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Monday, December 15, 2008

Where was THIS John McCain?

That is a question that has been asked a bit since the election. Sen. John McCain has given a new interview that shows the McCain we wish would have been present during the 2008 presidential campaign. In this interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday he doesn't jump on the RNC bandwagon of trying to find fault with every.single.thing president-elect Barak Obama is doing (or not doing)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mike Duncan, has been highly critical of the way President- elect Obama has dealt with this. He's had a statement every single day, saying that the Obama team should reveal all contacts they've had with Governor Blagojevich. He says that Obama's promise of transparency to the American people is now being tested. Do you agree with that?

MCCAIN: I think that the Obama campaign should and will give all information necessary. You know, in all due respect to the Republican National Committee and anybody -- right now, I think we should try to be working constructively together, not only on an issue such as this, but on the economy stimulus package, reforms that are necessary. And so, I don't know all the details of the relationship between President-elect Obama's campaign or his people and the governor of Illinois, but I have some confidence that all the information will come out. It always does, it seems to me.

You should check out the RNC website to what I'm talking about- it's like the campaign never ended and they didn't learn a darn thing about what American's really want out of our leaders. Hey, RNC, in case YOU missed it- we're tired of the divisive smears! Why not focus on what is positive about YOUR cause rather than smearing the president elect. THAT would be a change I would believe in!

You should also check out this incredible article from the November 17th(published edition) Newsweek. it is incredibly long but well worth the read.
This is... a seven-part in-depth look behind the scenes of the campaign, consisting of exclusive behind-the-scenes reporting from the McCain and Obama camps assembled by a special team of reporters who were granted year-long access on the condition that none of their findings appear until after Election Day.

You really get a great understanding of how Obama won this election and much of what helped him along were the internal conflicts of the Clinton and McCain campaigns. You get a sense that Hillary Clinton really questioned whether she wanted to be president at all. And John McCain- perhaps he wasn't *really* all that much of a race baiter- he just trusted the wrong people with his message.
As for Sarah Palin - really no surprises there, just confirmation of the obvious- what you see is what you get.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ok, break is over.

Yes I was on a break after the election. Then came Thanksgiving and then a short vacation. But now I'm back. And since Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided to go and try to sell Barak Obama's senate seat and get arrested by the feds, I'll have lots to discuss.
But I'll come back to that later. I have tea to drink...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekly Video Addresses on

...also available on YouTube.

The first one-

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Note to GOP: It's the rest of the country, stupid.

Republican governors are gathered in Miami this week for the annual Republican Governors Association meeting. According to this story on Morning Edition of WBEZ it sounds like they are really thinking hard about how to rebuild their party and make a comeback. Their insights are telling as to just how out of touch the party has been all along.

From Louisiana's Bobby Jindal:

"When the Republican Party is no longer the party of fiscal conservatism, when we start defending spending that we would have rightfully criticized on the other side — whether it's earmarks or growth in discretionary spending or new programs that we never would have tolerated if the other side had proposed it — then clearly, I would argue that we've lost our way, we've lost the reason that we stand as fiscal conservatives."

Maybe having Governor Sarah Palin on the 2008 ticket as a fiscal conservative when really she asked for more government money per person than any other state in the form of the dreaded earmarks was not such a good way to get this message across. I mean, you can call her a fiscal conservative all you like, her record says otherwise. Unless you count all that money she saved the taxpayers by having rape victims in the state of Alaska pay for their own rape kits-ok, ok their insurance paid for the kits. Seeing as Alaska has one of the highest rape counts in the country that's a lot of dough Sarah saved. Go Sarah!

And I think this observation by Republican consultant and pollster Frank Luntz is telling:

Young people increasingly communicate and get their information over the internet. The Obama campaign understood that and compiled a list of 10 million names and e-mail addresses.

"It makes him and his supporters the most powerful special interest group in all of America," Luntz said of the president-elect. "And 3 million of those people have donated to the campaign. We've never had that situation where so many people are so active and so engaged, and they can be reached by the stroke of a key."

So American voters are now a 'special interest' group? Good to know! And yeah, that internet thingy- it's quite a unifier. Maybe the term 'world wide web' should have clued you in about 10-15 years ago.

And here's an epiphany from Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman:

That paradigm shift is the narrative Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says Republicans must embrace. Otherwise, he says, a party that has trouble reaching Hispanics, women, and African-Americans is doomed to permanent minority status.

"And if we're not able to identify the changing demographic in this country and the needs of that changing demographic in terms of the issues that really matter — education and health care and quality of life and jobs — then we're going to lose and we're going to keep losing big time," Huntsman said.

Um, ya think?

Well you can also hear it here straight from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
"[The Republican party has] a deficit with women, we have a deficit with Hispanics, we have a deficit with African Americans, we have a deficit with people of modest incomes and I think the best thing that we can do as a party is reach out to "Sam's Club voters" — folks who are just focused on bread-and-butter issues..."

Note to Pawlenty- if you're still set on finding nicknames for certain demographics like "Sam's Club voters" after the whole "Joe the Plumber" and "Joe six pack" garbage you still don't get it.

I'm a total map nerd.

Presidential Election Interactive map
You can check the outcome of every presidential election from 1789 til now with this cool little tool.
It's interesting to look waaaay back and see a time when "Deomcrat' and "Republican' didn't even exist. And how 'bout the "Deomcratic Republicans" that started popping up around 1800?

More recently it's amazing to see Nixon's veritable sweep in 1972 and Reagan's in 1984.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hitting the ground running

This article in the Washington Post shows just how serious President-elect Obama's campaign for "Change" was. Apparently he had experts working for months to find Bush policies that could be reversed or changed soon after January 20th.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.
Some changes to look for:

Obama himself has signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases, such as Parkinson's...

The new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal, said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he rescinded the Reagan-era regulation, known as the Mexico City policy, but Bush reimposed it....

The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration's decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. "Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer," Obama said in January.


Friday, November 7, 2008

President-elect Obama wastes no time-

To keep up to date on the Obama Administration or to leave a suggestion visit-

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Look real close and you can see me in Grant Park.

The red arrow- there I am!

Obama Rally in Grant Park. Yes we did!

It was a beautiful day so I took these pictures on a break from work:


I went down to Congress Parkway and people were already lining up at 2 pm:

After work I met up with some friends at Kasey's Tavern in Printer's Row.
One night every four years my dream comes true-7 screens of politics instead of sports. Ha!

My friends from Detroit had just made it in on the Amtrak and even though they didn't have tickets for the rally they were ready to celebrate-and celebrate we did:

We headed over to the rally at about 8:30. The line was damn long but we made it in just as they announced Barak Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.
We were very happy:

The crowd was huge but everyone was so civil.

Outside of Grant Park the crown was even bigger and still very civil. It was an impromptu parade down Michigan Avenue.

My vote for cheesiest shirt of the night:

Tired but happy today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Day in the Life of Getting the Vote Out.

Thursday night on my way home from work I received a call from a volunteer with the Obama campaign who asked if I would I be available to volunteer this weekend. Um, sure? I had received emails for months asking me to volunteer but the times and days available always clashed with my schedule. But Sunday, Rob was scheduled to be home and not on call for the store so I agreed to go to Indiana on Sunday.
Another volunteer called on Saturday to confirm my commitment. That's when I found out we would be driving to Indianapolis-over 3 hours away! But , sure! Why not. It'll be like being in college again. Road Trip!
So I spent the rest of the day Saturday looking forward to Sunday- but also having minor anxiety attacks- 3 hours in a car with strangers there and back. What if they are all 19 years old? I mean, isn't it all college kids who do this stuff like driving 7 hours round trip in one day for political causes?
Sunday comes and I was up at 5 am and out the door at 6am. Luckily due to time change I got an extra hour of sleep.
I met with my group at 7am, was assigned a car to be in and was off by 7:30. The three other volunteers I rode with, Don, Amanda and Amy were all pleasant and fun so the trip went quickly. Amanda, Amy and myself were on our first trip to canvass. Don, however was a seasoned vet having been a volunteer on the campaign since January and told us what to expect from the day.
We arrived in Indianapolis around noon and after meeting up at the main headquarters:
we were sent to a secondary location, another volunteers house, to receive our assignments. The ladies at the house were so peppy and excited to see us. They gave us maps, lists of names, buttons, stickers and early voting literature and sent us out to canvass apartment complexes.
Basically we were to knock on doors, ask if the person on our list was home, ask that person who they were voting for, if they had already voted, if not if they planned on voting early or on Tuesday and if they needed a ride to their polling place.
All went smoothly and quickly even though we had about 75% "Not Homes" and we were in somewhat hostile territory:
And signs of the failing economy were evident:


But we were able to cover 160 homes with a return rate of about 25% and many votes for Obama. I only had 2 McCain supporters and Don had to spend 5 minutes convincing one disgruntled Clinton supporter that it was ok to vote for Obama and that Clinton herself endorses him.

We headed back to Chicago and got back into town around 8:30pm. All of my companions were discussing the ticket system for Obama's rally on Tuesday as they were all awaiting their tickets and wondering when they would arrive. I was on the wait list with no hope for tickets which I had come to terms with because let's face it, all of downtown is going to be a party that night and when I get out of work at 6pm I will be right in the thick of it, but listening to 3 excited ticket holders kinda bummed me out again.

So, at home I decompressed with Rob and before bed I checked my email. And there was a note from a friend- she had received her tickets to the election night rally and would I be her guest! Well heck yeah I will! Wheee!
Funny how things work out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John McCain on Hardball with Chris Matthews at MSU in 2000- sound familiar?

Ooh, lookee here. John McCain proposing that those who make more should pay more in taxes and that the working class should get the first shot at tax breaks. Now, where have I heard that before?

Monday, October 27, 2008

WBEZ sets the record straight on 2001 Obama interviews

This video has been making the rounds on Fox and The Drudge Report:

It is a cut and paste version of a series of 2001 interviews from a show called Odyssey. Fortunately WBEZ wasted no time in setting the record straight. You can hear the actual full length interviews here and see for yourself.

The really sad thing is that FOX links its readers to the YouTube cut and paste version of the interviews (with the biased and inaccurate written commentary throughout- spelling errors and all!) that I posted above and not to the actual interviews and calls this journalism. Disgusting.

So it begins...

Assassination plot targeting Obama disrupted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

"They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ATF says it has broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree.

In court records unsealed Monday, agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target an unnamed but predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads.

Obama and socialism

When the McCain camp isn't busy making Obama out to be a terrorist sympathizer or a radical left winger they are trying to make him out to be a Socialist. Now, 'spreading the wealth' could be linked to socialist ideas but when Obama threw that notion out there to Joe the Plumber but what about when when viewed in the context of Obama's platform?
Is Obama a Socialist? Well, The Chicago Tribune recently took the time to ask people who really know. Some highlights:
John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain's campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven't forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.

"Red baiting is really the last refuge of scoundrels," Bachtell said. "It has nothing to do with the issues that are confronting the American people right now. It's just a big diversion."

"Obama is about as far from being a socialist as Joe The Plumber is from being a rocket scientist," said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. "I think it's hard for McCain to call Obama a socialist when George Bush is nationalizing banks."
So, once again I will trust the opinion of those who know what they are talking about- actual communists and socialists.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good one! Bwahaha!

I got this in an email from
Funny stuff!

It's all smoke and mirrors baby!

"Do as I say, not as I do"
This seems to be the unofficial slogan of the McCain/Palin ticket and I suspect it will be how they run the country should they be elected.
Let's start with John McCain-
YouTube has recently been pulling ads posted by the McCain campaign for copyright infringement. The ad I am thinking of is the ad about Sarah Palin that uses a clip of Katie Couric on CBS saying:
“One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life..."
-except Katie was talking about Hillary Clinton- not Sarah Palin.
This disturbs me a great deal for a few reasons first and foremost being that the McCain camp has absolutely no qualms about completely misrepresenting the views of a highly visible journalist on a national network to spin their message. Why couldn't they just create their own discussion on sexism in America if they wanted to address the issue? Why resort to manipulating Couric's words to create a false sense of a real discussion?
CBS contacted YouTube and requested the video be removed due to copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and under that law YouTube has 10-14 days to review the content and see if there is an infringement. YouTube's standard practice is to remove first, review later as a CYA measure to avoid lawsuits. From an article in The Register:
YouTube routinely removes content based on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown provisions, which grants safe harbor to web sites that promptly remove content if someone alleges it infringes on their copyrights.

McCain's camp is calling it unfair and biased (even though YouTube has removed a few Obama videos too...) and is even petitioning YouTube to leave the videos up until a review of the claims is finalized even though it is in the best interest of YouTube to remove the videos promptly.
And oh yeah, John McCain voted for the DMCA. So he was all for the law until it worked against him and now he wants YouTube to bend the rules for him. Nice.

On to robocalling-

So, it's ok to use negative robocalling as long as the information is 'true'- misleading is different- right?
Well what about the information in the robocalls Bush used against McCain in 2000? From The New York Times:
In the 2000 South Carolina primary, one of the most notorious smear campaigns in recent American politics peddled distortions and lies about him, among them that Mr. McCain’s current wife, Cindy, was a drug addict and that the couple’s daughter Bridget, adopted from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh, was a black child Mr. McCain had fathered out of wedlock.

The line about his daughter is just a flat out racist lie but, um, the part about Cindy being a drug addict is technically true, right John? So how is your attack robo call so much better than the ones used against you 8 years ago? The wording of McCain's call against Obama suggests that Obama is currently working along side a current terrorist.

So I am left with a frustrated feeling of "Why in hell do I have to spend my time filtering out what is true from what is half true and what are outright lies from the McCain camp when there are high stake real issues that should be being discussed?" Why- because McCain knows that some lazy Americans just don't care enough to find out what the truth is and it's enough to just feed them political fast food and never address the real issues.

As for Palin, she seems to live in a dream world of her own making.
The Troopergaet report found that she was guilty of ethics violations when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. But what does she say about it?
Palin said Saturday that she did "nothing unlawful or unethical" in removing Monegan from his position. As Palin left the Pittsburgh Westin Hotel this morning to board her campaign bus, a pool reporter yelled out, "Governor, did you abuse your power?" Palin paused as she boarded the bus and responded, "No, and if you read the report you'll see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member. You gotta read the report, sir."

Really? Sarah, did YOU read the report?
And then we've got Sarah Plain the self proclaimed fiscal conservative who spent thousands of tax payer dollars on travel and lodging for her kids and giving herself a per diem to live in her own house.

As Anchorage Daily News columnist Michael Carey states in this interview on Fresh Air (minute 20 or so) we are entering the land of "Who are you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

God Bless Ohio!

Where do people get these ideas? Oh yeah... 'palling around with terrorists'

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This week in review.

It all went by so fast, I couldn't keep up here. So here it is.
The final presidential debate on Wednesday night was what people were waiting for as far as 'sparks'. Bob Schieffer asked the direct questions that alot of people have wanting answers to.

McCain really didn't own the depth of how hateful his campaign has been and I don't know if that is just a strategic move or if he really just doesn't get it. This video from October 10th is the only evidence I have seen of him addressing the hate that has been stirred up by his campaign and it only came after very public criticism by Frank Schaeffer. Georgia Senator John Lewis also denounced McCain's tactics the next day.
Some highlights :
From Senator John Lewis-

"As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all," the statement continues. "They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better."

And then here is what I find interesting- the McCain camp called Senator Lewis' remarks "brazen and baseless," and then wanted Barak Obama to "personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments."
Remember, Senator Lewis was a leader in the civil rights movement as a Freedom Rider. He was on the front lines of the civil rights movement and I suspect he knows what he is talking about. Even more incredulous is that McCain then turned this all back on Barak Obama:

"Congressman John Lewis' comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale," reads the statement from McCain...."I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America."

It makes me realize that John McCain just doesn't get it. For so many in this country being on 'the right track' means acknowledging how racism and classism contribute to our problems both foreign and domestic. Doesn't he see how institutionalized racism has contibuted to some of our economic troubles? Doesn't he see that institutionalized racism informs our policy in the Middle East? (Really, John, even though Barak is not an 'Arab'- so what if he were?what's wrong with Arabs?)

And lets' review a few things McCain has yet to 'repudiate' so publicly:

From a San Bernardino Republic group:

The leader swears she didn't know it was racist.

And from the Sacramento County Republican Party official website:

I just don't get it. Actually, sadly, I do get it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

All Growed Up Now.

I forgot to mention that I skipped Liam Finn's concert to see the VP debates. Yeah, I skipped a show. A cheap one too. I'm officially grown up now.
So here's Liam...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Issues smissues-it's all about feeling good. The neuroscience involved in Politics.

This interview with Robert Burton in Scientific American has some insight as to why being certain of our thoughts and ideas can be a dangerous thing. Apparently feelings of certainty stimulate the pleasure center in the brain and it feels good to be certain. He relates the danger to politics:

A neurologist explains why you shouldn't believe in political candidates that sound too sure of themselves.

LEHRER: To what extent do these mechanisms come into play during a presidential election? It seems like we all turn into such partisan hacks every four years, completely certain that our side is right.

BURTON: The present presidential debates and associated media commentary feel like laboratory confirmation that the involuntary feeling of certainty plays a greater role in decision-making than conscious contemplation and reason.

I suspect that retreat into absolute ideologies is accentuated during periods of confusion, lack of governmental direction, economic chaos and information overload. At bottom, we are pattern recognizers who seek escape from ambiguity and indecision. If a major brain function is to maintain mental homeostasis, it is understandable how stances of certainty can counteract anxiety and apprehension. Even though I know better, I find myself somewhat reassured (albeit temporarily) by absolute comments such as, "the stock market always recovers," even when I realize that this may be only wishful thinking.

Sadly, my cynical side also suspects that political advisors use this knowledge of the biology of certainty to actively manipulate public opinion. Nuance is abandoned in favor of absolutes.

...In short, please run, do not walk, to the nearest exit when you hear so-called leaders being certain of any particular policy. Only in the absence of certainty can we have open-mindedness, mental flexibility and willingness to contemplate alternative ideas.

Burton also explains a bit about how this relates to religious fundamentalism and belief in UFO's and such. You know, when vehemently people believe in things that cannot be proven or explained- kinda like PalinMania. It makes sense- Palin appeals to neo-con religious fundamental types- the exact kind of people who are so 'certain' about their views all the time.

Then there are the Obamamaniacs- supporters who are just as certain Obama is the one who will save us all. Obama is the 'feel good' candidate- lifting us up and giving us hope. In fact Obama's slogan is "Hope"- and isn't that what religion sells too? So how do we explain every day average non-religious folk who are just as ardently behind Obama as the religious right wingers are behind Palin? This interview on Fresh Air with neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga gives us some insight here.

According to Gazzaniga our brains are basically wired to find answers, organize and interpret the world so that we can function in the world and religion is a construct of the left brain used to explain the world. That even if humans had no religion, we would invent it simply to explain the world to ourselves to be comfortable. We would invent it...

This interview with Neurological researcher Jill Bolte Taylor explains part of it too (around 32 minutes in). The right brain is linked to religious euphoria- the high that true believers experience- and we are wired for it. She says "religion is the story we tell ourselves" in order to quiet questioning and seeking nature of the left side of the brain so that we can access the right side euphoria that comes with feeling like we belong to a power greater than ourselves.

So it makes sense to me that the PalinFanatics and ObamaManiacs are really having the same neurological responses to their idols- just telling themselves different stories to get there. This is also compounded by the degree to which they are certain that their candidate is the correct choice. Remember- certainty doesn't have to do with whether your thought is right or wrong- it has to do with how good it feels to be certain.
And if all these neurological processes are lighting up the pleasure centers in the brain- reducing anxiety and giving us a sense of well being- is it any wonder this election has become so heated and emotional?
Since we are talking about the same regions of the brain indicated in addictive behavior I imagine it may get even more impassioned before it goes away.

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain gets the memo- and face the mess he made.

I love how he has to talk Obama up now. Good job John!

Another Country- McCain style.

There was a time in this election, not so long ago, that the prospect of a McCain administration didn't *really* bother me. I'm not one to vote Republican so I wasn't going to actually vote for him but I figured even if he won I wouldn't be disheartened, I wouldn't be scared and I wouldn't be driven back into my George Bush induced apathy hole. I had a certain respect for McCain and just knew he had to be better than Bush.

I have had a 180 degree reversal. I am now more afraid of a McCain administration than ever.

Let's be clear- I like Obama, I support him and I am inspired by him. But I have had my reservations. He is 'fresh' and that is both positive and worrisome. Positive in that I think a new perspective is needed, worrisome in that if he makes one 'mistake' or err in judgment I'm afraid we will have a backlash in the vein of a Neo-Con New World Order in 2012. I mean, isn't Obamamania a direct result of where the Bush Administration has left us- desperate for change, any change?
I was torn between Clinton and Obama. I respect Hillary's accomplishments and think she could have been good. But I didn't feel 'great' from her. I felt politics as usual-just in a skirt. And that's not the kind of change I'm looking for. I must say though, I hope she retools her schitck and we hear from her again. She does have a lot to offer but I think she needs to shrug off the old school politics and start a new school. And that school's first student should be Sarah Plain.
But I'm not here to talk about Palin- just McCain. Which brings me back to my original point.

McCain's campaign has taken a turn for the despicable. He has let go of the reins and fanned the flames of hate all to gain votes. To continue to feed the fire with lies and conjecture is beyond irresponsible- it is civil treason. He is effectively dividing this country into "us" and "them" and using racism, fear and ignorance to get to do it. Country first? I don't think so. Unless McCain's goal is even more conniving than we are willing to believe and his real goal is to divide this nation into 'whites' and 'others' in a way we have not seen in 50 years.
Whether he intends to or not, if McCain continues on this path he will effectively create another country. One where anyone with the name Hussein is suspect and community organizing is akin to socialist terrorism. One where women are just there to work the crowd and wink- no real input needed thanks. One where it doesn't matter what the truth is, only what you can get people to believe- no matter the consequences.
We all know hate is out there- we can't stop it. But should we stand by while leaders in this country encourage it? Should we elect a man who refuses to denounce this type of racist hatred for the next potential President? Should John McCain be let off the hook for race bating- no matter how 'soft' it is? Emphatically, no.
Make no mistake- when these people call Obama a 'terrorist' you can hear 'nigger' in the subtext.
Is this the country we want?

Fox News driving another nail inthe coffin of respectable journalism.

I saw this Newsweek in the office tonight and I must say, I was impressed that her face was not airbrushed. To me, it gave her credibility. Sarah Palin's face is "a slap in the face of Sarah Palin"?
Shouldn't Sarah be pissed at Fox News for this?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hate Mongers or Hope - the choice is yours.

The McCain/Palin campaign is truly stunning in their desperation. They are now launching a full on assault based on racism, fear and religious zealotry. Between Palin's recent incendiary speeches which irresponsibly incite the crowd with hate and ads that make loose comparisons between Obama and the Anti-Christ I am truly disgusted.

By Dana Milbank
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- "Okay, so Florida, you know that you're going to have to hang onto your hats," Sarah Palin told a rally of a few thousand here this morning, "because from now until Election Day it may get kind of rough."

You betcha. And the person dishing out the roughest stuff at the moment is Sarah Palin.

"I was reading my copy of the New York Times the other day," she said.

"Booooo!" replied the crowd.

"I knew you guys would react that way, okay," she continued. "So I was reading the New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago."

It was time to revive the allegation, made over the weekend, that Obama "pals around" with terrorists, in this case Bill Ayers, late of the Weather Underground. Many independent observers say Palin's allegations are a stretch; Obama served on a Chicago charitable board with Ayers, now an education professor, and has condemned his past activities.

"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.

"Boooo!" said the crowd.

"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.

"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

Palin went on to say that "Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers's living room, and they've worked together on various projects in Chicago." Here, Palin began to connect the dots. "These are the same guys who think that patriotism is paying higher taxes -- remember that's what Joe Biden had said. "And" -- she paused and sighed -- "I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America, as the greatest force for good in the world. I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as 'imperfect enough' to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country."

"Boooo!" said the audience.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Baldwin Nailed It...50 years ago.

"[Americans] have a very deep-seated distrust of real intellectual effort, probably because we suspect that it will destroy, as I hope it does, that myth of America to which we cling so desperately" -James Baldwin, 1959

Sarah "Joe Six Pack" Palin's popularity and the way that the "Maverick" McCain/Palin campaigning has been run- avoid the real issues, don't think about facts, just play on fears- is the living example of what James Baldwin observed almost 50 years ago. Let's hope this mentality is on the wane so that when Obama is in the White House he can give this country back some of it's intellectual credibility.

October Surprise

The surprise is that it is already October!
This is just a quick missive to honor the best month of the year- October! (yes, with exclamation and bold, I love it THAT much). I've had a family trip to the pumpkin patch on the calender since early September, I made beef stew this weekend and pumpkin muffins are on the baking agenda this morning. I actually lost sleep last night thinking of ways I could "October" up my soon-to-be-famous Cheesecakes with pumpkin and spice or apples and caramel.

The 'surprise' is also that I actually DO think of things other than politics. In fact my political awareness has just recently been reawakened after 8 years of sleeping through the Bush administration. Honestly, the only way to deal with that mess was to merely stop listening. There was nothing I could do and I swear that listening to George W. Bush speak just made me dizzy with the feeling that my IQ was plummeting with exposure to the sound of his voice.
The man endumbened me.
If he were a Super Villain he would be The EnDumbenator- stunning people into to stupidity and apathy with the sound of his voice.
But, I am endumbened no more!

So yes, while October will see more posts of a political nature- debate #2 is tomorrow!- I actually do think about other things and probably will once the election is over.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin finaly names a source for her information on the world.

...her Starbucks Mocha cup 'Quote of the Day'

She misquoted too. Albright said "help other women" not "support". But it doesn't surprise me that she miss quoted- not because I think she is dumb, no, I think she is terribly smart and savvy. If she had read the quote as is it may have called into question Palin's refusal to 'help' women in her own town of Wasilla by charging the cost of rape kits to victim's insurance companies. Granted, this practice was not isolated to Wasilla but it makes me wonder- If she is so dedicated to 'helping' other women why did she not see the injustice and insult in this practice and move to have it abolished?

Well, at least we now have a glimpse of the sources Sarah Palin uses for her information on the world- a Starbucks cup.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mavericks Need Not Apply.

In a recent Newsweek article Jonathan Karp, who edits John MCain’s books, has this to say about the man who could be President:

“Although it is too soon to know whether picking Palin will turn out to be the right call, anyone reading “Hard Call” will quickly realize it’s exactly the kind of decision McCain values- one unconcerned with conventional wisdom. In a passage written almost two years before anyone knew McCain would be running for president against Barak Obama, or that 2008 would be deemed a “change” election year, the authors stated ‘Profound change doesn’t always require consensus. Sometimes it is achieved when just a few people see the way ahead and decided to set in motion events that will overtake resistance, change the unsatisfactory status quo, and leave something better in its place’”

Let’s consider for a moment the implications of these statements. In essence Karp is saying that McCain has no concern of learning from the lessons of the past- conventional wisdom is often built from these lessons. Even though conventional wisdom can sometimes be wrong and impede growth, ignoring it altogether can also be foolhardy. 6 weeks in, we still don't know how his pick of Palin is going to play out- bold move or foolish error- and this is not a good sign this close to the election. McCain himself spells out for us, in a passage he wrote over 2 years ago, just how we can expect him to run this country- by making decisions he deems correct regardless of consensus, regardless of what the majority wants or demands, so long as he thinks the resulting change will leave us in a better place.

Quick review- The very definition of democracy is rule by consensus:

From Merriam Webster:

1. government by the people ; especially : rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

So let's revisit this statement:
‘Profound change doesn’t always require consensus. Sometimes it is achieved when just a few people see the way ahead and decided to set in motion events that will overtake resistance, change the unsatisfactory status quo, and leave something better in its place'

Is John McCain suggesting that being a leader would bestow upon him the ability to make decisions carte blanche with no accountability to the constituency simply because he finds it to be the ‘right’ decision? No, he is out right saying this. I can certainly see where this attitude served McCain well in his military life as the military is not a democracy and hard battle field decisions are made by a select few with no questions asked. Combine this attitude with his insistence that he is a maverick and we can begin to see just how dangerous John McCain’s brand of leadership has the potential to be. I say ‘potential’ because even though he claims the ‘maverick’ title and according to Karp he eschews conventional wisdom, his record of voting with the current Administration doesn’t support these claims.

Accountability has been a big theme in the current election- if only as a word and not the actual act- but I don’t think McCain understands that there are two sides to the accountability coin. Yes, accountability means accepting responsibility for your actions after something goes wrong or has unintended consequences. But what about the accountability that must happen before a decision is even made? What about being accountable for decisions you have yet to make by merely honoring the weight of what it means to be the leader of a democracy? What about the accountability to the constituency by keeping your ego in check?

Honestly, we don’t know what we’re in for if McCain wins on November 4th, but it is fair to say it could be one of two scenarios: an extension of the Bush Administration or possibly something far more precarious with even less transparency or accountability. Why would a President McCain- unilateral decision making maverick he claims to be- ever feel the need to explain any of his decisions to the people he elected let alone care about our approval of those decisions?I don’t think he would and I don't think that is the kind of leadership we need.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Breakdown

So here is what I get when I compare the education and career paths of Barak Obama and Sarah Palin.
Obama has grown up with a world view. Palin- not so much.
Obama's early education was in political science and his early career in community developement and economics- Considering where he is now, this tells me that he has always had an interest in being a public servant and really is interested in bringing about a change for the better in this country. Anyone who has worked for a non-profit will tell you- it is often frustrating thankless work. Most people that work in the non-profit world are there to make a difference-not to pad their political CV.
Palin's early life tells me she had a rather narrow view of the world. I can forgive that because many bright people have not gone far from home. The problem with this is that she never broadened this world view and never even had a passport until last year. This- and the fact that she can not easily reference any news periodicals she reads on a regular basis- tell me she really has no interest in what is going on elsewhere in the world. Never having attempted to even see the world upon which she now wishes to inflict her brand of policy and diplomacy is telling. That may be an unfair judgment but so be it. I figure if you are clamoring for the second highest office in this country you're up for harsh judgment.
Obama then went on to teach constitutional law which tells me that he has a good understanding of what is constitutional and what is not. He knows the law of the land so to speak.
Palin was a sports reporter. No constitutional significance there. In fact I question her ability to fully recognize constitutional rights seeing as she has not always respected the separation of church and state in her own career as governor of Alaska- with 'abstinence only' education, opposition to all cases of abortion and the mere musing of banning books.
I think I favor the candidate who can separate his personal religious leanings from his duty to uphold the constitution.
Let's see, where was I...oh yeah.
Many Palin supporters say she has more executive experience than Barak Obama because she was a mayor and is a governor. Well, in that case she has more experience than her running mate. What's more is I would rather have a leader who respects he constitution- not make laws in spite of it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The CVs

OK. The VP debates are tomorrow and I can not wait to see the show. Between Biden's foot-in-mouth disease and Palin's complete inability to form a coherent thought it should be an interesting show.
All Biden has to do is not screw up. So Joe, keep it in check, stick to the facts and don't get ahead of yourself.

In the mean time let's compare the career paths of Barak Obama and Sarah Palin. I know, I know- they are not technically running against each other. But Obama and Palin are the two candidates in this election who have generated the most vehement, and often blind, backing from their supporters and I'm trying to figure out why. Let's break it down:

Barak Obama born 1961
1961-1979 raised between Jakarta and Hawaii
1980-1982 years at Occidental College in L.A.
Graduated from Columbia
- Political Science/International Relations
1983- employed by Business International Corporation
1984- employed by New York Public Interest Research Group
1985 -1988 community organizer in Chicago
-director of Developing Communities Project
1988-1991 attended Harvard Law "
1992- directed Illinois Project Vote
1992-2004 taught constitutional law at U of C
1993-1996 joined law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development
1997-2004 served in the Illinois Senate
2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Speaker
2005- current U.S. Senator

Sarah Palin born 1964
1964-1982- raised in Alaska
1982- 1 semester at Hawaii Pac. U.
1983- 2 semesters North Idaho
1984- contestant in 2 beauty pageants
1987- B.A. University of Idaho journalism
1988- sports reporter WKTUU
1992- Wasilla City Council
1995- Wasilla city council
1996-2002 Mayor of Wasilla
2003-2005 served as a director of Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc."*
2006-Present- Governor of Alaska

(*) a group designed to provide political training for Republican women in Alaska

I'm tired now- we'll discuss this tomorrow.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why don't Liberals stand up for themselves?

