Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Upcoming events

June 6. Berkeley County Democratic Executive Committee meeting at 7 p.m. in the old Planning Commission room.

June 16. Eastern Panhandle Democracy for America will have a letter writing session at 7 p.m. Contact ROMA for details.

June 25.
Special Bond Amendment Election. Don't forget to vote and as Judy says, bring a friend to vote too.

June 27. Berkeley County Democratic Association at Hoss's Steakhouse on Edwin Miller Blvd. in their private dining room. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. with meeting at 7:30 p.m.

June 29. The Berkeley County Democrat Women’s Club will be hosting a Picnic at War Memorial Park at 5:30 p.m. - the Women's Club will provide the hot dogs, rolls, and drinks - please bring your favorite side dish and come out to the Park to picnic with fellow Democrats.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

DailyKos meetup in Harpers Ferry

My family and I had a wonderful day today.

When I say my family, I mean my wife and three children.

And I also mean my extended DailyKos family.

People like barb wires, kredwyn, Wolf Boy, mrsdbrown1, Oortdust, pastordan and Mrs Pastor, JanetTinMD, holy handgrenade, RPPA, Ides, RenaRF, jsmdlawyer, Brother Feldspar, Cabin Girl, Brother Feldspar, Halcyon, Rick (sorry, I can't remember your handle) and, of course, DCDemocrat.
Fellow Berkeley County campaigners Lynn and Sarah joined us. With children and spouses and other friends, there were 31 people there.

Let me interrupt recounting today's events for a moment...

Did you ever plan a party and you wondered if anyone would show up and you felt trepidation about it?

I had one of those moments this week. I had posted four diaries about today's event. DCDemocrat posted one and pimped it every where as did a few others. But organization is not in my skill set. And I didn't know how this would turn out today.

I called DCDemocrat. DCD, I said to his voice mail, tell me this isn't going to suck, that people aren't going to cancel at the last minute, that everything is going to be fine. Even if you think otherwise, call and tell me it's going to be great.

He called me back later. It's going to be fine, he said to my voice mail (we don't actually talk to each other, just to our voice mails). It's going to be great.

And you know what? Always listen to DCDemocrat because he's always right.

I know. I went to the wall with him on the Kerry-Edwards campaign in West Virginia. And when you go through a trial by fire like that with a man, you learn to trust him.

So when he said it was going to be great, he was right. Today was a great day.

Have you ever had one of those days where even a passing thunderstorm cannot dampen a good time? Where lightning bolts cannot match the charge you get from meeting people?

That's what today was like.

When my family and I arrived (on time for something for a change) there were already people gathered and talking.

Ides flew in to Dulles and rented a car. Holy handgrenade drove in from Philly, smoking a big old stogie on the way. Mrsdbrown1 and her wonderful husband and children drove up from North Carolina even though they had to turn around and drive home to attend a niece's baptism tomorrow.

You just don't meet friends like this every day.

So you probably want me to get on with this and give details.

We hugged. We chatted. We waited for 30 minutes for late stragglers then we took the bus down and we posed for pictures on the rocks. I did not know at the time my oldest daughter, 7, was scaling a cliff face. Pictures by BrotherFeldspar here.

We posed for the group photo and then we walked to the point where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers merge. I'll leave it to poets to describe the scene, but it's one of the prettiest on the planet with Maryland Heights on one side and the Virginia hills on the other and the rapid water underneath.

We walked up to the Catholic church where a priest flew the Union Jack to prevent his church from being bombarded. I entered with pastordan and DCDemocrat and jsmdlawyer. The church's sanctuary has a beautiful grace. I pointed out the carved marble of the altar, a scene from the last supper and pastordan said it was probably carved in Italy then he went and prayed at the front pew and we left.

Some of us walked up to Jefferson Rock to see a view Thomas Jefferson described as worth a voyage across the Atlantic.

Once there, we were caught in a sudden downpour and waited out of the rain under a tree. It was a soft rain and it felt nice being under such a shelter with such good people. Holy handgrenade joked that it rained because he entered the church and I said it made God cry. Then a lightning bolt flashed in the sky. I pointed out that it might not be wise standing under the tallest tree on the top of a hill with lightning in the air so we moved back down the hill to the church.

