Saturday, July 19, 2008

"PUMA" Madness

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

You know what? I'm really starting to get sick & tired of all the hubbub about "PUMA". I'm sick of the attention the right-wing noise machine is throwing at them. I'm sick of their use of ugly right-wing smears to attack Barack Obama, his family, and all of us Democrats (now including Bill & Hillary Clinton!) who are supporting him.

I'm so sick & tired of the "PUMA" fraud, but I don't know what to do... Or wait, may I? Yes, I think I do know what to do.

If you're a true-blue Democrat like me, I'm sure you're also sick & tired of all this "PUMA" crap. You'd probably rather be out working for Obama than dealing with them. You'd probably rather be spending time & money supporting great Democrats than dealing with them. I know... I feel the same way!

So you know what? Let's put an end to the "PUMA" madness once & for all. It's time for the truth to set us all free!

If you know any Hillary Clinton Democrats who are still saddened from primary season, share the facts with them in a respectful way. Tell them who John McBush really is. Tell them what Barack Obama really stands for. Tell them where the smears against Obama are really coming from. And most importantly, share with them why Hillary Clinton herself believes it's so important for us to ensure Barack Obama wins this fall.

Oh yes, and let's not forget to continue the good work we're doing! Keep supporting Obama. Keep supporting Democrats. Keep working together to take back our country. We can do this!

We will NOT let "PUMA" get in the way of our Democratic victory. Let's keep doing what we know is right. We can win, and "PUMA" can put itself in the dustbin of history. :-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Night Open Thread

What's happening? Tell me about it. ;-)

And btw, please check out our new ActBlue page... And give us some love next time you want to donate to worthy Democrats! :-)

A Brat Who Hasn’t Been Told To Cut The Act Out.

As if we needed more evidence that the right is completely whacked...

Yesterday on his radio show, right winger Michael Savage said that autism is “a fraud” and “a racket” and that “in 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.” Savage then asserted that all these “brat[s]” need as a father to tell them to “stop acting like a putz“:

That’s what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’” Savage concluded, “[I]f I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, ‘Don’t behave like a fool.’ The worst thing he said — ‘Don’t behave like a fool. Don’t be anybody’s dummy. Don’t sound like an idiot. Don’t act like a girl. Don’t cry.’ That’s what I was raised with. That’s what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You’re turning your son into a girl, and you’re turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That’s why we have the politicians we have.”

Savage later claimed that there was “an asthma epidemic amongst minority children” because “the children got extra welfare if they were disabled.”

Listen and vomit a little:

Where do they find these guys?

Change I Can REALLY Believe In!

(Proudly cross-posted at The Liberal OC & MyDD)

You know, we hear the term "change" used so often as little more than a cheap political slogan. That's why it's been so refreshing to see Barack Obama give us reason to belive change is more than just a word. That's why I'm so proud of our Democratic Party for standing up for real change that helps real people. And yes, that's why I'm excited about some great Democratic candidates who are bringing home the message of change.

We have great Democratic candidates all over the country who are working hard to make change happen. I'm so blessed that I get to see so many of them in action here in California. The picture above is from Netroots Nation, where a number of candidates have gone to meet up with progressive activists to discuss how we'll take our country back.

The candidate pictured on the far left is Steve Young. He's the Democrat running for Congress in the 48th District. While the "conventional wisdom" and the typical naysayers have been saying he can't win, Steve's been busy building a strong grassroots organization in South Orange County. And now, he just might be ready to prove the naysayers otherwise.

I took a look today at some internal polling in the 48th District. In this area that's supposed to be "solid Republican", McCain is only beating Obama 41%-34%! Also, only 15% of all the voters polled said they believe this nation is on the right track. And even better, the top issues for these voters are the fixing the economy, reducing oil dependency, securing veterans' benefits, and lowering gas prices, all of these being issues Democrats are running strongly on. Immigration barely even reached the top four issues for Republicans only! And you know what's the best part? Steve Young is beating the GOP incumbent John Campbell 43%-36%!

So clearly, all the hard work done by Steve Young's campaign is paying off! Earlier this year, the campaign began working with local Barack Obama volunteers on this election. And now, the campaign has not just a strong network of organizers, but also a district that's being worked by Democrats and is starting to trend Democratic.

This is the kind of news that excites me. It should be exciting to all of us! And if we all want to stay excited about not just electing Obama, but making real change in Congress as well, we should be supporting Democrats like Steve Young that are making change happen from the grassroots up.

Oh yes, and I should mention a few other terrific Democrats bringing the "change" message home. In the nearby 46th District, Debbie Cook is working hard to make change happen and get rid of a lazy, CReepy incumbent that hasn't done anything good for the district in the 20 years he's been in office. In another district that was once thought of as "unwinnable", Debbie Cook is proving the naysayers wrong.

Debbie Cook is a Democrat that has been mkaing good, progressive change happen in a city and a region that are supposed to be "solidly Republican". She's not only been challenging the status quo, but beating it! Debbie Cook deserves our support.

Oh yes, and while we're talking about beating the status quo, let's not forget two other fantastic change-makers running here in California. Charlie Brown has been one of the hardest-working Democratic challengers this side of the Rockies. He nearly ousted the GOP incumbent in 2006, and this time the Rethugs are running so scared that all they can do is run an extreme right, wacky, out-of-district carpetbaggerCharlie Brown can win... If we support him!

And finally, we have Russ Warner. He's taking on yet another out-of-touch, out-of-ethics GOP Congresscritter, and his work is helping us quickly turn this reddish-purple district bluer. Russ Warner can win... All we need to do is make sure he has the support he needs.

So are you with me? Are you ready for some real change? Great! Please remember these wonderful candidates who are bringing home Barack Obama's message of change, and please do what you can to help them win! :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Word Up: Nevada Tipping Our Way?

Rasmussen has released a new poll that shows Obama with a two point lead in Nevada:

Obama 42
McCain 40

(When leaners are included, Obama is at 47% and McVader at 45%.)

North Carolina is still very close. A new Rasmussen poll released today shows McCain ahead 45% to 42%.

Update: Electoral-Vote Dot Com now sees the race as 325 electoral votes for Barack Obama and 199 electoral votes for Darth McVader. (They have 14 electoral votes tied.) Given that the race yesterday was 320-204-14, I would call the new result, "Going my way."

America's Health Care Crisis

Cross Posted from Obama--Criticism and Support

Instead of being ignored, one of my pet issues has become a proverbial Third Rail of this election cycle. It has become one of a small core of issues that candidates will live or die by. However, to many of the candidates, this issue will only be important in the abstract. For myself, and millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans, this issue is not abstract ... it's an unfortunate part of life. For many of us, affordable health care is just out of reach.

Let me preface by saying I work as a Contractor for one of the largest Technical Staffing firms in the continental US. As an employee, I am offered medical coverage, which would be best characterized as ineffective. In short, the plan covers office visits at a decent co-pay . . . but that’s about it.

I’m not used to this low level of coverage. Having been in the IT field for the past decade, I’ve been accustomed to having a compensation package that includes a decent medical plan. I’m not used to having to pay retail for prescriptions. It’s a rather humbling experience when you work 40 hours per week at what most would consider a good wage, and still cannot afford your medicines. And while I’ve got a good job, having a long-term chronic condition has really opened my eyes to how the uninsured live.

It makes me wonder how we, as Americans, can allow so many of our fellow citizens to live in these deplorable conditions. We, as a society, allow our elderly to go without care due to the cost. We, as one of the richest economies, watch our children grow up without the preventive care that they so desperately need. And yet our elected representatives choose to debate rather than act. This is an issue that transcends partisanship, ethnic background, economic status, truly all the concepts we use to call each other different. This issue hits at the core of what makes us all the same … we are ALL part of this rock we call Earth, and blessed enough to be part of the idea that is America.

I’ve always mulled about this issue, but have not been very outspoken. That changed the other night when I went to karaoke at a venue here in Sacramento. I spent a few minutes talking to Alice, one of the best bartenders in the city, about this issue. She spoke of the cost of her health care, and how it’s almost too expensive for her to afford. She also lamented that her out-of-pocket costs would increase later this year as she turns 50.

She floated an idea to me that I found amazingly simple, and yet a way we can begin to effect change. I’d like to float that idea here, and hear feedback from everyone as to their impressions.

Alice’s idea was simple – to mandate that Doctors of all stripes be required to give 2-3 days per year to treating the masses. Her concept is to have health fairs in communities large and small where these doctors give away their services. As long as a financial need is demonstrated, no-one would be turned away due to the inability to pay. This would take some of the strain off the public health clinics and the Emergency Rooms, which are grossly overtaxed. This would help insure that everyone has access to quality health care at a potentially lower cost to the taxpayer. And this would ensure that we are keeping our promise to our children to give them better than we got.

Her idea is an idea of first impression, as she saw a documentary about Doctors Without Borders and thought it would be an idea that would help Americans with the health care crisis. I agree with her that it would at least help improve the situation, even if in a small way.

If nothing else, however, we need to raise the level of public debate on this issue. We need to find creative solutions coming from government, NGO’s, CBO’s and FBO’s alike to better serve the needs of our entire population. And we need to impress on our legislatures, both state and federal, that this is an issue that needs to get pulled out of the muck. We need to shed our partisan blinders and take up a truly inclusive stance. We need to come together to solve one of the toughest social issues of our day.

Just my 2 Cents – comments and suggestions welcome!


About Those June Numbers

Wow. It looks like the "PUMAs" won't be able to mock Barack Obama's fundraising any more. Check out this message I just got from the camapign... And remember to take action!

Clintonistas for Obama Reader --

I have some big news we want to share with you.

In the month of June, supporters like you helped raise $52 million. And together with the DNC, we now have nearly $72 million in the bank. That's a very strong financial position to be in.

But we remain at a massive disadvantage to our opponents.

As I mentioned in my video message earlier in the week, the McCain Campaign and the Republican National Committee finished June with nearly $100 million in the bank.

We can't stop now. It's going to take everything we've got to defeat John McCain and his allies in November.

Can you make a donation of $5 now to strengthen our movement for change?  

I know this isn't the first time we've asked you for financial support, and it won't be the last.

We have developed a strategy -- a very aggressive strategy -- that will only work if our millions of supporters continue to contribute their time and their money.

That strategy will work, and it has to. The stakes are too high and the need for change too great.

But victory is only possible with your continued help.

We can't do this without you.



David Plouffe

Campaign Manager

Obama for America

Victory in Denver, Defeat in November

Some of my friends and former allies are working on a movement to convince superdelegates to support Hillary Clinton at the convention in November. Earlier this week, a front page diary at a well-known blog celebrated a rumor that eight Obama superdelegates indicated that they would vote for Hillary if a roll-call vote were held in Denver.

Now, they are technically correct that, under the rules of the party, Senator Obama does not officially become the nominee until the delegates cast their votes at the convention. It is possible that something could happen that would force him off the ticket. However, if they are correct, and Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee in Denver, she will be doomed in November.

The first problem is getting Barack Obama out of the way. An email campaign organized by a group of bloggers, not matter how dedicated, will not be enough. Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee. The superdelegates decided this race. They provided Senator Obama with his margin of victory. They have already decided that he is sufficiently experienced and electable. A flood of emails will not convince the superdelegates that they have made a mistake. A trickle of superdelegates that narrowly puts Hillary over the top is not a realistic scenario. It's going to require a large event outside the control of this dedicated group of Clinton supporters.

To that end, a lot of these Clinton supporters have been pointing to what they perceive as weak polling numbers. But a drop in poll numbers will not be enough. An extramarital affair or even an illegitimate child would not be enough. He would have to be caught engaging in (or having had engaged in) activity that borders on criminal and something for which a subordinate cannot take the fall. Although some in the PUMA movement claim to have highly damaging information against Michelle Obama, nothing has surfaced. In this day and age of information technology, if information of such a damaging nature existed, it would already have surfaced.

In the unlikely event that such information was uncovered, would the superdelegates hand the nomination to Hillary? The superdelegates are professional politicians and party loyalists. Replacing Senator Obama at the convention would come at a steep political price. His most die-hard supporters would certainly resist and his two core constituencies, the African-American community and his young voters, would be demoralized. The party would be ripped apart as some supporters cried fowl and others walked away crushed. African-American elected officials would be torn between the party and their constituents. It would open up a rift so huge that no politician could heal the wounds before the general election.

If Hillary were to suddenly emerge the victor in Denver, is it logistically possible for her to win the race? Even if Senator Obama walked away gracefully and his supporters lined up behind Hillary, she would find herself, on August 28, 2008, only 68 days away from the general election with no staff and no plans. She would have to build an organization, find a running mate (or settle for the running mate vetted by Obama), and create a strategy with almost no preparation. Remember, much of her primary campaign staff has already gone in different directions, some signing contracts that will employ them through the rest of the campaign. Even if everything else goes her way and she is able to integrate Obama's coalition into hers with no losses, mounting a nation-wide general election campaign in such a short period of time would be impossible.

If this great looming scandal did come to light, I would expect that the superdelegates would stand by Barack Obama, even if it does mean losing the general election. Because Hillary Clinton would certainly be defeated in November, Democrats would have nothing to gain and everything to lose by replacing Obama. The sudden demise of Obama's candidacy would likely cost Democrats the African-American vote and possibly even an entire generation of new, young voters, perhaps permanently.

The effects of this rift would not be limited to the top of the ticket. All of the projections for gains in the House and the Senate are based on the assumption that Obama would drive up turnout among African-Americans and young voters. If African-Americans and younger voters stay home, some of the tougher Senate races (North Carolina, Mississippi) will be put out of reach and many of the seats we have long expected to pick up (Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico) would likely be unwinnable. Mary Landrieu (LA) would certainly be defeated with a depressed African-American vote. With a Republican president and vice-president, that would hand control of the Senate back to the GOP. A similar scenario would certainly emerge in the House of Representatives.

Finally, the leaders of the "It's Not Over Yet" movement have forgotten one more essential detail. Under such a scenario, would Hillary even accept the nomination? I suspect that she would not. First, as outlined above, she would have no chance at winning. Second, she would forever be tainted in the African-American community for having replaced their historic nominee and Hillary values her relationship with the African-American community.

So my friends in the blogosphere are incorrect when they belittle this movement as "praying for a miracle." In reality, they aren't praying for a miracle. They are praying for a disaster of the highest order, one that would cost Democrats not only the White House, but possibly even the House and the Senate. It would be a setback to every single progressive cause that Hillary Clinton has dedicated her life to advancing.

This time, there will be no comeback for Hillary Clinton. The people have spoken. The party has spoken. For better or worse, Barack Obama is the nominee. The only alternative is defeat.

My friends, it's over.

We Are Making a Difference! UPDATED

A few weeks ago, I donated to MyDD's Road to 60 ActBlue project, which as of today has raised $3575 from 67 donors. My donation was spread among four different Senate candidates, one of whom was Mark Begich, who is running to unseat Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

The grassroots fundraising is making a big difference in the Begich campaign, as confirmed by an email that I received today:

[Psychodrew] --

I can hardly believe I'm writing to tell you this, but you guys did it:

Together we out-raised Sen. Stevens in the last fundraising period by over a quarter of a million dollars.

You are part of a grassroots surge - over 4000 contributors in the last three months (more than four times Stevens number of donors).

We outperformed the special interest network of a 40 year incumbent.

I am humbled by the strength of your support and I'm ready to keep fighting, bringing my message to Alaska voters.

We can win this race, all because of you.

Thank you.

Mark Begich

According to the Alaska Report, the Begich campaign raised $1,034,660 from more than 4,099 donors. Of those, 3017 were donations of $100 or less. Senator Stevens raised only $745,000.

In case you haven't yet, donate to the Road to 60 Project. Sixty Democratic senators means that the GOP cannot filibuster our legislative priorities. That means a real energy policy, meaningful health care reform, and improving our education system.

Oh, and as for the Begich campaign the most recent Rasmussen poll has Senator Stevens up 46-44. This race--and the others--are winnable. We need to do our part.

[Updated at 2:47am EST by Psychodrew]

According to Rasmussen, great news in Oregon:

Democratic challenger Jeff Merkley for the first time has edged ahead of Republican Senator Gordon Smith 43% to 41% in Oregon, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey. While the advantage is not statistically significant, it is noteworthy for an incumbent senator to receive such low levels of support at this point in a campaign.

If leaners are factored in, the race is tied with each candidate claiming 46% of the voters.

Last month, Smith, who is seeking a third six-year term, led Merkley by nine points 47% to 38%. Merkley is the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

In the four previous months, Smith has been narrowly ahead, but he has never crossed the 50% mark, below which an incumbent is generally viewed as vulnerable. His support has ranged from a low of 45% to a high of 48%.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The GOP and John McCain: Doing what they do best

Cross-Posted to MyDD

It appears that good ole Johnny McCain and the GOP are back to doing one of the few things that they are good at: using the Latino community in a vapid attempt to get votes, and trying to hide the party's rather disgusting background of racist rhetoric towards the community in the process.

Indeed, Senator McCain seems to "flopping with the wind" on his immigration proposals. Take the DREAM Act, which would provide citizenship and amnestly to millions of illegal immigrants under the age of 16, many who have not spent even one minute in Mexico, many who don't even speak Spanish, yet are not considered "American" by the Republican Party.

McCain, who lost most conservatives when he supported the president’s immigration reform proposals, confirmed that he did not support the DREAM Act, which was stopped in the Senate Wednesday by a vote of 52-44. The DREAM Act would provide amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who came to America when under the age of 16. It would also
give green cards to illegal aliens residing in America for five years and attending college or performing military service.

Looks like the Maverick's "straight talk express" got derailed in the face of Republican pressure to cave in. Of course, I wonder what Latinos thought of this right leaning pandering?

In addition to our recent NBC/WSJ poll, which showed Hispanics breaking for Obama 62%-28%, a new survey of 800 Latino voters from 21 states finds that 60% of them plan to vote for Obama versus 23% for McCain.

Looks like the Republican brand of race baiting towards Hispanics and stalling immigration reform didn't go over too well with Latino voters, who are now answering in unison that they are sick of GOP games that involve playing with Latino voters, hoping they won't notice immigrant bashing from the GOP in general, especally people like Tom Tancredo:

Immigration is Tancredo's signature issue. Last night, he attempted to tie immigration to the threat posed by "radical Islam," and described the "grand experiment we call America" as rooted in "Judeo-Christian principles."

In a recent television ad in Iowa, Tancredo, a Colorado congressman, went even further. A voiceover in that ad warns viewers that "there are consequences to open border beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs. Islamic terrorists now freely roam U.S. soil, Jihadists who froth with hate here to do as they have in London, Spain, Russia," according to Tancredo's campaign website.

Wow, in addition to scary brown people, there's going to be other scary brown people coming in, AND THEY'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!!!

Soooo apparently, Latinos don't like this rhetoric, and that's reflected in polling numbers. So what does the "Maverick Straight Talk Viagra Contraceptive Express" think about this? (The video's here)

From one minority to another, we can all appreciate how often, minorities are played around with as political pawns. However, no party and no canidate like John McCain has ever had the brashness to do it on such a full scale, in response to troubling polling numbers. Let's join with the Latino community, Hillary, and Barack, and reject John McCain's flip flopping ala Bush on the issue of Illegal Immigration.

What to do now?
Read Barack's comprehensive immigration plan

DONATE to Barack Obama

Fear, Fear and more Fear.

In case anyone was wondering what an exercise in fear-mongering looks like. Here you go:

The above represents a billboard in Orange County, Florida. The local ABC News affiliate reports that the person responsible is a local musician “trying to help Republicans” but that “officials with both political parties are calling the billboard inappropriate.”

Betcha we'll see more of this as we get closer to the GE. Ya think?


(cross-posted at Obama--Criticism and Support and MyDD)

That's what I call my paternal grandmother. Before I was born, my grandparents each chose what they wanted me to call them. My dad's mom picked "Honey" because she said she'd never been called anything sweet before. That wasn't strictly true, but she did have a difficult upbringing and an overbearing husband. She grew up as "poor white trash," and why my grandfather married her, I'll never know. Honey taught me a lot of things, as a kid and as an adult, but I don't know that any of the lessons were good.

Sheltered though I was, I learned about sexism when I was a child, and my first experience with it was probably the most hurtful - though not the most damaging in terms of academic or professional advancement - because it was the most personal. When I was a young girl, I slowly began noticing that my paternal grandparents treated me rather differently than they treated my brother. He was cooed over and treasured in a way I hadn't been, he was given attention and praise in a way I wasn't. The differences seemed stark. At first, I couldn't figure out why it should be so - why would I be treated differently when I was so pretty, so intelligent, far kinder, and more polite? What had I done wrong? Hurt and uncomprehending, I finally thought to ask my mother, who I could always trust to answer my naïve, innocent questions in the same way: Truthfully. Gently but bluntly, she explained that my father's parents were children of the Depression and had been raised with an old Southern mentality that men were more valuable. My brother was more cherished, more loved, and more important in the eyes of my grandparents because he was the male heir, and because he would carry on the family name, whereas I, as a woman, would lose it when I married (in the old South, marriage was a question of when, not if). This was a difficult truth for a young overachiever to understand because it was something which had to be accepted rather than overcome; no amount of success on my part would ever make me equal.

My paternal grandfather died in 2002, and my recently divorced aunt moved back in with her mother. In August of last year, she remarried, and my grandmother became extremely ill around the same time. We had two options: send her to a nursing home, or find someone who would be willing to care for her. The choice was clear to everyone except me; they were willing to send her to a home, whereas I couldn't bear the thought of locking her away - she was family, after all, even if I didn't know her very well. I decided to put my education on hold for a year so that I could move in with her and care for her. For nearly nine exhausting, miserable months, I essentially ran a nursing home.

I discovered that Honey was a petty person, and very possibly the most selfish woman I've ever known. Her daughter - my aunt - suffers from a serious mental illness, and she didn't marry for the first time until she had entered her mid-30s. In the meantime, she filled her loneliness with cats. When I was a young girl, she had three: Emerson, Tiger, and Marie, and they were like her children. For years, when that lonely, troubled woman went home at night, they were all she had, and I recall how deeply she loved them.

My grandmother doesn't like cats, though. My aunt had very little money, so she had to use a cheap litter which didn't clump, meaning that the litter quickly became soaked in urine and stank of ammonia. My grandmother was fastidiously clean, and she hated smelling the litterbox when she visited her daughter's house. So Honey enlisted a couple of family friends to go over to her daughter's house one day while she was at work, break a window, and steal the cats. Then they put the cats in the car, drove out deep into the country, and dropped them. The cats were domesticated and de-clawed; there's little doubt in my mind that they either starved to death within days, or were eaten by larger animals.

My aunt went to the animal shelter every day for weeks upon weeks, and then every weekend for over six months, hoping and praying that her children would be there. She still doesn't know that her mother killed them.

Within two weeks of moving in with my grandmother, she had her first heart attack, and I had to rush her to the hospital. Shocked and trembling, I stood outside the cath lab and realized how woefully unprepared I was to take care of a dying woman. Determined to do it right, I learned quickly and thoroughly. I fed her, I cleaned her, I kept up with dozens of medications, more than a dozen doctors, scores of doctor's appointments, and 14 hospitalizations. I learned the ins and outs of each of her conditions and medications. I scrubbed every bodily fluid and every form of waste out of carpets, sheets, and clothing. I was half secretary, half nurse - making notes, taking messages, scheduling, canceling, and rescheduling appointments, typing up and revising lists for myself, lists for my family, lists for the doctors. I was at the pharmacy nearly every day. I spent many nights in the ER with her, sometimes until after 4 AM; I spent even more nights sleeping in a chair beside her hospital bed. I spent days and days - and on one occasion a full week - sleeping in the chair by her bed at her house, either because she'd been experiencing strange symptoms that might have meant an impending heart attack, or because she'd recently had surgery and couldn't walk to the bathroom without me.

Honey was noncompliant, petulant, and occasionally cruel. If I glanced away for even a second, she would try to hide or throw her medicine. She cursed at me and fought me whenever we had an appointment (usually several times a week), and even hit me a couple of times. She expressed her displeasure at anything anyone cooked for her. I hooked up baby monitors so that she could yell and wake me if she fell, and she used them to call me constantly, day and night. By the end, she was hollering at me two or three times a night, disrupting my sleep cycle simply because she wanted me to tuck her back in (after she'd crept to the bathroom) or needed a cup of coffee or a glass of juice. She made everything as difficult as humanly possible.

If caring for her wasn't bad enough, dealing with her bigotry - and that of her sister - made everything seem so much worse. She was a hateful racist and a bitter sexist - "self-loathing" doesn't even begin to describe it. I can't count the number of times I had to hear her call Hillary "that hideous bitch" and Obama "that goddamn nigger". I endured months of listening dispiritedly to my grandmother and her sister (who was even more caustic, in part because she was brain damaged from a stroke she had in '03) talk about how Jews lie and steal, and how Obama is a Muslim and a "high yeller", and how Hillary is a lesbian who only had Chelsea because Bill raped her. Nearly nine months of cringing and gritting my teeth and squeezing my eyes tightly shut to prevent myself from screaming and cursing at a dying woman and her crazy old sister. Morning after morning, sitting in the corner of my shower with my head in my hands, trying to wash away the anger, depression, frustration, and disgust. Part of me hated her, part of me pitied her.

Part of me loved her, too, but probably only because I felt like I had to. It's funny the way some Southerners think - especially old ones. A lot of them are very sexist, even the women. In the first month of caring for Honey, I noticed that she never expressed any genuine gratitude. I hadn't taken on this assignment because I wanted to be thanked, but it stuck me as strange that she didn't seem to appreciate anything I did for her. For awhile, I thought she just didn't like me. She certainly didn't seem to love me the way she loved my brother, but I already knew that; what surprised me was that she didn't seem to love my aunt as much as she loved my father. I finally said to her, "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to do a better job of working with me. I know you'd rather have your son or your grandson taking care of you, but there's nothing I can do about that." All she said in response was:

"No, no, they shouldn't have to. Boys have more important things to do."

Something about that response was incredibly... crushing. My grandmother's opinion is of little significance to me, but the realization that such a mentality is still alive (though perhaps not well) was very upsetting. That was why she didn't appreciate me, and that also explained why she was always so resentful of my aunt. You see, my aunt had remarried when her mother was ill, and that isn't what she "should" have done. A proper daughter would have quit her job and put off her marriage - she would have taken care of her mother. My aunt neglected her responsibility. I didn't do anything special; all I did was step up where my aunt failed. My dreams were unimportant, and my sacrifices were not only unappreciated, but also unacknowledged. I had given up spending time with my friends and family, and I'd dropped out of school for a year. I had put my entire life on hold, and Honey saw nothing unusual about it. It was what I was supposed to do as a woman because all the men were too busy. They had more important things to do.

Around May 15th, one of my doctors finally told me that I had to stop caring for my grandmother. I had largely quit eating, and my sleep was so disturbed that it was doing me little good; I was walking around in a perpetual state of exhaustion, and I was undeniably depressed. The rest of my family had been begging me to send Honey to a home for months because they'd seen what it was doing to me, but I had been too stubborn. My sense of duty outweighed my common sense. But I trust this particular doctor. If he said it had to end, then it had to end.

I know this diary isn't political, but I've been thinking about my grandmother even more than usual today. I was out of town for awhile yesterday, and when I returned home, I received news from my aunt that hospice was being called to the nursing home, and that the doctor had given Honey "a short while" to live. We aren't sure whether that means a couple of weeks or a couple of months, but the doctor said it wouldn't be long. They're going to keep her comfortable. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. In a lot of ways, I know my grandmother is a terrible person; on the other hand, I can't imagine what it must be like to believe for all your life that you're inherently less valuable than others. Just as I know in my heart that I can be any man's equal, she knew in hers that she was inferior to her husband, her brothers, and her male coworkers. She was raised in an environment of intolerance and lived her life in the shadow of sexism, which she ultimately embraced rather than railed against. Her own sense of inferiority fueled her bigotry. She wanted someone to be beneath her because she felt so low - so African Americans, Jews, and other women became the targets of her frustration and bitterness.

I have to wonder, what sort of life was that, and who would choose to live it?

John McBush Loses Grasp of Another State!

Take a looky at the new California Field Poll. Barack Obama's up by 24%!! Apparently, "Mac" ain't ever comin' back here!

Obama's ahead in every region of the state other than the Central Valley. He's leading by double-digits among BOTH men AND women. Oh yes, and Obama's leading among Democrats by 9-1 AND Independents by 3-1 while McBush struggles just to maintain his GOP base.

This is simply stunning! Increasingly, it looks like enough of the blue states from 2000 & 2004 will remain safely blue enough so that Obama can focus on playing offense rather than defense. And with no chance of McBush turning any blue states red this fall, his options to get to 270 electoral votes are becoming increasingly slim... Good! :-)

A Season of Discontent?

I have a friend who is an amazing activist; she never fears to put her body on the line for the progressive causes in which she believes. She is very pragmatic and recognizes that the Democratic Party, with all its foibles, represents the best means to achieve her objectives. She voted for Barack Obama in the primary in her state, and we agreed to disagree about who should be the nominee of the Democratic Party. Yesterday, she sent me an email that said,
I really, really need an explanation of his vote on FISA. He's a former Constitutional law professor, for could he vote for something that abrogates the FOURTH AMENDMENT? I MUST know his reasoning on this vote. It's the only thing that's gotten to me about all of this campaign silliness. It's big.
In the immortal words of Bill Clinton, let me say that I feel her pain. I reminded her in an email that I sent back that Obama's ascendancy was none of my doing, but given the deal on the table, that is, John McCain or Barack Obama, I am backing Obama without hesitation.

Last night, my compadre atdnext published a diary here and at MyDD that asked, "Is This What 'PUMA' Stands For?" I exchanged messages with a noted PUMA in that thread and posted this message:

What do you propose to accomplish? Does anyone imagine we can make Hillary the nominee now? And even if we could (and did), what wreck of a party would be left to meet the Republicans in the fall? I am baffled by what you want (or think you want.)

If Obama wins in the fall, you will not share in the victory. If Obama fails in the fall, you will be blamed like we have blamed the Naderites these last eight years.

I don't get it. I just don't understand.
A reply I received was about PUMAs wanting to change the party. Well, maybe that's the case, but endeavoring to change the party in the middle of a general election campaign sure tastes like sour grapes to me.

Both my disappointed Barack partisan and my angry PUMA friends seem to have forgotten that in America, there is a winnowing process where no one gets everything they want but everybody on your side, if you win, gets something of what they want. It is time for all of us Democrats to get past the particularities and look at the big picture. Lots of us may have encountered things in the political process that we find disillusioning. Lots of us may believe Hillary would have been the better candidate. All of us may believe the Party needs reform. Let me tell you something: all of that and $4.02 will get you a venti skim latte at Starbucks.

If people want to hold on to their resentments, turn grief over in their hearts, imagine "what if," or get exorcised about even real grievances, and John McCain becomes president because of it, we are going to wind up with nothing at all.

Me? I think eating a quarter loaf of bread is a whole lot better than starving to death. And that's what I've been doing since November 2000--starving to death.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

See, I Told You So!

Sorry guys, I can't help it. From Rasmussen:

At a time when Obama and McCain are locked in a tight race, the poll shows that Obama would rout President Bush 54% to 34%. Looking at the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, McCain is outperforming Bush by more than 15 percentage points.

The poll results also show that Obama would have an easier go of it against two of McCain’s chief rivals for the Republican nomination. The presumptive Democratic nominee leads former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by eight points 49% to 41% and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee 50% to 39%.

However, McCain fares better against Obama than he does against two other prominent Democrats. New York Senator Hillary Clinton leads McCain by eight points, 50% to 42%. Former Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2000, leads McCain 50% to 43%.

These numbers help explain why Election 2008 is competitive even though events so heavily favor the Democrats -- because the Republicans are on course to nominate their strongest possible general election candidate but the Democrats are not. Perhaps even more importantly, the data suggests that voters don’t see a potential McCain Administration as the third term of President Bush.

A Spectacle in Washington DC

Do you have any free time in August?

Do you have $200 to blow?

Are you committed to defeating Barack Obama?

That $200 you could have donated to Hillary Clinton's debt relief or to other female candidates can instead be used for the first ever PUMA Civil War conference. On the weekend of August 8-10, while most of us--even the political junkies here at Clintonistas for Obama--will watching the Beijing Olympics, the PUMAs will be meeting in Washington, DC at the Pre-Convention PUMA Conference (PCPC). Today, Riverdaughter called upon all her "Conflucians" to join:

The purpose of PCPC will be to organize PUMA for the purposes of the Denver convention and to define our role going forward. We see great potential in PUMA as being an organization that keeps an eye on the major parties. Right now, there is no particular entity whose responsibility it is to make sure that the parties play by the rules. There is no group that holds the party players accountable to the voters for the decisions they make and the propaganda they generate. PUMAs are now to assume the mantle of responsibility that others have abandoned. We will become the referees. We hope to represent the voice of the voters who will give democracy back to the electorate. We want to make sure that our votes are counted, our primary results are respected, and what is important to us is recognized and included in party platforms. And unlike more ideologically motivated groups that have sprung up in the last several years, it is our desire to find that place where most Americans are and base our positions on principle, and to survey the political landscape from those principles, in order to resist the cults of personality and fad movements which have siphoned our strength and diminished our role as voters.
I think that I have made my sypathies and affection for the PUMAs quite clear. I absolutely do not agree with them, but I understand their anger and I have defended them when they are called "turncoats" or "dead-enders." I believe that casting a protest vote at the ballot box is a fair use of one's constitutional right to vote and I don't begrudge anybody for this. As far as I'm concerned, one needn't be a straight-ticket voter to be a good Democrat.

That said, this conference is a huge mistake. It has the potential to become a spectacle of the highest order because the PUMAs themselves, are quite divided on goals, strategy, and motivation.

Goals--Some PUMAs want to teach the party lessons. Others want to defeat Barack Obama. Others want Hillary to be on the ticket. Still others want her to run third party.

Strategy--Some PUMAs are supporting McCain. Some will stay home. Some will vote third party. Others will vote, but leave president section blank. And that changes if Hillary on the ticket. Fewer will support McCain, and some will still say home. But many will vote for Obama.

Motivation--Some PUMAs are motivated by angry emotions. Others want revenge. But many others--and I know this because I've calmly and rationally discussed this with them--are motivated by a since of principle. They believe that the process was unfair (as do I). They believe that the DNC should have defended Hillary against the sexism as forcefully as they stood up against Fox News Channel's smears on Obama. They feel that the only way to reform the party is to fight party unity. They are good progressive who believe that they are acting in the best long-term interest of the party.

When If PUMA meets in Washington, DC, all of these divisions will be on full display. When you have that many angry people in a room at one time, people who have different agendas but believe that theirs is the most morally justified,consensus and co-ordination is impossible. If the divisions do not end in chaos, infighting, and backstabbing, it will be because nobody showed up in the first place. The media will be more than happy to replay on a continuous loop video of angry PUMAs denouncing our nominee and the Democratic Party alongside video of largely empty conference rooms.

If the PUMAs want to support Hillary Clinton, they should donate their $200 to helping pay down her debt. Or they could spend their money donating to the superdelegates who supported her in the primaries. As I wrote two weeks ago, a number of Hillary's supporters in the House are facing primary challenges and will need the financial support for the general election. They can also donate to Emily's List, an organizaiton that proudly stood beside Hillary throughout the process.

If the PUMAs want to reform the party, they should begin organizing themselves as a pro-reform movement within the party. There are a lot of Democrats, many of them wealthy, prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton, who believe that the process was flawed and in need of reform. If Obama is elected, he is likely to install people at the DNC who will protect that process that elected him. In that event, a strong reform movement will be needed to hold the DNC's feet to the fire.

This conference is a bad idea. It could be the undoing of the PUMA movement, rendering it more irrelevant than it is now, but it also has the potential to embarrass the participants, the nominee, and the party. Images of more Harriet Christian moments only benefit the Republicans. Don't waste your money on a trip to DC. Donate to Hillary. Empower her by donating to HillPAC, her political action comittee. Donate to progressive causes and progressive candidates. Build up, don't tear down.

Making Change Happen, One House Race at a Time

(Cross-posted at PartyBuilder and MyDD)

Wow! Just wow. I've been perusing the FEC filings for the 2nd Quarter today. And you know what?

Democrats rock... Especially our terrific candidates here in California!

I am simply stunned by how well Democrats are doing... And conversely, how poorly these GOP incumbents are doing! It really proves that we have an "enthusiasm gap" in our favor.

When we have Democrats like Debbie Cook, Nick Leibham, and Charlie Brown outraising their opponents in races that are supposed to be "solidly Republican", we know the GOP is in deep trouble. When we have GOP incumbents like Dana Rohrabcher & Brian Bilbray who can't muster up enough support in their own districts, we know we have a real opportunity to make real change happen. When we have this much grassroots support in our communities for our supposedly "longshot" Democratic candidates, we know change is a'comin'!

So let's celebrate! Oh yes, and let's donate to these great candidates and make sure the momentum stays strong! Barack Obama & the Democratic party are following the 50-state strategy, and this is the fruit of their efforts & our labor.

Let's keep making change happen... ;-)

Is This What "PUMA" Stands For?

(Cross-posted at  Clintonistas for Obama & PartyBuilder)

As Democrats, we should all agree on certain things. We should all agree on social justice. We should all agree on the health and welfare of our people and our planet. We should all agree on an economy that works for everyone. Oh yes, and we should all agree to support candidates who support our values. We definitely shouldn't be agreeing to attack our own!

So what's wrong with these supposed "Democrats" supporting these right-wing smears? Follow me after the flip for more...

I was flabbergasted this morning to see this in my inbox from Western CPAC...

The Western Conservative Political Action Conference (WCPAC) announced today that author and political strategist Floyd Brown has agreed to speak at this year’s conference, October 10th and 11th at the Radisson Hotel in Newport Beach California.

The Obama campaign has named Brown enemy number one. Senator Barack Obama recently said “527s pop up pretty quickly and have enormous influence and we've seen them – there was an ad, one in South Dakota by Floyd Brown … I don’t think that I am off the wall here to say that you know a lot of outside groups that are potentially going to be going after us hard…” [...]
“An old right-wing attack dog has returned with a new target: Barack Obama.”--CNN

"Brown has stature among devoted conservatives that almost matches his physical heft (6 ft. 6 in. and 240 lbs.)" --TIME [...]

Brown has considerable experience with political campaigns. Brown’s most recent endeavor is the creation of the website:, which seeks to educate voters on Democratic Presidential nominee Barak Obama.

“Floyd brings a wealth of knowledge on political campaigns” said Jim Lacy Chairman of Western CPAC. “As we gear up for this November’s election, it will be great to hear his perspective on the way the race is shaping up and what issues we, as conservatives, should be paying attention to leading up to Election Day.”

Other confirmed speakers at this year’s Western CPAC include radio talk show host and eldest son of Ronald Reagan, Michael Reagan; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore; and anti-tax leaders Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and Lew Uhler of the National Tax Limitation Committee.
And you know what made me feel worse? The PUMAs are basically signing on to the same agenda. These supposed "Democrats" are now doing the GOP's bidding for them. I'm sure Hillary Clinton herself must be repulsed by this. I know I am, as well as many other Hillary Clinton Democrats.

How can they claim to be "Democrats" when they are working hand-in-hand with the GOP? How can they claim to be "Hillary Clinton supporters" when they are working actively against what Hillary herself supports? How can they claim to be "progressive" when they are working to undermine the progressive movement?

You know, I used to be friends with some of these people, so it pains me to say this... But now, I have no choice. "PUMA" is nothing more than a FRAUD! They do nothing but defile Hillary's legacy when they act in her name to give aid & comfort to the GOP enemy.

I've had it with "PUMA", their faux support of Hillary, & their siding with GOP troublemakers against Barack Obama. I hope all of you have as well. I hope we've all had it to the point where we're all ready to action.

Let's fight the smears. Let's say no to "PUMA" and yes to democracy. Oh yes, and let's volunteer & donate to ensure that we win over these GOP trolls. :-)

Obama's Coattails?

Rasmussen has a new poll out that shows our presumptive nominee's lead over Darth McVader in Minnesota has climbed to eighteen points. The current poll shows:

Obama 52
McCain 34

(With leaners, it's 54% to 37%.)

Last month, Rasmussen showed the race slightly tighter with Obama at 52% and McVader at 39%.

