Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Silent Blog

After all those years of nearly daily posts, I've been quiet for just over a month. I'm writing plenty, but not here. I've got my business to keep working (we launched the new website!) and I'm doing a ton of private writing. Many of you know I'm in therapy and working on my midlife stuff. It's too hard to share here at this time. I update Twitter and Facebook several times a day for those wanting a way to stay connected to me.

I hope to return to writing here in the New Year. For now, I'm accepting that this is a quiet moment in my soul and am attending to it. Peace and love to all of you who have faithfully read me for years. I love knowing you and feeling your support.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back from my trip to TX

and about to launch my new revised website for my biz. What that means is not much blogging for now.

I did want to mention that raising children with consciences is a demanding business! Our two girls (19 and 12) are both vegetarians (Johannah is vegan) and Thanksgiving is about to challenge us to a whole new level of conscientious eating.

Today, I googled Trader Joe's "cage free" eggs because for Caitrin, "cage-free" is not enough. Too many of these "cage-free" farms are still injurious to the chickens. We discovered, however, that TJ's eggs really are humanely produced and so, we can now use REAL eggs in our pumpkin pies, and so on, for Caitrin.

Of course that doesn't resolve Johannah's eating convictions, which refuse to be a part of any animal product produced in any context. But one egg at a time, right?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The World Reacts

In case it isn't entirely obvious by now, I spend a lot of time wandering the Internet. I have a couple of forums where I post quite regularly that have nothing intrinsically to do with politics. Yet the week following the election seems to have prompted so many reactions! The other day, while I was reading this serious post of marital pain on one board, the Aussie writer took a paragraph out of the middle to say, "And let me just take a moment to say 'thank you Americans for voting in Barack Obama!' We were so thrilled to watch it happen and feel hopeful that the United States will be a place we can look to for leadership again." She went on to say that it blew her away that we really did it - really elected a black man.

Then I visited another place I post. Same thing. Canadians, Brits, Aussies all weighing in on how glad they are that we Americans got it right, that we took the chance to restore our reputation, that we offered them a vision of what it looks like to embrace our ideals.

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email with a note from her young-twenties daughter who is working in Rwanda. Elizabeth's goal is to empower women through her organization: AfricaGrassroots. I was completely amazed by her report of how her friends in Rwanda reacted to the news of Obama's election... but even more, I couldn't believe what they had to say about McCain!
Elizabeth is returning from Rwanda in a few weeks. They stayed up to watch the elections and the next day, she sent out this email to some friends. I thought you would enjoy, and appreciate, what she said.

I spent the very early hours of this morning sitting in front of a TV with about 10 Rwandan friends who stayed up the whole night to watch all the results come in. They screamed and cried tears of joy and pride when Obama won.

But surprisingly, their favorite part of the whole evening? McCain's speech!

They watched in wonder and amazement as McCain spoke highly of Obama and said that we need to now come together as a country to support him. They said "Can you believe this?? The loser is now supporting and congratulating the winner! He is telling America to come together as one country to support the new president, even though he lost!! Could you imagine if something like this happened in Africa!! Only in America!!"

Friends from across Rwanda called me all morning to say congratulations- and some just screamed into the phone and I couldn't understand a word of what they were saying.

On the other hand, there is a great deal of suffering and violence going on across the border in Congo right now. Today's victory and celebration of freedom provides a stark contrast to the daily reality of brutality and oppression in so many places in Africa.

Living in a country free of violence is such a luxury.... we should never forget how truly lucky we are.

Love from Kigali,
Maybe there is something to that "light on a hill" imagery we keep hearing about. It's a great country, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The end of fall...

Once God had finished giving Barack Obama a perfectly sunny day for the election in Ohio, he sent winter with a vengeance. We're experiencing coat weather. The trees are about finished dropping leaves and suddenly the sky is grouchy gray.

Inside, a little fire glows though. All week, the daily reminders that we are on the other side of this historic election bring me such joy! My pastor on Sunday gave a sermon I want to recap. I'll do that in another post. For now, hope your week/day is filled with optimism, satisfaction and a cozy fire in the hearth.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Turning 47....

Today's my birthday and though being in the last third of the forties feels a little sad to me, I woke up and two facts brought a smile to my lips:

Barack Obama is also 47 and everyone says he's young. :)

My "skinny jeans" (Levi 501's) that I've had on a shelf for the last five years fit me this morning! All that canvassing paid off in more than a win for Obama.

So I can now say: 47 rocks! (Oh, and Jo(e) and Dave are also 47, and they are both waaaay cool! Anyone else?)

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters to Realize

How Empty Their Lives Really Are.

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

This just was a little too close to home to not laugh hilariously. Remember: it comes from the Onion.

Yes We Can, er, Will, er, Did! Or something. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Roger Cohen's op-ed at the NY Times

This article moved me today. But here's my favorite take-away line:
Rosa Parks sat in 1955. Martin Luther King walked in 1963. Barack Obama ran in 2008. That our children might fly.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Precinct #44

Meet my canvassing partners: Jayla, Jada, Jaesa and Kayla.

