Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cat Napping

It's what Boo Kitty does best.

I'm taking a break from politics this fine Sunday Morning to share some interesting things I've found along the way this week. Firstly, for those interested in meditation, I found a pretty unique site which lists lots of different ways to Meditate. Pretty cool and very relaxing.

I also came across a weblog of an entire community of Feminist Blogs. Some very interesting posts, with lots of female bloggers that I've not heard of before and all of them in a easy to read format. Needless to say, I spent lots of time here.

The Barefoot Contessa treated me to a fantastic Eggplant Gratin recipe that is very simple to make and absolutely divine. It works well either as a main course meal with a side salad or is a great side dish. This is a definite keeper.

Finally, and most importantly - Spring! I think it has finally arrived in the Great Northeast, as the Geese are back. Boy, are they back! We first noticed a few them on our walks this week, resting along the banks of the Mohawk River. Sure enough, a few days later we heard them - literally hundreds of them, honking and flying overhead in several different directions. I was able to snap a couple of pictures that in no way captures how many of these Harbingers of Spring filled the sky. If you click on the photos below, they will enlarge so you can get a better look.

Dirty Rotten Obama Campaign I called the Obama campaign. Sure enough they had me in there as an Obama delegate. He wasn't nearly as misleading as Renee's phone call...obviously since we didn't have the sense to tape that call. is the video. He was acting like it was just all a big mistake...but once I stopped acting like a confused person and started laying into him...his excuse was, "I've heard you guys are doing the same thing...I'm not listening to you" So he knows what he's doing and it's deliberate and it's on tape. He probably wasn't as misleading with me since Renee had called before me and chewed them out and they show us at the same address. So I wonder if they put an asterik next to our they knew not to pull the same BS

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Educate Yourself

Vetting our two Democratic presidential candidates has definitely been a mixed bag. On one hand, Hillary Clinton’s life and political history has been in the news and reported online for many years. Barack Obama is another deal. He has essentially gotten a free ride in the national media, only being questioned seriously when the news was so shocking that the mainstream media had no choice but to report it.

So I went hunting, and was often surprised at what I found. It amounts to a pattern that I find dismaying. There are a lot of links here, documenting sources for my conclusions, and there is a lot to read.

Here is my list, in no particular order. See if you agree with me, and answer the questions for yourself… did he really not know, or is it just that he didn’t mind?


Monday, March 24, 2008


My beautiful sister, sketched by my wonderful brother-in-law.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Stolen Election 2008

With the determination not to allow a revote in Michigan and Florida and no word from DNC spokesman Howard Dean on a plan to seat the delegates, it's looking more and more like another stolen election for the Democratic nominee and, if the political status quo have their way, it will be Senator Clinton who gets shafted.

I wonder if the fact that Obama voluntarily took his name off of the Michigan primary slate will figure into the determination. Was this just a bad political decision or a sneaky calculated move? Was it Obama's intent to disenfranchise voters in order to promote a win for himself? It appears so.

In Florida, Obama ran political commercials on MSNBC and CNN in violation of the DNC rules forbidding candidates to campaign in that state. Oops! He blames this on buying a multi-state block of advertising and apparently no one noticed that Florida was included. Wow, chalk another one up for the Uniter.

And what about the press conference Senator Obama held after a Florida fundraiser? Oops, again! Not to mention that in that press conference he vowed "he'll do what's right by Florida voters". Really? When? Now Obama is apparently hiding behind his lawyers:

Obama has yet to declare his support or opposition, although his campaign has raised a number of procedural and legal questions about the most recent proposal for an early June primary in Michigan.

"The proposal offers a rerun for the state but not for all the voters,'' Bob Bauer, Obama's election lawyer, wrote in a memo during the day. He warned of the possibility of numerous legal challenges and embarrassment to the party.

As a Clinton supporter, I don't believe it is fair to split these delegates 50-50. That is completely unjust. Hillary won both of those states and to equally divide these votes is not fair to the voters. By the way, is the DNC enforcing all of its rules uniformly?

Finally, if the DNC and Dean cannot come to a solution that not only the candidates, but the voters of Michigan and Florida agree on, this election may as well be handed to McCain on a huge old silver platter, tied with a great big red, white and blue bow.


Cross posted at MyDD

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lady Day - The Vernal Equinox


Winter's barrenness has subsided,
From the death of Winter
Spring's new life.

Spring is coming to the land,
The days grow longer,
Warm breezes begin to stir.

All around us we see signs -
The growing things are beginning anew.

It's the resurrection of the dance of life.
The dance of the stems and stalks
As they push forth from the Earth.

It is the season of creation.
Growth has turned outward,
The land has become fertile again.

The Earth is caressed by
The loving touch of the Mother,
Where her hand passes.

Atoms twine together to create growth.
Buds burst open.
Leaves and vines unfurl.

She creates a vision of the green beauty.
Beauty so breath-taking after
The dark solitude of Winter.

It is this vision that we celebrate
On her day of Ostara
The world recreating itself--

Returning from the death of Winter,
Into the new life of Spring
Through the love of the Goddess.

Blessed be

Obama Blew It

What the candidate should have said about race.
By Michael Meyers
March 20, 2008

Tim Rutten's column, "Obama's Lincoln moment" and The Times editorial, "Obama on race" both miss the mark.

In my considered judgment as a race and civil rights specialist, I would say that Barack Obama's "momentous" speech on race settled on merely "explaining" so-called racial differences between blacks and whites -- and in so doing amplified deep-seated racial tensions and divisions. Instead of giving us a polarizing treatise on the "black experience," Obama should have reiterated the theme that has brought so many to his campaign: That race ain't what it used to be in America.

