This Is Who The Clintons Are

I could have written this diary about Peter and Marian Wright Edelman, or Lani Guinier, or Harold Ickes, or any number of people the Clintons have used, praised and dumped by the side of the road in their efforts to accumulate or maintain power.

I never imagined I'd be writing it about Jesse Jackson.

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Help Me End Homelessness

This is the time of year when a lot of parents are working their way through the list of typical back-to-school purchases, such as fall clothes, books, and school supplies.

For the families sponsored by SafeHome Philadelphia, on whose board of directors I sit (the website is out of date),  the back-to-school priority list reads a little differently:

1) Get out of unsafe housing, off the streets, and find a place to call home

Without a place to call home it's virtually impossible for parents to even consider school for their kids. SafeHome Philadelphia is a non-profit, privately funded organization dedicated to ending homelessness by working with landlords in local communities to identify safe, clean environments for families and their children. We get families off the street, into a home of their own.  

It's called the Housing First philosophy, and it is a radical attempt to end homelessness.  Rather than put families in a shelter system and wait for them to take care of the issues that led them there, we believe in giving people housing first, and then connecting them to the mainstream and neighborhood services they need to maintain permanent housing. This community-based approach helps prevent people from entering the homeless service system, and helps those already homeless to rapidly exit the cycle of temporary solutions. Give people the stability and dignity that permanent housing affords, rather than use the more expensive shelter system as a bandaid. (We have a 90%+ success rate that proves it works.)

2) Get support to re-establish my family

Coming off the street, working families typically do not have the necessary first and last month rent, security deposit, etc., let alone credit to qualify for basic utilities. SafeHome Philadelphia makes available a general "housing success" fund, which helps with up-front, move-in expenses. Our term family advocates help families work through legal and financial challenges to setting up and making their home permanent.

3) Find basic household items to cook with, bathe with, eat from, etc.

SafeHome families typically lack things that most people take for granted. Children need chairs to sit on and tables to put their books on - at the minimum. Then consider the things required for basic cooking, eating, sleeping in a bed (often as opposed to the bare floor or a cast-off couch). As part of the "housing success" fund and donations, SafeHome helps families with the basic household goods to make their home ... home.

The good news: we've found the solution, and we've housed and stabilized 41 families, including 102 children, in less than 2 years.

We can demonstrate that SafeHome can end homelessness in ways other programs can't. That we can re-connect families with society by giving them a home first. A place of their own from which to build pride, regain hope, become self-sufficient... and to do homework.

I met one of our families at a rally we held on Wednesday in Philadelphia,   Twin sisters in a shelter with their mother and siblings.  Their grades plummeted, and one was held back. Conditions in the shelter were so unbearable that their mother rented a house she couldn't afford; they were forced to live without furniture, and still remained on the brink of homelessness. Desperate, they found SafeHome Philadelphia on a library computer.

Today, the family's income is stable and their house is furnished --including a computer for homework! Now, when the twins get home from school, homework comes first - and they're getting A's & B's on their report cards.

And it's cheap: we are able to house and stabilize a family for a one-time cost of only $4,000.

Sounds like a lot? It costs the City of Philadelphia $35,000 annually in taxpayer dollars to put a family in a shelter.  A shelter is not a home.  At the end of that year, there still is no permanence, no option, no future. We spend half of $4,000 (raised privately, without governmental red tape or restrictions) on up-front rent and security deposits, and the other half on support staff, including the family advocate. Our dollars flow straight to the solution.

But we absolutely need your support now.

Basically, SafeHome was our gamble.  We decided that the best way to turn around homelessness in Philadelphia was to use the reserves we had to support as many families as possible, to demonstrate that a "housing first" philosophy worked, and then use those results to generate the support for the funds needed to sustain and expand the program.  That's where we are right now -- we are running out of funds for new families, and we have more calling every day.  

We are running out of time, and running out of money. Can you help us find more places for more kids to do their homework?  Please click on the "make a donation" link and help us out.

What's important here is to realize that homelessness is not a permanent, intractable condition. We can do something about it.

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Obama! Phila! May 22! $25? Yes, $25.

In a typical presidential campaign, the candidates spend almost all of their time in the early primary states, typically venturing outside of those states only for high-ticket fundraising events put together by and for those who don't mind dropping $2300+ for dinner and a handshake.

Barack Obama is not running a typical campaign.

He's coming to Philadelphia on Tuesday, May 22 for a series of events, and the centerpiece is a Community Kick-Off Rally at the Electric Factory at 5pm.   This is not a $2300+ per-person event, or a $500 cocktail party, or a $250 "stand in back of the people who attended the cocktail party to watch a speech on tv monitors." 

You can join us for as little as $25.

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Electronic Disclosure: Action Alert, Update

This is one of those important yet excessively procedural issues that will dramatically improve the information bloggers can get access to. Please take action. - Matt

For those who've been following the push to make Senate candidates file their FEC reports electronically just like everyone else, you'll recall that the March 14 hearing on the Feingold-Cochran bill went really well, with the speakers unanimously in support of this simple reform.  Even the Hon. Robert Byrd, the defender of Senate tradition, is set to become the 32nd co-sponsor of this simple, bipartisan, noncontroversial legislation.  As the National Journal notes:

It's not every day that senators get to vote on a bill that's as simple, sensible and non-controversial as the one now pending before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

Here's what the so-called Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act would do:

  • It would save the federal government hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
  • It would polish up the Senate's public image, which remains badly tarnished by recent lobbying scandals.
  • It would vastly improve public disclosure, and help voters make better-informed choices on Election Day.
Indeed, the bill makes so much sense that it's hard to fathom why it's gone nowhere since its introduction more than three years ago. Not a single senator has publicly opposed the legislation, and numerous newspapers have endorsed it. As Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., put it during a recent hearing on the legislation: "This bill is as close to a no-brainer as you can get in this area."

