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The Road to November 2006

On the evening of November 15th, folks from around the country will open up their homes to friends and neighbors for a night of planning and action--the Democratic Party's National Organizing Kickoff.

This is a great opportunity for Nebraska Democrats to show the rest of the country that we are serious about strengthening the Party. If you are interested in hosting an Organizing Kickoff meeting or know someone that would be, it's easy to get started right away:

Hosts of local Organizing Kickoff meetings can download all of the materials for a successful meeting. Information will include a briefing on our party-building efforts nationally and locally, a survey of the political landscape in Nebraska, and information about opportunities to take action locally.

The DNC Chairman, Governor Howard Dean, will also play a part, joining all of the meetings that night in a nationwide conference call.

With little more than a year before the 2006 elections, it's time for each of us to take responsibility for the Democratic organization in our neighborhoods. We have to be organized to get our message out--we need a network in place now not only to persuade voters, but to activate them as well.

It's up to you to make sure that everyone in your neighborhood is plugged in and ready to do as much as they can. Sign up to host your local Organizing Kickoff event now:

To make an impact in 2006, Democrats need to organize everywhere. You asked for change and the Party took the unprecedented step of hiring organizers early to build support across the America--including right here in Nebraska!

The event you host will bring everyone up to speed on our progress, our opportunities and the work ahead. The results of Election Day 2006 are based on the work we do now, and the meeting you host creates the road map for a year of sustained commitment until the polls close.

Host a local Organizing Kickoff meeting and make sure that our party is in a position to change things next year:

You'll be hearing more about these meetings in the coming weeks. Thank you for your time and your commitment to the idea that together we can move Nebraska forward.

See you on the 15th,

Steve Achelpohl
Chairman, Nebraska Democratic Party

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Open Thread

"Moral values: From what I understand, if you cut out all the passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the poor, about helping out the least among us, you'd have the perfect container to smuggle Rush Limbaugh's drugs in." -- Al Franken, from his new book -- "Truth (With Jokes)"

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"I'm trapped now. Please rescue me."

"I'm trapped now. Please rescue me"

"Can I quit now? Can I come home?"

"Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?" Michael Brown emailed after a FEMA worker in New Orleans told him the situation was "past critical."

The emails released documenting Brown's conversations during the Katrina disaster show the appalling truth about Brown's inability to lead an effective disaster response. Brown was busy being consulted on what to wear and was slow to respond to requests for help. Some of the emails even make it sound like he didn't know how to delegate workers and get supplies to those who needed them. I guess you don't have to worry about saving lives when you are a self proclaimed "fashion god."

You can read many of the emails at

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59% Say Resign

For months, Regent David Hergert has justified staying in office by claiming that his constituents do not want him to resign. However, a new scientific poll conducted by the Daily Nebraskan and Research Associates found that 59% of the people in his district believe Hergert should resign. If he does not resign, 47% believe he should be removed from office, while 29% were undecided.

Hergert immediately questioned the poll's validity saying the numbers contradicted a call-in poll the Scottsbluff Star Herald conducted. There are two flaws to his argument. The first is that the paper never conducted a call-in poll (it was an online poll and did not specifically ask if Hergert should resign.) The second is that neither a call-in poll or online poll are in any way, shape or form a valid poll. They are voluntary and target only a specific audience.

Kudos to the DN for taking on such an ambitious story. I recommend everyone check out the article and the rest of the poll results.

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No Treat for Nebraskans

It was almost a Halloween treat for Nebraskans. It turns out the numbers ranking Nebraska 50th in economic growth were only preliminary and have been adjusted. Iowa is still in the top ten but fell to (a still impressive) 8th in economic growth.

Where did Nebraska end up once the numbers were adjusted?


The Nebraska economy only grew 1.5-percent in 2004, just barely edging out Michigan, which only grew its economy 1.2-percent.

If you go to the website for the Bureau of Economic Analysis and scroll down a little bit, you will see a map clearly detailing how each state performed. Almost every state economy around us grew at least twice as much as ours did.

This is the scary reality Republican leadership has carved out for Nebraskans.

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Congressional Halloween Costumes

From the New Nebraska Network

It must be Halloween because Nebraska's Republican Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry and Tom Osborne have been playing dress-up for the local press. In this magical time of year when children become ghosts, goblins, and fairy princesses, Fortenberry and Osborne are trying to make-believe that they have the ounce of spine or independence to stand-up to their party masters and do what's right for Nebraska, particularly its rural communities.

Frankly, they're not fooling anyone.

The Omaha World-Herald reports:

Nebraska GOP Reps. Tom Osborne and Jeff Fortenberry managed to soften the budget-cutting blow when they recently met face-to-face with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and delivered an ultimatum, Osborne said.

‘We were prepared to vote no," Osborne said Friday."
"We got the best deal we could."

The House and Senate are working on budget-cutting bills that seek savings of $35 billion to help pay for hurricane relief. Agriculture spending in the House bill was reduced from $4.2 billion to $3.7 billion in proposed cuts.

Osborne and Fortenberry, members of the House Agriculture Committee, said the change they negotiated reduced farmers' subsidy cuts from 3 percent to 1 percent. That would cost the average Nebraska farm $200 a year in lost federal subsidies, Osborne said.

Besides subsidies, cuts are proposed for conservation and other rural development programs.

The Senate is working on a bill proposing $3 billion in cuts. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has complained that agriculture programs are being cut more than is fair compared with other federal spending.

They got the best deal they could? They were prepared to defy Hastert and Tom DeLay? Who are they kidding?

The average subsidy cut is not what's at issue here. The question, as always, is WHO faces these cuts. It certainly should not be the family farmer, not while large agricultural congrlomerates are still receiving unlimited payments. And, what of this bill's cuts to the food stamp program…or is that tucked away in some other Republican travesty against working-class and rural families?

Frankly, this article is a press release -- nothing more -- a form letter from the Republican leadership to provide some political cover to their blindly loyal footsoldiers in the Midwest. I expect most every Congressional hyper-partisan who is supposed to be representing rural America -- not the Republican Party -- is doing the same song and dance about having done what they could….everything, that is, but voting "NO" as they damn well should.

This is the cost of Nebraska voters' allegiance to the Republican party. They will continue to be taken for granted -- their interests neglected and their goodwill exploited. The trick's on us. Happy Halloween!

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Scooter Indicted

Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted this morning on five criminal charges including perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. Shortly after, Libby resigned from his job as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Read more on this developing story.

Official documents released by the Special Counsel and be found on Fitzgerald's website.

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Record Profits for Americans? Nope. Just Oil Companies.

Oil companies are reporting record profits across the board for July-September. We aren't talking chump-change. BP's quarterly profits rose 34%. ConocoPhillips profits surged 89%, nearly doubling their profits from this time last year. Experts predict profits by the top 5 oil companies will reach $20 billion. At the same time, these oil companies are given $8 billion in tax breaks, while we all have to pay higher prices to fill our cars at the pump.

National Republicans are trying to spin the record profits by encouraging the companies to "invest in America's energy infrastructure and resources…the companies need to do their part." Their answer is a recommendation that companies need to spend their money on facilities to increase production. I bet most of the profits end up being used as bonuses for the top executives.

The cost of gas is one of the top issues on the minds of Americans. These egregious profits and the weak response of Republicans are a clear sign to Americans that the Republican Party is not committed to developing alternative fuel sources that truly protect consumers in the long run. They also don't seem to care that every family in America is being burdened by this imbalance.

You can find more facts about oil company profits in the Talking Points section of the Communications Center.

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The Big Cave (from Dailykos)

Quotes to remember as Bush and the Republicans deal with the fallout from their cave to the craziest of their issue groups. This is exactly the sort of thing they accused Democrats of doing on the Roberts nomination, even though Democrats handily confirmed Roberts.

RNC Accused Reid of Bowing to Liberal Groups. Last month, the Republican National Committee put out a press release with the headline "Puppet Politics: Reid `Got The Message' From Liberal Third Parties To Oppose Judge Roberts." [RNC Press Release, 9/21/05]

NRSC Wrote of Need to "Fight off Attacks" from Democrats and Liberal Interest Groups. In a fundraising email last month, NRSC Chair Sen. Elizabeth Dole wrote, "I ask that you contribute to the NRSC as we continue to fight off attacks from the Democrats and their radical allies, like and Alliance for Justice, as they attempt to put a strangle hold…on this confirmation process." [Dole NRSC Email, 9/15/05]

Conservatives Accused Senate Democrats and Issue Groups Of Trying to Hold Roberts' Nomination "Hostage." Last month, Gary Bauer wrote, "with the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, left-wing special interest groups are demanding Senate Democrats block Roberts' confirmation until President Bush names his second nominee to the Court. Since Roberts is now replacing Rehnquist, liberal groups are once again demanding that the president maintain the existing balance on the Court by nominating another `centrist' like O'Connor, and they want to hold Roberts' nomination as a hostage!" [Bauer End-of-Day Email, 9/8/05]

Conservatives Accused "Far Left" of Smearing Roberts. Last month, the American Conservative Union told its members, "John Roberts is an outstanding choice. We cannot allow the Far Left to smear and besmirch his good name, all in an attempt to push the direction of the Supreme Court to the Left." [ACU Action Alert, 9/11/05]

And here I was thinking that every nominee deserved an "up or down vote".

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Metro Honors Sonny Foster

Last night, the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors voted to approve the motion of Board Member Ron Hug, renaming the library at its Fort Omaha campus after the late, great Sonny Foster.

Thanks to the Board for this wonderful honor. We miss you Sonny…

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