Friday, February 29, 2008

New Obama Video

Ok, in my previous post I wrote to put down politics for this Friday and listen to some Buddy Miles, but I lied... Here is the new Obama video. At least it has music in it, right?

Buddy Miles, R.I.P.

Omaha-born Buddy Miles passed away recently. Miles was born in 1947 and by age 12 he was playing with his dad's jazz combo. As a session man, he played with bands like Ruby and the Romantics, the Delfonics and the Jaynetts. In 1967, he played with Wilson Pickett and the psychedelic blues, rock and soul group, Electric Flag, before forming his own group, the Buddy Miles Express. Later, he gained fame playing with Jimi Hendrix in "Band of Gypsys," which some call the first all-black rock band. Miles, who played on the landmark "Electric Ladyland" album, had "a brisk, assertive, deeply funky attack" that made him ideal for Jimi Hendrix's sound. Miles wrote the Hendrix classic, "Them Changes." He also had a flashy style, sporting huge afros and American flag shirts. In the 1970s, Miles cut two platinum albums with Carlos Santana and played with a diverse array of artists, inclusing Muddy Waters, John McLaughlin, Stevie Wonder, Bootsy Collins and David Bowie . After a stint in prison, he reemerged in the mid-1980s as a California Raisin in the popular ad campaign.

It's Friday, so put the politics down and enjoy some of the following clips of Buddy Miles in action. Dig it!

• Buddy Miles Express, "Them Changes" (Playboy Club, March 1971) (check out the dancers on this one!)

• "The Band of Gypsys" documentary (pt. 1):

• Band of Gypsys, "Machine Gun"

• Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles, "Them Changes" (Miles sings and plays guitar on this one)

• Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles, "Personal Contact" (Miles sings on this one)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Missed Opportunity Debate

Following the Cleveland debate the other night, the media bobble-heads are a-twitter about the Farrakhan question, Hillary's blame game, Russert's inane hypotheticals, health care mandates, etc. I would submit that these stories miss the real tragedy of that final debate. Here is the deal:

I grew up in Cleveland and am a proud Clevelander. Cleveland is in my blood. That written, Cleveland is one of the poorest cities in the country. A full one-third of the population lives in poverty. The sub-prime loan crisis has hit Cleveland's poor communities and communities of color harder than any other city in the nation. In fact, Cleveland has a a proud and distinguished black middle class community... but it has been ravaged by predatory corporate lenders who purposefully targeted communities of color and working-class communities for quick profits. Foreclosures in Cleveland have sky-rocketed. The American dream has turned into a nightmare for thousands of good, decent, hardworking residents. In short, what I am saying is that the debate in Cleveland could have been, and should have been, a show-case discussion of the ongoing urban crisis in America. Cleveland is ground zero for that crisis and it is the dirty little secret no one wants to talk about. We get distracted in cities like Cleveland, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere, by new ballparks and flashy downtown condos and restaurants, and forget that massive inequalities remain in each of those places. Instead of the same old questions that have been hashed and rehashed at 20 (yes, 20!) debates, instead of stupid gotcha questions, why not actually raise some vital and substantive new issues that speak to one of the biggest crises facing the nation? Why not ask the candidates to address the predatory subprime crisis? Why not ask them what they will do to revitalize communities like Cleveland where industry has left and one-third of the population is poor? Why not ask them what they will do about a public education system that is segregated? Why not ask what they might do to address police brutality in poor communities of color? Why not ask them ANYTHING about this crisis!!!???!!!??

This is, I think, the great failing of the debate the other night. More than Hillary's shrill tone. More than Russert's ridiculous hypotheticals. More than Obama's "Farrakhan problem." Shame on all of them for not speaking up while sitting at the epicenter of urban decay. This reveals something terrible about ourselves and our society... that we are willing to tolerate this urban crisis and the wide-spread human destruction that is its product.

This makes my heart very heavy... I love Cleveland, but it is dying.

Mini-Moog Display


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama Survives Clinton Death Ray!

