Foreclosure Day

It is a bright and sunny day, a little bit chilly. I woke up early, tossing and turning. Today is foreclosure day. At noon, the house will be sold in an foreclosure auction.

I need to head down there soon to let the court appointed auctioneer in so that the house can be shown to any potential bidders. As I tossed and turned, I thought about how I should write about this. Blog posts here? Right now, my mind has settled on a short story. I’ve wrote parts of it in my head as I tossed and turned.

“It wasn’t a typical foreclosure, but how many of them really are?”

I check my email. Log in to Second Life to see if there are any messages there that I need to respond to. It feels like I’m trying to put this off, yet at the same time, I will be glad when it is over.

I need to get ready now. More later.

Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee and Delegate Selection Meetings

After about seven months in Woodbridge, I finally got around to attending my first Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee Meeting. It was also the Delegate Selection Meeting upcoming caucuses which provided additional motivation for me to attend.

The meetings took place in Room 16 at the Woodbridge Center starting at about 8 PM. Woodbridge Democrats needed to select five delegates for each of four upcoming conventions.

The State Democratic Convention, which will take place on May 10th will vote on DNC committee members and possibly minor rules changes. Since the three DNC committee members are all running for re-election and are unlikely to be challenged and any rule changes are likely to be minor, if there are any at all, a lot of people aren’t all that interested in attending the State Convention. A slate was proposed by a nominating committee and was approved without much discussion.

The Third Congressional District Convention, which should take place on May 12th, attracted a little more interest, not because there is any question about the outcome, but because it should be a fun celebration. Everyone expects this to a straight forward affair celebrating what Democrats hope will be another successful run for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. Since it is likely to be a big fun party everyone wanted to make sure that the right people got the best seats at the party. There was a little juggling around on who should go, but there was consensus on the set of delegates.

The Seventeenth State Senate District Convention had similar considerations. State Senator Joe Crisco is running again and the convention should be a similar sort of party. However, Sen. Crisco could face a more serious challenge. The new public financing of campaigns levels the playing field and Sen. Crisco will have to work harder making sure that he has the three hundred donors from within the district and presents clearly and persuasively why he should be re-elected. The slate of delegates proposed by the nominating committee was easily approved. This convention should take place on May 19th.

The Hundred and Fourteenth State Representative District Convention provides the other side of this. The level playing field should make it easier for a Democratic challenger to take on the Republican incumbent. There have been discussions about possible candidates and the town committee and the delegates will need to find the strongest possible candidate. As people thought about this there was some juggling as to who the best possible delegates would be, but consensus was easily found. The State Rep convention should take place on May 20th.

With the delegate selection meeting over, the Town Committee meeting began. Reports from various committees were heard. To me, the most interesting was a report from the conservation committee about an old farm that had been left to the town of Woodbridge. The conservation committee has been exploring the possibility of running this farm as part of a community sustainable agriculture program.

Kim and I signed up for a CSA program last year in Oxford and have signed up for the same program again this year. It would be very exciting if Woodbridge could have a CSA farm of its own. In addition, there are many wonderful spin offs of such a program that are being investigated. I hope that a CSA program can easily be established here in Woodbridge. I hope to write more about this as I hear it.

There were various reports about the budget process. It sounded like the budget process has been going incredibly smoothly and everyone is pleased.

There was also a brief discussion about Rid Litter Day. It is going to take place on April, 26th, Earth Day. Everyone was strongly encouraged to participate.

When the meetings ended, many people hung around and chatted. All in all, it was a very pleasant set of meetings and I look forward to continuing to attend the Woodbridge DTC meetings.

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My Interview with a HillaryBot

Much of the political dialog around the Democratic Presidential candidates has devolved into senseless name-calling and mudslinging. It is the ObamaBots versus the HillaryHags. The responses are predictable and tedious.

The other day, I was talking with my good friend Yesterdays Tomorrow. He had recently picked up Dedric Mauriac’s Eliza Doolittle Chatbot. We talked about how the script could easily be changed and we were brainstorming possible applications. As I thought about it, it seemed that the canned responses of ObamaBots and HillaryHags could easily be replicated using a modified Eliza Doolittle Chatbot.

Yesterday took up the challenge and created HillaryBot. This afternoon, I had a brief opportunity to interview HillaryBot and it was frighteningly realistic and great fun. Here some of my interview:

