Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
But that was in the heat of a passionate and drawn-out battle.
Hillary very much impressed me during the Democratic National Convention. I was there in Denver and walked with the Hillary supporters who marched the streets of Denver.
I was touched by the level of commitment and emotion that these women had for Hillary Clinton.
There is something in Hillary's life story that appeals to a lot of everyday women. She wasn't the cool girl, she wasn't the pretty girl, she struggled with a husband's serial infidelity... but still she survives, and doesn't give up.
Women respect that grit and relate to it because of her personal challenges.
While Condeleezza Rice is a trailblazer in her own right as Secretary of State, we don't really know her personal narrative. All her baggage isn't out there for people to see.
Because of Hillary's grit and grace, and because she's a badass in her own right, I believe she can be a superb advocate for women internationally, particularly in places like the Middle East, where many women are terrorized when they want to do things like get an education.
I'm thinking specifically about the story from Afghanistan, where members of the Taliban sprayed acid in the faces of 15 female students and teachers walking on their way to school.
Here's a picture of one of the girls. One was blinded by the attack:
The Taliban were paid $100K Pakistani rupees by Taliban insurgents in Pakistan to attack the girls. The men rode up to them on motorbikes and sprayed the acid from water pistols.
From Vancouver Sun:
The motive appeared to be to try to warn girls off going to school, something from which they were banned by the conservative Islamic Taliban regime that was toppled in a U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.
There were around 230 attacks on schools in Afghanistan from January to June this year, according to the United Nations.
About half of those attacks were on girls' schools even though they make up only 15 percent of schools in the country, said a report to the UN Security Council this month.
Read more here
I think that Hillary carries the authority in her presence where she can tackle such issues like women's rights and really make an impact.
Hillary Clinton can speak out for women who are too afraid to speak out for themselves.
This guy does a mean Obama impression. (As in "really good.")
Monday, November 24, 2008
This book talks about the need for (dare I say the word?) liberals to lay claim to patriotism and not let it be defined solely by the social conservatives.
It’s been hijacked by the right and abandoned by the left, but the principles of true patriotism — country above self, responsible stewardship, equality, shared sacrifice and service — are inherently progressive. The True Patriot challenges progressives to retake patriotism. Written in the pamphleteering style of Thomas Paine, it presents a manifesto, ten-principal plan, and moral code that reframe the concept of patriotism and return politics to what it once was: a civic virtue and responsibility that fueled the country’s founders.
I'm very much down with being a patriotic American. Especially now that I have a president that reflects what my values and my post-racial life.
But does that mean that I have to listen to that hokey patriotic country music?
You know the kind I'm talking about.
Can't we have start creating some patriotic hip-hop? How about some other musical alternatives? Why does it always have to be country music waving the flag? Can't we redefine love of country with something that's not so over-the-top and schmaltzy?
(Well, I am a big fan of Johnny Cash, and he was patriotic... but he was GOOD and he was a REAL badass!)
The "patriotism" issue is a by-product of the generational divide that separated a lot of Obama vs. McCain voters.
There are those of us who are too young to have lived through the culture wars of the 1960s. And the whole "liberal/conservative" rift is quite frustrating to younger voter. Many of its roots lie in the Vietnam War era and the conflicts between the hippies and those who were more conservative.
Right now, the libtard, wingnut and moonbat labels are so very childish. We have a lot of work to do, and most Americans just want to see results. We don't really care where they come from.
The Oblogger took it, and while I won't divulge my score, you can sleep soundly knowing it was well above the national average.
Sadly, that's not saying much.
Some statistics regarding the quiz:
Seventy-one percent of Americans fail the test, with an overall average score of 49%.
* Liberals score 49%; conservatives score 48%. Republicans score 52%; Democrats score 45%.
* Fewer than half of all Americans can name all three branches of government, a minimal requirement for understanding America’s constitutional system.
...Earning a college degree does little to increase knowledge of America’s history, key texts, and institutions. The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor’s degree is 57%, or an “F.” That is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score among those who ended their formal education with a high school diploma.