I walked down chatting with barb wires, a lovely woman. I wish I had the chance to talk to everyone with us, but everyone seemed to be always talking to each other, genuinely enjoying each other's company.

We split up to eat lunch because no restaurant could hold all 31 of us. We got back together to chat more while some of us toured the John Brown Museum (not the wax museum).

About 4 p.m., most people departed to return to their homes. A group of about 14 of us stayed to walk along the river and throw walks into the water and shoot slingshots and listen to the 1840s music of the brass band and to see the Civil War re-enactors describe their equipment. Then we went to have dinner at the Hilltop House where JanetT and a friend are staying tonight. (Cabin Girl and her sons are staying at the Comfort Inn to go biking on the C&O Canal tow path tomorrow.) The adults drank beer and wine and the children ate more cake than they should, and it was a lovely if exceptionally noisy dinner filled with the kind of conversation that people have in intelligent movies that play only in the artsy theaters (except for me, of course. I was relegated to the kids table -- my C&J past catching up to me).

We parted with plans to get together for lunch soon and for jsmdlawyer and his wife to celebrate my birthday with my wife and I.

It was a great day. DCDemocrat was right.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Saturday in Charleston will be the premier of documentary "Robert C. Byrd - Soul of the Senate." It will be shown on our channel 25, Tuesday 31 May at 10pm.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Senator Byrd has a fan club

Lots of people had great things to say about Senator Byrd over at DailyKos in this diary. Byrd voted for Judge Owens, one of two Democrats, but many point out that it was probably a back room deal to allow some of the judges to receive token bi-partisan support.
this whole nomination contest (4.00 / 3)

seems like a masters game of chess. I learned to play "back in my youth" but do not play now. however, I do remember the "traps" one had to learn to set, and "headfakes" to get your opponent to come out of his corner.
Is the trap set? Is it set by Byrd etc. for Bush et al? This could be the sacrifice of a pawn. I am still hoping. But I am getting some satisfaction by the disjointed response from different republicans. They seem definitely non-scripted at this point. That is a good thing.

He paved the way for others to cross over (4.00 / 2)
in votes to come, I suspect.
It is the role of the senior member of the Senate to offer that protection of a sort to others -- from either party. And he wears his role so well, doesn't he?
He also is such a born teacher, and I also suspect he is attempting to teach by example the way that bipartisanship and compromise used to be done. It is a Senate with more freshmen members than ever, I read, from the House -- and that it is no place to learn how to behave!

Sen. Byrd is above the petty politics of "just today." He has studied history extensively, not just recent but ancient history as well. He understands this battle was for more than a few petty judges this year, but for the balance of power to keep this government running. It was not without good reason that he gave that speech a few months back about similarities to the rise of Nazi Germany's Fascism. There are many frightening parallels with the current administration. Do the research for yourself.
When you are able to cite Cicero in context with current events with authority, when you have a knowledge base of even modern history that is 1/10th of his - THEN you may express an opinion.
OK, so I may be just a little prejudiced. While not personally acquainted with the senator, I have observed him my whole life, all 46 years of it. I have seen much to admire, some things I have disagreed with, and some things I have not understood, in his service to my state and to our country. But overall, I have developed a deep trust of his intentions. I do not say this lightly as I came of age during the Watergate years, and trust in the government was all but totally destroyed then.
Long live Senator Byrd, and please God, we need more like him.

Testy reminder to Bush from a group which is one-half Republican.
The second most important part is holding onto the filibuster for Supreme Court nominee. The Dems maneuvered well.
Politics is the art of compromise. View Byrd's speeches again.
And it was most wise of the Democrats to manage a list of the grievances against this administration over the course of days and days of speechifying. Everything laid right out with an invitation to moderate Republicans: Think for yourself; come join us.

Quite a few others as well.

