Saturday, December 31, 2005

The 90 Minute Experience

(This is a first draft)

30: Team Building

- Introductions
- Personal Stories
- What was your past month like? What will your next month be like?
- Say one thing about you noone on the Team knows, if anyone knows it, you have to say something else
- Invite people to sign up for the Team Blog on the spot, have a computer with internet access ready

- Snacks
- $2 Donation for Snacks

60: Political Talk

Break into two groups

- National Politics
* Each person submit your 10 point program for 2006
* Synthesize
* Thoughts on Dean 2008

- State and Local
* Identify races and candidates of interest to team members

- Democratic Party
* Did you buy Democracy Bonds yet? It is just $10 a month.
* At 20, we split like amoeba, the group size stays at 10
* Train the next LinkUp host
* When we grow to 10 LinkUps, we have a Level 2 Meeting for the 10 LinkUp Organizers
* When we have 10 of those, we organize a Level 3 Meeting, and so on.
* The sky is the limit.
* Each Meeting has its own Team Blog.


- Arrange to have many pictures taken and posted online
- Arrange to video blog as much of the meeting as possible
- Arrange for at least one person to take the minutes of the meeting

We have a national audience.

Motto: The conversation never stops.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Presidential Primary Reform

I was just reading an article in the Washington Post on the topic. The current system sure is skewed. So I proceeded to google the stuff a bit.

Presidential Selection: A Guide to Reform ..... evidence suggests many Americans are turned off by the way in which the parties choose their candidates ..... found the public complaining of campaigns being too long and feeling disenfranchised, echoing sentiments of "my vote does not count." ...... The structure of the nominating calendar has made the inside baseball game decisive in presidential politics, with fundraising and early endorsements critical to success. ..... this increasingly closed system ..... troubled by the prospect of alienating vast pools of citizens so early in the process ..... Sabato's plan divides the nation into four geographic regions, each having approximately the same number of electoral votes. A few months prior to each election season, a lottery will be held to determine the order in which the regions will hold their nominating contests........ The states in each region hold nominating contests in March, April, May, and June, as determined by the lottery.....
MyDD :: Primary Reform and the California Plan ..... This system features a schedule consisting of ten two-week intervals, during which randomly selected states may hold their primaries. This 20-week schedule is the approximate length of the traditional primary season....... In the first interval, a randomly determined combination of states with a combined total of eight congressional districts would hold their primaries, caucuses or convention. This is approximately equal to the total number of congressional district in Iowa (5) and New Hampshire (2), thus preserving door-to-door "retail politicking." ...... Any state or combination of states amounting to a total of eight congressional districts could be in the first round of primaries and caucuses. This could include such ethnically diverse jurisdictions as American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona, and Maryland....... The widest possible political debate would be fostered by this system ......

Looks to me like the good ideas are already out there, as they often are. What has been lacking is the political will and skill to bring these ideas to some serious debate and implementation. I particularly like this so-called California plan.

The best ideas are "scientific" in character.

The American Plan

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Spectrum On Gender

When I drew up the spectrum on race (The Spectrum/Dialogue Concept Is Key To Power), I hoped one or more of the power women at DFNYC will perhaps chalk out one on gender. I waited and waited and waited. But perhaps either my blog is not that widely read, or the spectrum concept did not fly. So here is my first attempt.

(10) You are the Buddha of gender relations.

(9) You are capable of relating to women in their numerous roles as members of families, and workplaces, as friends, as activity partners. As soldiers, as astronauts, as CEOs, presidents and prime ministers. You do not inherit, create and sustain glass walls and ceilings that keep women away. You can recognize them when you see them and are vocal about them. You do not differentiate between women of different cultural/ethnic backgrounds, or women in different age groups. You are extremely comfortable around women. You value their opinions, you seek them out.

(8) The women in your family, workplace and friends circles are mostly liberated women who can feel your liberation. You empathize with women who are internalized sexists.

(7) You have a female boss and you are okay with the idea. She feels it too. You are not in a sexist marriage. You share in the domestic responsibilities. Your wife is an equal decision maker in all aspects that touch upon your marriage.

(6) You are well rehearsed in workplace issues as they affect women, and you can sing all the right tunes. When it comes to policy, you are a woman’s friend.

(5) You are pro-choice. You are okay with career women to an extent. You still can not imagine them as soldiers or as people in major leadership positions. You have never had a female boss. You don’t want one either.

(4) You are anti-choice. You think women belong at home, cooking food, raising children. Careers are not meant for them.

(3) You subscribe to all sorts of negative stereotypes about women so as to justify your thinking of them as lesser people. You practice strange, exclusive acts of male bonding.

(2) You practice hate speech against women. You routinely talk against them as a group, and put them down as a group.

(1) You commit hate crimes against women. You killed your wife. You are a rapist. You habitually beat up your wife/girlfriend. You beat up women.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pan American Desi Caucus: Brown Is Beautiful

Madhesi Jagaran has been about the Madhesi identity in Nepal for me. Democracy For Nepal (DFN) has been political work to do with Nepal. Democracy Forum: Americana has been to do with Dean 2008. But on the American scene it is about the Desi identity, the larger South Asian identity. The idea would be to build a pan American Desi caucus.