What was hopefully the final debate in the Democratic primary took place tonight and overall it was a bit of a snoozer, which means Obama won. Hillary landed no significant blows against Obama and certainly did not change the basic dynamics of the race. I'm not an unbiased viewer, but I thought Obama was poised and presidential throughout and sounded particularly good on foreign policy. By contrast, Hillary was testy and just plain strange on a few questions. Beyond the candidates and their responses, Tim Russert was simply abysmal as the moderator. He was combative and even tried to read a bunch of anti-semitic quotes from Louis Farrakhan on national television before Obama cut him off. It was a terrible performance by Russert.

Anyway, given the debate, I don't see how Hillary is able to meaningfully go on after March 4th. There is no indication that she has stopped the bleeding in her campaign. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next week. Which Hillary will be on the campaign trail? Nice Hillary or mean Hillary? We shall see...

Dick Gregory Revokes Bill Clinton's Blackness

Yikes! Check this out from the recent State of the Black Union gathering in New Orleans...

"Are the foreign-born more likely than the U.S.-born to commit crimes?"

One of the many tropes used against immigrants today is that rising immigration brings rising crime rates.

A recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan research group, asked the question: Are the foreign-born more likely than the U.S.-born to commit crimes?

The answer? "No"

The heart of the matter is found in this quote by the authors of the report: "In California, as in the rest of the nation, immigrants ... have extremely low rates of criminal activity." Available data "suggest that long-standing fears of immigration as a threat to public safety are unjustified."

The report also noted that native-born men are incarcerated at a rate 2.5 times higher than foreign-born men. Moreover, the research indicates that "limiting immigration, requiring higher education levels to obtain visas, or spending more money to increase penalties against criminal immigrants will have little impact on public safety."

The study did not differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants.

Here is the full report: "Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It?"

Monday, February 25, 2008

More on the Communist Plot (aka Obama campaign)

Lunacy reigns supreme across the political landscape. The National Review has come out into the open with their racism. Check this beauty out:

Lisa Schiffren, "Obama's Political Roots"

Dag, it is hard to know where to start given the amount of total BS in this piece. Jews are a separate "race," apparently to Shiffren. She has no idea how Obama's parents met, but then goes on to wildly speculate about it. She relies primarily on anecdotal evidence from her youth in NYC, but doesn't understand that Hawaii is a little different political milieux. I'm sure that was a representative sample, too. And most ridiculously, perhaps, she claims that inter-racial marriage wasn't an issue in the U.S. until the late-60s. And I could go on and on and on...

Her key point is to suggest that Obama is the spawn of a Communist plot to make biracial children. Now, 40-some years later, it is all finally coming to sinister fruition. (cue creepy, maniacal laughing) Of course, this dot connects to the other red-baiting: his commie mentor and father figure; his visit to former SDS radicals in the 1990s; etc...

Those other right-wingers had it wrong apparently. Obama isn't a stealth Muslim candidate... He is a stealth Commie!

Sheesh! What the heck has happened to standards in journalism. This is pathetic. Don't they vet this crap before publishing it? Don't answer that...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Here We Go Again (Or, Go Away Ralph and Take Your Ego With You)

You've probably heard by now that Ralph Nader has decided to run again for president. I voted for him in the past and respect his many struggles for good causes over the years, but he has clearly come unhinged now. The guy got .3% of the vote in 2004. He has absolutely no grassroots support. There has been no call for him to enter by a significant proportion of the electorate. Heck, Ron Paul has a much better argument for a third party run than Nader this year. This is an exercise in ego, pure and simple.

This YouTube clip pretty much sums it up, I think. Check it out:

James Orange, "Gentle Giant" of the Civil Rights Movement, Passes

We lost another legend of the civil rights movement recently when James Orange passed at the too young age of 65. Though he carried a large physique, Orange was fiercely committed to non-violence; many called him a "gentle giant" of the Movement. Born in Birmingham, Orange participated in the historic civil rights campaign there in 1963. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch, “The children’s demonstrations in Birmingham had transformed James Orange from hulking high school drifter to precocious minister of nonviolence.” Orange also served as an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and helped organize gang members in Chicago to non-violence. He was also well-known for his deep baritone voice and for his preaching. Orange was jailed and beaten on many occasions. During the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign, it was Orange's arrest - and fears he had been lynched - that spurred a protest march that resulted in the murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson by police. Jackson's death and Orange's incarceration prompted the Selma-to-Montgomery march, which was the catalyst for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Later in life, Orange worked for the AFL-CIO where he helped organize more than 300 labor campaigns. He was also an ardent supporter of the rights of "illegal" immigrants. All tolled, Orange was arrested for non-violent civil disobedience more than 100 times in his life!