He should have presented us a pathway out of our racial boxes and a road map for new thinking about race. He should have depicted his minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as a symbol of the dysfunctional angry men who are stuck in the past and who must yield to a new generation of color-blind, hopeful Americans and to a new global economy in which we will look on our neighbors' skin color no differently than how we look on their eye color.

In fact, I'd say that considering the nation's undivided attention to this all-important speech, which gave him an unrivaled opportunity to lift us out of racial and racist thinking, Obama blew it.

I waited in vain for our hybrid presidential candidate to speak the simple truth that there is no such thing as "race," that we all belong to the same race -- the human race. I waited for him to mesmerize us with a singular and focused appeal to hold all candidates to the same standards no matter their race or their sex or their age. But instead Obama gave us a full measure of racial rhetoric about how some of us with an "untrained ear" -- meaning whites and Asians and Latinos -- don't understand and can't relate to the so-called black experience.

Well, I am black, and I can't relate to a "black experience" that shields and explains old-style black ministers who rant and rave about supposed racial differences and about how America ought to be damned. I long ago broke away from all associations and churches that preached the gospel of hate and ethnic divisiveness -- including canceling my membership in 100 Black Men of America Inc., when they refused my motion to admit women and whites. They still don't. I was not going to stay in any group that assigned status or privileges of membership based solely on race or gender.

We and our leaders -- especially our candidates for the highest office in the land -- must repudiate all forms of racial idiocy and sexism, and be judged by whether we still belong to exclusionary or hateful groups. I don't know any church that respects, much less reflects, my personal beliefs in the absolute equality of all people, so I choose not to belong to any of them. And I would never -- as have some presidential candidates -- accept the endorsement of preachers of the gospel according to the most racist and sexist of doctrines.

But someone's race or religion is not mine or anybody else's concern. I couldn't care less that Wright is a Christian or that Louis Farrakhan professes to be a Muslim. I couldn't care less whether the hateful minister who endorsed John McCain is, deep inside, a decent man or a fundamentalist. But I do care about these pastors' divisive and crazed words; I do care that their "sermons" exploit and pander to the worst fears and passions of people based on perceptions and misperceptions about race. I hate that these preachers' sermons prejudge people's motives or behavior based on their race or ethnicity. I hate the haters, and I expected Obama to make a straightforward speech about what has become the Hate Hour -- and the most segregated hour -- in America on Sunday mornings.

I expected Obama, who up to now had been steering a perfect course away from the racial boxes of the past, to challenge racial labels and so-called black experiences. We're all mixed up, and if we haven't yet been by the process of miscegenation, trans-racial adoptions and interracial marriage, we sure ought to get used to how things will be in short order.

That would have been the forward-looking message of a visionary candidate. But Obama erred by looking backward -- as far back as slavery. What does slavery have to do with the price of milk at the grocery store? He referenced continuing segregation, especially segregated public schools, but stopped short. What is he going to do about them? How does he feel about public schools for black boys or single-sex public schools and classes? What does the gospel according to Wright say about such race-based and gender-specific schemes for getting around our civil rights laws?

We can't be united as a nation if we continue to think racially and give credence to racial experiences and differences based on ethnicity, past victim status and stereotypical categories. All of these prejudices surrounding tribe-against-tribe are old-hat and dysfunctional -- especially the rants of ministers, of whatever skin color or religion, who appeal to our base prejudices and to superstitions about our supposed racial differences. The man or woman who talks plainly about our commonality as a race of human beings, about our future as one nation indivisible, rather than about our discredited and disunited past, is, I predict, likely to finish ahead of the pack and do us a great public service.

Michael Meyers is executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition and a former assistant national director of the NAACP. These views are his own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Not About Race

Obama's speech today had much to do with an underlying angry current in the Black community and his belief that due to his unique life experiences (including having a White mother and a Black father), he is the only person that can heal the divide and bring this country together.

Apparently, this can only be accomplished by electing Mr. Obama President. This will appease Blacks, who feel the pain of segregation and racial bias and have let these feelings fester for years and years. According to Obama, one can see that anger in the videos of Reverend Wright's divisive sermons (of which Obama now admits to have witnessed after days of claiming he was never present). This can only be remedied by Obama and only if you elect him President. However, it seems to me that if this anger has been festering for so long, electing a Black man President isn't enough to heal it.

Racism and sexism are both alive and thriving in America. Unfortunately, Obama is all too willing to use his race as a wedge and is very quick to label any remarks that don't suit him as racially motivated. It is a definite pattern in his campaign, starting with Clinton's statement about MLK before the South Carolina primary and culminating in Gerry Ferraro's remark last week. Now, he's made himself the Black candidate for President.

I find this quite disingenuous. If Obama is truly distressed about the injustice and divide in America, he would better serve this cause by making this his life's work. He claims to have started as a community organizer and he could do much more for for injustice by working towards this healing, using his amazing oratorical gift to bring people together. He seems much better suited to that, although I do have to say what has he done for his people so far?

I believe that our next President has an enormous task. President Bush has done so much damage, the next President was have multitude of difficult issues to face. Healing a racial divide is not one of them. In other words, racism has no place in this presidential election. It's only here because Obama has given it a place - front and center.

If Hillary was giving speeches about the disgraces, injustices and bias that women have had to endure for years and years and she made it a cornerstone of her campaign by vowing to heal that great divide, she would be vilified and accused of alienating an entire gender.

Obama predicates his campaign on not voting for the war. A disingenuous issue at best, as he was even not a member of the Senate when the vote was taken. But he has the luxury of saying how he would'a if he could'a.

Obama now chooses to stand by a Black spiritual leader who has falsely stated that America is responsible for Aids and 9/11. A leader that damns America, White people and screeches that Hillary has never been called nigger. It is difficult to believe that in his 20 year relationship with Rev. Wright Obama never heard him say such things, especially when it was revealed Obama knew very well he may have to distance himself from Wright in this campaign if his divisive and false statements were revealed. Selective memory is a very convenient tool, isn't it?

Obama's speech today was not about race. It was a politician's speech to save his campaign from his association with Rev. Wright. Plain and simple. The man who preaches change and unity lied about ever witnessing these sermons. Today he admits he was present when these words were spoken and he threw his White grandmother under the bus in an attempt to make his case for not disavowing Wright.

Obama is nothing more than an unvetted politician scrambling to keep his campaign from going down the tubes.

An indefensible attack

A piece last week headlined Hell hath no fury, Michelle Goldberg calls feminists who support Hillary Clinton (a "nepotistic" choice, whose "primary qualification is her husband") "infuriated," "hysterical" and, perhaps worst of all, "outspoken." The innocent reader could expect this description of a woman candidate and her female advocates from some denizen of the anti-feminist right or the anti-feminist cable news left - Ann Coulter of the repeal-the-19th-Amendment movement, Chris Matthews of the Hillary's-career-based-on-Bill's-intern theory. Surprise: the article comes from Michelle Goldberg, formerly of, and author of many books and articles opposing the religious right and defending women's freedoms. What has provoked this young feminist to describe the first viable female presidential candidate and some of the icons of the feminist movement in such conventional and sexist terms?

The answer is that many women, myself included, the "furious" women from "hell," of the article's headline, have written several articles pointing out the political costs and consequences of women failing to support the first viable female candidate for president of the United States. Goldberg's hysterical feminists include (thank you, Ms Goldberg, for putting me in such august company) the first (and only) female Democratic candidate for vice-president, Geraldine Ferraro; one of the primary founders of the feminist movement, Gloria Steinem; the president of New York National Organisation of Women, Marcia Pappas; the famed feminist anthologist Robin Morgan (author of Sisterhood Is Powerful), and the tough-minded feminist writer Leslie Bennetts.

Many others could be added to Goldberg's infernal parade: Planned Parenthood's former president and best-selling author, Gloria Feldt, who wrote in the Huffington Post: "We progressive women, we feminists who are activists in a thousand worthy social causes, might decide to squander this moment and justify in a thousand ways why it's our right to decide as individuals when we choose our candidate. Well, yes, it is our right. But is it the sum total of our responsibility? Is it enough to really, really like Obama? Is it enough to flee from Hillary Clinton because of, say, one vote we didn't like (even though her opponent never had to put his vote where his anti-war voice now is)? Or because her husband lacks impulse control? In my mind, no."

Martha Burk, a former chairwoman of the national council of women's organisations, sounded a lot like the "hellish" Ferraro, when she said: "If [Senator Obama] were female, with his credentials, age and track record, I don't think he'd be anywhere near the presidency of the United States." Apparently it has never occurred to Goldberg, even as the numbers of scorned leaders, intellectuals, writers and activists mounts, that women with a long history of commitment to the cause of feminism might actually be onto something other than "flailing" "anger."

In my particular case, I have never endorsed Senator Clinton nor "assumed" - as Goldberg (without quotation) asserts - "that Clinton obviously and indisputably deserves the votes of right-thinking females." (Even if Goldberg's rhetoric were not so utterly out of bounds, her repeated misrepresentation of the easily verifiable content of my article alone should raise serious doubts about the seriousness and professionalism of the piece.)

I am interested in, and write about, political consciousness and political behaviour. In recent years I have focused on female political behaviour, partly because of the election and partly because I had said what I had to say about women as wives and workers. I am particularly interested in collective action and the way in which women's individual decisions affect their collective social situation. When black women acted in a way reflecting powerful racial solidarity, I commented on the difference between political groups formed by segregation and those comprised of individuals integrated into the larger groups. When all the pollsters reported a sharp divide between college-educated women and women without college degrees I speculated on the many reasons women voters might split their votes along class lines.

The unraveling of the initially unified female vote has consequences for long-term female political influence, particularly in face of the unity exhibited by some of the other demographics. I started, as Goldberg is forced to admit, with the possibility that college educated voters, who are, by every scholarly measure, more knowledgeable about politics than less educated voters are, might have figured out the superiority of Senator Obama, and next considered that educated voters, who are, by every scholarly measure, more interested in foreign affairs, might have been moved by his position against the manifestly undesirable war in Iraq.

What else (not what is more "likely," as Goldberg, again without support or citation, suggests) might be going on, I asked? "It could just be" that women with more education and more money relate on a subconscious level to the "young and handsome Barack and Michelle Obama, with their white-portico - mansion in one of the cooler Chicago neighborhoods and her Jimmy Choo shoes." I am hardly the first observer to comment on the style differences between the candidates; the "latte" description of Senator Obama's followers is now so common it reminds me more of flat coffee than the foamy stuff.

Finally, I observed that "for weeks now, online and on cable news channels, almost anyone who expresses criticism of Obama or support for Clinton has elicited a firestorm of disapproval." On this argument, Goldberg's piece certainly stands for itself. If the rage is all on the other side, she has gone a long way to even the odds.

