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A daily series, Connect! Unite! Act! seeks to create face-to-face networks in each congressional district. Groups regularly socialize but also get out the vote, support candidates and engage in other local political actions that help our progressive movement grow and exert influence on the powers-that-be. Visit us every morning at 7:30 A.M. Pacific Time to see how you can get involved. The comment thread is fun and light-hearted, but we're serious about moving the progressive political agenda forward.

The orange pinpoints are the location of each organized group of Kossacks.
If you'd like to join a group, click on a point and a box will pop up showing contact links.
If you'd like to start a group, contact navajo for instructions.

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Got a favorite tool ?

      Pictured here is a pretty good universal tool kit. If you can't fix it with these it can't be fixed. First off, there's the Holy Trinity: hammer, WD-40 and duct tape. These three alone will fix 50% of what's broken. Occasionally you'll have to deal with fasteners so I include a Crescent wrench and a 6-in-1 screwdriver. With these added you can fix 99% of anything. Still, there's that pesky 1%. Enter Vise-Grips, my favorite tool. Vise-Grips are fantastic and one of the things that made America great. When you round off a nut with the Crescent wrench you can just tighten the ol' Vise-Grips on it and take it off anyway. You can use them to twist or hold on to pipes and even things that are shaped funny. They can be used as clamps either temporarily or permanently. They've saved the day for me many a time. You can read a short history of Vise-Grips HERE. The blockquotes that follow come from Donald Barlett and James Steele's The Betrayal of the American Dream published in 2012.

     One of the countless products that came to symbolize American know-how and ingenuity originated in a Nebraska farm town of five hundred persons. DeWitt, Nebraska, one hundred miles southwest of Omaha, was home for eighty-four years to one of the most familiar tools to ever take its place in American homes. The product was the invention of a Danish immigrant, William Peterson, a blacksmith by trade and a tinkerer at heart who designed a pair of pliers with teeth that could be locked in place, freeing the user's hands for other tasks. He called his invention Vise-Grip. Peterson began producing the locking pliers in his shop in 1924 and sold them to local farmers and mechanics out of the trunk of his car.
     Naturally, since the Vise-Grip was such a novel and useful tool, sales took off. Peterson converted an abandoned drugstore in DeWitt onto a factory. The company survived the Great Depression and sold thousands of pairs to defense contractors here and abroad during the WWII. Liberty ships and British aircraft were built using Vise-Grips. They sold well in the civilian market too. My Dad had some and yours probably did too. Before long the Vise-Grip plant employed more people than DeWitt had residents. It was a company town and non-union but the employees were treated well. These were good jobs, high value-added manufacturing jobs with decent wages. Vise-Grips enjoyed a worldwide reputation and the company was a strong exporter. By the 1980s almost half of their production was being sold overseas. The Peterson family owned the company for 61 years before selling it in 1985. It went through a few changes of ownership until 2002 when it was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid. Newell started out as a manufacturer of curtain rods but by the time they bought Vise-Grip their business model had changed. Newell doesn't actually manufacture anything, they buy and sell other companies and have the reputation of being ruthless cost-cutters and outsourcers. Most of the companies that Newell buys are already profitable. Profit expectations have changed over time in our financialized economy and what once was a respectable margin is no longer enough to satisfy Wall St. investors. After Newell bought the DeWitt factory they began a series of layoffs and cost-cutting measures and in 2008 they fired the last 300 employees, shut down the plant and moved production to China.
     In most cases, former Vise-Grip workers who have been able to find work are earning less, and they've learned to live on less. They've tried to put the past behind them, but it comes rushing back when they come upon tool displays at a Home Depot or Lowe's and see the familiar yellow-and-blue packaging touting Vise-Grips as: "The Original Since 1924."
      Of course they aren't the original. The locking pliers are now made in a factory in the heavily industrialized city of Shenzhen, north of Hong Kong.
     Chinese Vise-Grips aren't of the same quality. Barlett & Steele interviewed a former middle manager from the DeWitt factory who had been hired by Newell to go over to China and sort out the Chinese plant. He says they don't have the same quality control and the tools break more often. I would never buy Chinese ones. Vise-Grips really are my favorite tool and I've got 3 or 4 pair in different sizes and configurations, all from the last century. I use 'em all the time. If you have Made in U.S.A. Vise-Grips hang on to 'em, pass 'em on to the next generation. They're handy as Hell and they last forever.  

      Well, that's my tool tale. How 'bout you ...

Got a favorite tool ?

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Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Can Be Found Below the Orange Group Hug.

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Let's Build Communities!

Our team is here to provide support and guidance to new and existing volunteer leaders of each regional and state group, helping them with recruiting, organizing and executing social and action events.
We invite you to join in this effort to build our community. There are many ways to pitch in.
If there isn't a group to join near you, please start one.