Here is the Washington Post obituary. Here is the Guardian UK obit and the New York Times memorial.

"If Obama Went 0-for-11"

Eugene Robsinson, of the Washington Post, asks an important question: What if Obama had been the one to go 0-11?

Humor me while we conduct a little thought experiment. Imagine that Barack Obama had lost 10 contests in a row. Imagine that he now trailed Hillary Clinton substantially in the number of Democratic primaries and caucuses won, in total votes cast, in pledged convention delegates, in the overall delegate count, in fundraising and in the ineffable attribute called mojo. Imagine that Obama was struggling, at this late hour, to come up with the right message. What would the conventional wisdom say?

That it was over, of course. That Obama was toast. That staking everything on the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas was a starry-eyed hope, not a plan, and that it was time to smell the coffee.

But, of course, that is not what has happened...

For the entire article, click here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mrs. Johnnie Carr, Civil Rights Icon, Dies

A few days ago, one of the lesser known heros of the early civil rights era - Mrs Johnnie Carr - died at the age of 97. Mrs. Carr was a childhood friend of Rosa Parks who also played an active role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She was close with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and took over the reigns of the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1967, a post she held until her death. The MIA was originally formed in 1955 to support the bus boycott. Mrs. Carr was an ardent supporter of civil and human rights for over 50 years.

Here is the Washington Post obituary and here is the NPR story.

Here is a nice video of Mrs. Carr:

Hillary's Xerox Moment

Much hay has been made about Hillary Clinton's zinger-line in the Austin debate calling Obama's rhetoric a "xerox copy." It has been widely noted that the crowd roundly booed Clinton for this attack, but the more interesting and important dynamic has not been reported on as extensively: that wasn't Hillary's line. Clearly a speechwriter came up with it. Isn't it kind of weird to slam a guy for "plagiarism" with a line that is so clearly scripted it isn't even funny? See the irony here?

I'll also note the very ugly turn the Clinton campaign has taken since supposeduly playing nice the other night. Let me make it clear: that was all a part of the strategy. Show "nice Hillary" on the nationally televised debate, but keep on smearing and slamming, keep on with the negativity, the misrepresentation and the innuendo on the campaign trail. It is the Jekyll and Hyde approach. She essentially challenged Obama to a schoolyard fight in Ohio earlier today. It is very ugly and not very presidential. It is clearly the result of the desperate situation the campaign finds itself in, but it is no less unsavory. Shame on you, Mrs. Clinton.

And there is some bizarre psychological projection going on. Hillary charges Obama's campaign with Rovian tactics. Meanwhile, it has been her campaign that has engaged in the slimy stuff. These people really are lunatics...

As far as I am concerned, I hope Obama comes out with both barrels blazing in Ohio on Tuesday night. I had hopes that she might go quietly into the night, or at least have some class, but now her campaign needs to be put out of its misery before she takes the whole party with her. I will shed no tears on the day she is finally forced to eat that huge humble pie that is hurling her way...

"Get Real!"

I'm growing incredibly tired of the arrogant and condescending mantra, put out by the Clinton campaign and repeated ad nauseum, that there is an Obama cult, or that at some point Obama supporters are going to "wake up" and realize how wrong they have been to support Barack. Obama took care of this line of thought pretty well in the recent debate. Check it out:

A Brief History of Evil

This is an animated short on the history of evil in western culture that was created by a student...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Red Alert!

Uhhhhhmmmm, they've called him a Muslim. They've gone after his church and its pastor. They've employed racial innuendo. They've emphasized his middle name. They've insinuated he was a drug dealer. They've misrepresented his record. They've labeled him a lightweight, "all hat and no cattle," as Hillary Clinton so cutely put it. None of this (and more) has worked.

But now, NOW, there is evidence they are bringing out the big guns...

You better sit down for this one.

