NDN Blog

U.S. broadcast efforts in Cuba worth the cost?

The Chicago Tribune offers a comprehensive profile of Radio and TV Martí, broadcasts directed to Cuba which have been funded and supported strategically by the United States. Speaking about the effectiveness of these programs, and the management over them by the Office of Cuba Broadcasting is Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center:

But in addition to buying talent, passing out contracts also mutes community discussion of frequent criticism of OCB by outsiders, such as government watchdogs or members of Congress, said Joe Garcia, a former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, a leading anti-Castro exile lobbying group.

"If you're a Cuban-American journalist, there are no other markets to be in. It's a very limited market and they're a big employer in it. That's why people don't criticize it," said Garcia, now senior vice president of the New Democratic Network, a group of centrist Democrats.

Garcia said he strongly supports government broadcasting to Cuba, but believes that Radio and TV Marti have been mismanaged under Republican and Democratic administrations.

In October, NDN conducted the first major poll of the Cuban exile community. It revealed that 88% think that Castro will not return to power, while half of those polled expect democracy and liberation of Cuba within the next 5 years. More than three quarters want a peaceful and gradual transition. To view it, click here.

Vilsack uses the internet to listen

A large focus of Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's interactive campaign website is his online listening tour. As a push to meet new supporters and listen to their comments, the tour features profiles of Gov. Vilsack on popular sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Party Builder, and on blogs like DailyKos and MyDD. You can "join the tour" by clicking here.

Gov. Vilsack introduces this "conversation" he hopes to have with folks across the nation via video blog, which will be his way of answering questions people leave on his site. (Check out his introductory video blog on his YouTube page here.)

The urgency of Doha

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article this morning about the state of the Doha round of trade talks, which, as you know, have stalled after hitting various roadblocks. Secretary Paulson is doing his part to gain support for the talks, setting some time aside during his globetrotting to stress its importance. As the article points out, time is a factor:

The administration is banking that all the political maneuvering will help inject some momentum back into the talks by the spring. The goal isn't necessarily to finish a deal then, but to show enough progress to persuade skeptics in Congress to extend the president's trade-negotiating authority beyond June, when it is set to expire.

While the new Congress is going to be a bit more skeptical of free trade, Doha appears to still be the focus of many in the administration. During an address to the Chamber of Commerce, Trade Representative Susan Schwab said: "We cannot let a strong, potential Doha deal slip through our fingers." The WSJ goes further, highlighting what's at stake:

Whether the Bush administration is able to restart the Doha talks could serve as a measure of the muscle behind critics of free trade in the U.S. And if the impasse on Doha becomes permanent, it could herald the closing of the era of global economic integration that began after World War II.

As many of you know, NDN addressed these concerns back in September in a memo entitled Rebuilding the National Consensus on Trade.

Barack Obama reaches true rock star status

Sen. Barack Obama visited New Hampshire this past weekend to promote his book, The Audacity of Hope, and to participate in the state Democratic Party's commemoration of the 2006 midterm election. A lot of buzz preceded the visit, including an article comparing the Senator to Bobby Kennedy; and a lot of buzz came during and after the visit, beckoning a joke from NH Governor John Lynch about how Senator Obama was chosen to adress the State Party: "We originally scheduled the Rolling Stones. But then we canceled them when we realized Sen. Obama would sell more tickets."

While many felt the Senator's appearance was simply inspirational and were energized about his appearance, some in the audience admitted that they want to hear more substance from him in days to come. Of course, Sen. Obama recognized the nature of this and responded:

"If I decide to run, these people will know me pretty well," Obama said. "They'll have a good sense of whether I'm qualified to serve or not. . . . One of the values of retail politics is that, by the end of the process, they know where you stand and have a sense of who you are."

Though, in true Obama form, his presence alone is changing the way the folks of New Hampshire approach presidential candidates. At least to Steve Gordon who said: “He will [go into voters' living rooms to answer questions], but he doesn’t have to. He’s not going to have the desperate need to go into people’s homes to pitch himself.”

Welcome to Obama Land.

Note: I'll post Senator Obama's speech (video here) from the event as soon as I have it. Until then, check him out introducing Monday Night Football!

Help Us Find Interns for the Spring

Simon just sent this out. If you know of any good candidates (or if you're one yourself!), please let us know.


It's not unusual for us to write asking for your help. We ask you to come to the events NDN hosts in Washington, DC and around the country, to support the advocacy work NDN does and to spread our ideas and publications through your networks. But what we're asking for today is different. Today, we need your help to find the next generation of young, progressive leaders to come work as interns in our Washington, DC office.

College-age interns who participate in our part-time internship program this spring will get a chance to work directly with NDN staff on major initiatives, including the Hispanic Strategy Center, New Politics Institute, Globalization Initiative, and other NDN advocacy work. More importantly, they'll get hands on experience in progressive politics, government and working in a professional environment.

Past NDN interns have gone on to make important contributions both inside and out of progressive politics, and I'm very proud of the close relationships we still have with many of them.

Thank you for all you do and I hope you'll pass this email onto any young person you know who would benefit from the unique combination of opportunity and responsibility that defines the NDN internship program.


Learn more about NDN's internship program
To apply, e-mail your resume, cover letter, and a brief writing sample to jobs@ndn.org

Gov. Richardson delivers speech on Immigration

A few hours ago, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson delivered a speech at Georgetown University on Immigration Reform and Border Control. Citing his achievements as Governor, as well as outlining the steps he feels should be taken, the Governor's opinions often reflected those of NDN. Enjoy the pics.



If Castro Had a Talk Show, It Might Sound a Bit Like This

The New York Times quotes our very own Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, in an article covering Francisco Arusca, who was once part of Cuba's counterrevolution and was sentenced to 30 years in jail. Some like Joe feel that Arusca uses his pro-Castro radio station, Ayer en Miami, to benefit his travel business, Marazul Tours:

Mr. Aruca was first and foremost “a man who does business with a loathsome regime.” As for his on-air opinions, Mr. Garcia said, “He calls things as he says he sees it and as he benefits from seeing it.”

Dodd - Why not now? Why not us? Why not together?

In the spirit of The New Politics, we'll be analyzing communications (speeches, e-mails, etc.) from public officials on both sides of the aisle to see how they plan to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The following is an example:

Here's an e-mail from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) asking members to "Help Create a Secure and More Prosperous America" by doing two things: making a contribution and joining the Dodd Corps. In the e-mail he remains optimistic about the future amid the many challenges we face, and that, perhaps an era (which NDN calls the Era of Conservative Ascendancy) has ended, ushering in a new opportunity. Decide for yourself. The e-mail's below.


Dear Friend,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. For me, this is the one holiday each year that passes by too quickly.

In the wake of the 2006 elections, Democrats across the country feel that we have much to be thankful for, and we do. But it would be a mistake for us to see the recent switch in the Congress as anything less than a chance to make good on a promise we made to the American people leading up to the election – we will be the party of change.

We have been given this opportunity for change – this moment in time – to come up with the answers to the problems facing our country today.

If, as some have suggested, the recent election signaled the end of the era of ideologues and indifference, it is my hope that our leadership can help bring about the beginning of a new era of idealism, ingenuity and faith in ourselves and our future.

To use our power to create, not just a future of peace and security, but a future of prosperity and opportunity, of learning and understanding;

To use our wealth to create, not just a world where some profit at the expense of many, but where many can profit to the advantage of all;

To use our leadership to create, not a nation of red states and blue states, but a world where people of every race, creed, color and religion come together to solve problems;

To use our talent, not as partisans, but as Americans: to raise the minimum wage; rebuild our manufacturing base and stop jobs fleeing our nation; make sure people can go to college without going bankrupt; make sure small businesses and entrepreneurs can exercise their talent to the fullest extent possible; make sure that all Americans have affordable health care coverage; build an economy where well-paying jobs are available to every American; and last but not least, build relationships around the world based on mutual respect, where a strong and smart America listens as well as it leads.

And ultimately, as Robert Kennedy once said, to judge success not just by the size of our gross national product, but by the health of our children, the quality of their education, the joy of their play, the strength of our public debate, and the integrity of our public officials.

We need to make the most of this moment in time we have been given -- and that is why I am writing to you today.

I am certain, with your help; we can fulfill our promise to America.

But, we must do more. Together we can lead America in a new, more hopeful direction.

That is why I am asking for you to do two things before the end of the year.

First, please consider making an online contribution to my campaign.

Your support will enable me to have the resources necessary to communicate and advocate for our common agenda to make America more secure, prosperous, and hopeful.

Second, please ask five friends to join the Dodd Corps by signing up for our e-mail list, so that we can grow our network of supporters who share our vision for a better future.

Let the generations that follow one day say of us that at the beginning of the 21st Century, after an uncertain start, America returned to her heritage.

Let them say that America preserved freedom and lived up to her highest ideals.

And let them say that in a broken time, we dedicated ourselves to the cause of an America that stands confident and proud and idealistic once again.

Why not now? Why not us? Why not together?

We can – and we must.

Thank you,
Chris Dodd

NPI Event Today: Next Wave of Tools for Progressive Politics

The technology and media worlds are in the midst of a transformation that is profoundly affecting politics. In the next few years we can expect to see the accelerating demise of the 30-second television commercial as the main form of political communication. Already, the 2006 election was marked by a spirit of experimentation in new tools and new media.

Understanding the way forward in this new environment is critical to all the work we do as progressives. That is why I hope you'll be able to join the New Politics Institute for a lunch next Tuesday, December 5th, as we gather leading experts and practitioners of these new tools to evaluate what worked best this fall and what we can expect to make an even greater impact in the future. Panelists will include:

  • Julie Bergman Sender (bio), filmmaker and progressive media strategist on Viral Video in the post YouTube world
  • Tim Chambers (bio), Co-Founder of the Media 50 Group and former Sony VP on Mobile Media
  • Will Robinson (bio), Partner at MacWilliams Robinson and Partners on the Evolution of Television through Cable, Satellite and TiVo
  • Laura Quinn (bio), Democratic Operative and Co-founder of Data Warehouse on Data-driven Politics

The event will be held in Washington, DC TODAY from noon to 2:00pm at the Phoenix Park Hotel at 520 North Capitol Street, NW.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, contact Tracy Leaman at 202-842-7213 or tleaman@ndn.org

Feel free to spread this announcement around. The more progressives who understand the powerful new tools and new media we now have at our disposal, the better.

This event is one of a series presented by the New Politics Institute, a think tank helping progressives master today’s transformation of politics due to rapid changes in technology, media and the demographic makeup of America. NPI is building a working network of top technology, media, and demographic professionals who want to help move best practices and innovations into progressive politics. Read our developing body of reports and view exclusive video content at: www.newpolitics.net

Durbin e-mail endorses Obama

This e-mail (also below) from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) pretty much speaks for itself. Durbin has said that he has encouraged Sen. Obama (also D-IL) to run, but this is as blatant as it gets.


Run, Barack, Run!

As many of you may know, I'm a huge Barack Obama fan. I've known Barack since he was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, and I'm impressed by what he has accomplished in his relatively short political career. I'm also proud to call him my friend.

Not only does Senator Obama do a wonderful job representing the people of Illinois, in just a few short years he has proven himself to be an incredibly inspirational national leader. From his memorable and unifying speech at the Democratic National Convention to his new book The Audacity of Hope, Barack has shown that he has the best interests of all Americans at heart.

That is why I want to see Barack run for President in 2008. I believe that he is the right man to lead our country at a time of such turmoil around the globe, bringing Americans together at a time in our nation's history when we need unity more than ever.

Barack has said publicly that he is considering a run, and part of his consideration will doubtlessly include measuring the level of his support from Democrats across the country. So let's show him how strong that support is.


It's been an interesting few days for Sen. Obama, who is coming off of an address to Rick Warren's Saddleback Church where he shared the stage with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). (Here's a rather objective article from Salon on the appearance.)

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