Thursday, March 31, 2005

Join the Club

I was reading at MyDD, where Christine Cegelis posted a diary today. In the comments, one blogger asked about who her challenger for IL-06 might be if/when Henry Hyde retires as is widely rumored. Christine responded that it looked to be Illinois State Senator Peter Roskam. I've heard he was a upcoming member of the state GOP associated with the Right wing (he was a Legislative Assistant for Tom DeLay in 1985 and a Legislative Assistant for Henry Hyde in 1986). But when I got to his election site, this one really surprised me:
I would like to invite you to be a part of Senator Roskam's future leadership by joining the Capitol Club.
Call me silly, but I didn't know public officials could sell private access to their office, much less through exclusive clubs of their own making advertised quite publicly on their websites. I was wrong.

For only $500 a year, you too can have a private lunch with Senator Roskam. From State Senator Roskam's Website: (emphasis mine)
...I would like to invite you to be a part of Senator Roskam's future leadership by joining the Capitol Club. The purpose of the Capitol Club is:

- To educate the members on public policy issues;

- To promote communication between the members and serve as an issues sounding board for Senator Roskam;

- To meet other leaders in commerce, politics, health care, law and education;

- To strengthen Senator Roskam's position for future political victories.

A $250 annual  contribution enrolls you into the 2004-05 Capitol Club. Members will meet  periodically with Senator Roskam to have a timely discussion on issues facing  Illinois  and the nation. Past speakers have included Congressman Hastert, Congressman  Hyde, Attorney General Ryan, Treasurer Topinka and others. You are entitled  to bring one guest.

A $500 annual contribution enrolls you with Lincoln Membership status. As a Lincoln Member you will receive the Capitol Club member benefits plus be invited to attend a private Springfield briefing and luncheon with Senator Roskam, other Lincoln Members and special invited guests from the Capitol.

Most important your membership will enhance your background and relationships while playing  a vital role in Senator Roskam's future political leadership in Illinois...
Boy, poor Mr. Lincoln's name sure does get abused often. For $500 you get "invited" to a "private" briefing and luncheon with the State Senator and others seeking influence and "special guests." This will then "enhance your background and relationships" with these people while playing a "vital role" in the State Senator's leadership. Why not just call this "Captol Club" what it is: Buy Influence and Access Club and leave Lincoln's name of it.

Is this what Christine Cegelis is going to be up against? Please help end this type of politics as usual.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Club or Spear?

As I've written before, I'm a blog zealot. I can't speak highly enough about blogs and their potential for one's PR and message machine. Their potential in my estimation has not as yet been tapped into.

This story in the CSM discusses how big name politicians are beginning to take blogs seriously, making them one of the primary modes for getting their message out, often at the expense of the MSM. I firmly believe that if done correctly, one's blog will drive one's media coverage.

Here's how: The media is inherently reactive. This means they run with the first story line who's perception hits critical mass. After this, everything is a reaction to this initial perception. Blogs change the initial perception, and if done right, can create the initial perception the media will react to. Control perception and you control reality. Simple in theory. More difficult in practice.

Right now, blogs are often used a club used to beat the other side with brute force attacks on their facts or their tactics. Just as with the evolution of man, blogs are progressing out of this Stone Age approach. As more politicians adopt blogs as the core of their media and PR strategy, blogging will enter its Bronze Age. Just as bronze needed cognitive planning to create and implement, blogs will need to be seen as a tool to be wrought in the formal media plans of a campaign, rather than a tool of convenience picked up along the way to bash one's opponent with, to reach their potential.

Once politicians get this, look out. A spear is a much better weapon than a club.

"A Consistent Ethic of Life"

So yesterday is Easter. I'm doing what I always do on Sunday morning: watching the Sunday funnies. Today I'm treated to a special Meet the Press with one of my favorite wignnuts discussing the Terri Schiavo circus. Dr. Richard Land is the President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Anyone with a title that long with the words "ethics" "religious" and "liberty" has got to be good for some GOP hypocrisy. As if on cue, listen to how supports his claims in his very first answer:

"I'm talking about the judiciary in general."
"I think the judiciary's out of control, and there are a lot of Americans who think the judiciary's out of control." 
"And I, like many other Americans, feel that the courts decided to give the back of their hand to the Congress..."
"And I think I speak for millions of Americans who feel that the legal system in this country is broken..."
"And I think millions of Americans--and I certainly would number myself among them--are shocked..."
"And I think there are lots of parents--and my wife and I would include ourselves among them--that are shocked."