Oh, you're at your desk reading this... OK...

I'm sorry to be the one who has to tell you...

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen...

the truth can now be told...






communist tool of the international socialist conspiracy!

What Has Barack Obama Done For You?

To find out what Barack Obama has done for you, click here.

things that make you go hhhmmmmmmmm... Do you think the site linked above is a positive Obama site, or a negative Obama site?

UPDATE: If you want to know what Hillary Clinton has done for you, click here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Peter Tosh w/ Mick Jagger - "Walk and Don't Look Back"

This is a classic collaboration. Tosh is the personification of cool, while Jagger is, well, Jagger...

Dig it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Clinton Rep: Red-State Delegates = Second-Class Delegates

This from TPM:
A co-chairman of Hillary's Michigan campaign has a line that's sure to drive a whole bunch of red state governors up the wall:

"Superdelegates are not second-class delegates," says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. "The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic."

Uhhhhh... this probably isn't the best strategy to grow the party or to win in the Fall. And this politically savvy comment comes hot on the heels of another Clinton campaign representative calling those of us not in NY, CA, TX, IL, etc., "insignificant." The Clinton campaign probably shouldn't be giving folks more reasons to oppose them.

The arrogance and condescension, the political tone-deafness, the desperation, the... ooohh, whatever... forget it. This is getting ridiculous...

Yo, John! It's Time to Sh*t or Get Off the Pot...

The John Edwards endorsement watch has gotten ridiculous, with each major candidate "sneaking" off to kiss the ring of the third place finisher. I lost a lot of respect for Edwards, given all his bluster about being a fighter and given his withering attacks on Hillary Clinton as the candidate of the "status quo," when he decided to wait out the election to see which way the winds might blow before making an endorsement. I suspect, more than anything else, Edwards is angling for a spot - ANY SPOT - in a Clinton OR Obama administration. If true, this undercuts his whole persona as a crusader for key progressive values and makes him out to be just like every other scheming, ambitious politician. He claimed to be different...

To me, Edwards and Gore are very similar political figures: lots of pious bluster, but very little real backbone. Al Gore clearly loves his celebrity status as moral conscience of the nation on the environment; he has literally grown fat off of that celebrity persona. Yet, Gore has undermined that position by being unwilling to try to affect policy for real change. I understand why he might not want to run for office himself, but I think, given his moralizing and apocalyptic rhetoric, that he has an obligation to use his clout to try to put people in office that WILL affect policy on climate change. Ultimately, policy change is central to any broader and substantive environmental change.

So, John and Al, how about growing a backbone and taking a stand. Yes, that stand might mean some political risks, but that is how it works.

Put your money where your mouth is. It is time to sh*t or get off the pot...

What do YOU think about John Edwards and Al Gore? If Edwards does jump in with an endorsement, what - if any - impact do you think it will have on the race at this point? Might it tip the balance to Hillary or Barack? Might it sway a significant number of working-class white or lefty voters to whoever he chooses? Or, has he waited too long and have most of his people already reshuffled to a new candidate?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Rising Tide of Diversity in the U.S.

(click on map to enlarge)

The New York Times created and published this interesting map showing the growing diversity in the U.S a few months back. Here is the related article by Sam Brown: "Minorities Now Form Majority in One-Third of Most-Populous Counties"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Hey Hillary, MLK Was a Talker AND a Doer"

One of the preeminent historians of African American experience, Harvard Sitkoff, has written an interesting short piece in response to Hillary Clinton's comments about MLK, LBJ and change. Here is one nugget:

MLK was never a mere dreamer, never only a talker. He stood up for what is right, repeatedly putting his body on the line, going to jail again and again, constantly facing death threats. By such actions, King and a multiplicity of black leaders and movements at the grass-roots level mobilized black Americans as they had never previously been mobilized to collectively bring about change. King, above all, stirred African Americans’ emotions, raised their hopes, convinced them to believe in their abilities to alter history, and got them to come together to press for racial justice in a manner that could not be, and was not, denied.