Reinvent the Democratic Party: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

It would be about immediate Desi pride and empowerment. But I think it would be more to do with the idea of spreading and strengthening democracy in South Asia. It would also be about helping America better celebrate its diversity.

Politics At The Speed Of Thought
Social Progress: Show Me The Money
Superpower Talk, Infrastructure Talk
DFNYC, 100,000 Strong, Scalable Organization
Pentagon, Hexagon
Blacks, Hispanics At The Core Of The Democrat Rainbow Coalition
The Spectrum/Dialogue Concept Is Key To Power

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Nepal Message To Top Democrats

Mero Sansar: December 2 Protest Rally In Kathmandu (video)
Reinvent the Democratic Party: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
Sign the Nepal Democracy petition

The Democratic Party is so totally out of power. The White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court. It has been a total sweep by the George W, Karl Rove machine at the federal level. They even have a lock at the state level. Although that tide might be turning.

They now got the Supreme Court for a generation. That is why we need to take over the Congress and the White House for a generation starting with the Congress in 2006. The goofy white males who founded the country referred to it as separation of powers. We progressives need a fundamental rethink. Like when Bill Clinton brought the Democratic Party out of the wilderness in 1992, and Tony Blair did it for Labor in Britain. But they can not be copied. Times have changed. New thoughts are needed.

Strong on defense is key. You can not cede the foreign policy debate to the Republicans and expect to win. The American voters are smarter than that. Strong on defense is first about understanding the War On Terror is the same magnitude as the Cold War. The Cold War was the same magnitude as World War II. Each time it has been about spreading democracy. First it was Japan, Germany, Italy, rest of western Europe. Then it was the Soviet bloc and Eastern Europe. Now it is the Arab world. A total spread of democracy in the Arab world is the only way to win the War On Terror. There is no other way. And we have to offer a progressive way of spreading democracy. The neocon way has been in Iraq. You go in with a false claim, and once you are in, after the original reason for going in no longer holds water, you stay in and invent new missions along the way. In the process, you spend 200 billion dollars, over 2100 American lives, and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and counting. That is the messy, neocon way. It is expensive, for one.

You also have to ask, what after the Arab world? The answer is so obvious. China is one big landmass with no democracy. But it would be foolish to think in terms of a hot war with China,, utterly foolish, unthinkable.

There has to be a progressive way to spread democracy, and the goal has to be to proactively spread democracy all over the world, all the way until the spread is total. And I believe there is a ready laboratory in Nepal. Nepal is the answer to the progressives all over America. Our Iraq is Nepal. One of the poorest countries on the planet has a vibrant pro-democracy crowd busy like a beehive. Nepal has to be adopted by the Democrats in America. Extend total, moral support. Have all the prominent Democrats in the country issue statements of support. Pump in a million dollars through private sector effort. Provide logistical support. Draw media attention. Nepal needs to be hitting the world headlines and soon. The crowds are out in the streets.

Nepal is how you become strong on defense. Becoming strong on defense is how you snatch back national power. So get behind the democracy movement in Nepal.

We need to do for the Democrats what Newt Gingrich did for the Republicans in 1994. We need a clear 10 point program that all could rally around. That by summer. But Nepal can not wait. Nepal needs your attention now.

Democratic National Committee Chairperson Governor Howard Dean, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama, President Clinton, and all other prominent Democrats need to be issuing statements. Five minutes of your time could make all the difference back there in Nepal. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Patrick Leahy, the Democrat of Vermont, and Senator Tom Daschle who have gone out of their way to extend their total support to the people of Nepal. Senators, thank you. You are now part of Nepal’s history books for what you have already done. We are so very grateful. And thanks are also due to other members of Congress from both parties who have extended their ears and their helping hands to the cause of democracy in Nepal. Thank you and please continue for the movement has now entered its most decisive phase.

The Spectrum/Dialogue Concept Is Key To Power
Obama Was In Town And I Missed It
Bill Clinton Had Icecream For Lunch
Jesse Jackson On Martin Luther King Boulevard
I Am Running For Dean 2008 Campaign Chair
Soaking In Howard Dean
Dean Was In Town Yesterday
To: The Good White People In The South
Dean-Hillary-Obama Ticket
Democracy For Nepal, DFN

