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If there's one thing I've learned since I my political awakening in 2000, it's that the shift from institutional to individual fund-raising represents a fundamental change on the same order as the open-source software revolution.  I'm composing this post using an open-source browser (Firefox) which isn't just better than the purely commercial alternatives -- it has actually caused the entire ecosystem to improve through competition.

While some vestiges of the top-down fundraising paradigm will survive in recognizable form, such as bundling and PACs to organize donation campaigns, I strongly believe that the dominant force in political fundraising is now the individual donor.

However, I think there's an aspect of the people-powered fundraising paradigm that's still under-developed and overlooked despite its importance: recurring donations.  Sure, it's fun to get caught up in the energy and excitement of a last-minute push, but it sure does make things hard during the off months.

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And now for something a bit lighter than the mega-diaries I've been doing lately...

They're on to us!

The Right was Right!

New website exposes the REAL Left-wing Agenda!

Excerpts after the jump.

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My name is AlphaGeek, and this is my analysis of the candidates for office in California's November 2006 general election.  This edition of the guide also covers many local candidates relevant to Fremont, CA.  Be sure to also read my separate report on the ballot measures up for voting on Tuesday.

To give the reader some context for my analysis and conclusions, please permit me to introduce myself.  I am:

    * A libertarian Democrat who believes in efficient government and progressive social policies
    * Married with three children, ages 8, 6 and 3;
    * Co-founder and CTO of a 6-year-old Silicon Valley software company
    * A regular participant and occasional contributor at DailyKos.com

I believe in transparent government, efficient spending, and the absolute requirement for a trustworthy election system.  I believe that the Constitution exists to guarantee human rights, and should never be used as a means for denying them.

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While reading through the full text (PDF) of the declassified Key Judgments of the April 2006 NIE, something jumped out at me that I haven't seen highlighted yet.

Follow me down the rabbit hole...

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I like the VoteVets "AK47 & body armor" ad by Bill Hillsman.  I liked it a LOT.  It was almost too good to be true.

Turns out I was right -- it is too good to be true.  FactCheck.org alleges that, in pursuit of a hard-hitting political message, the VoteVets ad is misleading or downright incorrect in several areas.

False Claims About Body Armor

A new group falsely accuses Republicans of voting against body armor for troops. Both sides have misled the public about this issue.

UPDATE: Turns out that when you unravel the Senate appropriations debate and votes, it's indisputable that the Republicans voted down the Landrieu amendment to fund protective gear for Guard and Reserve troops. More below the fold.
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I've only been politically aware the last 4-5 years, and only in the last couple of years have I been moved to make significant financial contributions to candidates and causes.

Because I have a fresh perspective on fundraising from a donor's perspective, I thought it might be useful to articulate the do's and don'ts for successfully extracting a donation from my wallet.

Rule #1 after the jump.

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If you (like me) have bought the $10 weekend streaming-video pass from Air America, there are a couple of problems to be aware of right now.
Poll

Have you experienced any issues with YearlyKos streaming video?

2%1 votes
5%2 votes
17%6 votes
2%1 votes
8%3 votes
0%0 votes
5%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
17%6 votes
17%6 votes
17%6 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes

| 35 votes | Vote | Results

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I recently posted a popular series of Diaries on the topic of personal emergency preparedness. For those Daily Kos readers who may have missed the series, here are the links to the 5 parts:

Are YOU ready for disaster?

  1. Assess your risks!
  2. Plan to survive! (part A)
  3. Plan to survive! (part B)
  4. Emergency gear and supplies
  5. Material preparations continued; Conclusion

This Diary is an open forum for Kossacks to discuss preparedness questions and solutions.

More after the break.

Poll

Water supplies: are YOU ready?

10%30 votes
5%16 votes
15%44 votes
16%47 votes
26%78 votes
6%19 votes
6%19 votes
2%8 votes
10%32 votes

| 293 votes | Vote | Results

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(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page. GREAT series by AlphaGeek.)

"Good luck happens when preparedness meets opportunity" - Anonymous

The key to emergency preparedness is an accurate understanding of the risks and challenges you face.  Underestimating your risks leads to complacency and failure to prepare effectively.  Overestimating your risks leads to the Armageddon Fallacy and failure to prepare effectively (if at all) because of the enormity of the imagined potential disaster.

The harsh truth is that the calculus of survival is not entirely within our control.  No matter how many risks we address, there are situations which are simply unforeseeable or unaddressable.  However, by taking effective action to minimize the likely risks, we can greatly increase our chances of survival in an emergency or disaster situation.

This Diary marks the conclusion of this series.

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Assess, plan, and prepare -- but don't think it ends there

In a great many ways, we live safer lives today than our parents and grandparents ever did.  Western civilization's empasis on science and engineering has driven incredible progress in our understanding of the world.  Because our understanding of the world is imperfect, and our social systems fractious and chaotic, we still make mistakes.  

The result of this progress, unfortunately, is that much of Western civilization teeters precariously at the top of a technological pyramid.  Remove the non-stop infusions of energy and goods, add a little natural or man-made disaster, and that balancing act rapidly devolves into chaos.

In this, the fourth installment of this series, we will discuss the material preparations required to support your emergency plans.  

Yes, people, that means it's time to talk about MREs, radios, and guns.  (Actually, guns will be covered in part 5, but you get the idea.)

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"In the first 48 to 72 hours of an emergency, many Americans will have to look after themselves." - David Paulison, FEMA Director Nominee

Preparedness for emergency situations is not a solitary pursuit.

Each of us lives in the context of a larger society.  Few among us could survive for long without the support of myriad other people and institutions we depend upon for our daily needs.  A realistic disaster plan must balance these dependencies against the stark truth that you are likely to be required to survive outside this system for days or weeks at a time at some point in your life.

Being prepared for disaster does not have to be time-consuming or expensive.  In this multi-part series of DailyKos Diaries, I will share with you, dear reader, many of the lessons I've learned regarding the most effective ways to prepare for an emergency.

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Chance favors the prepared mind. - Louis Pasteur

In any given disaster situation, you will find a group of people who maximize their chances for survival by making the correct choices before, during, and after the crisis.  These folks have a few things in common:

  • Each of them personally decided that he/she was going to survive
  • They accurately assessed their immediate and near-term risks and needs
  • They made the best plan they could based on available resources
  • They executed that plan in a flexible, adaptive manner
  • They kept going until they had reached safety, and did not give up

The single most important thing you can do to survive a disaster is to be mentally prepared.  

Being prepared for disaster does not have to be time-consuming or expensive.  In this multi-part series of DailyKos Diaries, I will share with you, dear reader, many of the lessons I've learned regarding the most effective ways to prepare for an emergency.

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