I arrived yesterday at precinct #44 with a list of more than 70 doors to knock. In Butler county, it's a critical precinct: section 8 housing with many Democrats who often don't vote to the rate that they could. It has always gone red. Senator Kerry lost Ohio by 7 votes per precinct. My one goal for this election: win seven votes. Steal them from the GOP. We knew we needed #44 this time if we were going to do our part for this election, to cut into the Butler County GOP votes.

As a result, we sent a canvasser first thing in the morning and then I went back to all the same doors three hours later, to follow up and make sure they all voted. I arrived in the bright sunshine, parked my car and was immediately surrounded by curious children. I let them in on my goal for the day and the next thing you know, I was led by the hand door-by-door.

Jaesa grabbed the clipboard and Jada helped me find the door numbers.

"Stay on the stoop. This house? They got a big dog and he bites."

"Is my momma on yo' list?"

I'd look (uh-oh, no!) and say, "Yes! Let's go see your momma." And we'd go.

One little boy saw my white button and asked to swap me for a blue one. I gladly did. Then I gave the blue one away to a grandmother who had never had the chance to get to an HQ to obtain one for herself. Her comment, "I just want a piece of history for myself." Well of course she does! We all do.

I was introduced to everyone, spoke to many more families than my list indicated. One woman had been told that she couldn't vote because she was no longer living in her precinct. Not true! I called our field organizer and got campaign lawyers to tell us how to help her vote. Provisional ballot. Found three more in this neighborhood who had been also discouraged from voting for the same reason.

People stopped me to find out the polling location, when the polls closed, wondering how to actually vote! One woman told me that the polling place was on a street where they began construction on election day right in the front making parking nearly impossible. So I reminded every voter: be patient. Park, vote. (What kind of bone-headed city worker set up road work on election day?!)

I met so many wonderful people, had a gang of about six kids trailing me by the time I was done (including two boys on bikes). It took me nearly four hours to meet everyone and help them get out to vote. I saw many who had voted between the first and second canvass.

By the time I left, I felt so wonderful that this group, these lower income families living in what we sometimes call "White Chester," were going to see an African American elected and their votes would help him get there.

Last night, our big Butler County volunteer team met at Champs to watch the results roll in. CNN projected for Ohio, and we cheered, wept openly, hugged each other, screamed till we were hoarse. We knew we had done it!

When CNN projected Obama President Elect, the house fell down. Noise, screams, phone calls, text messages, everyone hugging each other, even waiters rolled into our raucous party! I felt used up, totally exhausted, thoroughly happy... and then, Allan, our canvassing captain hurried to me to drag me over to one of our co-workers.

One of the poll workers from Precinct #44 had come to the party. Allan said, "Listen to her. You won't believe it."

"Julie, Precinct #44 went blue.... by 11 votes."

My jaw dropped. 11 votes.

She went on, "They streamed in all afternoon until about 5:00 p.m. I watched them and they came with their door hangers, looking up the polling place and showing up to vote. They were happy and proud."

That's when this election became utterly personal for me. All that work, the thousands of calls and door knocks, the hours, the passion, the writing... It all felt deeply worthwhile. I know my community in a way I never did before, I felt bonded to people I had not even known lived within miles of me, I felt united in spirit with the hopes of my neighbors.

11 votes. When I started back in February, I had hoped to get 7. We did it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Eugene Robinson makes the most eloquent statement

about what this election means to the African American community, and by extension, then, what it means to and tells each of us about ourselves as Americans.

A New Kind of Pride

He writes:
Whoever wins this election, I understand what Barack Obama meant when he said his faith in the American people had been "vindicated" by his campaign's success. I understand what Michelle Obama meant, months ago, when she said she was "proud of my country" for the first time in her adult life. Why should they be immune to the astonishment and vertigo that so many other African Americans are experiencing? Why shouldn't they have to pinch themselves to make sure they aren't dreaming, the way that I do?


For African Americans, at least those of us old enough to have lived through the civil rights movement, this is nothing short of mind-blowing. It's disorienting, and it makes me see this nation in a different light.

You see, I remember a time of separate and unequal schools, restrooms and water fountains -- a time when black people were officially second-class citizens. I remember moments when African Americans were hopeful and excited about the political process, and I remember other moments when most of us were depressed and disillusioned. But I can't think of a single moment, before this year, when I thought it was within the realm of remote possibility that a black man could be nominated for president by one of the major parties -- let alone that he would go into Election Day with a better-than-even chance of winning.

Let me clarify: It's not that I would have calculated the odds of an African American being elected president and concluded that this was unlikely; it's that I wouldn't even have thought about such a thing.

African Americans' love of country is deep, intense and abiding, but necessarily complicated. At the hour of its birth, the nation was already stained by the Original Sin of slavery. Only in the past several decades has legal racism been outlawed and casual racism been made unacceptable, at least in polite company. Millions of black Americans have managed to pull themselves up into mainstream, middle-class affluence, but millions of others remain mired in poverty and dysfunction.
Keep reading. So moving.

I wanted to add that this is the core of my admiration for Barack Obama - he represents a new era in our country's self-understanding. In nearly taking the highest office in the land (and may well do so), he has shattered the belief that race can never be transcended. More tomorrow. For today, GOTV!


What makes us all equal is the right to vote. Today's the day. Exercise your right, follow your conscience.

Thanks for all the wonderful conversations over this election season with me. Thanks for reading along when you disagreed, for engaging the ideas I offer, for considering the points I raise.

I love this country; I love its ability to reinvent itself. I'm moved this morning thinking that Obama has made it this far and could only achieve that dream in America. France wouldn't do it. We have shown a remarkable willingness to grow, transform, and reach out to the common good. To judge a person not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. That day, that dream is fulfilled.

Vote! It's your most basic right.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama's grandmother dies today... one day shy

I'm without words. Here's what Obama's sister wrote:
A statement from Obama and his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng:

It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.
Is that even fair? I can't imagine the conflicted emotions Barack must be feeling today with his general election tomorrow tied to his grief over losing his grandmother.

Also, another sad note: Obama Nev. director Terence Tolbert died today. Can you imagine working on this campaign for two years and dying the day before the election?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Church this morning.... the sense of history grows!

This morning at church, our pastor preached a sermon called "I am my brother's keeper." In it, he talked about five murders this weekend (one of a local African American pastor and four others of young blacks in Avondale). He is doing a series on how the church can make a difference to the neighborhoods of Cincinnati by knocking on every door for Jesus.

The sermon made an interesting contrast to the Youtbue he played at the start of the service. We watched a video montage of the history of the African American struggle for civil rights. It included pictures and drawings that traced the history through Jim Crow, Civil Rights, lynchings, MLK Jr., Katrina and more. By the end, when the "Change we need" signs flooded the screen, we were all in tears.

Church ended with everyone reminding each other to vote, offering rides to the precincts, finding out where to get buttons and more. The whole experience was so exhilarating. You could feel the palpable sense of anticipation over what promises to be a historic day... one RFK Jr. predicted on the campaign trail in 1968:
Things are moving so fast in race relations a Negro could be president in 40 years. There’s no question about it, in the next 40 years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has. Prejudice exists and probably will continue to, but we have tried to make progress and we are making progress. We are not going to accept the status quo.

40 years later, 2008... here we are, on the brink of that momentous occasion. Don't underestimate the value to our national pride, international identity and internal race relations the election of Obama represents. I'm in awe, to be quite blunt about it. Humbled to be a part of it.

Tonight, Obama speaks to 35,000 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. We're taking the kids. We want them to remember seeing the next president of the United States of America in their own city.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Make History!

If you're still undecided, here's what I encourage you to think about. In twenty, thirty, forty years - how would you like to look back on this election? Would you like to say that you voted for the first black president? Would you like to say you were a part of the ending of the Iraq war by your vote? Would you like to be able to say that you participated in the greatest presidential campaign effort in the history of America?

Barack Obama has given us a clear, well articulated plan of how he hopes to recover America's economic health, how he intends to protect our civil liberties, how he will bring a dignified close to the war in Iraq while also pursuing the terrorists where they live.

If you need that one nudge to decide between McCain and Obama, make history. Vote Obama.

Simple Economics Differences: Talking Turkey

Check out the Obama Tax Cut Calculator here.

The following post is one way to understand bottom up tax cuts. It's very important that the false notions of trickle down are discredited because even as I canvass I routinely run into people who make far less than the $250K line, yet feel that Obama is going to tax them "some day" when they finally earn a lot of money. They are actually voting to increase their taxes now on their smaller income with the hope that some day they will earn more money and will then have a lower tax burden. Clearly that idea makes no sense, yet that is how effective the "fear of taxation" rhetoric of the Republican party has been!

Enjoy this little piece. I thought it was great.

Forwarded from the Obama email list:

A simple way to explain the difference and the effect of Barack Obama's middle class tax cuts and John McCain's continuation of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.

Under McCain 1 person gets a $10,000.00 tax cut

Under Obama for the same money - 10 people get $1,000 tax cuts

Net result under both plans the total tax cut = $10,000.00

Now McCain's 1 person and Obama's 10 people are thinking about buying a turkey.

McCain's 1 person because they can, would probably just go buy the turkey without giving it a second thought whether they got a tax cut or not - the result is the grocery store sells 1 turkey.

Obama's 10 people may consider buying a turkey a luxury but because of Obama's tax cut they decide it's a luxury they can afford and go buy a turkey - the result is the grocery store sells 10 turkeys.