A friend posed this question with the idea that Liberals should fight back against Conservative style defamation of the Liberal character. My answer:

On the one had- if Liberals engage the Conservatives and fight on the terms set by the Conservative agenda it will be a never ending battle of wills because - well as you pointed out- the Conservatives have a way of manipulating the truth to sustain their base and cast aspersions upon the Liberal character. That form of psychological warfare has found a strong foothold in the Conservative Right due to the Christian Conservatives. Christianity has a long long history of conquering by manipulating the facts and just out right taking something and making it something else- and now that something like, say, The Crusades can physically never happen again it is all a psychological game. Now, that's not to say that all Christians are like this nor that all Conservatives are Christians. But the two ideologies have melded into this Godzilla creature that spreads it's intellectual dishonesty and perpetuate fear.
Honestly I'm one of those evil 'middle' folk. I embrace the literal meaning of conservatism as long as it was only applied to political ideology. I have no problem with being moderate and cautious and favoring the established values of our Constitution. Of course I temper this with a healthy dose of liberalism because I think that as times we need to be progressive in some arenas as well.
The only answer I have as to why the Liberals don't stand up for themselves is because , well, they're liberal. By nature they allow for a multifaceted world view and promote thinking for one's self and being free to make up one's own mind.
My question is why do so many in this country eschew intellectual growth and choose a life of fear based following rather than use their brains, view the empirical evidence and wake the hell up? Why are the members of the hardest working nation in the world so damn mentally lazy?

The Fire Next Time

Here is an excerpt of a response I made on a friend's blog regarding the debate:

"As much as we, as a nation, would like to believe that because Obama has made it this far means that latent racism isn't an issue I think it is more of an issue now than ever. Obama has to be completely aware of his demeanor at all times lest he come off as an angry or uppity black man. If there was even a hint of disrespect towards or attack on McCain it would play out- in the minds of many undecided voters- as a racial issue even though you and I know it is not. If you noticed- Obama took every chance he could to point out where he and McCain were in agreement and show respect for McCain's service to the country. I don't recall McCain responding in kind- because he doesn't have to. McCain has merely to show up and be McCain because racially he is validated in this country- Obama has more weight to carry in this arena and I believe he carried it well. Now, this is not to say that Obama was being an Uncle Tom by respecting the political common ground he and McCain share. Far from it. He gave just enough respect and just enough fire to keep himself on a plateau with McCain which is really what he needed to do to show those undecided voters why they need to, perhaps, stay undecided for the time being and tune in for the next debate where I hope Obama will turn up the heat and make some head way.
This is why I give it to Obama."

He then sent me this article from The Root. It was nice to feel like I wasn't totally imagining things. I've been thinking more about this issue since I posted that response and I think that if Obama does show fire and is too 'fiesty' then I imagine that the day after the debate we will be seeing ads that show him next to video of Rev. Wright with the tag line "Do we really want this kind of leadership? (I'm John McCain and I approve this message)" or some such mess.
I honestly think that is one of the reasons Rev. Wright was ever even an issue in this election- they needed some "angry black racist America hater' material in the bank to pull out if Obama makes one false move.

The Republicans are trying to create a false image of Obama based on the racial fears in this country and they are waiting for him to fill in the gaps and prove them right.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The September 26th Debate

McCain looked like he was put out. I couldn't tell if he was uncomfortable with Obama or just didn't want to be there at all but he looked...irritated at having to do a debate. Like it was a waste of time.

Obama said their differences in economic plans were like the difference between a scalpel and a hatchet- I think that accurately describes the differences between these candidates in general.
I think that it was both necessary and unnecessary to press the point of asking what each candidate would give up out of their platform in light of the current economic climate.

Unnecessary because any thinking person would realize that that question is really impossible to answer until this whole thing shakes out and the new President is in office with the numbers in front of him. That's like asking me "Next January you will be laid off- which bills are you not gonna pay?"- it depends on how much I save, which bills are most current and if any other mitigating factors arise between now and then. Maybe I'll get a new job. There is no way to know.

The question was necessary because I *think* Lehrer wanted one of the candidates to articulate that depth of complexity and that is why he repeated the question 3 times. Obama came very close- but no cigar. They were both deer in headlights - Obama being aware of the car but unable to move and McCain just stunned.

Sarah Palin was conspicuously absent from the commentary afterwards. She declined the invitation and the GOP sent Giuliani instead. So what's gonna happen if she's VP and get's invited to Russia or China for tough talks- are they gonna send Giuliani instead? If she can't even give a brief commentary on her running mates position how the hell is she going to discuss policy in the global arena?


This has been my obsession as of late. Things are moving right along in this election- only 39 days (?) left- and yet it seems to be taking forever. I've been all over the internet reading, commenting, debating- most of all learning. I feel like I have woken up from a long troubled sleep and I have a Bush II hangover. It's time to take some Alka Seltzer and promise myself I will never do that again.

Yes, I guess it is.

On that is.