To read the whole essay, click here: Sitkoff, "MLK Was Both a Talker and a Doer, Hillary"

I think all of this points out the way Hillary Clinton fundamentally misapprehends how social change occurs. You can hear it in her speeches, not only as she belittles and denigrates Obama's oratorical powers, but also in her persistent references to herself and to the idea that what we need most is a strong, experienced, centralized, supreme power. It is the constant refrain of "I," "I," "I." By contrast, Obama stresses "we" in his rhetoric. He is clear to tell his audience that real change depends on a movement, depends on the mass participation of millions of ordinary citizens, that only "we" can do this together. I think Obama has the cart and horse in the right order on this one. If real, transformative change is going to happen, the broader political context has to be different and Obama gets that. Clearly, he is the only remaining candidate that not only can win, but who might also have some coattails. Hillary is too polarizing and divisive; she may win, but she won't have significant coattails. And, if Obama were to come into office with a nice, comfortable majority in Congress, and a new coaliton of voters, that may enable him to be more bold, active and progressive that if he or Hillary is elected with a tightly split legislature.

But, back to the inspirational/empty rhetoric part of all of this. I feel strongly that charisma and visionary language actually matters quite a bit from the president. Such rhetoric can be central to cultivating the type of political context necessary to make governmental change. Clearly, Obama's rhetoric is not hollow, since it has connected with millions upon millions of citizens and turned them on to the process.

There is something amazingly condescending (cynical?) from Clinton and her supporters when they argue that Obama is full of hot air ("all hat, no cattle") and/or that Obama supporters have been somehow hoodwinked, or brainwashed by his blinding charisma. Hear the arrogance of that view? I've met hundreds and hundreds of Obama supporters in multiple states and I have yet to meet a single one who is glassy-eyed and clueless. In fact, at the events I've been to, I've been impressed by how highly engaged and conscious Obama folks are.

Anyway, check out Sitkoff's brief essay and think more broadly about what each candidate is telling us in terms of what lies ahead and what our responsibility in all of this is?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Nebraska Sudan Divestment Campaign

For those of you in Nebraska, a new group on the UNL campus has formed around the Darfur divestment issue... If you aren't in Nebraska, perhaps you could start one of these campaigns in your city.

Here is what the group has to say in a recent announcement:
The Nebraska Sudan divestment campaign is gaining momentum. This
Tuesday, February 19, B 992 will come before the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee. LB 992 would ensure that Nebraska is not investing in companies that are funding genocide in Sudan. This past month has shown us just how uncommitted the government of Sudan is to ending the genocide. Early this month, President Bashir appointed a key militia leader who helped orchestrate genocide in Darfur as a Senior Advisor on ETHNIC AFFAIRS. And if that's not shocking enough, last Friday, the government launched its largest offensive in months, attacking three Darfur villages and forcing 200,000 people out of their homes.

Let's keep up the pressure on Sudan. Please call these legislators and ask them to support and co-sponsor LB 992 to help end genocide. It's very important that they hear from YOU. If you've never contacted Nebraska legislators, make this your first time. They need to hear that we DO NOT support our state's investments in genocide.
(A script and sample email are provided below.)

Sen. John Synowiecki (District 7, Omaha)
(402) 471-2721

Senator Tom White (District 8, Omaha)
(402) 471-2722

Senator Philip Erdman (District 47, Bayard)
(402) 471-2616

Senator Lavon Heidemann (District 1, Elk Creek)
(402) 471-2733

Senator Russ Karpisek (District 32, Wilber)
(402) 471-2711

Senator LeRoy J. Louden (District 49, Ellsworth)
(402) 471-2725

22 states have already divested their funds from targeted companies operating in Sudan. This list of approximately 25 foreign companies have been found to be helping to fund the government of Sudan's genocidal campaign in Darfur.

Call your legislator today and demand that Nebraska not fund genocide.

Make sure to continue calling until the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee meets on February 19th in order to remind them to support the legislation!

I am a constituent calling to urge __________ to ensure that the investments of the state of Nebraska are genocide free by co-sponsoring LB 992. Twenty two states have passed policies of Sudan divestment, ensuring that they are not indirectly contributing to the ongoing genocide in Darfur which has killed over 200,000 people. Thank You.

