to start.

So, I tell UHC's web site to show me all of the physicians affiliated with them, and pick a random one from the list and call. I'm then told that this doctor is no longer at the clinic I'm calling. So, I ask if all the doctors are orthopedic specialists (yes) and if they accept UHC insurance. That insurance question was a doozy, I tell ya! The woman on the other end of the phone blurts out some kind of confusing explanation about how they usually do but they can't guarantee payment so she really doesn't know. So, I try to simplify the question, and ask if any of the providers are on UHC's provider list. Somehow, she modifies her answer to be less clear, and 'they maybe are and maybe aren't, but here's the original doctor's phone number that you asked for'.

Wow, that was painful.

So, it's on to calling the original doctor I was looking for. This time, I verify that the doctor is indeed still practicing through wherever the hell it is I'm calling, that he does take UHC and he is taking new patients. Yep, yep and yep. So, I ask how long it will be before I can be seen. I'm then transferred to his assistant's voicemail. Surprisingly, I actually got a call back about 5 minutes later, only to find out that it'll be almost 2 weeks before I can be seen. Then I find out he specializes in knees and shoulders.

She was very nice and referred me to both a clinic (Spine Clinic) and another doctor, neither of which I can find in my insurance directory.

So, with an hour wasted, I'm back to square one. At this rate, I'll end up waking up unable to move before I can find a doctor to help. And I was supposed to find a doctor to treat my endometriosis, a regular doctor (for annual checkups and medication refills) as well as a new dentist. I think I'll go stick my head in a hole in the ground, instead.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Post-Super-Tuesday Nothings-Changed-Wednesday Edition

  • Wow, I've seen a lot of lists comparing the way things are between generations, and nothing has made me feel so in-between as this one has. I understand how these are things that this generation has always known, but I'm also right there with the previous generation, and I remember when a satellite was a 15' dish, the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened, when everyone knew the etiquette of party-line phones (which might be why I can't stand the idea of anyone listening in on my phone calls!), and I miss Johnny Carson!

  • Does it surprise anyone that former SCO Chair Ralph Yarro is behind the Utah WiFi Age Verification bill? Let's see, chair of a company that died a slow painful death due to his stupidity convinces Utah lawmaker Bradley Daw that he should kill free public wireless because it'll protect kids? Yep, not any better thought out than anything else Yarro's done. Hope Daw puts 2 and 2 together to figure out that it's a bad idea all the way around, and won't protect a single child from anything.
  • (h/t to Boing Boing for much of today's most interesting stuff, as usual.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Barack Needs Your Help Today!

I just got this email from Anne Filipic, the Obama Utah Director:
Today is Utah's chance to help make Barack Obama the next President. Please help us get as many people to the polls today as possible!

Three easy ways to do this:

2) Tell all your friends, neighbors and co-workers to go vote. Send out an email to your whole list, call through all the numbers in your cell phone, etc. There are a lot of people in Utah who still don't realize that today is the presidential primary and the best person to tell them why they need to go vote for Barack is YOU!
3) Help us make calls and knock on doors to Obama supporters. Call 801-886-2262 or come down to our office at 1747 South 900 West in SLC if you can help out. (We also have locations in Park City, Ogden, and St. George if you are closer to any of those locations and want to help out there.)

There is a lot of support for Barack in Utah but it won't mean anything if we don't get our supporters to go VOTE! We'll be on the phones and the doors all the way through 8pm, when doors close. Please help us help Barack!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

All But Republicans and Green Party Can Vote in Democratic Primary?

According to the Salt Lake Tribune:
Democrats and unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in that primary. (Members of other parties, such as the Green Party, will technically be considered unaffiliated voters, except for those registered in the Constitutional Party.)
And while we're at it:
Utah by the numbers
* 1,709,629 registered voters
* 1,043,905 independent (not affiliated with any party), 61 percent
* 538,305 Republicans, 31 percent
* 125,992 Democrats,
7 percent
* 1,427 Constitution Party, 1 percent

Rules of the game
* Independent (small i) voters have a choice. They can vote in the Democratic primary just by asking for a ballot. If they are willing to sign up as a Republican at the polls, they can vote in the GOP primary.
* Registered Republicans can vote only in the GOP primary; registered Democrats only in the Democratic primary.

