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Friday, October 31, 2008

The bipartisan president

More from my favorite blog, Hullabaloo:

. . . it's pretty clear that the conservatives are staking out ground way way over to the far right so they can keep the goal posts firmly right of center. And knowing the way the Village operates, I expect they will have some success: see, there's Colin Powell on the left and Tom Delay on the right. If Obama stays somewhere in between, he'll be a great bipartisan president who gets things done.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Right wing hypocrisy

As usual, I totally agree with my favorite blog, Hullabaloo:

We live in a world where the right wing ruthlessly and without mercy degrades and attacks by any means necessary what they perceive as the enemy, and then uses the great principles of democracy and fair play when the same is done to them. They leave the rest of us standing on the sidelines looking like fools for ever caring about anything but winning.

It's not that I believe liberals are purely good and decent. We have many, many faults and are almost preternaturally talented at seizing defeat from the jaws of victory before we even get finished celebrating. But failing to truly grok just how pernicious this right wing rejection of hypocrisy really is and how much power it gives them is a foolish mistake.

I think we're about to get schooled. Again. The torture loving right is dusting off its completely hypocritical "government is full of jack-booted thugs" playbook --- and it's going to drive us all completely crazy.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A friend told me about this and I went to listen online: Howard Stern, who does not support McCain, had a reporter go to Harlem and ask voters about why they supported Obama, giving examples of McCain's position and talking about Sarah Palin as his VP pick. None of the people hesitated and not one person noticed that anything was amiss. Of course, we don't know how many people had to be interviewed before they could find a few that were this clueless.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Repug irony

From my favorite blog, Hullabaloo:

. . . the definition of socialism, in general terms, is when the state collectivizes the ownership of the means of production and distributes wealth equally across segments of society. You know, like in Alaska - the words of Sarah Palin:

"And Alaska—we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs. … It’s to maximize benefits for Alaskans, not an individual company, not some multinational somewhere, but for Alaskans."


Monday, October 27, 2008

Conservative intellectuals

Great piece on Colbert's The Word: It's Alive (5 minute video). "They have known the score all along . . . and now they are rejecting the thing they helped create."


Parallel rallies

Hilarious and thought-provoking piece on The Daily Show - John Oliver interviews people at Republican and Democratic rallies and finds they say the same things.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

More lies about Obama

My favorite blog, Hullabaloo, does a great job of summarizing this ridiculous issue:

Today's big hit is a 2001 interview with Barack Obama about the civil rights movement, where he lamented the movement's propensity to lean on the courts to mandate changes as opposed to building social change from the bottom up within local communities. That's pretty much all he said, but because he used the words "redistribute" and "wealth" every conservative in America figures they've cracked the Da Vinci Code and revealed Obama for the Maoist-Leninist-Marxist-Communist-socialist that he is. The key quote is this:

"And I think one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was that the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and organizing activities on the ground that are able to bring about the coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways we still suffer from that," Obama said.

That's not only a pretty conservative (not in the political sense) argument, it's echoed by conservative legal scholars.

Now here's how the McCain campaign deliberately misinterprets it:

"Barack Obama expressed his regret that the Supreme Court hadn't been more 'radical' and described as a 'tragedy' the court's refusal to take up 'the issues of redistribution of wealth.' No wonder he wants to appoint judges that legislate from the bench," Holtz-Eakin continued.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Pennsylvanians for McCain

I'm not especially surprised by this story about a white woman falsely claiming that she was attacked by a black Obama supporter, but I'm very surprised to hear that the Pennsylvania McCain campaign pushed the story in the press AND then blamed the police department. And the woman in question is a McCain campaign worker, not some random person. Kind of an eyebrow raiser, even for the Repugs.

. . . Ashley Todd, the 20-year-old McCain volunteer who claimed that she was assaulted in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night by an attacker who scratched a "B" in her cheek after learning that she was for McCain.

The story was flacked madly last night by Drudge [and Hannity], even though few if any details had been established or independently confirmed.

. . . admitted Friday that the story was false and was being charged with making a false report to police, said Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department's investigations division. Police doubted her story from the start, Bryant said.

Todd, who is white, told police she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night. She now can't explain why she invented the story, Bryant said. Todd also told police she believes she cut the backward "B" onto her own cheek, but did not provide an explanation of how or why, Bryant said.