Now lets look at the grocery store and the turkey. The store makes 1.25 on every turkey sold.

Under McCain the rich guy who got the $10,000.00 tax cut but who could afford to buy the turkey regardless, buys the turkey and the store makes $1.25

Under Obama the 10 people who got the $1,000.00 tax cut and who can now afford to buy their turkeys do so and the store makes $12.50

Because more people benefited from Obama's middle class tax cut the store was able to sell more turkeys and make more money. In addition since more people can now afford to buy turkeys - the store buys more turkeys from the turkey farmer who make more money. And since the demand for turkeys is up, the farmer can increase the number of turkeys he raises which means he'll buy more feed from the feed supplier who makes more money and on and on........

The net result is more of the middle class can afford to buy turkeys and more of the people who sell turkeys and feed make more money. Eventually enough people are making more money that tax revenues go up paying for the tax cuts and helping to reduce the federal deficit.

This is how the Obama plan grows the economy from the bottom up and pays for itself.

Under McCain, the Bush tax cuts remain in place and things stay the same. Only those who can afford to buy turkeys - tax cuts or not - buy turkeys which means less turkeys are sold at the store, less turkeys are bought from the farmer and less turkey feed is sold by the feed supplier. Since no one's making any more money than they had, revenues remain flat at best and no new or additional taxes are collected.

This means the federal deficit continues to increase straining the economy even further which cause the store to close, the farmer to loose his farm and the feed supplier to go bankrupt. But the rich guy still gets his tax cut and the turkey!

Under the McCain plan the only turkey you get is "more of the same" failed Bush economics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Bell-Weather Cookie Poll: Obama over McCain

Obama Ahead in All-Important Cookie Poll
Ohio PR Stunt Has Predicted Winner Since Inception

By Jack Neff

Published: October 23, 2008

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Conventional polls this year are fraught with doubts -- from the "Bradley Effect" to the elusive cellphone-only households. But one poll based in the all-important swing state of Ohio has never failed since its inception in 1984, and it has Barack Obama with an almost insurmountable lead over John McCain.

The Busken Cookie Poll, in which the chain of Cincinnati-area retail bakeries sells cookies bearing cartoon images of each candidate, as of Thursday morning had Mr. Obama ahead 6,477 to 3,090 -- a 68% to 32% margin. Daily updates can be found at

Unscientific? Perhaps. But Brian Busken, VP-marketing of the family business, said that since the poll's inception in 1984, it has accurately predicted the winner of the presidential election every four years and never been further than 4 percentage points from the final popular vote tally nationwide. (Note: While the website shows a smiling Obama cookie and a frowning McCain cookie, the cookies sold in stores have both smiling.)

"We've never seen a spread like this before in the numbers," Mr. Busken said. "I don't know if there's going to be a crumbslide or not. ... We may still predict the winner, but probably by way too many cookies."

Already there are allegations of irregularities. Commenters on a story at the website of the Cincinnati Business Courier allege some bookstores have Obama cookies up front, McCain cookies in the back, and that Remke stores in Northern Kentucky had run out of the McCain cookies.

Mr. Busken said wholesale sales such as those referenced in the comments don't count. Nor does a recent bulk purchase of 400 McCain cookies by Rob Portman, former Republican congressman and White House budget director. If Acorn buys cookies online for the Dallas Cowboys and their cheerleaders, those don't count either. Only cookies sold in the 11 Ohio stores tracked by the poll count.

Busken milks the poll, of course, for all the publicity it can get, and has incorporated it into outdoor ads from the Creative Department, Cincinnati. The chain will advertise cookie-poll results on the Norton Digital Network in the area during the four days leading up to the election.

Copyright © 1992-2008 Crain Communications

Oh that media, choosing the winner again

I got an email last night (they are coming in droves now) telling me what the media refuses to report about Barack Obama. It was such a relief to know that there are emailers out there doing the job the media refuses to do!

Why I remember when George W. Bush ran, he got no coverage. All that nefarious stuff that Al Gore did and said as a public servant was completely overlooked as they prized his every move. Meanwhile, Bush was overshadowed, ignored and made fun of for his DUI's and his alcoholic past. The press was unrelenting in expecting us to see what a dangerous executive he'd make. That's why Bush lost! The liberal media was against him, totally. I mean, Al Gore owned the media that year. They loved him! That's why he's been our president for eight years. Right?

Wait, what? Bush won? Twice?

That can't be right. How did a conservative squeak out a victory in the hostile media environment that shredded his character and never cut him a break while fawning over Al Gore and John Kerry?

Oh yeah. Maybe it really is voters who elect presidents and the media that reports on campaigns.

This whole line of reasoning (that the media is liberal and hostile to conservatives) is absurd, of course. The media follows the story. Oh sure, the various networks give it their spin. Fox News and MSNBC will treat the stories differently. Rush Limbaugh and NPR don't usually share the same interpretations of events. But the news media is all about news cycles and grabbing headlines. They are about advancing whatever will hold the viewers' attention. They want ratings!