The oddest thing is that in a piece supposedly about how feminist Clinton supporters are spoiling the future of feminist unity, Michelle Goldberg describes those who disagree with her as follows:

- Geraldine Ferraro is "Archie Bunkers in heels," saying "the kind of thing Rush Limbaugh . . . like[s] to say," "having thoroughly disgraced herself";

- Leslie Bennetts' arguments are "ridiculous," a "crude projection";

- I argue like a "pseudo-populist demagogue of the right";

- Finally, for the venerable and expressive author, Robin Morgan, Goldberg deploys the ever popular feminist unity-producing epithet: "hysterical."

It may be that these debates within feminism interest the voting public about as much as the old quarrels between Stalinists and Trotskyites did. Since college-educated women are a substantial and increasing percentage of the electorate, I think their behaviour and the rhetoric of those who would influence this demographic matters quite a bit. That's why I write about it. But even if as Goldberg's candidate, Barack Obama always reminds us, it's only that "words matter," her intemperate attacks on the long list of people who have spent much of their lives in the movement she purports to save is indefensible.

Linda Hirshman

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama is a Liar

For months, the Obama campaign has been attacking Hillary, impugning her character and calling into question her lifetime of public service. And now the Chicago Tribune reports that Senator Obama is preparing a "full assault" on her "over ethics and transparency." To those who contend that Senator Obama is the clear frontrunner, I ask, to what end this "full assault" on Hillary?

On CNN last Tuesday, Senator Obama said, "Well, look, Wolf, I think if you watch how we have conducted our campaign, we've been very measured in terms of how we talk about Senator Clinton. ... I have been careful to say, that I think that Senator Clinton is a capable person and that should she win the nomination, obviously, I would support her. You know, I'm not sure that we have been getting that same approach from the Clinton campaign."

The facts of this election stand in stark contrast to that statement. Senator Obama and his senior campaign officials have engaged in a systematic effort to question Hillary's integrity, credibility, and character. They have portrayed her as someone who would put her personal gain ahead of the lives of our troops, someone who would say or do anything to win an election, someone who is dishonest, divisive and disingenuous. They have adopted shop-worn anti-Clinton talking points, dusted them off and unleashed a torrent of unfounded character attacks against her. Among other things, they have described Hillary - and her campaign - as:


"Too polarizing to win"





"Saying and doing whatever it takes to win"

"Attempting to deceive the American people"

"One of the most secretive politicians in America"

"Literally willing to do anything to win"

"Playing politics with war"

To top it off, they have blanketed big states with false radio ads and negative mailers -- ads and mailers that experts have debunked time and time again. They have distributed health care brochures using Republican framing. They have tried to draw a nexus between Hillary's votes and the death of her friend Benazir Bhutto. And one of Senator Obama's top advisers (who has since left the campaign) recently called Hillary "a monster."

This "full assault" on Hillary comes from the very top of the Obama campaign, not surrogates and supporters.

This "full assault" is being directed at someone I personally know to be a thoughtful, brilliant, principled, compassionate person, someone the world knows as a good Democrat, a trailblazer, a lifelong champion for children and families, a respected former first lady, a senator, a presidential candidate.

This "full assault" is targeting a staff of hundreds of hard-working, dedicated Democrats, who I've had the privilege of working with for the past 14 months.

This is a hard-fought campaign - as it should be. Like any candidate for elected office, Hillary has made clear why she thinks she would do a better job than her opponent. She has laid out comprehensive policy proposals, put forth her 35-year record of accomplishment, and spent countless days introducing herself to voters across the country. She has said that she is far better prepared to take on John McCain on national security. She has contended that she is the candidate with the experience to confront the GOP attack machine. She has argued that she is more electable. She has said that Senator Obama's words are not matched by actions. And she has challenged him to live up to core Democratic values and goals such as universal health care.

I recall indignation online at the suggestion that Senator Obama has not made the case that he is ready to be Commander in Chief -- the concern being that this would be terribly detrimental to him in a general election. As I blogged recently, and as many of you know, I spent 2004 in the Kerry-Edwards war room, and I understand full well that national security will be front and center in the general election. It's not a matter of choice. And the reality is that the public views Hillary as better prepared to take on Senator McCain when it comes to national security. Democrats must factor that in as they nominate a candidate to win in November.

If that suggestion is potentially harmful to Senator Obama in a general election, how exactly do the personal attacks against Hillary (which echo and reinforce rightwing talking points) help her in the event she wins the nomination? I recall no similar outrage at those harsh attacks on her character, many of which were directed at her when she was the clear frontrunner and seen as the likely nominee.

Both candidates are running a vigorous campaign. Both have had surrogates or supporters who have crossed the line and made offensive statements that they rejected. And these offensive statements are an unfortunate part of a long and close campaign. Those who make a habit of automatically assuming and ascribing to only one candidate the worst motives, ignoring more reasonable and benign explanations, who substitute conjecture for fact and then use those assumed 'facts' as a foundation on which to pile more conjecture about only one candidate's intentions, who express anger at negative campaigning and perceived dirty tricks but focus on only one candidate's words and actions, risk losing credibility. And those who conclude from that one-sided reasoning that Hillary ought to stop seeking victory, should ask themselves if quitting in the middle of a hard-fought – and winnable – contest is a desirable attribute in a future president.

Hillary has rightfully stated that as Democrats we should be proud of our field of candidates. And it is truly inspiring to see the level of enthusiasm among voters this cycle. We should encourage as many people as possible to become part of this process and to forcefully advocate for their candidate of choice. But there is a sharp line between supporting a candidate (and excusing their faults, which all supporters do to some degree) and conducting a "full assault" on an opponent's integrity and character. The Obama campaign's unabashed attacks on Hillary's honesty and trustworthiness should give every Democrat pause.

We are all entitled to support and oppose whomever we choose, but I challenge my online friends to call this "full assault" on Hillary's character for what it is.

Peter Daou

Steal this post and send it far and wide.

Goddess Prayer

This morning when I wakened
And saw the Sun above
I softly said Good Morning Goddess
Bless everyone I love

Right away I thought of you
And said a lovely prayer
That She would bless you specially
And keep you free from care

I thought of all the happiness
A day could hold in store
I wished it all for you because
No one deserves it more

I felt so warm and good inside
My heart was all aglow
I know the Goddess heard my prayer for you
She hears them all you know


I asked the Goddess for strength
And She gave me difficulties to make me strong

I asked the Goddess for prosperity
And She gave me brain and brawn to work

I asked the Goddess for courage
And She gave me danger to overcome

I asked the Goddess for love
And She gave me troubled people to help

I asked the Goddess for favors
And She gave me opportunities

I received nothing I wanted
And I received everything I needed

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Morning

It is Saturday morning and I have a zillion things to do. I'm trying Hungry Girl's low fat brownie muffin recipe with the only other ingredient being pumpkin. And, I saw a great lasagna recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, so I promised my husband that I would actually cook dinner for once,


I just cannot get out of my mind the hypocrisy of MSM in their reporting on Geraldine Ferraro and on Reverend Wright this past week. I still have my Mondale/Ferraro political button and remember clearly how the women I worked with at Life Savers in Canajoharie, NY absolutely ragged endlessly on Ferraro for having the audacity to think she could run on the Presidential ticket. I was incredulous, but was young enough to remain silent.

This week, after watching Ferraro's unwillingness to backpedal or apologize for her statement while MSM and Camp Obama zealously attempted to portray the remark as racist, I am doubly incredulous and no longer silent.


Because of Reverend Wright and his race baiting tactics caught on video posted all over the Internet and running on TV. It is sickening that our so-called journalists/political pundits could watch the Reverend Wright screaming that Hillary has never been called a nigger to a pulpit full of black people, yelling and posturing about how we deserved 9/11 and glorifying Palestine. Black or white, if you can listen to that video and not be fucking offended, there is something very, very wrong with your sense of right and wrong. It is not just the failure to see the damage this man is doing, it is the the failure to hold Obama accountable. Obama, who has been a member of this church for 20 years - donated to the church - married in the church and baptized his babies in this church. Imagine, sitting in a House of Worship with your young children by your side listening to this filth?

Where is Obama the uniter? The Obama of hope? The Obama who pledged to bring people together? Why, he is hoping the MSM won't stop giving him unrequited love or look too closely at the man behind the curtain. He is hoping people don't start to realize the total hypocrisy of the man and his message and how one doesn't have anything to do with the other.

UPDATE: This explains it. The Clinton Rules and The Obama Rules

UPDATE 2: Susan over at Thats Me On the Left has a great post up with proof that Senator Obama was present in his church when the Reverend Wright was delivering those divisive sermons.

Friday, March 14, 2008


For decades, I had heard that feminist saying from the Sixties, "the personal is political," meaning that issues of the family, women, children and marriage deserve policy attention. But what I hadn't realized-or had plain old forgotten until this week's Eliot Spitzer tragedy-is that the political is also personal. "The political is personal" because we all have a need to believe in our political leaders, to believe in the vision and promises that they set out for us about what our political system can accomplish, and that relationship can involve us at a very personal level, not just a dutiful one, involve us in a very personal relationship of trust and commitment. And given the recent history of the United States of America, "the political is personal" meant, in the context of support for Eliot Spitzer's gubernatorial campaign in 2006, that we could put aside the cynicism, the failed hopes, the falling support for political institutions that registers just as intensely as the falling support for every other institution in American society, and believe that his dedication to reform and to ethical changes was real, and that by working with him, we as individual citizens could make a difference also. He made us feel that his personal responsibility and initiative-not just that of our political institutions-should be matched by our own.

We felt a bit smug here in New York with the election of Eliot Spitzer-a gubernatorial election that he won with the largest plurality of votes in the history of New York state-because we were ahead of the curve that's so talked about in this year's presidential campaign discussion of hope and change. We had a governor who was already committed to reform, and was prepared to work with each of us to bring that about.

It's true that he had a disastrous first year, with approval ratings that registered new lows. But that seemed to be a matter that his massive intelligence, more attention to political relationships, and his reorganization of his top staff at the end of 2007 to make Silda Wall Spitzer one of his chief advisers, could address. Many of us went into 2008 with our approval of him reduced, but not our belief in his belief-and eventual ability to deliver-on the agenda of reform, and on the moral and personal values of leadership.

I have seen many polls this week about how the process of dealing with Eliot Spitzer's horrendous behavior should be handled, you know, the "Do you think Eliot Spitzer should resign?" type of questions. But I have not seen any polls about the personal betrayal that many people in New York felt, the inability to sleep, the sadness-all reflective of a fracturing of the personal relationship we felt with this particular political leader, and the promise of change and reform that he embodied.

It is a tribute to the enduring nature of our political institutions and the commitment of our leaders that Spitzer's resignation has already been secured, the date for the new governor's swearing-in has been arranged, and that Governor-designate David Paterson has already had his first-successful and highly reassuring-press conference. The "people's business" will go on, and it will, God willing, be well attended to. The front page headline in today's Albany Times Union, "New Leader, New Promise," says it all.

But so does today's New York Times' use of the phrase, "the mendacity of hope", in describing the Spitzer downfall, summarize our need to reflect on what we've lost. The "people's hopes," the "political is personal" nature of their involvement with the leadership of Eliot Spitzer, will take a long time to restore. His election represented, after all, a peak of trust, belief in reform, and personal commitment that had not been reached in many years in New York state. Eliot Spitzer betrayed many of his own formidable advantages and talents, but it's the betrayal of his gift for connecting people with politics-and with reform politics-- that is one of the most mournful aspects of this tragedy. Helen Desfosses

Dr. Helen R. Desfosses is Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy at UAlbany.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rev. Wright - Senator Obama's spiritual adviser

Be careful what you wish for.

Valentine Bonnaire's Rant

Fuck you, you fucking fuck…(I’m on Geraldine Ferraro’s side).
March 12, 2008

That said, Geraldine Ferraro is correct about Barack Obama. He can go fuck himself for all I care.

It was about a year ago that I read an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times called “Obama, the Magic Negro.”

At first I couldn’t even believe my eyes. What in the hell was that word Negro doing in the paper? That word was banished from the English Language, as far as I knew, in the 70’s, along with all the other “N” words.

Seeing that word made me cringe inwardly. Not just because I’m white. Not because I’m supposed to be ashamed about my country’s history of slavery, but because we thought we’d wiped that kind of word out in my generation. I guess not. It was about two years ago or so that the word “racism” began to appear all over the place in the press, alongside a new word “schadenfreude.”

“What in the hell is this?” I remember thinking to myself. This word “racism” doesn’t belong on the pages of my newspaper. What is causing this? But then I began seeing it towards Latinos, more and more, especially with the border fence and deportations. What kind of country am I living in now?

I’m not sure.

It doesn’t feel like my America anymore. It feels like an America seriously, horribly, divided.

This morning I woke up in a furious mood. I’m watching the Democratic Party get ripped apart and shredded right before my eyes. I can’t stand it.

Looking at the headline for the “Magic Negro” again this morning feels different than it did last year. I’m glad the Times still has a link to it, so I can place it here, and everyone can read it. Revisiting the headline makes me cringe for both black and white people, once again.

But, I cringed yesterday too when the Obama camp attacked Geraldine Ferraro. Like me, she is a woman and a white feminist. This will not stand. That’s my statement this morning. And the Obama camp’s further race-based attacks on any of us “white people” won’t either.

Obama has crossed a line. Maybe, given what he has said in the past about “white women” he hates us. Hate is a two way street, though. It’s easily constellated in the right kind of climate.

I don’t believe in Magic Negroes. I believe in Black People. That may be the problem I’m starting to have with Obama. He’s not black enough for me. He’s a floating logo shaped by a guy called David Axelrod. He’s a series of target-marketed images aimed straight into the hearts of the American Public. He’s also a guy who doesn’t salute the flag and has a wife that for the first time in her life is “proud” of this country.

He’s a guy who spent in the neighborhood of $52 million to build a brand the American public was supposed to buy hook line and sinker.

I have lost any respect I might of had for him as a black man. I have lost any kind of respect for his ability to lead this country. I have lost any respect for him as a fellow human being.

I know one thing this morning. Obama doesn’t have ANY respect for white women, or feminists. His camp owes Geraldine Ferraro a gigantic apology this morning for twisting her words around, to suit his purposes.

I didn’t even know who Barack Obama was last year, when the “Magic Negro” op-ed appeared. This year, I’m getting a much clearer idea. Day by day, as I watch him destroy the Democratic Party and rip open wounds that were closed long, long ago.

Let’s see what some other people had to say this morning. Like Jonathan Kay from the National Post.

Or, Earl Ofari Hutchinson from The Huffington Post.

Better yet, here is an older article from The Examiner out of Atlanta, Georgia. It’s quite enlightening to find out who this virtual “unknown” Obama really is, at the heart.

He says:

“I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds,” he wrote in “Dreams.” “One of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved — such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time.”

The article goes on:

“Obama wrote that in high school, he and a black friend would sometimes speak disparagingly “about white folks this or white folks that, and I would suddenly remember my mother’s smile, and the words that I spoke would seem awkward and false.”

As a result, he concluded that “certain whites could be excluded from the general category of our distrust.”

Well, I guess the white feminist camp is part of that group for him now, starting with Hillary and Geraldine and me.

We do not have time, in a time of war, to be solving Obama’s personal quest for racial redemption on the national stage. We need a President. It’s not asking much, is it? To be able to elect a decent President?

The country needs some leadership, and a plan. Too much is going to be inherited from the last administration as it is.

We need a leader. Not someone who uses the destructive tactics of an Alinsky style political agenda for his own personal gain and redemption.

If the Democratic Party self-destructs? It will be Barack Obama’s fault. I guess he’ll be really proud to go down in history for that.

Original Post Here

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Remarks to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women Plenary Session

delivered 5 September 1995, Beijing, China

There are some who question the reason for this conference. Let them listen to the voices of women in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. There are some who wonder whether the lives of women and girls matter to economic and political progress around the globe. Let them look at the women gathered here and at Huairou -- the homemakers and nurses, the teachers and lawyers, the policymakers and women who run their own businesses. It is conferences like this that compel governments and peoples everywhere to listen, look, and face the world’s most pressing problems. Wasn’t it after all -- after the women’s conference in Nairobi ten years ago that the world focused for the first time on the crisis of domestic violence?

Full Speech Here

H/T to American Rehtoric


"There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women."
-- Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Reality About Legitimacy

The A-List Blogger Boyz have their collective knickers in a twist about that nasty, mean, spiteful Hillary Clinton refusing to withdraw gracefully from the campaign and allow The Precious to be coronated. Oh, the damage she does by not conceding! How dare she harsh our mellow! The sheer selfishness of her behavior! Nay, the immorality of forcing a destructive battle on the party who needs to unite behind The Golden One and glide to victory on promises of bipartisan love! And ponies for everyone, natch...

Among the punditocracy (among whom I place the A-List bloggers), Golden Boy Barry's legitimacy is presumed, that he simply must be the most adored, most preferred candidate of them all. The count of the pledged delegates is a sacred relic within the cult, the objective symbol of The Precious' status. This is repeated constantly despite clear patterns in the votes to spell out his weak points and as though there are not structural advantages in voting procedures that over emphasize his popularity.

The converse is also a matter of unshakeable belief, that Hillary enjoys no legitimacy, that she is presumptively an illegitimate candidate, and that there is something inherently good in trying to defeat her. What Nevada, the Florida Primary, Super Tuesday and yesterday's smashing victories in Ohio and Texas demonstrate is that Hillary Clinton has broad, deep and diverse support among Democrats, and that she is seen by them as a worthy and legitimate candidate for President. This is important because the animus against her among the leftist blogs and many party elites is that she cannot rally support, that she is not a popular choice candidate. In fact, she is the strongly preferred choice of millions of Democrats. Because her legitimacy cannot be acknowledged, the phenomenon of her really kicking ass and winning big time must be diminished, rather in the same way as Grover Norquist wanted to reduce the Federal government and for much the same objective.

Hence, the fetishization of the pledged delgate count among the punditocracy. The super delegates must vote the way the majority have voted, they protest. This is the express will of the people and must be bowed to. But, is it? The delegate count is not unequivocally legitimate, and this casts an increasing pall of illegitimacy on Obama. There are three significant points where the pledged delegate counts are not obviously the will of the people.

ONE: Open vs. closed contests. Just which people are being counted? For a very long time, Obama's margin of victory was among Independents, not Democrats. He has run the notorious "Democrat for a Day" operation in at least three states (California, Florida, Nevada), explicitly urging Republicans to switch parties simply to vote against Hillary. To the degree that his support does not come from the party, his delegate count is suspect. What would contests look like rebalanced to show only Democratic support?

TWO: Caucus vs. Primary. This, to me, is a far more pernicious and delegitimizing situation than open primaries, because the structure of a caucus has two anti-democratic effects.

First, it reduces popular participation by being limited in time and place (there are far fewer caucus locations than polling places) and by removing the secret ballot. The time issue is two-edged. First, the participant must be available at the appointed time, which is unfavorable to shift workers. It also requires you to be available for a significant amount of time, usually several hours. This is a great burden on people who work, who have caretaker duties, and/or who are physically unable to attend, such as my mother. As for the secret ballot, that has been shown over and over to be essential to free exercise of political preference. Peer pressure is difficult to resist. It is interesting that Hillary won the New Mexico caucus where the votes themselves were cast secretly. Every caucus contest has come replete with reports of Obama supporters bullying and threatening Hillary supporters. The Texas caucuses may result in criminal charges.

The second effect is to exaggerate small differences of support and slight margins of victory, as well as allow a far smaller number of voters to be represented per delegate. A vote margin as small as three people may create a 50/50 split or a 70/30 in terms of delegate allocation. One-tenth the turn-out in a caucus state may earn the same number of convention delegates as in a primary state.

With both Washington State and Texas, we saw the difference between holding a primary and a caucus, using the same pool of voters. In WA, Obama won both, but with a significantly smaller margin in the primary than in the caucus. In TX, Hillary won the primary handily, but may be edged out in the caucus, which is composed of a sub-set of all primary voters. The pairing of these two states demonstrates that it is entirely possible Obama would not have won some of those caucuses (Iowa would probably have gone by a tiny margin to Hillary in a straight vote, and Nevada would have gone to her even more than it did). In short, the contests where the process itself is more democratic, Hillary has gained more support. The allocation of delegates is inconsistent and exaggerated. The disparity between delegate counts would be far less if all states had been primaries, even if Obama had won all the states he currently holds.

THREE: Michigan and Florida being excluded from the counts. The Florida and Michigan delegates are not being seated because they would allow Hillary to win. Period. Unlike the first two issues, which are structural, this one is political. In a pathetic attempt to stack the primary season for John Edwards, the DNC shoved these two, must-win states out in the cold, probably figuring they would fall in line and support the eventual nominee and all damage could be fixed before the convention. Michigan is a self-inflicted wound for The Precious. He took his name off the ballot to try to deligitimize Hillary, and the strategy backfired on him. In Florida, he ran campaign ads and came off a power-house victory in South Carolina, only to be thoroughly snubbed by the voters of a state the Democrats must win in November (hmm, I'm sensing a pattern here) . While a formal argument might be offered that Michigan shouldn't be seated because of the ballot - though it was Barry's choice to do so and it was done for strategic reasons - there is no reason to refuse to seat Florida at this point except to prevent a count of Hillary's true support.

Something I have not seen discussed much in the blogosphere, in great part because voters who support Hillary are not seen as having cast legitimate votes, is that Florida knows it is the king-maker in this convention, and it damn well is not going to revote. In this game of chicken, Howard Dean loses. "The rules" aren't going to count for squat when Florida demands to be seated. If Obama's forces refuse to seat Florida for the sole purpose of denying Hillary delegates, he will lose Florida in the general, and probably Michigan, too, and there goes the election. To try to wrangle a win out of a convention that does not seat Florida and Michigan is to lose massive amounts of legitimacy. Do you think my mother-in-law and all her senior female friends who turned out en masse to vote for Hillary in Florida are going to vote for Obama after he denies FL a voice at the convention?

