Howie has always had his finger on the pulse of what's happening next. We're extremely lucky to have him working for us every day.
Something interesting came in the mailbox yesterday from Alan Grayson. We'd thought you might be interested in hearing what he has to say about our Howie Klein:
I was swapping e-mails with Blue America’s Howie Klein today, and the subject of a GOP Congressional seat in the Northeast came up. He knew both Democratic challengers. Knew all about them, in fact. And the same thing would be true of House candidates in the other 434 districts. Howie knows all about them, too.
There are people who actually are paid to know all about Congressional campaigns – Stu Rothenberg, Charlie Cook, Larry Sabato, etc. I’ve read their stuff. Howie knows more than they do.
But Howie doesn’t sell what he knows. Instead, he uses that knowledge to cultivate and nurture progressive candidates all over the country. Blue America will not be supporting those two challengers that Howie knows in the Northeast, because – because – they’re not blue. But other candidates are true blue, and those are the ones who get Howie’s help. The only ones. With Howie in charge, Blue America PAC is the manager of the Progressive Farm Team.
Go Progs! Give me a “P”! Etc.
You might think that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) might be doing this. Mais non, as the French would say. Despite having $100 million a year to spend, they don’t know what Howie knows. And for sure, they don’t care the way that Howie cares. Ever since the Rahm Emanuel regime, the DCCC has had a strong built-in bias against progressive candidates. And the DSCC? Don’t get me started. They can’t find their derriere with deux mains. Just look at their record last year.
So progressives really need Blue America PAC. Which is why you should help.
At an earlier time in his life, Howie Klein was the President of Warner Reprise records. He knows countless top performers (which is why he sometimes holds contests giving away great stuff like platinum records). He doesn’t have to work anymore. He helps progressives for one reason and one reason only: because he cares.
And if you contribute to Blue America PAC, you not only have Encyclopedia Howie working for you, but you also enlist the support of the pioneering blogger Digby, and John Amato of the website “Crooks and Liars” (dot-com, of course). Because they all share the Blue America dream of making America blue. Not purple. Blue.
Rhode Island's first congressional district, the eastern and northern parts of the state, including most of Providence, is an open seat this year because of the retirement of Patrick Kennedy. It's one of the safest Democratic districts in the country and McCain barely managed to scrape together a third of the vote. In 2008 Kennedy was re-elected with almost 70%. It's safe to say that whichever Democrat wins the September 14 primary will be the next Rhode Island congressman. There are 4 Democrats running: today's guest and the newest Blue America endorsee, state Rep. David Segal, Providence mayor David Cicilline, conservative businessman Anthony Gemma, and Bill Lynch, the Establishment candidate, a former Democratic Party state chairman and the brother of the state's Attorney General.
There are no actual John Barrows or Bobby Brights or Parker Griffiths among the Democrats. And although David Segal stands head and shoulders above the rest on every single policy issue without exception, the reason Blue America has decided to endorse in this race has more to do with his leadership potential. Everyone is always telling John and Digby and I that we need more Members like Alan Grayson in Congress. They don't grow on trees-- but we found one.
David Segal is one of us. He was elected to the Providence City Council in 2002 as a Green, and is now a lefty Democratic state Rep for Providence and East Providence. He has a very clear path to victory and he can win-- and if he does, he'll be among the strongest voices for progressives in the halls of the Capitol.
David's worked on the meat-and-potato issues: Jobs, the environment, housing, progressive taxes, all with success. He's successfully pushed for expanded renewable energy, more affordable housing, against predatory lending, and for foreclosure prevention measures.
But he's never shied away from the really controversial issues: He's been a vocal leader on criminal justice reform, standing up for the rights of immigrants and for gay rights, and has pushed as hard as one can from the state level against war spending. He's an ardent supporter of gay marriage, and was the sponsor of the last year's bill, which was passed over the Governor's veto, to allow gay partners to plan each other's funerals.
He's a co-sponsor of marijuana decriminalization, and just convinced the Governor-- after two years of vetoes-- to allow a bill to become law that ensures due process for people on probation.
He's sponsored the "Bring the Guard Home" legislation, and his first act on the City Council was to pass a resolution against the war in Iraq.
But, most importantly, he's an organizer at heart, who is committed to joining the Progressive Caucus-- and making it function better. Here's an excerpt from an interview with David Swanson:
"[I]n Rhode Island I've tried to develop alternative structures for legislators to lean on when the leadership makes such threats. I am the lead organizer for our progressive caucus. I founded a political action committee to support members of our progressive caucus so that if funding from sources dries up at leadership's request because something was done to offend them, that we would have at least some, some degree of money to fall back on to help fund our campaigns nonetheless. We funded ten, twelve races relatively modestly in the last cycle and hopefully we'll be able to do something in the forthcoming cycle."
Last week, many of us were disappointed as 148 Democrats, including Patrick Kennedy, joined Boehner, Cantor and 158 other Republicans to vote for more unjustifiable billions of dollars to throw down the Afghan sewer. The disgraceful supplemental demanded by the Military Industrial Complex passed 308-114, more Republicans voting for Obama's proposal than Democrats! Among the candidates running in RI-1, only David Segal came out publicly to say he would have voted NO.
I've been against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning. My first act on the Providence City Council in Providence was to sponsor an antiwar resolution in 2003, which of course was not going to end the war in its own right, but it was an opportunity for Providence to assert the negative impact of the war on the city’s ability to function-- to fund municipal services and education.
I don’t think there’s any indication that we’re preventing future terrorism by keeping our presence in Afghanistan right now. The CIA’s made it clear that the drone attacks there present a real risk of destabilizing the Pakistani government, which possesses nuclear armament and should be a grave concern to all of us.
I think that it’s unfortunate but it’s the case that our involvement in Afghanistan is effectively a quagmire right now; there is no neat and tidy way to get out and tie it all up in a bow wrap everything up and leave it neat and pristine and I think it’s time to recognize that and bring the troops home.
I am the only candidate in the Democratic primary for CD 1 in Rhode Island who has pledged that the only Afghanistan war funding I will approve is the funding necessary to safely and expeditiously bring our troops home.
That's the kind of straight forward answer we always look for from our candidates and it's part of the reason we endorsed Segal today, why we've asked him to join us below in the comments section for a chat and why we're asking you to dig deep and help him run his grassroots campaign, a campaign that accepts no corporate contributions. And it's also why Segal has also been endorsed by the PCCC, PDA, DFA, the
Rhode Island American Federation of Teachers & Healthcare Professionals and why we'll be hearing some interesting endorsements this week from other organizations that will comes as a bit of a shock to the Democratic Establishment.
It's too easy to dismiss John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, David Vitter, Virginia Foxx and even Rand Paul and Sharron Angle as merely a gaggle of crackpots and misanthropes unworthy of being taken seriously. All of them have won Republican primaries and some have won general elections. Inasmuch as they can implement their ideas and the agendas of the corporate CEOs and lobbyists who finance their careers, they're actually dangerous to our families and our country.
Two progressive public interest political action committees, Blue America and Americans For America, have teamed up to help expose some of the real dangers behind these characters. Today we're releasing our first video: Think Crazy. Digby's is writing about Rand Paul and John is taking on his gal Sarah. I got stuck with Boehner...read on
Yes, I got Drill-Baby-Drill Palin. Sarah Palin headlines one of our new 'Republican Apps' called 'Think Crazy.' Watch the video and you'll understand the title.
Sarah Palin fits the bill perfectly. She even tries to blame environmentalists for the BP spill while screaming to all her Facebook fanboys that she still wants to "Drill, Baby, Drill." Yes, Think Crazy.
Overall it's pretty clear that the GOP is the party of Hooverville. They dug the ditch that threw us in the gutter just as Hoover did back in the day and then they turn to Hoover economics as an actual principle to run on for America's future. It's amazing. I keep saying that at times like these, you have to look to the past to see the future. Yes, there have been similar quotes from much smarter people than I, but the truth of Hooverville is undeniable.
American politics has an almost built-in dynamic wherein things just keep repeating. Movement conservatism has all but destroyed the political process in American politics and they have almost completely purged their party of any serious-minded people who are looking to help American families. Their allegiance is to a radical ideology that cares nothing but for blind obedience to the law of the free markets. Too many journalists try to characterize the Tea Party crazies as only a handful of nuts in their bowl of peanuts, but just look at who is representing their beliefs.
Never say that Ryan or Hoover didn't want to end the economic crises they lived through. But they both believed that government should have balanced budgets with low taxes above all else, and that the people needed "tough love" or they would decline into indolence. They thought that businesses always knew best and they would voluntarily "do the right thing" (although I would argue that Ryan actually believes they cannot possibly do the wrong thing.) Hoover scrambled after it was too late to put some more rational policies in place, but not in time to halt the Great Depression of his own political ignominy.
The difference is that Hoover didn't know any better and didn't have the lesson of the Great Depression to fall back on and Ryan does. He apparently missed class that day (or made it up by reading Amity Schlaes puerile garbage for extra credit.) And anyone who knows better can do nothing but scream at the TV --- "he's actually trying to put us into another Great Depression" --- when they hear him say these things, as I just did.
Think John Boehner. Think Rand Paul. Think Sarah Palin. Think the GOP of 2010. Yes, Think Crazy.
Howie's writing up the crazy TanMan John Boehner, Amato's got the kooky Grizzly Mama and I've got my favorite nutty Li'l Libertarian Teabagger, Rand Paul.
What can I say about Rand? That he's a fringy wingnut who calls himself a libertarian but believes women's bodies are owned by the state? That he's a self-accredited ophthalmologist who rails against socialist Medicare while taking millions of dollars from the program (because doctors have a "right" to make a comfortable living)? That he's a misinformed misanthrope who thinks that the Americans with Disabilities act requires two story buildings to install elevators and that unemployed workers need "tough love" rather than unemployment insurance? That he's a deluded (or mendacious) fool who thinks that civil rights for African Americans could have been achieved through voluntary efforts on the part of bigots? Well, he's all those things and more...read on
Last Friday Blue America was really hopeful, even optimistic, that we'd raise the $5,000 necessary to put up a BeatBoehner billboard on the I-75 near Boehner's gated golfing community in West Chester in the very southern part of Ohio's 8th CD. Digby, John and I put up some posts and our friends at People For the American Way and the AFL-CIO did the same and generously offered to match whatever we could raise towards that goal. We were jazzed and we were sure we could pull it off. And did we YOU ever!
In fact, we've raised over $16,000, ordered our first billboard and reserved the space for a second one. The first one will be up in just over a week. It's for 119 Times, the design that got the most votes. As of this writing there were 187 votes for that one (and $3,214.00 donated towards it). The second and third place is a seesaw race between Par For The Course and (143 votes and $2,614.00) and I'd Rather Be Golfing (141 votes and $2,465). We're going to close the voting down tonight, so if you want to get in one last vote for second place, please have a go. And remember, whether you donate $1.00 or $500.00, it counts as one vote. Vote by clicking on the image you want to see us put up as a giant billboard in western Ohio:
As for Boehner... don't take his heartless agenda-- limitless war, limitless tax breaks for the wealthy, no breaks for the middle class-- personally. His sister, Lynda Meineke, says Boehner has two brothers and two brothers-in-law back in Ohio who are out of work. He told reporters after he voted against unemployment insurance last week that three brothers had lost jobs during the recession and he wasn't sure which if any had found work. He did remember that one is named Bob Boehner though.
When Arizona's accidental governor signed SB 1070 into law in April, Digby, John and I put up a new Blue America page, One America, dedicated to helping Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) fight back against Know Nothings and teabaggers in his state. Yesterday Congressman Grijalva met with President Obama at the White House to discuss comprehensive immigration reform and we invited him to join us for a chat below in the comments section.
Grijalva, as we explained at One America, is the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a booming voice on behalf of working families on every issue that comes before Congress. He helped lead the fight against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped lead the fight against Wall Street predators and helped lead the fight for equitable health care. And he was the first to step up and speak out, at great political -- and personal -- peril, against SB 1070, urging the governor to veto what is clearly an unconstitutional bill. He even called for a boycott and pointed out that "one of the first conventions to cancel was Martin Luther King's fraternity, which would have brought up to 5,000 people. It was going to have a convention in Phoenix and within a few days of the governor's signature they canceled and moved it to Las Vegas. That should have been a harbinger of things to come for the governor and the state legislature... I find it ironic that the resort industry and Chamber of Commerce are so concerned about the loss of business, but have yet to state publicly how they feel about the law.”
There's a pattern here. 1070 was the peak of a crescendo that's been building in the state for the last five or six years.
...At some point soon one out of every three kids coming into kindergarten is going to be Latino in this state. This growing population is seen as a threat. Whether it's Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, you name it, it's just feeding and feeding. Underlying the issue of immigration here in Arizona and in other parts has been the issue of race. What 1070 did, both in Arizona and on a national level, is put the question of race front and center in the debate. It was always there, but now it's out in the open.
...We're going to look for opportunities to encourage people to come to this state, but to come with a sense that they're part of the opposition to this law, as opposed to blindly ignoring the fact that we have this law in this state. We're looking at a political change that is probably a decade away. So in the meantime what becomes the avenue to undo this law is the courts.
This year, because of his forthright stand against SB 1070, the GOP has targeted Rep. Grijalva and they and their front groups have been pouring a great deal of money into the election. This is anything but a safe seat. Although Pima and Santa Cruz counties went for Obama in 2008, Pinal, Maricopa, Yuma and La Paz counties all voted Republican. Rep. Grijalva has been popular in the district but the Republicans have their divisive engine on overdrive. Our guy doesn't whore himself out to lobbyists and corporate PACs. Digby, John and I want to ask you to consider joining us in doing what you can to retain a true tribune for ordinary working American families. That's why Raúl Grijalva is the only Member of Congress aside from Alan Grayson with his own personal Blue America page! Today marks the first of a monthly series Crooks and Liars will host with Congressman Grijalva. Help us make him feel at home.
Alan Grayson is one of Blue America's oldest friends, and someone we are always so proud to be able to say we had even a small part in electing. The Orlando area freshman is unquestionably the most inspiring and beloved Democrat in the entire House. I'm not exaggerating. He's a courageous straight shooter willing to laugh in the face of clownish bullies like Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor. Freshmen don't have much power but there is no Democrat anywhere who the GOP would like to take out more than Grayson. He's the one who always holds up the mirror and makes them-- and their corporate paymasters-- stare directly into their own vapid, lifeless eyes.
John and Digby and I couldn't be happier to bring Alan back for another Blue America round here at Crooks and Liars. When we polled our PAC's donors for who our first incumbent endorsee for 2010 should be, it wasn't even close. In fact, Alan is the only incumbent on the Blue America endorsement list so far this year. Tomorrow is Alan's money bomb day. Let's make sure part of the money that propels him to a second term is money that comes from his oldest and most loyal friends in the blogosphere and not just from Johnny-come-latelies like Howard Dean (above) and Dennis Kucinich (below).
Now let's repair to the comments section below and find out why anyone would want to have someone as entertaining as Eric Cantor removed from the public forum and, more important, what progressives can do about Afghanistan and about turning Obama's first step in healthcare reform into the long distance run it needs to be. And, please, let's make Alan's money bomb something that old line pols like Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel take notice of. Contribute here.
Rachel Maddow highlighted our Blue America ad which calls out Blanche Lincoln over her stance on the public option.
A Bad Day to Oppose Health Reform
Rachel Maddow: And of course there has been a barrage of ads taken out by progressive groups targeting conservative and potentially vulnerable Democrats like Senator Blanche Lincoln and Congressman Mike Ross both of Arkansas both of who have said they oppose a public health insurance option. A brand new ad produced by the political action committee Blue America just started running last night.
...Ad: We can barely pay our bills and Blanche Lincoln is worried about the insurance companies?...
Maddow: This is what a full court press for health reform looks like. And the terrible, no good, very bad day for the anti-health reform forces today is what it looks when a full court press is working.
There is a full-court press going on and I want to thank the blogosphere for not sitting back and letting Conservadems dictate the terms of the debate.
We don't know what Lincoln's going to do. She, along with Conrad and Baucus, are the only Democrats to vote against all forms of the PO in the Finance Committee. It's hard to imagine that she's going to vote for a plan that contains one on the floor. But there is no reason that she shouldn't allow her party to have an up or down vote even if she votes no in the end. It's all about cloture at this point and we need to keep the pressure on.
Last night two of the blogosphere's brightest lights posted on the difficulties Obama is facing when it comes to turning around U.S. Afghanistan policy. Digby, who recounted a 1964 conversation between McGeorge Bundy and President Lyndon Johnson about the futility of American policies in Vietnam, seemed aghast that "Democratic strategist" Donna Brazile was on CNN yesterday seemingly reading some leftover talking points from Karen Hughes about the need to stay in Afghanistan and "get the job done." Then last night Daily Kos' most prescient Afghanistan blogger, Meteor Blades, highlighted the controversy over Andrea Mitchell's report on the 500,000 troops needed to do the job in Afghanistan.
But as Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), our No Means No guest today, asked me this morning, "What is the job?"
Blue America's friendship with Eric Massa goes back to the very beginning of our PAC and he was one of the first candidates we ever supported. Ultimately it was his character that moved us to endorse him, although his championing of issues impacting the real lives of working families (like "fair trade" over so-called "free trade"), his dogged support of single-payer health care, and his spot-on analysis of the war in Iraq based on experience as a Naval officer are what first drew us to him. He came close in 2006 and he triumphed in 2008-- in one of the only districts in New York that Obama didn't win! Obama tool 48% in NY-29 while Massa scooped up 51% against a multimillionaire incumbent and Bush tool.
In June, Eric was one of only 32 Democrats to vote against the supplemental war budget -- of the 90 who had pledged to vote no. It was an incredibly courageous political act, particularly in a district with a daunting R+5.48 PVI (one of the most Republican districts in the country represented by a progressive Democrat). This morning Eric told me in no uncertain terms that he would "continue to vote against any supplemental."
We're not going to fund any wars in a way that no one knows about. The Republicans gave the wealthiest Americans the largest tax cut in history and then launched two wars without any idea of how to pay for them. It was the most fiscally irresponsible action they could take-- and they took it.
Eric is fired up and full of fight, as always. He loves his job and told me he's absolutely committed to it. "I'm in the right place in my life doing the right job for the right congressional district. And I'm just getting started." Right now, you hear the lifelong military man in him when he says he's very supportive of what he calls "the president's strategic pause to formulate whatever strategy his administration will implement (in Afghanistan)."
For instance, is this about fighting the Taliban or fighting al-Qaeda -- two distinctly different groups -- or is it about creating a democracy, or is it about protecting the Afghan people? These are very different missions that require very different resources. And until we know what we're doing, we cannot begin to get it done. The first thing a military officer asks is 'What is the mission?' And as of right now, that is a very legitimate question."
As progressives and men and women of common sense, we should demand a strategy that turns the destiny of Afghanistan over to the Afghans so we can get out of there as soon as possible. If the condition of our departure is creating a Jeffersonian democracy, then we are on a fool's errand.
Eric is joining us now (in the comments section) as part of our ongoing series on Afghanistan policy at Crooks and Liars. As MoveOn mentioned in the mailing this morning, "U.S. policy in Afghanistan has reached a pivotal moment. President Obama is poised to make a critical decision about the Afghanistan war in the next few weeks. And there's a big debate happening right now about what to do. Pro-war advocates both inside and outside the administration -- including John McCain and Joe Lieberman -- are calling for a big escalation. The general in charge of Afghanistan is expected to request tens of thousands more troops, and that may just be the beginning. They're cranking up the pressure for an immediate surge."
Eric Massa is in a unique position to help us figure out a progressive strategy for dealing with this dilemma. He's adamant that if the President asks for more funds for the war, he do it through a normal budgetary process that includes a "clearly articulated strategy with an end game. The Republicans say they're all about fiscal responsibility? Then they should agree we should apply those concepts to wars."
Please take a look at Blue America's No Means No! page and consider donating to Eric and any or all of the 32 other Democrats who have already done the right thing by voting no on the supplemental budget 3 months ago and who we will be counting on to help end the occupation of Afghanistan in the coming months.
The progressive blogosphere is rocking D.C., and we really want to thank our readers for their support in our drive to reward the supporters of the public option. Progressives in Congress are learning what it means to do the right thing by your actions. Please donate if you can.
