Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

One more encouraging piece of news

Obama just scored an upset in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. For those of you who don't follow these things, Dixville Notch is the first place in the nation to vote. While polls open elsewhere at 7:00 a.m. Dixville opens at midnight. It's a town of 75 people, so the votes are tallied fairly quickly. The result? Obama 15, McCain 6. As small as this victory is for Obama, it may spell disaster for McCain, as the last time Dixville went for a democrat was when Humphry was running.

Last Looks


Here's my last stab at a map. My map is a little optimistic, but it's because I'm hoping for some good action in NC. A couple of things to look at in tomorrow's returns.

1. Keep an eye on Virginia and North Carolina. These are two Republican strongholds where Obama has made a great deal of impact. If he holds his lead in Virginia, or ekes out a win in North Carolina(they are statistically tied right now), look for a big night for the big O.

2. The Weather- Nate Silver from 538 has put up the weather for several swing states, including the following:

Minneapolis, MN Showers, 54F
Milwaukee, WI Scattered Showers, 57F
Indianapolis, IN Scattered Showers, 65F
Cleveland, OH Scattered Showers, 60F
Cincinnati, OH Scattered Showers, 65F
Pittsburgh, PA Scattered Showers, 58F
Philadelphia, PA Showers, 58F
Manchester, NH Scattered Showers, 54F
Arlington, VA Scattered Showers, 62F
Roanoke, VA Rain/Snow Showers, 49F
Charlotte, NC Scattered Showers, 61F
Jacksonville, FL Mostly Sunny, 74F
Miami, FL Scattered T-Storms, 80F

Conventionally, in some of these battleground states, we'd like to see nice weather. Nice weather brings people to the polls in droves, especially when they're trying to kick out an incumbent party. In this case though, the scattered storms and snow throughout swing states may end up enforcing the since of hopelessness ("What's the point in standing out in the rain if we're not ultimately going to win") on the part of Republicans hoping to score a last minute victory. This, coupled with the general excitement of the Democrats, could help run up a big Electoral Vote score.

4. The Montana Effect-Has nothing to do with Miley Cyrus, but more to do with the fact that Obama is tracking at about dead even out in Big Sky Country. Mostly, this depends on how this news is spinning throughout the rest of today and tomorrow. Deep focus on the fact that McCain is losing Montana will spark some Republicans to get out in the field, but mostly, it's going to spur a last minute insurgency in Democrats looking to deepen the electoral cut. This activity, coupled with a forecast for rain in some of the rural(like there's anything else in Montana), will make for some good action. I don't imagine that Montana will actually go blue, but it's going to be interesting to see the final numbers.

5.Arizona-This state is almost definitely not going blue. That being said, there has been a number of polls that have come out recently putting McCain's lead only
at about 4-6 points. While all you need is one vote to win, this is down substantially from the double digit lead McCain enjoyed a few weeks ago.
If Obama wins, look to Arizona(and Montana) to tell us how much of a "Mandate" he has at the end of the night.

6.Apparently CNN will have Holograms. So, there's that.

John McCain's Concession Speech

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Drawing

My friend Andrew does freelance art. Many times he does delightfully educating "How To Draw" instructions. As has been noted, I am a bit artistic myself. With this in mind, I thought I'd try to get in on the act.

How to draw a dog.

First, sit at your desk.

Now imagine a dog...any dog. Could be the dog that your brother ran over when he was learning how to drive.
Now get the idea in your head. Remember its color, shape, smell and taste.

Now proceed to put pen(cil) to paper.


Now, simply add some color and shading and...

TADA

You've got yourself a doggy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Christmas Tale

Once upon a time there was little family. This family had a daddy, a mommy and a little boy named Billy. Billy was a generally happy little boy. He loved to play trucks and Superman and sometimes would even catch pop flies on the baseball field. One winter, as Christmas neared he saw his Mommy and Daddy looking worried.

"Why are you so worried Mommy and Daddy?" he asked.

"Billy," they told him "You're Daddy's job at the steal mill is in danger."

It seems they were sending all of the jobs over to a far off place called South America, where they could pay the people less and hit them with whips just like in Indiana Jones.

That Christmas Eve Billy knelt by his bed and prayed and prayed to God.

"Please God, don't let daddy lose his job. He'll be sad. I'll give up all my gifts this year. Signing off, Billy."

The next morning Billy sprang out of bed and ran down stairs to tell his mommy and daddy what he's prayed about. But when he got to the bottom of the stairs he heard his mommy and daddy crying.

Billy hadn't gotten his wish, his daddy had lost his job.
That next year was very hard for Billy and his family. His daddy would cry and holler at them all the time. Sometimes they had to go stay at shelters (just like Mary and Joseph did!). Right before Christmas, Billy's daddy drove him to the Steel Mill where he used to work. He told Billy to stay in the car. He got out of the car holding a little bag and went inside.

A few minutes later Billy heard loud bangs and some loud shouting. Just as he was about to get out of the car to see what was going on, his daddy came out covered in red stuff and waving a gun. Before his daddy could get to the car, some police men drove up and pulled their guns on him. Billy's dad looked at Billy and then at the police. He then aimed his gun at his head and pulled the trigger.

The big ambulance came and took Billy and his daddy away. That night, sitting at the bed at the hospital he prayed once again to God. This time he prayed even harder, shutting his eyes tight and clasping his hands.

"Dear God, let my daddy live. I'll never ask for anything else for Christmas! Signing off, Billy."

Billy didn't get his wish that year either.

He cried and cried all year. He got interviewed by all kinds of important looking people and was even on the news, but nothing made him feel better. He missed his daddy and so did his mommy. She would just sit and stare at nothing, glassy eyed like a teddy bear.

On Christmas Eve of that year Billy went to his bed and prayed one more time.

"God," he said "You didn't let my daddy keep his job and you didn't save his life. Please grant me this wish..let me see him one more time this Christmas. Signing off, Billy." Billy climbed into bed, his hands hurting from praying so hard.

Billy woke up in the morning and walked down stairs. He was surprised to see all the neighbors standing around. They all got quiet as he came into the room.