Sample Email:
Dear Senator ___________,

As a constituent and Nebraskan, I am deeply troubled by the ongoing government-sponsored genocide currently being executed in Darfur, Sudan. For the first time in history, genocide has been officially declared while atrocities are still ongoing. The government of Sudan has systematically slaughtered non-Arab African populations in the country's Darfur region for over three years.

I find it deplorable that Nebraska's money is helping to fund the genocide in Sudan. I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor and support LB 992. These bills are "targeted Sudan divestment" legislation focusing only on foreign companies that have a business relationship with the government, impart minimal benefit to the country's underprivileged, and have failed to respond to attempts at shareholder engagement. Additionally, this critical legislation contains safeguards that project the state's pension funds and allow them to maintain their prudent investor responsibilities.

22 states have already passed or adopted policies of Sudan divestment. 15 of these states have passed the same language present in LB 992.

On New Year's Eve, President Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act which authorizes states to adopt policies of targeted Sudan divestment. This law was passed unanimously. Given the Sudanese government's historical sensitivity to economic pressure and the ongoing genocide in Darfur, I urge you to co-sponsor LB 992!




Contact Your State Legislators Today! Email Steph Sutton or Sarah Beringer, Co-chairs of Divest Nebraska, with questions.

Here is a brief trailer for a film on Darfur:

The Human Cost of War...

With the presidential nominating process dominating the news, some of you may have missed two recent stories that underscore the steep human toll the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are exacting on U.S. troops. As pollsters and pundits increasingly try to convince us that the war is no longer a major issue in the upcoming election, it might be a good idea for all of us to think hard about this human dynamic of the conflicts:

NYTimes: "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles"

Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.”

Individually, these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.

Three-quarters of these veterans were still in the military at the time of the killing. More than half the killings involved guns, and the rest were stabbings, beatings, strangulations and bathtub drownings. Twenty-five offenders faced murder, manslaughter or homicide charges for fatal car crashes resulting from drunken, reckless or suicidal driving.

About a third of the victims were spouses, girlfriends, children or other relatives, among them 2-year-old Krisiauna Calaira Lewis, whose 20-year-old father slammed her against a wall when he was recuperating in Texas from a bombing near Falluja that blew off his foot and shook up his brain.

A quarter of the victims were fellow service members, including Specialist Richard Davis of the Army, who was stabbed repeatedly and then set ablaze, his body hidden in the woods by fellow soldiers a day after they all returned from Iraq.

CNN: "Concern mounts over rising troop suicides"

Every day, five U.S. soldiers try to kill themselves. Before the Iraq war began, that figure was less than one suicide attempt a day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Clinton Campaign's Disdain for Democracy

OK. It will be no suprise to readers here that I am not a fan of the Clintons, or their DLC Republican-lite philosophy of Democratic Party politics. In addition, I have found their various attempts to willfully misrepresent or distort Obama's record, and their willingness to play the race card, despicable. It is now clear, in their desperation, that the Clinton campaign is going to drag this whole process back into the mud by going negative. More disturbing, the Clinton campaign has a clear disdain for democracy and for all of the people who don't live in "important" states like California and New York.

For just a taste of this arrogant, anti-democratic attitude, read the following statement by Clinton campaign Chief Strategist, Mark "cocaine, cocaine, cocaine" Penn:

“Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois? That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.”

So, all of us in "insignificant" states clearly don't matter to the Clinton campaign. This is probably why we were not good enough for her to show up a couple of weeks ago. Yet, if she does steal this thing, I am sure they will try to romance us again in the Fall.

At this point, it is incredibly difficult for the Clinton campaign to overtake Obama in pledged delegates, those delegates determined by actual voters in primaries and caucuses. So, they are turning to undemocratic measures, particularly the super-delegates and the sketchy seating of MI and FL delegates. I doubt this will work out for them in the end, but you never know. The party apparatus is stacked with former Clinton appointees. Also, people know that the Clintons have a history of severely punishing anyone who does not support their every move. If party people think she even has a chance to win, a certain number will jump on board out of fear of reprisal if she does steal this thing. That said, there are many, many in the party who are just looking for a solid opportunity to jump ship on the Clintons and get some payback for the last 15 or so years.