The idea that somehow a Republican like McCain can't get a break in the news cycle and is being attacked while Obama gets a pass is utterly laughable! Let's review a bit shall we? Obama, during the primary season, was viciously attacked for things his pastor said in three sermons out of 20 years of preaching. Those clips and the media's incessant need to interpret for America what that might mean about Obama took well over a month!

Every possible tag that has been applied to Obama has been repeated without filter since he began his campaign. At one point, Fox News used the term "terrorist" together with Obama's name over 50% of the time. Even Obama's "fist bump" with Michelle after he won the nomination was referred to as a "terrorist fist jab."

That's how the media gives Obama a pass?

Now they want to label him a Communist or a Socialist. Yeah, there goes that media again. Applying terms of endearment to their favorite candidate: socialist Obama.

Meanwhile, let's look at McCain. After Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech at the DNC, less than 24 hours later, McCain stole the news cycle with his mavericky selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. She made him the most interesting candidate for over a month. The press accommodated the McCain campaign's outrageous need to protect Palin from interviews, press conferences and ordinary, routine interaction with the media, not even challenging that strange behavior, but giving them the benefit of the doubt for weeks.

McCain's heroism has been celebrated any time he is mentioned. A deep reverence for his service to our country has made some on the left think the media refuses to criticize McCain. McCain was expected to be a gentleman in his campaign, and long after he gave up "sticking to the issues" and instead went for character attacks, most of his coverage still treated him as a fully respectable candidate.

For nearly 20 years now, rightwing talk radio and Fox News have given a voice to the once silent conservative platform. Those powerful media tools have been critical in dispensing the talking points of the right, of balancing what was likely a left-leaning media prior. George Bush would not have won two terms if the media were exclusively liberal and hostile to all things conservative.

So it's pointless to throw up an 11th hour critique of the media as the last ditch effort to derail Obama's likely win next week. Obama is ahead for several reasons, not the least of which is that Bush has been an unmitigated disaster in the White House.

The ideal conservative candidate, the born again Christian, the man sent by God to lead our nation in the wake of the sinful and liberal Bill Clinton, the one who understood true conservatism and could both energize the stagnating economy and protect us from our enemies... this man who WON TWICE and represented the ideals of Republicans (even in spite of their constant complaints that the media is hostile and liberal) has proven to be the worst president in history.

Hmmm. That might be why Obama looks like a real change... an opportunity to do something - anything - else and see how that works out.

Obama is not the media's darling any more than Bush was. He is America's choice because right now, who he is, what he says, and how he presents his ideas is winning the news cycles.

President Elect Obama - you might want to practice saying it. It's looking pretty good for him right now. (And if you are voting for him, go do it today! Get that vote banked in Ohio.)

Happy Anniversary to us!

Jon and I celebrated our 24th last night at our favorite French restaurant: La Petite France. C'etait chouette! Photos to come.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Andrew Sullivan's Top Ten Reasons Conservatives should vote Obama

You have to read these if you are on the fence and a Republican or Independent:

Sullivan's Top Ten.

Here's a taste:
9. Less debt. Yes, Obama will raise taxes on those earning over a quarter of a million. And he will spend on healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan and the environment. But so will McCain. He plans more spending on health, the environment and won't touch defense of entitlements. And his refusal to touch taxes means an extra $4 trillion in debt over the massive increase presided over by Bush. And the CBO estimates that McCain's plans will add more to the debt over four years than Obama's. Fiscal conservatives have a clear choice.

8. A return to realism and prudence in foreign policy. Obama has consistently cited the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush as his inspiration. McCain's knee-jerk reaction to the Georgian conflict, his commitment to stay in Iraq indefinitely, and his brinksmanship over Iran's nuclear ambitions make him a far riskier choice for conservatives. The choice between Obama and McCain is like the choice between George H.W. Bush's first term and George W.'s.
And here's Obama's "closing argument" for he campaign. It's awesome. Listen all the way through. Man, we are lucky to have this guy.

How pro-life voters like me justify an Obama vote

Newsweek did the heavy-lifting on this one. This article, The Catholic Case for Obama, articulates why pro-lifers are moving toward Obama and away from the GOP which has traditionally "owned" the pro-life vote. George Weigel wrote an essay last week that suggested a vote for Obama would contradict a pro-life viewpoint. This week's article is the rebuttal. Here are a few snippets that stand out to me:
In the closing weeks of this election, abortion is among the crucial issues for Catholic voters, but promoting a culture of life is necessarily interconnected with a family wage, universal health care and, yes, better parenting and education of our youth. This greater appreciation for the totality of Catholic teaching is at the very heart of the Obama campaign; it is scarcely a McCain footnote.

In a perfect world, the pro-life argumentation of George Weigel is unassailable. He counsels having constitutional law align absolutely with the defense of innocent human life; to which we say, "Amen." The problem for Weigel is that even our collective "Amen" will not make it so. In the meantime, millions of children are being aborted.

Mr. Weigel is an intellectual and for him it's a simple matter of accessing the objective truth of the human person as explicated in Catholic natural law and saying, "Follow me." For 35 years, however, pro-lifers have followed that intellectual siren call, asking the Supreme Court on multiple occasions to reverse Roe v. Wade. We have no objection to pursuing this legal avenue, which does not depend on who occupies the White House—though we have no illusions about it, either. The legal path has not worked to date, and it may never work.

The church asks its faithful to find meaningful—not hypothetical—ways to promote human life. While getting the law and philosophy right might eventually do that, it does bring up the question: What are you doing for the cause of life now? The McCain answer: not much.


By contrast, Obama does make provision for universal health care and recognizes abortion for what it is: a tragic moral choice often confronted by a woman in adverse economic and social circumstances (without spouse, without steady income, without employment prospects, and a particularly stigmatic and cumbersome adoption procedure). Obama proposes to reduce the incidence of abortion by helping pregnant women overcome the ill effects of poverty that block a choice of life. A range of new studies–using U.S. rather than Swedish data–affirm this approach.
To me this is the crux of why I can no longer support a slogan of pro-life versus the real meaning of those words. I am pro-life - pro babies being born, pro-children getting educations (educations of parody, not rich suburban educations versus impoverished war zones disguised as schools for the inner city poor), pro-women getting the information and resources they need to govern their sexual lives, pro-families having the resources to provide medical care to their children, and so on.

The Republican party has acted as though "believing in a plank" called pro-life is the same as actually fostering a culture of life, as being those who see others as valuable. It intrigues me a lot that when I canvass I hear Republicans say they can't vote for Obama because of abortion (they care about protecting the unborn!), but then they turn around and say that they don't want the democratic platform because it would "force them to care" about the underprivileged (whom they see as dead weight on our economy). So apparently, for some of them, human beings are precious in the womb, but once they've emerged, they're on their own.

Many of us are saying, "Not this time."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It boils down to one thing: Obama has a message

In February, an email pinged my in-box. If you want to volunteer for the Obama campaign, come to the meeting tomorrow night at _______ church downtown. With less than 24 hours notice, thousands of residents (black, white, old, young, Democrat, Republican, Independent, rich, middle class, poor, educated, un-educated) crammed themselves into the old church against the snowy, icy backdrop outdoors. The energy in that room buzzed, chants broke out spontaneously, friendships were instantly formed.

Nine months later, I've tallied it up. I've made thousands of phone calls for Senator Obama. I've walked dozens of miles and have knocked on hundreds of doors. I've had countless conversations with undecided voters here in Ohio, in the southwest of Ohio, specifically. I have a good understanding of why people love Obama, why they find him inspiring, an answer to their needs as Americans, why they feel that their hope in his leadership is justified.

Obama drew people like me because he represents something new on the political stage. He does for progressive politics what Reagan did for the conservative agenda. Instead of the progressive agenda being some scary version of leftwing radical morals and high taxes, Obama helped people like me see that compassionate care (shared responsibility) for our communities combined with protecting individual freedoms is the best way to govern.

We do that by prioritizing the needs of the middle class because it is the middle class that keeps our economy healthy and strong. The middle class also operates from a core of values that creates the energy to preserve and strengthen our institutions (like our schools, churches, local government and social services, including fire fighters, police, medical care and so on).

The notion that we can rely on big corporate executives to take the initiative to ensure that their incredible wealth would "trickle down" to the workers has been proven patently false (note the economic fiasco of the last month coupled with the fastest growing gap between top end incomes of executives and wage workers in their own companies). The issue isn't whether or not to tax the wealthy at a higher rate than the poor.

The issue is whether we can afford to make the middle class bear an increasingly large responsibility for the services they require when their incomes and opportunities are not growing at a rate comparable to their needs or the costs of these goods.

It's not okay to allow the market to determine everything. It can't govern our morality. It won't! As one of my professors used to say, "Businesses do what businesses do. They are about making money, not about being a philanthropy, or being interested in clean water or air. That's not what they do."

It is absurd to assume that a business that is making money is the most likely to create jobs in America. As we are seeing, many of those "jobs" are disappearing overseas for the sake of the business's health, not for the sake of the health of America's middle class.

Government, when done right, is supposed to foster opportunity to create wealth while providing services that take into account the real needs of its citizens. We've spent too long on the side of the pendulum where the creation of wealth (particularly for the few) has meant the neglect of our other moral obligation: the care of the citizens who have helped to generate that wealth.

If you live in a city where lay-offs of plant closures have occurred, you know what I'm talking about! You can't watch 2,000 people lose their jobs and expect the grocery stores, home mortgage lenders and gas stations to survive. You can't expect those schools to retain their funding.

We live in an interconnected way that is so fragile, any one change can throw a community into a dangerous spiral. On the other hand, our interconnectedness is an opportunity for inspiring partnership to create new ways of stabilizing and protecting our communities if we could see beyond our own private dreams.

Senator Obama represents that kind of thinking for people like me. And naturally, he says it better than I can:
The audacity of hope.

That was the best of the American spirit, I thought—having the audacity to believe despite all the evidence to the contrary that we could restore a sense of community to a nation torn by conflict; the gall to believe that despite personal setbacks, the loss of a job or an illness in the family or a childhood mired in poverty, we had some control—and therefore responsibility—over our own fate.

It was that audacity, I thought, that joined us as one people. It was that pervasive spirit of hope that tied my own family's story to the larger American story, and my own story to those of the voters I sought to represent.
Barack Obama has spent the last twenty months proving that he is so committed to that philosophy, nothing that has been thrown at him has derailed his primary message. He's fleshed it out in position papers, speeches, townhalls and debates. He's written books. He's been interviewed on every major network and 60 minutes. He's done hundreds of press interviews.

Obama has stayed steady and calm, has stuck to the issues, has continued to talk about uniting us rather than dividing us.

I'm sick of the spurious attacks, the smears and suspicions that are hurled by those who won't vote for Obama. I can't help but think that the ones who are afraid of him are merely unconsciously (or in some cases consciously) afraid of a black man in office. But for my money, this is the man who's passed the test of leadership. After 8 miserable years under GW Bush, it's time to give Barack Obama's vision a shot.

It's time to flip the script. The Republicans have had their chance... and have blown it. It's time for change.

November 4 can't come fast enough!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Your chance at history

Yesterday a member of the Cincinnati Obama list sent out the following story after a trip to the Board of Elections to early vote.
"Upon arriving at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati to vote early today I happened upon some friends of my mother's -- three small, elderly Jewish women. They were quite upset as they were being refused admitance to the polling location due to their Obama T-Shirts, hats and buttons. Apparently you cannot wear Obama/McCain gear into polling locations here in Ohio.... They were practically on the verge of tears.

After a minute or two of this a huge man (6'5", 300 lbs easy) wearing a Dale Earnhardt jacket and Bengal's baseball cap left the voting line, came up to us and introduced himself as Mike. He told us he had overheard our conversation and asked if the ladies would like to borrow his jacket to put over their t-shirts so they could go in and vote. The ladies quickly agreed. As long as I live I will never forget the image of these 80-plus-year-old Jewish ladies walking into the polling location wearing a huge Dale Earnhardt racing jacket that came over their hands and down to their knees!

Mike patiently waited for each woman to cast their vote, accepted their many thanks and then got back in line (I saved him a place while he was helping out the ladies). When Mike got back in line I asked him if he was an Obama supporter. He said that he was not, but that he couldn't stand to see those ladies so upset. I thanked him for being a gentleman in a time of bitter partisanship and wished him well.

After I voted I walked out to the street to find my mother's friends surrouding our new friend Mike -- they were laughing and having a great time. I joined them and soon learned that Mike had changed his mind in the polling booth and ended up voting for Obama. When I asked him why he changed his mind at the last minute, he explained that while he was waiting for his jacket he got into a conversation with one of the ladies who had explained how the Jewish community, and she, had worked side by side with the black community during the civil rights movements of the '60s, and that this vote was the culmination of those personal and community efforts so many years ago. That this election for her was more than just a vote ... but a chance at history.

Mike looked at me and said, "Obama's going to win, and I didn't want to tell my grandchildren some day that I had an opportunity to vote for the first black president, but I missed my chance at history and voted for the other guy."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

13 days left after this long slog to the White House

Here's a photo that I think deserves to be seen (Obama resoled these once on the campaign trail already and was due for another resoling.... interesting contrast to Sarah Palin's $150K wardrobe in the news today.)

HuffPo writes:
Indeed, the story (Palin's wardrobe expenditures) could not come at a more inopportune time for the McCain campaign. During a week in which the Republican ticket is trying to highlight its connection to the working class -- and, by extension, promoting its newest campaign tool, Joe the Plumber -- it was revealed that Palin's fashion budget for several weeks was more than four times the median salary of an American plumber ($37,514). To put it another way: Palin received more valuable clothes in one month than the average American household spends on clothes in 80 years. A Democrat put it in even blunter terms: her clothes were the cost of health care for 15 or so people.
(about $2000 per day of her campaign since the announcement on August 29)

I found this set of photos through Daily Kos. Callie (photographer) traces Obama's journey from before he announced his candidacy to the DNC. The photos are gorgeous and the moments she captured, indicative of the man I have come to admire.

Sometimes pictures do speak more loudly than any words can.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fairfield Ohio: Effigy of Obama hung... People I'm scared!

