Monday, July 19, 2004


Kent State University has a campus nearby, so I've seen the name a lot. That keeps Niel Young's song Ohio running through my head, from a time not so very different from our own:

Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming
We're finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know

Ah, la la la la...

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know

Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming
We're finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio
Four dead in Ohio

One Bush Voter

I struck up a conversation with the woman running a Buffalo Wings stand on Wednesday. When we got to the subject of politics, she said she won't vote for Kerry because he's a "killer." Specifically, a "baby killer." For those of you not versed in the codes of American politics, this means she's "pro-life" (or "anti-abortion") and Kerry thinks women should have access to legal and safe abortions. I asked her what she thought about Bush sending our troops to kill and die based on lies, and she said that she doesn't support us being in Iraq, but somebody had to do it. Whatever.

We were able to keep the discussion civil, but I don't think a lot of persuasion took place. The wings weren't bad...

My First Week In Canton

I arrived Tuesday, got an apartment Wednesday and moved in and got a phone on Thursday. I've been working for the Jeff Seemann congressional campaign since Wednesday and my apartment is 15 minutes' walk away from headquarters. It looks like I'll be able to get by without a car, although the nearest laundromat is also 15 minutes' walk distant.

Canton is not pedestrian-friendly, and the downtown area seems very depressed; stores are few and far between. A striking contrast to Kiel. There are fireflies here, something I haven't seen in decades and a nice surprise. People are friendly, make eye contact and are ready to talk. There's already a lot of talk about national politics; people are paying attention.

Food is, well, food and not cuisine. Quantity, not quality. Last night I had two crudely grilled pork chops that were the size of t-bone steaks (had I known, I'd have ordered just one), with a baked potato and an uninspired salad of iceberg lettuce, one tomato wedge and one slice of cucumber. I finally found my first decent cup of coffee at a nearby diner this morning.

Work at the campaign is good; it seems like a good, dedicated bunch of people. And growing. I'm (to my surprise) putting my data analysis skills and experience to work, and it seems to be helping. I'm also the designated "IT guy" - so I have a lot of learning to do.

I've put in a little time with the Kerry campaign, making phone calls (they sometimes use our phones as part of a phone bank).

I haven't been in touch with ACT yet; it looks like the Seemann campaign may be able to keep me busy. We'll see; maybe I can find a little time to help out at ACT, too.

A Rich White Woman Who Won't Be Voting For Bush Again

On the first flight (it would have been the only one, except that it never actually took off, thanks to mechanical difficulties) from Detroit to Canton, I sat next to Karen - her name is easy to remember because every other sentence she spoke included her name: "he said to me, 'Karen, what about...'" - and we got into a discussion about the election. She's evidently wealthy - with homes in New Jersey, Florida, and somewhere on an island (Bahamas, maybe?) and a job that has her flying around the country looking at companies to acquire. She has always voted Republican, including for Bush in 2000. But she's not going to vote for him this time around - because of how he lied to the elderly, telling them he would provide prescription drugs and then failing to fund the program. She's not happy about Iraq, either, and I asked how happy she was with the budget deficit; the answer was not at all.

I couldn't quite get her to commit to placing a vote (in Florida!) for Kerry, although she did say she would vote, there are only two candidates on the ballot, and she won't vote for Bush, so: draw your own conclusions. Karen's also unhappy with George's brother Jeb (governor of Florida) because of the dismal state of education and treatment of prisoners in that state.


I was directed through Customs when I landed at Detroit; the inspector there asked me why I was flying to Canton. It was odd to me to be able to answer, without irony, "Patriotism." At his prompting I explained that I was coming to volunteer for the Kerry campaign, that my country is broken and I am doing everything I can to help fix it. We didn't discuss how he was planning to vote, but he certainly seemed to respect what I am doing.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Edwards Q&A

Dietlind asked:

> What do think about the nomination of Edwards as
> prospect vice-president, will he be advantagous
> for Kerry, or is he just an actor?

and I thought other readers might be interested in my answer, so here it is:

I like a lot of things about Edwards - he's very charismatic and a genuine populist, someone who will work for the poor and downtrodden. I like that he's from the South - it puts the Republicans on guard, because they like to think of the racist South as "their turf". But it's really John Edwards' turf, so while I still expect the South to go largely to Bush, I think they will have to spend money and time there to ensure that, and I think we may pick up a couple of states from the region.

I don't like the fact that he supported the Iraq war resolution (as did Kerry, as did all the likely Vice Presidential nominees). Maybe it is necessary, politically, to have a ticket of people who were pro-war, and if that is the price we have to pay to oust Bush, I can accept it - but I would be much, much happier to have candidates who had taken the right stand on the war from the beginning. But only if they were to win. I really want to think that my country could elect such people, but I really have my doubts. We have a lot to fix in the US.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Steve Rosenthal featured in the WaPo

Steve Rosenthal, head of ACT, is featured in an article in today's Washington Post.

Remember BugMeNot gives you easy access to the Post.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Swaying Unhappy Ohio Voters Could Be a Key to the Presidency

...according to today's New York Times.
Registration bypass from Bugmenot

Democrats are hoping their efforts will generate a huge turnout of angry and anxious voters determined to oust Mr. Bush. One of their targets has been Stark County, a swing county surrounding Canton in the northeast, which was rocked by the recent announcement that the Timken Company would be closing three plants and laying off 1,300 workers. The company, whose founding family are major contributors to the Republican Party, has been an economic mainstay in Stark County for nearly a century.

Friday, July 02, 2004


In just over a week, I'll be moving to Canton, Ohio to join the Jeff Seemann Congressional campaign and to help America Coming Together (ACT) with their voter registration drive.

I've never been particularly political, but my politics could be fairly well described as far left of (American) center. I am inspired to devote a few months of my life to this by the Bush Administration. Every time I start trying to list the reasons, I am overwhelmed, but here's a sampling:

Corporate Welfare
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
Abu Ghraib
International Criminal Court
Joe Wilson
Richard Clark

OK, enough for the moment. If you're a politicized American, either way, probably every one of these phrases is enough to remind you of the issue, and you can probably guess my position on any of them.

So, why Ohio? Well, the nice folks at Daily Kos and myDD were kind enough to give me some suggestions about which battleground states mattered the most, and once I had chosen Ohio to point to Jeff Seemann's campaign as a promising one. I believe Canton is where I can do the most good, so Canton is where I will be.

Jeff Seemann Campaign
Daily Kos