VotePair

Carnet, Rachel, Brent, Kendra and a bunch of other talented folks have just launched VotePair which unifies and extends the various “vote trading” efforts from 2000, in which Nader supporters in “safe” states agree to “pair their votes” with Green supporters in swing states.

It’s nice to see a polished, well-intentioned effort like this, but I’m not sure I really see how vote pairing moves us much closer to creating a multiparty system. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen *anyone* articulate a clear strategy for breaking the two-party strangelhold on American politics.

Kerry ahead in Washington 49% to 41%

A new poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid for The Columbian shows Kerry ahead 49% to 41%, with 4% for Nader (5% MOE). This is enough most national poll-pundits to put Washington in the Kerry column, but The Columbia still insists on playing up the drama, headinling their article, “Presidential race remains tight in Washington.”

Last time I checked, 8 points wasn’t exactly “tight.”

iPodder: automatic downloads of MP3 content and its potential for advocacy communications

Marty Kearns picks up on the advocacy potential of [iPodder](http://www.ipodder.org), a new tool that automates the process of downloading new MP3 files by querying RSS feeds. iPodder integrates with iTunes, so that new content is downloaded whenever you sync your iPod with iTunes. (Neat tricks indeed.)

iPodder’s still on the rough-and-tumble bleeding edge of open-source software hacks, but the idea has huge merit.

This opens some interesting new possibilities for freeing content from our computers — folks could listen to daily campaign updates while commuting.

The big challenge in unlocking this potential is the dearth of engaging audio content. Marty suggests that we auto-convert existing written content, but I think this overlooks the fact that audio is an inherent different medium than print, and interesting audio requires completely different production techniques.

The environmental movement hasn’t yet demonstrated many multimedia production skills. I think this is because doing good multimedia production is extremely time-intensive and requires storytelling skills that our movement simply doesn’t select or train for. As a movement we desperately need to invest more in the skills needed to produce high quality audio (and video!) content. The internet is handing us all of these amazing tools for routing around the traditional media, but we need to rise to the challenge and produce strong content to fill the void.

The good news is that doing broadcast quality audio doesn’t require much gear anymore.

Distributed watchdogging of local media election coverage

I’m extremely pleased to see that the Alliance for Better Campaigns is organizing Election News Watchdog, a project to monitor the election coverage of local media outlets.

They’ve made it easy for volunteers to watch local TV broadcasts, then use the web to report on their coverage of state & local elections.

Great, great stuff. I’ll be filling out scorecards as I watch local news over the next few weeks. I encourage you to do the same.

A Tale of Two Kootenays

A Tale of Two Kootenays is a great essay from Don Gayton in TheTyee.ca about the Kootenay region of eastern BC. Great “sense of place” essay about a wild and beautiful corner of our bioregion.

>In the Kootenays, I see the ideal location for a bioregional culture. Who are we Kootenaians? Well, we are a full day’s drive from either Calgary or Vancouver. Although we do travel to those places on occasion, we are completely out of their orbit. Spokane or the Okanagan is half a day away, but other than for the rare weekend shopping trip, these locations might as well be on another planet.

Kryptonite bike locks easy to pick with a Bic pen

Aaorn VanDerlip passes along the following information:

>The popular Kryptonite Ulock bike lock is easily picked. The information on how to do this is spreading through the internet. I picked my own lock in about 10 seconds, pretty scary. Pass it on to folks you know who cycle, it is like an Microsoft security hole in the non-electronic world.

[Boston Globe article on insecure Kryptonite bike locks](http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2004/09/16/cyclists_bike_locks_easy_prey_for_thieves/)

[Video of lock picking in action](http://www.engadget.com/common/videos/pt/lock.wmv)

Amazing Getting Things Done workflow diagram

GTD_diagram.gif

Carl passed along this fantastic Getting Things Done workflow diagram, courtesy of [43 Folders](http://merlin.blogs.com/43folders/2004/09/getting_started.html) — a very solid (but somewhat Mac-centric) blog on the Getting Things Done methodology. (For more background on Getting Things Done, see ONE/Northwest’s [article](http://blogs.onenw.org/onelist/001348.html) in ONEList.)

Primary misunderstandings

The anger of some Washington voters about our new “Montana-style” primary system, in which voters can only vote for one party’s candidates, is incredibly misplaced.

The reason we have primary elections is so that voters can decide which candidates will represent their parties in the general election. Thus, it makes all the sense in the world that a person should only be able to choose the candidate of the party that they’re affiliated with. As a Democrat, it’s not my business who the Republicans put on the ballot against my candidate.

And to those “independent” voters or others who want to split their tickets: that’s what the general election is for.

If you don’t feel comfortable aligning yourself with a party, then you forfeit the right to choose that party’s candidate. Membership *has* its priveleges. (And beisdes, our primary doesn’t even require you to “join” a party.)

SugarSales: Open Source CRM

SugarSales 1.5 is open-source CRM software. Very interesting. (NB: it’ll cost you $149/user/year for access to their support forums, etc.)

If I was thinking about developing nonprofit open-source database solutions, I might nose around here and see if there are any worthwhile ideas/code to borrow.

Entrepreneurial urban farmers

10OCTOBER_PUMPKIN_1.jpgRebekah Denn has a great story in the Seattle PI about [FARM LLC](http://www.south47farm.com/) (Farm Acquisition, Research & Management), which has been buying up farmland in the urban-fringe Sammamish Valley and experimenting with new business models for organic, small-scale farming. They’re leasing land to The Root Connection CSA, running P-Patches, farming for restaurants, doing education, classes and outreach — all in Seattle’s backyard.