Interestingly, Senator Obama may be showing some coattails. Democrat Al Franken now leads incumbent Senator Norm "Pot Head" Coleman 44% to 42%. Last month, Coleman led Franken. The movement of Democrats away from Coleman toward Franken apparently accounts for the phenomenon. If Democrats are coming home to Franken, it perhaps suggests good feeling that our nominee is generating among the faithful.

Indymac and the Democratic Party

On Friday, July 11, The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) closed the $32 billion IndyMac Bank, headquartered in Pasadena, California, and transferred operations to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

My Mom, who is 88 years old, has a CD at Indymac Bank.  She lives off the interest. Thanks to the Democratic Party and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my Mom didn't lose her money when the feds seized the  bank in the second largest federal takeover in US history.  I haven't told my Mom about the takeover. She has Alzheimer's. If you can't figure out how to find the bologna in the refrigerator I figure you can go without knowing you almost got wiped out financially.

I, on the otherhand, am a wreck. I got her into Indymac! For years they paid the highest CD rate around--if you opened it online. Whoohoo. I've even  got a little money stashed  there.

The woman I talked to at Indymac today--who works for the FDIC--said people have been weeping on the phone. They had more deposited there than the FDIC will insure. If you are above $100,000 that money is out the door.

I was speechless on Friday. When I could put two words back to back they were x-rated:

 Holy fu*king shit! What a fu*king disaster. Jesus H. Chist, Dad, you were right. I mean you were RIGHT!!!.

And then --even though he has been gone for 10 years-- I whispered:


It was my Dad when  I was 18 who drummed the FDIC into my head with tales of the Great Depression and how people were wiped out and jumped from skyscrapers. And then he would explain how FDR and the Democrats fixed it so if the banks failed again, no one would be wiped out.

But c'mon, banks fail?? I didn't think it could happen again. And I certainly flirted over the years with money ventures and institutions that were not FDIC insured. But my Dad really pounded something into my thick head. Why flirt with disaster when the Democratic Party has provided a safety net? Over and over, in countless different ways he brought the point home.

Why? For a little extra money--you could lose it all. Stick with the FDIC. You'll be fine. Don't color outside the lines, Ok?

I'd nod my head, bored and despairing of his interminable lectures. Now, I find out that  these lectures from my depression era papa shaped my behavior with Indymac.And so my Mom and I are among those who are lucky this Monday.

Many others are not.

I supported Hillary Clinton for the nomination for the Democratic Party, and a cast of sore losers--unlike the woman they profess to support who has been gracious in defeat-- cannot understand why I now support the Dem nominee, Barack Obama. It is so fuc*king simple. It ain't the head of the party that matters above all else. It is the Party!!!

And I am living proof right now today that the Party matters.  Ok. Sure. The dem leadership hasn't been exactly angelic in the primary struggle. But I will take this party and these "fu*k-ups" over the Republicans any day.

Remember, it was Herbert Hoover who fired on the vets when the marched on the White House demanding their pay. And this is the same party that has backed our Coward in Chief from showing the coffins of our soldiers as they come home in body bags from Iraq.

Hillary knows what is at stake in this election. In Chicago Saturday for the American Federation of Teachers conference, she said:

The Republicans should hold a press conference and apologize to the country and say they're just not going to run anyone for president.

I am newly grateful to the Democratic Party today. And I urge you to think of this Party and it's long and grand tradition of standing up for the rights and welfare of working people. The Republicans for the last eight years have done nothing but gut every protection they could get their hands on.

Isn't it time to put the Party back in power that brought us the FDIC.  

New Poll Shows Obama with a Nine-Point Lead

A new Quinnipiac national poll shows Obama with a nine point lead over his nearest rival, Darth McVader:

Obama 50
McCain 41

The new poll shows Obama maintains a substantial lead in various subpopulations, including Black voters (94% - 1%); women (55% - 36%); 18 to 34 year old voters (63% - 31%). He also has a lead among voters are are 35 to 54 (48% - 44%), my own demographic. Indeed, among voters over 55, McCain and Obama are virtually tied at 45% to 44% respectively.

Incidentally, the senior Senator from Arizona might want to add some campaign offices to his recent visit to Indiana in his courageous effort to carry one of the reddest of all states. It appears that Senator Obama has opened six offices in Indiana, while Senator McVader has yet to open a single office. (You may recall that a recent Survey USA poll showed the Illinois Senator with a one point lead in the Hoosier State over Luke Skywalker's daddy, a sign that the presumptive Republican nominee may be having a hard time keeping his horses in the corral.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

President Obama Isn't Enough

(Proudly cross-posted at Daily Kos, Democratic PartyBuilder, & MyDD) I know so many of us are excited about the Obama campaign. I know we all want to see Barack Obama become President next January. But you know what? This isn't enough for me. OK, OK, so what the hell am I talking about? President Obama won't be enough to solve the climate crisis. President Obama won't be enough to make universal health care happen. President Obama won't be enough to advance equal rights for all. Believe it or not, President Obama will need help from a Democratic Congress. Don't believe me? Well, you should. Presidents don't get everything done all on their own. They need Congress to work with them to make things happen. So why am I dwelling on this? I want you all to remember to support good Democrats running for Congress in addition to whatever support you're providing Barack Obama. If we have not just a Democratic majority, but a strong progressive Democratic majority, we can turn our dreams into reality. So who should we support? Let me start with some good candidates running in my neck of the woods, working hard to turn Orange County, CA, blue. Bill Hedrick is a Corona school board member looking to oust one truly corrupt Rethuglican still in Congress. And believe it or not, his district is looking increasingly competitive. If you can, please support Hedrick as he's a great progressive who will support President Obama's agenda. Also, let's not forget Debbie Cook. She's an amazing progressive Democrat, an accomplished Huntington Beach Mayor, and a brilliant energy policy wonk who is challenging a complete and utter disaster of a CReepy incumbent. She's someone we need in Congress... We should support her. OK, so you don't like my suggestions? That's OK. Give to the party to keep the "50 State Strategy" successful. Give to HillPAC so Hillary Clinton can help more Democrats win. Give to PAC for a Change to help Barbara Boxer help more Democrats. Just give to Democrats, dammit! Remember that President Obama isn't enough... We need more & better Democrats to truly win! :-)

Bob Dylan - Masters of War

New Rasmussen State Polls

You might recall that last last Friday, I wrote about the astonishing news that Rasmussen had Obama and McCain tied in North Dakota. Now comes the news from Rasmussen that Obama has put South Dakota into play:

McCain 44
Obama 40

(With leaners, McCain 47 and Obama 43.)

Iowa is also looking pretty decent in the most recent Rasmussen released today:

Obama 48
McCain 38

(With leaners, Obama 51, McCain 41.)

Michigan is also looking better for our party's candidate:

Obama 47
McCain 39

That means that Obama has widened his lead there by four points greater than the last poll.

Electoral Vote Dot Com now projects the following electoral vote distribution:

Obama 320
McCain 204
Ties 14*

*Missouri with 11 electoral votes and North Dakota with 3 electoral votes.

I Ain't Marching Anymore by Phil Ochs

She's voting for Obama--why aren't you?

[Cross-posted to MyDD]

I'd like to thank the group of bloggers here for the invite to participate. I've decided to make my first post a cross-post from MyDD that I posted just today, about not just my own personal political journey, but my grandmother's, in this primary.

I've been paying alot of attention to the recent "PUMAs" that have rejoined us here at MyDD, and a question has continued to cross my mind about what it will take to get these people to embrace Senator Obama. I never really understood why someone would want to vote for John McCain. But I do have someone we might consider a supposed "prototypical" deadender in my family. But before we go into, that, I'd like you to meet us:

First, myself:

But most importantly, the person this diary is about, my Grandmother:

(She'd kill me if I ever posted THAT picture of her; but it's the only one I have on my computer)

The reason why I'm telling this story today is because I think it's important for us to share the personal stories of the politics that effect our lives...and this story is a great example of change in our current society.

My grandmother is now 79, although she looks younger and acts younger as well. She grew up in Arkansas, born before segregation was ended and less than a decade after women were given the right to vote on a federal level.

My grandmother has always been a wonderful person, full of kindness and warmth to those that are less fortunate, and working her entire life at General Motors, raising my wonderful mother, who passed away in August of last year, and playing a key role in my life growing up, raising me with my mother because of the lack of my father being in my life. One of the most wonderful things she ever did was accept and embrace my homosexuality; with her social and religious upbringing, I was SHOCKED that it came to her so easily, but I think it was more proof of the amount of love she has for her grandchildren and especially me.

At the beginning of this primary season, we didn't talk about politics much. She knew I supported Hillary and she has always voted for a Democrat; never for a Republican. She favored Hillary; but we never spoke much about Senator Obama; I was always hesitant to bring him up. When I was 13 (before I came out of the closet), I had decided to take one of my best friends, Crystal, to my school's homecoming dance. My grandmother, unfortunately, was not warm to the idea, because Crystal was African-American. She never really went far beyond that in an explanation; but I chalked up her misgivings to her upbringing, and even though I talked to her about things; I could never really force the issue. I knew that she was an amazing person; and intutively, growing up in the background she did, it would take more than a lifetime to turn around the societal norms that she had implanted in her head; however, she had always proven to be a very open minded person; she certainly never disrespected other races or people, and got along with coworkers and was kind to everyone she ran across.

But this incident was 8 years ago. I always wondered, if Senator Obama won, how would she react? I got to find out the other day. We talked about how Hillary had dropped out of the race, and I learned two things from that conversation. First, that she was heartbroken over the fact that she probably would never get to vote for a female President; but second, how hopeful Senator Obama's candidacy made her, now that he was the nominee.

She marveled to me that she could have never dreamt of having to pick between a woman and an African American for her ballot; but how hopeful that made her for the future of this nation. She told me that she's voting for Senator Obama in November not just because he's right on policy but because he gives her hope that maybe, one day, I could run for the Presidency too. We could never dream of a GLBT President right now...but if Barack and Hillary can do what they did, who's to say that someone in my community can't?

In a way, I think the experience of this primary has opened her eyes to the hopes and dreams of many minorities across this country, and many civil rights activists, that OUR TIME HAS COME. She could have rejected the hope and complained about the process, and held out and chosen not to support anyone...but she saw the hope that he provided to millions, and the hope that he provides to her, just like the hope that Hillary provided to her.

She chose to reject the negativity of this primary; and despite whatever tensions may have existed for her during her upbringing, has embraced Barack's message of hope and change. In many ways, one of the reasons why I support Senator Obama is that I believe we can do better--and he, just like Hillary, is one way we can start doing that.

Listen, PUMAs, I know how hard this must be. But if my grandmother can embrace the inspiration that Hillary provided and now Barack provides; why can't you? I hope--like her--that you see what we can do this November--how Barack being President would give hope not just to African Americans, but women, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, GLBT Americans and everyone across the spectrum, how his win could provide us the idea that WE CAN do what we dream of.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Gross Cookie Analogy

After watching Hillary get ripped apart by the media, this should infuriate all of us. On this weekend's edition of the The McLaughlin Group, John McLaughlin described Barack Obama as an oreo cookie--"a black on the outside, a white on the inside."

The comments were made during a discussion of Rev. Jesse Jackson's hot-mic comments about wanting to castrate Senator Obama. Here is a transcript from Media Matters:

McLAUGHLIN: OK, let's nail this thing down, and here's a sample of what Jackson apparently sees as Obama disparaging the black community.

OBAMA [video clip]: If we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that too many fathers are also missing. Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL. Missing from too many lives and too many homes. They've abandoned their responsibilities. They're acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our family have suffered because of it. You and I know this is true everywhere, but nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community.

McLAUGHLIN: Question: Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside -- that an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for? Peter Beinart.

BEINART: Who knows what Jesse Jackson is thinking? But that's a completely unfair depiction of Barack Obama, who -- the genius of Barack Obama is that he moves seamlessly between the African-American world and the white world in a way that even Bill Clinton couldn't possibly match. And the tragedy of this experience is that you know who's spoken very eloquently for many, many years about personal responsibility in the black community? Jesse Jackson. He of all people should recognize, in fact, that what Barack Obama is saying is not contrary to the message of the civil rights movement, it is keeping with that message.

Mr. McLaughlin's characterizations of Rev. Jackson as the angry black man and Senator Obama as the oreo are completely inappropriate and he needs to apologize for them. To register your protest with The McLaughlin Group, visit the About Us for contact information. Or click on this direct email link. You can also visit the Ombudsman Column at Michael Getler serves as an "independent internal critic" who reviews complaints and monitors content. You can contact him via his feedback page.

[UPDATED by psychodrew at 1:47 am EST]

From PBS's website:
The McLaughlin Group is not a PBS program. PBS member stations are free to purchase programs from other distributors such as Oliver Productions, which distributes this show. If your question concerns your local station's broadcast of this program (such as requesting that it be added to their schedule, or shown at a different time) please contact your local station directly. Member stations' postal and e-mail addresses are listed on PBS Online at Station Finder.

Please contact the distributor directly with any questions concerning the program itself.

The Ombudsman addressed complaints about the McLaughlin Group in December, but added this:

Also, the McLaughlin Group is not a PBS program, although it normally appears on more than 200 PBS-affiliated stations. PBS member stations are free to purchase programs from other distributors such as, in this case, Oliver Productions of Washington, DC. The program also airs in the New York and Washington, DC, areas on NBC.

Spoghtlight On: The CA 4th CD

For my inaugural post, I would like to take a moment to discuss a Congressional race that is in my backyard. I’ve commented before about this candidate, but I really want to introduce him to the readership. This laudable candidate is Lieutenant Colonel Charles Brown (USAF Retired) running for the California 4th.

Now, let me preface this by saying that I know this will prove to be a tough race. The PVI of the district is R+11, and the GOP is running a carpet bagger from the 19th State Senate district (Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties). It appears they have to transplant someone with a pulse to take over for Doolittle, whom chose not to run again after the scandals of the past year.

So this brings me to my support of Col. Brown. He already had a good showing in 2006, running against Doolittle, only losing by just over 3 points. The district has grown since then, and a lot more progressives have moved into the mountain regions of the Northern Sierra Nevada range. With all this motion, we have the best chance we’ve had in 20 years to take back the CA 4th.

Now, I do have to admit that Col. Brown is a Blue Dog candidate, but in this climate it’s probably a good thing. He’s progressive enough to massage some of the Liberal G-spots that I personally have (ex. Universal Health Care, Hate Crimes Legislation, LGBT Rights and Responsible Energy Policy) while still keeping true to his feelings about fiscal responsibility, which is one of my watchwords as well. He even encourages people to slow down a little when driving to save gas and our environment. And, having caught him on the freeway a couple of times, he practices what he preaches!

Moreover, Col. Brown has show his willingness to speak truth to power. He was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War … not because it was the politically right thing to do, but because it was the RIGHT thing to do. He openly shares that he tasked and flew recon missions over Iraq in the 1990’s and … yep, you guessed it … no WMD!

Also, on our commitment to Veterans, Col. Brown is setting aside 5% of his fundraising to assist with Veterans charities. Having a Father who is a Vietnam Vet, this is something that is moving to me. I’d like to see more of our candidates rise to this challenge and help those who have fought for our freedoms.

Charlie Brown also understands the need for retail politics in a rural district, such as the 4th. From appearances at 4th of July Celebrations, to fundraisers at a Vineyard in Penn Valley (which is where I got to meet him … my friend’s parents own the vineyard), he is no stranger to the Grip-N-Grin. When people contribute to his campaign, he sends them a Hand Signed letter of thanks. That is something that is all too rare in today’s politics.

I could go on and on about Lt. Col. Brown, but I’m sure I’ve been long winded enough for my first post. Thank you all for this opportunity to really discuss some of the progressive candidates that will help further our country if given our support.

As always, Just my 2 Cents!


Obama and Clinton Need to Support Feminism

Cross-posted at MyDD and Feminism in 2008 Election and Beyond

Clinton should disassociate herself from the PUMAs, defending her former supporters who are following her advice to work their hearts out for Obama. Clinton supporters who immediately started to work for Obama seem to be targeted by some PUMA trolls on our blogger blogs as cowardly traitors. The anonymous attacks on me removed from the Clintonista for Obama blog were revolting and ageist, implying I was too close to the grave to have a right to political advocacy, that I desperately needed, but would never get, a man, that they laughed themselves sick at my profile.

