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This is an anniversary no one, no one would want.

It has been a year since the girls in Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped by Boko Haram.  As we know a brave and fortunate small group of them escaped almost immediately.  But there are still over 200 girls who are lost to their families.  Whose whereabouts we don't know. Along with so many others.  

Although I am not a big fan of military action, I was pleased to see that a coalition that included Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon worked together to take back some of the ground seized by Boko Haram.  So far, however, they have not located the girls.  And while the newly elected President has promised to do whatever they can to find them, he was careful not to promise to bring them home.

But I continue to hope. I continue to remember.  Facebook link to the Bring Back Our Girls page below the fold if you want to follow it.  And there is a link to an Amnesty International article with a link to take action (please be warned, this article is quite disturbing).  Home, we all want them home.

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Sat Dec 20, 2014 at 03:30 PM PST

Heavenly Chronicles, Part I

by ShoshannaD

The Heavenly Chronicles

"So, I was skyping (along with millions of others) the other day with the deity. She likes to stay in touch, update her status, let us know what's trending, you know. Oh, speaking of trending, she gave a huge thumbs up to the Walmart/fast food strikers and of course to the Ferguson/Garner protestors.

As it happens, she was greeting a few right wing evangelicals who had managed to squeeze in. Basically decent folks, kind to their families and their pets. Just got caught up in the lemming like undertow of religious certitude and the promise of salvation. It can happen.

They were standing there somewhat befuddled as she flung her rainbow scarf around her neck. Kind of stunned as they watch her change skin color every several minutes...from white, to tan, to oriental, to black. "Welcome", she smiled. "Now, just so you know, this isn't quite the top tier in the heavenly ladder, but we'll make it very comfortable for you. Look, we have a Noah's ark recreation center. Rosemary Clooney will be singing on weekends with Lawrence Welk at intermission. And you can turn on 50 and 60's oldies but goodies anytime you want as well as reruns of Leave it to Beaver and Father knows Best. Isn't that nice?"

Speaking into her headset, "Cesar, Cesar Chavez? Honey could you come and show these folks around? I know your (smiling at them briefly) 'background' is a bit of adjustment for them, but you are so good with newcomers."

And in answer to one of their questions, "No sweetie, we don't do the fire and brimstone thing anymore. Too old school. There are just different levels of comfort and joy although we do make sure no matter where you might end up you have food, shelter and health care. Speaking of which, sigh, we're going to have to demote some bankers again. Some of them actually made it to the feed the poor in Bangladesh and Kentucky tier, but then they got all cranky and demanding. Started trying to resell the donated food at a markup. We may have to send them back to the building solar panels on an asteroid section. Oh dear, we did have hopes for them. And of course, as I said, they will be decently taken care of."

Adjusting her microphone, "Peter, Peter...we have to crank it up now. We have an iconic civil rights leader from India coming in soon. We need to really make her welcome.
Enjoy everyone, just ask if you have questions. Take care."

And a tip:  being kind to puppies, kitties and all animals counts a lot towards upgrading your status.

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GOTV:  Rides to the polls in Battleground States.

I don't have to tell anyone that we are down to it.  I am personally very alarmed at the thought of a red senate, but if you need any more motivation to help GOTV, Howard Dean projects these as least some of the consequences of letting the senate be taken over.  


    1. At least two more years of Republican obstructionism, especially when it comes to confirming new judges.

    2. A Republican Congress will pass huge new tax cuts for the wealthy and for big businesses.

    3. They'll also impose cuts on -- and will try to privatize -- Social Security and Medicare.

    4. Republicans will roll back women's rights and may try to limit access to birth control by passing a "personhood" law.

    5. Obamacare will be gutted, rolling back the big gains we've made to get affordable health care to more families.87

Well, that raised my anxiety level. Again. But I am also very inspired and hopeful as a result of the great work being done by Kossacks to gotv. We can do this.

Below the fold, you will find info about how to get a ride in different states as well as a link to find your polling place.  Please pass this along to any pages, sites, groups in those areas that you can.  I also understand from Rebel GA (big hat tip) that people may try their local senior center to see if they can get a ride, some areas have cab companies that will give free rides and a few areas have free bus rides on Election Day.  

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Well, hard to believe we have still have to fight this battle.  But we are down to the wire...time to suit up.  And Thank You Ms. Gore!


Below the fold, key voter registration deadlines.  Please pass them along.  Make sure you are registered if you are in a state where you can still register.