"Billy," his mom said, "we've got a surprise for you. I heard you praying last night and I told some of the neighbors about it. They all helped me out a little bit…so here he is! Your father!"

Through the dirt and stink he saw the corpse of his father. Ms. Donnelly from next door made the body wave.

Billy ran up and hugged his daddy's corpse!

"Thank you neighbors! Thank you God! You have given me the best present of all! God Bless us everyone!"

That night, they all cooked and ate Daddy. And he was the best Christmas dinner ever.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Town Hall, Shmown Hall, Prawn Hall

For this debate we decided to go over to le blog de Gabrielle.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Live Blogging Biden vs. Palin

We're at our apartment, with Edmund Fitzgerald, Blue Moon, a bunch of marshmallows and an eye on tomorrow. Or, um. The future. Gabrielle and Katharine join me in our down home take on the Most Important 90 Minutes of Your Entire Life.


9:32 B-Book it. Done.

9:31: K- I'm still boggling over Palin's closing comments. Blargh!

9:30: K- Joe Biden, it might be the beer talking, but I want to make out with you. Have I mentioned that?

9:30:K- Mainstream Media. Ronald Reagan. And she's quoting "Proud to be an American"????

9:29: G - OH NO KATIE COURIC HURT HER FEELINGS. I think my mom is trying to call Palin's office to set up a tennis date. BLUGH.

9:29: G - I love that movie.

9:28: G - THE GREATER GOOD! I wonder if Sarah Palin ever saw Hot Fuzz.

9:28: G - Ten bucks says Sarah's about to wink at me again. Here she goes.

9:27: G - Sarah Palin once made the mistake of choosing streamers over balloons for the senior prom. FAIL.

9:27:B- Hee hee. Number 2.

9:25: K- There's just something about Sarah Palin that presses my "SNARK" button and holds it down.

9:24: K- I'm just glad that he hasn't said anything completely offensive or vaguely patronizing.

9:24: K- Mmmmm, moral terpitude.

:24: K- Drunk. Kinda want to make out with Joe Biden.

9:24: John McCain is to Maverick as some retarded lie is to truth.

9:23: "MCCAIN IS THE MAN EVERYONE WANTS TO LEAVE." You're damn right, Sarah. First right thing you said all night.

9:22: G - MAVERICK! Everybody drink!

9:20: G - "What is your achilles heel?" is exactly what they asked in my job interview. I blacked out then, but I'm pretty sure I said something to the effect of "Sometimes I'm just too dedicated to my job and helping others and getting things done. I have a tendency to 'get the job done.' Also I'm a maverick."

9:18: B- Does Palin have a special needs child in Iraq.

9:17: K- Joe Biden, so hot! VP role, lay it out for us. ROWR!

9:15: K- Joe Biden: OSFDVPCILF. Hawt! Sarah Palin just said "tapping into," she wants to hit it as well. Also, Sarah Palin's flag pin looks like she bought it on QVC.

9:14: G - Joe Biden: VPILF

9:14: G - Palin sure is winking a lot. She must be scared. Agh she did it again. STOP. WINKING.

9:13: B: A shout out to third graders? At least she's speaking to people on their level.

9:11: K- DOGGONE IT???????? GOD BLESS HER, HER REWARD IS IN HEAVEN???? Is that a snide reference to his first wife who is, ostensibly, in heaven. THIRD GRADERS CAN'T VOTE!

9:10: K- Wasilla, AK: MILF capitol or Meth capitol? Also, I have no doubt that Joe Biden frequents the Home Depot in Wilmington, DE. I think I stood behind him in line to buy beer and cigs, that I then smuggled over the border to Pennsylvania.

9:09: K- I don't care what Ben says, I don't want to eff Sarah Palin, hot lesbian MILF or no.

9:08: B- Now we're on to what would happen if the Prez died. I'm pretty sure Palin's going to say "wet myself"

9:07: G - Also can I just say five years in a box is not my idea of real life experience. There.

9:06: G - What war did John McCain? Oh, the Civil War. OK. Cuz it wasn't Vietnam. ALL KINDS OF SIGHS.

9:06: G - Dark beer goes with chocolate. Light beer goes with marshmallows. YES.

9:06: G - Sarah Palin begs to disagree.

9:05: G - Bring it home, Joe! MCCAIN IS WRONG WRONG WRONG!

9:04: G - I keep expecting Sarah Palin to ask me to put up my tray and return my seat to the upright position.

9:03: G - Uh oh. Here comes Sarah. It's all about the great state of Alaska. That's really wonderful. Ya know, I used to want to take a cruise to Alaska, and now I never will. SAD SARAH SAD.

9:00: B- Biden says Nuclear correctly. Apparently he's the one who can talk. If you can't say it, you shouldn't be able to use them.

8:58: G - I want to buy Biden a drink and some fish and chips down the street at O'Bama's, my local Irish pub

8:57: G - I just want to say Biden is a BADASS for starting his sentences with "Gwen" instead of "Sarah." He must know he would sound condescending if he said ANYTHING directly to the cutesy wootsy pretend wannaba governor.

8:57: G - SHE WON'T STOP SAYING IT!

8:56: K- "Nu-cu-lar." Everyone drink!

8:55: K- MAVERICK! RESPECT. Oooh, "past is prologue." Joe Biden, that's profound. I'd buy him an Edmund Fitzgerald.

8:53: K- God, this Edmund Fitzgerald is delicious. Gabrielle says that Sarah Palin's voice reminds her of a flight attendant's: friendly but authoritative. Thanks for flying the friendly Straight Talk Express. Considering my mom was a flight attendant (and she's uber-Republican), the comparison is not lost on me. But I digress.

8:53: B- Biden and Israel. BFF!
8:51: B - SPAIN

8:50: G - Our friends and allies have also told Sarah to SIT DOWN, SIT DOWN, SIT DOWN.

8:49: G - Yeah I went there.

8:48: G - Sarah had a "good conversation" with her pal Hank Kissinger recently. They gabbed about .... woah RESPECT FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS. Um. Look in the mirror lady. You are our own posterchild for the American Taliban. YAH I WENT THERE.

8:48: G - Downright naive. Downright dangerous. Downright MILF: The Sarah Palin story.

8:45: B-Iran vs. Pakistan. Can Palin pronounce things that don't involve downs syndrome, Alaska or hockey?

8:43: B-War funding debate. Everyone has voted against funding the war as it turns out. Why can't we all agree at the same time?

8:41: K- "Exit strategy" reminds me of a euphemism for bodily functions. Also, Joe Biden asserts that we will end this war, and Sarah Palin is LYING. LYING. Gah!

8:40: K- I think Sarah Palin keeps saying "straight up" as a subliminal message that we should all be straight. Also, I wish Joe Biden would say something about the states' involvement in talking about gay marriage, because there's a difference between saying your administration doesn't "support" it and saying that gay marriage isn't necessarily a federal issue. Which many people would agree with.

8:39: G - The crowd either just laughed or all just got shot.

8:38: G - Please stop saying straight up.

8:38: G - Sarah Palin is telling you straight up that she is insane.

8:37: G - Is Sarah Palin's husband gay?

8:36: G - I just found a hair in my noodles.

8:36: G - Woo equal rights for different sex couples!

8:34: B - Where's Palin from? Is it Alaska? It must be because her Alaskan lapel pin is above the USA flag. She must be a terrorist.

8:34: G - Barack Obama will invest not only in wind and water but heart, earth and fire!

8:33: G - Alright Biden, slow down. Don't get teachery. You're doin good.

8:32: G - Sarah Palin: Other countries don't care hard enough about the environment.

8:30: K- Hey, Sarah Palin, as a leader of the nation's only arctic state, how do you feel about polar bears eating each other?

8:29: K- Hi, this is Katharine. Gabrielle and I carried my gorgeous West Elm chair 6 blocks, then ran out to buy beer. Delicious. I also got a haircut today, and my stylist said that Sarah Palin's hair is "unprofessional." But she also said that she "feels bad for Sarah Palin." I don't feel sorry for Sarah Palin, not at all. Oh boy, climate change.

8:26 B - I don't think Palin even knows what the questions are..

8:25: G - Oh hi. Katharine brought her own chair. We brought 12 beers and will now begin drinking them as quickly as possible. Also I think Sarah Palin just winked at me and I am not comfortable with this.

8:24 Palin doesn't answer any questions.

8:20 Biden says McCain's health care plan is "the ultimate bridge to nowhere" snap girl friend.

8:17 Palin just accused Biden of being a Communist. She talked about his ideas of "redistribution of wealth." Welcome to the 1950's.

8:15 "I may not answer the questions they way you ask them..." Palin. They clearly didn't write out her talking points the right way.

8:13 Next time she says "Darn right" I'm gonna hit something.

8:10. I lose the bet. The first "Hockey Mom" referance comes only 10 minutes in. She's talking about the American peoples economic troubles like it's a kid with chicken pox. Awww!

8:08 Palin is trying to cover up for the "Economy is strong" gaffe from McCain just before the economy tanked. Jeez. It probably hurts to lie like that.

8:05 He's refering to Palin as Govoner Palin, she wants to refer to him as Joe. Jesus she's talking about the economy by refering to polling at a soccer game. Poor people can't afford to go to soccer games. Did you know that. She sounds a little shakey.

...Biden's up first. Economic Policy. He's cool and collected. I imagine Palin is fidgiting in the corner. We're starting with spacifics of Obama's plan. Cool and collected. It's the details that are going to get Palin.

8:03 The candidates meet. Palin "Hey can I call you Joe?" very folksy

8:01 Gwen Ifill. She's an eyeful. She's got a nice blue almost reflecty coat.

8:01 No, it turns out. I was wrong. There will be no men with tight pants.

8:00 Olberman "Good Night and Good Luck". He's comparing the debate to the the Giants/Patriots Superbowl. I assume it's because of the abundance of men with tight pants who will be flooding the stage.

7:59. Sitting alone at home. The menu? Noodles and rice. International fair..ish.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Palin Fail

There's been much made in recent days of Sarah Palin's apparent inability to accomplish anything. We've been hearing that she's unintelligent and incoherent. We've heard she's narrow minded and bigoted. We've heard she's a moronic zealot who disregards the facts in front of her, instead opting to create a world of half-formed truths and outright lies.

We've heard all of these things, and thus far I have seen nothing to convince me otherwise.

To be honest though, it's not the sheer idiocy or hubris of Palin’s attitude, it's her complete and total lack of curiosity that bothers me.

Here's a bit of the infamous Katie Couric interview that's been bouncing around causing havoc on the campaign for the last week.


COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.



The video is above.

I've sat through Palin's offensive comments about economics, evolution and homosexuality without blinking. I've listened as Palin herself set the cause of feminism back by decades. I've even withheld my laughing when she fumbled over sentences that a middle schooler could construct. But for some reason, it's this kind of thing that bothers me the most.

We're at the tail-end of a decade that's been ruled by a man whose mental deficiency has only been outweighed by his intellectual stagnation. We’ve scraped and shuddered through the last 8 years and have finally come out on the other side, wounded but still breathing. The last 8 years has seen us continually lower the bar to the point where we can’t even separate it from the ground. It’s not a road we can afford to continue traveling down.

Conversations like VP Candidate Palin’s with Katie Couric are evidence of not her inability to consider the issues, but simply her unwillingness to do so. Her words continue the unspoken Bush mantra that dictates that a “complex mind is too cluttered by facts and points of view.”

You want to know one of the main reasons that we are constantly facing issues in education, accountability standards and inability to compete in the world market?

It’s this.

It’s our leaders cavalierly standing up and saying “I don’t need to learn about or consider issues, I know what is right.” It’s the point of view that “We don’t want Ivy League elite running our country; we just need a regular guy. Someone who is plain spoken. You know, the kind whose only Champaign is Miller High Life.” It’s the fact that our leaders continually use education as a wedge issue, batting it back and forth instead of actually doing something about it.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Sarah Palin is not a stupid person. She’s honestly not. Her problem is that she doesn’t have an active mind.

What we need is someone who is willing to embrace complexity.

This election can help us put to an end the idea of black and white, not only in a racial sense, but also in a broader intellectual sense.

We need a world class mind who, above all, values people and ideas as the currency as the currency on which this country was founded.

We need someone who realizes that this isn’t a game or a test, that each vote and each decision should be an expression of the depth of commitment to not only the dream of freedom and equality, but to the idea that each person deserves the dignity that comes with healthcare and a good wage.

We need someone who realizes that freedom is a fragile concept. That America was created as an experiment to show the world that no matter how delicate freedom is, it is the birthright of all of humanity.

We are all shepherds of this experiment and we owe it to ourselves, to our history and our future to strengthen our minds and open our eyes to the world that surrounds us.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Liveblogging: Obama vs. McCain Round One

At Patty O'Irishes with Gabrielle, Katharine and Giovanni. Live blogging the first debate. We're surrounded by our two favorite things: Democrats and fried fish

41:B: The Crowd here laughs very hard when they mention the VP Debates. All is as it should be.
Post Game
40: K - McCain won't look at Obama because Obama knows about his soulless eyes.

39: G - Did you know John McCain was tortured?

38: G - I would say we should drunk every time Barack says "judgment," but it just makes me want to stop drinking and get a job and be a good person. So!

38:B- Did you know that McCain was in a prison of some sort?

35: B - McCain says that Obama needs experience.

34: G - Oh no belief! You can't have belief, Barack. That's your problem. McCain is going to take care of the veterans! He loves them! Thanks Big Bro! Take care of 'em all the way to the public grave.

33: G - PLEASE PUNCH HIM AGAIN. Also I think McCain's suit is terribly tailored. Have I talked about his sleeves yet? HIS SLEEVES!

32: K - I'm still boggling over the North Korea-South Korea comment. Hai, Barack, thanks for bringing the discussion back around to your earlier comments about health care, economy, education, veterans. National Security IS related to these other issues. Thanks for bringing it back to the subject.

31: G - DRINK!

29:B- Who is the Reagan guy that McCain keeps talking about? Was he some sort of 1940's movie star?

28: B-McCain thinks that emboldening our enemies has somehow decreased the chances of us being attacked again. Obama thinks that we need to be protecting ourselves, but he's got actual examples.

22: B- I don't think McCain can hear when other people are trying to speak. I think he needs one of those big ear horn things. You know the things that look like gramaphone speakers.

21: B - Did you know McCain went to Georgia once? Gee! He can prove it because he saw a poster there.

18: G - Has anyone ever had those potato chips that give you loose nukes? Those are so goddamn delicious, i tell it's worth it. Oh also something about Russia. Did you know Sarah Palin blah blah blah?

18: K: Obama suggests not looking into McCain's eyes because he has no soul

14: K: SPAIN? Also, and I don't want to mock McCain for things like appearance, but geez, between the posture and the thinning hair, dude looks like Mr. Burns.

13:B: Did McCain just say that the North Koreans are three inches shorter than South Koreans? That's a problem we can take care of...just give them McCains Frankenstein shoes.

11:B: Turns out McCain needs to check with Kissinger about his policy..unless, it turns out that Henry is a SPY!

10: K: Obama's kinda awesome. He's not all, "I'm not coming to the tea party unless I can wear my prettiest frock." Cuz sometimes you have to participate with talks without preconditions.

09: K: McCain cites Reagan again. Drink! I also suggest a shot every time McCain mispronounces a name. I'm already drunk.

08: G - I had no idea I was so angry.

07: G - did you know John McCain is an old idiot? WHO CAN'T PRONOUNCE THE NAMES OF PEOPLE HE WANTS TO BLOW UP.

07: G - I wish Obama could hear us clapping.

05: G - Way to get the pro jew remark in there, Barack! Nice.

03: OG - I'm not sure why McCain needs to remind people of successful war strikes and try to apply that to unrelated issues.

03: G - McCain: "and then she said "please wear my son's cock ring. And ladies and gentleman, my fellow americans, that is just what I am doing right now. I. AM. SO. HARD." - (I will not be voting for this man)

02: G - McCain will SERIOUSLY MUDDLE THROUGH

01: I like the term Obama whips his out...not so much for McCain. I like that they were gabbing about jewelry.

00: K- Obama whips his out too. Apparently not all grieving mothers want to keep this charade going.

8:00: K - McCain likes wearing jewelry. And bringing up grieving mothers and dead soldiers. Respect his authoritay.

59: G - Seriously are John McCain's arms like 2 feet long? Wait...is he being controlled by a Muppeteer?!!?!?! IS FRANK OZ A REPUBLICAN?!!?!? NOOOOOOOO

59: G - I wanna hear Obama talk again. His voice doesn't make my ears bleed.

59: G - REAGAN! EVERYBODY DRINK!

58: G - ummm all this about you wanting to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran?

57: G - Did you know that John McCain killed 5 GILLION BAGILLION north koreans in his mind?

56:B- McCain said "I would not publicly SAY that I'd attack Pakistan" that's clear and accountable governing.

55:B- G just punched an old guy sitting next to us.

54:B - Also he's defending Pakistan and talking about "inner-marriage".

53:B - McCain is admitting that reducing the number of troops Afghanistan was a mistake.

52: G - Poppy trade! Like from the Wizard of Oz. That ended well, right?

51: K: STRATEGIC MISTAKE.

50: K - McCain: "Ohai! Didja know that Petraeus and Osama bin Laden have something in common? Tweety Bird tattoo in a sensitive area." Okay, just kidding. Something about Iraq being the central battle ground, yadda yadda yadda. Anddddd...Obama's back with common sense.

49: G - PUNCH HIM.

48: OG - Key difference in military strike: Obama won't use a hatchet when he only needs a scalpel.

47: G - Someone punch McCain.

47: K: And, Obama's all "now lemme bring you back to the subject."

46: K: And McCain interrupts Jim Lehrer again. Wait, is he saying that he was in Iraq fighting for Iraqi freedom? No, just giving a pep talk. Apparently the troops were talking smack about Obama and equating McCain with peace and prosperity. Buhhhh?

45: K - "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007." And, the crowd goes wild.

44: Let's get back to the Core Issue Here, baby.

44: Come on Obama, bring it home.

44: Seriously I hate this guy. Hate.

43: My brain turns off when McCain speaks

42: Obama is connecting the war with the financial crisis. McCain is ignoring questions.

40: McCain says that he's not Miss Congeniality, I guess that's Sarah Palins job.

38:Obama just said "orgy" and "hard to swallow" in the same sentence, the women here cheered.

35:I'm kind of done listening to Republicans give advice about the economy. McCain say's "He's got plans" Big plans.

33: OG - Actually he said freeze on everything but defense and veterans. still WHAT THE FUCK?! The teachers at the next table are pissed. Obama says freezing is taking a hatchet where you need a scalpel.

33: G - GET 'IM BARACK!

32: G - Spending freeze on veterans?!!?!? WHAT THE FUCK?!

:30: K: Jim Lehrer: "So no one wants changes?" Obama: "Subsidies to Medicare? Not so efficient." He also calls John "Tom," after some super conservative guy. I bet my mom loves him.

:28: B: McCain just accused Obama of having the most liberal voting record in the Senate. The crowd here went wild.

8:27:B: Obama lays out specific ideas of things that we have to do in the next 4 years.

8:25: B: Let the fights begin. Apparently McCain isn't interested in debating just, bitching at Obama.

8:24: B: McCain just said "I think the American people would be interested in Obama's definition of rich." That's interesting considering he said that anything below a half million a year is considered middle class.

8:23: G - Look at him my friends! We're all going to go out and "purchase health care"! Have you ever purchased health care?

8:22: G - Thanks Giovanni!

8:21: OG: McCain doesn't want to "debate", but he's at a debate. What else is he there for? Monologues?

8:20 G - Alright it's time for Giovanni! Thanks for being here, Other G! What do you have to say about these stupid douchebag white guy with the brain crushing whiney shrill punch in the face of a void. I am talking about john mccain. And go.

8:19 G - McCain is making me so angry that I almost ripped my money in half.

8:18 G - Thanks Kathx!

8:16 K- McCain: "I speak with a whistle and carry a medium-point sharpie to veto excess spending." Obama: "300 billion is more than 18 billion; McCain is going to screw Average America. Tax cut the Ordinary American, mkay? Then y'all can buy iBooks and liveblog yourselves."

8:16 G - I'm going to make Katharine liveblog now so she has liveblogging experience and can put it on her resume. Go Katharine! What do you have to say?!! America wants to know!

8:15 We've heard the term Wall Street vs. Main Street 5 times. Now it's time to count the times they say "Fundamentally"
8:13-Obama wins this point by saying that we need accountability, not only when we are in a crisis. We need it day in and day out. McCain seems a little confused and not specific.

8:09 Direct talking between the two candidates. Apparently McCain is talking about DDE and taking accountability.

8:08:-B-McCain, same question...talking about bipartisan work going on right now. "Most dangerious crisis of our time...and I've been around a long time." He's old, get it?

8:05:-B- Nailed it. Ripped into Bush and trickle down economics.

8:03-B- Opening question to Obama-Global Financial Crisis.

8:01-B-Well McCain is there...too bad.

8:01-B- Here we go. Jim Leher is laying out the rules. He looks like his eyes are unusually sunken. Maybe it's his makeup.

8:00 Debate is about to Begin

7:52:-B-Chris Mathews always sounds like he's yelling or is raspy FROM yelling.

7:50:-B-Just listening to people here, it seems like people are finally paying attention to Katie Couric.
7:45:-B-It's been 45 minutes, still no real interviews with Republicans. I like this network.

7:40:-B-Free Pizza.

7:33: Kathx and Giovanni are here. They have blogs too! Not LIVE blogs though. Sad.

7:32: I really want rainbow cake. Anyway Sarah Palin sucks so hard, did you know. I have a lot to add.

7:31: G - Oh also hi! My name's Gabrielle. I don't belong here. ::wave::

7:30 B- 30 minutes until it starts this place is filling up. I see something that might resemble a free buffet, but there's no telling what the future may bring.

7:22 B-There's a call from a conservative writer for Sarah Palin to pull out. I think the joke in this is "Pulling out didn't work for her daughter." I could be wrong.

7:18 B-If I were gay I'd have sex with Keith Olbermann's self righteousness

7:16 B- There's another person with a laptop, she looks like a little more professional than we do. She probably thinks we're just checking our email.

7:14 G -You call this a fish fry? My god, Northerners do not fish fry well, do they. In my time, in my day, in my crooked town our fish fries were fresh delicious and free, open bar included.

7:13 G - Liveblogging as a couple is a fun way to drink, minimize conversation while still spending quality bonding time.

7:10 B- Robert Gibbs from the Obama campaign is raising the bar for McCain, seems like everyone has been lowering McCain expectations this week, it's good to see the Dem's reversing the trend and making sure that McCain has to do more than not throw up on himself to be considered a success.

7:08: B -Keith seems to be focusing on interviewing Obama campaign staff, everyone seems pretty confident.

7:04: G - I just bought a thin $10 shirt with a picture of two blue fists possibly pumping one another. It says "vote." I hope it's clear I'm for Obama. I'm also wearing my hair in a blue ribbon. These are the sorts of political points I have on hand to use for banter.

7:03: G - You can distinguish between Gabrielle and Ben by these charming Gs and Bs, also you can tell which ones are mine because I liveblog in specific real time...I don't do "ish"

7ish: B - Patty O'Splains. 56 minutes until the debate begins. Keith Olbermans sensitive tones are floating through the skeletal beginnings of the debate party. Lots of casual looking Democrats with Priuses walking around meaning well. We were just asked if MSNBC is partisan enough. I say yes.