This NYT story indicates that it comes as some sort of surprise that progressives have just suddenly decided to hang tough. That's just not true. I first wrote about this back on June 3rd:
Darcy mentioned to me that this week is an important moment in the health care debate, in which it might be helpful for members of the netroots to weigh in with a little positive reinforcement to the progressive caucus, which has been holding the leadership's feet to the fire on the public plan option. Everyone pretty much agrees that if that goes down, health care reform will be a meaningless shell game.
I was somewhat surprised frankly (in a good way)to hear the the progressives caucus had pulled together on this one and was actually wielding some clout. They represent over 70 m4mbers of congress, which is a big bloc of votes. If they can stick together on the public plan, it will happen.
If one of these House members is your Congressional Representative, all the better. But contact one or more of them even if they aren't. They need to know that people other than lobbyists and big donors are engaged and informed on this and that we know what's at stake with the public plan.
The Village seems to have just awakened to the fact that the progressives are holding the line, but they've been organized around this for months.
Digby is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to matters of intelligence. There are so many people that have helped in "holding the line," but if you read the MSM you'd never know it.
Blue America, CPC, PCCC, DFA, C&L, Hullabaloo, Howie Klein, KOS, the Courage Campaign, Calitics and FDL -- to name a few -- have been targeting the House and the Baucus Dogs in the Senate for months now. Kudos to all. You know that the Ben Nelsons are dying to get their grubby hands on some of our money, but they'd have to act like real Democrats for that to happen.
Blue America wants to thank all the Progressives and Democrats for standing up for the "public option." We've already raised over 30K. They need to be made aware that we also appreciate the good things that they do too.
Darcy Burner made this point at Netroots Nation on a great panel discussion about what we've been doing on the health care front regarding our organizing efforts (and in her keynote speech as well). I heard from several members of Congress at NN how hard it's been in their freaked out town halls, but they believe in the "public option" and will not buckle from misinformation and people intent on killing health care reform. Progressives in Congress fired back at the White House and the Senate standing up and saying it's the public option, baby!
The Netroots has been stepping up and pushing back hard against the ConservaDems plan to support the health care industry over American families. It's a sad choice they are making, but looking at the campaign donations they receive from the Health Care Industrial Complex, it's not surprising. It should be and the media has finally started to highlight all the money the Baucus Dogs have been taking from them.
I was on a panel at Netroots Nation with Congressman Eric Massa. He was adamant about the public plan. There was no need to cajole him into supporting it, he had been there all along. He is also in a very tough swing district and his town halls have been horrific. It didn't move him, he stood and fought with his own constituents and came out even more committed because he realized just how important it was going to be to the very people who were so sadly misinformed.
That's called leadership and it deserves our support and thanks. So, Blue America thought it would be a good idea to do a little positive reinforcement and thank those who have gone out on a limb on this and are standing fast. 65 members of congress have pledged that they will not vote for a bill that does not contain a public plan and we would like to reward them.
You may remember that a few days ago I included all the names and phone numbers in a post and I want to encourage all DWT readers to call up congressmembers on the list and thank them. Thereisnospoon at Daily Kos explained the thinking behind whole campaign this morning. And Blue America is hosting an ActBlue page for people who would like to give any of the congressmembers who are standing up for the public option a dollar or two.
The battle is not won, not by a long shot. Howie Klein and the Blue America team put together an Act Blue donation page that includes the 60 members who signed the letter, plus five more that our whip count effort have secured promises from that they will not vote for any bill that does not have a robust public plan. Thereisnospoon and Hekebolos over at Daily Kos are also on board.
Democracy for America is letting these members know that they have the support of their constituents, and Howard Dean -- well, he's been on fire. Eat it, Rahm.
Meanwhile, HCAN is going to spend $650,000 -- attacking Republicans. If grassroots efforts weren't under way to fight the real battle here, and we had to rely on the big moneyed interests, the public plan would have been lost a long time ago.
As everyone knows, we've been pretty upset at the Obama administration and some members of Congress over the health insurance reform debate. On Sunday, it looked like the Obama administration was going to drop the public option -- a provision that Obama has repeatedly told us is critical to reining in the insurance industry. That's proven to be unacceptable to many members of Congress. Since Sunday, a number of progressive members of Congress have stood up and basically said, ENOUGH!
Those members need to hear a big thank you from the progressive community. We need to strengthen their resolve. And, while we're quick to call out bad actions, we need to reward good behavior.