Monday, May 23, 2005

DNC chairman Howard Dean visiting WV

From DremaDems:
DNC Chairman Gov. Howard Dean visits West Virginia
Join in on Wednesday May 25th as Governor Dean attends a good old fashioned cookout and rally at the State Democratic Party Headquarters beginning at 11:00 a.m. Complimentary hot dogs and refreshments will be served during this lunch hour event. Gov. Dean is expected to speak at 11:30 a.m.

Parking will be able along nearby streets, at Gov. Joe Manchin's former campaign HQ, and at Laidley Field. The State Democratic Party HQ is located on the corner of Greenbrier Street and Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston, easily accessed from Interstates 64/77 by the State Capitol/Greenbrier Street exit. Hope you will be able to join us for some Democratic fun!

Democrats Are For
Democrats are for honesty, responsibility and compassion. It's time we to stand up for the American values we value most in our own communities. Growing the party in every neighborhood is an action idea. It takes a lot of hard work and resources to reach out in every state, in every precinct, in every community. Everywhere I go, I meet Democrats who are hungry to win and ready to work hard. You can help now by clicking here . – Governor Howard Dean – DNC Chair


Quote that Bears Repeating
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." --President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952

WV Social Security Forums Fan Out
Hundreds of citizens have been turning out for the Economic Forums on Social Security being carried statewide by West Virginians United to Protect Social Security. The panelists include economists from the WVU Institute on Labor Studies and Research, the AARP, the AFL-CIO, WV Citizens Action Group, WV Council of Churches and the WV Fair Shake Disabilities network. If you live in Cabell or Upshur County mark the dates below and plan to attend. The forums are open and the public is welcome.

And if you will please, contact your local City Council and County Commission to ask that they sign onto the Social Security Protection Resolution. More and more local governments have been signing on opposing private accounts. For more information or a copy of the resolution, contact: Margaret Jarvis

May 24, 2005
Huntington City Hall Chambers
800 5th Avenue
Huntington, WV
6:00 p.m May 31, 2005
Upshur County Senior Center
28 N. Kanawha Street
Buckhannon, WV
6:00 p.m.

More than 24 million women receive Social Security benefits, and without Social Security, 53 percent of all senior women would be living in poverty.

Walter Jones Jr., Fighting for Truth

Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for DemocracyI found this interesting reading that a bible toting republican congressman has decided not to toe the line with respect (sic) to the republican party dogma.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

WV GOP picks mudslinger to replace dirty official

From the Charleston Gazette:
Capehart is a Wheeling lawyer who served as Gov. Cecil Underwood’s secretary of tax and revenue. In that position, he pushed unsuccessfully for sweeping reform of the state’s tax system.

In 2004, he ran a low-budget, ideas-driven campaign to represent Republicans in the governor’s race. He came in third, behind winner Monty Warner and Mingo County businessman Dan Moore.

Kris Warner was accused of using party resources to help his brother’s cause, a charge that continued to haunt him through the November election and beyond.

After the election, Warner fired popular Executive Director Gary Abernathy. Donations to the party dried up. Prominent Republicans began to call for Warner to resign.

Warner did resign earlier this month. On his way out, he billed the party for more than $24,000 in expenses under the names of his business and his wife. The party faces a debt of more than $200,000.

While Warner was attracting criticism for his role in his brother’s campaign, Capehart was running the successful but controversial campaign to unseat former state Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw and replace him with a relative unknown, Charleston lawyer Brent Benjamin.

Brent Benjamin's campaign was considered one of the nastiest in the nation in a campaign season when the GOP made dirty tricks their standard operating procedure. Now the man who ran Benjamin's mudslinging campaign is the state chairman. Look for more foul play in the future from this group.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Senator Byrd: Soul of the Senate

From Drema Dems:
Some Soul and Style Still Left In the Senate – You're Invited
MotionMasters and the West Virginia Humanities Council invite you to attend the gala premiere of the documentary "The Soul of the Senate: U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd."

The event will begin at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 28th at the Clay Center in Charleston, West Virginia. To receive your complimentary tickets, please call the Clay Center: (304) 561-3570. Tickets are free and open to the public for this "black tie optional" event, so call now to ensure your seats.

