vendredi, juin 30, 2006

Pee Wee Soccer; or: I am Not a Racist

TinyE has been playing pee wee (four and five year olds) soccer in a suburb of Saint Paul called Woodbury. It is, of course, only an intro to soccer. They learn the magic spot (the part of the foot where they should kick the ball. Man oh man, what if someone googles “magic spot” and arrives at a post about pee wee soccer?) and terminology like “pass” “trap” “dive” “tackle,” etc. They learn not to touch the ball with their hands except to throw it in from out of bounds or when they are goalie. They learn the overhead pass.

Last night was the final session and involved a match where the kids played against the parents. The kids won. I think the score was 16 to 3. TinyE scored one goal and had three stops in three chances during her time in the net. She wanted the game to come to her, and when it didn’t, she pouted a lot (unfortunately she has my competitive temperament - it took me until the age of 30 to stop pouting on the golf course).

While playing, I had a funny exchange with one of the other parents. But in order to explain the exchange, I have to tell you a few facts. Bear with me.

First, Minnesota is not the most diverse state in the union. According to the 2000 Census, 11.8 percent of Minnesotans are minorities. That compares to 19.6 percent nationally. The Twin Cities is the most diverse part of the state by far (although there are counties outside the metroplex with significant native populations, and there are an increasing number of migrant workers in Minnesota). I am an African-American. Woodbury is a suburb east of St. Paul, on the way toward Wisconsin. At one point it was “the hot” suburb (having taken the title from Maple Grove, but they have since passed it to Prior Lake) and had a reputation for being a place where the young family of means were going to set up residence. It is close to 3M’s headquarters, and there are plenty of folks there making a fine living.

Woodbury is 90% white, 2.5 percent African-American, 5.0 Asian. But, where we played Pee Wee soccer TinyE and I were the only minorities in sight. Not a representative sample, I grant you.

I have very good friends and at-least two admired colleagues who live in Woodbury. I’m totally cool with Woodbury.

My own experience there has been limited. I have been to a home there for a visit (I’m due for another one, hint, hint). I have golfed there about 5 times. I bought patio furniture there last summer. TinyE goes there for her eye appointments every other month or so. And then, of course, there has been Pee Wee Soccer.

Last set up. We played on a field with two small (kid sized) nets spaced about 40 yards apart. There were no marked boundaries, and the total field was pretty big. The kids would swing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out, and then circle back to try to score. They played behind the net several yards, but soccer fields are usually longer than they are wide, and last night our field was much, much wider than it was long.

So, whilst playing against our children, I chatted up another dad. Here’s our exchange (and it occurs to me that this was a long way to go for a limited pay off):

Duf: This is the widest field I’ve ever seen
White Dad: Whaaaaaaaat?

[He clearly thought I’d said something besides “widest;” I’ll admit I don’t always enunciate well. The look on his face was comical. It said “are we going to have a problem/did you say what I think you said/please don’t talk about race” all at the same time]

Duf: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a field this wiDe.
White Dad: They should have marked it.
Duf: I’m tickled that when the kids go out there, all the parents just stay here.
White Dad: I think the coaches should enforce some kind of boundaries.

White Dad was linear. White Dad lives in a world of rules and order. White Dad did not want his kid learning soccer incorrectly. White Dad is a serious man, and does not respond well to sarcasm.*

*For the record, like our family, White Dad and his family may have come to soccer in Woodbury from some other city/town/suburb. By making funny of White Dad, I mean in no way to make fun of Woodbury. If I wanted to make fun of Woodbury, I’d do it directly. For example, I’d say “you’ll never be a real city until you stop having a volunteer fire department” or I’d call it “Woodbury, Minnesota, the townhouse capital of the world!” Also, by calling him White Dad, I mean only to set up the Three’s-Company like hijinks that nearly resulted from him initially mishearing me.

jeudi, juin 29, 2006

Pearl Jam and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 27th

There’s something amazing and wonderful about listening to a man in his fifties (?) with blonde, shoulder-length hair and an emerging bald spot hidden on his crown, a man who has been in rock and roll for 30 years sing:

“Somewhere, somehow somebody
Must have kicked you around some…”

I had this feeling that every adult in the arena could answer Tom Petty’s question in the affirmative. To me, one is fully an adult at the time in their life when a hope has been dashed, a promise broken, a mistake made, a goal missed, a disgraceful deed uncovered - in short, when someone has been kicked around some - and they have to take responsibility for it on their own.

And even when a multi-millionaire rock star sings it, you know there was a time when he got kicked around some too. We all do. For instance, lately, my job has been kicking me around some. Also, as is plainly evident to anyone listening to the NPR series on torture, the United States of America is using my/your tax dollars to kick folks around some.

But I digress…

As for the show and the line about being kick around, well, it was a stand-out moment when an artist connected with his audience. I attended the show* to see the other half of the line up. Pearl Jam was the draw for me, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was a nice bonus.

But after a quick 90 minute set from Eddie and his crew, a set that felt like an introduction, a conscious effort not to upstage the more seasoned veteran, everything was ready for Tom Petty to steal the show, which he did.

Yes, it was a hit parade.
Yes, Tom Petty is an egoist.
No, they didn’t play “Don’t Do Me Like That”
Yes, they still rocked quite a bit.
No, I probably won’t see them again.

The highlight was TPatH singing “American Girl” with Eddie Vedder. It was a great closing number.

Also, just for the record, most of the folks wanted to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. My guess is that TPatH fans out numbered PJ fans 3 to 1. For the most part, Petty fans were easy to identify. Also, TPatH fans smoke way more weed than PJ fans do. And it’s the cheap stuff. I went home smelling like a community-college dorm room.

* My ticket was sponsored by my handsome, charismatic brother-in-law.

mardi, juin 27, 2006

Four Year Old Girls Like Major League Baseball Less than 38 Year Old Men (and Other Revelations)

Last night, I took TinyE to the Twins game. I should say the game where the “red hot” Minnesota Twins stuck it to the hapless Los Angles Dodgers.. We were on row 6, just off the protective netting, and very close to home plate on the third base side. Every time a left-handed batter was at the plate, I was convinced they were going to foul one off and hit my sweet anger…er angeL in the head. This would mean that she might be permanently injured and, more importantly, that Mrs. Duf would be very, very angry with me.

TinyE and I both survived unscathed.

On the way to the game, TinyE, as an expression of her excitement, sang “Take Me out to the Ball Game” like so:

Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks
I don’t care if I never get back
One…two…three strikes you’re out
At the old, ball game.

If you’re a fan of the best professional game (or traditional song), you’ll realize she left out:

Well we’ll root, root, root
For the home team
If they don’t win it’s a shame
For its…one…two…

So, I gently told her that at the game, when they sing it, they would sing it like this:

Then I sang the whole thing, CORRECTLY. Don’t hate.

She LOST IT. She hated.

She FLIPPED out. She was so angry that she started to cry. She claimed that I was not her best friend (a blatant lie) and that she did not want to go to the game with me (a little white lie).

I asked myself “why did I take this child to the game?” I ask myself that kind of question all the time. Only I sometimes substitute “game” for:


Then I remembered why:

I bought tickets for the Twins game (Monday night 6/26).
Later, my handsome brother-in-law scored tickets to the Pearl Jam/Tom Petty concert (Tuesday 6/27).
After that, he invited me to join him at said concert.
As a long-time married man*, I realized quickly that if I was to go out two nights in a row, leaving Mrs. Duf with TinyE, I would need a plan**.
I wanted to go to the game and the concert.
TinyE could not go to the concert; so
I took her with me to the game***.

So, here’s the thing. Baseball is a great game to watch when you played baseball, and you’re 38 and you find a freshly-mowed lawn exciting. But when you’re four…well…baseball is not terribly exciting. Here’s what is:

Peanuts in the shell (it can take an hour for a child to open 25 peanuts)
Pretzels (the big soft one – 17 minutes tops)
A malted ice-cream treat (10 minutes – get napkins)
Tee shirts that are compressing into a plastic tube and shot into the air

We left in the 8th inning.

*It’ll be six (6) years in September.
**My wife is cool, but I travel a lot for work, and adding two consecutive nights of personal stuff is…well…pushing it.
***Can I decipher or what?

mercredi, juin 21, 2006


We* left for Chicago just after 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning.
We stopped in Tomah, Wisconsin, for lunch at Subway.
I had the Veggie Delight.
All the way there, we listened to cool tunes.
Like this.
And this.
And of course, this and this.
We arrived at the hotel just after 5:00.
At 6:15, we walked about 400 yards to the train station and took the train into the city.
We walked into Auditorium Theater.
We queued up for beers (two each).
We sat down.
Five seconds later, they introduced the opening band: The Black Keys**.
The Black Keys raged for a very solid 30-minute set.
Very solid.
More beers were enjoyed (I’ll leave it at that).
Radiohead came out just after 8:00.
I was the fulfillment of a long-held wish.
I worried that I would expect too much.
I worried I’d be disappointed.
The show exceeded my expectations.
I bought posters for my friends who dig the band and for myself.
We walked through Millennium Park.
We walked across the river and up Michigan Avenue for dinner.
It was quite good.
We took the train back to our hotel.
We slept the sleep of the dead.
We woke at 8:00 (God bless housekeepers).
We drank copious fluids.
We showered.***
We hit the road.
We stopped in Madison, Wisconsin.
And played a round of golf at a nice course.
It was brutal (jerk).
We had a blast.
Then back in the car for the ride back to St. Paul and to Brooklyn Park.

I went for the Radiohead concert, and the show did not disappoint at all. It was worth every penny, and it was worth every mile. At times, I was almost overcome, I was so giddy. When they played “Lucky,” I was on cloud nine. It's one of my favorites, you don't want to be near me when it's on. I can't hit those high notes, but I try. I play air guitar. I geek out.

I called a friend in San Diego so that he could hear “Everything in Its Right Place.”

And we had amazing luck. We always arrived at the station just as the train was arriving. We picked a hotel close to the train. We got to Millennium Park whilst it was still open. It didn’t rain until we putted out at 18.

But I’m an old man, friends, and the memory that will endure for me from this wonderful weekend, will not be the set list, or the opening number, or the feelings I felt to finally see what is, IMHO, the best rock and roll band of all time. No, truth be told, the highlight of the trip was spending two action-packed days with a close friend whom I adore and admire. What I will remember, years from now, is that Brian and I took a really cool road trip in 2006.

I guess you could say I feel “lucky.”

*We = my dear friend Brian and me. Brian is a math teacher at a local high school. He’s also one of my favorite golfing buddies.
**Thank you so much, D.O.N.
***Separately, c’mon now; we’re both married.

lundi, juin 19, 2006

Think of this Post as an SAT Question - What is the Real Reason for this Post*?

a) I heard on the radio that $9,000,000,000 would be spent on Father's Day this year (up from 8,200,000,000 last year) - I have to imgaine that's worldwide. The average amount per person per father was $88. The average person spends $124 for mother day - $36 more - and rightly so. I had a wonderful Father's Day. I golfed with my friend David and played reasonably well (I was a bit inconsistent), we spent some time at the lake, and then went to dinner - just me and my three girls: Duf's Mom, Mrs. Duf, and TinyE.

Here's our tally:

Golf (with a cart on the house**): $38
Walk to the lake (one ice cream cone and one water): $3.50
Dinner for four at Jake's in Eagan: $82
Present number one, box of Walker's Shortbread cookies (Duf's favorite): $3
Present number two, art made by TinyE: priceless

Total expenditure: $126.50
Amount spent per person (Mrs. Duf and TinyE only): $63.25
Amount spent per person (including Duf's Mom): $42.17

b) I just finished reading "Empire Falls" by Richard Russo. It was published in 2001, and I would describe it as a book that has something for everyone. People who like a gentle read will admire it for its acessible and engaging plot, those who admire literature will find a strong central theme, advanced subtly, and those who like a craftsman, will be dazzled by the story structure. Highly recommended - especially for the Epilogue. Perhaps the highest praise I can give it is that it went right from my nightstand to my wife's nightstand, and it is a rare book that we both admire (although Mrs. Duf is reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" on of my all-time favorites). I will read some of his other works for sure.

c) I probably won't post for a few days. I'm going to Chicago, Illinois, for the Radiohead concert.

*The answer is C. Too subtle?
**I typically use my allowance for green fees.

mardi, juin 13, 2006

Sometimes My Daughter's School is a Little Weird

TinyE goes to a wonderful Montessori school near downtown St. Paul. For the most part, we have been really pleased with it and with her development there. She starts Kindergarten in the fall, and Mrs. Duf and I both agree that she is ready for the next challenge.

But there are some things about it that are a little weird. Some examples:

Kids like TinyE who don't take naps are given "studio time" in another room so they won't bother the kids who are resting. At least twice a year, my daughter acts up in Studio (maybe she needs a nap) and the punishment is no studio the next day. For those of you who don't know much about toddlers, punishments the next day are not terribly effective.

Another example - three or four times a year we have family nights, a way to bridge school and home by having parents come to the school. On family nights, parents and kids usually do a craft together, and the crafts usually benefit the classroom (a mural or some such thing). The last time we did this, we made artworks related to rivers, and I kid you not, among the itmes we could use to craft our art were buttons, small sticks, and (wait for it) bits of broken glass.

No, I'm not kidding. They weren't terribly sharp, but still c'mon.

Last example - as a craft, the kids made walking sticks to bring home. The walking sticks are three feet long. Our house is not a museum, but a child and a stick is a bad idea in most environments. I know this now.

mercredi, juin 07, 2006

I Want to Go There

Busy morning as a father and as a son (but not as a husband).

My mom's moving truck arrives today with all of her furniture and belongings, just as I leave for a business trip.

Worst. Son. Ever.

And I had to clear a bed out of TinyE's room - no small feat. I was sweaty and tired and running late by the time that got done.

Then, we got to her to school only to realize that she didn't have her glasses (thank goodness they were in my car, and not back at home).

I was all ready to go to work, when I looked down to see that my gas tank was below E. So I had to stop for petrol.

The person in front of me had a $65.00 gas bill, so I was thankful that mine will be less than half of that, but still a bit miffed at having ONE MORE THING to delay my arrival to work.

And then I received a message in a bottle (or something like that).

As is my custom, I was liberating my car of Cheerios, scraps of paper, toy packaging, and various and sundry toddler items* to put same in the trash can at the petrol station.

The trash can was overflowing (which kind of annoyed me, I was in a place where I was easily annoyed), so it was easy to see a notepad at the very top, with a written message on it. It made me smile. I took the notepad from the trash, and it is sitting on my desk here at work as I pass it along to you via the blogosphere. I can't tell if the message is from an adult or from a child. But HAL (who thinks it's creepy (both the message and me "rescuing" it from the trash can at the service station) took a picture of it which I'll post later today or tomorrow.

Anyway, the message (may it cheer you):

I live in a magical land.
Evrithing is perfect.
I don't have bad dreams.
I don't waick up at night.

*I'd like to say a special hello to my brother-in-law, R.J.K.

mardi, juin 06, 2006

And the Blind Shall Lead US? Why I Took Only 1 Beating and Why Kansas is the Hope of Things to Come

As a child, I only got beat up once.

And no, it’s not because I’m an excellent fighter (I’m a lover, not a fighter).

Okay, I'm neither, but I am an amiable companion and grateful dinner guest.

I’ll tell you my secret to avoiding a beating in just a second, but first, I want to praise Kansas as representing our hope for the future.

You read me right. I want to praise Kansas.

Did you think I meant that I wanted to raze Kansas?

An interesting phenomenon is playing out there, and it goes a little something like this (hit it).

It’s making national news.

For years, fiscal conservatives and religious conservatives combined forces to keep Democrats out of office.

But lately, fiscal conservatives are finding they have more in common with moderate Democrats than they do with religious conservatives.

Here’s my explanation:

Hallmarks of Religious Conservatism
Hating the GLBT community
Hating Science (see, e.g., stem cell research, banning of; earth is flat, belief that)
Hating Science Education (see, e.g. earth is 8,000 years old, belief that)
Hating Health Education
Hating birth control (even for consenting adults)
Hating sexuality
Hating the separation of church and state
Hating Iraqis
Hating interracial relationships (see, e.g. Bob Jones “University”)
Hating women, uteruses, privacy, health, safety and emotional well-being
Loving unwanted pregancies
Loving suffering (particularly if it prolongs inevitable death)
Love of Abstinence (a.k.a. hatred of logic, reason)
Loving the death penalty
Loving war in the Middle East
Hatred of Music (made after 1899)

Hallmarks of Fiscal Conservatism
Reducing or Eliminating Taxes
Reducing or Eliminating Support to the Less Fortunate
Reducing Government Spending in General*
Advancing Corpocracy
Hatred of Budget Deficits (Old School Fiscal Conservatives only)
Can tolerate some social liberalism
Can tolerate some social conservatism
Loves privacy
Keeps the government out of people’s lives (cost containment strategy)

Hallmarks of the Moderate Democrat
Loves the middle
All things in moderation
May or may not be pro-choice
A little hawkish
A little dovish
Supports schools a bit
Supports unions a bit
Can favor a conservative (or sensible) economic policy
Not prudish or uptight on matters of sexuality

So you see, fiscal conservatives and moderate democrats can actually get along just fine.

Religious conservatives have been beating out fiscal conservatives and moderate Republicans in primary elections for years, and not just in Kansas. Once elected, these religious nuts** go on to champion absurd policies. For example, the Kansas AG tried to subpoena the medical records of all women who have had an abortion - a move that offends everyone who is not a part of the lunatic fringe. Religious conservatives are so myopic in their focus, their priorities are so flawed, that the simple business of government grinds to an agonizing halt, while we all pay attention to the latest manufactured distraction. Meanwhile, Iraq is a mess, genocide continues in the Darfur region of the Sudan, the Alternative Minimum Tax is sticking it to the middle class, and Britney Spears is riding around with her baby on top of her car.

Recently the Lieutenant Governor of Kansas announced that he would not run for a second term. The Governor, a Democrat who won as an alternative to a religious conservative who won the Republican primary, has selected the former Chair of the state Republican Party as her running mate. He switched parties.

Alliances have switched.

Instead of the fiscal conservatives and religious conservatives lining up against Democrats, moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans and fiscally conservative Republicans have joined forces to oppose religious conservatives.

Could it be a sign of things to come, say, in November?

The Secret to Why I Only Got Beat Up Once as a Child:

I only got beat up once as a child because most of my childhood, I was in the company of my twin brother. While it’s true that I would lose most fights I entered, you’d have to be one tough fourth grader to beat up me and my brother at the same time.

And so it is in politics. And although religious conservatives are tremendously capable at mobilizing their base (especially for primaries), they aren’t so big and bad that they can overcome a strong alliance. Like most fourth graders, they’re not able to take on two comparable foes.

The one time I did get beat up, it was by Shawn Mershon. I was in fourth grade, and Shawn was mad at me because I kissed his sister.

Shawn: I heard you kissed my sister.
Duf: Yeah, so…are you jealous or something?

At which point Shawn let his fist do the talking (and made a very persuasive case against smart aleck comments – a very persuasive case).

What was unique about that day is that I was alone, up in the East field, far away from my twin brother and easy therefore prey for a sixth grader like Shawn.

The people, united, can never be defeated indeed.

* Does not include defense spending
**One of my neighbors has a bumper sticker*** which reads “God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.”
***Which reminds me (and I’m not kidding, I wish I could have taken a picture) this morning, on the way to work, I was behind a BMW X5**** with the vanity license plate which read “BM 4 ME” and I’m totally, 100% serious. I’m not even kidding a little bit. I laughed so hard, I nearly had a BM in my Subaru.
****The X5 is an SUV

lundi, juin 05, 2006

The Case In Favor of the Death Tax

Ah, those nutty Republicans. Here’s how I got linked in. I donated money to my high-school debate partner’s judicial campaign down in Kansas. She’s a big time Republican, and somehow that got me on the list of OKRA (which stands for the Oklahoma Republican Assembly). That got me on the list for The Vanguard.

Once a week or so (I must applaud my conservative friends for keeping the spam count down) I get an email that usually tickles me quite a lot – can I really disagree with a group of people on every single solitary thing?


Anyway, here’s the latest effort. These “leaders” are writing to social conservatives asking them to take a break from their out and out hatred of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and those who are transgender, foreigners, birth-control, health education, education in general, Iraqi’s, people who want to die without useless suffering, the first amendment, privacy, people who oppose torture, and uteruses to…

…that’s right, repeal the death tax.

And I’m sure most of the people reading this email (below), if no action is taken, will get hit really hard by this tax that hits a very small percentage of the population.

In fact I know they will.

They will make up the lost revenue in the form of a tax increase somewhere else, increased fees, or an increased deficit.

Look, 89% of taxable estates held assets of $2.5 million or less. And I have a funny feeling that the bible belt and the deep south, where the Republicans obtain oodles of support is not thick with folks whose estates are valued at $2.5 million or more, or even $625,000.

But I know a lot of folks hate the tax because they hate taxes in general, and they death of any tax (pun intended) is a good thing.

My argument has always been (and will always be), if you’re going to give tax relief, don’t give tax relief to the super wealthy. Give tax relief to the middle class, the lower middle class, and the poor.

But social conservatives will line up to decry this thing.

Here’s how it works estates valued at $625,000 or more are taxed at 37%.
Estates valued at $3,000,000 or more are taxed at 55%.

[and trust me on this, most folks with an estate valued at more than $3,000,000 have an attorney, a financial advisor, generations of experience at beating the tax man, and ample estate planning – as a practical matter it’s all socked away in trusts and as tax exempt as your local mega-church]

But year after year, morons pay the tax because:

a) they failed to plan, or
b) they did do-it-yourself estate planning

Limiting estate tax liability is not that difficult to do.

The estate tax accounted for 1% of federal revenue, and when you repeal it, guess what? That one percent is going to come from somewhere (and my guess is that, at least initially, it will come in the form of a higher budget deficit – current budget deficit = $8,359,022,768,986.85 – or at least that’s what it was when I started typing it).

Before you read the letter, please consider a counter-attack. If one of your Senators is on the fence, please fax them to say, keep the estate tax.

And with no more rumpuses, here’s the letter (it starts “dear conservative friend,” so before I even read it they have three strikes, and they’re out):

Dear Conservative Friend,

As you know, last month, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist promised a final vote to abolish the abominable Death Tax by the end of May. For a variety of reasons, that hasn’t proved possible. But the man is as good as his word.THE FINAL DEATH TAX VOTE IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 8TH. AND WE’RE WITHIN TWO OR THREE VOTES OF VICTORY.

But there’s more to this story, and we have to act fast. As you know, the Senate is not like the House, where a straight-up vote is possible and 51% wins. Senate rules are much more complicated and have been since George Washington’s day; what’s more, since it takes 60 votes (out of 100) to stop a filibuster and force a vote, the hard-left Democrat minority can stymie most things our good guys try to do. That’s the biggest reason why we’ve had such a frustrating couple years.

Because of this, we have not one but THREE votes we have to win. The first is called an “Agreement to move forward”; the second is a “budget point of order”. Each of these must receive 60 votes before the final vote can be held.In short, this is going to be a busy week, and you and I have to get to work NOW.

1. Call and Fax the Fence-Sitters

Our petitions have been very successful, but with three votes to win in the next week, there’s not much time left for that. We need everyone to put maximum pressure on the fence-sitters, to let them know we mean business. At this late date, that means calls and faxes: if we ring their phones off the hook — especially in an election year — they’ll know what they need to do.

For a list of the eight Senators we have to work on — with their phone and fax numbers — click here:


Also, if you don’t have time to call or fax them yourself, we have set up a system through TheVanguard.Org to do it for you. It costs a little bit — $6.18 — so we can pay our bills, but that’s nothing compared to what’s at stake, and we’ll make sure everyone gets your message. All you have to do is fill out the form and pay.


But don’t stop there. There’s more:

2. Tell Your Friends

Don’t spam anybody of course, but we need you to tell your friends and get them involved.

Forward this email to as many of your friends as you think might help. With three votes to win in just one week, there’s not a moment to waste, and we need everybody now.

I know we've all been pretty bummed about the Republicans in Congress lately, but you should notice this: they came through on extending the tax cuts this month, and they’re coming through on the Death Tax too. When you see our list of fence-sitters, you’ll see they’re all Democrats. The only Republican we’re “working on” is perennial disappointment Mike DeWine (R-OH), and he’s probably with us on this. The truth is, after a rough year and a half, our guys are really coming through, in no small part because YOU came through first, uniting through TheVanguard.Org and other groups to “encourage” them. It shows what we can do when we pull together. It also shows how radically worse America would be with the Democrats in charge.

Now, let's go finish this. 2006 can still be a big year for America. Let's make it happen.

Thanks for all you do,- Rod, Sherri, Shawn and all TheVanguard.Org team

P.S. No kidding: the faxes are crucial. We won the tax cut fight by acting: we’ll win the Death Tax fight the same way. Pitch in with me, and tell your friends too.