A Black Man From Kenya, A White Man From Kansas

4 09 2008

Wow, this is big news.


H/T Ken Levine

Girl Politics

30 08 2008

I’m going to take a moment to talk about VP pick Sarah Palin.

There isn’t any doubt she is a pretty incredible woman (now that I know who she is) with five children, a meteoric rise apparently in Alaska politics and a hard-core conservative.

I’m going to repeat that several times. She is a conservative.

For my right-leaning buddies out there, I realize this is a slam dunk. I’m not a conservative as you know if you read this blog and I’m really not posting this to you guys but more to my brethren who say they will vote for a woman for the sake of that’s she’s female. McCain shrewdly released the information after the eve of an amazing, historic speech from Barack Obama. As a matter of strategy, no one can deny that this was masterful pr move.

It was an amazing display. I’m going to give the McCain camp that one.

On the other hand, why has this entire race become about girl parts?

I wasn’t a Hillary supporter but I respected the experience and the warrior-like strength of Clinton. She honestly set much of the tone for the DNC convention this year and was very much the statesman/woman about the direction of the party. My lack of support for her candidacy had nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. It had to do with how divisive she has been in the America mainstream over the past 16 years.

But I respect the hell out of her.

With Palin in the mix, I have to say that the whole “experience” thing has been thrown out of the political spin. I’m guessing that McCain knew that when his camp made their choice.

She was the mayor just two years ago of a town that is the about the size of Hooterville Central. Let’s think about that. Let’s also look at what has happened. In Palin’s defense, I’m offended by the VPILF (or whatever it’s called ’cause I’m not linking it) which is so sexist it’s not funny. If anything were to happen to McCain, we would be dealing with a woman, who in her own way, is a game-changer or so the MSM reports but she is still very right wing and has little experience in foreign relations which is a big deal. I am ok about this that she did but that’s basically the only thing I see as she did not do it for gay rights but due to the unconstitutional fall out so let’s get that balanced out. There are also some scandals attached to her (but in all fairness, there is always a scandal attached) but there is one thing bothering me more than anything.

It’s about her being a woman and that being the home run out of the park. Not her experience or belief system but the fact that “Hey, look, it’s a girl.” That’s the selling point that McCain banked on but when did it become a gender race and not a presidential race about issues facing this nation? A weakening economy, a war, a global uncertainty about the United States intentions, the rights of individuals … are these not important things to be discussing?

I resent that a woman is, once again, being used as a gimmick. I don’t like that. Palin, however, knew what she was getting into so there’s that.

For my conservative friends, I know this is inspiring. For me, it’s just another objectification at this point of a female but I also know you dig her politics and that’s cool.

But for those left-leaning people who are just voting for McCain because he’s got a woman on the ticket, I can only say, look at her track record and tell me, is this what you want one heartbeat away from the White House?

Going to look at Bigfoot pictures to get the buzzing out of my head.

Feel Good Friday

29 08 2008

Wake Up Everybody by Teddy Pendergrass.

Been on the road this a.m. so I’m a little late.

An Air Of Unity

28 08 2008
Barack Obama Flickrstream

Credit: Barack Obama Flickrstream

The last two nights in Denver have been exhilarating for a couple of reasons. There was an air of unity. We saw history made, things that future generations will study for years to come. We saw raw excitement over the process of government. Hillary Clinton proved herself a master statesman, Bill Clinton put his seal of approval on it (and despite his recent crankiness, he did very well last night) and Joe Biden who was expected to be an attack dog surprised me by showing a very personal side to himself.

Tonight, we will watch, or some of us at least, Barack Obama at Invesco Field where he will accept the nomination (well, he already has) as the Democratic candidate for president. I have a feeling tonight will increase the excitement of the last couple of weeks where Obama buzz has been at a high although it still hasn’t hit the polls yet.

I’m allowing myself the luxury of enjoying the convention, but as soon as the last balloon drops, I want to know Obama’s outline for change.