I can't argue with that in general. And I, like many other Americans, feel that the Religious Right decided to give the back of their hand to the rule of law. And I, like many other Americans, think people like Dr. Land are out of control. I think millions of Americans --and I certainly would number myself among them -- are shocked. Maybe he should check the polls lately.

But not to stop the hypocrisy there, Dr. Land has this gem:

MR. RUSSERT:  Do you have the same misgivings about courts and the application of the death penalty?

DR. LAND:  I do.  I support the death penalty philosophically and morally. But I do not support the way it's been administered in this country.  And my belief has been that if you're going to be supportive of the death penalty being applied in cases of premeditated murder, for instance, I think that the convicted sex offender that killed Jessica Lunsford needs to die.  But if you're going to be committed to it, you have to be as committed to its fair and just application, and it's not been applied fairly and justly in this society.

So allowing a woman with a flat line EKG to die as was her wishes expressed to her spouse and legal guardian is unethical. But state sponsored killing of sex offenders is perfectly philosophically, morally and ethically just dandy. I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning!

But in all the back and forth with the panel members, Rev. Jim Wallis stood out. I think he gives the direction the Democrats need to take when campaigning on these sorts of ethical and religious questions:

REV. JIM WALLIS:  Well, first of all, our hearts go out this morning to Terri Schiavo and the family.  It appears she's near the end of her life, and so deep compassion for the family, and all of us care so much about this.  In principle we should always err on the side of life to be--that's the safer moral course, but we also should worry about the politicizing of any case, and I'm alarmed by memos that talk about firing up the base or defeating the Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.  That's way out of bounds for a case like this.

I think the conversation about life is a good conversation.  But then let's talk, as the Catholics do, about a consistent ethic of life.  Today a silent tsunami will take the lives of 30,000 children because of hunger.  Lives are lost in Iraq.  On death row innocent people are executed.   The bishops this week launched a new campaign against the death penalty.  I think a consistent ethic of life is a good moral guide for politics and it cuts both ways, cuts Republican and Democratic.  Religion should be able to critique left and right, not be ideologically predictable or loyally partisan.

The Religious Right, and thereby association, the Republican Party is the Pharisees of our day. They say they are just "trying to save Terri" but even the American people aren't that stupid. They are inconsistent in their application of their "Culture of Life" way beyond the point of hypocrisy, as Rev. Wallis points out. The on place they are consistent is in their inconsistent application. It's fine to kill, but not to abort. It's moral to wage war, but not follow the rule of law. Terrorism is bad, but torture is acceptable. As noted in this poll, thanks to this case, the Republican hypocrisy has been laid bare to even the most average American.

This is the key for the Democrats: Point out the hypocrisy as Rev. Wallis has. Point out how this whole circus is politically motivated. Point out DeLay's experience with pulling the plug. Point out the President's hearty concern for those in PVS who could not pay their hospital bills in Texas. Point out the Right's willingness to use force to overturn the rule of law. They are hypocrites.

It's time we point that out to people.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mr. President?

So I'm flipping channels when I come across what seems to be the president on Comedy Central. The audience is laughing hysterically at him. I'm thinking I've died and gone to heaven as I must be witnessing Bush's final undoing in public. But no. It's an impersonator who is dead on the accent and mannerisms in full makeup as the close up in the next shot reveals. The make up is incredible though. In the long shots I couldn't tell him from the real thing. Even his "speech" was true to the original:
"I care about our seniors. I really do. Facts show that our seniors are the ones closest to death. Thousands of them die everyday."

"Many people are concerned about the deficit and ask me what I'm going to do about it. I share those concerns. I understand those concerns."
It was an impersonation. But it could have been a CNN live broadcast. Somehow that takes the fun out of it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Culture of One's Donor Base

Do you really think the recent dust up by the Republicans in control of DC has anything to do with a "Culture of Life." Do you really think this is about the wishes of a husband to have the feeding tube removed from his brain dead wife? Do you really think this has anything to do with the compassion of the GOP leaders like DeLay or Santorum milking this issue? If you do, then you're kidding yourself. I couldn't say it better than Bateman:

Full size image.

