Thursday, September 6, 2007

Notes From the Underground

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 501

Here are a couple of things that have come in over the transom this week that caught my eye.

He's Not President, But He Used to Play One on TV

The Ploughshares Fund, a California nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation that issues grants to peace groups and advocates, was kind enough to send us a press release titled, "Martin Sheen Launches Peace Primary." Sheen, as anyone with a television and a pulse must know, spent seven years playing fictional president Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing, and has lent his name and services as honorary chairman of this initiative. The idea, in a nutshell, is that people will go to a website and chose who from among a slate of twelve organizations will be the winner of a $100,000 grant to "help promote its agenda for peace and human security over the next year."

What makes this interesting is that it costs a dollar to cast a vote, with the money going directly to the organization for which you vote. So, it's not just a self-selecting poll, but also a nifty fund-raising idea. In the end, the votes are tabulated, and the winner gets the hundred grand, plus pride of place in a "peace plank" that Sheen will personally deliver to the defense and foreign policy advisors of each of presidential candidate.

But what really caught my eye in all of this was the following excerpt from the press release: “You don’t have to live in Iowa or New Hampshire to make a difference this election year,” explained Naila Bolus, executive director of the Ploughshares Fund. “The Peace Primary allows voters to take matters into their own hands by designing a common peace platform and by immediately putting that platform to work in the real world."

With all the primary leapfrogging this campaign season, sparked by envy of Iowa and New Hampshire, this is the kind that I don't mind seeing. Voting is open from now through October 31. Click over to for more info, and to cast your vote.

That Ship Has Sailed

If there were a show of hands today, Al Gore would be the next Democratic nominee for president. Or so thinks a group calling itself "Citizens for a Great Presidential Candidate," which is working on putting together a Draft Gore rally and concert in Des Moines on October 21.

Guys: it's over. Gore won't run. If he runs, he won't win. Ergo, he won't run. Democrats like their choices for the nomination this time around, and Gore's entry into the race would excite little more than bemusement.

On the other hand, the planned concert is said to feature The Blue Band
[definite] and Home-Grown Tomatoes [highly probable]), so there will be head banging to go along with the head scratching. In line with the rally's theme, I'd suggest the concert organizers try to book Blue Merle, who could provide both rock and commentary with a performance of "Made to Run" or, perhaps more apropos, "Every Ship Must Sail Away."

And Finally

No survey of the campaign underground would be complete, of course, without peering through the telescope at Planet Kucinich. This past weekend, Dennis and Elizabeth were touring Syria and Lebanon, while, as an email from their campaign put it, "the other leading candidates for the Presidency were spending the Labor Day weekend campaigning." Perhaps this would be a good time for someone on Dennis' staff to explain that campaigning is what candidates do? Then again, as Theodoric of York would say..."Nah."

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