The pledged delegate count is not invalid or without merit, but it is far less definitive in the eyes of rank-and-file Democratic voters - the ones who have been favoring Hillary in big state primary contests - and they are not going to regard it as fully legitimate. The Blogger Boyz and the rest of the media whores know this, which is another reason they howl loudly to drown out the contesting perspectives.

And, here is the real rub. The contest is basically tied and Golden Boy Barry, despite his overwhelming money advantage and all the positive media attention money can't buy, couldn't close the deal yesterday and will not get to the magic number of 2,025 delegates before the convention. Hillary is behind him only because two big states are not being counted for her. I add she can't get to 2025 by the convention, either, but she has as strong (if not a stronger) argument to make to the convention - my wins are where we need to win in November, and my wins are up front and broad based, more like the national electorate than my competitor has won. My point is that what the rank and file Democrat thinks is legitimate may not be measured in the delegate count, and that the way in which Hillary and her committed supporters are treated is what will determine the final outcome.

Obama cannot win without Florida and Michigan, and they don't want him. He is going to have to compromise, else he will lose all legitimacy. And that's the cold, hard reality.

Anglachel's Journal

Monday, March 03, 2008

Molly Ivors

Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia

Twocents By Molly Ivors

I would like to tell you a story about a woman, one which may, perhaps, be instructive to some of the “get out of the way, grandma; you're blocking progress” folks out there.

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was pretty good at school. She read when she was three, and when she started school, her teachers didn't know what to do with her. Shyness and bookishness kept her modest: she didn't see “smart” as something worthwhile. To her, it was like having dark hair or big eyes: just a thing that was. School continued like that through graduation, but she bobbled a bit in college. Still, she got her degree summa cum laude and went on to grad school. There, she did everything right: won awards, became assistant to the chair, edited a journal. She finished her dissertation more or less on time (a rarity in her field) and went on to a lectureship in which she intentionally sought out harder subjects to increase her familiarity with them.

But life interfered, as it often does, although somehow always with greater reprecussions for women. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer while she worked on her dissertation, and her sister died of a preventable but serious illness (Hepatitis C). After the death of her sister, she determined that she did not want to be over a thousand miles from home when her mother's health started to fail, so she headed home with her spouse, a brilliant and funny man she'd met in grad school, and her young daughter. She took a job teaching at a high school for the benefits, and adjuncted at a local community college. Her spouse also adjuncted there.

She wasn't too surprised when he was offered a tenure-track position first: no one had more respect for his intellectual gifts than she. Of course, he was ABD at the time, and she had completed her degree, but this was a community college and that sort of thing didn't really matter so much. She continued to adjunct and get part-time administrative jobs to keep the family afloat, and had two more beautiful children without the benefit of maternity leave or family leave—that sort of thing just isn't available to part-time employees.

It was a couple of years later that she learned how things really worked, however. She had an impressive CV and years of experience. She had friends and a strong application. She gave a good interview and was told, confidentially, that she was the first choice of the hiring committee, a female friend was second, and a third colleague, a young man who was very popular with the students (as in, sleeping with at least one) was the third. She went to interview with the dean, who she knew socialized with the male candidate, but was confident, even when he told her he didn't have anything much to ask her and essentially made her run her own interview. The interview with the academic vice-president was similarly bemusing, but again, she knew her position was strong.

It was the several days of waiting afterward that started to fluster her, until finally the news came down: the dean had re-ranked the candidates in reverse order to throw the job to his drinking buddy, and the VP—who also frequented the same bar—had accepted his recommendation. (Not to be left out: the re-ranking may also have been to thumb his nose at the administration of the department, all of whom had confidence in the female candidates, but were cautious at best about the male candidate and had tossed him as a bone to some hesitant committee members.) The female candidates, upon being twitted, went through the appropriate channels, but were told two things by the wan Affirmative Action officer charged with protecting the college: that they had no business knowing the rankings of the committee, and that unless the dean had made some remark about their breasts, there was no way to prove sexism.

It was a disturbing lesson, an embittering lesson. I tell it here not to garner sympathy, but because one of feminism's main tools has been to share experiences to reveal they systemic processes at work in the workplace. I daresay many women, maybe even most, have some story like it to tell. We keep them quiet, generally, because the accusation of sour grapes is always quick on their heels, ready to belittle and dismiss very real experiences with prejudice.

And so we who look at this primary season as another example of systemic prejudice often have reasons for doing so. Dismiss them as personal or petty if you like, but don't pretend that we are emotional and you the disinterested arbiters of what is and is not fair game. I have been accused of everything from willful stupidity to “vaginal solidarity” over these last weeks. It's insulting and demeaning, and intended to be so, as much as major opinion pieces on how dumb girls are and how Hillary should just climb on the Obandwagon.

Indeed, it seems that Senator Obama will be the candidate, not because of (or in spite of) my vagina, but because of his ground game. I respect that. But I also ask respect for my position, for my experiences. Win with grace, not with sneers at old ladies who have repeatedly been told that it wasn't their turn yet, only to be told that sorry, their turn has passed by. That's about as alienating as you can get. I don't think his followers are shallow—at least not most of them—but many are rudely dismissive and do not seem to know whose framing they're adopting.

Just my two cents.


Saturday, March 01, 2008