Saturday, March 08, 2008

Revolutionay Quote of the Day: Gloria Steinem

From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence - and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified.
-Gloria Steinem.

Today's RQOTD is from an icon of the feminist movement, author, journalist, founder and publisher of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem. Ms. Steinem was in the news recently for, though I am a fan of hers, I have to admit, an unfair and unwarranted criticism of John McCain's service to our country as a POW. McCain's service to our country should be honored. Not many people could have gone through what he went through and survived to tell the story. I think Ms. Steinem was wrong to minimize it. Now if she had called John McCain bat crap crazy, I'd have no problem with that.

When I woke up this morning and looked at this quote it seemed vaguely familiar. That's because it's a repeat. I had posted it before. Obama Tour 2009!

At this rate, if Obama's elected president, by the time of the inauguration, will have a double CD set of Obama campaign songs. Then I guess he'll tour.

3am Wake Up Call for Hillary: Out of the Mouths of Babes

Ooops! Apparently nobody asked the kids who they'd rather have answering that 3am call at the White House before they all got tucked in snug in their beds. Yes, the little girl in the stock footage of the Clinton 3am red phone campaign ad is a big Obama supporter. You can't pay for that kind of advertising.

Monster: Samantha Power is my New Hero

I have to admit that I didn't know anything about Samantha Power before she called Hillary Clinton a monster. Although she and the Obama campaign are slightly embarrassed by it, I'm glad she did. Before I say why, I just want to say that the video clip above is not about her remarks. It's from a fund raiser in Boston for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. I prefer to use it, at least first, to show people that there's more to her than a slip of the tongue about someone who deserved it. It demonstrates why she should be considered a hero, what she said about Hillary notwithstanding.

Also, before I talk about Hillary and the remark, I will say something further about who Samantha Power is. She's a Pulitzer Prize winning author for her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. She's a professor who works with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She's an activist and a strong voice for ending the genocide in Darfur. She's an intelligent woman with a fortunate name, because she is powerful. And from what I can see, at least for me, she's a lot more likable person than Hillary Clinton.

Now I can talk about why she's my hero. She may not have meant to say it. It slipped out. She tried to take it back. Tried to make it off the record, but it was too late. And later she resigned and she apologized. Still, in view of all those things, she said what needed to be said. She was a real human being in a real moment who felt something and said it. She's not the polished, practiced and careful politician who weighs every word that comes out of her mouth. She is someone who is obviously passionate about the things she believes in. She's the anti-Clinton.

Why did it need to be said? Because Hillary Clinton recently crossed the line. Before she crossed the line she had been fighting dirty. Fighting dirty since Barack Obama first surprised her and won the Iowa Caucuses. Both her and her surrogates, including her husband, have race baited, mocked, outright lied and damned Obama with faint praise ("as far as I know").

But when she as much as endorsed the Republican nominee over the leading Democratic candidate in this race, she crossed a political line that should never be crossed. Not only did she give John McCain ammunition against Obama should he become the nominee, words that McCain can attribute to her, a Democrat, but she did so while advancing an argument that she could not win if she by some miracle turns out to be the nominee. She simply does not measure up to John McCain on the argument of experience. But Obama beats them both on the argument of judgment.

What she said is disloyal to the Democratic Party and it shows her to be someone who would rather win than do what's best for the party as a whole. And I am wondering since she said it where have the so-called leaders of the Democratic Party been? Why hasn't anyone, with the possible exceptions of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow in the press, and those of us who are Obama supporters, cried foul? Even the Obama campaign itself has not reacted as strongly as they should have. That's why what Samantha Power said, needed to be said. Thank god for that slip that made it into the press. While the press and the Obama campaign are coming down on her, I want to be at least one voice out here, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, standing up for her. Amen and right on. Hillary Clinton is a indeed monster and she's hurting the Democrats chance of winning in November.

A lot more of us should stand up for her and we should let the party leadership know that we will not stand for the kind of disloyalty to the party that Hillary Clinton has demonstrated. I said before and will say again, if a miracle occurs and she's the nominee, I would find it very hard to vote for her. Even if she included Barack Obama on the ticket. I would have been happy to see her go on to fight until the convention and would have voted for her if she won. But not after running this kind of race.