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Welcome to the latest in the GOTV series.  I know I don't have to tell anyone here that these are key battleground states for the Senate or how important it is to keep the Senate blue.  But just in case:  AG confirmation, Citizens United, VRA, Hobby Lobby and, god forbid, impeachment.  

The states I have listed all have close senate races and voter registration deadlines that are coming up very soon.   Please repost, tweet, pin, fb, anywhere that you think can help.  

Thanks again for all the great support and our terrific contributing writers.  Gary Peters should be on board next.

Let have a post election as sweet as this:


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Welcome to the newest diary in the GOTV series and thank you for stopping by.   We are very fortunate to have the indomitable Sandra Fluke as our guest who has recorded a terrific video about the need for younger voters to turn out at the polls.  She is, of course, running for State Senate in California and we will be lucky to have her there. The transcript, link to her campaign and a link to register to vote are below the fold.  I now turn this over to Ms. Fluke.

I also want to say thank you to all the terrific guest writers and the very supportive Kossacks who have dropped by and helped out.   I especially want  to give a hat tip to Peregrine Kate for all of her excellent suggestions and ideas for this diary. Our next diary should be "Save the Senate" which is planned for next week.

Let's make sure we have a lot to celebrate this holiday season!

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(Con tradduction en espanol)

Well, first of all thank you for stopping by.  And again many thanks and appreciation for our previous contributors:  Eclectablog, Denise Velez-Oliver, Noise of Rain, BadScience and the League of Women Voters.  There are links below the fold to the previous diary which has links to the others as well as to action steps you can take.

We are honored to have Congressman Raul Grijalva as our guest writer. Representative Grijalva has gifted us with a very thoughtful and insightful piece about voting and the Hispanic community.

Every election year like clockwork, questions of how to motivate and mobilize Latino/a voters find their way to the forefront. They consume candidates and political operatives alike. They weigh on the Democratic Party and on the campaigns of pretty much every statewide candidate in swing states.

And yet for all of the time invested in tapping the Latino voting bloc, our community continues to elude political formulas. Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well if ever there was an example of political insanity, this would be it. National organizations, political parties and the lucrative campaign cottage industry all seem to fall into this same rut, and it stems from a strategy built on a faulty premise from the very beginning.

That’s because these mobilization efforts always focus on numerical turnout, as if participation alone should be reason enough to vote. But people do not vote just to become another tally mark on Election Day – they vote because they believe that their voices matter and that they can make a difference on the issues that are important to them. The window dressing approach and token visibility of the past never delivered results, and there is no reason to continue it moving forward. If the Democratic Party does not provide a sustained, quality reason for the Latino community to vote, it should not assume Latinos will support it.

Furthermore, Latino/a voters see right through Democratic candidates who pander to anti-immigrant sentiments. They see calls for cutting social programs protecting the elderly or kids, and recognize that agenda for what it is: harmful to the values of our community. Candidates with these policy stances should not assume that being a Democrat means Latinos have no choice but to vote for them. There is a choice: you just don’t vote.

In light of this, it’s high time for a paradigm shift. For the national and state level parties, having one high profile Latino/a just doesn’t cut it. Democrats need to recognize the importance of fully integrating the Latino community, and ensure a presence among staff, political and media consultants, field organizers, vendors and fundraisers.

At the local level – and all politics is local – Democratic organizations and allied groups must invest in local and county political organizations that have a concentrated Latino presence. A national, state or local candidate campaign that fails to identify with issues that are important to our community is asking for trouble.

Overall, the key to turning out the Latino vote is understanding the uniqueness of the Latino community. Democrats must change their attitude of engagement. They need to rely on the people in the communities for guidance, not the same Latino/a experts to interpret what Latinos are saying. Full organizational integration, new Latino/a voices, proportional resources based on the importance and development of the Latino vote are the important steps.

It’s time for the Democratic Party to drop the detached election time cattle call mentality about Latino voting. It’s time to adopt a strategy that embraces and respects the Latino vote year round. Betters results require a better relationship.

Action Steps Below the Fold y traducción española por debajo del pliegue (Spanish translation below the action steps)
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Yellow Cart Picture from Noise of Rain.
New voters in the making. Republished June 28, 2014 in GOT1V, originally from NoiseofRain' and Badscience innovative voter registration drive in 2011.  