Grateful Dead Concert for Obama Live NOW!

Dead Heads for Obama '08

Michelle was Amazing!

I just got back from the Salt Palace, and it was amazing! I believe I'll be able to find video later, and will blog that as soon as I can. I'm on cloud 9, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, Michelle Obama will be our next First Lady, and she will make America proud. She is beautiful and eloquent, and means every word she says.

Here are the photos I took. I hope to have other photos later.

Yes, we can, Utah! And we will!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chills, I tell you! [Update]

Idaho isn't too much different from Utah, really. They are about as red as us, and they have a high LDS population. And when Barack's visit to Utah was canceled, it was to Idaho that he headed.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what a movement looks like:

Click on it, and let it load - talk about amazing! BoiseNoise took this panoramic photo of the 15,000 people there to see Barack.

Yep, I said 15,000. Say it with me, slowly. Fif-teen thou-sand people. In Idaho. Did you get the shivers, too?

Here's what the photographer had to say:
I volunteered to help with Obama's visit to Boise. When we breifed we expected to fill up maybe four sections of the Taca Bell Arena at BSU. There was a curtain placed behind the stage as they often do with small crowds. Well we had more than a small crowd. Between 14000 and 15000 people attended the event. This was a great surprise to everyone. Idaho is traditionally a strict Republican state.

At this point I'd have to say get on the train. Don't stand in front of it. There's too much momentum.
Yes, we can!

[Update] In 2004, Idaho had 642,000 registered voters. 172,000 of them voted. If you look just at Boise, there were 159,000 registered voters, and 25,000 of them voted. And on Saturday, 15,000 people showed up to see Barack? Simply amazing!!

Politics as Usual

The LA Times broke this story today:
Ed Coghlan was just starting to prepare his dinner in the northern San Fernando Valley the other night when the phone rang. The caller was very friendly. He identified himself as a pollster who wanted to ask registered independents like Coghlan a few questions about the presidential race and all the candidates for Super Tuesday's California primary.

Ed, who's a former news director for a local TV station, was curious. He said, "Sure, go ahead."

But a few minutes into the conversation Ed says he noticed a strange pattern developing to the questions. First of all, the "pollster" was only asking about four candidates, three Democrats -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, who was still in the race at the time -- and one Republican -- John McCain.

Also, every question about Clinton was curiously positive, Coghlan recalls. The caller said things like, if you knew that Sen. Clinton believed the country had a serious home mortgage problem and had made proposals to....

freeze mortgage rates and save families from foreclosure, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for her?

Ed said, of course, more likely.

Every question about the other candidates was negative. If Ed knew, for instance, that as a state senator Obama had voted "present" 43 times instead of taking a yes or no stand "for what he believed," would Ed be more or less likely to vote for him?

"That's when I caught on," said Coghlan. He realized then that he was being push-polled. That malicious political virus that is designed not to elicit answers but to spread positive information about one candidate and negative information about all others under the guise of an honest poll had arrived in Southern California within days of the important election.
And there's plenty more before the story wraps up this way:
Phil Singer, the spokesman for the Clinton campaign. was contacted by e-mail last night. He answered that he was there. He was asked if the Clinton campaign was behind the push-poll, knew who was behind it or had any other information on it. That was at 5:27 p.m. Pacific time Saturday. As of this item's posting time, exactly eight hours later, no reply had been received.

Obama's Superbowl Ad

I missed the Superbowl tonight. Well, ok I didn't really miss it, but I didn't watch it. I usually watch for the commercials, if there's a party to go to. But, with Tuesday's primary looming, there was no way I could take that much time out of everything else I have going on.

Thankfully, I still got to see the best Superbowl commercial of '08!

I know it must have cost a fortune, but I think it was a brilliant move, and a brilliant commercial. Yay!!