To say, “Hey, I want some change” is fine and groovy but we need to know exactly how these changes will be outlined and dissected to be manageable for not only our country’s leadership but for the American people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m riding the wave but I’m also a realist.

This country, or it appears to me, is in much worse shape than let’s say when Bill Clinton took office in 16 years ago. I don’t expect anyone to fix it over night, but I also want to see some specifics.

Every one, I don’t care who you are, has a personal agenda when it comes to voting for their candidate. There are hot button issues that are usually on the surface that will make voters who aren’t going to read the details who will vote for things they care about. George Bush and Karl Rove depended on that and ran all the way to the bank by throwing out controversial buzz words like abortion, illegal immigrants and gay marriage which were weapons of mass distraction against other issues such as a weakening economy, the war in the Middle East and some very sneaky stuff happening in Washington.

The message was to those folks that still may not sit down and read the the actual drafts for political reform on different levels.

I’m going to, but not every one does.

And I do think an awareness is happening in this election year where the Rovian style of dive bomb distraction politics aren’t going to get it this year. That makes me hopeful.

And this is what concerns me for Obama to a degree. He needs to be very detailed in the things he is talking about changing: the economy, healthcare and withdrawal from Iraq.

Let’s enjoy the rest of this week, then let’s see if the change the Obama camp is talking about are reasonable things that can be put into motion to move this country forward.

Clinton Nominates Obama By Acclamation Vote

27 08 2008

I’ll write about this historical meeting a bit later, but it was truly an amazing moment to watch.

Sen. Hillary Clinton asked to cut the roll call short saying, “With eyes firmly fixed on the future, and in the spirit of unity with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let’s declare together with one voice right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president,” she said.

Delegates then affirmed Obama as their choice with cheers.

Clinton and Obama were on the ballot at the party convention on Wednesday.

The states announced their votes in alphabetical order. The voting was to continue until a candidate received 2,210 delegates — the threshold needed to secure the nomination.

While most delegates cast their votes for Obama, some were voting for Clinton.

It was truly a very neat thing to watch as Clinton made the nomination and asked for an acclamation vote.

Pretty nifty, watching history being made.

Photo credit CNN

Rural Voting Key In Presidential Race

27 08 2008

I have been preaching this for months.

From the Dallas Morning News:

And rural voters have been key — in helping former President Bill Clinton offset slippage in the suburbs and President Bush make up for declining urban support.

Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, who made history as the nation’s first elected black governor, said that the rural vote is key to an Obama victory and that he must campaign aggressively there.

“I told him, ‘Go to the sticks,’.” said Mr. Wilder, now the mayor of Richmond. “People there want to see you, touch you, hear you.”

And then there is this:

.S. Rep. Chet Edwards of Waco said Mr. Obama should highlight his opposition to the privatization of Social Security and his plan not to tax seniors earning less than $50,000.

“I think he can make real inroads in rural America,” Mr. Edwards said.

On Monday, Obama surrogates talked jobs, health care and rural highways at a meeting of the Democratic National Convention’s rural caucus.

The Obama rural platform includes promoting recruitment of doctors to rural areas, restricting the sale of methamphetamine ingredients, boosting incentives for ethanol and biodiesel production and use, and requiring country of origin labels on imported meat.

I realize that Barack Obama and John McCain are not going to come to Hooterville but they should go to some rural areas that are being impacted by higher gas and food costs as well as 26 manufacturing plants shutting down in the past 7 years. (Umm, that’s Hooterville and much of West Tennessee. Whoops.)

Working class folks could care less about words but are ready and need action.

I can tell you that the first thing folks here would bring up is NAFTA. It’s a hot-button issue here.

I have been talking about rural communities since I began this blog nearly three years ago. I will do the awful and link to myself. And Rep. John Tanner needs to be paying attention too. If you have money, things are rosy so how are you going to know what’s going on unless you go out to where average, real people are. People with money do not understand people without, and thus we head back to the Sneetches with the haves and have nots. Rural issues are somewhat tied into class issues, but I guess that happens everywhere.

A coffee shop, a tavern or other places that aren’t media events is what I’d say. Talk to the people serving low-income people who have nowhere else to turn.

Currently, I say to both political candidates and to our local ones as well, there are some things you don’t know that are happening. We are experiencing crimes of necessity (that’s the word local law enforcement uses where food from freezers is being stolen but not $5000 tractors. It’s happening quite a bit), gas pump drive offs, shoplifting of food and empty parking lots that used to have bustling businesses.

This is one of irritations with the political process right now. Rural voters in the south are so stereotyped by the media that it’s appalling. And politicians take their cue from MSM.

Wilder got it right.

One thing about rural citizens though. If the candidates came, they need to listen and not talk.

Then they will get a real view of what it’s like and then their words will have substance for people barely making it.

Thanks for listening.

Design A T-Shirt For Barack Obama

24 08 2008

As my sister, Homer, is a screenprinting maven and I know about 400 graphic artists, I thought I would pass this along from the Barack Obama website.

Obama supporters everywhere are taking their activism to a new level. Artists and designers are using their passion, their creativity, their ideas to design the next Obama campaign t-shirt.

It’s a tee by the people and for the people.

Your T-shirt entry will be displayed on our website, and the winning design will be picked by a truly democratic process — the votes of our supporters online.

It’s easy to get started, we supply all of the needed files for you to start designing. All you need to do is download the submission kit, which includes decorative art designs, official Obama logos, shirt colors and shirt images. Once you download the kit, just get started designing your tee. Be creative in your design! Once you have finished the design, you’ll submit it to the campaign by making a preview image and sending it through your my.barackobama.com account by August 31st. Then cross your fingers and be sure to tell all your friends to vote.

Now, I challenge a Tennessean to win this puppy and if you do, umm, recommend Homer to print them. Also, she and SQ made me a Newscoma T-shirt for my birthday last year. I’m angling for a Mabel for President for my birthday on October 7.

Yes, Homer, this is a hint.


Breaking Down The Biden Factor

23 08 2008

I’m going to take a moment and pontificate about Barack Obama choosing Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate.

In any political race, there are those buzzwords that become meaningless because the reality is that there is always maneuvering and trying to stay a couple of steps ahead. Obama tapping Biden on the shoulder as his running mate is actually somewhat surprising to me, which may shock you. Three weeks ago, I hadn’t really thought Biden up on this.

But in some ways, it makes sense. Biden has experience, he’s bawdy in some ways, he’s good entertainment. I honestly thought Clinton might be on the ticket after she conceded earlier this summer. But her husband continued to be loud and annoying (I always dug Bill Clinton but he’s been one cranky old man this past year.)

Every state has different needs. Would Clinton or Bayr or Kaine or Richardson been as powerful as Biden overall?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I’ve really been thinking that with the Biden announcement at 3:00 a.m. was brilliant from a media perspective. Was there “change” involved with this? Yes. No other political announcement has been done this way. We had a media frenzy all week over who Obama would choose and then by sending the text out (although John King of CNN was pretty insistent last night with his reporting) at the same time that a Clinton ad made that time such an issue seems to me to be pretty much intended to make a point.

Sure, the Obama camp will deny that but what is done is done.

Biden only brings three electoral votes with him from Delaware. He’s Roman Catholic which is a huge swing vote in this country. It’s one not spoken about as much as votes on gender and race but it’s still important.

Biden brings 30+ years of experience to the ticket, something that Obama has been criticized for. He is a beltway player. His foreign relations efforts are well-documented.

He spouts off a lot and suffers huge foot-in-mouth disease, which is risky and the plagiarism issues of 1987 are still in some of our minds.

And, as I do sometimes try to let you know what I hear from the locals, he’s well liked by many of the people here in the rural area I live in.

