Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Voting in Tampa, Fl.: A View on the Ground

I am working for the Obama campaign in Tampa, Florida. I was sent to the College Hill Public Library to oversee early voting there.The site is to the left pictured here. Early voting is occurring across Florida at select locations. Here in Tampa (Hillsborough County) if you live in the County you can early vote at any location, which is very convenient. I showed up early at 8 am and worked until about 2 PM. When I got to the polls there was a line of 100 people out the door. When I left at about 2 PM there was a line of about 75 people. The line never stopped! People are very excited.

The line of voters was at least 95% African-American. It is in the College Hill section of Tampa, not that I know much about Tampa, but I got the impression it was a predominantly black neighborhood. All throughout the morning there were vans of folks coming in and out shouting "Obama!" It was very heartening and exciting to say the least. Of course I stayed neutral giving advice only on the ballot, though we are working for the Obama campaign, we do not challenge anyone. We only encourage voter participation. The Obama campaign makes this very clear. It is a good thing because I would never challenge someone's right to vote.

At one point in the morning an African-American addressed the entire line in oratory telling them that when they go home they need to 'go knock on the doors of five friends and take them to the polls. This election is close and we cannot let them take Florida again! McCain will not let a black man be President! Those in the panhandle in Pensacola will be out to vote for him and will do anything they can to win this election." The entire crowd started cheering and he was told to repeat the message for the back of the line and he did. And then an older gentleman came to get a woman out of line to go see her mother and the entire crowd started booing. Amazing. The guy was pretty pissed off.

Then I overheard conversations in the line as they came up to me that the only time they got to vote for a black candidate for President was Jesse Jackson. They must have meant in 1984 and 1988. Shirley Chisolm ran in 1972, but no one thought she had any realistic chance. Ditto for Jesse, but he was taken more seriously by the Democrats at least. This time around the pride is obvious. And then I thought as I stood there handing out ballots, giving advice to voters and answering questions, and allowing elderly black women to use my folding chair that these women and men for that matter couldn't vote 45 years ago in the deep south. It was not until 1965 the voting rights movement proved to move the south to action. It is astonishing a black man now stands on the foothills of the Presidency.

When these elderly folks were in their mid 20's it was the Jim Crow south, separate everything and no voting in the elections. Martin Luther King had not even begun the Alabama Bus Boycotts and the birth of the civil rights movement was years away. Simply breathtaking I thought to myself; this election is truly historical. And the feeling among many of my friends is that this election is in the bag, but the talk in this line is that we need to do all we can to secure the vote and make sure they do not steal this election.

Sadly, Glory to the Union informed me of Amendment 2 that is on the ballot in Florida that restricts Marriage between a man and a woman hinges upon the black vote. I discussed the ballot with many black voters and indeed many were voting for the Amendment to restrict marriage and have a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. One bright note, however was the Florida Democratic Black Caucus is distributing their own ballots to every voter and encouraging voters to vote no on the measure. I think it will be tight just as the election will be.

Vote Pro-Choice. Vote Obama/Biden.

Here's a little something inspirational from the women and men of NARAL Pro-Choice America and their celebrity friends.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Republican Hatemonger Machine

I saw this commercial down here in Florida a minute ago and I am shocked. Nothing to report on early voting yet, but the commercials against Obama are noteworthy and of course hateworthy. Obama's commercials are more contrast ads, not disgustingly xenophopic. Regardless, the commercial opens with the issue of illegal immigrants and then says Barack Obama's plan gives a drivers license to illegal immigrants with a picture of Mohammed Atta with an illegal drivers license. No explanation that this was actually done under Bush. But, it goes on from there. And ends with: Obama "too radical, too risky." Paid for by the Republican hate monger machine. Unbelievable. This election cannot come any sooner for me.

A point of note, however Obama will be in Sarasota tomorrow and I am hopeful I will be there too.

Monday, October 27, 2008


From A Cuny School buddy: Remember these guys? Wassup!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who is an Undecided Voter?

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked. -
David Sedaris in the New Yorker -

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama on His Grandmother

The Growing Inequality Divide

A new report Growing Unequal? the "American Dream" of upward social mobility has emigrated from its birth place in the United States to northern Europe. The new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is on the growth of economic equality over the past 20 years in its 30 member states. The United States has the largest gap between rich and poor households after Mexico and Turkey. What? The current gap has gotten particularly large under Bush - since 2000. That is what an unfair tax policy will do.
The higher the inequality in a society the lower the social mobility the study says. What this means is dishwashers' sons are more likely to be dishwashers and millionaires' kids can assume that they too will be rich, adding that governments could do much to promote mobility, particularly through progressive tax policies, greater social spending, job creation, and increasing investment in education.

One unintended consequence of this inequality is "the crisis has sparked unprecedented worldwide criticism of the "free-market" economic model that the U.S. and Washington-based international agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have vigorously promoted since the administration of President Ronald Reagan."

After Mexico and Turkey, the U.S. also has the highest poverty rate of the 30 OECD nations, according to the report, which defined poor households as those whose income was less than half of the media income in each of the member-countries.

For all OECD countries, the average poverty rate was just under 10 percent in 2005. In Mexico, the rate was highest at more than 20 percent. Turkey and the U.S. were tied at 17 percent. Lowest poverty rates were found in Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Norway.

The person I listen to most on this subject is independent (Social Democrat) Senator Bernie Sanders (VT). Sometimes I think I should move to Vermont just so I could say he is my Senator. He speaks to the average person in economic terms like no other politician. His candidacy and his politics are actually modelled after the Scandinavian and northern European countries. Here is his plan. He actually has a name for it and it is called Rebuild America. I will let him speak for himself:

Let me be specific about what a "Rebuild America" program should include:

We should make a major financial commitment to improving our roads and bridges. We must develop energy-efficient rail lines for both freight and high-speed passenger service and promote public transportation. We need to bring our water and sewer systems into the 21st century. In terms of job creation, every billion dollars invested in the physical infrastructure creates 47,000 new jobs.

We should make a major financial commitment to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. With a major investment, we could stop importing foreign oil in 10 years, produce all of our electricity from sustainable energy within a decade, and substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions. We can make the United States the world leader in the construction of solar, wind, bio-fuel and geothermal facilities for energy production, as well as creating a significant number of jobs by making our homes, offices, schools and factories far more energy efficient.

We should make a major financial commitment to education. We must end the disgrace of millions of children under five attending totally inadequate child-care facilities while millions of other families are unable to afford a college education. We must invest in new classrooms, new computers, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. That would not only create jobs, but relieve some of the burden on the regressive property tax.

In these harsh economic times we should extend unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks, so that more than 1 million Americans do not run out of their benefits by the end of this year. We should increase eligibility for food stamps and other nutrition programs to assist the hard-pressed middle class as well as the poor. We should substantially increase funding for the highly-effective community health center program so that, at a minimum, all Americans have access to affordable primary health care, dental care, and low-cost prescription drugs.

Finally, with cities and states facing deep deficits and cutting basic services, we must make a major, immediate financial commitment to states and municipalities. Their crisis will only grow worse as homes are foreclosed, as income and capital gains decline, as fees on sales of homes and motor vehicles diminish. For too long, unfunded federal mandates have drained the budgets of states and communities. The strength and vitality of America's communities must be restored.
The American people today are angry and confused. They feel they have lost their grip on the reins of power in our democratic society. While crooked Wall Street executives walk away from failing companies with millions in golden parachutes, middle-class Americans are seeing their life's savings disappear and their dreams for their kids evaporate.

I hope a new Democratic president will take office in January along with expanded Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. With strong grass-roots participation, we can pass legislation which creates millions of good-paying jobs as we address the major economic and social crises that confront our country. Now is the time to begin restoring the faith of the American people in our government. Now is the time to make government work, not just for the wealthy few, but for all Americans.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the faces of occupation

thought i'd share some beautiful photos from my cousin serving in afghanistan, as part of an "Effects Working Group" that conducted a site visitation at a school in kabul and where a new wing of the school was built with US army funding. let's hope we end this occupation soon, but continue the progress of building schools and infrastructure in this beautiful country. understood that the true effects of war and rebuilding this country are in the people of afghanistan and are reprsented in these photos.

see more photos by my cousin and the "official" story at the department of defense website. sift through the propaganda if you will.
if you haven't heard of greg mortenson and his mission to educate children in afghanistan and pakistan, take a look at three cups of tea. this is the real thing.

John Stewart: F*** All Y'all

A World Without God?

