Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ron Paul is a Nut-Job

cross-posted from Sum of Change

I have few words for what is about to follow. Ron Paul takes wingnuttery to a new level with this interview:
Getting down to the last two questions here.... Most people consider Abe Lincoln to be one of our greatest presidents, if not the greatest president we've ever had. Would you agree with that sentiment and why or why not?

No, I don't think he was one of our greatest presidents. I mean, he was determined to fight a bloody civil war, which many have argued could have been avoided. For 1/100 the cost of the war, plus 600 thousand lives, enough money would have been available to buy up all the slaves and free them. So, I don't see that is a good part of our history. Besides, the Civil War was to prove that we had a very, very strong centralized federal government and that's what it did. It rejected the notion that states were a sovereign nation.

The people who disagree want to turn around and say, "Oh, yes, those guys just wanted to protect slavery." But that's just a cop-out if you look at this whole idea of what happened in our country because Lincoln really believed in the centralized state. He was a Hamiltonian type and objected to everything Jefferson wanted.
Forget that no slave-owner was about to sell their entire workforce. Forget that they would simply over-charge the government and turn around to buy new slaves at a cheaper price. I cannot believe I have to explain this, but the point was to make slavery illegal, not to deprive southerners of slaves. This is, frankly, one of the dumbest things ever said by anyone.

Sean Hannity Calls Teaparty Protesters "Tim McVeigh wannabees"

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Wow is all I can say. Now, this may have been said to mock liberals who had previously called the Teaparty a group of "Tim McVeigh wannabees," as Hannity has derided before. Yet still, in the midst of all that has been happening amongst radical conservative whackos, from bricks through windows to rogue militia groups planning to kill authority figures, you would think conservative leaders would work hard to steer clear of the domestic terrorist references.

Interview with Dr. Peter Wilk of Physicians for Social Responsibility

cross-posted from Sum of Change

I stopped in at the office of Physicians for Social Responsibility this morning to meet Dr. Peter Wilk, the Executive Director.
Dr. Wilk is a recognized expert on nuclear disarmament and has been active for the past 27 years in public health advocacy organizations and medical organizations concerned with preventing nuclear war and addressing other threats to global survival.
We talked about the upcoming Strategic Arms Reduction Treay (START) that President Obama and President Medvedev will sign in Prague on April 8th. While the full text of the treaty has yet to be released, the White House has released some "key facts" of the NPT:
The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 26, 2010
Key Facts about the New START Treaty

Treaty Structure: The New START Treaty is organized in three tiers of increasing level of detail. The first tier is the Treaty text itself. The second tier consists of a Protocol to the Treaty, which contains additional rights and obligations associated with Treaty provisions. The basic rights and obligations are contained in these two documents. The third tier consists of Technical Annexes to the Protocol. All three tiers will be legally binding. The Protocol and Annexes will be integral parts of the Treaty and thus submitted to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification.

Strategic Offensive Reductions: Under the Treaty, the U.S. and Russia will be limited to significantly fewer strategic arms within seven years from the date the Treaty enters into force. Each Party has the flexibility to determine for itself the structure of its strategic forces within the aggregate limits of the Treaty. These limits are based on a rigorous analysis conducted by Department of Defense planners in support of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.

Aggregate limits:

• 1,550 warheads. Warheads on deployed ICBMs and deployed SLBMs count toward this limit and each deployed heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments counts as one warhead toward this limit.
This limit is 74% lower than the limit of the 1991 START Treaty and 30% lower than the deployed strategic warhead limit of the 2002 Moscow Treaty.

• A combined limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

• A separate limit of 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
This limit is less than half the corresponding strategic nuclear delivery vehicle limit of the START Treaty.

Verification and Transparency: The Treaty has a verification regime that combines the appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations of the Treaty. Measures under the Treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. To increase confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for the exchange of telemetry.

Treaty Terms: The Treaty’s duration will be ten years, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. The Parties may agree to extend the Treaty for a period of no more than five years. The Treaty includes a withdrawal clause that is standard in arms control agreements. The 2002 Moscow Treaty terminates upon entry into force of the New START Treaty. The U.S. Senate and the Russian legislature must approve the Treaty before it can enter into force.

No Constraints on Missile Defense and Conventional Strike: The Treaty does not contain any constraints on testing, development or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or current or planned United States long-range conventional strike capabilities.

