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Thanks for clicking on the latest NFTT installment, a dual-purpose diary!

What a great honor for me, to get a chance to do this. I want to thank all of you who've made NFTT into the positive force that it is. I had to miss last year's Netroots Nation, but will be there this year (look for me on the Organizing as a Healing Process: A Fresh Perspective on PTSD panel).

I'm looking forward to participating in NFTT physically this time.

But, since I couldn't be there in '08, it felt good to toss a few coins into the bucket.

Sure, it wasn't the same as having the chance to roll up my sleeves and get to work with everyone (I heard it was one of the more memorable goings-on at NN08, and I don't doubt it; kudos to everyone involved in fueling and propelling NFTT forward). Not everyone can make it in person.

But, being there in spirit and/or contribution is a nourishment for the soul -- and the goal, too.

So, please join in, in whatever way you can. Every little bit helps.

Now, follow me below the fold, for information on this year's NFTT efforts as well as a call to help make Stephen Colbert an honorary member of IAVA...if you dare! [wink]

Last month, the perennially self-important showbiz legend-in-his-own-mind Stephen Colbert went to Iraq at the behest of the USO, setting out to both entertain the troops and the folks back home by taping a week's worth of Colbert Report shows.

Dubbing his brief tour "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando," the Comedy Central comedian gained at least one fan for his efforts. Christina Everett, NY Daily News:

Colbert, 45, was a hit with the men and women of the armed services, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, who was a guest on Monday night’s episode. ...

One of the highlights of Colbert's trip was a video message from President Barack Obama ordering General Raymond Odierno to shave thehost's head in front of the audience of cheering troops. Since the comedian's trip to Iraq was successful, Rieckhoff posed the question: If Colbert made it to Iraq and back in one piece, would he deserve to be an honorary IAVA Member?

Currently, 14,553 people have signed on to the IAVA petition, less than the 25,000 needed to reach the goal, so there's still a ways to go before Colbert receives the honor.

What on earth has befallen The Colbert Nation? They need our help, gang.

After checking out his partnership with to raise funds for military children and viewing some of my favorite clips of Colbert's 'deployment' below, you make the call.

Should Stephen be so honored?

Stephen Strong: Army of Me Basic Training, Part I

Stephen Strong: Army of Me Basic Training, Part II

Stephen Gets His Hair Cut

Fallback Position: Air Force Thunderbirds


Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Our goal for Netroots For The Troops 2009 is $50,000.00 (cash or in-kind donations).


We realize that you would like to donate something tangible to go inside the packages that will be mailed to the troops.  Unfortunately, accepting in-kind donations from individuals is not practical in terms of storage and handling of the items.  The Pittsburgh Convention Center is a union shop so we have more stringent rules that need to be followed. Instead, we will only be accepting corporate donations or cash from YOU to purchase items for the care packages this year.

Here’s how YOU can help:

  1. Please contact TexDem or DonnaMarie if you know someone who might be helpful in securing the corporate in-kind donations.  To help you think of companies who could donate products, see below* for a list of potential items.  Put your thinking caps on and let us hear from you.  It takes time to get through the corporate processes so we need to hear from you ASAP!
  1. We are accepting cash from individuals and beg ask that you DONATE HERE to contribute to this worthy cause.  Your donation will enable us to purchase the things that we are unable to obtain through corporate donations, and will help to pay the costs of shipping them to our troops. This year your donations will be tax deductible, thanks to Netroots Nation and their partner Netroots Arts and Education Initiative, a California 501(c)3 corporation.
  1. Sign up for a diary!  Our goal is to post two diaries per day until NN09.  That’s a lot of diaries!  Don’t worry---we’ve made it easy for you.  We’ve got a template set up, and all you need to do is add a small introduction telling us why you are donating, sharing a story of someone you know who has served or is serving, or any other thing you want to share that might help motivate others to donate.  Please contact Donnamarie if you are interested in posting a diary.
  1. Do you know a service member who would like to receive a care package?  Email a request to: before July 31, 2009.

Please include all of the following information.  Unfortunately we will not be able to process any incomplete requests:
     Last name:
     First name:
     APO Address Line 1:
     APO Address Line 2:
     APO Address Zip:

  1. Write letters to be included in the packages!  Our own jlms qkw is collecting the letters and will print them out and bring them to Pittsburgh.  Just email your letter to her Look for more information from jlms qkw soon. If you need some ideas, rbutters wrote an excellent diary with tips on how to write letters to troops and why it’s so important to them.
  1. Help us assemble the packages in Pittsburgh. It's fun!  More information will be forthcoming for those of you who are going to be in Pittsburgh and would like to help there.
  1. Please consider joining the  NFTT FaceBook Group.    Invite your FaceBook and non-FaceBook friends.

*The following list contains some of the things we would like to include in the packages.  Please let us know if you know someone who might be helpful in securing these corporate in-kind donations.  (Please DO NOT send these items yourself!  We have no way to accept them.  Instead, your cash donation is the very best way to help make this happen on the ground in Pittsburgh.)

  • Baby wipes
  • Mechanix gloves
  • LED flashlights
  • Gel shoe insoles
  • Goop Cleaning Gel
  • Powdered energy drinks
  • Gel energy food packets
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Letters to the soldiers
  • More suggestions coming soon

Books for Soldiers
Soldiers love to receive books, but due once again to the logistics of collecting and storing them prior to NN09, books will not be included in the packages that NFTT will put together this year.   Other organizations are more specialized in the collection and distribution of books to Iraq and Afghanistan.  If you are interested in sending books, please consider checking out the Books for Soldiers Website.  It is run by DKos's very own StormBearand is a great resource for giving.

Important Note about Successful Online Donations

When you make your online donation, the screen indicates that you are donating to Netroots Nation.  This is the right screen!  Rest assured all donations WILL go to NFTT.  If you wish, feel free to use the comment area provided to note that your donation is intended for Netroots For The Troops.  It isn’t necessary to do this however, as this is the only fundraising activity being conducted for Netroots Nation at this time.  For further information about online donations, please read TexDem's diary on the subject.

Update 07/08/09
We have our first deep discount of a product. Our LED pinch-light flashlight. Princeton Tec, through Hit the Trail Wilderness Gear and Nature Goods, a hiking store in Newnan GA, are providing us a discount for the top of the line "Impulse".

If you need hiking gear, please support Robbie Hinley online via, Hit the Trail. Spread the word.

Originally posted to Ilona's Ramblings on Sun Jul 19, 2009 at 02:26 PM PDT.

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