Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Slattery makes it Official

Jim Slattery has four stops in Kansas today: Topeka, Overland Park, Kansas City, and Wichita. At each, his speech begins, "My name is Jim Slattery and I am running for the United States Senate."

Slattery's reason for candidacy:

  • The future of our economy is unstable and uncertain.
  • Our reliance on foreign oil has created a national security crisis -- and a budget crisis for Kansas families.
  • And our nation is engaged in a tragic and costly war.

The bulk of Slattery's words focused his statement, "We can do better. We must do better." Unlike many politicians, only three simple promises were made:

  • I will be an independent voice for Kansas in the U.S. Senate
  • I will always put the people of Kansas ahead of any political party.
  • And, I will use every ounce of God-given energy and strength to address the problems facing our country.

Slattery contests incumbent Pat Roberts, a career politician who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee and is responsible for U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Support Veterans' Education Benefits Today

Today, over one hundred Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans will converge on Capitol Hill in a call for immediate legislative action to pass the "Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act," a bill that will expand the educational benefits for the men and women who serve in our military receive. Please join them virtually by signing a petition supporting the bill and take action online to help it pass

Dear YD,

As both a student and a veteran, I know first hand how important veterans' benefits, especially educational benefits, are to our service men and women coming home from overseas.
Educational support not only keeps our military strong, it also helps our nation fulfill the promise we make to always stand by every man and woman who puts on the uniform in service to our nation.

Unfortunately, the way we currently dispense educational benefits to veterans is based on a law designed for peace-time service - a law that insufficiently handles all the veterans currently serving in wartime - and does not provide adequate support to those who are lucky enough to receive it.

Please join me in supporting a new bill being offered by Congressman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) and Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to modernize the way our country provides educational assistance to our veterans: "The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act."
The education of our nation's veterans is a cost of war.

Sign the petition today to support a 21st Century GI Bill.

After World War II our nation began offering educational assistance to millions of returning veterans, helping their transition to private life through the "G.I. Bill." Returning veterans received assistance paying for their books, fees, tuition, training costs and other important expenses. This educational investment helped educate a generation of heroes, but that wasn't all it did. The WWII G.I. Bill sparked tremendous economic growth and expansion, provided opportunities to millions who otherwise may have not been afforded them, and strengthened our families, our communities, and our nation.

For less than the cost of fighting in Iraq for one week, this legislation significantly expands educational benefits to our veterans and has the potential to strengthen our economy when it is in desperate need of help.

The 21st Century GI Bill will:

  • Make benefits available to all members of the military who have served on active duty since 9/11/2001, including activated reservists and National Guard.
  • Provide benefits for tuition, housing, and books for up to 36 months of education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
  • Link amount of benefits to amount of time served on active duty.
  • Increase amount of time after leaving active duty to collect educational assistance to fifteen years compared to ten.
  • Allows additional payments for tutorial assistance as well as licensure and certification tests.
  • Create a new program in which the government will agree to match, dollar for dollar, any voluntary additional contributions to veterans from institutions whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum assistance provided.

It is time that we start keeping the promises we give the men and women in uniform. Please support this legislation in any way you can.

Thank you for your support,

Cole Hickman

Chair, Young Democrats of America Veteran's & Military Affairs Caucus
President, Young Democrats of Arizona

Sign the petition today to support a 21st Century GI Bill.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Community Corps

I'm liveblogging from a 3rd district meeting at JCCC about the community corps program. It's a great program to help us reach out to swing voters in our neighborhoods. Lindsay Gentry, Field Organizer for the 3rd district is presenting. The foundation of the program is that each volunteer contacts 25 voters in their neighborhood to talk to them about the upcoming election. 

A little election math:

Research shows that for every 11 voters we contact face-to-face, we produce a vote. The program is designed that we contact each voter 3 times. Therefore

(25 voters x 3 contacts ) / 11 contacts per vote = 6 votes produced!

Everyone who participates has the possibility to produce a solid six votes. That may not seem like a lot, but remember that Gene Rardin won by two votes. You can make the difference. For more information, contact the State Party, your local field organizer, or one of the KYD officers.

Random updates

Hey kiddos, A few things to make you aware of:

Service Opportunity! 
If you're in the Emporia area next week and have some freetime, why not help build a playground? A totally non-partisan group is helping to put together a community playground and is looking for volunteers. This is copied from an email I recieved:

Better yet, get someone who hasn't signed up yet to listen. We are still short of volunteers, about 200 short. And we desperately need volunteers for the morning shifts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I know, people work for living. But in a community of 25,000+, surely there are folks who would be available to work on a worthwhile project such as ours. I feel comfortable guaranteeing that once people come and work at the site, they'll find they're enjoying themselves so much and discovering how critical they are to this project that they'll volunteer to come back again. What we have to do is get people to come once. Can you help with that? We are at the crunch point. Could you ask one person to volunteer? (One who hasn't volunteered already, of course.) Just one. If everyone asks one person, and half of those sign up, we'll have exceeded our recruiting goals and be in fantastic shape to build this playground.

If you're interested in helping, contact Mike Dorcey at 620-794-3476 for more information. The site is located in Lynn county.

And now for something completely different: 
An Indiana Republican running for Congress made an unusual campaign stop last week at a National Socialist Worker's Party (read: NAZI) birthday celebration for Adolf Hitler. I can't make this stuff up. This is just one of the many reasons we're Democrats. We have souls.

Attack of the Red States!
Jim Slattery and our other races are getting more notice on the national blogs. Check out this piece from Daily Kos on the Kansas and Oklahoma Senate races.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Keith Olbermann: The Commander and Chief Test

Again Olbermann is the man. This gives the absurdity of Sen. Clinton's argument no validity what so ever! We need someone that gives a care about the American people and that will reverse the W Presidency and bring hope and peace to our world once more, that is the true Commander and Chief Test.