Social Security events in WV

From Drema Dems:

Social Security Forums Fan Out Across State
Citizens in Mason, Jackson and Roane Counties turned out Monday for the Economic Forum on Social Security being carried statewide by West Virginians United to Protect Social Security. The panelists include economists from the WVU Institute on Labor Studies and Research, the AARP, the AFL-CIO, WV Citizens Action Group, WV Council of Churches and the WV Fair Shake Disabilities network. If you live in Marion or Cabell Counties mark the dates below and plan to attend. The forums are open and the public is welcome.
And if you will please, contact your local City Council and County Commission to ask that they sign onto the Social Security Protection Resolution. For more information or a copy of the resolution, contact: Margaret Jarvis
May 19, 2005 Fairmont Senior Center
105 Maplewood Drive
Fairmont, WV
11:00 a.m.
May 24, 2005Huntington City Hall Chambers
800 5th Avenue
Huntington, WV
6:00 p.m.
More than 24 million women receive Social Security benefits, and without Social Security, 53 percent of all senior women would be living in poverty. Democrats are fighting to save Social Security and stop privatization so that American women can continue to rely on this guaranteed benefit.
But despite 61% of the American public asking Congress to take private accounts off the table they power on. When do we get to the part where Congress does something for us instead of to us? House GOP Tries to Pass Soc. Sec. Overhaul

Social Security is still very much in danger, with President Bush's big business supporters spending $100 million to convince Americans. After you've watched this Flash, please sign the petition to protect Social Security from privatization. This animation is about what's wrong with the Republicans' Social Security plan—but it really is entertaining! This is the winner of the Bush in 30 Years contest sponsored by MoveOn PAC.

God is not spelled G-O-P

From Jim Wallis of Sojourners:
Several weeks ago, Episcopal priest and former Republican Senator John Danforth began an op-ed in the New York Times by writing: "By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians." And, I would add, some Religious Right leaders are trying to transform the church into the religious arm of conservative Republicans. Either way, these partisan attempts to hijack faith and politics are wrong.

Yet each week brings a new outrage. This week's news was of a Baptist church in North Carolina, where nine members, including three deacons, say they had their membership revoked because they were Democrats who supported John Kerry. According to the Charlotte News-Observer, the nine walked out of a church meeting when Pastor Chan Chandler asked them to sign documents agreeing with his political views. When they left, members remaining voted to terminate their membership.

While the pastor has attributed it to a "misunderstanding," the former members say that last fall he told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for Kerry should either leave the church or repent. One, a 75-year-old deacon, told the News-Observer: "He went on and on about how he's going to bring politics up, and if we didn't agree with him we should leave. I think I deserve the right to vote for who I want to." News reports today indicate that Pastor Chandler is resigning.

It's the latest outrage in a continuing pattern. Last year, news stories included Republicans seeking church membership lists and mailing postcards implying Democrats wanted to ban the Bible. Just a few weeks ago, Religious Right speakers held what they billed as "Justice Sunday - Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith" in support of President Bush's judicial nominees. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was quoted in the New York Times as saying Democrats "have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position."

Because many other religious voices spoke to challenge the attempt to make God a partisan, President Bush, to his credit, repudiated the equation of faith with his policies. He was asked at his recent press conference whether he thought filibusters against nominees were "an attack against people of faith." He replied: "I think people are opposing my nominees because they don't like the judicial philosophy of the people I've nominated.... I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith."

Then, on ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Pat Robertson about his statement that "the out-of-control judiciary, and this was in your last book Courting Disaster, is the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history, more serious than al Qaeda..." Robertson replied: "George, I really believe that. I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together...the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."

This latest news from North Carolina is the logical, inevitable result of the road the Religious Right and some Republicans have taken.

It is the assumption that Christians must accept one partisan political position on issues, or be accused of not being Christian. This is an assumption we must reject. Rather, we must insist on the deep connections between spirituality and politics while defending the proper boundaries between church and state that protect religious and nonreligious minorities and keep us all safe from state-controlled religion. We can demonstrate our commitment to pluralistic democracy and support the rightful separation of church and state without segregating moral and spiritual values from our political life. Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Second Inaugural Address, said of the two sides in the Civil War: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other." He would say the same today.