First of all, thank you for stopping by. This is the fourth in the GOTV series where we will discuss outdoor voting registration drives featuring the unique and creative voting registration cart that Noise of Rain and Badscience designed.  I also want to express my appreciation to Eclectablog,  Denise Velez-Oliver and the League of Women Voters for their contributions to the series.  And big h/t to Lillith Gardner who has joined the GOTV group as an administrator and patiently walked me through some of the intricacies of starting a group and has a great suggestion to improve visibility.

So, important points to remember per Badscience:

     1.  Make sure you know the laws in your area.  Especially considering all the changes in the last few years.  The League of Women Voters is a good source as well as your county Democratic party.  The link to League's tips on successful voter registration drives is below.

     2.  Be ready with voter reg forms, polling place locations, and absentee ballot information.  Absentee voting may be a big help in overcoming the voter suppression efforts, but regulations vary from state to state, so please make sure that you know yours.

     3.  And this is useful to know.  The cart has a battery powered lamp for night time registration.  We used it for a recall petition drive outside of a public event.  The lamp came in very handy.  Table surfaces are very helpful for people to sign voter registration forms and as a place for people to gather.  A cart makes it easy to take from place to place.

     4.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  Below is the link to NoiseofRain's excellent diary about the registration event they produced a few years ago.  Does this look like fun or what? Bet we all wish we could have been there!

Action steps below the fold:

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Welcome to the third in the GOTV series.  I began this  out  of my concern about Democratic turnout in the fall.  Unfortunately, we are notorious for low turnout in non-presidential years. And, of course, the nationwide attempts at voter suppression add greatly to the problem.  We cannot afford this especially as the Senate is at risk.  This diary will focus on what we can do to help register more African American voters and counter voter suppression efforts.  

We are fortunate to have Denise Oliver-Velez as our guest writer who can speak much better than I to this issue.  Below the fold there will be action steps for you to consider taking.

     "This year is the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer 1964. Civil rights groups across the nation are gearing up for massive voter registration drives. One of the most successful strategies in 2010 was to harness the energy of local black churches to not only register voters but to get "Souls to the Polls".

     Ben Jealous has written

'Voter registration is the antidote to voter suppression We have the antidote to voter suppression. In fact, we’ve always had it.We have known what it is for at least half a century. Fifty years ago this month, Freedom Summer activists risked life and limb to register voters in Mississippi and spread the gospel of democracy across the southern United States. They confirmed the notion that the best way to overcome massive voter suppression is through a massive wave of voter registration. As we prepare for the midterm election of 2014 – and look toward the presidential election of 2016 – we need to remember their lesson.'
    Read the report  


'This report examines the conditions in the Black Belt today and identifies lessons from Freedom Summer that can help today’s political organizers build a more inclusive Black Belt.

     The first and most important lesson is that massive voter registration can overcome massive voter suppression. Our analysis shows that registering just 30 percent of eligible unregistered black voters or other voters of color could shift the political calculus in a number of Black Belt states, helping blacks elect candidates who share their concerns or alternatively, forcing all candidates to pay attention to the community’s concerns. Registering 60 percent or 90 percent would change the political calculus in an even greater number of states.

     However, if organizers seek to maintain this progress in the long term, they must also embrace two other lessons from Freedom Summer. The second lesson is that coalition building is the key to transformative political power. The third is that successful movement is a marathon, not a sprint.

     Taken together, these three lessons can provide the tactical framework for advancing inclusion and unleashing democracy in the Black Belt.'

    The Moral Mondays movement in NC is putting trained organizers into the field. 'The centerpiece initiative this summer will be a 12 week deep organizing plan that places 50 highly-trained paid Moral Freedom Summer organizers in pairs in local communities across the state to deepen and strengthen the Forward Together Moral Movement. The program will last approximately 12 weeks, from May 15th to August 2nd.'

     As is the movement in GA.  (Note: These are such great movements and although the deadline for applying has passed in North Carolina and Georgia  you can still apply to the N.A.N. program mentioned below the fold and the Freedom Summer Initiative is yet to occur, see that link below as well.)

     I continue to share Rev. Barber's video from 2012 which is a powerful testimony for why we must vote

     It's not just about churches. Identify your local black barbershops, hair salons, senior and youth centers. These are some of the most effective places to spread the word.

     Voter registration isn't glamorous. There are days it can be tedious. But it's fundamental if we want to win.  

And we will."

