Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Night Open Thread

Wazzup, everyone! Have you had as crazy a week as I've had? I know, it's been tough.

So go ahead. Let your hair down. Relax. It's an open thread tonight, so anything goes!

I had an interesting day today. Today was my first day out since I became violently ill this past Monday. And of course, for my first day back out... I went to exciting Democratic/Obama volunteer leader training! I know, I know... I'm crazy.

So anyways, most of the folks there were die hard "Obamacans" who were happy to shout out "Yes We Can!" and talk everything Barack. And moi? Oh, I just wanted to figure out who was on my regional team so I could start working to elect Democrats! OK, OK, and I was also spotting out my friends and gossiping with them while the "Obamacans" were all chirpy. Yes, believe it or not I'm not altruistic all the time!

So anyways, what's happening with you? Talk to me. I don't want to talk about moi all the time. ;-)

Uproar and Trolls

Cross-posted at MyDD and at Obama--Criticism and Support.

Apparently the term "troll" originated in the 16th century to describe political debate and insult in London coffee houses. The term is thrown about too loosely. When I was active in bipolar listservs in the mid-1990s, a troll was a despicable person who joined the group pretending to be bipolar. He often set people against each other, preyed on the vulnerabilities of achingly vulnerable people, pretended to be in crisis, etc. We all knew what the word meant. Who knows what it means in political debate? In my first weeks on mybarackobama, I was accused of being a troll daily. Anyone capable of rational debate is not a troll. We all get intellectually lazy about explaining our principles and policies. It does us good to be challenged.

Parents learn to ignore obnoxious toddler or preschool behavior rather than to make a big fuss about it. Why don't you ignore the people that you consider trolls, don't bother rating their diaries and comments, don't comment on their diaries nor respond to their comments, don't impose timeouts. Concentrate on writing your own diaries and blog posts.

When my oldest daughter was 1 and 2, she pulled hair and dumped sand on people's heads. I finally realized that she wasn't inherently vicious; she just adored uproar. Her criminal behavior only occurred in the presence of parents absolutely guaranteed to go round the twist. She stopped eating sand when her pediatrician looked her in the eyes and told her how important it was to eat enough sand daily to stay healthy.

Real trolls love uproar. If you enjoy the insult game, you can't complain about your comrades in insult being trolls because you obviously relish uproar as well.

Here is what the devil child is doing now. She no longer eats sand, although she has spent a suspiciously long time in African deserts unobserved by me.

There might be hope for trolls and the troll accusers. When I was in high school and college debate, we addressed our most cutting remarks to "the honorable gentleman or lady of the affirmative (or negative) team." Listen to how Senators do it. Mixing politeness with insult is more effective.

For the PUMAs

A way out of our impasse:

McCain Watch: Ten Campaign Fiascos

Last week, I wrote about McCain Watch:

The Huffington Post and have launched a joint project called McCain Watch. To recieve presidential news about John McCain that you won't find anyplace else, sign up at McCain Watch.

Today's issue of McCain Watch is The Week That Should Have Ended McCain's Presidential Hopes. Max Bermann at the Huffington Post analyzes ten events and missteps by the McCain campaign that would have ended his campaign, had the media been paying attention.

1. McCain unambiguously called Social Security "an absolute disgrace."
2. McCain's top economic policy adviser calls Americans a bunch of "whiners" for being worried about the slumping economy.
3. Iraqi leaders call for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal, McCain gets caught in a bizarre denial and flip flop.
4. McCain's economic plan to cut the deficit has no details and is simply not believable.
5. McCain's deficit plan includes bringing the troops home represents a major Iraq flip-flop.
6. McCain campaign misled about economists support.
7. McCain makes a joke about killing Iranians.
8. McCain denies, flatly, that he ever said that he is not an expert in economics.
9. McCain distorts his record on veterans benefits in response to a question from Vietnam Veteran, who then proceeds to call McCain out on it.
10. McCain demonstrates he knows nothing about Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Visit the Huffington Post to read this important article. To sign up for these email alerts, click here.

Why Does John McCain Hate Our Children?

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

I think some of the PUMA people in particular are making the mistake of giving John McCain the benefit of the doubt. By now, everyone has borne witness to his frantic appeals to the fundies of the far Right; I've rarely seen such outrageous and blatant pandering. I get the impression that McCain doesn't necessarily agree with everything he's saying, and that's the problem. McCain makes it easy for some of us to think, "He's just pandering during the election - he doesn't believe that stuff." Maybe some assume he won't hold to all the hard-line GOP positions once he's in office. Fortunately, there's one thing which can dispel this notion, and no one can it excuse as harmless pandering: his voting record.

If children's issues are any voter's top priority, McCain is the worst choice possible. I'm not talking about the choice between Obama and McCain - I'm talking about a hypothetical choice between McCain and any other US Senator. In 2007, the Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst Senator for children's issues. Obama and Clinton both have a history of child advocacy and scored well. This is a pattern which has held for three years. In 2005, the CDF rated Clinton 100%, Obama 100%, and McCain 22% based on their votes on bills addressing children's issues; in 2006, McCain's score deteriorated further, falling to 10%, while Clinton and Obama scored 90% and 100% respectively. Assessed by his votes on ten bills pertaining to children's issues, the CDF found that McCain's score held steady at 10% in 2007. Last year, voting on bills affecting children was not something he considered sufficiently important to show up to work for; he missed eight out of ten bills pertaining to children's issues, including but not limited to, ignoring or voting against a bill to increase funding for education for children with disabilities (absent), a bill designed to protect children from unsafe medications (absent), a bill which would extend health coverage to 3.2 million more uninsured children (nay), and a bill which supported education for children of immigrants (absent). McCain has also gone out of his way to agree with Bush's decision to veto children's health insurance expansion.

The bill, which would cost $35 billion over five years, is meant to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program to provide coverage to an additional 10 million children. . . .Bush said he vetoed the bill because he considered it a step towards "federalizing" medicine and an inappropriately expanding the program's goal beyond its original focus on helping poor children.

During an interview onboard the CNN Election Express in South Carolina, McCain said he agreed with the president's decision.

Not only are children's issues unimportant to Senator McCain, but on the occasions when he deigns to discuss them, he reveals unsettling positions, including supporting school vouchers and an intention to reinforce Bush's failed No Child Left Behind Act. Senator Obama recognizes that NCLB is ineffective and has vowed to reform it:

In 2008, researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas-Austin found that,

. . . Texas' public school accountability system, the model for the national No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), directly contributes to lower graduation rates. Each year Texas public high schools lose at least 135,000 youth prior to graduation -- a disproportionate number of whom are African-American, Latino and English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students.

[. . .]

"High-stakes, test-based accountability doesn't lead to school improvement or equitable educational possibilities," said Linda McSpadden McNeil, director of the Center for Education at Rice University. "It leads to avoidable losses of students. Inherently the system creates a dilemma for principals: comply or educate. Unfortunately we found that compliance means losing students."