The Republican Party is not God's own party, as the Religious Right and some Republican leaders seem to be suggesting. And, of course, neither is the Democratic Party. We must say it again and again until it is heard and understood: God is not partisan; God is not a Republican or a Democrat. When either party tries to politicize God, or co-opt religious communities for its political agenda, it makes a terrible mistake. God's politics challenge all our politics. Our faith must not be narrowed to the agenda of one political party.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Scenes we'd like to see

From Billmon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

WV GOP turn on their own

From the Charleston Gazette:
Delegate Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said Wednesday he hopes that visitors to his Web site will fulfill their pledges totaling $8,925 to the state Republican Party, now that chairman Kris Warner has agreed to step down.

Blair, a two-term delegate, opened the whimsical Web site a month ago, capitalizing on statements made by Warner indicating he would step down as state party chairman once the party’s $120,000-plus of campaign debts were paid off.

With the party’s vice chairpersons voting Tuesday evening to accept Warner’s resignation, Blair said he is prepared to turn over his pledge list to the party.

“I’ve said all along, I wouldn’t turn over all the pledges until I knew it was a done deal,” he said. “We’ll take the e-mail addresses and the names and turn them over to the interim chairman or whoever’s in charge.”

He said it will be up to the new party chairman to see that the pledges are paid up.

The state Republican executive committee may select a new chairman at its May 21 meeting in Morgantown.

Blair said he’s optimistic that most of the people who made pledges will pay up.

“There could be a few people who sent false pledges in,” he said.

Republicans lying and reneging on their pledges? That seems typical for the GOP these days.

GOP embraces corruption with open arms

Corruption was once considered scandalous. Republicans now find it cause for celebration as they feted Tom DeLay, who traded votes for cash and trips. A writer at BooMan Tribune describes the party. His letter in the comments puts it succinctly:
When Republican Tom DeLay got caught in massive ethics scandals I expected the Republican party, the party that claims to be so moral, to reject DeLay's corruption and demand his resignation. That would have been the honorable thing to do. But to my surprise, the Republican party has instead embraced DeLay's corruption and defended him. Now some three-dozen House and Senate Republicans have held a gala last Thursday actually honoring the corrupt SOB! Even such high-ranking Republicans as House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman are attending this celebration of corruption. How disgusting!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Shelley Moore Capito: a DeLay Republican III

From MoveOn:
Report Card
Rep. Shelley Capito's Connections to Tom DeLay

Accepted $38,500
from Tom DeLay's PAC

Voted 90.57%
of the time with DeLay
(1,076 of 1,188 votes)

Tell Rep. Capito,
"Fire Tom DeLay!"

Shelley Moore Capito: a DeLay Republican II

From a MoveOn email:
A month ago it looked like the scandals surrounding Republican Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay couldn't get any worse. Newspapers were breaking new stories every week about lobbyist-paid golf trips, the $500,000 paid from DeLay's political coffers to his family, and back-room deals DeLay was cutting to save his hide.

Then, it got worse.

The latest scandal connects DeLay to sweatshops in the Mariana Islands making apparel with "Made in the USA" labeling while avoiding U.S. labor laws — exploiting Chinese immigrant labor. But a growing number of Republicans are going mute on DeLay's ethical abuses. They're afraid of far-right organizations — who are staunch DeLay supporters — and of retribution from DeLay himself.

The thing that will push Tom DeLay out of his leadership role is a public outcry and pressure on the Republicans who gave him that office. That's where you come in. In a few weeks, we're going to organize events across the nation to deliver our petition to fire Tom DeLay to the Republicans who still back him — either Republicans in Congress or the local Republican Party.

Take a moment to sign it now — the more signatures we can deliver Rep. Capito, the more likely she is to think twice about DeLay's leadership.

The tangled web of backslapping relationships between DeLay, other Republicans, and lobbyists needs to be exposed to the light. So we've taken the best information out there on the connections between Republican members of Congress and Rep. Tom DeLay and we're sending it to you as your own personal "Report Card on Rep. Capito" (see right).

After you read the report card please sign our petition and forward this e-mail to your friends, family and colleagues. This is exactly the sort of detailed information they're looking for and will find useful.

So far, nearly 300,000 of us have signed a petition to Congress urging them to fire Tom DeLay as Majority Leader. We want to collect at least 500,000 petition signatures before the beginning of June when Congress returns home for a week.

During the first week in June MoveOn members will deliver the petition to Republican members of Congress while they're home. If you live in a Democratic district, we will deliver the petition to the local Republican Party headquarters. You can volunteer to get involved in the petition delivery when you sign the petition.

Please take the time now to sign our petition urging Congress to fire Tom DeLay as majority leader.

We need to turn the heat up on representatives about their association with DeLay. As absurd as it sounds, many Republicans are actually gathering later this week at a banquet to honor DeLay. Rep. Capito might be one of them.

Among his offenses, Tom Delay:

Accepted trips from corporations and later helped kill legislation they opposed

Accepted trips from the lobbyist for a foreign government in violation of House rules

Paid family members more than $500,000 out of campaign contributions

Helped sweatshops in the Mariana Islands at the behest of a lobbyist.

Promised a role in drafting legislation to a corporate donor

Tried to coerce a Congressman for a vote on Medicare

Allegedly used corporate money given to his PAC to finance Texas campaigns in violation of state law

Used Homeland Security resources in a dispute with Democrats in Texas

Diverted funds from a children's charity for lavish celebrations at the Republican convention

Threatened retaliation against interest groups that don't support Republicans

Stacked the House Ethics Committee with representatives who have contributed to his legal defense fund

Crippled the effectiveness of the House Ethics Committee by purging members who had rebuked him

Pushed for a rules change for the House Ethics process that paralyzed the panel

Sought a rule change that would have no longer "required leaders to step aside temporarily if indicted"
(See postscript below for a link to citations.)

As Majority Leader, DeLay is the second-ranking leader in the House of Representatives. He is responsible for developing the Republican issue agenda and sets the legislative schedule by selecting which bills the House will consider.

The ranks of government contractors and lobbyists who depend on this legislative authority have slathered DeLay, his cronies and related organizations with millions of dollars.

Please sign our petition today urging Congress to fire Tom Delay!

Thanks for all you do.

–Tom, Wes, Adam, Laura and the MoveOn PAC Team
Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

P.S. Here is a link to the brief that we used to document DeLay's abuses. It includes links to news reports with the specific background on each of the assertions we make above. "DeLay's Dirty Dozen" from the American Progress Action Fund

P.P.S. Our work in this campaign is inspired by a number of organizations who have taken the lead.

One of the best resources for information on the Tom DeLay scandals and how other members of Congress are connected to it is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee run by Rep. Rahm Emmanuel of Illinois. Visit and join their e-mail list for alerts on how to clean up Congress.

Check out the DeLay Rankings from the Public Campaign Action Fund.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington drafted the ethics complaint against DeLay, who then tried to have them held in contempt of Congress.

You can make a contribution to support MoveOn PAC's work on this and other issues by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Capito not standing with us

From DremaDems:
Concerned West Virginians lined up outside the Charleston Office of Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito last Friday to encourage her to get off the fence on Social Security and stand with her constituents against private accounts or indexing.

The majority of Americans are asking Congress to lift the income cap on Social Security in an effort to distribute responsibility the programs future solvency to all Americans – even the rich. Right now wealthy Americans only pay on $90,000 on income earned.

If the government raised the cap so all Americans pay into the guaranteed benefit program on their real income, it might even be possible to lower the percentage rate employers and employees actually pay into the system and still have a boatload of cash left over to do other good works for taxpayers.

Both WV Senators and Democratic Congressional representatives agree that modest changes will ensure solvency. But the response by Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito is that she's just not sure – it's very complicated.