Green Thoughts: The Weatherization Process

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Having already gone through many of the individual aspects of the weatherization process, I'd like to share with you a brief overview of the entire retrofit process. We have shown you how to seal your attic space, ducts, and band joists, and how to control the ventilation of air and moisture throughout your home. But in this video, our expert host Jason with Edge Energy ( will explain how all of the individual retrofits are all part of a larger weatherization strategy that makes sure that all systems operating within your home are doing so in efficient unison.  By focusing on every potential spot for energy loss in the house, and not single issues like leaky windows, you can make sure that you're home is as efficient as possible and that you're energy bills are as low as you can make them.

To see more Green Thoughts on Thursday posts, please go to

Full Disclosure: EDGE Energy hired us, as Sum of Change not individuals, to produce several videos for them including the ones in this post. We have not been hired to distribute, recommend, or advertise for EDGE Energy, rather we are using these videos to explain a vital service and we appreciate them letting us do so.

To learn more about the energy audit from Edge and see more of our videos, please go to and see Edge's youtube page

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Training Tuesday: The 4 Key Principles of Effective Planning

cross-posted from Sum of Change

It seems self evident, but creating and following an actual tangible, usable plan is an important step any campaign that often goes overlooked. Many people think they can rely on their innate abilities and wing it, but it is clear (and seems somewhat obvious) that planning and scheduling your campaign is an incredibly important step to reaching your stated goals. Here with 4 helpful and useful tips on this necessary step in the process is Matt Blikek of Democracy For America's Campaign Academy ( Matt shared this knowledge on one of the Campaign Academy's stops in Gettysburg, PA last year. To learn more about the Campaign Academy and to see their upcoming 2010 schedule please go to their website.

In the first video above, Matt will explained a bit more on why a plan is so important.  In the following 4 videos, Matt will go over his 4 Keys Principles for Effective Planning one at a time. First, Write It Down. If your plan is not on paper it does not exist. It may be a great idea, but until you can write it down and share it with other people, there is no way to effectively implement it. Secondly, Set Specific Measurable Goals. Raising 'a lot' of money (for example) is a very vague and nondescript, but raising $10,000 (again, for example) is a tangible goal that your staff and volunteers can work towards. Next, Work Backwards. This is the most counterintuitive principle, but it actually is very logical. How can you plan your initial steps until you know what your final goals are? Therefore, you should first figure out how you want everything to turn out in the end and work backwards to discover what it is going to take to achieve those goals. Finally, It's Never Done. Your plan 6 months before your election shouldn't be the exact same as your plan 6 weeks before the election. Over that span of time, you situation will change so you should be constantly adding to and updating your plan to address the changing challenges you will be facing.

These same principles apply to events (for your campaign and elsewhere) and not just to the campaign on a whole and it is equally important to schedule out these events in detail. Whether your event is a house meeting, a debate, or any other campaign stop, setting a scheduled plan and sticking to Matt's 4 key principles while doing so. will help to maximize that event's success and effectiveness.

Write It Down

Set Specific Measurable Goals

Work Backwards

It's Never Done

For more Training Tuesday posts from Sum of Change, please visit

For More Info on DFA's Campaign Academy, please visit

Monday, March 29, 2010

YouTube's Effect on Music

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Several years ago, I sat in my room at college, likely browsing the internet and studying, when something from CNN in the background caught my attention. It was a very brief bit on a guitar:

There were so many things about this story that captured me. Everything about the artist, broadcasting from his bedroom, the bright light hiding his identity. This was, as a young man who grew up playing guitar, thousands of people I had met at concerts and playing in the DC subways, on the street and at battles of the bands. I, and millions of other people around the world, immediately identified with this young man with no face. And let's not kid ourselves, the kid can play.

CNN gave the scoop. The kid, named Funtwo, posted the video on a battle of the bands website in South Korea. Someone enjoyed it enough to post it on YouTube. One of those alone has received over 71 million views since being uploaded 4 years ago.

And so began a new era of finding music for me. With radically new tools like youtube, I could be inspired by the guitar work of a young kid sitting in his bedroom in South Korea without a record label involved. No agents had suggested this kid wear the right clothes and be seen at the right places. And from him I began searching out for new stuff...

Those two, and funtwo, were some of my favorite youtube finds. But the most inspiring had to have been this next one. After the earthquake that shook haiti, celebrities came together and remade "We Are the World." In response, 57 ordinary artists came together on YouTube, and from different locations, put together a remake that speaks to the power of ordinary people who want to see a change in the world: