Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring sightings

As I've mentioned before, I work on a beautiful university campus. One of my favorite things to do in nice weather like today is to walk around in the sunshine and clear my head. Life's too short to sit in front of this monitor all day long.

But I must report to you a disturbing fashion trend I am witnessing on campus. There is an alarming amount of madras. People! It wasn't a good look in the sixties, and it's not good now. Please, stop the madras!

Also, who is this "Hollister"? and why is everyone wearing his shirt?

Obama's delegates: California dreamin'

If you think this election season has been out of control, you ain't seen nothing yet! Are you ready for today's civics lesson? Good! Today we'll examine California's system of electing delegates to attend the Democratic Convention this summer. You probably thought California voters already did that, right? No, silly, it has to be much more complicated than that, because if you really understood how our election process worked, you'd be storming the Bastille! From The RawStory:
Party caucuses scheduled for Sunday will elect a slate of delegates for each candidate — 134 for Clinton and 107 for Obama, for a total of 241. More than 2,000 candidates are running statewide.
So in the California primary, voters gave Clinton 134 seats at the convention, and Obama 107. Who will be sitting in those seats will be decided in yet another vote this Sunday. And here's where the fun begins. Yesterday, it turned out that the Obama camp had purged almost a thousand names from the list of potential delegates. And most of those names were "progressives," the kind of people who work for causes and issues rather than for candidates. The kind of people who could potentially be swayed on the convention floor.

Earlier this week, Obama's and Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign took advantage of party rules to purge scores of potential delegates in a bid to ensure that only their loyalists travel to the August convention in Denver where the party will anoint a presidential nominee.

Most of the cuts, about 900 names, were dropped by Obama, leading supporters to complain that they had been unfairly excluded. Clinton's campaign dropped about 50 names from its list of prospective delegates.

There was much unhappiness in the land of Obama! Supporters blogged with stories like Obama Slashes and Burns Through the Delegate List, and even the Obama lovin' Huffington Post ran this story: Obama's "Big Tent" Campaign Cuts Out the Little People in California.

That's pretty bad when Huffington Post gets on the bandwagon. But Obama's team has seemingly realized how dangerous it just might be to piss off the hardworking campaign staffers in the field, and so we have this:
Obama reinstates Callif. delegates

Facing a backlash from supporters, Barack Obama's presidential campaign reversed course Thursday and reinstated hundreds of people to lists that will be used to choose California's delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Campaign manager David Plouffe said in a letter to potential delegates that all names would be restored to ballots that will be used Sunday to elect the delegates, overturning the earlier decision. The letter did not refer to the complaints.

Driven by fears that some prospective delegates might be concealing their true allegiances, the campaigns searched campaign finance data, scoured the Internet and made telephone calls to weed out people they believed to be dubious candidates.

Excuse me, but my Cynic-o-meter just short-circuited. The candidate of change looks like he's bringing old-style Chicago politics to the national stage ....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hillary Clinton on gay rights: She gets it

I don't want to get too Clinton-heavy today, but I came across this video of her on "Ellen" earlier this week and wanted to share it with you. She speaks about the importance of equality and fairness for gays and lesbians, and it just seems so heartfelt to me — like she really "gets it." On this issue, Obama still seems very uncomfortable and speaks in platitudes about "our gay brothers and sisters." Despite his reputation as a uniter, that still frames the issue as "us" (straight) and "them" (gay). Safe. Very safe.

Dept. of "Cause bitches get stuff done!"

Don't count her out yet. There's more than a few people left in this country who haven't yet voted in their state Democratic primary. Despite the media's strong-arm tactics to shut out the American voter, let's wait and see what they say, shall we?

Meanwhile, if you still have any doubts about the hateful, sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton being demonstrated by the mainstream media, watch the video below. By the end, you'll be smiling!

h/t/ to Suburban Lesbian Housewife

You're the enemy, so we can do whatever we want to you

The reasons why we must elect a Democrat to the White House next fall are almost too many to list here. But here's one of the biggest, and also a big reason why I think the Democrat best suited to take this on is Hillary Clinton. From ABC News:
Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation'

In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.

The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

And who are these "Principals," you ask?
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by most of the principals or their deputies.

Critics at home and abroad have harshly criticized the interrogation program, which pushed the limits of international law and, they say, condoned torture. Bush and his top aides have consistently defended the program. They say it is legal and did not constitute torture.
We cannot allow this era of torture to stand in the history books without a strong and definitive action by the Democratic party. And the only way that will happen is if we have a strong Democratic president who will stand up to the thugs who have run our country into the ground for the past 8 years. I just don't have confidence that a President Obama would be able or interested in taking on this task. I do think Hillary Clinton would be forceful enough and would also understand the importance on a global scale of making a public investigation and rebuking of these tactics that were undertaken in our name as Americans.

America. We torture our enemies. Are you o.k. with that? I mean, even Tom Ridge, former secretary of the Homeland Security Department knows its wrong:
"One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture. And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is — and will always be — torture. That's a simple statement."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday Poetry Break

Sorry for the late post; I know a few of you look forward to the Wednesday Poetry Break, and I apologize for the wait -- but I think you'll find it's worth it! The poem below was written by a friend, Sarah Knudsen. (Sarah, if I misspelled your last name, I apologize!) It's powerful and speaks to much of what we've been commenting on here. Thanks, Sarah!

UPDATE: Okay, I apologize, Sarah! It's Knutson. I was close, right?