We always joke that TV makes you stupid. Here's the proof:
TV News—Dumbs America Down
ISI examined whether other factors add to or subtract from civic literacy and how they compare with the impact of college. The survey revealed that in today’s technological age, all else remaining equal, a person’s test score drops in proportion to the time he or she spends using certain types of passive electronic media. Talking on the phone, watching owned or rented movies, and monitoring TV news broadcasts and documentaries diminish a respondent’s civic literacy.
According to their findings, what's the best way to increase your civic literacy? Have political conversations and discussions with others. Maybe that's the problem. Americans have a long-held aversion to discussing politics out in the open.
At Thanksgiving dinner tables around the country, two things will NOT be on the table: politics and religion.
(Have to digest that turkey.)
And here's the scariest statistic:
"Elected Officials Score Lower than the General Public
Officeholders typically have less civic knowledge than the general public. On average, they score 44%, five percentage points lower than non-officeholders.
After seven years of operation, Guantanamo will soon be offering detainees classes like English, art, and geology. Evidently, the mental stimulation keeps them from being bored and causing trouble. Ya think?
I applaud any effort to treat a human being like a human being, but this is a case of too little too late.
Obama has pledged to shut down Guantanamo. Though of course, the devil's in the details.
From Chicago Tribune:
People close to Obama's transition team say officials have not decided how to deal with the aftermath of Guantanamo. Obama has said repeatedly he plans to close the prison.
But some experts on detention policy, including close Obama allies, are convinced that problems posed by many of the detainees are insoluble: They may be too dangerous to release, but will never be able to stand trial in U.S. courts because of tainted evidence or alleged mistreatment.
For those prisoners, closing Guantanamo could require pasasage of a law allowing long-term detention.
"There are 20 to 30 people in Guantanamo that present serious, serious problems," said Donald Guter, a retired rear admiral who served as the Navy's top uniformed lawyer and was an adviser to the Obama campaign. "If you can't take them to a court and get legitimate convictions what do you do with them? Do you hold them, or do you release them?"
Regardless of whether we release or keep these 20-30 detainees, we must insist on humanitarian treatment of them while they are in custody. Anything less than would be un-American.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
However, my opinion is that Obama has got to fast-track a real and viable healthcare plan. One that will actually get done.
It makes sense that this should be priority number one for a variety of reasons. Regarding the war in Iraq, most rational people from both parties know that we have got to have some sort of timeline for withdrawal, so I think this is pretty much of a done deal. The only questions are the specifics as to how the withdrawal will take place.
Obama has an economic stimulus plan that encourages the building of a new Green Economy, which I support wholeheartedly. The only problem with that as a first priority is that it will take time to implement, to build the necessary infrastructure and economic policy to make this feasible.
That leaves healthcare. I think it's outrageous that we live in the most powerful country on the planet and there are Americans who do not have access to quality and affordable healthcare. To me, it's akin to childhood hunger or child labor laws. We are a civilized society. We should be able to have enough of a safety net to help Americans with their basic survival needs.
Also, I believe that an Obama healthcare plan is exactly what Obama needs to cement the trust of those blue-collar white voters that Obama needs to get re-elected. Healthcare legislation is something real that touches the lives of everyday working-class Americans.
If Obama could pass healthcare, he would be guaranteed re-election in 2012. The GOP knows that it is crucial that they block efforts toward passing healthcare, because it would be the final death blow to an already severely weakened party.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
From Washington Post:
The intense back-stabbing amongst Democrats for top jobs in the Obama administration assumes there are a fixed number of jobs worth having. But it's looking likely that some extremely choice, even consequential, jobs are going to be created by the new administration.
For example, plans are underway to establish a White House Office of Urban Policy in order to better coordinate federal efforts to help America's cities, according to Obama transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett.
Read more here
WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat to become secretary of state in the Obama administration, making her the public face to the world for the man who dashed her own hopes for the presidency, confidants of Mrs. Clinton said Friday.