Questions for Barack

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The Chronicle invited readers to send in questions for the major presidential candidates, prior to the California primaries on Feb. 5. Some sent in a question for all the candidates. Others were directed at a specific candidate. Below is the full text of the questions to, and answers from, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)

- Andrew S. Ross, Chronicle interactive editor

I'm a Republican. I was a very liberal Democrat growing up during Nam, Civil Rights, etc. I became a Republican when I opened my own business and ran into the buzz saw of governmental "protections" of everyone except those that create jobs in small businesses. Based on a Baby Boomer's experience such as my own, why should I vote for you?

- Steven Wright, 55, Pacifica

Sen. Obama: I believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a standard of living unmatched in history. In order to continue this prosperity, we'd restore fiscal discipline in Washington by reinstating pay-as-you-go rules, cutting pork barrel spending, and ending wasteful government spending.

My administration will also seek to level the playing field for American businesses - particularly small business owners like yourself. Many small businesses are struggling with the cost of health insurance, and I have introduced a plan that will save businesses $140 billion annually in premiums. My health care plan will help small businesses that want to cover their employees by letting small firms buy into a new low-cost, high-quality national health plan similar to the one offered to members of Congress. And my plan will reimburse employer health plans for a portion of the catastrophic costs they incur above a threshold if they use the savings to reduce the cost of workers' premiums.

In the Senate, I cosponsored the bipartisan Small Business Lending Reauthorization and Improvements Act. I will work to help more entrepreneurs get loans, expand the network of lenders, and simplify the loan approval process.

I will provide tax relief to small businesses. I will provide self-employed small business owners a $500 tax credit to offset their self-employed tax. I will also eliminate capital gains taxes on investments in start up companies.

And I will task the appropriate federal, state, and local leaders and agencies to ensure that every urban community has access to capital and the resources it needs, whether it's a new community development financial institution, additional small business loans for new entrepreneurs or more private financial institutions in underserved neighborhoods.

With the recent positive news coming out of Iraq, can you be the first Democrat to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the war is not lost and there is some hope of American/Iraqi success?

- Jeff Farmer, 57, St. Helena

Sen. Obama: The goal of the surge was to create space for Iraq's political leaders to reach an agreement to end Iraq's civil war. At great cost, our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006. Moreover, Iraq's political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war.

The time to end the surge and to start bringing our troops home is now. This problem has no military solution. The Iraqi people must take responsibility for their own future. I support beginning immediately to withdraw our forces from Iraq at a pace of 1-2 combat brigades per month. At that pace, when I am president we can have all our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2009.

If either of you [or Sen. Clinton] won, you two would literally change the face of the presidency in this country. What kind of impact do you think that'll have on our country and economy? How do you think the outside world will react to such a drastic change from what is not typically or historically the face of a U.S. President?

- Gary Lee, 36, Daly City

Sen. Obama: I believe that if I'm elected, this country will look at itself differently from the moment I'm inaugurated. And the world looks at America differently. And if you believe that we've got to heal America and we've got to repair our standing in the world, then I think my supporters believe that I am a messenger who can deliver that message around the world in a way that no other candidate can do.

I am someone who has lived in a foreign country. My grandmother lives in a village in Africa without running water and without heat and indoor plumbing - a village that's been devastated by HIV/AIDS.

When I go to Africa, I'm not speaking based on what I've read or what I hear in a Senate hearing or what I've seen visiting the ambassador's residence in Nairobi. I'm speaking from experience, in the same way that when I talk about issues facing the inner city here in the United States; I'm not looking at it from a distance. I'm speaking from somebody who's worked in public housing projects and dealt with trying to find ex-felons a better life for themselves. And so that experience, I think, gives me more credibility to talk about these issues.

How would you confront radical Islam regarding its impact on U.S. security? How would you protect us?

- Norman Vogel, 61, San Francisco

Sen. Obama: I've laid out a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy to secure America.

First, we must bring a responsible end to this war in Iraq and refocus on the critical challenges in the broader region - on the conflict in the Middle East, where Hamas and Hezbollah feel emboldened and Israel's prospects for a secure peace seem uncertain; on Iran, which has been strengthened by the war in Iraq; and on Afghanistan, where more American forces are needed to battle al Qaeda, track down Osama bin Laden, and stop that country from backsliding toward instability.