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THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

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Photo Diary: NYC 3/16 Meetup is PACKED! (food pr0n, too!))


by sidnorafor New York City

Thank you, sidnora, for the great photo diary recap. So many terrific photos of our NYC Kossacks and all their food pr0n. It looks like everyone had a really good time. There's still time to rec her diary.

Here's only two photos of the many that belinda ridgewood, joanbrooker and Denise Oliver Velez provided:

L-R: the camera-shy Yasuragi (yes, she weally showed up!), belinda ridgewood, kathny, malloy, Miscweant, No Exit, Son of Broccoli, jfdunphy, mightymouse, plf515, sidnora, Mets102
L-R: Ian Reifowitz, plf515, sidnora, Denise Oliver Velez, Mets102

Please visit sidnora's diary for many MORE photos! Plus massive food pr0n. Enjoy! You can join New York City by sending a Kosmail to sidnora.

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Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise with SFKossacks banner treatment
Paradise and Chico Kossacks regional event banner

Four Kossack regional groups descend on the California State Capitol
to demand that Governor Jerry Brown ban
the oil and gas production process known as fracking


by navajofor Connect! Unite! Act!

Representing Northern California, the SFKossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, Paradise & Chico Kossacks and the Silicon Valley Kossacks gathered on the mall of our state capitol in Sacramento on Saturday, March 15th to protest fracking. Governor Brown has the ability to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California. The state is in a severe drought and the last place our water should go is into fracking. It is estimated the protesters numbered around 4000. We endured the hot sun which sent the temperatures into the 80s as we gathered midday to make a lot of noise and get the attention of the Governor.

DailyKos banner at fracking protest
Please note red arrow pointing to our Daily Kos banner to gather all us Kossacks together!
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Please visit paradise50's diary for his terrific photos!

You can join SFKossacks by sending a Kosmail to navajo.
You can join Central Valley Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to tgypsy.
You can join Paradise & Chico Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to smileycreek.
You can join Silicon Valley Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to Glen The Plumber.

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Event Organizers! Please contact wink from Netrootsradio.com by KosMail to schedule airtime with them to live broadcast your Event. Wink & Justice will then promote it on The After Show radio program!
Houston Area Kossacks banner
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Saturday, March 29th

Houston Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Fadi's Mediterranean Grill
4738 Beechnut Street • Houston

ORGANIZER: Send Chrislove a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Chrislove
2. htowngenie
3. Libby Shaw
4. MarciaJ720
5. Bree Davis
6. krwheaton
7. Mary (Honorary Kossack)
8. Alan (Honorary Kossack)
Maybees:
Mr. Libby Shaw
Latest diary: Houston Area Kossacks: Meet-Up Scheduled for Saturday, March 29 (plus a note on future meet-ups)
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Saturday, April 5th

Baja Arizona Kossacks 4th Annual Picnic

TIME: 4:00 PM
LOCATION: Home of Mr. & Mrs. sneakers563
Address by Kosmail to RSVPers • Tucson

ORGANIZER: Send Azazello a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Azazello
2. sneakers563
3. rasbobbo
4. DaNang65
5. ItsaMathJoke
6. Itzadryheat
7. pwoodford
8. ramara
9. Desert Rose
Maybees:
cosmic debris
LandruBek
Latest diary: Baja Arizona Kossacks Open Thread
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Saturday, April 5th

Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: Noon - 3:00 PM
LOCATION: Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery & Restaurant
1201 First Avenue South • Seattle

ORGANIZER: Send EagleOfFreedom a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. EagleOfFreedom
2. Reetz
3. John Crapper
4. John Crapper's S.O.
5. WisePiper
6. bleeding blue
7. mlharges
8.
Maybees:
Ojibwa
otto
Latest diary: Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks April Meeting
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Boston Kossacks logo, 550x100 pixels.
TBD, April TBD]

Potential Boston Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: TBD
LOCATION: TBD
[Address] • [City]

ORGANIZER: Send GreyHawk a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. GreyHawk
2. Hawk Wife
3.
Maybees:
Latest diary: Boston Kossacks - Up & At 'em!
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Dkos Asheville
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Saturday, May 3rd

DKos Asheville Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Bywater
796 Riverside Dr. • Asheville

ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. randallt
2. davehouck
3. Joieau
4. Gordon20024
5. SteelerGrrl
6. SteelerGuy
7. GulfGal 98
8. Otteray Scribe
9. flwrightman
10. people power granny
Maybees:
Audri
Mr Audri
Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]
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Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise with SFKossacks banner treatment
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Tuesday, May 13th

SFKossacks Roll Out the Red Carpet for LeftOfYou & Expat Okie

TIME: 11:00 AM, Early lunch!
LOCATION: Yank Sing
Rincon Center, 101 Spear St. • San Francisco

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. navajo
2. LeftOfYou
3. Expat Okie
4. side pocket
5. Justice Putnam
6. dharmasyd
7. Lorikeet
8. jpmassar
Maybees:
annieli
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navajo maintains the above event list. Kosmail her if you have any diaries
about your event or if you have changes or additions.
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