Ok, the clip below is about the remark (I won't call it a gaffe). And I picked it because no matter how wrong he usually is, every once in a while Tucker Carlson gets something right.

CNN: Congolese Woman's Silent Scream is Heard

This story on CNN highlights the plight of women in the Congo on International Women's Day. Honorata Kizende's story is hard to hear, but it is one that must be heard. It's the story of hundreds of thousands of women in the Congo who have suffered gang rape and sexual slavery at the hands of soldiers fighting in a brutal civil war. According to the story, "An estimated 5.4 million people have died in Congo since 1998."

Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, speaks eloquently about not only the pain Kizende suffered at the hands of those soldiers, but the greater pain of not being heard.
Kizende, 55, is a spokeswoman for Women for Women International, a 16-year-old group that helps rebuild the lives of women victimized by violent conflict in countries such as Kosovo, Iraq and Colombia.

The group was founded by Zainab Salbi, a 38-year-old Iraqi-American who knows something about brutality. She grew up under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, where people who spoke out were often murdered.

"My image of the Congolese women is that of a scream," Salbi said. "But there is no sound coming from the scream because the world is not hearing it."

That's because the victims are women, she said.
Too often humanitarian crises on the African continent are all but ignored by the US, the UN and the International Community. There's a story or two on the news, there are words and resolutions, but very little action. Very few troops or resources are committed to end the violence. They simply do not get the same kind of attention that this kind of crisis would if it occurred in Europe or the Middle East or some place considered "strategically" important. That this many people can die, that this many women can be raped and victimized without a hue and cry and demand for action from the world is truly tragic.

Wyoming Caucus Results: Obama Wins

Interesting fact I just heard while listening to CNN's coverage of the caucus: Part of Wyoming's caucus rules require equal gender representation for delegates. An equal number of men and women. It was the first state the Women's Suffrage Movement emerged from, and was the first state to elect a woman governor according to Jessica Yellin on CNN. This relates in a to my next post.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Who Loves Liberty More: Colbert v. A Legend

Stephen Colbert and singer/songwriter John Legend throw down over who loves lady liberty the most. More importantly they examine the question, can you get away with telling your lady love what's wrong with her? Does real patriotism mean you love American as she is? Or can you tell her the truth and try to make her better?

Revolutionay Quote of the Day: Jose Ortega y Gasset

“A revolution only lasts fifteen years, a period which coincides with the effectiveness of a generation”
-Jose Ortega y Gasset

Jose Ortega y Gasset was a Spanish Philosopher (May 9, 1883 - October 18, 1955). This quote mirrors the one from yesterday by Jefferson. Again emphasizing that the fight for freedom is constant. There is always a new source of tyranny to oppose. Every generation must liberate itself for itself.

-Fight the powers.

Who's That Terrorist?

Well, well, well, looks to me like we already got us one of them terrorists in the White House. She's wearing shades, but she can't fool us, the sophisticated American electorate. If it looks like a terrorist, it's a terrorist. End of story. This image comes from Pissed on Politics, more incriminating photos there. I found it by way of Crooks and Liars. Please make sure all your friends see this photo and know that terrorists have already infiltrated the highest office in the land.

There's also this suggestion from one of Andrew Sullivan's readers, that all Obama supporters adopt the middle name "Hussein" to take the sting out of it.

-A Revolution of "Hussein" One. (Kinda long huh?)
Fight the powers.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Revolutionay Quote of the Day is Back

“Every generation needs a new revolution."
-Thomas Jefferson.

I've decided to revive something I did for awhile when I first started this blog a couple years or so ago. The Revolutionary Quote of the Day (RQOTD). For the first RQOTD in a while I'm reusing one I've used at least once before not only because it's a great and important quote, but because most people will be surprised by who said it, unless of course they already know the quote. If you said it and asked people who it was from, most people would probably say it was some 60's radical or communist revolutionary, but it was one of our founding fathers.

I also like the quote because it reminds us that liberty and freedom aren't static. It is not something we won over 200 years ago and unless some tyrant or outside force comes along and takes it from us, we will always have it. It is something that we have to fight for, and be vigilant regarding constantly. The challenges to our freedoms are constant and they come from not only from the outside, but from the very people we should expect to protect them. Those challenges come from people with the word freedom on their lips, who wrap themselves in the flag, and shout about patriotism.

Those challenges come from people who lecture others about not putting their hand over their heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, or for not wearing flag lapel pins, but don't seem to be bothered by NSA warrantless spying on every citizen in the country. People who aren't bothered by people being picked up and rendered to other countries or Gitmo to be tortured. People who aren't bothered by political prosecutions by the US Attorneys office right here in the US. But Jefferson said it in the strongest terms. Not that we should simply be ever vigilant. But that every generation needs it's own revolution. That how important he believed it was.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Texas Primary Election: John McCain Projected Winner for Republicans, Clinton Wins Texas

CNN and MSNBC are projecting John McCain the winner of the Texas Republican Primary. The Democratic side is too close to call so far. It is now projected that John McCain will be the Republican nominee. McCain now has enough delegates to push him over the top. He will be endorsed tomorrow at the White House by President Bush. Now that's an endorsement you want. I can see Democratic campaign ads already.

Hillary Clinton wins a close Texas primary.

Rhode Island Primary Election: John McCain Projected Winner, Hillary Clinton Dems Winner

CNN and MSNBC are both projecting John McCain the winner on the Republican side in Rhode Island. Hillary Clinton is the projected winner on the Democratic side.

Vote stealing in Houston from Daily Kos

This from Daily Kos tonight:
Voters reported being turned away from the polls, prompting a criminal investigation into vote stealing, Local 2 Investigates reported Tuesday.

Ohio Primary Election: Clinton Wins Ohio, McCain Wins on GOP Side

MSNBC and CNN project John McCain the winner in the Republican primary. The Ohio Democratic race is so far too close to call.

According to MSNBC a judge has ordered the polls to remain open in Sandusky County Ohio until 9pm because of a lack of ballots. The Obama campaign has asked that the polls remain open in two other counties.


From the Daily Kos. The Obama campaign has convinced a judge in Cuyahoga County to keep 20 precincts that ran out of ballots open until 9 p.m. So those previously closed polls are being re-opened.

Hillary Clinton is now being projected the winner of the Ohio primary on the Democratic side.

Vermont Primary Election: Barack Obama, John McCain Winners

Both CNN and MSNBC have projected Barack Obama the winner on the Democratic side in Vermont. John McCain is the projected Republican primary winner. More info to come as election night coverage continues.

Yet Another Red Phone Campaign Ad Parody

One of the best "red phone" campaign ad parodies I've seen to date on Youtube. And there are a lot of them. A lot funnier and more original than mine.

Surf Watch: Random Stuff From the Internets

I don't know if this will be a regular feature or not. I came across a couple unrelated interesting things and decided to post them. Not political in nature like most of the stuff here, but interesting nonetheless. The video above I've actually seen before. It was featured on Youtube about a year or so ago. It's a kind of visual/textual and artistic explanation of Web 2.0.

And this morning one of the random web clip links when I was in gmail was to Dikipedia. Self described as "a wiki for dicks." On the main page it features, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Barry Bonds, Bill O'Reilly and Ralph Nader among others. I like Ralph, and agree with him to a certain extent, but have to admit that on this running for president thing, he's being a bit of a dick.

Clinton's Other Face: the Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Here's the other side of Hillary Clinton as she vacillated between dirty campaign tactics, praising the Republican candidate, and showing her warm and human side on comedy shows just prior to today's primary elections in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island. Honestly here I don't think she comes across very well. With that smile frozen on her face, she looks like she doesn't know what to expect from Stewart. I think the does slip a couple concealed jabs in there. Using her words when the talks about how candidates come into Ohio and call them "salt of the earth" and forget about them once elected. There was a barely detectable wince when he said that.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Clinton Crosses the (Party) Line

I can understand a hard fought campaign during the primaries. I can understand that Hillary Clinton wants to be and believes she is the best qualified person to be president. What I don't get is her not only giving ammunition to, not only supplying a tactic for, but actually praising the likely Republican nominee for president. She just said that the potential Republican nominee may be a better choice than the leading democratic party candidate. To me this is beyond the pale. It is fractious to the party. And it gives aid and comfort to the enemy. I fail to see why I should have loyalty to a Democratic Party candidate who has no loyalty to the leading candidate for nomination of the party.

