I'm Confused

I'm confused - what's the big deal about ActBlue? Clearly it's a big thing, but why is it superior to just visiting individual candidate's websites and donating there?

I'm a n00b to much of the non-local blogosphere, so such basic concepts still escape me. I hate to be so dumb, but please use the comment section to 'splain it to me, or argue with one another about its merits.

http://www.waywardepiscopalian.blogspot. com

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Chris Dodd on New Orleans

"Senate Banking Committee Chairman and presidential candidate Chris Dodd (D-CT) recently visited Dartmouth College. On the whole, I was very impressed, but this blog is not about Habeus Corpus or national health care - it is about ongoing Katrina recovery efforts, and unfortunately, the Senator's answers to questions about New Orleans were appalling."

For the rest, visit my blog at http://waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com/ 2007/02/presidential-candidate-sen-chris -dodd.html.

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What John Edwards Didn't Say Today at Dartmouth

I posted this today at Free Dartmouth.
Presidential candidate and former Senator John Edwards (D-NC) spoke at Dartmouth College today. The speech will eventually be on C-Span's Road to the White House . He delivered some of the best rhetoric I've heard from any candidate, but when you get right down to it, he really didn't have much actual substance at all. This was the third time I've seen him speak in person, and it was the worst speech of the three.

Edwards knows the problems, but not the answers
He did a great job explaining the problem in Darfur - but didn't tell us what he'd actually do to stop or, at least lessen, the genocide as President.

He did a great job highlighting the horrors of India's caste system - but didn't tell us what he'd actually do to change India as President.

He did a good job explaining the need for universal health care - but didn't tell us what his actual plan involves. Single payer? Multi-payer? (He did, to be fair, say details were coming very soon.)

He said we need to stop enabling Iraq - but didn't tell us what that would take. He said we must talk with Syria and Iran, but he didn't say anything about whether or not he'd talk to Maliki or other Iraqi leaders, and what he would say to them if he did.

This was just like his campaign kick-off in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Thank you, Senator, for highlighting the ignored Gulf Coast crisis; that really is a service given the media's neglect - but now would you please tell us what you'll do to remedy the current Road Home Program and the FEMA housing messes, and how you'll prevent such incompetence in the future?

What little substance Edwards did offer was in response to a question about predatory lending and changing the structures that produce poverty - he has ideas about interest rates, "work boxes," and housing vouchers. (Unfortunately, he only mentioned the vital issue of New Orleans in passing, which I found very disappointing, especially coming from him.) What I'm wondering is, where was this substance in '04, the first time you ran for President? And why isn't there more? Did it really take you this long to develop just this much?

I hate to say it, but hypocrisy was on display, as well. Edwards likes to paint himself as a man of the people, and began his remarks with your typical, "When politicians do this, they don't really mean it." But in answer to a question about voting in support of coal mining in West Virginia, he essentially said he was trading votes with Sen. Robert Byrd. Now, I have no problem with vote trading - it's what makes the Senate work. But if you partake in, don't act like you're not a typical politician and expect us to believe you! At least be honest!            

That wasn't the only hypocrisy we saw, though the other two examples were smaller. Edwards bragged about the anti-poverty college program he started and his stances on education, all while appearing at a college, but the first several questions he took were all from older audience members. Was he pandering to the CSPAN and wider NH audiences? Fine, there's nothing wrong with that, but don't play up your college stances immediately before passing up the chance to talk to students. Pick one or the other. (On another note, sources tell me that the folks who actually work at his anti-poverty center resent his involvement - they're grateful he started it and brings in money, but they feel his involvement is inconsistent and heavy-handed.) Edwards also said, on the subject of gay marriage, that he hates to think he might use his own personal experiences to influence policy decisions - but don't I remember something about economic discussions and the line "son of a mill worker"?

It's Not All Bad
Not everything I have to say about John Edwards is negative. He did give us some refreshing candor as to his GLBT stances - not everyone in the audience liked what he had to say about the issue, but he said it anyway, and discussed some inner personal turmoil. And I am so thrilled he is out there pushing these issues - poverty, climate change, and reconciliation with the populations of other countries JFK-style are crucial. He actually mentioned poverty in INDIA as part of his stump speech! (Now if only I could get him to respect the issue of Native American poverty...) Nobody talks about these subjects, so thank God Edwards is pushing the debate. But knowing what to talk about is only a good start: it's not enough to win the White House. Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK) (who's also running, but who I'll also not vote for) was right: most politicians will do a wonderful job telling you what the problem is, but if you pay close attention, they really don't offer any hard solutions. John Edwards would make a wonderful Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and I'd love to have him back in the Senate, but he must not become President.

Thankfully, there are some candidates out there who do offer concrete ideas and solutions - candidates like Joe Biden, the author of the Violence Against Women Act and the only Democratic contender with an actual plan for Iraq.

UPDATE: A New Hampshire newspaper, albeit not a local one to the Hanover area, had a decent-length article on the speech: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/02012007/nhnews-ph-nh-edwards.html Thanks for the tip, philgoblue. Personally, I think the article shows the vagueness, but read it and decide for yourselves. You're netroots, I know you will!

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Road Home

The "Road Home Program" is the official government assistance program to Louisiana homeowners who lost their property in Hurricane Katrina. It is federal money, state-administered, and it is the biggest disaster in the history of recent domestic policy.

120,000 homeowners are eligible for up to $150,000 in grants. However, any money they recieved from FEMA or their insurance is taken off of their grant, and they further penalized if they didn't have insurance. In the end, the average grant is $30-40k. Even worse is the number of people who have actually recieved their checks: 101,657 homeowners have applied, but only 258 homeowners have gotten their money. (As of mid-Dec, 90k had applied and 97 had been paid; in mid-Nov, 70k had applied and 27 have been paid.)

The U.S. Senate is finally beginning to investigate this travesty. See my blog at http://waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com/ for more information.

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About Me

The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans

I'm new to MyDD, so this is a quick entry "diary." I don't imagine I'll update my diary again, as I have my own blog. I am a native Texan, have lived in Coeur d'Alene, ID, near Spokane, WA area for several years, and attend college in Hanover, New Hampshire. I spent the fall volunteering in New Orleans. I began my blog The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans at the start of the volunteer experience. It continues with its focus on Katrina relief, because I still have plenty of experiences and reflections from my three months to share, and because the issue and neglect of Katrina relief sadly goes on. Maybe on day I'll transition to a more generic blog, looking at life, politics, and the Episcopal Church, but not yet.

The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans

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