The accord between the two leading figures of the Democratic Party was the culmination of a weeklong drama that riveted the nation’s capital. President-elect Barack Obama and Mrs. Clinton fought perhaps the most polarizing nomination battle in decades, but in recruiting her for his cabinet, Mr. Obama chose to turn a rival into a partner, and she concluded she could have a greater impact by saying yes than by remaining in the Senate.
Read more here
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Bill Clinton has agreed to a series of concessions requested by officials representing Barack Obama's presidential transition team, moving his wife one step closer to potentially becoming the next secretary of state.
Aides to both Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said that a formal job offer had not been made, buthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif the former president's decision to disclose the identities of donors to his charitable foundation and to vet his future speeches and overseas activities with members of the Obama administration appears to have removed some of the biggest hurdles to her nomination.
Read more here
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
From The Economist:
JOHN STUART MILL once dismissed the British Conservative Party as the stupid party. Today the Conservative Party is run by Oxford-educated high-fliers who have been busy reinventing conservatism for a new era. As Lexington sees it, the title of the “stupid party” now belongs to the Tories’ transatlantic cousins, the Republicans.
There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party’s defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.
The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution.
The Republican Party’s divorce from the intelligentsia has been a while in the making. The born-again Mr Bush preferred listening to his “heart” rather than his “head”. He also filled the government with incompetent toadies like Michael “heck-of-a-job” Brown, who bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr McCain, once the chattering classes’ favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains. And in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, he appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and who was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics.
Read more here
Check it out. I try to weed out a lot of the junk (and believe me, there's a lot of junk out there). Maybe you'll find the right item for the upcoming holiday season.
Click here to watch the video.
From Huffington Post:
CAIRO, Egypt — Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, using a demeaning racial term implying that the president-elect is a black American who does the bidding of whites.
The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.
In al-Qaida's first response to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect _ along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice _ "house negroes."
Read more here
Barack Obama yesterday renewed his promise to make a decisive break with George Bush on the environment, using a summit convened by Arnold Schwarzenegger to promise a "new chapter in America's leadership on climate change".
The video appearance by Obama confirmed the Californian governor's role as a global leader on climate change, a position shored up only hours earlier when Schwarzenegger set a bold new target for his state to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
In his address, the president-elect accused Bush of failing to show leadership on the issue of climate change. "That will change when I take office," said Obama.
Read more here
Here is the video and information about the summit from Obama's transition-team website, Change.gov.
More than 600 climate change leaders from across the country and around the world convened in Los Angeles today for the opening sessions of the Global Climate Summit, a 2-day event arranged by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to break gridlock on the issue ahead of next month's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland.
In a short video addressed to the Summit's attendees, President-elect Obama emphasized his enthusiasm for the Poznan Conference and promised that his administration would mark a "new chapter in American leadership on climate change."
"Few challenges facing America -- and the world -- are more urgent than combating climate change," he said. "Many of you are working to confront this challenge....but too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office."
President-elect Obama is committed to engaging vigorously with the international community to find solutions and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change.
"Let me also say a special word to the delegates from around the world who will gather in Poland next month: your work is vital to the planet," he said. "While I won’t be President at the time of your meeting and while the United States has only one President at a time, I’ve asked Members of Congress who are attending the conference as observers to report back to me on what they learn there."
Re-live your convention experience with Democratic National Convention 2008: Obama's Mile High Moment, a new book published by The Denver Post and Fulcrum publishing:
Democratic National Convention 2008: Obama's Mile High Moment is a celebration of the recent Democratic National Convention held in Denver. The book, done in cooperation with The Denver Post, features more than 100 color images captured during the convention by the Post’s award-winning photographers. The book will be available October 23, 2008, in time for Election Day and the holiday season.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
November 15, 2008
Today, the leaders of the G-20 countries -- a group that includes the world's largest economies -- are gathering in Washington to seek solutions to the ongoing turmoil in our financial markets. I'm glad President Bush has initiated this process -- because our global economic crisis requires a coordinated global response.