West Virginia beware!!! Whenever a state politician asks, "What's the fiscal note on that legislation" or a federal lawmaker says an issue is "very complicated and complex" it's almost a sure bet the legislation isn't going anywhere or the politician is still trying to figure a way to vote against the wishes of constituents.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that millions in tax dollars are being spent on propaganda to sell an idea Americans aren't buying. So, we've got that whole Missing Money found after the fall of Iraq thing, and now your tax money is being spent to sell you something you've said you don't want.

And in many cases your tax money is being used to deny you a voice.

A BuzzFlash Interview About How the White House Suppresses Democracy at Taxpayer Funded Presidential Events: An Interview with One of the Denver Three

We've been told the pickets will return until Shelley decides to stand up and dance with the ones who brought her. Stay tuned!!!

In the meantime, you can do the math with a snazzy caculator compliments of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Just click here to go.

And then play the Social Security Privatization Game!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Hispanic population rises in West Virginia

From the Associated Press:

CHARLES TOWN — Rosie Flores sells Spanish cookies, Mexican spices and international calling cards at Rincon Latino. Kindness comes free of charge.

When a quiet customer with the sniffles heads for the door, Flores stops him, presses a bag of chamomile into his hand and tells him to boil it for tea.

“It will make you feel better,” she says in Spanish, shaking her head as he reaches for his pocket. “No, no charge.”

For six months, Rincon Latino has flourished amid the antique shops, real estate offices and historic homes of Washington Street, the main avenue in a West Virginia town where times have begun to change.

Though their numbers remain small, Hispanics are now streaming into historically homogenous, overwhelmingly white West Virginia and other parts of northern Appalachia, including western Pennsylvania, southern New York and Ohio.

Economic opportunity here — in apple orchards, poultry plants, horse farms and construction — is starting to translate to diversity.

From a political and community standpoint, what are we doing to reach out to this segment of the population? West Virginians (most of them) are a warm, welcoming people. Are we putting up welcome signs at the entrance of our big tent?

Social Security benefits outlined

From the Charleston Gazette:

No matter what side a person takes in the heated debate over Social Security, the system plays a central role in providing retirement benefits for the majority of older Americans — a group growing every day.

Speaking at a National Press Foundation conference at Marshall University last week, William J. Arnone of the accounting firm Ernst & Young outlined those benefits and who gets them.

Social Security, created in 1935 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, has several advantages over other retirement plans, Arnone said.

Employed people keep adding Social Security benefits, no matter where they work. Those benefits are guaranteed. And they are inflation-proof, rising each year as wages increase.

Social Security also helps millions of other people. Today, nearly one of every three people collecting Social Security is not retired.

Disabled workers and their dependents get 17 percent of all benefits, while survivors of Social Security beneficiaries get 14 percent of all benefits.

In past years, women have collected more benefits as surviving widows than as workers.

Very interesting to see a financial professional describe the successes of the Social Security program. Good for him.

Monday, May 02, 2005

DailyKos meetup in Harpers Ferry

Details here. Many of you read and post on DailyKos so I thought you might find this information useful.

It's coming. This might be the biggest Kossack gathering until Yearly Kos in 2006.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Saturday, May 28. 11 a.m. Meet at the visitor's center. We're making a day of it.

WVYD Convention

April 16,2005-I attended the WVYD Convention and these were the resolutions the resolution committee came to- WVYD thanked all those who helped set up the convention, we do not support Bush's social security plan or any other legislation the Rebulicans are trying to pass. We would also like Senator Byrd to run for a ninth term in the Senate. WV and WVYD need him on our side.
Credentials committee approved finances, and the Rules committee added two amendments to the WVYD constitution. 1. High School clubs- officers must be 16 or older and 2. College Clubs- non-traditional students that are over 36 can be associate members of WVYD.
Senator Byrd spoke at the luncheon. Erik Wells and Mike Callahan spoke at the convention meeting.
I would like to start a Berkeley County Young Democrats Chapter. Please check back for announcements on the signature event to kick this off.