Do I like Biden? Well, I’m not in love with him but I have seen him stand up on some issues I care about. He buried his first wife and a child when he was first elected to the Senate after a terrible car accident in Delaware. I have empathy for that.

So, let’s just throw it out there. Obama picked a guy who’s either liked or disliked equally. He’s added a bit of gray hair to the ticket and there is the issue of experience but not a ton of electoral votes.

It wasn’t what I expected but I have, as you can tell by the amount of Bigfoot posts I’ve had up recently, I haven’t exactly been pouring over the tubes trying to find a clue either.

But to say there wasn’t any “change” I think is buying into the buzzwords of the campaign, a word that got Obama the nation’s attention and also has created some nightmares for him as well. Well, there was some change to a degree.

This election cycle, due to a large part to the growing online community who educates themselves, is a change. For every blogger that passionately follows Washington, there are four or five people that watch ten minutes of news a day and could give two hoots about details.

So, I think Obama made a good choice in that regard. Biden is a brand. People know who Biden is.

And that’s for everyone out there who is watching NASCAR or The Food Network or any other niche station that aren’t news junkies, because you see, they know who Biden is.

It might help. It might hurt.

We will see.

LA Times Gets Its VP Story Wrong

23 08 2008

Wow. This is embarrassing.

Chicago – Barack Obama has chosen Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as his vice presidential running mate, bringing to the ticket a politician who could reinforce Obama’s message of change but who also shares the drawback of inexperience.

Obama’s decision – kept secret amid intense speculation as next week’s Democratic convention draws near – was announced via text messages and e-mails to supporters.

Kaine, who took office in January 2006 and who previously was lieutenant governor and mayor of Richmond, grew up in the Kansas City area. Fluent in Spanish, he worked as a missionary in Honduras before graduating from Harvard Law School, where Obama also earned a degree.

Together with the 47-year-old Obama, Kaine, 50, would give the Democrats the youngest presidential ticket since 1992, when 46-year-old Bill Clinton selected 44-year-old Al Gore as his running mate.

Umm, this obviously didn’t happen.

Your Dewey Beats Truman moment of Zen.

Obama Chooses Biden

23 08 2008

Biden is the choice.

“Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee,” the text message, sent at around 3 a.m. ET, said.

“Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois — the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago,” Obama said in an e-mail sent to supporters Saturday morning.

It was announced at 2 a.m.CST via the promised text message.

I’ve never seen anything like this. They announce it in the middle of the night?

So the world wakes up to an Obama/Biden ticket.

Will It Be Joe Biden?

19 08 2008

So it’s Vice-President Tuesday or is it? Well, at least that’s what MSM is pontificating about today.

I only have a couple of random observations about the next step in the road to the White House. I think whoever is placed on the ticket for both candidates is going to be key in rural America.

Of course, I’m just talking about my rural America but I do think it’s key.

Joe Biden is relatively well-liked and respected by some of the Dems over here but so is Hillary Clinton. I think Biden has more of the edge. I hear more people around here talking about having Clinton fatigue, but I don’t really think she is on the short list at this point but that’s just me. I’ve been wrong before.

I mention Clinton Fatigue but I think it’s more about having election fatigue in general. This race has been going on for what seems like forever. With two years of campaigning, at this point I believe everyone is pretty sure of whom they are going to vote for anyway.

But those undecided will be watching the VP choices.

Sharon has a poll for you to go and add your two cents to the pot regarding whom Barack Obama is going to choose.

Think of it as voting early and often.

Rural Voting

18 08 2008

Read the Coyote and thank me later.

Barack Obama Get’s His Rick Astley On

11 08 2008

Stolen from Xark. This made me laugh.

Also, I am the world’s worst dancer and yet I’m still better than Barack.

Barack Obama Will Announce VP In A Different Way

11 08 2008

CNN is reporting that Barack Obama will announce his VP choice via Text, E-mail and on Twitter.