And yet, as we act in concert with other nations, we must also act immediately here at home to address America's own economic crisis. This week, amid continued volatility in our markets, we learned that unemployment insurance claims rose to their highest levels since September 11, 2001. We've lost jobs for ten straight months -- nearly 1.2 million jobs this year, many of them in our struggling auto industry. And millions of our fellow citizens lie awake each night wondering how they're going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and save for retirement.
Make no mistake: this is the greatest economic challenge of our time. And while the road ahead will be long, and the work will be hard, I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis -- because here in America we always rise to the moment, no matter how hard. And I am more hopeful than ever before that America will rise once again.
But we must act right now. Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again. In particular, we cannot afford to delay providing help for the more than one million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by the end of this year. If Congress does not pass an immediate plan that gives the economy the boost it needs, I will make it my first order of business as President.
Even as we dig ourselves out of this recession, we must also recognize that out of this economic crisis comes an opportunity to create new jobs, strengthen our middle class, and keep our economy competitive in the 21st century.
That starts with the kinds of long-term investments that we've neglected for too long. That means putting two million Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools. It means investing $150 billion to build an American green energy economy that will create five million new jobs, while freeing our nation from the tyranny of foreign oil, and saving our planet for our children. It means making health care affordable for anyone who has it, accessible for anyone who wants it, and reducing costs for small businesses. And it also means giving every child the world-class education they need to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.
Doing all this will require not just new policies, but a new spirit of service and sacrifice, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. If this financial crisis has taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers -- in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people. And that is how we will meet the challenges of our time -- together.
Swarovski Crystal ObamaFace Limited Edition Women's Tee
Saturday, November 15, 2008
From New York Times:
What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the syntax-serial-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”
My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.
And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”
Read more here
Friday, November 14, 2008
How bad off is the Republican Party right now? Ask Newt Gingrich.
“The Republican Party right now is like a midsize college team trying to play in the Superbowl,” Gingrich told me Wednesday. “It is pretty hard to say our losses were because of John McCain’s campaign. McCain performed way above plausibility compared to where the Republican president was in the polls. We have to look honestly at what went wrong.”
Read more here
Way back in February, right after Super Tuesday, Gingrich foretold election disaster for the GOP strictly based on the numbers of Democrats who showed up to the polls and who were at Obama rallies.
Here is advisor Valerie Jarrett explaining where the transition efforts stand.
Now, obviously I am a fan of President-Elect Obama's, but that does not mean that I don't believe in holding him accountable.
One of the promises he campaigned on was to close Guantanamo prison. I expect him to keep his word.
If you are like-minded, please support Amnesty International's campaign urging Obama to close Guantanmo in his first 100 days.
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: 100 DAYS TO DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS
November 5, 2008
Amnesty International urges U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to make human rights central to his new administration. The organization is calling for certain concrete steps in his first 100 days in office that would demonstrate a genuine commitment to bringing the United States into line with its international obligations.
The new president will have the authority to rectify some of the unlawful policies and practices adopted during his predecessor's term in office in the name of counter-terrorism and national security.
COUNTER TERROR WITH JUSTICE: A HUMAN RIGHTS CHALLENGE
In the first 100 days, Amnesty International is calling on the new administration to:
* announce a plan and date to close Guantanamo;
* issue an executive order to ban torture and other ill-treatment, as defined under international law;
* ensure that an independent commission to investigate abuses committed by the U.S. government in its "war on terror" is set up.
These demands are part of a "checklist" of actions Amnesty International is asking the new U.S. President to take during the first 100 days in office.
PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS AT HOME AND ABROAD
Amnesty International has numerous human rights concerns in relation to the United States. The organization is seeking a meeting with President-elect Obama to discuss how the United States will take forward policies that will advance internationally recognized human rights both at home and abroad.
Call on President-elect Barack Obama to demonstrate a commitment to human rights in his first 100 days in office.
