June 2002 Report
Oct 2003 | Jul 2003 || Apr 2002 | Mar 2002 | Feb 2002

Dear Progressive Portal user:

With your participation and support, we continue to add new action campaigns and resources to Progressive Portal. We recently launched a new letter calling for ending racial discrimination in welfare programs -- details are below. We've been able to keep going because 27 new Day Sponsors signed up after our last update. If 90 more Day Sponsors sign up in the next couple of months, we'll be able to keep Progressive Portal going. Below is a report on the new action campaign and other materials we've added in recent days, as well as a new way you can help keep us going. As always, I welcome your comments.

Take Action for Welfare Reform!

In partnership with the Center for Third World Organizing and its Grass Roots Organizing for Welfare Leadership (GROWL) coalition, we've recently launched a new letter campaign calling for legislative reforms to help eliminate racism in the allocation of welfare benefits. Already, more than 9,000 letters have been sent by GROWL participants, and now we're asking Progressive Portal's long-time users to chime in.

Normally, it's best to write just to the Senators representing your state. In this case, however, staff members for the recipients have told me that our letters from around the country ARE making a significant impact, since these Senators are national leaders and/or members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, so they care about public opinion throughout the country.

Please visit the letter-writing page now and send your letter:

You can also download a flyer to print and post in your area, to get more people participating in this campaign:

If you want more information, links and a recommended book are listed at:

(You can buy the book from a local, independent bookseller by clicking the link on our links page, and a portion of your sale will benefit Progressive Portal.)

Thanks to Michael Sullivan for extensive work on this campaign, as well as our Middle East campaign.

Help Ensure Our Survival:
Sponsor One Day (4,200 Letters)
Or One-Half Day (2,400 Letters)

In our last update, we reported that we were seeking 30 people to become Day Sponsors in 30 days. We're pleased to report that we received pledges and donations equivalent to 27 Day Sponsorships.

Progressive Portal has been operating with funds lent by its publisher (that would be me). That account is becoming empty. In order to keep going at a minimal level, we require 120 Day Sponsors or equivalent donations. We now estimate that we can keep going for about 10 more weeks with current funds and pledges.

Sponsoring a day of Progressive Portal involves pledging $32.50 per month. Some people have told us they'd like to sponsor, but cannot afford to cover a whole day, so we're now offering a HALF-DAY sponsorship. For a pledge of $16.25 per month, you can sponsor one-half day of Progressive Portal each year.

Since we launched on May 15, 2001, our users have sent more than 1,658,000 letters. That's nearly 4,200 letters per day. By sponsoring half a day, you enable progressive activists to send about 2,400 letters. How else could you make such an impact for $16.25 per month?

It takes just a minute to make your pledge:

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Middle East Peace: Links

We've added an extensive list of Web links regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including advocates of Palestinian rights, supporters of Israel, human rights groups, and Israeli newspapers (where there is much livelier debate than in most American media).
   http://www.progressiveportal.org/links/ (click "Middle East" in left column)

Israel Tries To Block Our Messages

Some of our letters about the Middle East -- about 50,000 -- were blocked by the Israeli government. After some testing, we found a way to deliver all of the messages. As of June 15, all 50,000 had been sent, with above-and-beyond support from our Web host, Brent Emerson at TechforPeople.net [now Electic Embers]. We encourage anyone seeking a progressive, low-cost Web host to check out http://www.electricembers.net -- and tell Brent we sent ya!

Hilarious Yet Damning: "Stupid White Men"

If you haven't yet gotten the book, cassette, or 2003 daily calendar from Michael Moore, you're missing out! This is a hilarious yet damning survey of political power in the U.S. today from the nation's premiere progressive critic/satirist.

Three benefits with one click: You get great reading/listening; you purchase from a local, independent bookseller in your area; and a portion of your purchase benefits Progressive Portal if you use the links shown below:

Spoken-Word Cassette:
2003 Daily Calendar:

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Computer Viruses Run Amok

In the past two months we've received 50 messages with computer viruses or worms (similar to viruses) attached. The majority of these were sent automatically by the virus/worm program itself, without the user knowing.

