Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Breaking News – Barack Obama to Speak at Democrat Convention

(Via the ArchPundit) The New York Times reports today Illinois own Barack Obama might be the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention in Boston. The Times quoting Kerry says:

CHICAGO, June 29 — The Democratic National Committee has not yet announced or, in fact, selected the keynote speaker for its convention in Boston next month, but Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, let a hint slip here this morning.

"I cannot wait to hear his voice," Mr. Kerry said of Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate candidate here in Illinois, who became a hot commodity in national political circles after emerging from a crowded primary field this spring. "First at our convention, where he's going to have an opportunity to speak in a few weeks, and then on the floor of the United States Senate."

Awesome Barack, ChicagolandforKerry is behind you 100%!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

More House Parties This Weekend

Thanks to all the house party hosts from this weekend. We had another great weekend raising money and motivating people to help us elect John Kerry the next President of the United States. I was able to attend four myself and hope to write more extensively soon.

Thanks again to all our speakers!

Picture below of Rep. Jan Schakowsky with hosts Kim and Emily at one of the local Kerry House parties.

Second picture below of Robin and Thalia performing their hilarious musical parodies. Want them at your house party in the Chicagoland area? Send an e-mail to to book the dynamic duo for your party.

Kim, Jan and Emily Posted by Hello

Laura and Condi Posted by Hello

Monday, June 28, 2004

Extraordinary Reception for Kerry Volunteers at Gay Pride Parade

"Fired up" hardly does justice to describe crowd reaction as scores of Kerry Volunteers marched through the streets at Chicago's Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, July 27.

Preparation for the big event came from the ChicagolandforKerry Advisory Board (AB), from the DNC and from local organizers like Andy Szekeres.

The procession itself was led by Elizabeth Birch, formerly of Human Rights Campaign (HRC), driven in a yellow sports car by AB Chair, Victor Barry.

Participants included local volunteers from Chicago, the Northern Suburbs and points further a field. Participants either carried signs or distributed stickers. Everyone chanted, hooped and hollered.

The crowd was estastic. At every intersection, rows of spectators, often 4 deep, eagarly repeated calls such as "Two, Four, Six, Eight, Vote for Kerry, End the Hate" or the far more simple (though equally heartfelt), "Kerry, Kerry, Kerry!"

Signs and stickers were in abondance. Once the Kerry Volunteers swept through, every other person was wearing the familiar blue John Kerry lapel sticker.

See Photo Gallery.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Large Turn-Outs Expected at Chicago Gay Pride & Evanston July 4

A large turn-out of Kerry volunteers is expected both at Chicago's Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 27th and at the Evanston Independence Day Parade on Sunday, July 4.

The two events mark high-points of the summer season and are sure to draw hundreds of people marching in support of the democrat candidate.

Kerry supporters who are taking part in the Gay Pride Parade should meet at 11am in the parking lot of Ann Sather's (929 W. Belmont). The Parade officially begins at 12noon.

Kerry supporters who are taking part in the Evanston Independence Day should keep an eye on the Events Page of as well as look out for updates here on the Group Blog.

Note, we also have a Special Evanston 4th of July page.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Meet-up at Ann Sather's

Report from Dan Pawlus:

An enthusiastic group of about 25 gathered at Ann Sather's on Thursday June 24 to show their support for John Kerry for President. The group was polled and strongly voiced their attendance as a desire to back Kerry for his policies as well as do anything necessary to remove the current administration.

Kerry Meet-up information was shared with all - opportunities to volunteer, house parties, upcoming events, visibility, outreach and open discussion. Many joined in the conversation to voice their experiences of already volunteering in various capacities from finance office work to voter registration to visibility events.

The group broke into discussion groups with lively conversation around Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, current administration policy issues and various ways to help drive voter registration and put our candidate in office.

The evening concluded with a rallying cry to raise funds until the July 26 convention, to host house parties and to continue to educate friends and family on pertinent Kerry policy and stances in an honest attempt to build passionate support and understanding for our candidate that will be the next President of the United States!!

[Dan Pawlus and Joey Hampton hosted Thursday's Meet-up at Ann Sather's.]

Hyde Park Meet-Up by the book

Our first Hyde Park meet-up was a great success!

23 people gathered in a lecture hall at the University of Chicago & yummy Oreos were munched while introductions were made. The majority were U of C affiliated, but 30% were not! Some were eager to find out more about Kerry, some were Kerry diehards from before the primaries, but all agreed that our Hyde Park community was ready to work together to kick Bush out of the White House!

Hosts John Moore and Tanya Baker filled everyone in on the Kerry campaign and the Chicagoland grassroots efforts and reviewed upcoming local events. One attendant, Megan Wachspress, took a leadership role in voter registration efforts, while Maria Krisch chose to head up distribution of Kerry materials around campus.

We decided to support some visibility events at the Hyde Park July 4th parade and festival, to be led by John Moore, as well as at some of the free movies and music events on the midway throughout the summer. Enough money was raised to purchase a roll of stickers for these upcoming visibility events as well! Hyde Park & the U of C are on track to make an impact in this campaign!

First Park Ridge Meetup a Success

Over seventeen people showed up at the Starbucks in Park Ridge last night for the first Park Ridge Meetup. Everyone was excited about finding out how to help elect John Kerry. Several updates were given: Joe H. discussed Karen Nelson’s party, Mike T. running locally for state representative informed us of his campaign and Benita C. helped with perspective on events and contacts around the 9th. Good Luck, Park Ridge Meetup!

Park Ridge Meetup for Kerry Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Volunteer Dance Instructors Show Off Dance Skills at House Music Fest in Grant Park

"No Dance Instruction". That's how the listing read for the Inaugural DJ session in Grant Park this Wednesday. Rushing in to fill the void, the ChicagolandforKerry Volunteer Dance Instructors (Tanya, Magali and Leo) swung into action, showing the crowd how to dance and hand out John Kerry stickers at the same time.

Recognition came swiftly in the form of television cameras pointing our way and promises that our efforts would be featured on television the next day.

The music was mixed by renowned DJ Derrick Carter and marks the first of ten such events, all featuring noted House Music DJ's and all taking place on Wednesday evenings (see Full Schedule).

Next Wednesday, DJ Ralphi Rosario will ply the vinyl and the world-famous ChicagolandforKerry Volunteer Dance Instructors can be expected once again to display their awe-inspiring mix of dance finesse and political savvy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Meetups This Week Thursday June 24, 7pm

Kerry MeetUp at 7pm
Find out what other Kerry supporters like yourself are doing in the Chicagoland area and how you can get more involved.


Lou Malnati's, 439 N. Wells St.
Host: Victor Barry.

Cobb Hall (U of C), 5811 S. Ellis Ave.
Hosts: Tanya Baker, John Moore

Charleston Bar, 2076 N. Hoyne
Hosts: Maria Mariottini, Barbara Coleman

Goose Island Brew Pub, 1800 N. Clybourn
Hosts: Josh Lange, Brendan Goff.
Ann Sather,
929 W. Belmont
Hosts: Joey Hampton, Dan Pawlus.
1920 W. Irving Park Rd.
Host: Kathy Karsten.

Moody's Pub, 5910 N. Broadway St.
Hosts: Peter and Ashish

Heartland Cafe, 7000 North Glenwood
Hosts: Barb and Araila

Prairie Moon Restaurant, 5910 N. Broadway St.
Hosts: Mark and Robin

Houlihan's, 125 Old Orchard Arcade
Hosts: Nels and Paul

Edwardo's, 9300 Skokie Blvd.
Hosts: Jennifer and Richard

Schaumburg Township Public Library, 130 S. Roselle Road

Starbucks Coffee, 100 S. NW Hwy
Hosts: Daniel and Benita

5 East Roosevelt

Arrowhead Golf Club, 26 W 151 Butterfiled Rd

Bailey's Restaurant & Bar,
330 E. Ogden Ave.

We hope to see you at one of our meet-ups!

Park Ridge Exploding With Kerry Support

Karen Nelson and Jory Nelson hosted a house party in Park Ridge from 7-9pm on Monday, June 21, which attracted 32 guests and generated $2640 when combined with donations given online in advance of the event.

Two speakers were present: Aminah Paden, who fired up the guests about the issues involved in the Kerry campaign and the urgency of ensuring election and Robert Biederman, Deputy Committeeman of the Maine Township Regular Democratic Party, who followed with specific ideas for how to get involved locally. A "presidential" coffee mug was awarded the guest who donated the most money.

Although half the attendees were professional musicians there was no musical entertainment, but the high decibel level of conversation and laughter provided the best soundtrack possible!

More than a few people, made the similar comments to Karen at the partyn along the lines that "finally, we Democrats can come out of hiding" and "I always felt so all alone as a Democrat, it's nice to finally find others". Park Ridge was represented by Henry Hyde for many years and had been solidly conservative Republican. Democrats literally did not mention their party affiliation except to each other to avoid becoming a social pariah.

Karen noted it is a relief to emerge as Democrats with a winning Presidential candidate and the power to restart a real debate! John Kerry's candidacy and the terrific work of our "new to us" congresswoman Jan Schakowsky have breathed new life into the political landscape of the Park Ridge community.

Come to the Park Ridge Meetup this Thursday to learn more about how you can help organize locally for John Kerry.

Starbucks Coffee, 100 S. NW Hwy, Park Ridge, IL
on Thursday, June 24 @ 7:00PM

Monday, June 21, 2004

Team Kerry Blankets the Custer Street Festival

The Custer's Last Stand street fest, the largest festival in Evanston, is one part funky, one part hip and another part artsy and definitely the event to be at in the Chicagoland area on the third weekend of June. Volunteers manned a booth Saturday and Sunday to distribute literature, lapel stickers, buttons, signs, and bumper stickers. With over five hundred buttons and three thousand lapel stickers distributed, the crowd was awash in Kerry blue. One of the crowd favorites, songwriter and guitarist Kraig Kenning even remarked to the crowd how good it was to see all the support for Kerry and received a loud applause.

Team Kerry signed up a few hundred more volunteers who want to help out with the campaign. Get ready Chicagoland, we are running the largest volunteer manned phone bank for the campaign in November into the battleground states!

The Democratic Party of Evanston was also registering voters at the event. We can only hope those Kerry stickers made easy targets for the voter registration folks. ;-)

A special thank you to Shira and Adelaide for organizing the event and setting up the booth. Thanks to all the other volunteers who came and worked: Ashish, Collen, Anna, Mark, Joe, John Lee, Barb, Rich, Barbara, Thea, John U, Susan, Frank, Jason, Barbara, Joanne, Rowan, Lesley, Nell, Sue, Angela, John B, Stacy, Dora, Leo and Daniel. Thanks also to Christine at the Julie Hamos campaign for helping the group out several times with different.

Team Kerry on Saturday Posted by Hello

Team Kerry at Custer Festival Posted by Hello

Kerry Social Hour and Salon Kerry Continue to Grow

Thursday nights at Frankie Z’s (Chicago) or the Prairie Moon (Evanston) are the place for a Kerry supporter to be seen. Last Thursday night, close to thirty people showed up at the Kerry Social Hour at Frankie Z's and twenty-five for Salon Kerry at the Prairie Moon.

Leo writes about Thursday’s Kerry Social Hour at Frankie Z's,

Conversation ranged from speculation on the eventual VP nominee to what we had planned regarding the Clinton fundraiser and next week's Meetups. Festivities were enhanced by a squad of Chicago City Firemen who were celebrating a comrade's birthday in the adjoining room. New faces mixed with old, representatives from other campaigns were on hand as well.

Located at Frankie Z's on Clark near Hubbard, the Thursday Social Hour 6pm-9pm) is proving a popular destination for Kerry supporters in the city. It's a good place for people new to the campaign to learn about local activities and how to become more involved -- all in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Kerry Volunteers Take Part in Healthcare Rally

Stirring messages from Gov. Howard Dean, Rev Jesse Jackson and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky inspired hundreds of participants at the "Bridging the Gap" Healthcare Rally which took place on Saturday, June 19 in Lincoln Park.

The Kerry Squad was out in force handing out flyers and raising their blue Kerry placards along with friends and supporters from other campaigns. One of the biggest cheers came when Howard Dean told the audience that if they wanted true health care reform, they had better vote for John Kerry.

Perhaps the most moving part of the event was when Rev. Jackson called on all those above the age of 17 who were not currently registered to vote, to present themselves at the front of the stage. Several stepped forward and were quickly registered by the VR people.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Kane County for Kerry

Ben and Ellen at Victor's Recent Party Posted by Hello

Ellen and Ben, out in Kane County, have been John Kerry supporters since last summer. They have a tough job in very Republican territory, but are continuing to make headway. Their Meetup now attracts around thirty Kerry volunteers and supporters. The hard work folks like Ellen and Ben do continues to be one of the reasons the collar counties are trending Democratic.

Several of us had an opportunity last year to help our Kane County folks out at a Northern Illinois University football game and the Sycamore Fall Pumpkin Fest and we had a great time. Anyone up for a road trip this fall?

Monday, June 14, 2004

Weekend Wrap Up from Midsommarfest

This weekend Team Kerry worked the Swedish Midsommarfest in Andersonville on Saturday and Sunday. The crowd was very responsive and over 1500 Kerry lapel stickers were distributed to festival-goers. The Human Right’s Campaign was handing out cool “Bush, Your Fired” lapel stickers and on top of a good thing, Obama volunteers had a good presence and were also handing out stickers. The result was a fantastic patchwork of pro-Democratic visibility.

We have noticed a change in the attitude of Democratic voters over the last three weeks. While before the “base” was just ABB (anybody but Bush) now we are starting to see people get genuinely excited about Kerry as a candidate. This change continues to be due to your hard work spreading Kerry's message of optimism and change!

Kerry volunteers distributed handouts pointing people to the ChicagolandforKerry website and signed up over 150 people who were interested in getting e-mails about local Kerry events.

Thanks again to all the volunteers who helped out! Andrea R., Adelaide, Barb, Andrea, Ashish, Maryann, Leo, Tara, Robin and Daniel

Keep up the good work! For volunteers on the far north side of the city and north suburban Chicago, the next big event is the Custer Street Festival next weekend. Please contact Shira to volunteer at In Lincoln Park on next Saturday, there is a Bridging the Gap for Healthcare visibility event. Please see the website for more information.

Team Kerry at Midsommarfest in Andersonville  Posted by Hello

Friday, June 11, 2004

Anatomy of A Kerry House Party Fundraiser

Excerpts from writer Susan M. Schell's account of a House Party at her home:

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22nd, guests began arriving at our home to attend our Kerry House Party Fundraiser and listen to a conference call at 5 pm with Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator John Kerry.

This house Party was to be a grassroots fundraising event to connect people who share the belief that the US has lost its way and our reputation in the Global Community.

Decision to host a Host Party

My family agreed on very short notice to host this Kerry House Party for many reasons. How could we say we were unhappy with the direction of this country, if we weren't willing to work to change it? Dangerous times such as these call on all of us to step up our involvement. Forget about how much time you can afford, because none of us have extra time. We're all busy!

Phone Call from John Kerry

Our crowd of roughly one-hundred people consisted of a demographic range in ages (college students to retired folks) and races. Everyone began getting anxious, as I did, as we awaited the phone call.

Promptly at 5 pm, that now familiar voice from radio and television thanked us all for participating in this Grassroots effort to raise campaign funds for his 2004 election race....
To read more, continue to full story.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Joke of the Day

As President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House, he is carrying a baby pig under each arm. The Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These are not pigs, these are authentic Texan Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-President Cheney, and I got one for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice trade, sir."

Confessions of a Volunteer Voter Registrar

Andrea Raila, David Fourer and Larry McCarthy Registering Voters
 Posted by Hello

Thanks to Andrea for sending this powerful statement (edited for length).

Saturday, June 5 was a beautiful summer day long awaited in Chicago! I could have enjoyed the entire day with my 3 kids (ages 1, 5, & 7) and husband (age 47) but there were too many future issues beaconing me that made the moment less urgent.

I registered voters with volunteers David Fourer and Larry McCarthy at the Peace Museum on Chicago's westside African American community. Garfield Park was having a Health Fest. Free immunizations and physical exams. Lots of information on health insurance. This is about the best preventive care many in this community will get because so few can afford health insurance.

Those who have employment, like at McDonalds, will not get insurance. Did you know that McDonalds in every country outside the US insure their workers? This company can afford to raise their burger prices by 10 cents to insure their employees. We'd gladly pay the price.

I registered many first time young voters. The thrill of empowering young people with a voice to vote can be intoxicating. I registered several who were only 17 but who would turn 18 by the November 2 election. Their enthusiasm to become voters was inspiring and showed the future strength of this country.

We have no control over when we die. But for Americans we won't die by the hands of death squads, fascist dictators or by caste or honor killings. We have the ultimate freedom no better expressed than in our right to vote.

Former Air Jockey from Evanston Gets Published in the Sun-Times

Mark Foisy, a Veteran for Kerry from Evanston, recently got published in the Sun-Times. Congratulations Mark!

A Terrifying Waste

The standard White House response to criticism of the war in Iraq is to stand in the bully pulpit and repeatedly declare how important winning the war on terror is for our nation.

Winning the war on terror is vital to our nation. However:

*Saddam Hussein and Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, Saddam has never been involved in international terrorism, didn't have weapons of mass destruction, and was ideologically opposed to Osama bin Laden's drive for Islamic rule.

*With our military tied up in Iraq, there's no one left to fight the real war on terror -- until we reinstate the draft. Eighteen- to 25-year-olds, take note.

*The cost of the Iraq war is approaching $200 billion. The administration now is asking for another $25 billion, while the real war remains underfunded.

*The war in Iraq is undermining international goodwill with our allies. That goodwill is crucial to winning the war on terror.

The first step to victory in the war on terror is getting out of Iraq.

Mark Foisy, Evanston

Chicagoland Rapid Media Response efforts

Are you interested in writing op-eds and letter to the editor? Team up with Magali Rapid Response group, contact Magali at Are you a first time writer? No problem, Magali’s team has tips to get you started.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Volunteers Work Three Festivals for Kerry

Volunteers worked the Belmont/Sheffield Music Fest, Printer's Row and the May Fest in Lincoln Square this weekend. Between the two festivals over 120 names and e-mails were collected. Working for Kerry at festivals are crucial to our grassroots movement growing. Not only are they a great source of potential new volunteers, but also present a chance to energize the base into action. I talked to several Greenpeace and other environmental activists about Kerry’s impressive environmental record. What I was surprised at was the environmental activists had no idea that Kerry was a strong environmentalist. We need to be teachers and cheerleaders for Kerry!

At the May Fest in Lincoln Square, volunteers gave out over 800 lapel stickers. Kerry visibility was impressive! One disgruntled and obviously upset Republican made a snide remark "about how a beer festival was being turned into a Kerry Rally." Much to his annoyance, I thanked him for the compliment!

Bring it on! ;-)

Thanks again to Belmont/Sheffield Music Fest volunteers Barb, Onwosi, Andreana, and Gary. Thanks to May Fest Lincoln Square Fest volunteers Tina, John, Rich, Leo, Dana and Gary. Also, thanks to Stacey and Mark for Printer's Row Book Festival.

We’ll be working more festivals next weekend. Visit for event information and please come out and help!

Volunteers Try to Bribe Gary's Pup to Pose With Them Posted by Hello

Gary, Rich, Dana and John Posted by Hello

Victor and Jack’s Kerry Volunteer Appreciation Party

Friday night, Kerry volunteers from all over the Metro Chicagoland area converged on Victor and Jack’s cool downtown condo for a party to be remembered. Over eighty volunteers attended the party. Maybe I have some prejudice, but I think Kerry folks are just downright interesting and fun group of people.

It was great to revisit with “old” friends from the primary days and meet new people working for Kerry in other areas of Chicagoland. Everyone was having such a good time that when I left at 1 am there was still over thirty people.

Thanks to Helen and the Midwest Kerry Finance team who came by to show their support and have a few drinks after another late night in the office. Keep up the great work team!

Thanks again to Victor and Jack for a memorable night! Pics can be viewed here.

Ashish, Victor, Sue, John and Susan Posted by Hello

Leo and Kathy Having a Laugh Posted by Hello

Friday, June 04, 2004

John Kerry needs your help this weekend!

Come out and support a leafleting and volunteer recruitment effort in your neighborhood.

Belmont-Sheffield Music festival
Saturday, June 5
Sheffield and Belmont. 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Contact Gary at

Lincoln Square Mayfest
Saturday, June 5 and Sunday June 6th
Lincoln Square. 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Contact Daniel at

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Meetup Committee Needs Your Help!

Appeal from Meetup Committee Chair, Josh Lange:
Hey everyone, this is Josh Lange, the Meetup Chairman for the Chicago area. This post is for two kinds of people:

1) those who can help Meetup with a small, but vital donation
2) those who want to help with Meetup with their time

In order to nominate a venue, a person must first buy a MeetupPlus membership. This costs about $3 per month and is very worth the cost. We are asking anyone who can donate $20 for MeetupPlus to email Josh at This will help us get more venues out there for people to attend.

For those who just want to help Meetup with their time, feel free to show up to Frankie Z's this Thursday (435 N. Clark) and we'll talk all things Meetup. Thanks!

Bike the Drive - A Success for Kerry

Report from Maureen:
Many thanks to the volunteers who donned buttons, T-Shirts, and bumper stickers as they made their way along 30 miles of car-free Lake Shore Drive. (See Bike the Drive Web site.]

We got beautiful weather for the ride and a little time to collect
information on new supporters before the rain appeared. There are many more events this summer, so keep an eye on the website for opportunities to

Thanks again - especially to Nora, Phil and his family, Carl, Brian, and Wendy.

-- Maureen

Watergate Revisted?

Reuters reports Bush Seeks Lawyer in Probe Over CIA Leak

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush has sought a lawyer to represent him in the criminal probe into who was responsible for a leak that was seen as retaliation against a critic of the Iraq war, the White House said on Wednesday.

A federal grand jury has been hearing testimony since January from administration and government officials in an attempt to establish who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media last year.

Plame is the wife of Joe Wilson, a former ambassador who was asked by the CIA to travel to Niger in February 2002 to check reports that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from the African country.

Anyone think this is the big scandal?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

4 New Photo Galleries Up at

I put up four new photo galleries of events that happened last week:

Meetup Best Practices Forum II (5/23/04)
House Party at Dave & Holly's (5/23/04)
Kerry Meetup at Goose Island, Chicago (5/27/04)
Kerry Meetup at Ann Sathers, Chicago (5/27/04)

You can see all four in the Photo Section of the site.

Obama on the Cover of The New Republic

There is a generally positive article about Barack Obama in this month’s issue of The New Republic. The author, Noam Scheiber, focuses on the one issue Obama can’t seem to get away from, his race. Excerpts from the article here.

I really think this race is Barack’s to lose. He has really captured the public fascination and the new Tribune poll loudly echoes that this is true. Obama holds a 22% point lead over Ryan-52 percent to 30 percent.

While I hate to make predictions, I strongly believe that Obama is going to help lock Illinois for the Democrats for the next twenty years.