Use our template to write a letter to the editor of your local media or comment on online news articles.
Take other important actions to end human rights abuses by the U.S. government in its "war on terror."
Counter Terror With Justice: A human rights challenge for the next U.S. president (Checklist, November 5, 2008)
Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott wrote this beautiful poem for Barack Obama. (Maybe he should have called it "44 Acres.")
by Derek Walcott
Out of the turmoil emerges one emblem, an engraving —
a young Negro at dawn in straw hat and overalls,
an emblem of impossible prophecy, a crowd
dividing like the furrow which a mule has ploughed,
parting for their president: a field of snow-flecked
forty acres wide, of crows with predictable omens
that the young ploughman ignores for his unforgotten
cotton-haired ancestors, while lined on one branch, is
court of bespectacled owls and, on the field's
receding rim —
a gesticulating scarecrow stamping with rage at him.
The small plough continues on this lined page
beyond the moaning ground, the lynching tree, the tornado's
and the young ploughman feels the change in his veins,
heart, muscles, tendons,
till the land lies open like a flag as dawn's sure
light streaks the field and furrows wait for the sower.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
* Federal Lobbyists cannot contribute financially to the transition.
* Federal lobbyists are prohibited from any lobbying during their work with the transition.
* If someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they are prohibited from working in the fields of policy on which they lobbied.
* If someone becomes a lobbyist after working on the Transition, they are prohibited from lobbying the Administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked.
* A gift ban that is aggressive in reducing the influence of special interests.
When the Champagne and caviar crowd is in trouble, there is no conceivable limit to the amount of taxpayer money that can be found, and found quickly.
But when it comes to ordinary citizens in dire situations — those being thrown out of work or forced from their homes by foreclosure or driven into bankruptcy because of illness and a lack of adequate health insurance — well, then we have to start pinching pennies. That’s when it’s time to become fiscally conservative. President Bush even vetoed a bill that would have expanded health insurance coverage for children.
We can find trillions for a foolish war and for pompous, self-righteous high-rollers who wrecked their companies and the economy. But what about the working poor and the young people who are being clobbered in this downturn, battered so badly that they’re all but destitute? Can we find any way to help them?
Read more here
Monday, November 10, 2008
Barack Obama delivered this week's Democratic Radio Address Saturday morning, his first as President-elect.
In the address, President-elect Obama spoke about the need to put partisanship aside to solve the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime.
"Tens of millions of families are struggling to figure out how to pay the bills and stay in their homes," Obama said. "Their stories are an urgent reminder that we are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we must act swiftly to resolve them."
You can listen to the full address here.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
From New York Times:
In February 2007, a friend called Marc Andreessen, a founder of Netscape and a board member of Facebook, and asked if he wanted to meet with a man with an idea that sounded preposterous on its face.
Always game for something new, Mr. Andreessen headed to the San Francisco airport late one night to hear the guy out. A junior member of a large and powerful organization with a thin, but impressive, résumé, he was about to take on far more powerful forces in a battle for leadership.
He wondered if social networking, with its tremendous communication capabilities and aggressive database development, might help him beat the overwhelming odds facing him.
“It was like a guy in a garage who was thinking of taking on the biggest names in the business,” Mr. Andreessen recalled. “What he was doing shouldn’t have been possible, but we see a lot of that out here and then something clicks. He was clearly supersmart and very entrepreneurial, a person who saw the world and the status quo as malleable.”
And as it turned out, President-elect Barack Obama was right.
Read more here
Saturday, November 8, 2008
From Washington Post:
For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.
He trekked home every night, his wife, Helene, keeping him out of her kitchen.
At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the large desk in the Oval Office. Helene didn't care; she just beamed with pride.
President Truman called him Gene.
President Ford liked to talk golf with him.
He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week. "I never missed a day of work," Allen says.
His is a story from the back pages of history. A figure in the tiniest of print. The man in the kitchen.
He was there while America's racial history was being remade: Brown v. Board of Education, the Little Rock school crisis, the 1963 March on Washington, the cities burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations.
When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn't even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. "We had never had anything," Allen, 89, recalls of black America at the time. "I was always hoping things would get better."
In its long history, the White House -- just note the name -- has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans.
Read more here
Having lived in New York City, I'd say that London is very much like Manhattan but without the dreadful (Manha'an...um frum Brooklyn..lawn guy land) accents.
I have gotten into some conversations with people and there seems to be a positive reception toward the Obama presidency.
An interesting take on Barack Obama from black British Labour Party pol Trevor Phillips, who is head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, that ran in yesterday's Times.
Phillips is of the opinion that institutional racism would never allow a black candidate to become Prime Minister.
Britain, he believes, is less racially divided than America. “Here it’s more about class. It is about culture, a different way of life and speaking. The Muslim community occupies the space that black Americans have in the United States. If you asked British voters whether you could have a Muslim prime minister their mouths would drop open, but not with a black one.”Read more here
The public in this country would, he believes, embrace a black leader but the system would prevent it happening. “Here, the problem is not the electorate, the problem is the machine.” It was no coincidence that there were only 15 ethnic-minority MPs, he said. “The parties and the unions and the think-tanks are all very happy to sign up to the general idea of advancing the cause of minorities but in practice they would like somebody else to do the business. It’s institutional racism.”
The Conservatives had done better than Labour at increasing the number of black and Asian candidates. “They are less democratic. They are happier to impose candidates on the local parties.” Labour was too in hock to “the trade unions, the socialist societies, the left intelligentsia, and until you get them to accept that they have got a responsibility to do something it is almost impossible for the party leadership to make progress”.
I t would, he thinks, have been impossible for Mr Obama to become prime minister in this country. “If Barack Obama had lived here I would be very surprised if even somebody as brilliant as him would have been able to break through the institutional stranglehold on power within the Labour Party."
A lot of this is a learning curve. I don't think I'm alone in this regard. The beauty of the Obama campaign is that it made a lot of citizens like myself wake up and take notice.
So much has been written about Obama's choice of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, but I would bet that there are many people who don't have a clear picture as to what a Chief of Staff does. (I suppose you could say in that regard Sarah Palin IS just like us. Problem is, I don't want someone who is a dumbass like myself in charge!)
Did the Wikipedia search on what the Chief of Staff does, and it seems to me that while there was a lot of brouhaha over who would be the Vice Presidential pick, that the Chief of Staff is the real behind-the-scenes power broker. Emanuel will serve as Obama's "Bad Cop" and gatekeeper, leaving Obama to still be the nice, thoughtful guy we all know and love.
Makes a lot of sense to me.
From Wall Street Journal:
In Rahm Emanuel's telling, the Democratic victories on Tuesday were a continuum of what began in the 2006 midterm elections, when his party won majorities in the House and the Senate for the first time in 12 years. "After 2006, I said it was George Bush and the desire for change," the congressman from Chicago's North Side tells me. "And the same cocktail contributed to this turnout. You had Barack Obama's message of change and Bush and the Republicans' record of incompetence."
Mr. Emanuel would know. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he helped engineer that GOP thumpin' two years ago. And as Mr. Obama's incoming White House chief of staff -- a position he accepted on Thursday -- he's certain to have an outsized say in how the Dems use their political monopoly come January.
Read more here
Also, here is WSJ editorial board member Jason Riley with his take on Emanuel. Looks like conservatives are breathing a sigh of relief with Obama's choice, because Rhambo will keep the administration leaning toward the center rather than the left:
From CNN Money:
Barack Obama's first job out of college, in 1983, was at the corporate consulting firm Business International Corp. in Manhattan. He started as a researcher but quickly rose to the position of financial writer. He had a Reuters computer screen on his desk, with emerald messages blinking from around the globe. He had his own office and a secretary and wore a suit and tie and carried a briefcase. He wrote about interest rate swaps and met with Japanese financiers and German bond traders.