I believe and sincerely hope Clinton's campaign will be over tonight. But for me, at this point, she's made it nearly impossible for me to support her should a miracle occur and she ends up being the nominee of the party. I would find it impossible to have any enthusiasm and to get behind her candidacy. After the race bating and "fairy tale" remarks of her husband. After the mocking performances at her rallies. After the picture of Obama in Somali garb surfaced that was said to have come from her campaign, and wasn't immediately denied, I have pretty much lost all respect and good will I had for both Clintons. I would guess, the only thing I could possibly surmise, is that if a miracle does occur and she is the nominee, that she's counting on offering Barack Obama the second spot on the democratic ticket in order to mend fences. I have to say that I would almost still be disinclined to vote for her. I couldn't vote for McCain, of course. I think I may just vote for Ralph Nader or just stay home. I might take the attitude about voting that I disagreed with George Carlin over in a recent post.

In the video below Keith Olbermann, without a great deal of effort, takes apart Hillary Clinton's main selling point, her experience. And Rachel Maddow makes the point that it behooves all the candidates left in the race to be rather nebulous about their experience in military and foreign policy matters. None of them have real experience to point to. If it was what mattered, she points out, we'd be choosing someone like Chris Dodd or General Wesley Clark. What she says at the end of the clip shows just how utterly disloyal and frankly stupid
Hillary Clinton's statement comparing Obama's experience with McCain's was. She says, it's what you say when you want to be John McCain's running mate, not what you say when you want to be the democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton talks about going into the general election campaign as a unified party, but how she's conducted her campaign shows she'd rather destroy the party than loose.

Democracy is a Scary Thing

First I have to apologize for some of the editorial commentary in the titles of this video. It was the best Youtube video I could find of this clip and I didn't record the show myself so I couldn't put my own clip up. Last week I put up the second of a couple clips of an informed voter. The first one I titled, An Informed Voter is a Beautiful Thing. The scary, but absolutely necessary thing about Democracy is that everyone gets a vote, informed or not. It shouldn't be any other way, of course, but it's one of the tricky things about democracy.

Last week on the death of William F. Buckley, Keith Olbermann reminded us that Buckley once said that the uneducated shouldn't be allowed to vote. But a democracy that doesn't allow all to participate is not a real democracy. The challenge of our system of government is to find ways to engage voters in the process and to encourage people to be informed. Some may look at a voter like the one in the CBS clip and blame him for what's wrong with our system. Obviously he bears some responsibility for being informed as a voter, but the responsibility as a whole lies with all of us and with the system as a whole. I think if anything can be blamed it's an attitude. And I lay at least some of that blame on CNN.

Ok, I'm not blaming them alone, but something I call the CNN mentality. The kind of fast food, consumerist, couch potato attitude we have, as Americans, about being informed. That we can sit on our ample arses, and I include my own ample arse along with the rest of them, and believe that we can be informed. That is that someone can inform us, and all we have to do is consume it. Being informed is an active proposition. Like getting in shape, or eating healthy. You have to do something yourself in order to get your body in shape, no one can do it for you and it is the same with the mind. And you have to do it constantly, it's not something you accomplish and are finished.

The essential element of being informed is critical thinking. That we examine everything that is presented to us with a critical eye. That we question it. That we check sources and compare them with other sources. That we make sure the things we are being fed through the media make sense. I call it the CNN mentality because of their tagline which epitomizes the mindset. You don't hear it so much these days during this election season. It has largely been replaced with "the best political team on television" which I paraphrase as the best political team in show business. But their regular tag line is, or at least was, "the most trusted name in news."

What does that tell us? To sit back on our couch and relax as this trusted name tell us what's going on in the world. It's easy to be informed. Let CNN do it for us. Just pick up the remote. It is the equivalent of those scam diets that tell you that you can loose weight but you can eat what you want and you don't have to change your habits. BS. I know because I am spending way too much time sitting here doing this. The tendency then is not to think and not to question.

They have the avuncular Wolf Blitzer in the mold of the icon Walter Kronkite. Someone who is easy to listen to and easy to trust. But this my friends is the fast food of being informed. And we are all so busy and have to make a living and there are so many sources out there, many of them full of misinformation, that it's easy to grab that quick and easy McNews. We all do it. I am guilty as any.