Because we don't use Windows and we maintain updated virus protection, no damage was done to our systems. But we worry about others: If we're getting this many viruses, so are our friends. Some of these viruses can do severe damage; the last thing we need is for progressive activists to be spending their time recovering from a virus disaster instead of working to improve the world.

Unfortunately, it can no longer be considered responsible to use the Internet without having virus-protection software on your computer and keeping it updated. And you cannot assume your computer isn't spreading viruses -- sometimes these operate in the background, invisible to the user. We strongly encourage you to get protection software and update your virus definitions frequently -- at least weekly, and ideally daily. (This can be an automated process that occurs while you sleep.) Your computer may have come with anti-virus software; check your documentation.

Click to obtain Norton Antivirus for Windows or Norton Antivirus for Macintosh or McAfee VirusScan for Windows.

(If you buy using the above links, Progressive Portal gets a share of the sale.)

Note: If you get an email message containing a "virus warning," DON'T forward it to others. Almost all of these are hoaxes, and sometimes they urge you to take actions (e.g., delete files) that damage your computer system. Information on how to verify a "virus warning" is on our virus page, cited above. You can search a list of known hoaxes at http://www.snopes2.com/info/search/search.htm, or the federal government's computer-hoax site at http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/.

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New Environmental Campaign Coming:
RSVP Within 30 Days

We're working on a new campaign to save a highly endangered sea mammal, the Japanese dugong (similar to a manatee). It will be our first international cooperative campaign, targeting both U.S. and Japanese officials, because both governments are responsible for the threat to this animal. Ironically, the dugong -- a symbol of peace to the Japanese people -- is threatened by U.S. military activity. There is a strong grassroots movement in Japan on this issue, but nothing here in the U.S., and no online letter-writing resource like Progressive Portal. Our participation, closely coordinated with Japanese environmentalists, is absolutely vital.

This is just one example of the unique campaigns Progressive Portal takes on, addressing issues that other activist groups have ignored but where we have a good chance of success.

When I think about issues like these where we can play an indispensable role, where nobody else is doing the job, I feel even more dedicated to keeping Progressive Portal online and active. So, once again, I must ask for your help before the bank account reaches zero.

Within the next 30 days, we need 30 more people to each sponsor one day of Progressive Portal, or 60 people to each sponsor one-half day. We'll need to do the same the next month, and the next. After that, our basic survival will be assured, and we can concentrate on expanding the types of resources we can offer (printed letters, phone actions, publicity kits, "salon"-style face-to-face gatherings).

If you have been thinking about sponsoring a day, please wait no longer. If $32.50 per month is too much, consider half a day. If $16.25 per month is not feasible, a one-time contribution in any amount will help.

You can also buy books online via a local, independent bookseller in your area, with a portion of the sale remitted to Progressive Portal; or you can purchase peace flags and other merchandise from us. All of these activities help keep us going.

Please respond now, while you have this letter in front of you and it's on your mind. If we get buried under a "stack" of other messages, our proven ability to prevail on progressive issues of concern will be at risk.

Sponsor a day or half a day, or make a one-time contribution:

Purchase flags, posters, sweatshirts:

Purchase books from an independent bookseller in your area (gift certificates, too):

Every bit helps. The response to date has proven that we can succeed, but we aren't there yet. Help ensure that a year from now, Progressive Portal will still be around, running 100 active campaigns on a range of important issues. Help us help you to save the planet.

Steve Freedkin

P.S. Are you wanting to sponsor a day or a half-day, but unsure you'll be able to keep it up for the entire next year? Of course, if your circumstances change you can cancel at any point. The important thing is to start right now, so we can get cracking on our next action campaign, to save the endangered Japanese dugong, a sea mammal that symbolizes peace. Government decisions are coming soon, so there is no time to wait. Please click now:

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