Which, of course, means it's time for the Republicans to try to mess it up at tomorrow's scheduled mark-up hearing.

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IA: White Leaders Choose Obama Over Clinton, Edwards

Via the Obama website:

Date: February 11, 2007

AMES, IA - U.S. Senator Barack Obama's campaign today announced that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald have endorsed Barack Obama for President.

"Between the two of us, we have served the great state of Iowa for nearly 50 years, and we share a deep respect for this state and for the Iowa caucus process," Miller and Fitzgerald said in a joint statement. "Endorsing a candidate this early is no ordinary occurrence in the Iowa caucuses - but Barack Obama is no ordinary candidate. He spoke out in opposition to the war in Iraq before it started, and today he has an aggressive plan to redeploy our troops out of Iraq by the end of March of 2008. We believe that Senator Obama has the vision to meet the challenges America faces, and that his message of hope and unity will lead us to a new kind of politics where we are not defined by our divisions but united by our love of country."

Attorney General Miller and Treasurer Fitzgerald will join Obama Sunday at a campaign rally in Ames. On Saturday, Obama attended packed events in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

"I am honored and humbled that two public servants with such distinguished records of service have offered their support, their counsel, and their endorsements to my campaign," Obama said. "I look forward to working with them, hearing their ideas, and listening to the hopes and concerns of thousands of Iowans as we work together to change our politics and our country."

In other words, gang: there will be a lot of endorsements during this campaign, and it's not all about race.  The recent SC diaries are way overstated.

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PA 6-7-8: Final Hillary Event Push

You rock.  Plain and simple.

Since I first announced this appeal for the key suburban Philadelphia congressional races, you've contributed  $3,175.10 combined to Lois Murphy, Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy.  I've already invited five local online activists to the big-ticket fundraising event this Friday afternoon in Philadelphia with Sen. Hillary Clinton, and there's still room for me to invite at least one more.  Raise another $125 and we add another invite, and another person for every $300 thereafter.

(Some of the money already raised was $300 contributions from folks who plan to attend.)

Who's next?  That's for you to help decide.  Anyone who gives $20 has the right to nominate themselves or someone else for a seat at this event.  Give the PA 8-6-7 candidates $53.09, and you've got a real head start.   All you have to do is visit my ActBlue page for the event and make a contribution, and I'll make a decision later today.

These are among the biggest, tightest races in the country.  As just one example, Bill Clinton was here yesterday for rallies on behalf of both Patrick Murphy and Lois Murphy yesterday (after already having done a rally for Sestak last week), followed by Barack Obama last night, Al Franken, Howard Dean . . . you get the idea.  Or watch Patrick's appearance with Katie Couric from Tuesday night

So if you can, please give, and give generously. Winning's more fun when you're part of the team, and I'd love to see you there on Friday.

Any questions?  I'm here.

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PA 6-7-8: Help Us Win, Meet Hillary!

I think at this point, I don't need to tell you too much about the importance of the House races in the Philadelphia suburbs, in which Democrats Lois Murphy, Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy (subject of a major profile in today's Inquirer) are facing vulnerable Republican incumbents in winnable races.  Take all three, and Democrats will likely take back the House.

My wife and I are serving on the host committee for a fundraiser for all three campaigns being held next Friday afternoon, October 13, at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.  In addition to all three candidates being there, Sen. Hillary Clinton is the featured guest.

Big races require big money, and this is no exception: the minimum ticket price is $300, which I know generally puts events like this beyond the reach of many.

And then I had an idea, and some help.  Because my co-blogger profmatt was generous enough to contribute $300 for the event, but since he can't make it, we wanted to invite one of you in his stead.

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Action Alert: Move The Senate Into The 21st Century


There is not much on which the left and right blogospheres agree, except, perhaps, on the ability of the Internet itself to transform politics.  It empowers the masses and provides for greater transparency in government, allowing citizens to have a greater understanding of and power over what's going on in Washington.

We have banded together before on these principles and won - on the battle to keep the Internet free of onerous campaign finance regulations, and on the battle for transparency in earmarks - forcing Sen. Stevens to release his hold on the Coburn-Obama bill.  

Today, it's time to launch a third joint campaign, and that's to bring the United States Senate into the 21st century when it comes to campaign finance reporting.  Today's Washington Post explains the stakes:

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More on the PoliticsPA thing

Chris already knows about this, since he posted on the thread, but others might want to check out this blog post in which Above Average Jane explains that there was a source to PoliticsPA regarding Ginny Schrader's conference call who felt negatively about her performance there, contra Chris's allegation that PoliticsPA was "simply making this all up" and "just making shit up".  

And it was herself:

I chose not to write about the Schrader call [beyond a brief mention]. I have been out that evening and did not get in on the call until it was half over, and already into the question and answer phase. I asked about flooding, a problem in that area. Schrader said her opponent had called for a study but she thought something needed to be done about flooding, although she didn't know what. That did not strike me as being a well-formed answer, especially from someone who ran for the office before and has had additional time since then to work on policy positions. I also noted that she described a neighboring county as having a better organized Democratic party than the county she would primarily represent. I was not surprised at the notion of one county's party being better organized but that she picked the one she did as an example, as I had heard it described as being unorganized as well. I don't have a transcript of the call but my memory is that she did say another county's party was better organized, possibly because there was a higher percentage of D's there.

Chris, you claimed PoliticsPA had no sources.  Turns out, they had at least one.


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