Here's more, from Buzzflash:

. . . it is clear that the campaign saw it as an opportunity, and ran with it.
Several reporters complained [5] about the McCain campaign pushing the story, with a Pennsylvania communications director for the campaign going as far as to fabricate details of the attack, presumably to make for a juicier news story. He told reporters the B on the young woman's cheek stood for "Barack" and that the attacker told the woman, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson."

The campaign later denied that the communications director made up the quotes, saying they came from police and were attributed incorrectly by sloppy reporters. But several members of the media defend their statements [6] with their notes. One even reported that police could not corroborate the claims made by the campaign.

Columnist and Washington Post associate editor Eugene Robinson called the actions of the communications director "reprehensible," [7] and added that they represent an "eagerness to incite a kind of racial backlash against the Obama campaign in a part of Pennsylvania where race can be a very raw and divisive issue to this day, and I don't think there's any other way you can look at it."

Lies aside, there was a concerted effort to get this story out into the public eye before it was revealed to be a hoax. NBC's Brian Williams seemed downright bitter when he reported [8], "The McCain campaign steered reporters' attention to the story."


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dancing candidates

Love this picture, but the video, of a dance-off between Obama and McCain, is even better

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Campaign voodoo

My friend Aynne sent me this weird email about Africans in Obama's family's Kenyan village who are putting a curse on the McCain campaign, which I deleted, but then couldn't stop thinking about, so I went back and read it, and still couldn't stop thinking about it. This young lady is seriously uninformed. She insists that Christianity which incorporates "tribal" (i.e., local) practices is not Christianity, but where does she think that Christmas trees come from, or Easter eggs? More to the point, if the writer of the email thinks that Christians need to counteract this "curse" what does that say about them? They dismiss this, but then they validate it. My head is spinning, as usual.

Dear friends:

THIS IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS. Minutes ago I spoke with friend Dr. Norman G. Marvin, M.D. and he is so concerned at what he has learned about Barack Obama's family in Kenya that he is calling a special prayer meeting in his home to pray against the witchcraft curses attempted by them against John McCain and Sarah Palin.Dr. Marvin sent me the below e-mail from Flo Ellers. Flo is credentialed with the International Fellowship of Ministries which is based in Washington State. She is also a member of EndTime Handmaidens and Servants of Jasper, Arkansas.

[ . . . ]
Two days ago, I listened to a 9-6-08 message by Bree Keyton, a young woman evangelist who had just traveled to Kenya and visited Obama's home village and what she found out about his relations with his tribal people was chilling. And his "cousin" Odinga was dreadful. She said the witches, warlocks and those involved in satanism and the occult get up daily at 3 a.m. to release curses against McCain and Palin so B. Hussein Obama is elected.

Bree Keyton told the tribal "Christians" you are NOT Christian if you practice "tribalism" where they do voodoo to conjure up a goddess spirit or a "genie" and then come to church on Sunday to worship Jesus! What she discovered there is apparent in most churches around the world; namely, mixture in the church.
[ . . . ]
Bree K. also said when Obama visited his tribe in '06 and as late as Jan. '08 he went to every elder's home which has a "shrine" inside to worship the genie and asked for their blessing. She was told Obama and Odinga were both "destined" before they were born to be president/leader of their nation. They say "he is the chosen one". She said Obama's grandmother sacrificed a black and a white chicken to the "goddess of the river" so both whites and blacks will vote for Obama. All Islam loves and worships Obama. The world is mesmerized by him. Oprah's 200 million followers are out to elect Obama. . . .The occultists are "weaving lazy 8's around McCain's mind to make him look confused and like an idiot". Bree K. said we need to break these curses off of him that are being sent from Kenya.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama endorsements grow and grow

I'm not super impressed by the Goldwater grandchildren supporting Obama, because they're young (though it IS quite a slap to McCain), but I was pretty blown away the Scott McClellan came out for The One. That's quite a repudiation of the Republican party (for a party hack!!)


Sunday, October 19, 2008

St Louis

For anyone (like me) who thinks people are getting bored with the election or with Obama, check out this crowd at a rally in St Louis - over 100,000 people came out to see That One!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

A little break from politics

My friend Anne sent me this hilarious song (2 minute video) about what not to say to your wife - The Wife Song

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Woof n Worship" service includes dogs

I read this in a sidebar in The Week magazine. I think it's sweet (not that my freaky dog could handle it, but I'd go!).


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate reaction

I thought McCain was not hitting the right notes in the debate. He was forceful, but his rhetoric was off. I couldn't believe he said that ACORN voter registration fraud could end democracy as we know it. Sheesh! He can't possibly believe that crap. He said other stuff that sounded weird too. Like asserting that concern about "health of the mother" is just some nefarious technique of the pro-abortion movement. That's not going to resonate with swing voters.


My brother said Obama didn't attack McCain enough, but I think that was quite deliberate. Obama risks losing a lot and gaining little by going on the attack. It's hurting McCain to be so negative, so why would Obama want to follow him down that rabbit hole? Why not let McCain free fall and stand back and watch? I think it's a good call.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There goes Florida

Does Jesse Jackson want Obama to lose?

In yesterday's New York Post, conservative columnist Amir Taheri reported on an interview with Rev. Jesse Jackson in Evian, France, at the World Policy Forum. ...
"Jackson believes that, although 'Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades' remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House."
The Obama campaign's response to these vague quotes -- recorded by a columnist it considers hostile in a tabloid newspaper it considers biased against them -- from an interview with a man last publicly seen threatening to castrate Sen. Obama, is as follows, from Obama campaign national security spokesperson Wendy Morigi:

"Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is not an adviser to the Obama campaign and is therefore in no position to interpret or share Barack Obama's views on Israel and foreign policy. ..."


ACORN and voter fraud

It seems just surreal to me that this situation is getting so much press. I watched a reporter on CNN last night act like some serious investigative journalism was occuring because someone filled out a registration form for "Mickey Mouse." What a serious threat to democracy!! Hullabaloo summed it up nicely:

That [Republican voter suppression in the Shaheen/Sununu Senate race in New Hampshire in 2002] would fall under the category of ACTUAL election fraud. It was targeted at a specific race, and it sought to impact thousands of potential voters at once by disabling Democratic GOTV efforts in a form of voter suppression. Contrast this with registering one voter named "Mickey Mouse" at a time, telling election officials about it, and then hoping it slips past them and that someone in a mouse suit shows up to the ballot box on Election Day.

But when looking at the reporting about these kinds of incidents, the very real election fraud isn't mentioned, and examples of the system working, where election monitors catch bad registrations ahead of time and nobody fraudulent actually votes, becomes the scandal of the century. It's enough to make you wonder if some outside force is driving the discussion other than the very independent media.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Tell us the truth" (at your peril!)

I was nothing less than astonished to hear Campbell Brown on CNN tonight begin her broadcast with a plea to the presidential candidates to tell us the "brutal truth" because "we can take it." All evidence to the contrary! The vast majority of Americans are selfish crybabies and they obviously pick a president (or any elected official) with a single consideration in mind - "what will this person do for me?" It's a tragedy that American politicians must avoid offering any hard truths at all costs if they want a career. I just wish Ms Brown were right, but instead, I think she's completely delusional. Her tone of outrage just made her seem more so.

ADDENDUM 10/15/08

My perception is confirmed during the pre-debate coverage - every time a journalist asks a voter what they're "listening for" in the debate, every person lists their personal concern - I'm worried about losing my house so I want to hear their plans for that, I'm worried about my job going overseas, etc etc. Not a single person said anything about larger issues, the betterment of America, or the greater good. I'm now convinced that what distinguishes "swing" voters is that they're just the most selfish voters out there.

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Undecided voters

Heard the author of this article, Ezra Klein, on NPR this afternoon. In that discussion, he noted that while undecideds say they're waiting to hear more specifics from the candidates (a claim that has always puzzled me), it's not really the WHAT that they haven't heard, it's the HOW. That makes a lot more sense. Here's an excerpt from his very interesting LA Times piece. I like the photograph analogy.

. . . many of those who claim to be undecided are not. Some don't want to admit their preference. In their paper, "Swing Voters? Hah!" political scientists Adam Clymer and Ken Winneg amassed substantial data suggesting that very few undecided voters are truly indecisive. Examining the 2004 election, Clymer and Winneg found that even the most hard-core of undecided voters were fairly predictable.

They asked the 4% of their sample that claimed to be undecided to rate the two candidates in early October. When they went back to the same people after the election, more than 80% had in fact voted for whichever candidate they'd rated most highly a month earlier. But campaigns need something to do in September and October. Most of the electorate has chosen a side, and the small sliver that claims still to be puzzling over the pronunciation of the Democrat's last name could prove decisive.