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Chicago Democracy week, which was a coordinated effort to register 17 year olds, was a smashing success.  Many groups participated including the League of Women Voters. And in addition to registering many new voters, "the (follow-up) report finds that the turnout of those who registered surpassed that of 19-45 year old voters for the first time in history." This diary will focus on the League of Women Voters' information and guidance about how to do an effective voter registration drive at local high schools.  Let's hope we can help emulate the windy city example.  

We are a bit late in the game as late winter early spring is the best timing (sorry just didn't start this series until recently) but the League did say now would still be good to do this. Link to the training manual is below as well as the link to find a local League chapter.  In the manual, among other topics,  they explain how to work with schools to make sure that the event is during a time when students will be present and how to publicize it to reach the widest audience.  They also have press releases,  they tell you how to talk with students about voter registration and provide very thorough guidelines about follow through.  Many thanks to them for what they do and for their help with this.

And many thanks for all the positive comments and support in the inaugural diary.  And of course for Eclectablog's terrific advice. Link to that diary is below.  If you want his "house meeting in a box" template, please contact him at  And a thank you to Meteor Blades for the Chicago info.  Possible future gotv topics:  Save the Senate: What's at Stake; How to Canvass Rural Areas; Souls to the Polls; GOTV Moms; Inspiring Younger Voters; Help I'm in a red state, what can I do?  Topic suggestions, any other suggestions, ideas, thoughts are very welcome.

Training Manual, local chapters and action steps below the squiggle.

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If you haven't voted already, please consider voting for Horace Boothroyd, III, who is a stellar contributor to the Kos. Paul Wagner, known as ZenBassoon is also on the list so he would appreciate your vote.  And of course I urge you to also vote for Triciawyse our stalwart and delightful pootie queen.

In addition, and she is not a Kossack, my friend Sue Hart is trying for a scholarship.  She has been an advocate for many causes including opposing the Emergency Manager Law in Michigan. So I would appreciate you considering her in your vote.  Thank you and of course, please republish and pass this along if you can.  

Link below/happy mum's day/sh


As we all know, turnout is crucial this fall.  We cannot afford another 2010 and we absolutely cannot afford to have the Senate dominated by Republicans.  So, this is the first diary in a series to help spur more turnout.  I welcome networking, ideas, success and failure stores, selfies and anything else people want to share.

We are very fortunate that our first guest writer is our very own Eclectablog who as we know is quite an experienced political activist.  These are the steps that he recommends to build very grassroots infrastructure for precincts in your area.   For more about his experience and recommendations for gotv, please see below the fold.

1. Pick reasonably sized chunks of your county for a team to be responsible for. It should be a challenge but not so intimidating that it freaks people out and demotivates them.

2. Make it easy for them to organize. Help them with premade documents, training, and one-on-one coaching. The stuff our group created looked a lot like the stuff we got from OFA because, why wouldn't it? It WORKED!

3. Make sure the teams all meet together as a group from time to time to share ideas, socialize, and have some fun. This is so important because it lets groups know they are part of something bigger and that they aren't alone.

4. Always recognize that a personal contact is orders of magnitude more effective than anything you will ever do online. In person contact is best, on the phone is next. Anything else barely registers.

ACTIONS of the month.  One of the features I plan to offer are simple action steps  that are easy for people to do that will really help.  To paraphrase the Godfather, vote and you'll feel better!.  

IN THE FLESH ACTIVISM:  Please consider calling the campaign office for a candidate you admire and support.  Someone who inspires you.  Someone who gives you hope for the future as you watch your kids, your grandkids, your friends and other loved ones.  Make the call and see what you can do.

HOUSE MEETING IN A BOX.  If you want a template of the House meeting in a box as explained by Eclecablog, please email him at

VIRTUAL VOTEGETTER: Please repost this link from Rock the Vote in as many places as possible.  It has state by state info on how to register online, how to confirm that registration and how to vote absentee. Absentee voting could, of course be crucial in areas like Ohio that are trying to suppress the vote.  And it is important to note this from, of all places, the Florida page about absentee voting.   "A person does not have to be absent from his or her county of residence or have another reason to vote absentee." Please of course check your own state regulations.

And this is a link to the second diary in the series.  Obviously  schools are going on summer break, so for now, please consider volunteering for voter registration drives through your local Democratic party.  I am planning for our next diary which may be about how to help register folks at farmer's markets..."Would you like a vote with that vegetable?"

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