While McCain insists on continuing the failed policies of the past, Obama has made education reform a key part of his platform. He has called education "the currency of the Information Age," and promised to support initiatives to provide critical support to young children and their parents ("Zero to Five" plan); expand Early Head Start and Head Start; provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families; reform NCLB; make math and science education a national priority; address the dropout crisis; expand high-quality afterschool opportunities; expand summer learning opportunities; support college outreach programs; support english language learners; recruit, prepare, retain, and reward America's teachers; make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit; and simplify the application process for financial aid. Senator Obama's has a strong and consistent record on improving education opportunities for America's youth:

Record of Advocacy: Obama has been a leader on educational issues throughout his career. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama was a leader on early childhood education, helping create the state's Early Learning Council. In the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leader in working to make college more affordable. His very first bill sought to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, Obama helped pass legislation to achieve that goal in the recent improvements to the Higher Education Act. Obama has also introduced legislation to create Teacher Residency Programs and to increase federal support for summer learning opportunities.

And there's one more education issue upon which McCain is out to lunch: Sex education. Asked by a reporter whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, McCain stumbled over the issue:

Q: "What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush's policy, which is just abstinence?"

McCain: (Long pause) "Ahhh. I think I support the president's policy."

Q: "So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?"

McCain: (Long pause) "You've stumped me."

Q: "I mean, I think you'd probably agree it probably does help stop it?"

McCain: (Laughs) "Are we on the Straight Talk express? I'm not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I'm sure I've taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception - I'm sure I'm opposed to government spending on it, I'm sure I support the president's policies on it."

Something about this exchange doesn't inspire much confidence in a potential President McCain. He either has no idea what his position is, or he can't remember what the GOP wants him to say. Planned Parenthood has harshly criticized his opposition to spending $100 million to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies, legislation requiring that abstinence-only programs be medically accurate and scientifically based, and comprehensive sex education. I've always found it ironic that Republicans generally oppose any form of government funded sex education in public schools, which might prevent unwanted pregnancies and the transfer of sexual diseases, yet they condemn abortion. The inconsistency involved in this sort of thinking is alarmingly short-sighted.

Obama has taken a far more progressive stance on sex education, advocating age-appropriate sex ed. Controversy flared when Obama proposed sex education for kindergarteners, provided the children were prepared. The GOP slammed him on this position, despite the potential benefits it could provide. Even David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network has supported Obama's stance:

"Barack Obama supports sensible, community-driven education for children because, among other things, he believes it could help protect them from pedophiles. A child's knowledge of the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching is crucial to keeping them safe from predators. . . . Obama doesn't want to hand out condoms to five year olds. He doesn't want cucumber demonstrations as part of show and tell. The legitimate reasonable discussion here is whether the federal government and/or local school boards should get involved in providing these five year olds information about inappropriate touching or should it be left up to families only."

Predictably, such considerations haven't occurred - or just don't matter - to McCain, who has clearly made children's issues one of his lowest priorities. For any involved, concerned parent, Senator Obama is the obvious choice.

If any of you managed to make it all the way through this dry, boring diary, thank you and congratulations. As a reward, I now present to you several adorable pictures of our candidates with cute little babies. Please, I know it's tough, but try not to faint from an overload of cuteness. I will not be responsible for any injuries you may incur from falling out of your computer chair.

Oh, dear. Is it just me, or do McCain and the baby look a little frightened?

Giving Credit

I've been hard on Obama for what I perceive to have been his weak outreach to Clinton supporters. There is a story in the LA Times about him reaching out to a Clinton donor, Jill Iscol. He called her personally to ask for her support.

Barack Obama told a potential donor to his campaign that Hillary Rodham Clinton is on his list of possible vice presidential running mates, but that her husband's status as a former president makes matters "complicated."

Jill Iscol, a faithful Democratic donor who was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, said Obama reached out to her because he heard she was unhappy about the way the New York senator had been treated by the Democratic Party and the media.

Iscol reports that she suggested he choose Hillary as his running mate and Obama indicated that she was on his list. However, he reportedly told Ms. Iscol that Bill is a "complication."

Senator Obama, I've given you a lot of grief, but I'm glad to see you reaching out. Keep it up!

Friday, July 11, 2008

mediaFail: Liddy Edition.

On the July 9 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing a July 8 speech in which Sen. Barack Obama discussed the importance of learning a second language, G. Gordon Liddy claimed that Obama "wants you to be sure your child can speak fluent illegal alien." He added: "Sadly, with every legal and cultural step we take to make our life more immediately convenient for non-English-speaking illegal aliens, we merely feed the beast."

Liddy later stated: " 'Round here, let's see, I speak some French, some German as well as English. Franklin [Liddy's producer] speaks fluent French, fluent Italian, as well as English. But none of us here, so far as I know, speak illegal alien." He had previously said of undocumented workers from Mexico: "[T]hey want to speak Spanish, you know, and other varieties of illegal alien."

From the July 9 broadcast of Radio America's The G. Gordon Liddy Show:

LIDDY: And that, of course is the latest pander from Barack Obama. He says that Europeans coming over here can speak German and French. Well, yes, if you're from Germany I would suspect you would speak German. And you -- you would speak French and they do study English because English is the universal language. All aircraft communications and all the rest all over the world are in English. No, they're not in Russian or Chinese, or anything else. But think about that; he wants you to be sure your child can speak fluent illegal alien. Sadly, with every legal and cultural step we take to make our life more immediately convenient for non-English-speaking illegal aliens, we merely feed the beast.


LIDDY: You've just heard Barack Obama insisting that we all teach our children Spanish. Well, not mine, no way. 'Round here, let's see, I speak some French, some German as well as English. Franklin speaks fluent French, fluent Italian, as well as English. But none of us here, so far as I know, speak illegal alien.

What a Douche.

Click here to hear the clip if you can stomach it.

Taming Trolls

If you don't immediately recognize this, you have a serious case against your parents for child abuse and cannot be held responsible for any untoward behavior on blogs. But you need to be in the children's section of your public library tomorrow morning.

"And when he came to the place where the wild things are, they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said, "BE STILL!" and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things."

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

Why I STILL Have No Thrill for the Drill

Laguna 9

(Cross-posted at MyDD and Democratic PartyBuilder)

You know, I love Jerome Armstrong. I really do. When so many of us Hillary Clinton Democrats were being bashed around everywhere else, he provided us with a warm & welcoming home over at MyDD. I'll always appreicate him for that. Oh yeah, and he's wicked smart as well!

But you know what, Barack Obama is our Democratic nominee. I've made peace with that. Oh yes, and I really like his energy & environment plan. And while I agree with Jerome on many other matters, I just have to disagree with him on this.



Sorry, but I simply don't see the logic of agreeing to the Bush-Cheney energy "plan" of attempting to solve all our problems by drilling for more oil! It simply makes no sense. It's a fleeting political fad that will soon fade, and worse yet it will do NOTHING to solve our energy crisis.

Believe me, lifting the offshore drilling ban will NOT lower gas prices. No, it really won't.  Oh yes, and more offshore drilling would destroy our coastline. Do we really want to lose our beaches and our coastal wildlife forever to do nothing about the energy crisis? And no matter how much the Rethuglicans tell us how "stupid" we are to be "Dr. No", we don't have to cave into them... We already have the facts on our side!

So what can we actually do to relieve the pain at the pump in the near term while also focusing on real energy solutions for the long term? Well, we can simply encourage the oil comapnies to drill on those 68 million acres of federal land where they already have leases! There, problem solved!

And at the same time, we can begin investing in our energy future. Invest in better conservation measures. Invest in clean, renewable energy. This is our energy future. T. Boone Pickens, the Center for American Progress, and many more real experts now agree that our future rests not with the same ol' oil, but with new ideas.

Let's face the facts. We're running out of oil. We're in the midst of a dangerous climate crisis. We need real solutions, not political gimmicks.

And btw, let's all support those who are calling for real solutions... Just an idea! ;-)


Where We Can Go from Here

(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama, Democratic PartyBuilder, and MyDD)

I know, I know. It's been a tough week for all of us who care deeply about our Constitution, the foundation of our republic. And yes, I know what's made this week tougher was Barack Obama's agreeing to this capitulation to Bush-Cheney. So what do we do now? Where can we go? How can we put this disappointment behind us?

Follow me after the flip as I discuss where we can go from here...

First off, I know some here have been uncomfortable seeing us argue over the FISA Amendments Act. But you know what? It's not always a bad thing when all of us don't agree with Obama on everything.While I strongly disagree with Obama's stance on the final FISA Amendments Act, I'm glad that there has been open discussion of this here and at other progressive/Democratic communities. Obviously, many of us ARE distressed & disappointed over this. While we all understand that sometimes we have to compromise to get at least some of what we want, I just think that the Constitution is something we should NEVER compromise on.

And no, I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. That's whyit's important for us to have an open discussion on this. After all,haven't we all hated seeing how the Bush-Cheney regime has alwayscrushed dissent? And how the GOP "dittohead" footsoldiers neverquestion their own leaders on anything?

We're Democrats (and Independents, and Greens, and others, and even ex-Republicans), and we're supposed to be better than that. We're theones who are supposed to be questioning authority. We're the ones whoare supposed to hold our leaders' feet to the fire. We're the ones whoare supposed to strive to make things better for everyone.So are we all still united to elect Obama this fall? Sure. But will weall agree with everything he does? No. And are we supposed to blindlyaccept everything he says? I don't think so.

OK, so now we all understand the value of open discussion. But hey, open discussion doesn't get Democrats elected! I know that. That's why it's also important that we move on to working hard to ensure we don't see any more disappointments like this in the coming months and years.And how can we do this? We can get involved with the Democratic Party in our communities. By electing more & bettter Democrats, we're doing our part to ensure we won't see any more massive failures to protect & defend our Constitution. So by volunteering and contributing, we can do a whole lot to take back our country.

Also, why not reward those who have been fighting the good fight all along? Help the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation fight this horrid FISA capitualtion in court. Believe it or not, we still have a chance to have our say in court. And since this bill is NOT a Constituional Amendment, we have at least a decent chance of overturning this heinous violation of our Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Oh yes, and let's also remember to reward the great Democrats that stood with us the whole time? Remember Chris Dodd. Remember the Blue America candidates. Remember Russ Feingold. Remember Barbara Boxer. Oh, and remember Hillary Clinton! She didn't have to stand with us, but she did. She's showing her true-blue colors now as a progressive warrior. But hey, if you don't want to give there, give here.

And finally, let's not forget about our nominee. While he disappointed us on the final vote, Barack Obama did support all the important amendments that would have improved the bill. And as President, he's promising us that he will work to improve this legislation. So yes, let's hold him accountable & make sure he keeps his promise. And at the same time, let's all work our patooties off to ensure he becomes President so we can actually hold him to that promise! :-)

North Dakota? I mean, c'mon, North Dakota?

So we're 116 days out before we start counting electoral votes, and that is a lifetime in politics, but if you're the Republicans' Apparently-Not-Ready-for- Prime-Time Presumptive Nominee, you have got to be noticing some distressing things. Like, say, North Dakota. If I were John McCain, I might be annoyed, or worried, or maybe just a touch suicidal about Rasmussen's poll for North Dakota (7/8/08 - 500 LV, 4.5% MOE):

Obama 43
McCain 43

See, the problem here for Mr. McCain is that in 2004, North Dakota went this way:

Bush 62.9
Kerry 35.5

And let's not forget everyone's favorite tune, the 2000 race:

Bush 61
Gore 33

I could keep going backward, but I think you get the drift. Everyday Mr. McCain needs to spend in a place like North Dakota is one more day that he doesn't get to spend in a place like Pennsylvania or Ohio.

Mr. McCain's problem is that there are a surfeit of states where he needs to win handily but he's on the brink of losing--places like Virginia, Indiana, and North Carolina. A way to look at what this means is to think about the places the candidates are campaigning. Since June 20, Obama has made 23 campaign stops, and 13 of them have been in red states. He's been campaigning in places like Montana, Georgia, North Dakota, Colorado, and Nevada. Meanwhile, Darth McVader has also been campaigning in places like Indiana, Colorado, and Nevada.

I mean, c'mon. The Republican nominee has to campaign in Indiana? If the Republican faithful need some razor blades, I'll be happy to set them up for them.

Stop Squabbling and Build the Nonviolent Revolution

May 2007. I take care of my toddler grandson 3 days a week, so people under 2 are my peer group.

Crossposted at MyDD and Daily Kos. Thanks to my fellow bloggers on Clintonistas for giving me the courage to do it.

I am new here, and I am trouble. Perhaps the Obama and Clinton supporters should stop squabbling with each other and concentrate on me. I do believe that she who laughs, lasts, so humor might temper my elder arrogance. My name is Mary Joan, and I am far more a Joan than a Mary. Imagine how much more fun Western art would be if Mary, the mother of God, and Joan of Arc had exchanged wardrobes.

I am one day older than the atom bomb, born the day after Trinity (I expect birthday greetings very soon if you know your history:) I was a 1960s radical nonviolent pacifist and am a card-carrying member of the War Resister's League. I can go spectacularly limp if you try to drag me from the demonstration. I have not changed as I raised 4 daughters, took care of my dying parents, worked as a public librarian and social worker. I am not a dried up old crone. My English husband, 16 years younger, gave up job and country to swim the Atlantic to marry me.

We need a nonviolent revolution to transform America into a children-friendly, family-friendly, elder-friendly, human-being-friendly society that is not the disgrace of most of the world. If you want to have children or take care of your aging parents, you would be better off moving almost anywhere in the world.

I supported Hillary and I am now supporting Obama by holding his clay feet to my progressive fires. I am a million percent sure the US will be better off with him as president than McCain as president. But I have no illusions he is a liberal or a progressive. He will only be as liberal as the country forces him to be. I have known that from the beginning, so I don't feel betrayed.

Since Obama became the presumptive nominee, I became very active in mybarackobama , and in a month have amassed 867 points and am in 7416 place. Joining lots of groups, making sure my blog posts land on their group page, then deciding they are worthless and leaving are the keys to my point total. I feel like a first grader bragging about the gold stars on my forehead. I have been asked to leave two groups, but I started 3 groups of my own, which I control absolutely. My blogs posts can be sent to 10 groups at once. Mybarackobama seems remarkably open to Obama criticism. I hope it continues after he wins the election. I feel I am having a much more positive impact than if I was feeding my resentments on Puma blogs.

Let's stop squandering the ideas, energy, passion needed for the revolution on destructive family squabbles. I thought the feminists of my generation would change things so that our kids could combine careers and children and elder care. I intend to dedicate the rest of my life to making sure my grandchildren can. I have a 14-month old grandson with a granddaughter due in August and another one due in December.

If you think managing careers and child care is difficult, wait until a phone call in the middle of the night plunges you into the nightmare of combining elder care and your career. And no, Medicare or Health Insurance does not pay for custodial care and help with the activities of daily life for failing or demented elders who are going to die of their illness. Medicare or Health Insurance might spend hundreds of thousands on death bed heroics. but they won't pay for an aide willing to change adult diapers. I hope you all are practicing. I suggest wrapping the use diaper in a plastic bag and tossing it out the bathroom window to a garbage can outside the window. But you need to live in a house for that.

I have been a feminist since my brother was born when I was 18 months old. Having 4 more younger brothers reinforced it. The culminating moment was when I was preparing for First Communion and the nun informed me that boys went up first because they could be priests and were closer to God. !6 years of misogynistic Catholic education guarantees radical feminism for life.

I was the only girl in my political science classes at Fordham and I especially love to argue with men. I don't do tact. So when is my birthday and why do I call myself Redstocking Grandma? If you can't answer those two questions, you undoubtedly need to read more history and do less blogging and commenting. Ask me for a reading list. I give lots of homework.

In addition to this blog, I blog as restockinggrandma at Feminism in the 2008 Election and Beyond and Obama--Criticism and Support: Progressives and the 2008 Election Time will tell if I moderate my blogs, censoring people who can't pass my history test:) That is a joke guys. I am the proud owner of a red sweatshirt that says "Never love a man who doesn't love Jane Austen, Doris Lessing, and Margaret Drabble." More homework again. It actually should have said, "Never Be Treated by a Psychiatrist Who Never Heard of Jane Austen." After 8 years of trying, that shirt got me an English husband. We met on a Jane Austen online listserv.. A nonviolent revolutionary who loves Jane Austen, what's not to love?

Cutting Your Nose Off to Spite Your Face:

It’s a really bad idea.

I’ll freely admit that I don’t like PUMA. I think it’s a terrible idea to work against the Democratic nominee, especially since PUMA members believe in most of the values Hillary believes in. I don’t fully understand what they’re trying to accomplish. Are they punishing the party, or do they think Hillary has a chance to win the nomination? I agree with them on many things – caucuses are undemocratic, the process was unfair, Hillary was treated like sh*t by the media. So I concur with them in a lot of ways, but in weighing my choices, I’ve come to the conclusion that supporting Obama is the only logical path to take. From a purely selfish point of view, if I want to protect my own rights as a woman, he’s the only option for me. While I understand the PUMAs’ pain, I do think they’re being somewhat irrational, and I’m furious at a lot of them for working against Hillary and harassing those of us who are trying to do what she asked us to do.

And yet, on some fundamental level, I understand them. They’re hurt and angry. They worked hard for a woman I love and invested a lot of their time, money, energy, and emotion in her campaign – just as I did. I respect that. It’s painful when people I used to get along with call me a faux Clinton supporter because I’ve been open-minded about Obama. It’s painful because what I’ve done – what all of us have done – has been hard. No one is enjoying this. There was a time when my excitement and happiness about the 2008 presidential elections was nearly rapturous. I couldn’t wait to see Hillary rip McCain to shreds in the debates. She’s a fighter, a scrapper, a champion, and I couldn’t wait to see her take on (and take down) the GOP. Whenever I felt sad or distressed about anything in my personal life, I used to close my eyes and imagine watching Hillary being sworn into office; it never failed to bring a smile to my face. I gave her more money than I could afford, and spent hours upon hours making calls for her. It didn't work out. The dream died. But I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Despite the hurtful things they’ve said, I hold out hope that most of the PUMA people, particularly alegre, will return to us.

The people for whom I have no sympathy, however, are the purity trolls who are accusing us of being concern trolls. In attacking C4O, they’re attacking linfar, who has given her phenomenal support to the Democratic nominee, and who was arguably the strongest advocate for Hillary on MyDD, aside from alegre. They’re attacking atdnext, who’s gone SO far out of his way to build this group and work for Obama. They’re attacking canadian gal, who I consider a cherished friend, and who was consistently the most polite, fair, and level-headed Clinton supporter on MyDD. They’re making a special effort to harass psychodrew, who has made many sacrifices and is fighting to defeat John McCain, despite his anger and pain over Hillary’s loss. Naturally, they’re also attacking me and disregarding the fact that I’ve been defending Obama for over three months, much to the annoyance of other Clinton supporters I respected. I was loathe to do it, too. A lot of Hillary supporters learned to have little tolerance for me. CG and I always got along, though we sometimes disagreed, and I got on well with aurelius, Denny Crane, and a couple of others. Beyond that, I was not well liked by the people with whom I agreed; I was often ignored, and sometimes faced outright hostility.

Other than the C4Os and a handful of Clinton supporters who never spurned me, most of my friends on MyDD are Obama supporters. For months, I’ve been friends with people who were thorns in the side of the majority of Hillary’s advocates. I listened to Obama supporters’ grievances, and then I told them mine in reasonable (most of the time), measured tones. We got to know each other better than I’ve ever gotten to know most of the Clinton supporters, and it was because we were forced to talk in order to work out our differences and come to a mutual understanding. I didn’t get to know Hillary supporters as well precisely because I agreed with them – I read their comments, nodded in silent agreement, and uprated them; there was little need for dialogue between people I agreed with. Maintaining friendships with Obama supporters involved a good deal of compromise and a lot of talking, explaining, sympathizing, and sharing. Those people helped me see Obama in a new light, and I helped them learn to look at Hillary in a new way. I adore the people who showed me that Obama has many admirable qualities, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. Because of them, I’ve probably had a much easier time giving my support to their candidate than most of the other C4Os have had. We’ve all made sacrifices in the name of our candidate, and in the name of the Democratic nominee. For people to accuse us of being trolls is beyond the pale. Forgive my melodrama, but…

How. Dare. They?

How dare they demean and denigrate our efforts? How dare they attack us when we’re doing more to elect the nominee than they are? You will notice that they haven’t written any pro-Obama or anti-McCain diaries lately. They may have written a few hit pieces on Hillary, but that’s about it. Hardly a contribution to MyDD. I’ve rarely seen more divisive people, and their antics are dangerous because, quite frankly, they help dampen my enthusiasm for Obama, and they reinforce the idea that Obama supporters are impulsive jackasses. I know that most Obama supporters are good people, but a lot of Hillary supporters still haven’t realized that basic fact. That’s NOT what we want PUMA people to see. We don’t want them to see Obama supporters attacking us for supporting their candidate – why would anyone want to help him if they know they’re going to be attacked by the people who should be working alongside them?

I’m sick and tired of these people. I don’t really know why they get under my skin so much. Maybe it’s because I think we all deserve a little civility, considering what good sports we’re being. That’s why I’m taking a short break from MyDD. I’m tired of fighting a two-front war: An influx of PUMAs and purity trolls doesn’t make for a pleasant environment. I know I’ll be back soon; people are asking me to return, and I know it’s somewhat cowardly and immature for me to abandon a site I like because I’m avoiding inconsiderate trolls. Still, I need awhile to get my head on straight. I don’t want to lose my cool. In the meantime, we have several Obama supporters defending us, and that makes me happy. It makes me think I should return as soon as possible so that I can stand up for them, too.

But for just a short while, I’m going to sit back and watch the destructive purity trolls damage their nominee. If they want to cut off their own noses to spite their faces, who am I to stop them?

[EDIT: BN finally wrote a diary attacking McCain and the MSM. It's a miracle! Wonder if it had anything to do with some of us pointing out that we were doing more work for the nominee that s/he was? Doesn't matter, though: s/he's still a lying, useless, divisive sack of crap.]

Party Unity AND a T-Shirt

Back in May, Hillary announced a contest to create a new campaign T-shirt. Less than a month later, before the contest winner was announced, Hillary suspended her campaign and endorsed Senator Obama. Since then, she has been working on unifying the Democratic party to electi Barack Obama and defeat John McCain.

This week, she announced the winner of the contest in an email sent to her supporters. Check it out:
Dear [Psychodrew],

I have so many wonderful memories from the millions of people I met on the campaign trail. Over the past year and half, I have also collected a few cherished mementos. They are a reflection of the many ups and downs that we went through together and represent our many accomplishments.

In May, Chelsea announced our "Project T-Shirt" contest, and I never imagined we would have such an outpouring of support and great designs. We received almost five thousand amazing entries, and more than 125,000 of you voted for your favorite design.

While the primary race may be over, I think the winning t-shirt -- and it won by a landslide -- still makes a wonderful statement about everything you and I accomplished in this historic race and our determination to keep fighting for what we believe in.

If you contribute $50 today you'll get a t-shirt with the winning design and continue to help me pay down our campaign debt.

Click here to make a contribution of $50 and receive one of our winning t-shirts.

Denitza of Weehawken, New Jersey submitted the winning t-shirt. I'd like to thank Denitza and the thousands of others who put their time, talent, and efforts into all the great designs that were submitted.

I know you're as proud as I am of everything we achieved and I hope I can count on you to work with me on the issues that brought us together. By helping us pay down the debt from one of the hardest-fought races in Democratic primary history, you're making a real difference today for all our future efforts.

Plus, if you contribute $50, you'll get one of our winning t-shirts. It's a great statement about the spirit that drove our campaign, and I hope you'll get one for yourself!

Contribute $50 to help pay down our debt, and you'll get a t-shirt with our winning design.

Thank you for everything!

Here is the t-shirt:

I understand that this has been a difficult primary and that some of you may be reluctant to donate to Hillary Clinton. That's how I felt about donating to Senator Obama. After I saw Hillary and Obama out raising money for each other, I realized that it was time for me to put my money where my mouth is.

Hillary Clinton believes in party unity.

Barack Obama believes in party unity.

Where do you stand?

Consider donating $50 to help Hillary pay down her debt. You'll get a free t-shirt and the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped Hillary and Barack bring our party together.

Obama and Family Issues

Cross-posted on Obama--Criticism and Support

I agree that Obama's heart is in the right place on family-friendly issues. I love it that his daughters are young and he and Michelle struggle with these problems everyday. Fortunately Michelle's mother is available to help care for their kids. That solution is available to fewer and fewer families since grandparents still work and often live too far away. (I am lucky enough to be able to care for my 1-year-old grandson three days a week.) He tells the story of how he called Michelle to be praised for a legislative success; she was much more interested in his buying ant traps on the way home.

Hillary wasn't really better on these issues, but I hoped that as an older woman with so many woman advisors, she would understand. She might be more sensitive to the dilemmas of caring for aging parents since her mother lives with her. The Obamas are still in the stage when Michelle's mother cares for them.

We need a mass movement, indeed a nonviolent revolution, to pressure Congress to address these issues. Sadly most young parents and most caregivers of elders do not have the time or energy to lead this crusade. That is why I am encouraging baby boomer grandparents to dedicate themselves to winning battles for their grandchildren that we failed to win for our children.

I am taking advantage of Obama's enlightened invitation to local platform meetings to host one on Building a Truly Family-Friendly America. Here is my invitation:

Let's discuss and develop family friendly policies that would make it possible for all Americans to lead balanced lives. The US lags shamefully behind most of the developed world in child-friendly policies. We all need time for love, work, family, friendship, children, elders, political and community activism. We all know the challenges of child care. Most health care discussions neglect long-term health care of chronically ill elders. People don't realize until the crisis is upon them that Medicare and regular health insurance does not pay for chronic custodial care.

We need maternity and paternity leave, child care, credits for parents who stay home to care for children, free preschool education, extension of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Improving conditions for nannies, child care workers, and home health aides is an important issue. Figuring out how to prevent businesses from penalizing and discriminating against workers who do take some time off for child care or elder care is another challenge.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Soundbites to Solutions.

Unlike any other election cycle, the issues of race, gender, age, and class have dominated public and private conversations over the course of this election.

That is why on June 17th, The Women's Media Center, along with The White House Project and The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, brought together top national political observers and media professionals for an in-depth conversation about how the media creates and reflects public perceptions on presidential candidates. Speakers included:

- Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
- Susan Carroll, Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics
- Callie Crossley, National Television and Radio Commentator and Program Manager, Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard
- William Douglas, White House Correspondent, McClatchy Washington Bureau
- Juan Gonzalez, Columnist, New York Daily News
- Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Director, Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Celinda Lake, Political strategist and President of Lake Research Partners
- Courtney Martin, Author and Columnist for The American Prospect Online
- Pamela Newkirk, Associate Professor of Journalism, New York University
- Geneva Overholser, Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Southern California
- Ron Walters, Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland
- Patricia J. Williams, Columnist, The Nation, and Professor of Law, Columbia University

Held June 17 in New York, "From Soundbites to Solutions" started a conversation that one can hope will continue through this election cycle, as the public, press and candidates grapple with tough issues of bias, identity and language.

Further information is available, including video of the conference.

Stoller: "Why It's Important to Note That Obama Is Not Liberal or Progressive"

Cross-posted at Obama--Criticism and Support

Matt Stoller at Open Left gets it right. Read the whole post.

So work for Obama, help him get elected, but realize that he doesn't and will never share our values. And we shouldn't try to pretend that he is the progressive we wish he were, since he's a politician, and politicians go where power is. And he's decided that power is not with the liberals. That's fine. But it's important, as people who believe that liberal ideas work, that Obama be understood as who he is, not as who we wish he were. I have tried to broadcast this message over the past few days, but first, I'll make a caveat most of us on this site will recognize.

Caveat: We want to make it very clear that criticism or analysis of Obama is not intended as a repudiation of support for Obama. He's a far superior candidate to McCain, a better person, and will be a much better President....We support him, even though we disagree with his political outlook and policy positions.
I could find countless emails between me and my Obama-supporting 4 daughters where I argue that Obama is even more centrist than Clinton, that she offers a more progressive health care plan. Paul Krugman in the New York Times wrote numerous columns on this and was repudiated by too many progressive blogs then in the throes of their Obama love affair.

McLame’s Unsettling Sense of Humor

Sometimes I really feel bad for the guy – it must be miserable to go through life without a decent sense of humor. Then I remember that he’s a shameless panderer who has sacrificed all his principles to get in good with the fundies of the far Right. The last time I recall McCain trying to be funny, it had something to do with bombing a Middle Eastern country. Hilarious, yes? Nothing more entertaining than violence and death!

Oh, and I almost forgot – there was also this clip from a press conference a couple of days ago:

HAH! Killing Iranians – classic comedy! The press certainly seemed to think it was funny, so at least he got some gratification out of it. And now it would seem that one of his surrogates has said something rather… insensitive about the people of the nation McCain wants to run. Apparently, those of us who are a trifle concerned about the fact that we’re paying over $4 for a gallon of gas are just a bunch of mentally depressed recessed whiners:

Oh, really? So I guess I was just imagining these gas prices?

Clearly, I’m hallucinating; unfortunately, so is my bank account: Therein lies the real problem.

Gramm’s comments might not be so disconcerting, were it not for the fact that he’s McCain’s economic advisor. The man seems to think that this nation’s financial distress has become some sort of bizarre mental pathology, rather than cold, hard fact. The idea that McCain hired someone so startlingly out of touch and (dare I say) elitist is frightening. Gramm refuses to retract his remarks, but he’s trying to weasel out of them by saying he was only talking about our nation’s leaders. On these matters, our leaders take their cues from the people they represent, and frankly, I’m feeling pretty whiney about the fact that I’m paying more for everything from a carton of milk to a sack of cat food. I’ve had to give up my snobby, elitist lattes, and it looks like my wine is going to be next.

McCain quickly attempted to distance himself from Gramm’s remarks:

McCain slammed economic adviser Phil Gramm for his “mental recession” and “nation of whiners” comment. He said he didn’t agree with him and even proposed a position in a McCain administration -- ambassador to Belarus, “though I’m not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that,” McCain said.

Oh, good. Another bad joke. At least our nominee has a real sense of humor:

I have to admit, I chuckled at that. As a graduate student in psychology, I find that the idea that McCain’s economic advisor would try to psychoanalyze us for not enjoying paying way too much money for everything is simultaneously appalling and humorous. Determined to stay the course, McCain follows up one bad joke with another:

”You’re talking about Dr. Phil,” McCain said, adding about Obama, “He’s Dr. No. He’s Dr. No on energy. ” McCain then ticked off the energy proposals in which he and Obama disagree on implementing. “My response is I speak for me. … He’s Dr. No.”


Huh... I dunno, guys, I’m just not seeing it. Maybe if both photos were in black and white?

Ahhh, there we go. That’s much more like it. Wait… not really. Amusingly enough, it isn’t as if this is the first time McCain has used this not-so-clever analogy. He’s been going at it for awhile. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to think McCain should stick to the dry, dull, pandering monotone at which he’s become so adept.

Let Hillary Get Back to Work

When I began drafting this post a couple of days ago, it was going to be another "Obama, you SUCK at party unity" tirade. I was especially ticked off after reading an article in the New York Times about the reluctance of some Obama donors to support Hillary Clinton. Since Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign and endorsed Barack Obama, Senator Obama's fundraisers have contributed less than $100,000 to her campaign. When one of Senator Obama's donors emailed friends asking them to contribute to Senator Clinton's campaign, some of the responses were sharp:

“Why would I help pay off debts that Hillary amassed simply to keep damaging Senator Obama?”

“Gas prices are up, the markets are in turmoil, my kid’s fall tuition bill is coming soon. Writing checks to politicians I don’t like is not at the top of my list.”

“Not a penny for that woman. Or her husband. Or — god forbid — Mark Penn,” a reference to Mrs. Clinton’s former senior strategist, whose firm is still owed several million dollars for work that included aggressive attacks on Mr. Obama.

For the record, I question the motives of the donor that released these emails. Was it to inflame the Clinton supporters? Or to alert the Obama campaign of a problem with his donors?

Anyway, after spending some time looking for more articles on fundraising, I noticed that Hillary and Barack had planned several joint fundraisers together. So rather than rant and rave about the Obama people taking the Clintonistas for granted again, I sat back and watched and pondered.

For the last week or so, I've been wondering if jumping on the Hopemobile so quickly after her concession was the right thing to do. Seeing Hillary on stage in Unity, NH saying "change we can believe in" did make me sick--and it still does. But another thought hit me last night. This party unity bullshit must be killing her. She doesn't want to stand on stage and say "yes, we can" while crowds chant "O-ba-ma" anymore than I want to watch her do it. She doesn't want to run around the country raising money for Obama and trying to get her supporters on board with him. Frankly, the longer that I hang around on the sidelines waiting for the "right moment" to get in line, the more time Hillary will have to spend on the campaign trail trying to convince me.

And I just can't do that to her.

Hillary should not have to go around the country begging her supporters and her donors to join her in uniting the party. She's better than that. Hillary Clinton is the most inspirational politician that I have encountered in my lifetime. She is the reason I came back into politics and the reason that I once again believe in the power of the people. She was the most uniquely qualified candidate running in the Democratic Party and I will always be stunned that she was tossed aside for a rookie. But the primary is over. She's accepted it and moved on and it's time for her supporters to do the same. So no more wavering. No more second thoughts. And no more sitting on the sideline. Yesterday, despite his FISA vote, I donated to the Obama campaign, and immediately after, donated (more) to Hillary Clinton.

It's time for Hillary's supporters to get behind the nominee and let Hillary get back to work. Oh, and for the record, Senator Obama, you still SUCK at party unity.

Obama Well Positioned To Win

It's only July, and the election is still four months away. These facts are important facts to keep in mind, but I think there is little doubt that were the election held today, Barack Obama would win the election. Lots of things can change. I have been around long enough to know the Republicans can throw mud in a drought, but gas prices are going up at the same time that employment is going down and the war just keeps going on and on.

has a summary of Chuck Todd's, Larry Sabato's, Electoral-Vote.Com's, John Zogby's, Election Projection's, and Five Thirty Eight's assessments of where the Electoral College currently stands.

Three of them allocate all the votes despite findings within the margin of error. shows Obama over McCain, 320 to 218. Election Projection has Obama over McCain, 306 to 232. Five Thirty Eight has Obama over McCain, 313 to 225.

The remainder of these prognosticators play their cards a little closer to their chests and decline to allocate close states. Obama still leads by each of their assessments. Chuck Todd has Obama over McCain 210 to 189 with 139 electoral votes as toss-ups. Larry Sabato has solid Obama over solid McCain 183 to 144, a nice base for our candidate to build on. John Zogby sees Obama over McCain 273 to 160, with 105 still too close to call.

I typically am opposed to war, unemployment, and inflation, but this year, the only silver lining to these problems is the possibility that Republicans will crash and burn, as they justly deserve.

BELATED Weekly Strategy Session: Where Do We Go From Here?

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry that I haven't been around much lately. I've been violently ill since Monday night, and I'm just now beginning to rediscover life outside my front door.

So anyways, let's talk about what's been happening this week while I've been suffering on my sickbed. First off, the horrid "FISA Amendments Act" capitulation crap passed. And worse yet, our nominee Barack Obama voted for it. So will this HUGE mistake of his prevent me from
supporting him? No! But has it been dampening my enthusiasm? No doubt it is!

So what should we do to hold Obama accountable while continuing to support him against John McBush? I really need your help here. Should we write to him asking why he broke his promise to us? Should we take some of that extra money we were planning to send him and give it to Hillary instead? After all, Hillary did the right thing and opposed the fonal bill while Barack ultimately agreed to the capitulation to Bush on FISA.

And while we're talking about Democrats doing the right thing, let's expand on this thought. While this blog is dedicated to electing Barack Obama as our next President, we certainly refuse to stop there. We also want to send more progressive Democrats to both houses of Congress, more Democrats like Hillary Clinton with real courage & backbone, who will hold President Obama's feet to the fire and pass the legislation that he's promising to make into law. So now, I want to ask you... Who else should we be supporting here?

We'll certainly always have Hillary's back... She's earned our respect many times over. But still, who else should we be pushing for? Which Democratic House & Senate candidates do you like that we should take a closer look at? Which organizations supporting Democratic Congressional candidates should we give a thumbs-up to? Since C4O is your community as much as it's mine, I'm opening the floor to all of you. Which candidates and organizations should we support in order to elect more "Hillary Clinton Democrats" to Congress?

OK, so are you game for this week's strategy session? Need a quick review? That's fine. I'll remind you what's on the agenda:

- What to do with Barack now, after the FISA disappointment

- Supporting Hillary for getting FISA right

- How to elect more Democrats to Congress who will show real strength, just like Hillary

Get it? Got it? Great! Let's start the session!

Some of Us Care

The media have spent the last days or so deconstructing the secret coded messages being sent by the Obama campaign and his VP search:

Obama Stirs Some Intrigue Over VP Search
Obama, Clinton raise New York cash and V.P. speculation
Veepstakes: Meeting with the Vetters
Vetting Undercover
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Or they're talking about the Rev. Jesse Jackson:

First Thoughts: The Jesse Jackson Flap
Treacherous Sound Bite
It's Jackson vs Jackson on 'Ugly' and 'Demeaning' Obama Remarks
Jesse Jackson Apologizes for Remarks on Obama

I live overseas, but I have a feeling that more people saw discussions of the political implications of Rev. Jackson's desire to castrate Obama or images of Sen. Obama entering DC office buildings for top secret meetings than saw debates over FISA and Senator Obama's flip-flop.

Some of us haven't forgotten Obama's flip-flop and we haven't stopped talking about it. It's not just the Clintonistas who are angry (but I think we're the only ones enjoying the anguish of the Obama people). I was surpised to come across this blog post at Barack Obama's community blog website. Here's an excerpt. It's worth a visit, even if you aren't supporting Senator Obama. (I understand how difficult it is to visit that website. This Clintonista's stomach turns every time he visits Hopeland.)

Today was a dark day indeed. Our candidate, the candidate of change “we can believe in,” certainly changed his position on filibustering a terrible FISA bill that added new categories of warrantless surveillance and granted immunity to the big telecom companies complicit in the Bush administration’s warrantless spying.

Instead of offering strong, principled leadership on this issue, and using his power as the Democratic nominee to bring along the minority of Democratic Senators who supported this atrocious legislation, he and they joined the solid Republican bloc to ratify the most egregious aspects of the Bush administration’s approach to warrantless surveillance and enable an immunity deal that will in all likelihood forever prevent the public from learning the full truth behind Bush’s illegal domestic spying. We’re talking about a Democratic Congress here – facing a Republican president and a Republican party experiencing historically low public approval ratings!


Today’s vote was also a personal blow to millions who believed that Sen. Obama was a different kind of politician. The members of this group are only the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Am I Doing the Right Thing?

I've been giving this a lot of thought over the last few days.

In January 2007, when Hillary announced her candidacy, I ran to her website and signed up. That was the first thing I did. The second was a pact I made with myself. No matter what happened, I would support the nominee. I even put it in writing. I am an emotional person and after so many elections of holding my nose (a progressive in West Virginia, enough said), I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to think rationally should my candidate be defeated.

But I’m beginning to question myself. It really began last Sunday when I was at dinner with friends. One of them, a neutral independent and a relative of a Democratic senator, asked me about my feelings on the Hillary-Obama unity rally. What ensued was an intense argument over party unity complete with fist pounding and raised voices. The sight of Hillary Clinton on stage with Barack Obama saying "change we can believe in" to the tune of "Obama" chants was more than I could handle. When asked why the Clinton people couldn't get on board fast enough, I responded, "Why the $*%& should we?"

Clearly, I was not, well, am not, "over it" yet.

What's made supporting Obama a little easier has been the hostility I received from some of the PUMA people. Some of them remain my friends, yet I've been really hurt by how quickly some of the others have really turned on my co-bloggers and I at Clintonistas for Obama. So after the primaries, when some of the PUMA people were calling me a traitor, supporting Obama actually became easier.

But things have begun to change. With Obama seemingly lurching toward the city with no real efforts in reaching out to the Clinton Democrats and with some of the Obama people telling me to get over it when I criticize the press, I feel as if I have no place to go. I have ended up in a sort of Clintonista purgatory, unable to give my enthusiasm to the nominee, yet unable to fall behind the PUMA movement.

Today, I watched Nanking for the first time. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's movie about the Japanese invasion and occupation of Nanjing, China from the perspective of those that survived it, the westerners, the Chinese, and even some Japanese soldiers. It's an emotional film and I stopped it more than once to cry. Perhaps it hit me harder because I have lived in China for five years now and I've been to Nanjing twice myself.

But this poem by German pastor Martin Niemoller has been jumping around my head since I watched the movie.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
If I believe that this process was rife with sexism--and I do--and if the nominee that benefited from that sexism won't stand up for it, why should I vote for him? What if Hillary were gay? Instead of the "cackle," what if the commentators and the bloggers had made fun of her "gay accent"? Would Maureen Dowd's columns had read differently if she had been joking around about Hillary trying to be straight instead of trying to be male?

And how would I have voted at the end of that process? Would I be angry that everybody just told me to "get over it" and line up behind the nominee? Would I be upset if they told me that the homophobia was all in my head? If the DNC waited until my candidate lost to speak out against homophobia, would I be satisfied? And if I looked around for somebody to stand up with me, would I be alone?

Supporting Obama is the pragmatic thing, but is it the right thing? I've been telling myself over and over again that someday my grandchildren would ask me how I voted in this election and that was enough for me to vote for Obama. But I always framed it as, "How did you vote in the election when war and peace was on the line?" But what if they asked me, "When sexism helped bring down the first female candidate, whose side were you on?"

Somebody tell me, because right now I'm wondering.

"Clinton Wasn't Exactly Running as a Dove or as a Marxist"

Cross-posted at my own blog, Feminism in 2008 Election and Beyond.

I need to keep reminding myself that I was not a passionate, enthusiastic Clinton supporter like many of my co-bloggers. The tidal waves of misogyny gradually convinced me that electing a woman president was supremely important. But I wavered, because I thought Clinton and Obama were similar, that neither was the progressive crusader I longed for. At my age, I knew better than to be deceived by the illusion that Obama wasn't a pol.

Lance Mannion made excellent sense today. His remarks helped me get a grip:

Vote for him or don't vote for him. That's your choice. Criticize him as much as you want. He needs it.But don't expect people to pay a lot of attention when you act shocked that Obama has turned out to be running a campaign that is very much like...the one Hillary was already running.

In case you didn't notice, Clinton was not exactly running as a dove or as a Marxist.

Several times throughout the primaries I said that I didn't really care who won, Clinton or Obama, because there wasn't much difference between them. My reasons for preferring Hillary were matters of emphasis. But, I pointed out, neither one was the second coming of FDR. They were both just politicians on the make. The job of cleaning up after thirty years of Republican vandalism is too big for one President to handle in one or even two terms. We're in this for the long haul. President Hillary Clinton would have started the clean up over here. Obama's going to start it over there. She would have gotten and he will get to only as many rooms as the Congress and other political realities let them. One of the things that annoyed me about many of the Obama bloggers is the ways they found to ignore or deny the obvious fact that Obama was just another politician on the make. I'm supposed to be shocked and outraged now that I was right?

Obama is a smart, skilled, savvy, talented, compromised and compromising man. He's a politician. A good one. He's a Democrat. He's not a Progressive, a word that I've decided at last means in blogland "As morally and politically pure as I am." Hillary has skills and talents and passions and interests that he doesn't have, but she's a Democrat too. He has skills and talents and passions and interests that she doesn't. One of those talents is public speaking. One of those skills is inspiring a crowd. If Al Gore or John Kerry had had either of those, Barack Obama would not be running for President right now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

ACTION ALERT: Call Harry Reid & Ask Him to Save Our Privacy Rights!

This just in from DFA... Here's another thing we can do to save our 4th Amendment rights!

Call Senator Reid right now and demand he pull
the FISA

Clintonistas for Obama Reader-

Today may be our last chance to stop senators from voting to pass the so-called FISA "compromise" bill.

Last week, thousands of us called our own senators. Thousands more DFA members personally delivered our message to senators at their district offices. And tomorrow every senator will receive DFA petition signatures from members in their district demanding they stand up to President Bush and vote against the "compromise."

Yet there is still one person who can stop this bill today: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Call Senator Reid right now and demand he pull the FISA "compromise" bill which will lead to retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies who spied on Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Washington DC: 202-224-3542

If the DC number is busy - Try reaching his district offices:
Reno Office: 775-686-5750
Vegas Office: 702-388-5020


Suggested script:
"I'm calling to ask Senator Reid to use his power as Senate Majority Leader to pull the FISA "compromise" bill from the floor which will ultimately grant retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies who spied on Americans."

This is it. We have stopped President Bush from getting his way and letting AT&T and Verizon of the hook four times.

It is up to us to stop it again.

Thank you for taking action. Thank you for everything you do.


Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

P.S. If you haven't signed the Senate Petition to Stop Telecom Immunity yet or sent it around and asked your friends and family to sign, you still can. We will deliver the signatures first thing tomorrow morning to every Senator right before tomorrow's votes.


ACTION ALERT: Ask Your Senator to Support the Dodd-Feingold Amendment & Save Our Privacy Rights!

How well do you know your Senators? How often do you communicate with them? Do they listen to what you have to say?

Well, now's a good time to put your relationship with your Senators to the test. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) is asking us to get a hold of his colleagues and ask them to support an important amendment. He & Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) have introduced an amendment that woul vastly improve the current FISA compromise bill by removing retroactive immunity for the telecom providers that aided & abetted George W. Bush in illegally spying on us.

If you can, please make the calls ASAP. It's important that we save our Constitutional rights. Our Fourth Amendment privacy rights are at stake. The calls won't take too long, but the difference you'll make will be HUGE!

Please make the call today. Let's get out and save our Constitution!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

The Horse Race

I admit that, despite my commitment to Democratic politics, I also have a fascination with the horse race in presidential politics. I have had such a fascination for as long as I can remember. At nine, I followed the presidential primaries in 1968 with devoted attention and watched the Humphrey-Nixon race from beginning to end. I was hooked, and I have never lost my addiction.

I've been following the state by state projections at Electoral Vote Dot Com. This isn't going to be penetrating analysis, and certainly a lot can go wrong from now to the Fall, but I have been impressed with the stability of Obama's lead since June 3 when he reached the delegate totals he needed. He's been hanging in there around 320 electoral votes fairly steadily for a while. Right now, the web site has Obama at 320 and McCain at 218. Obama's base of "strong" states (>10% leads) gives him 194 electoral votes, while McCain's base of strong states is only 80. Obama actually is making inroads in Republican-leaning states; he currently leads in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia. Obama's lead in Illinois is 60 points and 63 points in Vermont. The best that McCain can muster is 55 points in friggin' Utah (where Clinton came in third in 1992 for heaven's sake.) McCain's lead is anemic in seven of the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, and North Carolina (NORTH CAROLINA!) teeters on the brink.

Best of all, Obama campaigned last week in North Dakota and Montana while McCain has to go again and again to the reddest states on the map to raise money for his campaign. I have heard that McCain calls himself an underdog.

Frankly, only a fool makes too much of numbers in July, but I am enjoying my foolishness this July 4 weekend.

Lazy Sunday Open Thread

What's on your mind? Mine's running a million miles a minute now. Talk to me. I need to stop and catch my breath. ;-)