Imagine living in a nation where presidents don't sprinkle rhetorical holy water on their wars, where the average citizen declines to believe that Noah's Ark is a historical event, where the term "intelligent design" can be entirely expunged from civilized discourse. - Phil Zuckerman -

Over at Louis Bayard asks the question if McCain wins should we flee? And where should we flee? His answer: Scandinavia. Author Phil Zuckerman proposed it in "Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment. Zuckerman tells of a "magical land where life expectancy is high and infant mortality low, where wealth is spread and genders live in equity, where happy, fish-fed citizens score high in every quality-of-life index: economic competitiveness, healthcare, environmental protection, lack of corruption, educational investment, technological literacy ... "

Zuckerman argues it is not what it has, but what it lacks: "There is no national anti-gay rights movement," writes Zuckerman, "there are no 'Jesus fish' imprinted on advertisements in the yellow pages, there are no school boards or school administrators who publicly doubt the evidence for human evolution ... there are no religiously inspired 'abstinence only' sex education curricula ... there are no parental groups lobbying schools and city councils to remove Harry Potter books from school and public libraries ... there are no restaurants that include Bible verses on their menus and placemats, there are no 'Faith Nights' at national sporting events ..."

There is no God, Zuckerman tell us. As few as 24 percent of Danes and as few as 16 percent of Swedes believe in a personal deity. (In America, that figure is close to 90 percent.) In Scandinavia, belief in life after death hovers in the low 30 percent range, as opposed to 81 percent in America. Some 82 percent of Danes and Swedes believe in evolution, while roughly 10 percent believe in hell. Their rate of weekly church attendance is among the lowest on Earth.

Christianity was introduced in the 800's and became entrenched here, but Zuckerman says the Scandinavians just grew out of it. It is something children believe in and then "grow up" he says. He also tells us and refutes the idea that God gives our charity and our goodness. He says quite the contrary: Scandinavians rank near the top in charitable giving to poor nations, that their murder rate is among the lowest in the world and that the safety net they've created for their poorest citizens puts the U.S. welfare state to shame. And all this has been accomplished without God breathing down anyone's neck.

Though, one must ask the racial make-up of the Scandinavian nations as well? It cannot only be explained away by no moral fervor. But, it sounds nice. He also does not speak of dark undercurrents of Scandinavian life: dismal weather, a heavy tax burden, low fertility, high alcoholism, a suicide rate twice that of America. The Scandinavians, Zuckerman concludes believe in something called: "Gentle Agnosticism." No, I don't believe in God...but I believe in something." Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Uncounted: How the 2004 Election Was Stolen

As we move within two weeks of the 2008 election I want to remind folks that if you do not remember the 2004 election was stolen. If we think this cannot happen again, then think again. Remember the exit polls were way off in 10 of 11 battleground states all in the direction of Bush. A statistical fact that cannot be proved outside of blatant fraud. This happened. Just because people will not accept it doesn't make it not so. Here is a statistical report that explains exit polls and how this did not happen by accident.

Exit polls were used shortly after the 2004 election to prove the Republic of Ukraine President fixed the election. From pressure from the United States the sitting President was forced to resign. But, not in America. We sit by like sheep and believe what our leaders tell us. Why would someone who started a war based on lies then steal an election?

Monday, October 20, 2008

General Powell's Endorsement

The best part of General Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama yesterday was his monologue on what is wrong with being a muslim? I will let him tell it, but this is the essence of diversity and hearing it from a Republican is striking. And that in itself is troubling:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Voter Fraud Malarkey

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been accused of widespread voter fraud which is all in a word - bullshit. I actually have been trying to work for their legal organization - Project Vote - to no avail so far. What I know about ACORN is though I have problems with some of their work, they are not involved in widespread voter fraud, in fact they do the work of getting those to vote who have the most to lose.

To do this, they hire people to go around signing up the unregistered, killing two birds with one stone - giving employment to people who need it (some with criminal records) and providing the opportunity to vote to members of minority communities whose voices all too often go unheard. What happens is that some of those hired to do the registering, who are paid by the name, make people up. As a result, you'll discover that among the registrants are such obvious fakes as Mickey Mouse and the starting line-up of the Dallas Cowboys, among others. This is all known and I have seen this operation in action in Pittsburgh. It is chaos. Though, we witnessed a GOTV operation people were showing up at the office for $25 for a day's work. All poor people, all in the neighborhood. But, in the absence of a void to register and get those disenfranchised to vote it is tough to criticize.