When he caught his image in the shiny elevator doors, he sometimes imagined himself as a "captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal," he writes in his memoir.
Those moments soon passed, overwhelmed by pangs of guilt that he wasn't following the call to be a community organizer, helping poor neighborhoods ravaged by corporate and government neglect. Inside these business trappings, the 22-year-old Columbia University graduate felt like a "spy behind enemy lines."
Read more here
This poem by African-American writer Langston Hughes has great resonance during this political season.
Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick a nd stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
From Time magazine:
Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope. Barack Obama never talks about how people see him: I'm not the one making history, he said every chance he got. You are. Yet as he looked out Tuesday night through the bulletproof glass, in a park named for a Civil War general, he had to see the truth on people's faces. We are the ones we've been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began.
...When it was over, more than 120 million pulled a lever or mailed a ballot, and the system could barely accommodate the demands of Extreme Democracy. Obama won more votes than anyone else in U.S. history, the biggest Democratic victory since Lyndon Johnson crushed another Arizona Senator 44 years ago. Obama won men, which no Democrat had managed since Bill Clinton. He won 54% of Catholics, 66% of Latinos, 68% of new voters — a multicultural, multigenerational movement that shatters the old political ice pack. He let loose a deep blue wave that washed well past the coasts and the college towns, into the South through Virginia and Florida, the Mountain West with Colorado and New Mexico, into the Ohio Valley and the Midwestern battlegrounds: you could almost walk from Maine to Minnesota without getting your feet wet in a red state. After months of mapmaking all the roads to 270, Obama tore right past with ease.
Read more here
Check out the latest Obama supporter tools on the campaign site. There are buddy icons, graphics for posters and signs, as well as Obama wallpaper for your computer.
Go to http://origin.barackobama.com/downloads/
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Many have been asking what's next for MYBO? One supporter received this email from the campaign:
Thank you for contacting Senator Obama and Obama for America. Barack greatly appreciates the outpouring of messages he is receiving from across the country and from Americans around the world. He is deeply honored by the confidence the American people have placed in him and in Senator Biden.
Senators Obama and Biden are hopeful about the opportunities and clear-eyed about the challenges our nation faces. They look forward to working with all Americans, regardless of who they voted for, in the great project of American renewal. Enlisting the energy and ingenuity of the American people is the only way we will create the changes that so many people want to see, so we hope you'll be involved.
You have just contacted Obama for America, the Obama/Biden campaign organization. A new organization is being formed to facilitate communication with the Obama/Biden Administration that will take office on January 20, 2009. If you have questions, suggestions, or comments about the federal government, policy, or the coming Obama/Biden Administration, please stay tuned for more information and a new website coming soon that will tell you how to get involved.
If you're contacting us because you've been energized by your participation in our grassroots movement, we hope you will remain active in your community and involved in national policy debates. Please continue to visit www.BarackObama.com regularly. We've built one of the most comprehensive nationwide organizing networks in history, and our victory on November 4th is only the beginning of the work we will do together.
Thank you again for contacting us.
Obama for America
We did it. We did the seemingly impossible, elected a biracial man named Barack Hussein Obama as president of the United States... and victory is sweet.
I was always an Obama supporter because I felt this to be a battle for the soul of this country.
We were standing over the precipice of disaster and Obama offered the only way out.
Eight years of George Bush have brought this country to its knees. We needed solutions, we needed change. We needed to find common ground to get things done. We needed to heal our racial wounds. We needed someone with the intellect necessary to think outside the box, to bring new and innovative ideas to the table to confront the challenges of the 21st century.
We did not need to stay mired in the cultural and political battles of the 1960s.
We now have to work together to move this country forward.
We have got to use the organizing tools we have learned to help Obama have an effective administration so that he will be re-elected in four years. I believe that Obama has the potential to become one of the greatest and best-loved American presidents in history. I think the hope unleashed by the Obama campaign can reach across the globe and change lives.