Bush regime trampling on America's freedoms

Someone get George W. Bush, our Dear Leader, a copy of the Constitution, you know, the one he swore to uphold, to read:

“They said they wanted to ask me some questions,” she recalls. “I said sure. They said someone called them and said I had signs up in my yard that were threatening the President. I said I did have some signs in my yard, but I wasn’t threatening the President. The worst I’ve ever said was that he’s an Evildoer. And this Secret Service man specifically asked me about the sign about Mr. Cheney. He said, “That’s from revelations.” I said, “Yes, I have no desire to destroy anybody. I’m just quoting out of the Bible.” His name, she said, was Agent Brian Atkins.

Then on January 11, she had some unexpected visitors.

ìI was actually taking a nap, and there was a knock on my door, there was a West Virginia State Trooper and a Secret Service agent,” she says, identifying them as Trooper R. J. Boggs and Agent James Lanham. They asked to come in. And I let them. And they started interviewing me.

Jensen, who at the time was running for city council, asked why they were there.

“Apparently someone had made a statement that I’d been canvassing door to door and had said I wanted to cut President Bush’s head off,” she says. “I told Agent Lanham that I was running for city council, but I hadn’t started my door-to-door campaign yet and I never had said anything like that.”

This didn’t satisfy them, though.

“They conducted an extensive interview about my background, my family, and any political organizations I belonged to,” she says. “I told them I belong to the ACLU and that’s about it.”

They continued to pry, she says.

Agent Lanham “asked me several times to sign a form about releasing my medical records, and I refused,” she says. “That was kind of annoying. And he asked to search my house. He didn’t have a search warrant, but I said go ahead. And they took some pictures of me and some pictures of my signs.”

Before they left, she says, “I had to sign a statement that I never threatened the Presidentís life.”

The Secret Service office in Charleston refused to give a comment to the Gazette, and a phone call from The Progressive to the Secret Service in Washington was not returned.

Though she hasn’t heard from the Secret Service since, Jensen is not happy about the power citizens have to rat their neighbors out for merely expressing political views they disagree with.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

4 out of 5 of WV's representatives want to protect Social Security from corporate privateeers

Guess who doesn't want to save Social Security from Wall Street? Shelley Moore Capito.

Here's some information from DremaDems about how you can help:
Four Out of Five WV Representatives Agree

"More than 60% of the public is asking government to take private accounts off the table in the Social Security debate. Meanwhile, the GOP stands firm in their efforts to slam that square peg into a round hole, refusing to face what can easily be fixed. So far four of our five Congressional representatives are listening to us - the people who sent them to serve our interests.

In West Virginia the campaign to Save Social Security continues to pick up steam as the public pushes past the manipulation and spin control to ask questions and voice their opinion. Democracy in Action is a truly amazing thing. On Tuesday evening, over 100 people attended and unscripted Town Hall Meeting to ask questions and voice their opinions. Among the many questions, is Social Security being targeted now?" Why indeed.

Join WV United to Save Social Security This Summer at Public Forums -Together We Can be Heard

Ripley Senior Center – May 3, 2005 – 10:45 am
Mason County Senior Center – May 16, 2005 – 11 am
Fairmont Senior Center – May 19, 2005 – 11 am

If you wish to request this forum of panelists for your community contact Margaret Jarvis:

Activate Your County Commission and City Council
West Virginians United to Save Social Security needs your help. During the legislative session both the WV House of Delegates and the WV Senate signed off on a resolution opposing privatization of the Social Security program.

We'd like every County Commission and every City Council in West Virginia to get on board. So if you know local representatives in your community on City Council or the County Commission who'd be willing to get the resolution passed it will tickle us pink. Copies of the resolution will be forwarded to you at your request. Please contact Margaret Jarvis:

And If You Have a Personal Story, Please Share It
The WV Developmental Disabilities Council received a request from Senator Rockefeller to gather personal stories from folks who receive assistance through SSDI or SSI about the importance of these programs, how someone qualifies, and why they need the benefit. If you have a story to share:
Fax: to Barbara Pryor: (202) 224-7665
Also please send a copy to the Council by email: