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Reposted from smileycreek's corner by StateOfGrace
South Dakota Senate candidate Rick Weiland campaigning at American Indian reservation. 2014
voterrisinglogoTuesday night I made calls from the comfort of my own laptop at home to South Dakota through MoveOn's hub dialer for Democrat Rick Weiland. In this three-way race the difference could come down to just hundreds of votes. Before I tell you the nuts and bolts of the hub dialer (which, despite the inevitable glitches, was far and away the best phone banking experience I've ever had) I want to tell you what I kept in mind every time I spoke with a fellow Democrat.

As I made these calls to progressive Democrats
I imagined I was talking to YOU, my fellow kossacks.

I thought about all of you, and how you represent a great swath of like-minded people I was pining for when we moved to a somewhat remote and red part of California. Every single one of you I've met in person has been easy to talk to because of our shared values. Whoever I spoke to on the phone was just like a fellow kossack I hadn't yet met, and I already knew we were going to have something in common to talk about. And this made the time go quickly and pleasantly.

I got so into it I screwed up once and introduced myself as smileycreek instead of my actual first name. Oooops!

Most of the people I spoke with sounded older, so after several of calls I started to specifically imagine I was talking to one of these two people, both of whom I loved before I ever met them:

sidepocket, maggiejean, figbash
How could you not smile when imagining it's side pocket or maggiejean on the line?

More beneath the twisted orange phone cord about how phone-banking technology has improved and made calling so much easier.

Check out upcoming Call From Home shifts right here.
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Wed Oct 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM PDT

Seniors & Food Insecurity

by MNDem999

Reposted from MNDem999 by StateOfGrace

Short diary - but hopefully helpful to someone.

When I was young– we were really poor – dirt poor farmers and we use to receive a box of USDA commodity food every once in a while (I was young and didn’t pay much attention).  The best I can remember we got powdered milk my mom used for cooking – we got gelatinous canned beef that my mom turned into gourmet meals – we got a block of cheese.  It must have been needed, because my parents never turned it down.

I was young then – now I’m older and the issue of food insecurity remains an issue.
As noted by some statistics by Feeding America, it is a real issue for seniors.

In 2013, 10 percent of seniors (4.2 million older adults age 65 and older) lived below the poverty line.

In 2013, 2.9 million (9%) households with seniors experienced food insecurity. 1.1 million (9%) households composed of seniors living alone experienced food insecurity.

The number of food insecure seniors is projected to increase by 50% when the youngest of the Baby Boom Generation reaches age 60 in 2025.

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Wed Oct 15, 2014 at 09:43 AM PDT

Diary of a canvassing virgin

by SteelerGrrl

Reposted from SteelerGrrl by StateOfGrace

"Are you a real Democrat?"

It was my first door answered by a Real Person, on my first day of canvassing ever. I had introduced myself as a volunteer for Kay Hagan and asked for "Michelle." A suspicious eye peered through a narrow crack. Her question wasn't on my script.

Think on your feet, SG. "Yes, absolutely. I've been a registered Democrat since 1992, and I'm out today supporting the Hagan campaign." I pointed to my badge. "The real deal." The door inched open, and her manner softened. "I'm sorry. I heard about Tillis people going around saying they're Democrats and giving people bad information."

Um, wow. Not expecting that one! Michelle was already on board with Kay but wasn't aware of the early voting days and hours, so I wrote them down for her. She thanked me for my work, reminded me to be careful, and wished me a great day.

No longer a canvassing virgin, I moved along to the next door. More stories and reflection below the squiggle.

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Reposted from Rescue Me by StateOfGrace

This is a series of diaries highlighting animal rescues around the country and noting and celebrating the work they do to help animals who have no voices but ours to speak for them. I have long wanted to start a rescue but lack the resources or time available to do so right now so this is my attempt to do my part. I hope that these rescues will benefit from the kindness and benevolence of the community here at Daily Kos. I chose this rescue, Whiskers Animal Benevolent League, because they are a local group that rescues cats here where I live and everyone on DailyKos knows that cats hold a special place in my heart. They are an amazing organization and worthy of Kossack attention and care.

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Reposted from TexMex by StateOfGrace

I am so excited about being at the Netroots. It is so good for my soul to see the coming generation of activists roll up their sleeves and get to work.
This is so very good for us all.  I saw many of these calls being placed by older seasoned Democrats but also there were many young Democrats making many many calls.
Pictures of a Wendy Davis phonebank to follow to show the people calling.

Great mix of ages working to turn Texas Blue

Great people organizing us to make calls for Wendy!
I have been following Battle ground Texas as the teams continue to grow and split as the people become more and more educated on organizing, registering calling and in general busting thier butts.
Facsinating and thrilling to see with my own eyes.
But this is also desperate because Greg Abbott thinks we should just drive around and know on company doors and ask if they have dangerous chemicals stored improperly.
The Mexican American vote must get out!
The Women vote must get out!
We MUST turn Texas blue we have no choice!
Go Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte!
Daily Kos actblue for Wendy!
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Reposted from nomandates by StateOfGrace
The numbers are in: Battleground Texas has reported that volunteer blockwalkers across the state exceeded this weekend's canvassing goal of 48,000 doors in 48 hours for Wendy Davis, our Democratic candidate for Governor!
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Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:34 PM PDT

National Volunteer Week

by StateOfGrace

This week, April 6 - 12, is National Volunteer Week.


1. Even a tiny bit can help a whole lot.

Many people who volunteer only work 4-6 hours per week. Some people have volunteer commitments that require even less time from them but which still make a huge impact. I have friends who volunteer to man the polls during elections every 2 or 4 years or who only do "seasonal" volunteering every year by helping the elderly or other low-income people with their tax returns right before tax day. You do not have to give up a big chunk of your time to help an organization out as a volunteer to make a big contribution.


Do you volunteer? If so, tell me about it. My volunteer job is:

13%3 votes
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| 22 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Old Redneck by StateOfGrace

We Democrats in my rural, very red Virginia county are sponsoring ACA sign-up clinics 22 and 29 March at our local library.  In preparation for the clinics, several of us volunteers spent a few hours helping our regional navigator as he worked with uninsured people to help them get insurance.

One of the people he assisted was a single mother of three -- husband killed a few years ago in an industrial accident.  She works a part-time cashier's job and cleans houses; her mother and sister take turns keeping the kids.  Of course she has no medical insurance and doesn't remember when she or any of the three children saw a doctor.

The Navigator found her a policy that pays 95% of her medical costs, has lots of free stuff (mainly regular exams and check-ups for her and the kids), and with subsidies will cost her $51 a month.

She couldn't believe she didn't have to pay the Navigator.  She didn't believe she did not have to promise to vote for Democrats.  She didn't believe it when the Navigator printed her insurance card on the spot.  When the fact of what she had done finally sunk in, she couldn't stop crying and hugging everyone in sight.  Neither could the rest of us.

Episodes such as this make me proud to be a Democrat and make me realize how fortunate I am to have Medicare and TriCare For Life.  And it makes me want to punch out the next dozen or so Republicans I hear spreading bullshit about the ACA.

Reposted from cassandracarolina's fossil record by StateOfGrace

Logan exploring the back porch

When I settled in North Carolina this past summer, my first order of business was adopting a shelter dog. My husband and I found this gorgeous Lab mix at a no-kill shelter. He had spent most of his nearly three-year life after being found as a stray near a river. You needn't spend much time in this part of the country before you become aware of the extensive networks of dogfighting, supported by backyard puppy mills where dogs are churned out as quickly as biology allows.

The result: a massive oversupply of dogs, far exceeding society's demand.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel an enormous debt of gratitude for the folks who found my dog and brought him to the shelter, then nurtured him, taught him to walk on the leash, sit, take food gently and countless other far-from-stupid pet tricks. These kindly people - most of them volunteers - prepared him for adoption and optimized his chances for a good life.

Debts of gratitude are best repaid in kind. With this in mind, I'm now volunteering at our local county shelter which is run by our Sheriff's department under the umbrella of "Animal Protective Services". Their mission has become skewed towards protecting animals from people, more so than protecting people from animals. Their paid staff respond to cases of abuse, abandonment, dogfighting, puppy mills, strays, and other problems created by humans. Hundreds of volunteers do the rest of the work, supplemented by inmates performing community service.

It's a massive operation. Last year, they took in about 6,000 animals (primarily dogs, cats and livestock); of these, about 1,900 were adopted or placed with private no-kill shelters or breed rescues. This leaves about 4,100 euthanized, an average of 11 per day.

Pretty depressing, right? Well, not if you're one of the ones rescued from cold, hunger, overbreeding, dogfighting, disease, abuse, or abandonment. For these dogs, the new "leash" on life is just terrific.



The secret to this successful adoption rate? Close involvement with the community. In addition to adoption fairs, social media mobilization, and an extensive network of volunteers, the Sheriff's department sponsors educational events for kids and adults. Here's a mural that the elementary school kids created to be auctioned off for "the animals":


Spaying and neutering - vital to stemming the tide of the canine population boom - is provided at no cost, even for animals already owned by county residents.  Sadly, many of the young female dogs at the shelter have already had a litter while they themselves were barely older than puppies. Shelter volunteers step forward to foster puppies found abandoned and too young for shelter life.

My "job" as a volunteer involves walking and socializing dogs at the shelter. It's the greatest unpaid job in the world. When I see that one of "my" dogs has been adopted, it's just awesome.

Most of the dogs love to get outdoors and, to varying degrees, they can walk on a leash. With some dogs, this is an aerobic event, pulling and jumping; with others, a relaxing chance to snuffle along in the woods around the shelter away from the antiseptic smells of the shelter.


Interestingly, many of these dogs are not all that interested in food as a motivator. They love to be petted, stroked, brushed, and massaged. They love to hear praise, to evoke a smile, to make us laugh at their antics.


The dogs can also romp around off-leash in an enclosure with agility features and a big basket of toys. We're not just exercising them; we're also reminding them - or teaching them for the first time - what it is to lead a "normal" dog life.


It may surprise some folks to find out that the shelter takes in a lot of "purebred" dogs. They work closely with legitimate breed rescues who can find suitable homes for these dogs, many of which would benefit from an "experienced' owner.

Even our North Carolina state dog, the Plott Hound, can be found in the shelter, a sad commentary indeed:

Plott hound

Follow along below (and watch where you step...)


What's your rescue dog situation?

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| 362 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 08:11 AM PDT

the power of a conversation

by kid oakland

Reposted from kid oakland by StateOfGrace

I got a phone call yesterday from a kossack friend of ours who is coordinating GOTV for Democrats in an battleground swing state on the Eastern seaboard.

I asked her, what one piece of advice or request would you make at this point in the game?

Her answer was crystal clear.

Right now, for us to win, what we need is for all of us to walk through the doors at campaign offices across the country and participate in Getting Out the Vote, be it phonebanking, door knocking or even just attending any of the scheduled rallies and special events.

If you're an experienced phone banker or canvasser from '06 or '08, all the better...

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Reposted from sherrodbrown by StateOfGrace

Six years ago, when I first ran for the Senate, I focused on issues that would help Ohio’s middle class. I took principled stands because I thought that what I had to say would be good for Ohio, and good for America. I’m proud that our message appealed to Ohio's voters. And I’m proud that I was the voice of millions of Ohioans in Washington for the last six years.  

But Washington special interests don't like me. I know you've seen the headlines about million-dollar ad buys from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS or the Chamber of Commerce. These are secretly funded outside special interest groups, with no requirement to tell us where they are getting their money. They've spent nearly 30 million dollars against me, all to prop up a candidate who doesn't do his job, and won't fight for the middle class.

These people are outsiders—they know nothing about Ohio, and they care only about electing right-wing Senators who will do their bidding in Washington. 

These groups—Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, NFIB, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Club for Growth among others—have spent nearly $30 million against me so far. And they’re not done yet. There are only two weeks left until election day, but just this week these groups spent $3 million in one 24-hour period. There's no telling how much money will be against me tomorrow, or Friday. By election day we could be seeing as much as $35 or even $40 million in spending against me. 

Who are these big spenders? It’s probably the oil industry (I’ve opposed their taxpayer-funded handouts), or companies that ship jobs to China (I supported a bipartisan jobs bill to punish China for cheating on trade laws), or it could be the Wall Street megabanks (I voted to crack down on those who caused the financial crisis).The truth is, I just don’t know for sure. But you know, and I know, that's the kind of politics I’m fighting against—that I’ll continue to fight against.

I want to see Ohio’s leaders in Washington elected by the people of Ohio – by you – and not by someone on Wall Street who thinks that because he can outspend us he can buy our elections.

What I’m doing with this campaign – what we’re doing with this campaign – is showing that a grassroots organization can beat a massively funded special interest campaign.

In two weeks the people over at Crossroad’s GPS and the Club For Growth are going to find out whether it’s possible to buy a Senate seat. And we’re going to teach them it’s not. We’re going to teach them that it’s possible for a grassroots network of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans spending a dollar here and a dollar there to beat $30 million in ad buys. 

So I ask you today to spend just one Saturday volunteering, or spend just one hour after work volunteering to make phone calls on behalf of this campaign. Spend just one afternoon talking to your neighbors about why they should vote. Ask them where they’ll stand on November 6. And ask your neighbor if they’re willing to let their vote be bought by special interests -- or if they’re going to stand up with you and choose the direction we take this state ... and this country.

Reposted from hungrycoyote by StateOfGrace

I've been waging a battle within myself for the past month about whether or not to get out of this chair I sit in while writing diaries for DailyKos and get over to my local field office and volunteer or to continue to just write diaries to inspire other people to help the campaign by sharing information about what's going on and why it is so important to reelect President Obama.

Over the last few months I've received a lot of positive encouragement to continue to write. I've received private messages through DailyKos mail, as well as comments in my diaries from many of you telling me how much you enjoy my writing and urging me to continue. I've always known I have the ability to string words together to make coherent sentences. For the first time yesterday, I met someone in person who has been reading my diaries. I explained to him that I think the reason my diaries are so well received has to do with the fact that a lot of the information I'm sharing is new to me and so when I write I'm explaining to others who are coming at the information from the same place without a lot of previous knowledge and understanding.

It's similar to a story I used to tell from my childhood. I would be working on my math homework and ask my father to help me with a problem. He'd start out trying to explain it to me, but before he got very far he'd pull out his slide ruler (how many of you are old enough to remember what that is?) and say, "Let me show you how to use the slide ruler." I never did learn how to use one of those things. You can't learn how to do calculus until you've learned basic math. My diaries over the last few months have been a learning the basics experience for me and I appreciate that so many of you have been following along with me as I have opened my eyes to what's been going on in the world around me. I had my head stuck in the sand for too long.

On Wednesday night, actually the wee hours of Thursday morning around 3:00 a.m., a friend posted a comment on Facebook.