Ya, a Culture of Life. Got a bridge to sell me next, GOP man?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Movers, Shakers, Bloggers

I'm a blog zealot. I worked in a PR office for a major municipality for most of the beginning of my design career and remember the lessons learned there with wide eyed disbelief vividly. Lessons like it's not what you mean, but what you say; play offense; he who owns perception owns reality; etc. With the state of the media today, blogs allow an outsider, a little guy, a no-name, or a guy like me in the burbs, to get his side out there and start influencing the perception of the masses. And as it turns out, we bloggers are really doing more than our fair share of shaping and influencing perception.

So as much as it comes as no surprise to me, it does come as welcome food for my ego, that there are several surveys out there now describing bloggers as an "elite minority" or "shockingly influential." For example, Political Wire comments on their survey results:
* You have a lot of influence in public affairs. More than half work in government, diplomacy, law, the media, education or non-profit advocacy groups. Henry Copeland calls blog readers "shockingly influential."
* You are mostly Democrats (73%) and nearly all male (88%).
* You are politically active. A stunning 75% have contributed money to a cause or campaign online in the last six months!
While it is disappointing to see so few women blogging, the figure showing 75% of bloggers have contributed politically is powerful, especially for candidates looking for ways to spend their limited campaign funds. If your a Democrat, you better be talking to the Blogosphere or ignore it at your peril. The beauty of this last tidbit it that, unlike a corporate donor, the Blogosphere is an equal opportunity perception shaker. Even if your name has a (D) after it, if you cross the Blogosphere you'll hear about it. Just ask Mr. Lieberman.

Blogs and bloggers. Next thing you know, we'll get all respectable and become trendy. I don't know about you, but when I have to stop blogging in my pajamas, and instead wear my business suit to the electronic office, then I'll draw the line. But then again, who'd know?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Got a Candle?

I just received a call from a neighbor, then an email from another about a DuPage Against the War Now (DAWN) holding an upcoming candle light peace event in downtown Glen Ellyn this Saturday. From their website:
Recognize the Iraq War Anniversary
with a Candlelight Vigil In Glen Ellyn

Saturday March 19th, 7pm- 8pm
Bring your own candle, and some to share
Main Street - Downtown Glen Ellyn

The March 19th Candlelight Vigil event is open to the public. Attendees are asked to bring their own candle, and some to share. Those who attend are encouraged to bring poems, music, and prayers and thoughts to share with the group.
This Saturday is my daughter/nephew/Father-in-law's three-in-one birthday bash, so I can't make it. But, if you've got a candle, and you are around downtown Glen Ellyn, stop by.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Candidate's Brand

I was just reading over at MyDD on a post about rumors of a Hyde retirement in a couple weeks. Great news. But about halfway down the thread, there was a comment from someone who looked up my local county party website and complained about it's lack of, err, visual aesthetics. When another blogger commented that it wasn't so bad as some information was easy to find, the response went like this:
Just for comparison's sake, check out the DuPage GOP website.  Visually, one can tell that a design team took care in creating it.  


I'm not the type to advocate doing what the Repubs simply because they do it, but I do advocate doing something right.
This touches a nerve with me. We don't live in a vacuum, especially in politics. We wil always be compared to the competition. This is not about doing it "right." It's about understanding the importance of design. It's about understanding that design is not just window dressing that can be sloughed off to your cousin's sister's kid brother's friend who has a Mac at home. It's about a candidate or organization's visual representation of who and what they are. The GOP get the importance of a seamless well designed visual image, and spend money on it. The Democrats don't seem to.

Don't think a visual image is important? Then how many of you would think of going to meet a new client without making sure your belt and shoes matched? Would you check to see if your tie matched your shirt? Would you at least check to see that your socks matched? None of us serious about earning that client's business would skip any of these things.

Yet how many candidates have you seen that had signs that were unreadable 20 feet away? Candidates that used three different fonts in their logo? Candidates that had one logo on their signs, another on their stickers, and a third on their website? Or my personal favorite, logos that showed no evidence of typographical understanding what so ever, set in Times New Roman, with absolutely no kerning, no alignment, and no visual meaning what so ever?

I know what the design challenged in the blogosphere reading this are thinking right now: What's kerning and who cares? I don't need to know about that; you're just being a designer. Wrong-O, there Sparky. Just as most people don't know what the alternator does on their car, they know when it's not working. An un-kerned word or poorly set letter pair in a logo registers as amateur and clunky as surely as the bad alternator signals the car won't start. You may not think, "gee that "A-O" pair doesn't seem to be kerned right." You just think, "Damn, that logo looks uninspired."

A candidate's logo is their brand. Brand awareness is just as important in politics as in advertising. If a candidate uses a weak logo with typical type, poorly kerned and leaded, it is a reflection on that candidate like it or not. People today are much more aesthetically aware than 10 years ago. They notice a professional look (GOP site) vs. an amateur look (Dem site) whether or not they can point out the design reasons for it.

Now extrapolate the use of the brand across multiple platforms. Your potential voters and donor base will see your brand more than they will likely see you. They will see it on your signage, your literature, your advertisements, your banners, and everything you put your name one. Your logo or website is a visual representation of who your are, both in position and in personality. It is what you represent from you views to your work ethic.

Use it consistently in the same font, same color, same professionally coordinated way and your brand becomes not only familiar, but comforting in its consistency. It is known. There are no surprises. Your brand, and you by extension, are safe, steady and consistent. People vote for that.

In comparison, use your brand inconsistently, poorly, in different fonts or with mismatched colors, in ways that don't make sense or look like you paid you sister's kid brother to do your palm cards, and while you'll have saved a buck or two, your brand and thereby you as a candidate will look inconsistent. As a candidate you then look less reliable, inspire less trust and be seen as more of an unknown quantity. No one likes surprises, especially in a brand.

People donate and support organizations and candidates who are consistent in person and who's image is consistent as well.

As a company or a candidate, the need to differentiate yourself from your competition is key in gaining market share. Branding through competent design is critical to one's success. The GOP understand this. We often don't seem to.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Cegelis Blog Button

If you look to the right, you'll see a couple "blog buttons" for Christine Cegelis' campaign. On Tuesday, Christine wrote this post on Daily Kos introducing her campaign to the Kossacks. The response was great, and her post was moved to the top of the recommended diaries list for the rest of the day, eventually receiving 100 comments and well wishes.

One of the comments, from Think2004 made a good suggestion:
Chuck Pennacchio has banners available that we can place on our blogs. I'd love to see the same thing from your campaign. Especially for those of us who can't afford to donate - at least we could try to get the word out in different ways.

I'm in Texas, but see the immense need to support candidates in other areas of the country to unseat Republicans like Hyde and Santorum.
That's the beauty of blogs. People spread the word. So there it is. Feel free to copy either the full size (150x200) or the short button to your desktop and add it to your blog with a link to Christine's website. It's not officially from the Cegelis campaign yet, as this is a blog driven project. But I'll send them a copy and add any changes they might like.

Blogs helping blogs helping spread the word. Now that's independence from politics as usual.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cegelis on dKos

If you missed it, Christine Cegelis, a grass-roots backed Democratic challenger to Henry Hyde for the US House in IL-06, put up her first post last night on Daily Kos. For a first post, this one was pretty darn good, and made the top of the recommended diaries list for the better part of the night. Here's a snip:
As seasoned political advisor told me, if I wanted to win in 2006 I needed to start in November of 2004.  I took that advice to heart and kept as much of my organization in place as possible to gear up for what is now will most likely be an open seat in 2006. I have been running with a really strong sense of urgency though since there are strong rumors that Henry Hyde will be given an ambassadorship to the Vatican in 2005, kicking off a special election. I do not know if it really will happen, but I would be foolish not to be ready if it did.  So in the next few months we will be running this campaign as if the election is going to happen this summer.  If it does not then we will be just that much stronger in 2006.  There are many who believe that the Sixth District is the best target in Illinois in 2006 for a Democratic seat.
Read the whole thing here.
Read about Christine here.

This is a real pick up opportunity for us Dems in DuPage. Its about time we claim our independence from politics as usual.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Santorum's Sweatshops

I wrote about the GOP doing its dead level best to wage class warfare this morning. But I've found out that Santorum's Trojan horse minimum wage bill is worse than I thought.

For example:
- It would raise minimum wage by $1.10/hour, helping 1.8 million workers. It would then turn around and raise the exemption rate for businesses from revenues of $500,000 to $1,000,000 - double the current rate, effectively hanging 6.8 million workers out to dry by making the businesses they work for exempt from minimum wage requirements.

- It would raise the exemption from safety, health, pension, and labor laws to revenues of $7 million, effectively eliminating any recourse for the employees of these businesses.

- It takes away the workers right to a 40-hour work week, giving the employer an 80 hour pay period in which to control when an employee works, eliminating overtime the businesses must pay.

- Even though the GOP is the party of small government and states rights, the bill would eliminate a state's right to pass and enforce state minimum wage laws that are in excess of the federal law. Many states, like Illinois, have a higher minimum wage than required by the federal government. Businesses in Illinois would no longer have to follow state law and could cut worker's pay.

- Santorum's bill removes any requirement from business from having to pay tipped workers a base pay. Small to medium sized restaurants would not be required to pay their wait staff anything, forcing them to live off their tips alone regardless of which shift they were forced to work. Right now federal law requires a minimum of $2.13/hour for tipped workers, and many state requirer higher amounts. With Santorum's help, that princely sum restaurants pay their wait staff earn hourly would no longer be required.

Time to wake up people. Read more about this bill here. The Republican Party is not interested in the good of the American people. They care about one thing: Big Business. It's Big Business that pays for them to go on nice trips to far away places. It's Big Business that employs their sons and daughters and gives them cushy consulting jobs when they leave congress. It's Big Business that fills their campaign coffers with money so that they keep their trusty lawmaker friends in power.

The Republican Party doesn't care about Joe American. He's just one vote. Diebolt and a GOP Secretary of State can take care of that.

Next thing you know, they'll try to eliminate the Internet political Blogosphere. Oh ya, they're alread working on that...

It Ain't Just Social Security

You've got to love those Republicans. Unlike the Democrats, they know how to go after more than one goal at a time. Any other political party would focus its attention on one major goal at a time, like dismantling Social Security by replacing it with private accounts that would kill the program and add $2 trillion to our national debt. Now that's one hell of a goal that any party bent on the destruction of the middle class and the poor could be proud of.

But these Republicans are really bold. In addition to Social Security, they are also taking on the middle class and the poor by going after bankruptcy protections and the 40-hour work week all at the same time! Now that's ambitious class warfare, no doubt about it.

On the bankruptcy front, everyone knows that bankruptcy laws are being abused, most often by those poor people who just run up debts on their credit cards and then file for bankruptcy to get out of paying what they owe. Everyone knows this. And everyone is wrong.

One of the main causes of bankruptcy is catastrophic medical bills. Yet the GOP has shot down exemptions for protection from this. They've also shot down Democratic amendments to the bill protecting senior's homes, requiring credit card companies to post the total interest charges and time to pay off debts at the minimum payments, and amendments protecting veterans or National Guard members from bankruptcy caused by their deployments overseas.

Never mind that the credit card industry is lobbying hard for this bill to pass. Never mind that the loop holes for asset protection trusts the rich use to protect assets are still there, as is the homestead exemption that protects millionaire's estates, and never mind that the bill changes nothing regarding business bankruptcy.

This bill is just to make sure all those deadbeat individuals pay up or lose their house. Even if they are a senior who had a stroke or a National Gaurd member who saw his pay cut in half when deployed to Iraq for twice as long as he was suppose to be there. Doesn't matter. Pay up. Pay your 36% interest on that late charge. Pay that 21% interest on your charge card. You knew what you were getting into when you read all that 4-point fine print on the back of that credit card offer they mailed you. Once a week. For a year.

For a complete run down of why the bill is a farce, Keven Drum has good explanation.

Then we find this jem from Rick Santorum's desk. You see, the GOP is fixing to raise the minimum wage. They are blocking any amendment to actually raise it to anything that adjusts it to inflation. Sen. Kennedy has proposed $7.25/hour, Santorum is offerin $6.25/hour. But again, the GOP is not satisfied with just one attack here. Why not raise the minimum wage in an insignificant way for a PR victory, while getting rid of New Deal provisions in the amendments and committees at the same time! Of course, this is the GOP strategy.

First, Santorum's amendment eliminates the 40-hour work week. That's right. The 40-hour standard that ended indentured labor. The 40-hour standard that most European countries have even reduced further to 35 hours. But leave it to the good old GOP, their pro-business bent has driven this one. Why not just combine two weeks into one, and call it an 80-hour work period. That way, when you get busy, you can work your employees 50 hours one week, then 30 hours the next week, and never pay a dime in overtime pay! Brilliant. Got child care issues with that? Too bad. Have a second job to supplement your high paying minimum wage job? Too bad. Your employer owns your time as the work week is now much more flexible. How great for them.

Then there's employees who make tips. We all know they make plenty off their tips, as we've all been in a busy restaurant and seen them lollygagging around raking in the money from their hard working customers. So since they are raking in the tips, why should their employers have to pay them a minimum wage at all? You've got to love this GOP logic. Why not just change the language of the exemption from the minimum wage, so that anyone who gets a tip is exempt. That way, employers can pay them anything they want. Never mind the slow periods where tips don't come in. Never mind the economic downturns that kill off tips. Never mind any of this. Let's just work 'em 50 hours without overtime and then make 'em live off their tips.

There's more GOP corruption afoot. But these two are the ones that show the Republican's true colors. Pro-business, anti-middle class.

It's time to wake up people.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Bush is at it again. He's shifting his scheme for Social Security away from replacing it with private accounts to now calling those accounts an "add-on" to Social Security. From Mr. Bush:
See, personal accounts is an add-on to that which the government is going to pay you. It doesn't replace the Social Security system. It is a part of making -- getting a better rate of return, though, so -- to come closer to the promises made. That's important to know.
Boy that sounds great. To use simple math:
Too bad if you just listen carefully to the words Bush says right before this, you'll see he's once again using Enron accounting techniques:
But it's your money, and the interest off that money goes to supplement the Social Security check that you're going to get from the federal government.
So if it's my money, why does only the interest off my money supplement my Social Security check? Why doesn't that capital from my capital account also supplement my Social Security benefit? I mean, if it's my money and an add-on to Social Security, why would only the interest be added on? You see boys and girls, it's a scam. The personal account is just a way to divert money from Social Security benefits. To use Bush math:
The right wants to eliminate Social Security. By adopting terms like "add-on" and "safety net" they hope to gain support for their scheme to erode one of the most successful poverty reducing programs in history. But don't be fooled. They only hope to reduce Social Security's safety net while flooding the stock market with new sources of capital and management fee revenue.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dear Condi

I love those Canadians, eh. They've got their priorities right, and they can pronounce my name correctly. But best of all, they've got people like Lloyd Axworthy. You see, Lloyd is president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister. And he's not shy about telling Condi what he thinks, publicly and in writing, of her snubbing Canada this past week for daring to not participate in Bush's Star Wars missile-defense boondoggle.

You've got to love anyone who would say something like this:
I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defense.

Sure, that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children.
Oh yes. And it only gets better. Oh, Canada....

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It's so easy.

Gee, getting one of those Day Passes to be a reporter in the White House Pres Corps. must be easy. After all, they gave one to a guy with no real journalism experience. A guy who wrote for a questionable GOP website. A guy who was basically a male escort with a couple gay porn sites registered to his name. A guy who didn't even use his real name! Yet this same guy got to ask the president a question and was called on regularly! That's setting the bar pretty low.

So I'm sure anyone could get a day pass just as the White House insists. Anyone but a blogger writing for a political website that is.

The story is all over the blogosphere. I've seen it on MyDD, dKos, and of course Atrios is following the story.

From FishbowlDC:
As we reported earlier this morning, today marked Day One in Fishbowl D.C.'s quest to cover a White House morning "gaggle." The short version? The day passes aren't exactly easy to get. We were smoothly and professionally rejected access by the White House Press Office in under an hour this morning.
Read about Day one here.
Read about Day two here.