Second, I have proposed making U.S. military assistance to Pakistan conditional on that country making substantial progress to close down terrorist training camps, evict foreign fighters, and prevent the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan. And I've called for an increase in funding for development and secular education to combat extremism in Pakistan.

Third, I have called for enhancing the capabilities of our civilian agencies to work alongside our military, and for the creation of "Mobile Development Teams" that bring together personnel from the State Department, the Pentagon, and US Agency for International Development. These teams would operate not simply in war-zones, but also in weak, unstable, and hard to access areas around the world. I have also proposed a "Shared Security Partnership Program" to increase resources by $5 billion over three years for counter-terrorism, police and intelligence cooperation in countries around the world, including information sharing, funding for training, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and targeting terrorist financing.

Fourth, we must also work to prevent nuclear terrorism. As president, I will lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons and material at vulnerable sites within four years.

Finally, we must dry up support for extremists. As president, I will double U.S. investments to combat instability, poverty and extremism - particularly in weak states and conflict zones - to $50 billion a year by 2012. Included in this investment is support for a $2 billion "Global Education Fund" to counter radical madrasas with secular education.

I have also called for a comprehensive public diplomacy program, including funding for "America Houses" to incorporate youth centers and libraries that are needed throughout the broader Muslim World, and the establishment of a "Voice Corps" to rapidly recruit and train fluent speakers of Arabic, Bahasa, Bahasa, Farsi, Urdu, and Turkish who can ensure our voice is heard - and that we listen - throughout the world. As President, I will lead this public diplomacy effort, beginning with a speech at a major Islamic forum in my first 100 days.

What do you see as the most significant difficulties that American children today face, and what should the government be doing differently to solve them?

- Geoff Geiger, 55, Alameda

Sen. Obama: Millions of children across this country lack health insurance; are living in poverty; and attending crumbling schools. In this country - of all countries - no child's destiny should be determined before he takes his first step. As president, I am firmly committed to tackling these great challenges so that all of our children can live healthy and productive lives and reach their potential.

On health care, I have a plan to sign legislation providing quality, affordable health care to all Americans by the end of my first term. My health plan will mandate coverage of children. My plan will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function.

On poverty, I will increase federal funding for anti-poverty programs and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit 12 million Americans. Additionally, I have called for the creation of a new program that replicates the success of the Harlem Children's Zone - an all-encompassing, all-hands-on-deck anti-poverty effort that is literally saving a generation of children in a neighborhood where they were never supposed to have a chance. As president, an important part of my plan to combat poverty will be to replicate the Harlem Children's Zone in twenty cities across the country.

And on education, I will launch a Children's First Agenda that provides care, learning and support to families with children ages zero to five. I will create Early Learning Grants to help states create a system of high-quality early care and education for all young children and their families, so that children are prepared and ready to succeed before they enter kindergarten. I will also increase Head Start funding and quadruple Early Start to include a quarter of a million at-risk children. And because the most important factor in a child's education is the person standing at the front of the classroom, my plan will recruit, support, and reward teachers and principals to ensure that every school in America is filled with outstanding educators.

Our public education system is becoming less globally competitive and more separate and unequal from the weight of No Child Left Behind and economically driven district gerrymandering --thus widening the education gap between the affluent (haves) and the poor (have-nots). What solutions do you offer to have a more rigorous, relevant, equal, and global competitive public school system?

- Cory Haynes, 33, Napa

Sen. Obama: The goal of NCLB is the right one - ensuring that all children can meet high standards. But unfulfilled funding promises, inadequate implementation by the Department of Education, and shortcomings in the design of the law itself have limited its effectiveness and undercut its support among many people who care deeply about our schools and our students.

