Sunday, October 31, 2004

A Letter from a Soldier

"We appreciate your support, but we can't see those yellow ribbons from here. I ask that you let your vote show your support. I don't know what you go to bed thinking, but I go to bed wondering not how many more years of this administration I can
handle, but how many more days
I might survive

A Letter from an American Soldier

A Matter of Survival
By George Sprague
Concord Monitor | Letter
Thursday 28 October 2004

When I was home in New Hampshire on leave last month, a lot of people approached me to tell what a good job we're doing here in Iraq.

I appreciate the support, but I don't need the media or those people to tell me what I see every day. We are not getting the job done.

People ask me, "How's it going over there?" Cities have been overrun and are in a state of lawlessness. My job brings me into the streets. I see these things as they happen. They aren't just headlines for me. All we are doing here is treading water, and at this rate we can't keep afloat much longer. I'm just a simple man, but I can see that everything this administration has done with Iraq has been dead wrong.

We appreciate your support, but we can't see those yellow ribbons from here. I ask that you let your vote show your support. I don't know what you go to bed thinking, but I go to bed wondering not how many more years of this administration I can handle, but how many more days I might survive.

George Sprague
Balad, Iraq

Battleground NE Ohio:I Never Would Have Imagined

An Iddybud Exclusive

This Tuesday, Americans who live in NE Ohio may be the ones who determine who our next president will be.

From the Battleground of NE Ohio:
"I Never Would Have Imagined"

One American citizen's journey toward the America of our dreams
by Todd J. Schneider
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Oct 05-30, 2004

It’s hard to know where to start reporting on the last month here in NE Ohio. These are simultaneously exciting and perilous times for our great land. And here in Ohio, all the storms that have hovered over our political landscape seem to have been drawn here by some great magnetic force. We have been told for decades (or at least since the advent of the ‘talking head’) how important our state is in national elections - that such and such never won such and such without carrying Ohio. But it always seemed like a thing of urban legend or misplaced pride. Until bush usurped the office of the presidency.

But I will try not to blab, but rather condense the political story of our home here in the Connecticut Western Reserve, and how it’s touched my family over the last weeks.

You may have read about Ohio’s voter registration phenomenon in a Sunday New York Times article about a month ago. Well let me relate just a few institutional and personal examples to describe how this has taken place. First, there is America Coming Together, the bold 527 that has changed the face of voter registration. Locally, it is run in Akron by Will Duby, but the first contact with our maverick, independent Summit Dems group was our friend Jessica Fischel. When our group first started back in February to put on armor to go into battle, we struggled with a way to boost voter registration until, all the sudden Jessica shows up at one of our early meetings to tell us about ACT. From there, we all just volunteered with ACT (me, doing data entry every Thursday evening) whenever we could. And the next to the very last day before the registration deadline on Oct. 4th, ACT blessed us with a visit by Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Julianna Margulies, Aidan Quinn and Steve Buscemi. They joined us to go ‘blanket register’ a senior citizens high-rise in Akron’s Opportunity Park. What a gas to look through a staircase window to see whether anyone was covering a floor and catch Steve Buscemi or Marisa Tomei knocking on someone’s door to ask them if they needed to register or maybe get an absentee ballot form.

With the Kerry campaign, under Laurie Depalo, we had a massive voter registration push through September, knocking on every door in Akron’s wards 3, 4 and 5 over one weekend, just as an example. Combine this with the dedicated programs of the NAACP and the unions, and the result was a flood of thousands of registrations at the Summit County Board of Elections. So many in fact, that a number of workers had to be hired, complete with the accompanying political intrigue surrounding the party affiliations of the hirees.

Finally, at the most basic level were folks like me. I had a modest goal back about 2 years ago, in the days when it seemed that the Republican juggernaut was unstoppable. I thought that the only way to fight the money would be sheer numbers of progressive voters, so I got a stack of registration forms to carry around in the back of my van. I really didn’t think I would get many more than ten people signed up, as I am nobody of any real consequence, but if Jim got ten and Heather got ten and Gary got get the idea. That goal has been easily doubled, and so has Jim’s, Heather’s and Gary’s. But the coolest things about this was seeing our 14 year old son Eric get a neighbor who hadn't voted in all her 60 plus years to register for the first time. Or when a fellow worker, who I had registered, ended up registering 3 people himself - the last one on the VERY LAST DAY before the deadline!

My friends, Northeast Ohio has been a whirlwind. John Kerry and John Edwards have been here numerous times, and the impostor himself came to our little suburb a few weeks ago (derisively known as 'Caucasian Falls' for decades - so it was just the right place for him). In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought that I would see Michael Moore in our towns twice in the same week, or Jesse Jackson Sr. or Carol King, just to name a few of the luminaries that have visited us to impress upon our voters the importance of getting the ‘monkey’ off our backs. And the volunteer effort has been heartening beyond description. I was at a meeting for volunteers for ‘game day’ at Kerry headquarters last night, and the place was so full you couldn’t move - and it was the second such meeting of the day! The energy was so high you could get shocked if you weren’t careful, and as I looked around the room, I caught the faces of so many that I have come to know and love. In just the last 10 months, since the political season shifted into overdrive, there has been so much that has happened, and we have made friendships borne of necessity and a love for our Constitution that will last forever. It seems like a lifetime.

There are so many little stories I could tell from here in NE Ohio that would illustrate the importance of this campaign and its impact on us all. But there isn’t the space on any blog for all of them, so let me finish with one that really stands out. My friend Rob Lutz has been doing yeoman duty over at Dem Hq in Medina County (a rather republican county, by nature), and was there one day when an older man walked in and explained that he wanted to register to vote, but didn’t know how to read or write. Rob introduced him to the head of the Democratic Party, who happened to be there, and together, they filled out his form. The new voter signed with an 'x' and the form was initialed by the Dem Party head, according to law, and the gentleman went on his way.

This citizen felt the importance of voting against bush to be so important that he was willing to walk into a room full of strangers and say, “Hey, I’m illiterate, and I’ve never voted before in my life!” Doing what he felt was right and necessary for the future of our country was a more powerful force to him than any loss of face he might have encountered there in that office, and he came to us to help him be able to make his opinion heard!

Marissa Tomei in Ohio
photo courtesy Todd Schneider

Dear readers, my family and I are everyday folk. But fate and bush have landed us squarely in the lap of history and given us a new understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship. In my most fanciful thoughts, I never would have imagined that we would be part of a team that stood to take down a tyrant, but here we are. Ever since 9-11-01, the forces of the Right have wanted America to think of that day as the end of history, but for us it was the beginning of a journey of duty and service to our country’s way of life. Yes, a beginning of a new history of understanding what it means to take control of America’s political destiny, and what can happen if we don’t act. And for us, there’s no turning back.

Todd J. Schneider Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Which Leader Were You in a Past Life?

Which Leader Were You in a Past Life?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was Confucius!

Your life began in 551 B.C. in the
Chinese village of Zou. You worked as a
teacher until age 35, when you became advisor
to the exiled Duke Zhou for a time. Later you
became a magistrate and even the Grand Minister
of Justice of Lu Province for a time. After a
while, you took to wandering with your handful
of disciples and unfortunately found that
high-ranking nobles in many courts were
plotting to have you killed. You continued,
however, to speak on morality and honesty until
you finally retired and spent your remaining
days writing. You died at the age of

Green Bay has sealed Kerry's win

Kerry wins
[If superstition rules, Green Bay has sealed Kerry's win]

The Green Bay Packers beat the Washington Redskins this afternoon, 28-14. Superstition and history dictate that the incumbent party will lose the White House.

You superstitious?

Dowd: Will Osama Help W?

Dowd: Will Osama Help W?

I pulled some juicy quotes from Maureen Dowd's latest column and illustrated them for extra effect.

Tora Bora, where Bush failed to capture Bin Laden when he had the best chance.

"The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer."

He's baaa-aack..taunting and disproving the leader who keeps saying 'you can run but you can't hide'. Obviously, with George Bush at the helm, you can run. You can hide.

"Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years."

Bush is in deep Qaqaa over Al Qaqaa

"Because we didn't bother to secure explosives in Iraq, you can count on us to make sure those explosives aren't used against you."

"You'd think that seeing Osama looking fit as a fiddle and ready for hate would spark anger at the Bush administration's cynical diversion of the war on Al Qaeda to the war on Saddam. It's absurd that we're mired in Iraq - an invasion the demented vice president praised on Friday for its "brilliance" - while the 9/11 mastermind nonchalantly pops up anytime he wants."

"W. was clinging to his inane mantra that if we fight the terrorists over there, we don't have to fight them here, even as bin Laden was back on TV threatening to come here."

Wow. I feel safer. Don't you?

Young Mobile Voters Pick Kerry Over Bush, 55% to 40%

Young Mobile Voters Pick Kerry Over Bush, 55% to 40%
Rock the Vote/Zogby Poll Reveals: National Text-Message Poll Breaks New Ground

Thanks to Matthew Gross for the heads-up on this very important story!