I continue to be appalled at Obama's "blame America" statements for the attacks on our embassies and the murder of Americans. The security of all Americans demands that this man be defeated on November 6. I have never in my almost 65 years felt so insecure with the man serving in the White House--and most of those years I considered myself a staunch Democrat. I will be casting my vote for Romney, who I feel is a good, competent man, and encourage all of you to do the same.
I'm not quite sure why this particular statement made my blood boil. Maybe it's because I woke up on my birthday to the sound of Mitt Romney making his foreign policy speech on Monday and the thought of him being Commander in Chief scares me to death. Maybe it's because Romney's desire to taking our economy on a different path frightens the living daylights out of me. Posts from this particular friend never angered me so much before. Perhaps it's because he lives in Alabama and I've always been able to tell myself that he can inspire every friend and neighbor he has to vote for Mitt Romney and it's not going to change the outcome of the election because Mitt Romney is going to win Alabama's nine Electoral College votes no matter what. Whatever it was, when I saw that post I pulled out my phone, opened the Obama app, clicked the Events tab and found out that the next training session for GOTV in my area was that Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. I had pulled up that screen several times before in the past month, but this was the first time that I actually sent in my RSVP.

Perhaps one of the things that worried me most about actually volunteering to make phone calls was a little bit of stage fright. But a real concern was what I would do if I was confronted by a Romney supporter who asked questions I couldn't answer. I know I worried about being able to control my anger because I can become very aggressive when I'm angry.

On Thursday night, I arrived for the training session and had an opportunity to watch a young man make calls before the session started. Watching somebody else do it alleviated all my worries. The calls being made were to people who are registered Democrats. The goal is to make sure they get out and vote. The chances that I would be talking to somebody who supported Mitt Romney was almost nil. I attended the training and the most important thing I learned from the awesome young man and young woman who conducted it was this. It's not the best speech or campaign ad or debate performance that wins elections. It's who gets the most people to the polls to vote. It's a numbers game and the one who makes the most personal contact with voters via phone calls and knocking on doors is going to win the numbers game. I'm paraphrasing there, but that's how my mind understands the numbers.

When I sat down to write this diary, I turned on the television to MSNBC for background noise as I write and heard Melissa Harris-Perry say in a segment about voter suppression efforts on the part of the GOP:

As you know, if you've been paying attention to this week in voter suppression, running an effective campaign to convince the majority of voters to cast a vote for you is just Plan A. This year state Republican lawmakers have drafted a blue print for Plan B, which goes something like this, if you can't get enough people to vote for you make sure to go out of your way to make sure enough people don't vote for the other guy; even if that means appealing all the way to the Supreme Court which is exactly what Ohio Secretary of State Michael [Jon] Husted is doing. He wants to stop Ohioans from voting on the weekend before the election so badly that he's asking the Supreme Court to overturn a federal court decision to restore voting on the last three days before the election.
Yes, Republicans are working hard to suppress the vote and that's why we have to work even harder to get President Obama's supporters out to vote. After the meeting I came home and watched the vice presidential debate which inspired me even further. It was wonderful to feel positive and a sense of happiness again after a week of depressing poll numbers, and I wrote a happy diary to encourage others to smile and have a good laugh too. I was finally about to get some sleep and was on my way to bed about 5:00 a.m. but made the mistake of reading Paul Krugman's article first. His warnings about a Romney election were scary, and so you guessed it, I wrote another diary. The first diary was already on the Recommended List and it was long before the second joined it. When I write diaries I feel an obligation to stick around and respond to and recommend comments. At 7:00 a.m. I couldn't keep my eyes open any more and I gave up and went to bed.

When I woke up at 3:00 p.m., I was admonishing myself for not getting up sooner. My goal was to get over to the OFA field office a lot earlier, but both diaries were still on the list, and I wanted to catch up on the news from the previous night's debate. I finally managed to pull myself away from the computer and get in the car. At 5:30 p.m. last night I was finally sitting in front of a computer screen at the OFA field office, and after some basic instructions made my first call. I sat at that table for the next two and a half hours straight without taking a break.