One of the greatest troubles of NCLB is that we have spent too much time preparing students for tests that do not provide any valuable, timely feedback on how to improve a student's learning. We need assessments that are useful to improve student learning. As president, I will work with the nation's governors and educators to create assessment models that will: provide educators and students with timely feedback about how to improve student performance; measure readiness for college and success in an information-age workplace by testing reading comprehension, writing skills, scientific reasoning, and other critical thinking skills; and indicate whether individual students are actually making progress toward reaching high standards.

We also need to work together to ensure that a qualified and successful teacher is in every classroom in America. While the current "highly qualified" standards for teacher quality are important, it is not clear that they are the only criteria on which we should assess the quality of our teachers. Particularly at a time when our nation is facing a shortage in teachers due to retirement and retention problems, it is important to ensure that we can attract, support, and retain high-quality teachers. Many states and local governments have seen successful results from experimenting with alternative preparation programs, innovative incentives to subsidize teacher training and interest in serving in high-need schools, and increased teacher support through mentoring, effective professional development, and the support of professional learning communities within schools, so that teachers can work together to improve their practice.

In the Senate, I've introduced legislation to create Teacher Residency Programs to provide incentives for talented individuals to enter profession by teaching as apprentices in the classrooms of expert veteran teachers while completing coursework for certification and pledging at least three years of service in the sponsoring district. As president, I will expand the number of Teacher Residency Programs by providing funding for 200 new programs that would each serve an average of 150 candidates each year. Each year, my plan will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools to provide long-term commitment and leadership in these districts.

In addition, I have proposed a substantial program of service scholarships to underwrite the preparation of teachers who will teach in high-need locations and fields and the provision of mentors to beginning teachers so they will stay in the profession.

But fixing NCLB is not an education policy. It's just a starting point. That's why I introduced a comprehensive plan to give every American child the chance to receive the best education America has to offer - from the moment they're born to the day they graduate college.

Since standardized tests offer such a limited measurement of student learning, and have undesirable consequences, are there other means you could envision schools and teachers using to measure student learning?

- Anthony Cody, 49, Oakland

Sen. Obama: I've set forth an education plan that describes in detail robust measures of student learning. And I've made clear that I do not support traditional "merit pay" if that simply means paying teachers more on the basis of student test scores. Linking teacher pay to a single standardized test does not accurately reflect teacher performance or student learning, and I believe we need develop more innovative and robust systems.

I support systems such as those being used in Denver right now, and my Career Ladder initiative will encourage the adoption of such educational reforms throughout the country. Measures of student learning in specific subject areas may include scored writing samples or reading samples, mathematics assessments, assessments of science or history knowledge, or even musical performances. In some schools, teachers use their own fall and spring classroom assessments as a way of gauging student progress. These measures can also be tailored for the learning goals of specific students (for example, special education students or English language learners.)

So if you're a Language Arts teacher, a Career Ladder might look to your students' papers, or how many books they've read, in addition to their performance on classroom exams. If you are a science teacher, it would collect evidence about the quality of students' science investigations as juried by evaluators at a science fair or about the number of students passing the AP test in their field.

Student success can also include other outcomes, such as improved behavior, attendance, work completion, and course passage.

In Denver's system, teachers set two goals annually in collaboration with the principal, and document student progress toward these goals using district, school, or teacher-made assessments to show growth. So the teachers themselves are involved in selecting the criteria upon which they are evaluated.

I would like to know what kind of role Michelle Obama who is also a Harvard trained lawyer would be if she were to become first lady.

- Steve Pardee, 49, Berkeley

Sen. Obama: I think I will let Michelle speak for herself on this, but what she has said in the past is that her first priority would be helping to make sure that our young daughters are happy and healthy and settled in a new city and school. She appreciates the platform that a First Lady has to reach and help people, and has said that she would be interested in focusing on issues like work-family balance for women and encouraging young people to get involved in service and give back to their communities.

I've heard ever since I was a child how almost every single politician in congress or in the White House has promised to work with the other side of the aisle for non-partisan politics -- usually without much luck. I, as well as most people, am tired of hearing politicians talk about one hot topic to another to get themselves elected only to not follow up on these topics once they are in office. We are interested in moving the country forward and reestablishing the USA as a country to look at for inspiration and leadership. What would you do to bring back the public trust and earn our votes?