Logistics To Bring Down The Regime
Every Sunday 11 AM Union Square
40 Reasons Why The Three Forces Should Come Ar0und To My Proposed Constitution
Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat, Vermont
Rajeev Goyal Talks Up Caste
US Congress Writes To Secretary Rice
Seven Party Forum In Jackson Heights
Timi Sadak Ma Utreko Dekheko Chhu (Poem)
What's Going On In Nepal
For The First Time In A Decade, Permanent Peace Feels Possible
Email From Madhav Kumar Nepal (Prime Minister in waiting)
September 16 Protest Rally
Bharat Mohan Adhikari Is In Town (Former Deputy Prime Minister, deposed in the 2/1 coup)
Power Woman Protest
Moriarty Going The Bloomfield Route
Alliance Gathering At Queens Bridge Park
Senator Leahy To US Congress On Nepal
Keith Bloomfield
2005 Young Republican National Convention (US) Resolution 1 On Nepal
Tom Daschle
The Road To The White House Goes Through Nepal
Getting Interviewed By A Cornell University Student
Op-Ed Piece Sent To The New York Times
Email From Arzu Rana Deuba (Deposed and jailed Prime Minister's wife)
Gagan Thapa Arrested, Deuba Re-Arrested
To: Benazir Bhutto
To: George Soros
Prime Minister-Elect Prasain: "You Have The Power!" (My high school roomie of three years)
Democracy: The Third Wave
Deputy Prime Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari's Daughter Speaks Out

Michelle Bachelet: Yet Another Woman

This Is What I Am Talking About

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lampson, Mistry, Dance-a-thon, LinkUp


Nick Lampson is running against Tom DeLay in 2006. He was in town. I went to his fundraiser last week. There were all these white men in formal attire. I was in my jeans and totally enjoyed working the room.

"Excuse me, it was nice meeting you, but I got to work the room."

And I took my jacket off, and a colorful shirt came up for air.

There was this one woman, maybe there were two, otherwise it was a white male crowd.

I struck a conversation with this lawyer who had offices in both DC and NYC. I teased him he had turned lawyering into a franchise concept. I ended up saying I was new in town, six months.

"That's new. Where did you move from?"


"That's a step up."

"It sure is. Indiana was too white for me. I appreciate the diversity in this city."

He looked like he wished he had a tan.

There was this one guy, amazingly happy, cheerful, almost bubbley, who was running for Congress from somewhere near Westchester. He said he used to work on Charlie Rangel's team and had his "blessings." He was part of DL21C. The founder of that group was in the room, and was pointed out to me.

I asked the candidate guy if he knew Jimmy.


"Yeah. He is running for the State Senate from somewhere in Long Island."


What a stupid thing to have asked. It is like when Colin Powell joined the army, and he would meet white folks who would know this one black guy, and Powell would get asked if he knew that guy.

Met this one guy from Texas. He got real comfortable and he related this story of having hired this woman for real cheap. "We are totally overworking her." Was that supposed to have been a male bonding moment! Beats me.

Lampson gave a great speech. He gave a brief talk spot on "foreign students." I think he might have noticed my colorful shirt.

Nick Lampson for District 22
Nick Lampson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I showed up for Abhishek Mistry's Research and Advocacy meeting. Quite a lot of the talk there goes over my head, but I show up anyway. I might build an Indian caucus some day.

There was this Jewish guy who showed up. He gave a talk on something called a dollar van. And then he gave a very alternate view on the Taliban. It was refreshing what he had to show. He had some UNDP charts he showed to make his point. Some people rudely interrupted his presentation. I did not like that. After the program ended, he told me he had an uncle who had lead the UNDP in Nepal at one point in time. I was like, no wonder I liked you, I must have known there was something to you. If we had more Jews talk good about Arabs here in America like he did, that could lead to peace back there.

One woman, and one guy took turns going after what it looked to me like India. What is the reference to calling centers and outsourcing? I geared up to respond. Mistry must have noticed. He said discussion on that topic was over. But I went to meet both afterwards. She claimed her ire was up on the multi-national corporations. He talked China and Walmart.

Abhishek Mistry


It was between a fundraiser for Nepal by the NYU Rajeev Goyal and this AIDS Dance-a-thon fundraiser that Merle was egging me to go to. Merle had showed up for the Nepal rally on September 16. So there were these two non-Nepali Nepalis pulling me. I donated $15 online to Rajeev's effort, and showed up for the dance. Cost me $75, not something someone in my income bracket can afford. But swiping a credit card can feel painless, and the event was loud and fun, though not as much fun as hip hop. But overall great.

And I ended up the only DFNYC person there. The number one group had raised $16,000.

At the entrance thing, the lady who checked in asked if I needed a pink wrist band if I wanted to drink so I don't have to show my ID. I have taken to combing my hair recently. When I do that, I look younger. But that young?

AIDS is a big deal in Africa, it is a big deal in NYC.

The crowd was huge. The place was next to the New Yorker hotel.


Showing up for a LinkUp can feel such a disconnect. I do Nepal work round the clock, it feels like, and it is a movement, and there are real possibilities of loss of lives, and then you show up for a LinkUp, and it is such an anticlimax. It is winter, it is a political off season. I don't have time right now, at least not much for US politics, but I have a few ideas I would like to cultivate.

I might do some video blogging to reach a potential national audience with my ideas. The DFNYC framework is not the best venue for it. And there is this group that if it gels, I might try and experiment with some ideas in that small group setting: Does Hell Have A Kitchen?

Looks like the next month or two will be real slow with DFNYC. And the next two months are going to see some major action in Nepal.