Yesterdays Tomorrow: here's Hillary
HillaryBot: i was a virtual vice president, i was!
HillaryBot: Vote For Hillary
You: What about Iowa?
HillaryBot: turning point!
You: And New Hampshire?
HillaryBot: oh, that state doesn't matter
You: Does Florida matter?
HillaryBot: i mispoke.
You: You mean, like you did about Bosnia?
HillaryBot: i misspoke that into my speech.
You: When don't you mispeak?
HillaryBot: are such questions on your mind often?
You: Yes, actually, they are. How can we trust you on issues if you often misspeak?
HillaryBot: together, we can trust i on issues if i often misspeak
You: How's your fundraising?
HillaryBot: my fundraising is picking up.
You: What about the loan you had to make to your campaign?
HillaryBot: i'm pushing ahead!
You: So, you're optimistic about Pennsylvania?
HillaryBot: if barack obama cannot reverse his downward spiral with a big win in pennsylvania, he cannot possibly be competitive against john mccain in november.
You: And you think you're more competitive against John McCain?
HillaryBot: being more competitive against john mccain comes with my vast experience
You: And you are counting on Superdelegates recognizing this?
HillaryBot: being counting on superdelegates recognizing this comes with my vast experience
You: What doesn't come with your vast experience?
HillaryBot: i was a virtual vice president, i was!
You: How about health care? What happened in the 90s and why can we think you'lll do a better job this time?
HillaryBot: together, we can think youlll do a better job this time
Yesterdays Tomorrow giggles.
HillaryBot: i mispoke.
You: Okay... Enough of this... How is this affecting your family? How are Bill and Chelsea doing?
HillaryBot: i can control my husband.
You: Well, he's said a lot of things recently that people think are damaging your campaign. Any comments?
HillaryBot: my campaign's finances are healthy.
You: But what about your message?
HillaryBot: my message is bourne out in my significant record.
You: Good job, yesterday....
HillaryBot: vote for the condidate with experience
Yesterdays Tomorrow: bye
HillaryBot: see you soon!
Yesterdays Tomorrow: bye
HillaryBot: you said that already!
Yesterdays Tomorrow: bye, Hillary
HillaryBot: vote for the condidate with experience
Yesterdays Tomorrow: bye bye, Hillary
HillaryBot: bye! ...and don't forget to vote for hillary in 2008 (or 2012)!

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Selecting Delegates

This evening, the pledged district level delegates from Connecticut to the national convention will gather at State Central to select at large delegates. According the Connecticut Delegate Selection Plan, one unpledged add-on delegate will be selected this evening. There needs to be at least two names for the delegates to select from. These candidates need to have submitted their names by last Wednesday.

In addition, six Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates are to be selected. Candidates for these slots need to have been submitted by last Thursday and the campaigns had until Monday to select which candidates they approved, provided at least two names for each position is selected. There will also be 11 at-large delegates and 3 at-large alternates selected this evening. People wishing to be at-large delegates or alternates needed to have submitted their names by last Wednesday. The candidates have until 7 PM this evening to return a list of approved candidates, again with the requirement of having at least 2 candidates for every position.

Since last Friday, I’ve been trying to get a list of these candidates. Representatives of State Central, the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign have all said they would get back to me. At this point, it doesn’t look like they will get back to me until after the district level delegates select who becomes delegates. So much for an open process.

For the state conventions, I received an email that the Canterbury delegate selection meeting has been moved forward from 7:00 to 6:30 on April 1st at the Canterbury Town Hall. I also received an email that the Fairfield DTC will hold its special meeting to endorse delegates to State and Multi-Town Conventions at 7:30 on April 1st at the Osborn Hill School All Purpose Room.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Massachusetts, they will select delegates to the National Convention on April 5th. There is a little bit of a discussion about it on Blue Mass Group. Slowly list of possible delegates are starting to emerge. Kim Whittaker of Winchester is running for 7th CD female candidate for Obama delegate. Kate Donaghue is running for to be a Clinton Delegate in the 3rd CD. Their caucus will be at SAC Park, 438 Lake Street, Shrewsbury. Rep. Jamie Eldridge is running as an Obama delegate in the 5th CD. I’ve also heard of two slates for Obama delegates.

In the 1st CD, Ben Schwartz, Nancy Sternberg, andMolly O'Grady are running to become Obama delegates. That caucus will take place at Amherst College Gym, 266 South Pleasant Street, Amherst. In the 2nd CD, Tom Hidalgo and Lisa Baskins are running to be Obama delegates. That caucus will take place at Springfield Technical Community College One Armory Square Suite 1, Springfield, 01102.

One final note. I received an email from an old friend in Missouri who is running to be an Obama delegate in that state. They have a different process where delegates are selected at county meetings who then gather at district level meetings to select national delegates. Check out this diary about Bill’s efforts to become a delegate at the National Convention for Obama.

As I get more information about delegate selections both in Connecticut and beyond, I will be posting them.

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T-Shirts for Peace

Going shopping isn’t how I would normally encourage people to work for peace. I don’t think encouraging Americans to go shopping after 9/11 was the best way of dealing with that event. Likewise, while I like my T shirts with pithy pro-peace messages, I question their ability bring about meaningful change. However, I make one special exception.

I’ve long been a fan of No Sweat Apparel. Their focus has been to sell apparel made in union shops from around the world. Beyond seeking better working conditions, No Sweat addresses larger issues.

After the Tsunami in Banda Aceh, they sold flip-flops made in Jakarta. They were designed by orphans of the Tsunami and profits from the sale go to support the Schools for Aceh Foundation.

Now, as we see more tension in the Middle East, they are selling “organic union made t-shirts from Bethlehem”. Pax Christi is featuring a T-shirt made in this shop.

In addition, Ideablob, a project of Advanta Bank Corp is offering $10,000 to the best business ideas, and No Sweat is one of the finalists this month. So, if you don’t mind registering on a site run by a credit card company, stop by and vote for No Sweat Apparel.

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