Or could it? A provocative paper from James Campbell, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, comes to a different conclusion. Examining nine presidential elections, Campbell compared the size of the swing vote (defined here as voters with weak leanings before the heat of the campaign) with the size of the non-swing vote. Swing voters are known to be a minority of the population, but it turns out that they're not a particularly decisive minority. "In only one of the nine elections, the 1976 race between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter," writes Campbell, "did the swing vote majority override an opposite majority among non-swing voters." In other words, in eight of the last nine elections, the winner could have lost swing voters but won the race. In a second test, which examined voters who were undecided at a later point in the race, Campbell found that the last campaign in which they were decisive was 1960.

Campbell concludes by quoting Paul Lazarsfeld, a political scientist from the 1940s who argued that campaigns are essentially over before they have begun. The outcomes are structural -- they are decided by events and party identification and satisfaction with the incumbent and other predictable indicators. Campaigns, he said, are "like the chemical bath which develops a photograph. The chemical influence is necessary to bring out the picture, but only the picture pre-structured on the plate can come out."


Monday, October 13, 2008

Paul Krugman awarded Nobel in Economics

This makes my day!

Absentee ballots "misspell" Obama's name

Right here in upstate NY, though not my county, thank goodness. And guess what the "misspelling" was - Osama. It was just a "glitch," according to election officials. Yeah, right.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rush Limbaugh explains it all to you

This would almost be funny if it wasn't so scary - Rush Limbaugh is tying it all together and showing it to be one big conspiracy. I don't think he missed any of the potential hot buttons in this tidy paragraph, and Obama is "right in the middle of it":

We thought that it was just liberal welfare policies and all that that kept blacks from progressing while other minorities grew and prospered, but no, it is these wackos from Bill Ayers to Jeremiah Wright to other anti-American Afrocentric black liberation theologists with ACORN, and Barack Obama is smack dab in the middle of it, they have been training young black kids to hate, hate, hate this country, and they trained their parents before that to hate, hate, hate this country. It was a movement. It was a Bill Ayers, anti-capitalist, anti-American educational movement. ACORN is how it was implemented, right under our noses. It has been a movement, it has been a religion, and Obama and Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were all up to their big ears in it.


On Tuesday, I heard a caller on NPR's Talk of the Nation recite a litany of weird charges against Obama, including that he's given MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars to ACORN (it was $800K last year), and that he's not a citizen of the US and the Democratic party is covering it up. Sounds to me like she watches too much Fox News. Hopefully this crap only appeals to people who wouldn't vote for Obama anyway. And hopefully sane members of the electorate are too concerned about the economy to pay much attention to this whackiness.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

A good team

Interesting comments by David Brooks, in a longer HuffingtonPost piece covering Palin and other topics:

Brooks predicted an Obama victory by nine points, and said that although he found Obama to be "a very mediocre senator," he was is surrounded by what Brooks called "by far the most impressive people in the Democratic party."

"He's phenomenally good at surrounding himself with a team," Brooks said. "I disagree with them on most issues, but I am given a lot of comfort by the fact that the people he's chosen are exactly the people I think most of us would want to choose if we were in his shoes. So again, I have doubts about him just because he was such a mediocre senator, but his capacity to pick staff is impressive."


Friday, October 10, 2008

"Worlds Apart"

Terrific piece in Newsweek, comparing the development of McCain and Obama. I find that the more I learn about Obama's worldview, the more sure I am that he's the right person to the the president. Here's the first 2 paragraphs:

Books have been written about 1968—"The Year That Made Us Who We Are," as NEWSWEEK proclaimed in a cover story 40 years later. The nation was gripped by the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the Tet Offensive, Nixon's election. Far from the headlines, it was also a year that helped make John McCain and Barack Obama who they are. Both future senators had arrived in Southeast Asia around that time. Obama was a happy-go-lucky kid in Jakarta, thrilling to his exotic new surroundings—which included a pet crocodile—yet also savoring visits to the place he came to see as a symbol of hope and opportunity, the U.S. Embassy's American Club. McCain wasn't that far away from Obama geographically—Hanoi lies about 1,800 miles north of Jakarta—but as a 31-year-old naval aviator who had recently been shot down, he was beginning the five years of brutal imprisonment that would come to define his life and public persona.

Despite the 25-year gap in McCain's and Obama's ages, their Asian sojourns began to awaken parallel passions in each man: a love for his distant country, a keen appreciation of the unique values America stands for and a strong sense that it is America's destiny to keep the world an orderly place. Yet they also mark the beginning of journeys that would lead them to very different judgments about how the United States should fulfill that mission.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

"Make Believe Maverick"

Long, scathing profile of McCain that attacks many aspects of his myth, brought to my attention by my friend Suzanne.


Here's an excerpt:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Parenting training program

Funny! Sent to me by my friend Janis. (A little relief from all the political strum and drang.)

Thinking of Having Kids? Do this 11 step program first!

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.
Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air. You are now ready to feed a nine-month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

The Bottom Line
Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Dare I believe that Obama can win?"

Terrific essay from Yahoo News by a writer named Courtney Martin, sent to be by my friend Aynne. I almost could have written this myself. Here's an excerpt:

Could a leader that evokes awe in me actually win a presidential election? Could the beauty – and logic – of his words win over the majority of this country's voters? Could they see past the lies and distractions to the center of a human being who sincerely wants to invoke citizens' higher selves?

Could a system that seems so broken, so moneyed, so corrupt actually serve to help the American people elect an authentic, complex thinker? Could it be that – despite all that is wrong with the electoral process – there is enough right to allow a thoughtful candidate to get through the muck and emerge earnest and excited to lead?

[. . .]

As Nov. 4 nears, I feel heavy with internal struggle and dangerous anticipation.

I have never voted for a presidential candidate who has won, much less in an election that wasn't considered potentially corrupt. I have never gone to sleep on Election Day with a sense of accomplishment, with the satisfying congruency of my values and those of the country's leader merging as one.

I have never woken up the next day without a deep, wide sadness, without a sense that my country doesn't reflect my dearest beliefs, that it actually mocks my youthful enthusiasm for the political process and commitment to following my political heart.

Now I watch Obama, a leader who articulates my own ideas and intuitions with the most eloquent grace, on the brink of a presidential miracle. His words about the critical nature of cohesive community, about injustice, about personal responsibility ring so true in my ears. But I'm scared to believe.

I don't think that Obama is a "messiah." I know that he has flaws, that he will fail in many ways, that the space between his ideals and his actions will often gape with a discomfiting hypocrisy, or at the very least, inefficiency.

But I am almost certain that he is good deep down, that he believes, as I do, that we could do better, that we could be better, that we are – when stripped of bureaucracy and alienation and skepticism – already better.


Monday, October 06, 2008

McCain and his friends - Nixon henchmen

Really interesting assessment of McCain's ties to radicals, including G Gordon Liddy and Fred Malek (who both worked for Nixon), and how little the press is covering it, especially compared to endless stories and "analysis" of the (rather tenuous) connection between Obama and William Ayers.

The fact is that what many people would call violent, eliminationist rhetoric is common among the right wing, but has become so mainstream that the country doesn't even see it anymore. Instead, it's being projected onto the ghosts of a small handful of leftist radicals who in reality are now placid, aging academics musing about their former glories before an audience of 13 English majors.
[ . . . ]
If William Ayers' youthful radicalism is relevant to this campaign, you'd think that people would question why McCain is involved with former Nixon henchmen from the same era. Ayers was exiled to the far corners of Illinois academia where a young state senator might cross paths with him at a local event, but would never dream of hiring him to work on his campaign [as Fred Malek was]. And Bill Ayers was certainly never feted with awards for his national radio show where he alludes to his desire to kill the President of the United States [as Liddy was].


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Movie weekend

Got to see a couple of movies this weekend, though certainly not all the movies that I wanted to see - in theaters now are Frozen River, Religulous and Blindness, among others. But I did get to two, both based on novels (coincidentally), the first by Nicholas Sparks and the other by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Nights in Rodanthe. Great casting, great performances, but ultimately an unsatisfying movie. It was so terrific to see Diane Lane and Richard Gere, who actually look like real people (really attractive real people), who have not resorted to gallons of botox and collagen. They have excellent chemistry and the setting (Hatteras Island off the coast of North Carolina) was, of course, beautiful, but the movie missed the mark somehow and I walked out feeling disappointed. Not as epic as The English Patient or Atonement, but no happy ending either.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. If they gave an Academy Award for"Most Adorable Movie," this would definitely win. I'm not a teenager, so I'm certainly not the target audience for this movie. But that said, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Larry did too. I thought the casting was perfect, the performances were delightful and the music was terrific. What more do you want from any romantic comedy, except for it to be funny and romantic? This qualifies on both counts. You're rooting for Nick and Norah, almost from the first frame. And all the supporting characters are wonderful. Also, there are some fun cameos, which gives the movie that Inside Baseball feel that makes it that much more of a hoot. I may even buy the DVD (which makes this a rave review!) Bonus - Norah (as played by Kat Dennings - someone to watch, and she's from Philly!) is a hip, smart and pretty Jew, who even makes reference to Tikkun Olam - how cool is that?


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Placing blame

From my favorite blog, Hullabaloo. I love the last line.

From Edroso:

Barney Frank used to live with a top executive at Fannie Mae. Though this had been reported as far back as 1992, conservatives are working it hard now, perhaps feeling that if their attempt to blame the financial crisis on black people doesn't work, they can get some traction blaming it on manlove.

"PART OF WHY THE USA GOT IT UP THE YOU KNOW WHAT," bellows The Astute Bloggers. "HOMO BARNEY FRANK WAS SLEEPING WITH MALE FANNIE MAE EXEC FOR YEARS." Ace O'Spades is of course on it like Lindsay Lohan on Samantha Ronson, and his commenters spray milk (at least we think it's milk) out their noses ("This sickens me on so many levels"). Dad29 assails "back-door-banditry" and asks, "Why should THEY worry about imposing a huge national debt on children?" (Please don't tell Dad29 they're allowed to adopt now, or he'll wear out his slur thesaurus.)

So, far we have blacks, Mexicans and gays being blamed for the financial crisis. Surely, they can't mean to leave out environmentalists and feminists? What about atheists? The conservatives are in such disarray they haven't even managed to find a way to blame Hollywood? They really are losing their touch.


Friday, October 03, 2008

"Taking it back to Barack, Jack"

Adorable song about Barack Obama. Here's the lyrics:

Hate to see the nation being run by a hack
Dig the situation that he dug in Iraq
Half the population wants to give him the sack
And now he's lookin' round for somebody else to attack
We need somebody great to get us back on the track
So we're takin' it back with Barack, Jack!

Choo Choo, Change to believe in
Woo woo, we can achieve it
Choo Choo, Change to believe in
Takin' it back with Barack, Jack!

Now that global warming is a matter of fact
The only real question is just how to react
The new administration needs the guts to enact
Drastic legislation, leave the planet intact
We can't be foolin' round with some Republican Mac
So we're takin' it back with Barack, Jack!

Choo Choo....

He only gets his money from your regular macs
Doesn't take a penny from some whackity PAC's
For bringin' folk together he's the man with the knack
And he'll supply the hope and inspiration we lack
Cause he's the best we got and did I ....mention he's black?
So we're takin' it back with Barack, Jack!


Record number of debate watchers

70 million people tuned in to see the Side Show of the Century, beating the previous TV debate record of 56 million set by, yes, the VP debate between Geraldine Ferraro and GHW Bush in 1984 (though a footnote notes that the "universe" of TV watchers has grown considerably since 1984).


Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Sing for Change"

I've heard about this song repeatedly, so of course I wanted to see it for myself. Needless to say, it's been mocked and parodied quite a bit - paired with images of Hitler youth and references to North Korea's "Dear Leader," etc. I think the idea is sweet, but unfortunatly, it's not really my cup of tea, and it's certainly not as catchy as will.i.am's song, Yes We Can.

The site, singforchange.com, doesn't appear to be working, but I got some info on the video, including that it was filmed in Venice, California.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The right to privacy

From my favorite blog, Hullabaloo. I've heard quite a bit of what Palin said when interviewed by Katie Couric, but I missed this. Palin must not realize what she said because there's no way that she believes that the Constitution contains a right to privacy.

Couric: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.

Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

I don't know if she believes in the right to privacy or if she believes in the words "right" and "privacy" and saw them together and took a stab at it. But this is a major, MAJOR no-no for the fundies and the wingnuts. She undermined the entire intellectual argument against Roe without even recognizing it. Taking her logic (if it can be called that), if there's a Constitutional right to privacy then there's a right to keep medical decisions confidential, not a state's right but a fundamental Constitutional right. This is about 35 years' worth of arguments crashing down right now. If any backlash could cost her the nomination it would be over this.