Better divisive
than indecisive

Obama, yo mama
ain’t no slave
in the home of the brave
land of the free
is for you, too
your vote counts
on your fingers
pointing the way
to universal suffrage
is the answer
to all our problems
can be solved for x
in terms of y
is the only good
a dead one
man one vote
promises a result
that is just and true
blue red and white
Americans of all colors
do not admit defeat
is not an option
to buy crude
estimates of the cost
of oil is going up
for everyone
of the barons
all is wells

Better divisive
than indecisiv
Jesus saves
the world across
my heart, hope to die
in Iraq
for America
all is wells

All is wells
in my fathers house
there are many cells
are the basic building blocks
of life
is not a toy
in the hands
of terrorists
take no prisoners
are not free
to call
home of the brave

Better divisive
than indecisive

Obama, yo mama
is free
to vote republican
in the primary school
all the kids
is second to none
will be left
behind the screen
there is a man
exclaims Dorothy
witch way
is it to Kansas
the which is dead
all is wells

the which is dead
all is wells
are for drinking
water is a precious resource
we should not waste
time is of the
essential oils
make your face shine
your light on me, Lord
thy burning Bush
before all nations
lights the way
to hell is good
intentions do not profit
is the point
of a free market
yourself wisely
manage your account
the cost or pay
the price of gas
is astronomical
loans must be excused
pardon me
Lord I just blew
all the debt
that Jesus saves
the best for last
place at the table
that bill
without a vote
we cannot reach
a resolution

Better divisive
than indecisive
all is not wells

— Sara Knutson

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Media jumps on Clinton story without checking the facts

I know, I know. I said I wasn't going to let myself get pulled into the mud in the battle between these two. But this is typical of the differing treatment they get in the media, and I can't just sit and watch. First Clinton is dragged through the press for her exagerations about her trip to Bosnia. At least she admitted she was wrong and laughed at herself. By now you've probably read and heard that the sad story Hillary Clinton has been telling about a pregnant woman who died after being denied treatment because she couldn't pay the hospital was false. False! I tell you! (That's what all the papers said, so it must be true!)

Uh, not so much. Now from The Washington Post:
For weeks, Clinton repeated an anecdote she heard in Ohio on Feb. 28 involving a young woman who lost her baby and later died because she lacked health insurance and did not have $100 to gain access to a nearby hospital.

But over the weekend, Clinton came under fire when officials at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, after reading about her remarks, demanded that she stop recounting it because the patient, Trina Bechtel, was admitted there and did have insurance.

That part, it turns out, is true. But so is Clinton's claim that Bechtel did not get care at another hospital that wanted a $100 pre-payment before seeing her, according to the young woman's aunt, Lisa Casto. "It's a true story," said Casto, 53.

Casto said her niece, who suffered from preeclampsia during her pregnancy, did not seek care at the first hospital she when she fell ill because she knew she did not have the $100 out-of-pocket she believed she would need to be seen. Instead, she went to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, where her baby was stillborn. Bechtel was later flown to Columbus and died there. She was 35.
There was a time once when reporters checked the facts of their stories before they went to press. This is admittedly a somewhat complex story of our dysfunctional health care system, but one which could have been checked a little closer before publishing. Instead it was picked up by Hillary hatin' sites such as Huffington Post under the headline: Clinton Under Fire Over False Story Of Health Care Horror ... .

Which amazes me, given the number of times Obama has told much simpler tales full of errors, such as saying that his very existence was due to the marchers in Selma who changed society so that his parents could marry and have children. From his speech:
There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama.
Except that he was born 4 years before the Selma march.

Or how about when he recently tried to establish family ties between the Obamas and the Kennedys by saying his father came to America on a flight payed for by John F. Kennedy. Obama went so far as to say he owed his "'very existence' to the generosity of the Kennedy family."

It's touching. It's profound. It's downright audacious! But it's wrong.
Contrary to Obama's claims in speeches in January at American University and in Selma last year, the Kennedy family did not provide the funding for a September 1959 airlift of 81 Kenyan students to the United States that included Obama's father. According to historical records and interviews with participants, the Kennedys were first approached for support for the program nearly a year later, in July 1960. The family responded with a $100,000 donation, most of which went to pay for a second airlift in September 1960.
No matter ow many times he tells these tall tales, America lets it go. Sure, these details don't change the world. But are they an indication of the man who speaks with a golden tongue? Cane we believe what he says when his stories are so often riddled with errors? I hope his supporters are right, because it certainly does look like he will get the Democratic nomination. But I have to tell you, I have that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when I watched the returns in 2000 and 2004. I hope you people know what you're doing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Art Against Empire

One of the best things about writing this blog has been the amazing people I have met online. Sometimes I reach out to bloggers and sometimes folks come to me. Bill Fisher is one person who serendipitously arrived at Nailing Jello to the Wall and I'm excited to tell you about what he has done.

What Bill does is beyond performance art. It's "in your face" art. It's art to make America wake up! As Bill said in an email to me:
Misrepresented and/or ignored by most media outlets, art that promotes political discussion or simple awareness is undervalued and so often side-lined.
I can't begin to do Bill Fisher's artwork justice here, so I encourage you to head over to his site, Art Against Empire. I will let this image speak for itself. Click on the image to enlarge it:

Yay! The Baltimore Orioles are #1

Okay, so it's only 6 games into the season — I have to take my pleasures where I can with this team. We're in first place and on a 5-game winning streak! Click on the image to enlarge it. Please. (Sorry Red Sox fans, but I have no doubt this is a temporary situation ....)