7:00 pregame

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some Baby Names for a Family Member...from Gabrielle and Ben

  1. Calvin
  2. Daniel
  3. Ransom
  4. Kyle
  5. Samuel
  6. Luke
  7. Orson
  8. Mork
  9. Frodo
  10. Barack
  11. Pippin
  12. Colin
  13. Haggot
  14. Fenis
  15. Grover
  16. Growfoot
  17. Shutup
  18. Trouble
  19. Trig
  20. Ewan
  21. Geo
  22. Arith
  23. Meat
  24. Lumpkin
  25. Perry White
  26. Capper
  27. Mert
  28. Grit
  29. Mr. Darcey
  30. Gabriel
  31. Finn
  32. Red Ethan
  33. Obi Wan
  34. Feral Sam
  35. Trig
  36. Gross
  37. Happy Meal
  38. Butthead
  39. Thorne
  40. Downsy Baby
  41. Joel Shumaker's Batman and Robin
  42. Donor 431
  43. Pickle
  44. Chris is Adopted
  45. Chick Fil a
  46. Stinky
  47. Harry Huggles
  48. Compton
  49. Weenie
  50. Email
  51. Barton Fink
  52. Optimus Prime
  53. Superman
Vote on your favorite

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tips for my very good friend who has a phone interview today

1.Charge Your Phone.

You don't want them to thin you have a negative effect on Electronics. People in offices usually like electronics to stay on, and if you have some sort of super power that causes you to short out phones and computers, they might just go with someone else.

2. Talk with your mouth full

This let’s the potential employer know that you are indeed eating. It shows that your not too desperate for the job. Also, it let’s them know what you’ll sound like over lunch.

3. Answer the phone “Whaddya want?”

A small detail, but it lets the potential employer know that you are a busy person who doesn’t like to take time out of your day for idle chitchat.

4. Make sure that there is loud music, noise, moaning in the background

This is a tip that let’s them know that you may work hard, but you are also able to have a good time. It also will show them that you will be comfortable with the loud music, noise, and moaning in the office.

5. Dress Up

Even though you’re just interviewing over the phone, that’s no reason not to be formal. People in HR have good hearing, they can hear the rustle of a starched shirt or an ironed hoop skirt. Be sure to tell them what you are wearing at every chance you get. This will remind them of the subtleties of your wardrobe like ties, hair bows, or bonnets.

6.If you get another call answer it

People like to employ applicants who have a strong sense of friendship and family, ignoring the calls from your friend Big Dave could indicate that you’re not an agreeable person. So tell the employer that it’s Big Dave and that you’ll call them back.

7. Exaggerate how you look.

The first impression is the one that’ll stick with them. Tell them that you’re taller or more muscular. It will instantly intimidate them and let them know that you’re a beautiful person.

8. Cry.

Never underestimate a good cry. The best part about doing this on the phone is that you don’t actually have to have those expensive fake tears. It will get you sympathy.

9. Brag about your phone

Those who are employed love to talk about phones. They’ll love you if you tell them about all your applications and how you got a cracked iPhone really cheap.

10. At the end of the phone call, don’t let them go

Say “You hang up first! You hang up first!” This will let them know that you are committed to the interview and will be equally committed to the company.

So, I hope this helps.

Subtlety Of Religious Intolerance

Over the last 18 months we've seen a parade of attack ads on Obama from all sides. They say he isn't experience enough. They say he's too young. They say he speaks of lofty ideals and hazy details. They say he's a Muslim.

It's this last issue that I think represents the most disturbing line of attack on not only Mr. Obama, but also on religious tolerance itself. It's being used as a wedge issue to scare potential voters and drum up pride for "Christian Family Values."

The fact is that Obama is a Christian. He attends church and has pride in his deeply personal relationship with God.

But the real problem is that all of these attacks is that they show we are a nation manipulated by fear and intolerance. That people expect us to cower of those things that are different. They expect all of this, and sadly we meet these expectations.

Here's what we've been saying.

Hate Monger:Don't Vote for Obama, he's a Muslim.

Cowering Liberal Pinko:No he's not! I can't believe you'd say he's a Muslim! That's horrible! He's a Christian! You're just saying that because he's black! You Racist!

In this exchange, the Liberal Pinko(the good guy) are, by reacting so violently against the accusation of being a Muslim, affirming the Hate Monger's(the bad guy) unspoken point that being Muslim is inherently bad.

Though, chances are we're right on about the racism thing, here's what we should be saying.

Hate Monger:Don't vote for Obama, he's a Muslim.

Cowering Liberal Pinko:What does Religion have to do with this?

Hate Monger: He's a Muslim.

Liberal Pinko: Personally, I take him at his word that he is of the Christian faith, but even if he were a Muslim, I'd still vote for him. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism and almost all of the other world Religions, is based on peace. It is a religion that honors family and community. A religion whose prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying"Not one of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." It is a religion that shares it's deepest roots with Christianity and Judaism. According to the Old Testament, we are all sons and daughters of Abraham.
I assume when you say Muslim you mean terrorist. You friend are an ignorant, racist, anti-Semitic, hate monger.
Besides, he's a candidate for president, not pope. Religion has nothing to do with it. How would you feel if I told you that Lincoln was an atheist?
High tail it back to your clan wagon and go hunt moose with your ignorant degrading friend Palin. Maybe the two of you can talk about how nice it was 6,000 years ago when the Earth was created.

Hate Monger: Ben, you're so cool.

Liberal Pinko: I know.

Hate Monger: I'm informed now, no longer am I a hate monger.

Liberal Pinko: Go forth.

Love Monger:I love life.

Fish Monger:Fish sticks anyone?

All: OH YEAH!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What's Next...

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
“The American Promise”
Democratic Convention
Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Denver, Colorado
As Prepared for Delivery

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
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Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
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Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what – it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Friday, August 22, 2008

On Hillary.

I think the rabidly Hillary crowd is endangering the progress that women have made in politics over the last 50 years. I think it's sad, but it's true. The longer that this increasingly heated schism goes on, the more Republicans are going to say, "Look at those women. They just don't know how to lose. They're spoiled and will hold their breath until they get their own way." Now before we start shouting let me just clarify the following.
  • I know that all Hillary supporters aren't women.
  • I know Hillary isn't the one roiling the water.
  • and, I know that all Republicans aren't that simple minded.
With those things being said, I am increasingly concerned about the picture that is being spun. We find ourselves awash in blogs and opinion pages demanding that Hillary's name be kept on the ballot next week. These individuals seem to be huffing and puffing and can be accurately compared to the little kid who doesn't get picked for the team so he takes his ball and goes home. It's distressing to see this from the Democrats. But more than that, we're creating an image that the next serious female presidential candidate(perhaps Hillary herself) will have to overcome. Like it or not, people are going to remember this campaign as the first time a woman had a serious chance to win the Presidency and the Dems. run the risk of forever pigeonholing female candidates as week and unable to come to terms with reality.

For the record, I don't believe that...It's just how this will get spun.

I'm a supporter of Hillary's. I have been for a long time. She has battled for more good and survived more scarring than any human should be expected to. She's been demonized by the right for being too strong of a woman. She fought a soul shattering battle for universal health care. She lived through humiliation and disappointment and survived it all to become one of the greatest Senators of her generation. I am a big supporter of hers.

But, I'm also a supporter of Obama. I believe his energy and passion is exactly what our country needs after four years of ruination and political venom from the Republicans. He makes us want to believe in America again. In what we all can accomplish and build together. He has a long history of on the ground community organizing, getting real and palpable results for the people he helped. He brings a history of curiosity and gravitas to the office that hasn't been seen in generations. He is what Bobby Kennedy could have been.

I chose Obama because I needed something to inspire me again. It had nothing to do with race or gender. It's just that he does what a great person ought to do, inspire you to view the world in a different way and believe that you can make a difference.

But honestly. Here's what bothers me.
There are more important things at stake than bruised ego's and paradigm shifts. The next four years is going to see unprecedented challenges and equally unprecedented opportunity. Chances are, the next four years will see the departure of at least one Supreme Court Justice, and we will face locking in the court that will serve us for a generation. Do we want to risk Roe? Rights to Privacy? A President who will further Americas recent reputation as an intractable warlord?

The answer to all of that no.

It's time for us to all grow up. I'd say the same thing if Hillary had won. We need to see the next four years as an opportunity to fulfill the best of what America can be.

America, and I say this with full knowledge of how sappy it sounds, is the greatest experiment the modern world has ever known. It is based on using the greatest parts of each of its citizens to empower those whose voices are lost in the fray. We have not only the chance, but the duty to live up to this dream.

It's time for us to realize the responsibilities to ourselves, to our people and to our future.

Let's grow up and get to work.

Obama/Biden

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh, how the past returns to haunt us.

We spend the majority of our lives running from a specter that looms in our rear-view mirror. Be it regret or guilt or a Tyrannosaurus Rex, we race away. "Ben," I hear you saying "that's a mixed metaphor, you don't have a rear-view mirror when you run." All I can say is that I do, and that you're obviously not being safe enough. Look at this product(not me pictured below):

Some people might question why I would wear it. Here's my rational.
  1. Ninjas never attack you from the front. With this handy thing you'll be able to dodge their throwing stars or flying death kicks with ease.
  2. In a world where you are constantly being judged by your looks, it's nice to be able to stare at your face constantly, it makes you acutely aware of any blemishes or imperfections so that you can obsess about them and submit yourself for costly surgery.
  3. Everybody looks cooler running in a helmet.
  4. The beard. Personally, I can't grow one very well. I sported one during NCCC, but it was really more of a neck beard and just resembled a large red rash. So, though I no longer have one, it's comforting to know that this would still work.
  5. In Chicago we have a problem with things falling from the sky, be it ice or Sky-Lab or accusations against our elected officials, it helps to have a layer of plastic to protect you.
  6. I don't run very well; I tend to look panicked, as if I'm fleeing something. This let's me keep track of who's mocking me for future reference.
So that's the reason I wear one of these things when I run from my past.

I was like you once. I thought it didn't matter, that I could run and run and never look back. But let me tell you what happens. That piece of toast you left on your plate at breakfast gets up and steals your cat Sneaky. And while that may be a metaphor for something, it also happens to be very literally true.

This is a picture of poor sneaky being abducted.


So sad.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I am running for World King


So, as you may know there is an election coming up. Not the so called “Presidential Election”. No, this election is far more important than that (but, with its twisted punditry and swelling idealism, it does serve as a perfect distraction). This is an election that is so grand and important that it defies traditional human ideas of what it means to be in power.

No offense, but I doubt your mind could even comprehend how the election takes place, and who actually votes. I’ll try and tell you any way.

See it begins with a gaggle of Fraggles eating a gallon of muggle bagels. Each Fraggle takes his(or her) piece of the muggle bagel and jiggles its jello. As the jiggling jello jiggles, it's put under a pillow and bellows “Who shalt further thy gerber.” The Fraggles of the gaggle then cry. “We are born of your horn and shall eat the corn of the worm.” The jiggly jello then jiggles and wiggles with gut wrenching speed. It speeds and spends until it picks a piggy pickle from the piggy pickle receptacle. The piggy pickle is eaten by Don Rickles as he irons out its wrinkles. Mr. Rickles flicks nickels and tickles the jello jiggling gaggle of Fraggles as they gurgle their muggle bagels.

And that’s how the election happens.

Needless to say, I’m a shoe-in for the victory. I’ve got my fraggles all lined up and I’m seeing some very positive polling numbers regarding my experience furthering gerber.


My campaign promises?

  • A shiny new bike for all those who vote for me.
  • A picnic basket full of snakes for those who oppose me.
  • DNA will be renamed NAD.
  • Fire will be replaced by Fire II(it’s not as smoky)
  • Smoky the bear will be stripped of his hair.
  • Mandatory resurrection of the Rosenbergs.
  • Double Dutch will be increased to Triple Dutch to increase productivity.
  • Hybrid cars will become true hybrids as they will be mixed with animals and teenage boys.
  • An appeals process for the death sentence after it’s carried out.
  • No more wire hangers.
  • A chicken in every garage.
  • School days will be changed to school dayz to make our kids cooler than kids in other countries(nerds).
  • Companies won't be able to have stock unless they have enough for everyone to have some.
  • Running with scissors will be allowed.
  • Punching bags will be renamed "Fist Hugging Bags"
  • Breakfast will be served at every meal. Except breakfast, when brunch will be served.
  • And finally,
  • Everyday will be Chicken Finger Wednesday.

Here’s where I will live...

It's got a shiny laser and a patio.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Batman...

So, as you may know, a little film called Batman came out this weekend.

Here's the story.

Gotham City is a bustling town. It's a homogeneous mixture of all races, religions and facial mutations. It's a city that's on the move, a city that resembles most any post industrial city of the late 20th century. A city whose mills and slaughter houses have been converted into towers of Capitalism.


But, as it turns out, Gotham, like many cities of its size and fictional status, has a crime problem.

From the look of much of the city, we can assume that the root of this crime problem is poverty and a debased system of taxation and public funding that favors the more upscale areas created during the "White-Flight" of the Elder Daley's rule as Chicago Gotham City. The CEO's and Corporate Maven's flee to the suburbs at 5 pm, creating a massive hole in the municipal tax system and leaving the urban public schools and support services crumble under the weight of a desperate population.

It's no wonder the streets of Gotham are marred by crime. Generations of entrenched poverty and failing educational systems have left the citizens with little hope and a feeling of profound abandonment. They are crippled by a lack of choice and fight for control of their lives. They face a world where the only realistic options are a McDonald's uniform or an Army uniform. They look up at the sky scraper and monuments of corporate decadence, and simply ask "Why Not Me."

These people are not stupid. They know that the only way to be heard and respected in this class obsessed society, is to become actively engaged in the Capitalist system by whatever means necessary. With lack of access to education and training, the traditional path or "ladder" to financial Independence is not available and they must grasp at any available means of advancement. For many of these people, the only avenue seems to be crime.


And by all accounts, the "Crime Families" are a fairly well organized bunch. Their group meetings resemble the "legitimate" board meetings that we see throughout the movie taking place high above the city. The only difference is that the people in these meetings aren't all white. So they organize and split up territory; share and discuss finances; and spend their time networking with other successful members of their profession.


Until...


Bruce Wayne/Batman shows up.



Here we see Bruce Wayne looking down, god-like, at the city. He sits in his throne, waiting for the moment to pass judgement on the world below.


See, Bruce Wayne/Batman, is the enforcer of capitalism. His power is built upon his ability to lay out large sums of money(much of it taken from corporate resources) to build weapons and suits that make him seem more than man. Through his vast wealth and willingness to embrace violence to stop those who oppose him, Mr. Wayne/Mr. Man fancies himself the new world √úbermensch.


As he looks down upon the world, he sees those who seek to amass wealth and challenge his godlike status. He sees them as nothing more than dogs who must be punished when they try to feed from the table instead of waiting for scraps. So, equipped with a mask and an arsenal, he descends upon the world to inspire fear and attempt to maintain the status quo. It's important that we look at the arsenal that Batman uses to enforce his reign of terror, because in it we see the true nature of consumerist capitalism.


Batman's "Batarang" is just another example of consumer labeling. The weapon would be more effective if it wasn't bent and twisted to resemble the "Bat Logo"

Each of Batman's weapon's is a testament to his own ballooning ego. They are a symbol of not only his physical power and his technical prowess, but also of his ability to take traditional weapons and symbology and bend them to his will, glorifying himself in the process.

Bruce/Bat's most telling "gadget" is the bat signal.


Batman stands witness to his own greatness

Though, claimed as a "Calling Card," it is a pretty clear that it's just a symptom of Batman/BruceWayne's messiah complex. In essence, he is literally projecting himself into the heavens, making himself the face of God. To him, it is a symbol that he is always looking down on Gotham, ready to take up the mantle of Savior. To him, much like Rudyard Kipling, it is a burden that he must undertake, saving the "savages" and showing them real civilization.

We are meant to separate the hero Batman, from the man Bruce Wayne. We are to see that Bruce's blustery decadent and wasteful playboy is real mask that hides the Batman inside. But to look at their abuse of resources and embracing of the Capitalistic lifestyle, we find that there's not much of a difference.



vs.












Note how both of these cars are expressions of American capitalism. We have the first car, a genuine expression of wealth, fast and flimsy. Then we look at the second the so called "Batmobile,"(The Tumbler), an expression of America's military might. Noisy Bulky and sheltered. It probably gets 5 miles a gallon. Also, if you'll notice the picture, it eats children.

But Bruce is suspicious. He knows that in spite of his stranglehold on the Gotham economy, that a change is going to come. It always does...people rise up and take on the abusive system...shedding the yoke of repression. To prevent this, Bruce seeks absolute totalitarian control by his buyout of the Gotham's main telecom/cell phone provider. His purpose? To spy on everyday Gothamites. In a day and age where it's no longer practical to have a land-line, Bruce has ensured that he is at the center of every thought that Gotham shares.


I'm sure this is the phone the poor citizens were forced to carry

See, through the use of modern cell technology Bruceman can watch and listen to everything Gotham does. He, like many who seek such power, justifies this by saying that it is only a temporary solution to a terrorist threat. So we have Batman wiretapping without so much as a warning to those who he seeks to protect. They are expected to bow down and give up their civil liberties to a shadowy Capitalist totalitarian figure.

So we end with a question. Do we give up our liberty to our "betters", those who wish to "save us from ourselves" or do we bravely take up arms, like the real heroes of this film(the so called "criminals") and circumvent a capitalistic system that victimizes the poor, a system that must be enforced by a truncheon(or a bat truncheon).

I for one will stand up next time I see this movie....I'm so enraged that I've seen it 3 times in IMAX. I'll see it again too. I'll keep on seeing it. That'll show'em for not letting me be an extra.