Regardless, this is where the GOP yells loudly every election cycle that democrats are stealing the election and allows their own highly sophisticated voter suppression tactics to run their course. Besides, a point of clarification, voter fraud does not take place in registering voters - it takes place in voting when you should not. And to think that Mickey Mouse is going to show up and vote in Indiana is ludicrous.

What so irritated me is McCain's charge at the debate "We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama's relationship with ACORN, who [sic] is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." Are you kidding me? Here are the facts:

ACORN has registered 1.3 million voters and maintains that in virtually every instance it is ACORN that has reported the incidents of fraud. In fact, ACORN is required to submit the registration forms even if they know they are not correct. They have to, it is the law.

As the organization asserted in a response to Senator McCain, "ACORN hired 13,000 field workers to register people to vote. In any endeavor of this size, some people will engage in inappropriate conduct. ACORN has a zero tolerance policy and terminated any field workers caught engaging in questionable activity. At the end of the day, as ACORN is paying these people to register voters, it is ACORN that is defrauded."

It is troubling the media jumped on this story like it was true. It is almost as if the media has nothing to go after the Democrats about, so when a trumped up charge is filed against them they run with it. These charges are the same charges that led to the firing of US attorneys that have Rove, Harriett Meyers, Alberto Gonzalez under threats of subpoena. The firings were a direct result that these Republican appointed attorneys would not file charges of voter fraud against democrats for virtually these same reasons. (In an interview with Talking Points Memo on Thursday, one of those fired attorneys, David Iglesias, reacted to reports that the FBI has launched an investigation of ACORN: "I'm astounded that this issue is being trotted out again. Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it's a scare tactic.")

This is not a crisis in democracy, it is a fraud. The Brennan Center recently said getting struck by lightning happens more often than voter fraud in this country. What we really have to worry about is voter caging, a tactic used by the GOP and perfected in 2000 and 2004 in which voters are purged from the rolls. Two recent victories in Michigan and Ohio have the GOP scrambling as they should be. The Country is ready to dramatically change, if not in policy - at least in representation - and the Republicans are freaking as some corporate democrats no doubt are as well. Get out and vote.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wild About America

Michelle Bachmann is on a witch hunt and thinks Barack Obama is anti-american along with Bill Ayres, Jeremiah Wright, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and any other liberal in this country. She thinks the media should investigate congress to see who else is anti-american. The question needs begging what does anti-american mean? And it seems in the eyes of many on the Republican side of the aisle and at McCain/Palin rallies it means liberals. This interview is shocking and I sat on the couch reading Naomi Klein and looked up and asked if this lady was serious. She is, very serious.

This is not new. This has been the way of the right in America - always. If you are liberal, you are a socialist, a communist, and now a terrorist. Love America, and as Michelle Bachmann said most people in this country are "wild about America." So that is it - any criticism for the states and we should leave or at the very least be investigated. If this election goes sour I am not sure this is the place for me. I am obviously considered anti-american because I am far to the left of Barack Obama.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Misconceptions of Obama Fuel the Republican Campaign

This report sends chills down my spine. Yes, as a progressive I look at the stupidity of these debates and see that a two party system is a joke. The debates are the repeat of the same questions asked over and over with no real substance and it is frustrating. My partner just gets uncomfortable watching them dance the dance and run out the clock and the question remains will real progress be made with an Obama Presidency? We know what a McCain Presidency brings. More war, more ignorance and less for regular people.

Then, I see this report in eastern Ohio, not that far from where I write really. These are people that live in the same country I inhabit. We look like one another, but we live in different worlds and the "misconceptions" of Obama must scare him. It scares the hell out of me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Hate at McCain Rallies

Every time Keith does a special comment, Joe Scarborough on "Morning Joe" refutes him subtly. This morning on "Morning idiot" he and his right wing thinkless idiots were saying the media is jumping all over McCain, but Obama has more negative attack ads than any other candidate in Presidential history. Why is the media such stooges, they ask?

This is so ludicrous on its face; do they actually believe this? We have people at McCain/Palin rallies screaming "kill him" "Obama bin Lyin" signs, Obama monkey dolls, surrogates in full police uniform calling him Barack Hussein Obama, Palin saying he pals around with terrorists and other supporters saying he is an Arab, an Arab terrorist. If this is not inciting violence, it is pretty close. I suppose it only incites until the violence happens, but the vitriol at these rallies are unnerving. Can these idiots not see this? Do they not see McCain's terrorist ads are responsible for this.

As to John Lewis, Keith mentions him in his brief special comment. Congressman Lewis not only remembers the 60's and the violence that occurs he was privy and up close and personal with it. He had his skull cracked open on the Petuluma bridge in the Selma march. He was beaten viciously by white supremacist cops during sit-ins of the freedom marchers. He was the President of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization that helped change the world. This is a person who knows about violence and hate and can smell it when it starts to become rotten.

John Mellencamp and America

John Mellencamp has always been one of my favorite musicians, his working class roots and poetic style fit with my sentiment. He gave an interview to the LA Times this week describing his feelings on America. He says it in such an easy way I wanted to put it here.

"We've got to have guidelines, and strict guidelines, that are enforced by the government. That's the government's job. Now, their idea of making law is 'We're allowed to tap your phone, we're allowed to enter your house without a search and seizure.' That's wrong."

He blames the strong nationalism that clenched the country after Sept. 11.

"When people are for the country right or wrong, America right or wrong, it's a lot like Germany. Nationalism is a bad thing. And when you have a mob mentality over a country, over a swastika, over the F├╝hrer, over the Iraq war, the outcome is not going to be good."

He said he played a show in Boston two days after Sept. 11 that "frightened" him.

"I write a lot of songs that could be interpreted as big patriotic songs, but in reality they're questioning the direction the country is going," he said. "After every song in Boston, 20,000 people were going, 'USA, USA.' I thought, man. I almost asked them to stop, stop doing that. I don't like it. I don't like hearing that chant."

He decided not to and kept on singing.

"I know why they were doing it," he said. "There's a part, a small part of me that understands that we all need to rally together after a tremendous disaster. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that that's the only time this country rallies together." I have had the same experience in Boston as I am sure many people have everywhere.

He has a new album coming out soon. "Life, Death, Love and Freedom." Remember this song:

Monday, October 13, 2008

McCain Minister Says His God is Better than Obama's God

Is there another reason we need than this that we need to take religion out of politics. "Uh uh!! My God is bigger than your god! And my god is hoping McCain wins while your god hopes Obama wins" Not to mention the political implications of these statements, but what is this campaign thinking?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

John Lewis on the McCain Campaign Rallies

Rep. John Lewis Responds To Increasing Hostility Of McCain-Palin Campaign

"As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing today reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

"During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who only desired to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed one Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

"As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. 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."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ballast Trailer

Independent film and the U.S. These days, what with corporate a part of every phrase that comes out of anyone's mouth, it is refreshing to hear about a movie that is truly off that beaten-path. Ballast, set in the Mississippi delta, is just that. With a cast of non-actors, and some amazing camera work, this film reminds me of what movies can be if they have half a chance to be different. I just read about this, and hope to see it either on the Internet or down here in Brazil. Check it out in NYC if you can.

Friday, October 10, 2008

buyolympia gets out the VOTE!

buyolympia does it again ... by popular demand ... more free VOTE posters are available as well as bumper stickers, limited edition silk-screened wood print VOTE signs and t-shirts for sale. request 'em and pass 'em out for FREE!

when can you get something for free??? buyolympia, a collection of independent artists and designers selling their wares online, is offering free VOTE posters to spread the word and their cause...

from today's promotional email: "... an exciting project we've worked on with Nikki McClure. It's a poster featuring her VOTE paper-cut with space on the side for you to include your own message. The best part? We're giving them away free to anyone who asks.We've printed 10,000 posters and we're giving (and mailing) them to anyone who asks. So tell your friends and let your voice be heard."

i've already put in my order... and while you are there, shop online. i've bought nikki mcclure calendars, cards and baby books, as well as jill bliss cards, journals, and pouches. also, my current favorite, sarah utter's stuff -- reading is sexy -- including mugs made of corn!

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

Same-sex couples won the right to marry in Connecticut in a historic ruling by the Supreme Court today. Citing the equal protection clause of the state constitution, the justices ruled that civil unions were discriminatory and that the state's "understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection."

In Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health the Majority in a narrow 4-3 decision said: "Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice... To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others."

The opposition is not finished, however; in less than a month in the November election voters in Connecticut will be asked if a Constitutional Convention should be convened. This was also done in Massachusetts if I remember correctly and when cooler heads prevailed it failed miserably. I think it is over for the "man and a woman" arguments in Connecticut.

It is looking like Fall, 2008 is a time for enormous change. Let the frenzy begin.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Donna Brazile's Rage is Heartening

Donna Brazile tells it like it is, that this blatant racism we see in this campaign is a type that has gone by and she ain't goin' back. Thanks magda and Feministing:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hannity the Hypocrite

Sean Hannity obviously has emotional problems, but stuffing it in his face is a work of genius. Thank you to the next Press Secretary of the United States.

The Town Hall Meeting that Wasn't

If this was supposed to be a town hall meeting they forgot to tell the town hall. What was there like six questions from the audience? That is the problem with these debates, the corporatization of them and the Commission on Presidential debates. Outside of that this was a blow-out for Obama in the context of this election. McCain did nothing, but propose a new $300 billion dollar bail-out and call Obama "that one" dismissively. It was a veiled something that is for sure, but what? Judge for yourself. Here it is:

Obama was cool and explanatory like a professor. Ordinarily that might bore Americans and it may have, but last night it came off as someone who can lead the nation in the midst of all these crises and that is precisely what he needs to do.

This was my favorite moment of the debate. McCain the hot head. I like it when Obama gets a little heated because he is usually calm, cool and collected.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mad Men

If you are not watching Mad Men I suggest you run to get the DVD and catch up. This is one of the most authentic shows I have ever seen about a time past. The year is 1960, Nixon v. Kennedy when the Men were Men and the women were forced only to serve them. It looks beyond that stereotype and reveals a world much like Mendez' American Beauty and the movie "Little Children." I find myself astonished at some scenes and episodes. It is nice to have something worth while on television again.

The New McCain Playbook: Hit Way below the Belt

Sarah Palin recently declared about Obama, "This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country."

This is the new strategy of the McCain Campaign. The polls are not favoring the McPalin ticket and they need something drastic to happen. So, go after Obama, make him look like a terrorist sympathizer with racial overtones galore. Though, the Obama campaign is mounting a counter offensive on McCain's Keating 5 scandal that rocked the nation almost 20 years ago. It is entirely relevant today.

Here is an excerpt of the lies being told about Obama and the truth about the lie.

LIE: "My view is that the community organizer was really a sham event. Bill Ayers was testing him."(Andy Martin, Hannity's America, October 5, 2008, "Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism")
TRUTH: Bill Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's community organizing job. It's pure lunacy to imagine that Ayers was "testing" Obama.

LIE: Obama's "community organizing is a grand scheme perpetuated by none other than William Ayers."(Sean Hannity, Hannity's America, October 5, 2008, "Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism")
TRUTH: Obama's community organizing was not a vast conspiracy for revolution devised by Bill Ayers. This one is pure lunacy.

LIE: "They live half a mile from William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist" and "Just a half a mile from those homes is Louis Farrakhan."(Hannity's America, October 5, 2008, "Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism")
TRUTH: It's true, of course, that Obama lives in this same neighborhood, as do tens of thousands of other people who presumably are also guilty by geographical association. The logic of this argument would be, if you live half a mile from a sex offender, then you agree with child molesters.

LIE: Obama and Ayers "appeared together at various public would seem that they are more than just a little bit friendly."(Sean Hannity, Hannity's America, October 5, 2008, "Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism")
TRUTH: Appearing on a speaking panel is not a sign of friendship. There is no evidence that Obama had any role in ever inviting Ayers to speak.

LIE: In 1995, Ayers and Dohrn "hosted a political coming out party for a young Barack Obama."(Sean Hannity, Hannity's America, October 5, 2008, "Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism")
TRUTH: This was an event for Alice Palmer, not a "coming-out party" for Obama. Obama was invited by Palmer to the event.

See the rest of the list here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Should Americans Be Mandated to Pray?

Does it irritate you when someone says I will pray for you? No. Well, you should be happy then because President Bush wants everyone to pray. Not only should everyone pray, but the President proclamates a Day of Prayer for the nation. It is on the first Thursday in May. It happened last year, but not if the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has something to say about it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation thinks it violates a little something called the fucking Bill of Rights!!

From the AP:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued Friday in U.S. district court, arguing that the president's mandated proclamations calling on Americans to pray violates a constitutional ban on government officials endorsing religion.

The day of prayer, held each year on the first Thursday of May, creates a "hostile environment for nonbelievers, who are made to feel as if they are political outsiders," the lawsuit said.

The national proclamation issued this year asked God's blessings on our country and called for Americans to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is named in the suit because he is one of 50 governors who issued proclamations calling for the prayer day. The foundation is based in Madison.

This is a pretty ridiculous description of the lawsuit because this so called "day of prayer" is outrageous in my opinion. I respect people's religions and people's practice of them, but I do not want my government forcing me or even encouraging me to pray.

FFRF says: the government "aligns and partners" with the NDP Task Force as the official organizer of the National Day of Prayer. The NDP Task Force identifies itself online as "The National Day of Prayer 'Official Website.' " The task force has close ties to Focus on the Family (an organization that says the Founders intended a christian society not a secular one). Its chair person, Shirley Dobson, is married to Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and the task force is located in the Focus on the Family headquarters. Does that sound innocuous? There is more.

The task force proposes the wording of proclamations and chooses a yearly theme and a bible quote. In 2008, Psalm 28:7, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped" was selected by the NDP as its official biblical reference, and was recited in Bush's proclamation and in at least 15 gubernatorial NDP proclamations. Other governors picked up variations of the task force resolution template and the annual theme.

FFRF goes on to say: that the Establishment Clause "prohibits government officials and persons acting in joint and concerted action with government officials from taking actions that endorse religion, including specific religions in preference to others, as well as preferring religion over non-religion."

"Exhortations to pray in official Presidential proclamations do not constitute ceremonial deism solemnizing some other occasion," the Foundation asserts, but "constitute an end in itself intended to promote and endorse religion."

The Complaint notes that the prayer proclamations "create a bond between church and state," causing such violations as an official prayer breakfast organized on May 1, 2008, by Sheriff Dean Roland, Burnett Co., Wis.

Here is the Presidential Proclamation from the National Prayer Day of 2008. Read the proclamation for yourself, but this is how it begins: America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God's will in times of joy and of trial. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country's future in His hands.

That is enough for me to run to the nearest airport. This is not to say that prayer is not important and that many cultures and many peoples here in the United States rely on prayer, but proclaiming prayer is completely unconstitutional and proclaiming a belief in the almighty is downright scary to me. This is not a day of prayer, it is a day of Christian prayer. It belongs left out of our public sphere. Period.

Friday, October 3, 2008

the other george michael

as we watch arrested development reruns, i can't help but re-obsess over michael cera.

with his new movie nick and nora's infinite playlist, cera aka george michael bluth ("i can see marinating a chicken in that ...") can do no wrong in my book. the new york times profiled him last weekend.

see him here in a clip of a fictional firing from knocked up.

See more Judd Apatow videos at Funny or Die

naomi klein on the colbert report

Post Debate Vlog from Sarah Palin

Tina Fey is not the best imitator of Sarah Palin, obviously.
Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Dog-gonnit - Reforms and the Mavericks they are a comin'

Was it me? I thought the debate was boring and began tuning out around 10 PM. When it became clear that Governor Sarah Palin was not going to answer Gwen Ifil's questions and was going to make every single question about "reform" and "Joe Six-pack" and "Hockey Moms" I tuned out.

I am embarrassed for a major American political party to put such a candidate up for an election. Have we not had enough with Bush? Because that is exactly who she is, a Bush clone. She actually (in one of the rare substantive answers) said that she agrees with the enhanced power of the Vice Presidency and believes that the office is not in the executive branch, but of the legislative branch as well, a view that places her so far outside the mainstream she could be in Russia, but Stalinist Russia.

And let me be clear, she is not dumb, she is a person with a simple world view (read: Bush). The good guys and the bad guys, the hockey moms and the Joe Six-packs against the East coast liberals who run our country. It is astonishing the country that we now find ourselves in: an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression, two wars depleting the resources of this government, al qaeda on the loose, Pakistan, Iran and the entire middle east destabilizing, the Rethuglicans place someone stunningly unqualified as their V.P.

This is not country first, it is party first, but it seems the country is getting it and after eight years of a simple worldview we are realizing we need something different. Phew. Still four and 1/2 weeks to go, but I surmise Sarah Palin will disappear from the news and this election will become about the issues again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

art n' fashion -- jersey style

fall is here! time for the annual jersey city artists tour ... my personal favorite stop will be found object art at van vorst park to see the interaction of art and nature in deborah pohl's traffic cone #3: for the birds, see photo above.

note that for both days of the studio tour, the jersey city museum (gallery hours 12pm-5pm saturday and 12pm-8pm sunday) will offer free admission to all visitors.

fall is also the time to break out last year's gear (like i always do) or buy something new ... at rubee's closet ... run there this weekend for 15% off all sweaters and jackets!

Bernie Sanders on Why He Will Not Vote for the Bail-Out

This bill does not deal at all with how we got into this crisis in the first place and the need to undo the deregulatory fervor which created trillions of dollars in complicated and unregulated financial instruments such as credit default swaps and hedge funds...

This bill does not deal with the absurdity of having the fox guarding the hen house. Maybe I'm the only person in America who thinks so, but I have a hard time understanding why we are giving $700 billion to the Secretary of the Treasury, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who along with other financial institutions, actually got us into this problem. Now, maybe I'm the only person in America who thinks that's a little bit weird, but that is what I think.

This bill does not address the major economic crisis we face: growing unemployment, low wages, the need to create decent-paying jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure and moving us to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. - Senator Bernie Sanders (I) Vt.

Bernie Sanders, a true voice of the people.

Homer Simpson Attempts to Vote in America

A poignant message a month away.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Can Obama Win?

Suddenly, all of the polls are in Obama's favor. It is the economic meltdown and the Palin come-down as well as Obama's performance in the debates that have swung the polls clearly in his favor nationally and state by state. But, a serious question remains - can the Democrats win a head to head election against the Rethuglicans. Common wisdom regarded Hillary Clinton as the candidate to beat the Republicans because the Clintons have shown they can beat them. This is simply not true.

The democrats have not won a head to head general election against the Republicans since 1976 when Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford in the wake of the Watergate scandal. A time that is not unlike the time we see here today, a confluence of events that is in the democrats favor. Carter won only 296 electoral votes, a close national election and won just over the 50 percent margin against Ford. Obama is now polling at 50 percent, a place he needs to maintain if he is to win.

President Clinton, the last democratic president did not win head to head against the Republicans, but was helped by the magnanimous Ross Perot who actually received 19 percent of the vote, but did not win a state. This has to be said for two reasons: 1) Without Perot he would have lost in a big way; and 2) Democrats need to stop picking on Ralph Nader because if it were not for Perot there would have never been a Clinton Presidency. Clinton only garnered 43 percent of the vote and never won a majority in both elections. He did however, win 370 electoral votes. Nader gained a dismal 2.7% of the vote and less than than 2% in Florida. So, please can we stop picking on the brilliant Nader. Third parties are historically good for the contender that is the way it works.

If we are to win we cannot rest on our laurels or become complacent because Obama is ahead in the polls. Nothing is guaranteed especially taking into account the vote caging and vote stealing that has been going on since the 2000 election of which the GOP is becoming more sophisticated. The Brennan Center just released a report on voter purging that indicates 13 million voters have been purged since 2004 and 2006. Putting aside the gross violation of our civil rights this presents a significant problem for democrats. Get out and vote, tell your friends to vote, door knock, phone bank and become a poll worker. It could not be more important.

A Progressive Economic Bail-Out that Protects Consumers is Needed

What would a progressive economic bail-out look like? It would not be providing $700 billion dollars to the people who put us in this crisis. It is silly and I support the Congressional Progressive Caucus' Plan. See below Dennis Kucinich discuss the Congressional Progressive Caucus Plan.

Here is part of the PCP plan. Go here to see for yourself:

1) First and foremost Wall street is responsible. A proposal of a 0.25% on all stock trades and more exotic trades which would raise (not put the tax payer in debt) 150 billion dollars and takes the money from the speculators and traders on Wall Street.

2) The American people must be provided equity in the companies that it bails out.

3) Bankruptcy reform that was slammed through in 2005 that has put many Americans in serious jeopardy.

4) Safeguard consumer rights, provide tough independent oversight, and establish a transparent regulatory system that is updated for the 21st century.