- Anthony Vann, 36, Alameda

Sen. Obama: Like Democrats, Republicans and Independents are hungry for change. They too are tired of the same old partisan fights and re-litigation of decades-old battles. And they are just as hungry for a politics that puts the people's interests above special interests. For these reasons, I think the same qualities that make my candidacy appealing to Democrats will make me attractive to Republicans. And one of those qualities is a willingness to listen to opposing sides when people disagree with me - and not belittle or demagogue their concerns.

I have demonstrated this quality throughout my career and have learned that what unites us is far more substantial than what divides us. That's why I was able to work with Republicans in Illinois to pass the most significant ethics reform in our state's history. That's why I was able to extend health care to 154,000 children and adults. And that's why I was able to cross party lines to reform a broken death penalty system and to create an Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families throughout my home state. For me, I don't just talk the talk about the need to build consensus and work across party lines in pursuit of a progressive agenda. I have done just that throughout my career, and I will continue to do the same as president.

Michelle Obama In SLC!

You're Invited

Please join us for a 'Stand for Change' Rally with Michelle Obama in Salt Lake City.

Stand for Change Rally with Michelle Obama

Salt Palace Convention Center
100 South West Temple
(Please use the Salt Palace entrance at 300 West)
Meeting Room 255
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Monday, February 4, 2008
Doors open: 11:00 a.m.
Program begins: 11:45 a.m.

RSVP now:

This event is free and open to the public; however an RSVP is strongly encouraged.

Find Your Polling Location

Friday, February 01, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Friday Cold Day in Hell Edition

All the snow outside makes me wish I were a kid again and could enjoy the cold.

When my children were younger, I used to wish I had a velcro room and they were wearing velcro suits, so I could just stick them to a wall for a few minutes when I ran out of energy to chase them all over the house. You know, those times when you just need a 2 minute break? And then they got older, and I started thinking along those lines for duct tape. But, for longer periods, so maybe I could get a real nap in, or something. Anyway, I guess this guy actually decided to go through with it.

Are you good with words? And do you have a knack for saying everything in just a few words? KCPW is giving away copies of Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure Writers to the best submissions. Enter now!

Also, the audio from the KCPW interview has the best quote ever! "Write drunk, edit sober."

Pete wrote his thoughts on yesterday's HB-139 meeting.

In case you were missing 2007, Voice of Utah has a painful reminder in Utah's Top 10 List.

Frank Staheli posted some thoughts on prayer that I completely agree with.

Letterman's Top Ten - Things overheard at Dick Cheney's Birthday Party.

If you're getting tired of the writer's strike, just be glad it's not a nude model strike.

Anyone else think that it's too scary to be an accident that 3 undersea fiber optic cables were "accidentally" cut, leaving Iran without any internet and not much phone access?

The LOL Cat of the week:
funny pictures
moar funny pictures

4th Obama Office Opening

The 4th campaign office for Barack Obama is opening in Ogden. Gotta say - Wowsers!!

If you'd like to help with GOTV efforts there, they'd love to have you!

Pete Ashdown And Endorse Obama [Updated]

I'm very excited to see Pete Ashdown's new blog post. It's titled Obama for President.

[Update] Moments later came's endorsement.
In a resounding vote today, Political Action's members nationwide voted to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. The group, with 3.2 million members nationwide and over 1.7 million members in Super Tuesday states, will immediately begin to mobilize on behalf of Senator Obama. The vote favored Senator Obama to Senator Clinton by 70.4% to 29.6%.

Things You Must Read - Your Thursday Too Busy To Breathe Edition

This headline just doesn't even make sense:
Homeless vets to protest O’Reilly

Homeless vets don't exist! What's next? Santa protesting the War on Christmas?

Oh, and a note to Utah teens: Yawn with your mouth closed, will ya?

The Weekly Straw Poll at Daily Kos indicates that, at least for the Daily Kos base, the John Edwards people are heading Obama's way.

Note: Oops, forgot to publish this yesterday. Oh, well.