I need to just start chanting that I’m a dinosaur. News is changing so fast that I can’t catch my breath sometimes. (I’ll link to a story once I find one but I’ll link to the list of who it MIGHT be here.)

But I can’t help but be enthralled by this development.

Sharon has more.

Obama’s Legacy

24 07 2008

I haven’t really been able to wrap my head around all the things that are happening with Barack Obama right now.

Despite the fact that I lean to the left side of the aisle, I am also hesitant when it comes to believing in anyone in office. I spoke to a woman last night who sort of takes care of me and mothers me. She knew my mom very well and she fills the role of being a nurturer when I need it. I find myself seeking her out a couple of time a week.

Everyone needs a place to feel safe.

Last night, she asked me about what I thought of the whole media circus surrounding Obama. (I guess I should say she could give two craps about politics.) I said it was exciting on many planes but on the other hand, I’m still reserved about it all. I told her I like the fact that the world is excited about him and that gives me hope that we can rebuild our standing globally.

I think 20 years ago I would have been elated to the point of the stars settling in my eyes. Now, I sit and watch. New cycles aren’t what they used to be. A story is now not allowed to grow. It’s an explosion these days and then it’s over. Younger people don’t remember the way Watergate swelled slowly with so much detail and revelations. We watched TIME and the papers. We watched the hearings on three channels which was all we had. Same thing with Iran Contra although it was after 24/7 news became available.

These stories were allowed to evolve.

Now we hear it, we talk about it and it’s not news within a couple of days. The world of communication has changed.

We talked about how my mom would feel if she were still alive about this. I think the issue is, and I said this to her, that we are living in events that will be taught to our children as a monumental time of history. In many ways, it was like her Camelot with the Kennedys.

Am I excited? Sure. I like the fact that Obama appears to know what he’s talking about. And that’s good after years of a Texas oilman that was as clueless as a raccoon and has the personality of a cracked bowling ball. Am I going to watch the Berlin speech. You betcha. It’s history.

Just pontificating after an odd week.

Obama World Wide Tour

22 07 2008

I’ve sort of been out of politics for a few days, being reckless and cranky and not giving a damn about my very own apathy.

This morning, as I started to feel like a human being again, I was reading about the Obama World Wide Tour Aught Eight.

First of all, I can’t help but agree with other progressives that Barack Obama traveling is a good thing for this country. What’s wrong with talking to our allies? What’s wrong with having a dialog?

Sharon and I agree completely on this. The world is waiting out the Bush Administration as much as we are.

I’d much rather have a leader that talks things through. That thinks about the direction of this country and it’s role globally.

Last week, Homer, Squirrel Queen and I were talking about patriotism. They thought I was the most patriotic one in the bunch. And I am. I believe in the possibilities and potential of each and every one of us not only in the United States but in the world.

The thing about this country in this history-making year is that for those of us who have personally been impacted by the bad decisions of this current administration, we can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

I still concede whoever inherits this country is going to be doing a great deal of cleaning up. No one is perfect and it’s not going to be easy.

But the last seven years of ruling by creating fear has taken it’s toll on so many of us. This is not the country my grandfather taught me about. Hopefully we can move forward.

Idealism is not a bad thing to have.

One last political thought is that I really wish that Al Gore would challenge his former running mate, Joe Lieberman, to an ultimate fighting championship. JoeLie is clueless.  Gore could take him.

Weapons Of Mass Distraction

15 07 2008

I haven’t weighed in on the New Yorker cover that caused such a stir yesterday. I don’t know, spiders were eating on my foot and I was a bit distracted.

My first thought was pretty much what Joe Lance wrote about. I thought of the Tennessee GOP and how Bill Hobbs’ recent actions have formed some of this. Did I see the satire? Yes I did. Did I think it was funny?

No, not really. Lucille Ball also doesn’t make me laugh. And I hated the Titanic movie. Just saying.