Jim Faris

Join the Young Voter Revolution

Slattery denounces Washington incompetence

Jim Slattery finally unveiled his campaign for the U.S. Senate on Saturday, telling a partisan audience that the time had come to end the “breathtaking incompetence” in Washington.

Slattery, a former six-term congressman from Topeka, decried the run-up to the war in Iraq, America’s faulty health-care system, the failure to more aggressively address the environment, and runaway spending that he termed “generational robbery.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rep. Bill Otto

Yep, this is the type of Republican Kansas elects

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Per Aspera, Part 2

A good chunk of RJ's speach.

Per Aspera

Yeah, this, this is happening. More to come. Right now R.J. Wilson is speaking to us on a number of issues. One thing we're talking is the Holcomb issue. If you get the chance, write your State Representative and Senate a hand-written note about this issue.

A myth to be debunked is that "we need Holcomb to install more Wind power in the state." We don't. It would actually make wind power less cost-effective. That plant would hurt our local environment so many different ways I can't even get to all of them in a live-blogging post. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

In case you missed it

Now I'm not normally a fan of the Colbert Report, but last night's show was the best. In case you missed it, here it is:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hilarious healthcare video

I found this video on DailyKos, and had to post it here.

We've all either had that crappy job, or are currently living through  its hell. I'm not sure which act this bill refers to specifically, but portable, affordable health coverage for every American is just one of the many reasons we must win this November.  As chair of our campaign committee, you can look for more information in this space about how we're going to do it. 


Take Action on Pay Equity Day!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Currently, women earn77 cents to the dollar, a narrowing of the wage gap by less than half a cent a year. Over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family an estimated $700,000 to $2 million, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions.

In 1996, Equal Pay Day was created by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a way to raise awareness about the gap between men's and women's wages. The day, observed on a Tuesday in April, symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. (Tuesday is the day on which women's wages catch up to men's wages from the previous week.) Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same among of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

Equal pay has been the law since 1963. But today, 45 years later, women are still paid less than men—even when we have similar education, skills and experience.

Ideas for Action
Show “We’re in the Red”
On April 22, wear red to symbolize “women are in the red”.

Become informed
Read up on research, employment laws, and current legislation being introduced to close the wage gap.

Share the benefits with our Democratic and Non-Democratic brothers
Equal pay benefits men as well!

Raise awareness
Send a pay equity e-card to your friends, family and colleagues to help highlight the issue.

Coordinate a seminar on negotiation skills for womenEconomists agree that differences in negotiating abilities can lead to pay variation among workers with similar skill sets. This would be a great women’s caucus event if you have a women’s caucus in your state!

Contact Your Senators
Let them know that you want them to support the Fair Pay Restoration Act.
Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121, or find your Senators and their direct phone numbers.
Or send them an email.

For More Information:
Coalition of Labor Union Women
American Association of University Women
National Committee on Pay Equity

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taxes and the Young Person

Today, across the blogosphere, Democrats are talking taxes. I know that all of you have already filed your taxes. Or at least I hope so. 

But here, we're going to talk about the myth of the Republican tax cuts. Republicans love to talk about how Democrats want to increase taxes and how they supposedly cut taxes. But there's as many holes in their logic as their are in the corporate tax code. I just want to take this opportunity to debunk a few of the myths as they apply to young voters.

Myth 1: Taxes are bad.
Taxes give us such things as warning sirens for storm season, the US Armed Forces, safe highways, and Kindergarden teachers. I guess the question is then, why do Republicans hate Kindergarden teachers? This sort of reductionist argument is unfair and simplistic, but it's all too easy to attack taxes without talking about all of the wonderful things that taxes provide us. Everyone has thought of all of the things we would do with the money we paid in taxes last year, but let's just take a moment to think about what it bought us.

Myth 2: Tax cuts are good.
Let's hold up there a moment. Republicans love to talk about how they cut taxes, but Democrats cut taxes for the middle class and working Americans.  Is there a difference? Yes,  absolutely. The difference comes down to what economists call the multiplier effect. Imagine if that the government gave you and Bill Gates a ten thousand dollar tax break. What would you do with that money? If you're like most young people you would use it to pay off loans or you would buy something. That is, you would either consume now, or consume later in terms of freeing up future income by paying down your debt.  But what would Bill do? The question isn't really what would he do, it is would he notice. Most likely he would just save the money, sticking it in some bank account. 
Here is where the difference comes into play. When you spend that additional money, that ten thousand dollars, it multiplies and gets re-spent several times over. How many times it gets re-spent depends on a number of economic variables. But what about our friend Billy? He doesn't re-spend the money. Instead it sits in a bank, where it doesn't get respent. It may be loaned out, but the effect on the economy isn't the same. (Depending on a number of economic variables).  
The baseline is that not all tax cuts are the same, and that not all tax cuts grow the economy as much.

Myth 3: Tax cuts are more important than a balanced budget.
This myth is a question of priorities, but I feel obliged to point out that those tax cuts for the rich do not have as much impact on the economy and that they often result in budget deficit. The problem with deficits is that the government has to turn somewhere to finance that deficit and when it becomes debt. The government turns to the same credit markets that finance business growth, student loans, and home mortgages. The presence of such a large borrower in the credit markets makes it harder and more expensive for people like us to get credit for ourselves. So when you're looking to get a new car and are shocked by how much you're going to pay in interest, thank a Republican for budget deficits.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Legislative Day of Action

Our First Annual Legislative Day of Action was held on April 1. Here are a few photos from that day: