Wednesday, March 1, 2006



The Roots Project is an effort by a loose group of bloggers, including VichyDems, Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, John Amato of Crooks & Liars, and Digby of Hullabaloo, to work with local bloggers in each state to mobilize local grassroots/netroots/”netboots” efforts.

Today we’re rolling out an ambitious plan: to turn out both national and in-state activists, for two states (Nebraska and Maine), on two fronts (calls to senators and letters to editors). Here’s the skinny:

The Issue: Warrantless NSA surveillance of American citizens. More specifically, calling for the Senate Judiciary Committee -- which punted the ball last time (more here, here, and especially here) -- to commit to holding hearings into the NSA’s wiretap program.

The Timeline: The Senate Intelligence Committee meets next on March 7. We’re hammering them between now and then, including at night and over the weekend.

The Senators: The two key senators here are Olympia Snowe in Maine and Chuck Hagel in Nebraska. Both are moderate Republicans who have expressed unease with the NSA program. Both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee (whose chair, Pat Roberts, we targeted in our Kansas effort last week). While we’re at it, we’ll also tell those states’ other two senators, Ben Nelson (D-NB) and Susan Collins (R-ME), that we want Congressional oversight into the NSA issue. They don’t sit on the key Intelligence Committee, but still have important voices in the overall discussion.

The Media: Contact information for the key newspapers in both states is included in today’s Game Plan. We want them flooded with enough Letters to the Editor that at least a few get through, hopefully stimulating more public debate and possibly influencing the policymakers’ decisions. At the very least, we won’t allow the issue to be ignored, the way the White House wants.

The Goal: Congressional hearings into the NSA issue -- and ones that are as broad as possible, NOT merely to amend the law to retroactively make illegal activity legal.

A little detail: the White House wants to either ignore the whole mess or, if they can’t, to get the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) amended to, as Glenn Greenwald put it, “simply exempt the whole warrantless NSA program from the requirements of FISA.” White House lackey Mike DeWine (R-OH) is pushing for the “make Bush King” approach. We have to make clear that we reject the DeWine approach: WE WANT REAL HEARINGS INTO THE NSA PROGRAM, AND REAL OVERSIGHT BY CONGRESS TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS.

Get more background info on the NSA fiasco on Wikipedia, then read Jane and Glenn and John for talking points and more detailed analysis of the issues.

Who Can Participate? What’s the Game Plan?
This is a national issue, so this is a national Game Plan. But we’re breaking you into teams:

Residents of Maine or Nebraska, or who have roots there: Politicians pay a lot more attention to in-state feedback, since what they really care about is votes. So residents of those states get to do the whole shebang. We want you writing letters to the editor using your local addresses; those are much more likely to get published. We also want you emailing, webmailing, faxing, and telephoning your senators, at BOTH their DC AND DISTRICT (in-state) offices. Be sure to tell the staffers what your connection to the state is.

Everyone else: Feel free to write letters to the editor if you have some reason to believe they might get published, and to call the key senators during business hours if that’s more convenient for you. But if the phones are very busy during the daytime, that might mean that in-state callers aren’t able to get through. In that case, please consider making your calls at night and over the weekend, and leaving voicemails. Why? (1) Local callers will have an easier time getting through during business hours, when they can engage with staffers on a personal level, and (2) There’s no one there on the weekends to ask where you live, so you don’t have to tell them in your message. But don’t overstress on “who calls when.” The important thing is to make the calls.

That’s it! All the contact info you’ll ever need is below; and to make it even easier, I’m proving internal links to help you jump to the right spot:

Maine Senators’ contact info

Nebraska Senators’ contact info

Maine newspapers and media outlets

Nebraska newspapers and media outlets

Go to! Have fun! Take back your country!



Susan Collins (R-ME) (Chair, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA)
Senator Collins webmail

Senator Collins Telephone numbers:
Washington, D.C. Office (202) 224-2523
Augusta Office (207) 622-8414
Bangor (207) 945-0417
Biddeford (207) 283-1101
Caribou (207) 493-7873
Lewiston (207) 784-6969
Portland (207) 780-3575

Senator Collins Fax Numbers:
Washington, D.C. Office (202) 224-2693
Augusta Office (207) 622-5884
Bangor (207) 990-4604
Biddeford (207) 283-4054
Caribou (207) 493-7810
Lewiston (207) 782-6475
Portland (207) 828-0380

Olympia Snowe (R-ME) (Member, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Snowe previously indicated she supported amending FISA in some fashion, but voted with Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) to adjourn the committee without considering a motion to hold NSA hearings.)
Senator Snowe webmail

Senator Snowe Telephone Numbers:
Washington, D.C. Office (202) 224-5344
Washington, D.C. toll-free from Maine (800) 432-1599
Auburn office (207) 786-2451
Augusta (207) 622-8292
Bangor (207) 945-0432
Biddeford office (207) 282-4144
Portland office (207) 874-0883
Presque Isle office (207) 764-5124

Senator Snowe Fax Numbers:
Washington, D.C. (202) 224-1946
Auburn office (207) 782-1438
Augusta (207) 622-7295
Bangor (207) 941-9525
Biddeford (207) 284-2358
Portland (207) 874-7631
Presque Isle (207) 764-6420

Chuck Hagel (R-NB) (Member, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.)
Senator Hagel Webmail

Senator Hagel Telephone Numbers:
Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4224
Omaha office (402) 758-8981
Lincoln (402) 476-1400
Kearney (308) 236-7602
Scottsbluff (308) 632-6032

Senator Hagel Fax Numbers:
Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5213
Omaha office (402) 758-9165
Lincoln (402) 476-0605
Kearney (308) 236-7473
Scottsbluff Office (308) 632-6295

Ben Nelson (D-NB) (Not on any relevant committees at this time; simply register your gneral desire to see hearings and oversight of the NSA program. FWIW, Sen. Nelson is a conservative Democrat who voted with the Republicans last year than he did with the Democrats, and who voted not only for cloture, but for Samuel Alito's nomination itself. "Party loyalty" approaches won't work with him. Appeals to the principle of checks and balances and to the dangers of a completely unsupervised Executive, however, might.)
Senator Nelson webmail

Senator Nelson Telephone Numbers:
Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6551
Omaha (402) 391-3411
Lincoln (402) 441-4600
Chadron (308) 430-0587
Scottsbluff (308) 631-7614

Senator Nelson Fax Numbers:
Washington, D.C. (202) 228-0012
Omaha (402) 391-4725
Lincoln (402) 476-8753

Bangor Daily News
PO Box 1329
491 Main Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Guidelines : Max 300 words. Mailing address, town of residence and telephone number required.
How to Submit : Snail mail to the above address, or
Email to


Lewiston Sun Journal
Letters to the Editor
Sun Journal
P.O. Box 4400
Lewiston, ME
Guidelines : Max 250 words. Name and telephone number required; I suggest including address as well, to establish local connection.
How to Submit : Snail mail to the above address, or
Fax to 207-777-3436, or
Letters webform, or
Email to


Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier (weekly)
P.O.Box 1894
Biddeford, ME 04005
Guidelines: None given; I recommend including name, address and telephone to establish local connection.
How to Submit: Snail mail to the above address, or
Fax to 207-282-4339, or
Email to
Due Monday 5 pm


York County Journal Tribune
Guidelines: None given; I recommend including name, address and telephone to establish local connection.
How to Submit :
Fax to 207-282-3138, or
Email City Editor Nick Cowenhoven at


Portland Press Herald
P.O. Box 1460
Portland, ME 04104-5009
Guidelines : Max 250 words. Name, address and home and work phone numbers. Readers will be contacted before their letters are published.
How to submit : Snail mail to address above, or
Fax to (207) 828-8154, or
Email to


The Republican Journal (no, I’m not kidding! Give it a shot!)
Guidelines: None given; I recommend including name, address and telephone to establish local connection.
How to submit :
Email Editor Daniel Dunkle at


The Times Record
Box 10
Brunswick, ME 04011
Guidelines : 350 words max. I recommend including name, address and telephone to establish local connection.
How to Submit : Snail mail to the above address, or
Fax to (207) 721-3151, or

The Omaha World-Herald
1334 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE 68102
(402) 444-1187
Guidelines: Max 200 words; first and last name, address and telephone number required (address and phone not printed)
How to submit: Snail mail at above address, or
By fax to 402-345-4547, or
By email to


Lincoln Journal Star
P.O. Box 81689
Lincoln, NE 68501
Guidelines: Max 250 words; must include name, address and both daytime and evening phone numbers for verification purposes
How to submit: Snail mail at above address, or
Letters Webform, or
By fax to (402) 473-7291


NEW: The website of a Republican Congressman has very kindly assembled fax and email letter submission info for numerous Nebraska papers of various sizes in one place; it's worth a "click-through": Nebraska Newspaper Links

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's just a nitpick, but...Nebraska's postal abbreviation is "NE," not "NB," which is New Brunswick.