You gotta hand it to Tom Friedman. He’s not the first guy to spot a trend or big idea, but he has a great way of popularizing them. He’s great at squeezing down big ideas into slogans. Or forcing simple parallels that make you think. “If this, then that.”
Anyhow, he did it again this week with a terrific cover story in the New York Times Magazine. He lays out a big idea about how the United States can completely rework geopolitics and regain global leadership by truly taking on climate change, or, in his words, going “geo-green.” By taking the lead in alternative energy and a comprehensive environmentalism, the United States could help solve three of the biggest challenges of the early 21st century.
1/ Solve global warming, which does have the potential to remake the world – and not for the better.
2/ Solve the quandary of globalization and the new global economy. The United States could spawn the next generation high end technologies that could serve the needs of the world – and would not be easily replicated by low end labor. We could have a thriving next generation economy that could include all Americans.
3/ Solve our era’s security challenge of global terrorism, sustained by a militant radical Islam that is fueled by the oil regimes of the middle east. We cut our dependence, and ultimately the world’s dependence, on that resource and that region, and we undercut our biggest threat.
I could not agree more with his framework. This is a massive opportunity for the progressive movement and Democratic politics in general. The conservatives have completely failed on all these fronts – starting with their obstinate denial of climate change long after all evidence showed denial to be a sham.
Progressives have always taken the lead on environmental matters, and now they can extend that core competency into the reworking of the global economy, and a convincing strategy to truly make the world more safe.
Bravo to Friedman, who has done much to move this meme into the mainstream. Inevitably this piece will be his next book, and judging by the success of his other books, it will be a bestseller for a long while.
It's no surprise that our friend Kirsten Gillibrand is making her mark in NY's 20th CD. After all she is intelligent, articulate and attentive to her constituents. The Albany Times Union published this letter from a former aide to her Republican opponent John Sweeney.
As a former aide to John Sweeney while he was in the Pataki administration, I must say what a tremendous job Kirsten Gillibrand is doing. She is the most accessible politician in the region. Every weekend, she is somewhere in the 20th Congressional District, letting us know exactly where she stands on issues and why, which is a refreshing change. I'm sure we all have stories about experiences we have had dealing with Rep. Gillibrand, but I feel compelled to tell you about mine….
I figured I would see the usual political maneuver in which the politician walks through the room, shakes a couple of hands, gets a picture with a leading area vet, says how hard she is fighting for us in Washington and then is whisked out of the room, all in a matter of minutes.
What happened could not have been further from this. Rep. Gillibrand went to the podium, disconnected the microphone, walked to the vet seated nearest her, gave him the microphone, sat down, opened a notebook, got out a pen and asked, "What do you want me to do as your representative in Congress?" I have to tell you, I was astonished.
Rep. Gillibrand sat there for 2 1/2 hours, listening as we passed the microphone from person to person. She asked questions, gave opinions and answers, and took down personal contact information if she did not have an answer, promising to call us back.
Our district could not have asked for a better person to serve us. If she keeps this up, she will be our representative for life
Here are the open positions at NDN. To apply please email your materials to email@example.com.
Deputy Development Director
Location: Washington, DC
A new position, the Deputy Development Director will assist the Development Director in raising NDN’s $4 million annual budget. Specific responsibilities may include oversight of small donor individual membership program and scheduled institutional member renewals. Applicants should have experience in direct solicitation of prospective contributors, competency in data management systems and internet research, and strong organizational skills. 1-2 years of experience required. The position reports to the Development Director. Salary and benefits package commensurate with experience. Please address resume and references, as well as any questions, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hispanic Strategy Center Associate
Location: Washington, DC
The Hispanic Strategy Center Associate is responsible for implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's programs. Specific job duties include monitoring relevant legislation, following Hispanic media trends, implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's policy and communications objectives, and overall support of the Hispanic Strategy Center Director. Candidates must be fluent in English and Spanish, and have 2-3 years experience working in advocacy, politics, or government. Salary commensurate with experience. Please address all materials and questions to email@example.com.
Location: Washington, DC
A new position, the Communications Director will oversee the strategic communications operation for NDN. Primary responsibilities include traditional media relations and the development, production and editing of the public content of the organization. This position will work closely with the NDN President, executive director and heads of NDN’s major affiliates, the New Politics Institute and Hispanic Strategy Center. Candidates must have 5 or more years of experience in political communications, press or media, and possess exceptional writing skills. Video production experience and competency in Spanish a plus, but not required. Salary commensurate with experience. Please address all materials and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Thursday night in New York we hosted a small event for an author who has had a profound impact on my thinking, Vali Nasr. Photos of the event can be found here.
We connected to Vali through my writing about his book here on the blog. Some of you may remember that I commented at the time that this was one of the most influential books I've read in recent years, and has helped me, more than any other thing I've read, understand what is happening in the Middle East today. If you haven't read it, it is called the Shia Revival, and a new paperback edition comes out this month. Buy it.
In person Vali did not disapoint. His knowledge of the region is extraordinary, his insight fresh, his vision I think correct. I felt lucky to have spent 90 minutes listening to him the other night.
In the process of connecting with Vali we also learned that he was a teacher of mine at Tufts when I was an undergraduate. He was too was an undergraduate and taught a course on Islam for other students. It was an excellent class, and he was a very good teacher. Who knew that I would connect with him again all these years later in this way. He is moving to Boston this summer and will be once again be teaching at Tufts, this time at Fletcher, Tufts' International School of Law and Diplomacy. My guess is that it will be tough to get into his classes.
Look for a notice soon about a talk Vali will give to NDN in DC in May. We are still working out details, and will announce it soon.
More oversight than legislation in Democrats’ first 100 days in power By By Jonathan E. Kaplan and Elana Schor April 17, 2007
Democratic leaders have racked up impressive numbers in their first 100 days: 189 recorded votes in the House; 53 days, including a Saturday, in session for the Senate; and an approval rating 15 points higher than last year’s Republican-controlled Congress.
But by GOP measurements, the Democratic majority has had zero impact. Republicans note that the president signed none of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) vaunted “Six for ’06” priority bills by April 14, the 100th day of the new majority’s tenure.
Democrats have, however, overturned the capital culture that set in on Sept. 11, 2001, with vigorous oversight of the Bush administration and an Iraq policy putting pressure on Republicans to challenge the White House.
“The energy of the first 100 days has been a repudiation of the Bush era,” Simon Rosenberg, founder of the centrist New Democrat Network, said. “They have changed the agenda. Momentum has shifted......"
WAPO/ABC News poll shows that 2/3 of Americans support the core idea of comprehensive immigration reform, a number that has been constant over the past 18 months.
28. Do you think illegal immigrants who are living and working in the United States now (should be offered a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status), or do you think they (should be deported back to their native country)?
The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law is holding a hearin on Shortfalls of 1986 Immigration Reform Legislation this Thursday at 3:00pm in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. It's open to the public and another sign that Congress is getting to work on this pressing issue.
Join...Senator Russ Feingold Rep. Brad Miller Rep. John Hall Rep. Jerry McNerney YearlyKos Convention Executive Director Gina Cooper
...activists, organizers and on-lookers as we drink, laugh and carouse liberally to celebrate the progressive blogging community and prepare for the 2007 YearlyKos Convention at a grassroots fundraiser...
Washington, DC on April 17, 6:30 - 9:00 PM, at the Stewart Mott House at 122 Maryland Ave., NE
...(at the corner of Maryland Avenue & Constitution Avenue.) It's about as close to the Capitol as you can get without being elected, a few blocks from Union Station & Metro. Best of all, you don't have to be a lobbyist or even a Republican to afford it. We are asking for a minimum donation of $35 per person. Light snacks and soft drinks will be available. A modest donation will be asked for beer & wine. Parking is hard to come by in the immediate vicinity but should be available on the street within a few blocks or at Union Station.
NDN needs your help to update our agenda. Two weeks ago, we began the important process of updating the NDN Agenda for Hope and Progress, the document that defines our governing philosophy and is at the center of all our advocacy work. This week we are asking for your feedback on the foreign policy and homeland security sections of the NDN agenda "Assert Responsible Global Leadership" and "Protect the Homeland." After you read the sections below, sign-up for an NDN Blog account, if you haven't already, and share your ideas with us in the comments section.
From NDN's Agenda for Hope and Progress...
Assert Responsible Global Leadership: Win the war on terrorism and end international conflicts that threaten our interests and values; foster security and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan; ensure that America's military is the strongest, most agile, and best equipped in the world and our nation honors the service of our veterans; combat AIDS and other pandemics that threaten global stability; and work together with our allies and international organizations to advance democracy, human rights, liberty, free markets, opportunities for women, and rising standards of living across the world.
Protect the Homeland: Implement a comprehensive homeland security strategy; improve our nation's counter terrorism intelligence capabilities and performance; ensure that those on the frontlines have the very best tools, training and support to protect our communities; secure our nation's borders and ports without impeding the free flow of goods and people; and fight to protect the civil liberties for all Americans that have long been the envy of the world.