So, we will see which way this thing tips, but the anti-democratic arrogance of Penn and others in the campaign is offensive. Spread the word far and wide about these anti-democratic sentiments. Don't let the Clinton campaign swift-boat Obama...

- Redouble your efforts for Obama.
- Donate a little more money to his campaign.
- Talk to as many people in your circle as possible.
- Write a letter to your local newspaper.
- Write to the Clinton campaign and tell them what you think of their slimy tactics.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This American Life: "The Camera"

This American Life, with Ira Glass, is one of my favorite NPR programs. I haven't seen many episodes of the new tv version, but I like this story... and the animation is done by Chris Ware!

Is Hillary Tracy Flick?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Like Hope, Only Different...

By now, most folks on the Obama-train have seen the Will-i-am video, featuring Scarlet Johanssen and others. Now some folks have come up with a parody that mocks John McCain. It is worth a look and a laugh. Be sure to watch it all the way through:

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Manufactured Landscapes"

This new film looks really interesting and powerful...

MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of “manufactured landscapes”—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s materials and debris. The film follows him through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. With breathtaking sequences, such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory, the filmmakers also extend the narratives of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste.

In the spirit of such environmentally enlightening sleeper-hits as AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and RIVERS AND TIDES, MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES powerfully shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it, without simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions.

Here is the trailer:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Obama-mania Hits Nebraska!

UPDATE: Obama wins it big! Thank you, Nebraska...

Obama: 68%
Clinton: 32%

(Click on any of the below thumbnail photos to enlarge)

Event #1: 12,000 attend rally at Omaha Civic Auditorium (2/7/08)

Folks began lining up outside the Civic Auditorium at noon. We arrived at about 2pm. A few thousand people were there already. They told us my camera was too big to go in, but we smuggled it in anyway. To get onto the floor, you needed to go through metal detectors, so we took a seat in the first section of seats to the center-left of the stage. The place was packed and there was an excellent energy. Connor Oberst, of Bright Eyes and Saddle Creek Records fame, played a few songs to get things warmed up. After a bit of a wait, and several rounds of the wave, Mayor Fahey of Omaha introduced the governor of Iowa, who took the opportunity to endorse Obama. Next came Senator Ben Nelson, followed by the man himself, Barack. Obama spoke for about 45 minutes to an ecstatic audience. It was another soaring speech that hit all the right notes. It is clear that Obama is on his A game right now. He worked the crow with ease and grace. On the way out, there was a palpable energy and positivity in the crowd. Young people, old people, men and women, college students galore, African Americans, Latinos, whites, professionals, teachers and working-class folks, Democrats, Independents and more than a few Republicans, were all well-represented.

Event #2: Free Obama Concert by Bright Eyes w/ M. Ward at The Slowdown (2/7/08)

Omaha's claim to music fame these days is Connor Oberst and his group, Bright Eyes. Oberst is an excellent songwriter, if a bit morose. Bright Eyes records on Saddle Creak Records. Recently, Saddle Creak built a cool club, The Slow Down, near the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha. It is a great venue. Oberst got some friends together, including M. Ward, for a free Obama concert following the event at the Civic Center. There were more than 700 people (capacity and then some) at the show.

Event #3: Michelle Obama at the Lied Center in Lincoln, Nebraska (2/8/08)

Michelle Obama delivered a grand slam homerun of a talk. She spoke for about 40 minutes to an enthusiastic crowd of many hundred (the venue was filled). She really is impressive; I'd probably vote for her for president. She has been overlooked in this campaign and deserves more attention as a brilliant and successful woman, as well as a committed mother and wife. She models a really positive female identity!

Event #4: Street Rally for Obama in Lincoln, Nebraska (2/8/08)

From 6-8pm, along two full blocks of O Street, hundreds of students (and a smattering of older folks) stood holding signs, chanting, and soliciting honks from passing cars. Suffice it to say that it was a noisy two hours. The energy again was really positive. I've really never seen anything like this in a presidential campaign. People, particularly young people, but not exclusively young people, are really, really jazzed about the prospect of an Obama presidency. There is a palpable sense that history is being created at these events.

Event #5: The Caucus!

Event #6: The Democratic Caucus Party - Duggan's Pub, Lincoln, NE