Very impressive, and quite possibly an important new model.

(They desperately need a better website, though!)

Why I live here

seattle_aerial_sm.jpg

This photo popped up as my desktop wallpaper today. I took it on a flight into Seattle a few weeks ago. Once again, I am humbled to live in a place where mountains, sea and city collide so dramatically. May I be a worthy steward of this place.

Now if only I could photoshop that damn airplane wing out of the way! 😉

Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about the Swift Boat Smear

Democratic public opinion guru Ruy Teixeira argues that the Swift Boat Smear didn’t really hurt Kerry as much conventional wisdom would have it, and offers some great suggestions for how to respond next time — and we all know there will be a “next time.”

>There are several conclusions suggested by this data, conclusions that go beyond the currently popular view that democrats should respond to any future smear attacks as rapidly, forcefully and aggressively as possible.

>First, it is probably impossible to prevent smears from taking hold within the conservative “echo chamber” of Fox and talk radio and it may be a misuse of resources to attempt to achieve that goal. The more important and achievable goal – preventing the smear from spreading beyond that audience – is probably best pursued by energetically demanding that the mainstream media fulfill their journalistic obligations by emphatically and categorically labeling false accusations as baseless on their editorial pages rather then attempting to debate the issues directly with the smear group itself.

>Second, while a very rapid and aggressive response to new accusations can clearly be desirable, it must still be balanced with the need to appear fair, unruffled and unafraid of open and honest debate. A shrill or intemperate counterattack, even if launched at the earliest possible moment, can have little effect or even be counterproductive.

>Finally, Republicans have significantly damaged their image and reputation among many moderates and opinion leaders by embracing an essentially dishonest, “win at any cost” approach during this campaign. This tarnished reputation is an asset democrats should energetically exploit. Not only does it reduce the appeal and legitimacy of Republicanism in general, but it makes it easier for Dems to successfully deflect future smear campaigns. Ronald Reagan’s famous response, “There you go again”, with which he portrayed Jimmy Carter’s repeated challenges to his character as tiresome evidence of unfairness, provides one model of how such a strategy can be successfully executed.

Winning the Game of Tit for Tat – In Wealth Bondage

[Marty Kearns](http://www.network-centricadvocacy.net) links to some great pearls of wisdom from Wealth Bondage. Good memes here.

>1. Personal courage – speak out while the price is still acceptable. The more who do, the less the risk; until the hidden hand of truth and openness reestablish the conditions of real evolution, not winner take all, but civic cooperation and emergent systems under conditions of candor and transparency.

>2. Praise those who show courage. Synchronize through praise, dance, marches, bumperstickers, signs and signals. Do not let it be said by the bullies that resistance is futile, that the hero will die and be forgotten. Keep memory alive.

>3. Satirize, criticize, scorn, shame, blame and give a bad reputation to brands, politicians, PR people, marketers, think tank thinkers, pundits and all others who usurp the role of truth-teller, and provide semblances only.

>4. Stow (don’t show) your education – do not deconstruct the values for which you, or others, may be required to suffer or die. For that would be a betrayal. Be true to the truth. Live in truth. Bear witness. Deconstruct not human rights, plain truth, courage and candor, but those who dissimulate. Start not with the best writers, for God’s sake, but with brands, politicians, think tank bs, and corporate hype. (We are not ruled by those steeped in Milton, Shelley, Keats. Deconstruct what our leaders read – Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Management Secrets of Genghis Khan, The Rapture Series.)

>5. Link to create a resonant network of social capital – whether face to face, on the phone, through email, or your blog; bestow attention on those who see past the spectacle, and who are synchronizing on a more humane and sustainable way of life.

>6. Pass up tainted honors – Do not cooperate with malfeasance. If offered “credentials” for a political convention, or time on a talk show (c.f. Chastity Powers for WB TV Tonight), or a position at a think tank, ask yourself about what it is you are cooperating with, and what it would cost to defect? Will you defect on air, challenging the host, the corporate business model, the advertisers? If not, why are you there? Why simper before millions, displaying your shameless desire to please? Set a better example, and turn down the tainted gift. Become a rallying point in your own right. Do not ride the bully’s shoulders, to speak the bully’s message, or be complicit in it, and think that makes you tall. Your presence on the bully’s shoulder is demoralizing, it shames us all.

>7. Pool effort, talent and money – “giving” from the gifted in defense of the commons from which and to which all gifts tend.

>8. Organize online and off to bring cooperation games, and coordinated action, into not just business, but our civic life as well. Democracy is not just a spectator sport.

Air pollution from car exhaust can harm your lungs. Duh.

The New York Times reports:

>In the first long-term study of the effects of air pollution on children, researchers reported Wednesday that children and teenagers in Southern California communities with higher levels of air pollution were more likely to have diminished lung function.

>In their study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, James Gauderman of the University of Southern California and his colleagues followed 1,759 children ages 10 to 18 in a dozen Southern California communities. The pollutants they considered came primarily from car exhaust, they said.

What Seattle’s missing

Alex Steffen cranks out a fantastic rant entitled What Seattle’s Missing… From a Worldchanging Point of View.

He hits a number of nails square on the head:

>6) A sustainable business center. Portland’s got the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center. San Fran’s got Kevin Danaher’s plan to build an Eco-Industrial Center. Minneapolis has the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center. Seattle? Bupkiss.

>8) A good local politics blog. Something like BlueOregon meets Kos.

>9) Better progress towards emerging advocacy networks in general. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this.

>12) A third place for worldchanging types. The model here is Helsinki’s Aula Cooperative. Especially in a place where water falls from the sky for years on end every winter, good places gather are critical.