For me, the highest domestic priorities are to bring health care to the Americans who do not have it, and to create a New Green economy and bring Green jobs to this country.
What do you think Obama's priorities should be? What issues do you think Obama should focus on in the first year of office?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Today is Election Day.
The opportunity to set our country on a new path has never felt more real than it does right now.
The polls are open in most places, and people are already making their voices heard for change.
There's just one thing left to do -- vote and make sure everyone you know votes, too.
You can find or verify your polling location by looking up your most recent registration address at VoteForChange.com.
This is the day when we have to commit to doing everything we can. We can't afford not to -- for our families, our communities, and our future.
Once you vote, you can do more than just wait as the returns come in.
You can help get every last vote for Barack by volunteering in your community or making calls from home. Help put us over the top today:
It's not too late to knock on doors, make calls, and make sure that every one of our supporters gets to the polls today.
Change is within our reach. We're counting on you to get us there today.
Thank you for everything you're doing,
P.S. -- If anyone you know hasn't yet made up their mind, please invite them to learn more about Barack's positions on important issues:
Monday, November 3, 2008
Now is the time to show up for your familia. Do not leave that line on November 4th.
It is possible that the line will be long and it will take you two, three, four, five, six, seven hours to vote.
Stay. In. The. Line.
It is possible that people will come to harass you for voting for change.
Stay. In. The. Line.
Do not give in to fear. Do not give up on your and your family's dream for a better day.
Stay. In. The. Line.
Remember to bring water, a few food bars and something to read.
If you have any any problems voting call:
The Obama campaign: 1 877 874 6226 1 877 US 4 OBAMA
or CNN 1 877 462-6608 1 877 GO CNN 08
Do not leave without voting. At the barest minimum get a provisional ballot and make sure that you vote.
But come Tuesday:
Stay. In. The. Line.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
LANCASTER, Pa. –There's a 99.98 percent chance that Democrat Barack Obama will win in the presidential election next Tuesday, according to J. Brian Adams, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Franklin & Marshall College.
Adams has developed a simulation model that involves running 50 million simulated state-by-state races, using the late-October poll results for each state. He ran his simulation 50 million times to allow him to calculate all the different combinations of electoral votes that might result, even long shots. While the number of possible outcomes is very large, the result is always the same. Senator Obama receives 270 or more electoral votes 99.98 percent of the time. Using intervals of electoral vote results, there is a 95 percent chance that the outcome will have Senator Obama winning between 303 and 381 electoral votes.
Adams ran the simulations after subtracting each poll's margin of error from the percentage of the candidate who was ahead, to determine how solid the lead was. He says that McCain can win only by taking back Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, and Pennsylvania while also keeping his current predicted wins.
Polls change, but the amount of change necessary for McCain to win is statistically unlikely.
Some refined intervals are:
332 to 375 electoral votes with a probability of 75%
344 to 365 electoral votes with a probability of 50%
359 to 367 electoral votes with a probability of 20%
Adams' final breakdown of the states is:
Strongly McCain: AL, AK, AR, ID, KS, KY, LA, MS, NE, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WY
Leaning McCain: AZ, GA, IN, MT, WV
Toss Up: MO
Leaning Obama: CO, FL, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA, WI
Strongly Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, IA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA
Yesterday morning we woke up to news that America's GDP has fallen for the first time this year, meaning we're producing less and selling less.
In short, our economy is shrinking.
Also yesterday, ExxonMobil announced the highest corporate profits in United States history.
John McCain's economic plan? Give $4 billion in new tax breaks to Big Oil companies like ExxonMobil -- and leave 101 million American households with no tax relief at all.
We don't have to take another four years of this. Sign up to help get out the vote for Barack.
Corporate profits won't heat Americans' homes this winter or put food on the table.
We need change.
Barack Obama has an economic plan to give tax breaks to 95 percent of working families and create jobs by investing in people.
See what you can do before Election Day to help bring the change we need:
Keep fighting the good fight,
Obama Action Wire
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