The entire experience was amazing and exhilarating. It was so easy. You start out by logging in to the computer application (help is available) and entering the telephone number of the phone you will be using. Phones are provided, or you can do what I did and use your own. My cellular service is with AT&T with roll-over minutes. I've accumulated a bucket of over 3,000 minutes and am happy to donate them to the campaign. Obviously I'm never going to use them before they expire. The computer dials numbers. When it connects with somebody, their name, gender and age as well as where they are located appear on your screen. You simply ask them who they are supporting for President and if they say President Obama, you go on to ask them how they plan to vote; whether by mail, early voting or on Election Day.

I didn't understand everything at once, but there was plenty of support in the room to answer any questions I had. With each call I made, my confidence in what I was doing grew. At one point one of the field leaders in the room who had been listening to my calls said to me, "You're doing a great job. You're making a difference and getting people to vote." By the end of the evening I was informed that I had made the most calls and made the most actual contact with people in the State of Florida. Every one in the room clapped and quite honestly, it was amazing to have feel like I had made a tangible positive contribution to the campaign.

There were a few calls that stood out. There was an elderly woman who told me that she was not going to vote. It was her opinion that all politicians lie and it doesn't matter who gets elected. Perhaps if I had a little more confidence and experience under my belt I would have engaged her in conversation and tried to persuade her to change her mind, but I just politely thanked her for her time, marked the "not voting" selection and moved on.

A few of the calls connected me to people who had moved to other states. One man started out by saying that he was a firm Mitt Romney supporter. He was the only one to tell me that all night. It turned out he was teasing me, and we had a pleasant chat about how he now lived in Indiana and that he and his entire family were voting for President Obama.

The one call that I remember most did not start out well. It was to an elderly woman in St Pete Beach who did not want to discuss who she was voting for in the election, as quite a few people did. With other calls I simply marked the person as "undecided" which I was told would inform the campaign to send people to their door to talk to them in person. However, in this particular case, I continued to smile (because if you're smiling while you talk even though the person can't see you, you're conveying a tone of being pleasant). At some point the woman softened and said, "You know I think we're supporting the same person." She talked about how she didn't understand people who based their decision on the color of someone's skin. I offered that it was true about a lot of older people in America, but what inspires me is the younger generation today. So many young people don't see skin color, and accept each other as people. She then said, "I would never marry somebody of a different color." And I responded, "You can't help who you fall in love with." That made her laugh and we moved on to how she was going to vote.

She said that she was elderly (I knew that from the screen) and that she couldn't get out much. I then told her about how she could vote by absentee ballot. She asked me if I would call and have a ballot sent to her. I didn't know how I could do that, but fortunately the field leader was listening to my conversation and brought me a list of all the Supervisors of Elections in Florida and I was able to give her the phone number to call on Monday to get a ballot.

That one call made all the difference to me. It proved to me that it was worth my time to sit there and make as many calls as I could. My sincere hope is that if you have been thinking about getting out and volunteering, it will inspire you too. It boils down to this. It's a numbers game. The more contacts made, the more people we will inspire to get out and vote for President Obama.

After the phone banks closed at 9:00 p.m., I stayed and talked with others there. I asked what the Romney campaign was doing because I was simply amazed at how well organized this operation for President Obama was. I was told that yes, the Republicans were also doing similar things but they hire and pay people to do the work. Think about that. I was there making calls for President Obama because I believe in the cause. How inspiring do you think people are who are paid to deliver a message for Mitt Romney?

That in no way means that you should sit back and not worry about this election. You should. If you have even two or three spare hours a week, President Obama needs your help. Take that first step. Find the nearest field office and walk in. You will be inspired by the enthusiasm of the people already there. They will help you learn the ropes. Do it! Please! It really is all about the numbers. The more calls made, and the more people who hear a friendly voice on the other end of the phone, the more votes we will generate for President Obama.

I know you'll understand that this time I won't be around to respond and recommend comments in this diary. Please excuse any typos or misspellings in this diary. I don't have time to reread what I've just written and correct errors. I'm on my way out the door to make as many calls as I can for President Obama today, and I will continue to make calls and pitch in every where I can every single day from now until the election. Please join me.


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