But we all have to push ourselves to go a little further. Don't do it all at once. It's just like exercising. You can't run a marathon the first day. You don't want to get a brain cramp. Start small. Question something you hear. Find another source. Get your google and Wikipedia on. One further word of advice. People, if cable news is the SuperSize meal of being informed, email forwards are the twinkies. The are sweet, easy to consume, and addictive. But they will make you a mental lard ass. If you question everything you get on cable news, or anywhere else, doubly question anything that comes in an email forward. What's the source? Does it make sense? Check it against other sources.

Our democracy can only be as strong as the voters who participate in it. Uninformed voters make a weak democracy. Informed voters are mentally strong and therefore of necessity, make our democracy stronger. BTW, the entire video of the 60 Minutes video above is here. You can watch it online.

A Note on CBS Video:
I could have embedded the video it here, but there's one problem. And that's that CBS has such a convoluted scheme of protecting their video from download that it won't show up if you're using Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) as your browser. That's a problem because almost 30 percent of users have IE7 and I don't know if it will show up in IE6 or IE5. Amateurs at video like CBS should let their videos go on Youtube and forget about it. Instead they have geeks come up with a scheme that eliminates a good portion of the browsers on the market. Probably a sign of their commitment to allowing people to embed their videos on blogs and web sites in the first place. Ok I shouldn't blame it all in CBS. It's at least half Microsoft's fault. After all, it works in Firefox.

-Fight the powers.

Bad Elves

It's sad when people whose cause is good, in fact, admirable, resort to tactics that are despicable. Members or the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, if they are responsible, obviously only hurt their cause by doing things like this. As much so as those who bomb abortion clinics hurt their own cause. Dudes, fire up a dube, take a shot of wheat grass and chill my brothers. Remember Ghandi and Martin Luther King? Give peace a chance.

Alexander Graham Bell - Historic Phoney?

It's Alexander Graham Bell's birthday today. The young woman in video above is not wishing him a happy birthday. It is in American Sign Language (ASL) without sound. It's by eight year old Brianna who also has a vlog. In fact there are a number of Youtube videos like the one above, all by women, none of whom are very fond of Mr. Bell.

While surfing around to see what's going on in the world and on the internets today, I discovered it was Bell's birthday. So I decided to do some googling to find out more about him for a short post. What I found was interesting. First that it is likely that Bell was not the inventor of the telephone as they told us as unsuspecting youth in school. Other inventors not only may have preceded Bell in developing the first phone, but Bell may have stolen a key component from one of his competitors. That fact is documented in this book about Bell by Seth Shulman; The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret.

But that's not the reason that this young girl, and I can only tell from the text because I don't know ASL, is speaking unflatteringly about Alexander Graham Bell. Apparently Bell was also a proponent of Eugenics. Also that policies favoring eugenics in this country advocated and were responsible for the sterilization of deaf women. Bell believed that deafness could be prevented by keeping two deaf parents from having children. Of course I didn't do exhaustive research and this is all stuff I found out in googling and wikipedia-ing around the internets this morning. But it is interesting and worth researching further.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

John McCain Red Phone TV Ad

Last week the Clinton campaign released a "red phone" campaign ad. Followed close on it's heels by an ad by Barack Obama. But let's face it, they're Democrats and the politics of fear are not their forte. Not to be outdone, the McCain campaign released it's red phone ad late today, because John McCain is scarier than any Democrat.

Saturday Night Live Does Not Endorse Senator Clinton

Senator Hillary Clinton makes it clear (video below) that the second Saturday Night Live Debate sketch in which the cast portrays the media as heavily biased toward Barack Obama, is not an endorsement of her. In fact they have featured two sketches in two weeks in which media bias against Clinton is the topic. Sketches in which the cable news network personalities are fawning and in some cases orgasmically gaga over Obama. This along with the fact that she appears live on the broadcast two days before a major election battle, as her candidacy hangs in the balance, one can assume, is merely coincidence.

Thanks to SNL, we now know the press is biased. Glad to see that the people we depend on to shine a satirical light on the abuses of our trust in the press, are not. BTW, Fred Armisen's Barack Obama still stinks. Will Forte's Brian Williams is dead on. Darrell Hammond's Tim Russert is pretty good. And Amy Poehler as Hillary is still poehlerizing, hehehehe, Ok, uh, I did that last week. Sorry. I could have said Brian Williams is Will's Forte.... Ok, quit while I'm behind.