With that said, Joe said this:

The Tennessee Republican Party has created no small stir with its less-than-ironic attempts to paint Senator Obama and his wife as terrorist-connected America-haters. I thought of the TNGOP immediately when I saw the New Yorker cover. I wonder if the artist had them in mind.

A sad part to this story is that those targeted truly won’t get that they are the butt of the joke, and will fail to see themselves as the asses they have been, despite this clever mirror that has been held before them.

I don’t think people being upset is wrong at all. I also know that political satire can turn on a dime. I can’t help but think that Jeffraham made a good point.

The one thing about offering change is reacting differently that what is expected. I’m not discounting that the cover was offensive but let’s remember that the same artist, Brian Blitt, did these covers. That’s was political cartoonists do. In news, at least, if you have everyone hating on you, you did your job well.

Images from The Huffington Post

Images from The Huffington Post

We are still living in the world of weapons of mass distraction. For Tennesseans, we can see the stamp of the Tennessee GOP’s smear campaign working here. The deep wounds that have been created by some of the GOP’s antics have hit a national audience. I don’t like it but it is what it is.

But less remember that the GOP is working on untrue stereotypes of Barack Obama. Which is no different that being Captain Obvious and saying that John McCain is old.

Let’s move on and get back to the issues of $4 bucks for a gallon of gas, Iraq and health care.

This election has become like the television show “Big Brother” and it shouldn’t be. Creating drama where this isn’t any. We have too much at stake in this country.

‘Can’t Be Allowed To Go By Without Comment’

11 07 2008

Jon says it better than I can about Barack Obama shift to the middle.

Anyway, it’s not yet enough to lose my vote. But it can’t be allowed to go by without comment. He has to take the lumps he’s asked for. “My Candidate, Right or Wrong” is how the last regime worked — no thanks.

There are people watching. They aren’t going to agree with everything that Obama does and, at least right now, we have the right to say it out loud when we don’t agree.

It’s good to have a dialog. We live in some odd times. But so did my parents and my grandparents, I guess.

But if we don’t talk about it, then we are lemmings.

And we’ve had eight years of that mentality.

Fourth Amendment 1789 – 2008

9 07 2008

Obama voted Yes. Clinton voted No.

The Senate Wednesday approved a bill to put new rules in place for intelligence agency eavesdropping on suspected terrorists.

The bill also effectively protects telephone companies from being sued for cooperating with a government surveillance program launched in the wake of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. The White House pushed hard for the provision, with a threat to veto the bill if it did not contain protection for phone companies.

The vote was 69-28, with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois voting in favor. Republican candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona was not present for the vote.


The bill, formally known as the FISA Amendments Act, updates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It will:

  • Require the secret court set up to oversee FISA to review the surveillance of any targeted American whether the person is in the United States or abroad;
  • Provide for the FISA court to sign off on procedures for removing the name of any American inadvertently captured in a communication with a foreign target;
  • Prohibit reverse targeting, which is when intelligence officials eavesdrop on a foreigner’s communications overseas as a means to spy on someone in the United States.
  • Close a loophole by explicitly establishing the 1978 law as the exclusive means for authorizing electronic surveillance;
  • Set up a procedure for federal judges to determine whether a telecommunications company can be sued for providing the intelligence community access to its networks without a court order.
  • So, my question is, who determines who a suspected terrorist is?

    Story here

    Photo credit Wil Wheaton

    Jones Soda Campaign Cola War 2008

    26 06 2008

    Well, it’s the same drink but with different packaging from Jones Soda.

    Whitney has the scoop.

    For this election season, Jones has launched a series of “Campaign Colas.” They come in three varieties: Yes We Can Cola, Pure McCain Cola and Capitol Hillary Cola. I’ve tried all three, and they taste exactly the same! The only difference is the labeling.

    Apparently this site is keeping tracks of the sale.

    For more information, head to Campaign Cola 2008.

    Barack Obama is currently kicking everyone’s butt over there.