Given that these personal attacks on me echoed the attacks made by the media and progressive blogs against older Hillary supporters, I have to wonder who those anonymous hit-and-run attackers truly were. Are they truly Hillary supporters or an army of Karl Roves in disguise? Is it completely unfair to associate them with genuine PUMAS? The whole mess is heartbreaking. I certainly understand where the PUMA people are coming from. I just have to reread all my letters to my daughters and sons-in-law for the last year. I was totally demoralized that they were all supporting Obama and repeating all the right-wing Hillary demonizing that had now been adopted by too many progressive blogs.

I had dedicated 30 years of my life to nonsexist childrearing of 4 daughters, and now I was discovering they probably weren't feminists and couldn't recognize sexism and misogyny. They had splendid educations and excellent jobs, so they hadn't experienced much discrimination. However, after a year of mothering, my oldest daughter realizes we don't live in a postfeminist era. Two more daughters are becoming mothers this year, so they will be similarly enlightened. There is nothing like discovering you might make $100,000 plus, but are still expected to pump breastmilk in a toilet to raise your consciousness. If your consciousness isn't raised enough, finding out that storing your pumped breastmilk in a company refrigerator is a biohazard should bring enlightenment.

The attacks on me and other Clinton supporters for Obama made the Obama supporters on mybarackobama seems like cuddly little bunnies in contrast. Now that they realize I am genuinely working hard for Obama, they can welcome me, even as I criticize him from the progressive left. Admittedly, it has taken me a month to find groups of Obama supporters I can work with, and we had to work through much miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Some Obama supporters genuinely believe that Hillary doesn't disown the PUMAs because she believes they enhance her chances for the vice presidential nomination. I am sure they are wrong, but I understand howClinton's speaking out would probably reassure people.

Feminists and other progressives need to start a peaceful revolution for a family-friendly, child-friendly, elder-friendly, human-friendly America. Instead we squabble like little children. Wait, that isn't fair to toddlers. The under threes I hang out with are far better behaved and cooperative.

However, if Obama supporters viciously attack Hillary supporters who are not ready to support Obama, they reinflict all the traumatic wounds of the primary season. I perfectly understand how many women feel that supporting Obama is equivalent to going back to an abusive husband. The primary campaign reawakened in me memories of a lifetime of discrimination, mockery, and misogyny. We are all too quick to dismiss people who disagree with us as trolls. Rational debate is not trolling. I do try to take what people say seriously and dialogue with them. A serious discussion of the need for a new feminist movement of progressive men and women might be a constructive substitute for tormenting our former and future allies

New Features Open Thread

Hey, everyone. I just wanted to let you all know about some exciting new features I'm adding to the blog. I hope you like them as much as I do.

First off, we'll be seeing some new faces come in to join the club. They'll be introducing themselves over the next week, and letting you know why they're here. This should be really fun!

Also, I added a new video bar. This way, you won't have to go too far to see the latest Obama & Democratic news. Alos this week, I'll be looking at adding some RSS feeds and other nifty gadgets to the blog. After all, we're here at C4O to serve you!

So what would you like us to do in addtion to what we're adding now to make your experience here more enjoyable? And are you excited about our new features & new authors soon to come? Consider this an open thread. Chat away! :-)

Is It Everyone's Fault?

(cross-posted at MyDD)

I'm going to get flamed for resurrecting the primary wars. Maybe I shouldn't, but with the recent influx of PUMA members, I figure it can't hurt - we're already back to attacking and arguing with each other, which is a real shame because we were doing so well for awhile there. Some of us - including myself - are being pretty rude to the people with whom we disagree, and I doubt it's helpful. Still, I'm disinclined to stop because I have little patience remaining for people who refuse to support (or even tolerate) Obama as Hillary so openly has.

The two warring factions - the PUMAs and the people who are supporting the nominee - tend to blame one another (and the other candidate) for the divisions within the party, but I've begun to think that everyone involved shares some of the responsibility for the rift. Hillary and Barack certainly contributed to it, and their supporters magnified each point of contention and kept it alive. Outrage fueled outrage, and somewhere along the line, everything spiraled out of control.

So how did we get here? Is Hillary partially responsible?

Absolutely. While I will never buy into the "Hillary is a race-baiter" meme (and please, let's not start that argument in the comment thread), I'll admit that she was very harsh sometimes. The "shame on you" episode comes to mind, though I agreed with her. She was occasionally unfair, and she hit below the belt - when she grabbed hold of bittergate and employed a Republican tactic by calling Obama an elitist, I shook my head in disappointment. When she released an ad invoking Osama bin Laden, I watched it with wide-eyed horror. When she piled onto Obama during a debate in which he was being attacked by the mods, I frowned and sighed in exasperation. She mocked him at one of her rallies. She contributed to the problem.

Is Barack partially responsible?

Sure. When he attacked Hillary's healthcare plan with a flyer that strongly resembled the Harry and Louise ad from the `90s, I was furious: I saw it as not only an attack on my candidate, but an attack on universal healthcare, which was my top issue. When his campaign sent out a memo about what they perceived as an "insidious pattern" of allegedly racially insensitive remarks, I saw red. When he called her "divisive" and said she would do anything to win, I clenched my teeth until my jaw ached. I considered his "You're likeable enough" joke mocking and rude. He contributed to the problem.

But here's the thing: They were both fighting for the nomination, and they were supposed to attack each other. It was inevitable, and though they both took it too far at times, it was not unexpected. It wasn't unusual, it wasn't unprecedented. So from whence do the vitriol and animosity stem?

I think the hatred comes from their supporters (though most people know nothing of the blog wars). For one thing, each of us supported either an African American or a woman, and we expected to see discrimination. Many of us were overzealous and hyper-vigilant - we were constantly on the alert for any hint of bigotry or sexism, and though both were unquestionably present, I think we began seeing them when they weren't really there. We manufactured our own controversies. We parsed every phrase, analyzed every word, and scrutinized every expression. Not everyone did, but enough of us engaged in it to create a great deal of division. We were cruel to each other. We stopped listening. Obama supporters ruled DailyKos, and Hillary supporters fled here and largely took over. We developed resentments not only against Hillary or Obama, but also against each other. We stopped communicating, and our dialogue often devolved into vicious ad hominem attacks. We called each other cult members, racists, Republicans, and sexists. For a long time, I was angry at Obama supporters in general and decided that theirs was a top-down mentality; my disdain for them was deeply ingrained.

But just as our candidates' supporters contributed to the division, in my case they healed it. On MyDD, I discovered quite a few Clinton supporters who had come somewhat unhinged - their vehemence disturbed me; as they offended my sense of fairness and moderation, they inadvertently helped me forget my anger. They accidentally opened my mind toward the decent and reasonable Obama supporters. Several of them listened to my concerns and treated me with respect, despite my loathing for their candidate. In particular, I began getting along with Student Guy, ragekage, brit, fogiv, thatpurplestuff, Kysen, Setrak, hootie, mady, Spacemanspiff, and map (pardon me if I forgot your name - there are a lot of you). Those people were always thoughtful and helpful to me. Ragekage did manage to shame me on one occasion, but he wasn't hateful about it. When I explained my anger to him, he listened and responded to me politely and intelligently. I remember thinking, "Brit supports Obama and cares about his candidacy. I must be missing something..." I believe he had a similar thought about Hillary. I came to like a lot of Obama supporters, and I got to know them better than Clinton supporters because our relationships required more compromising, talking, explaining, sympathizing, and sharing to maintain. As I got to know them, I began looking at their candidate differently; surely so many smart, funny, considerate people wouldn't be supporting a dud.

So who can we blame for most of the division in the party? It's hard to say, though at the moment I tend to blame PUMAs the most, but to some extent, both candidates and their supporters are at fault. I don't know how to go about unifying the party; I've tried to reach out to several Hillary holdouts, but they've universally rebuffed my efforts. I lose my patience with them quickly, so here I sit, unable to do for the PUMAs what so many Obama supporters did for me. Maybe it would help if we all tried to put ourselves in each other's places. Maybe we should try to walk a mile in our antagonists' shoes, as they say. Unfortunately, I seem incapable of properly doing so, and if anyone should be able to understand PUMA, it should be someone like me, who once claimed I could never vote for Obama. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for long-time Obama supporters to see things from those people's perspective. Maybe it would help if we all admitted we were sometimes at fault, maybe if everyone accepted some responsibility.

Or maybe we should just ignore people who can't be reasoned with and hope they come around in their own time. Sadly, that may be the only solution.