I have not wanted to believe that racism was this deep or that close to the surface in our own neighborhoods! For those of you out of state, Fairfield is the town over from ours. It's where my son goes for math tutoring, it's where our favorite big supermarket, Jungle Jim's, is located, it's where a large number of our friends live. This is an ordinary middle-class suburb outside of Cincinnati, not Appalachia.

I'm horrified by both yard displays (it is despicable to depict John McCain as a member of the KKK). The other display (and subject of this local news report) that features Obama swinging from a tree, however, really frightens me. The Jewish star on his head, the name upside down, the middle name across the ghostly body, all hanging from a tree... these images really scare me. To think that the owner of the home was reported to have said that this is a "white Christian nation" and he doesn't want a black man running it... What does that really mean? How far will these kinds of people go to be sure that doesn't happen?

And just when I was feeling heartened by the enthusiasm for Obama in my own neighborhood (out of 75 doors knocked on Sat., I made 32 contacts and 25 were for Obama!). Unheard of in GOP land...

If you pray, pray for Obama's safety. My God. What is wrong with us?

Friday, October 17, 2008

An Act of Kindness

This story surfaced a month or more ago and I did see that it was validated with the original source. I saw photos the first time I read it.

A Small Act of Kindness

My professor, Adam Clark, mused on FB this a.m.

Adam is wondering why Democrats are forced to distance themselves from sixties radicals but Republicans never have to distance themselves from sixties segregationists.

Yeah, I wonder that too!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lakota West Band is expected to play at Palin event

We are registering complaints at the Board of Elections and The Lakota School District as well as Lakota West High School.

Publicly funded schools should not take kids out of classes to perform at a campaign rally for a particular candidate since we do not promote one candidate or party over another in school itself.

Phone numbers to call:

Lakota West High School: (513) 874-5699

Lakota School District Board of Education: (513) 874-5505

Board of Elections Hamilton County: (513) 887-3700

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I met Sarah Palin!

In my dreams last night. She was, actually, really nice. Last night I saw her on television with Down's Syndrome children at her rallies and felt warm toward her for possibly the first time. I can't deny that giving visibility to special needs children is a much welcomed aspect of her remarkable run (a run for v.p. that continues to mystify me on the level of real public policy, but that apparently is connecting at the heart level with a huge number of moms everywhere).

Here's the funny thing: I just got a call (robocall) from John Boehner (our local congressman) inviting me to a free Sarah Palin rally on Friday here in West Chester! Good grief. So now the question is, Do I bother to go? Perhaps she really is wanting to meet me! What do the interpreters of dreamz think? Say?

Still seems nightmarish to contemplate her running the country. But I'm fascinated by her fan-base and her ability to create in the eyes of her fans, a real zeal and faith in her despite any concrete evidence that she is competent to lead our nation!

This has been a surreal election season. Were they ever this interesting when we were kids?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

McCain and Palin incite the scary people

Are you following the news? Are you a bit freaked out at the cries of "Kill him" and "He's a terrorist" directed at Barack Obama, coming from the folks who attend McCain/Palin rallies? How does Sarah ("she's a mom!") Palin justify inciting that level of dangerous hatred against a candidate for president of the United States? She asks, "How well do we know Barack Obama?" (the man who has been on the nightly news for 2 solid years and has done more press conferences, debates, interviews, rallies than all the candidates) when she has done three media interviews, NO press conferences and most Americans had never heard her name until 6 weeks ago!? Where does she get off creating a dangerous linking between Obama and Ayers (as terrorist, as dangerous, as Marxist) when Ayers works as a professor at the University of Chicago and the two of them were on a board together related to education (a board populated by Republicans as a matter of fact), while her own husband was a member of the Alaskan secessionist group in the 1990's?

What galls me the most are the racial undertones of all these charges - the idea that Obama is somehow scary, risky, dangerous and foreign. If McCain is that ideal "bi-partisan" American senator and war hero, wouldn't he be the first to shush this wild descent into the politics of hate? Wouldn't he at least want to start by saying, "Look, Obama is no terrorist" (what an insane accusation!!) and "Please calm down. We're here to debate issues."

In my dreams, he'd say it even more forcefully: "The politics of hate have no place in my campaign or the Republican party. We will NEVER condone or support the cries of assassination in one of my rallies. We do not want the votes of people who believe Obama is a terrorist or who wish him dead!" My God! Is anyone awake? This stuff is serious! We've had presidents shot before. Even Reagan was shot for God's sake!

McCain's willingness to send Sarah Palin into the fray as the attack pitbull in lipstick and beehive hairdo shows that he is more about winning than Country First. It is disgusting that he can't make the attacks himself, if he believes in them. He thrusts the newcomer in to do his dirty work. That Palin feels comfortable going after an honorable man she's maybe met once shows such an appalling lack of class and critical thinking (and worse, a complete misreading of history... blacks have been shot and lynched in this country due to bigotry and fear!) that I find it impossible to take her seriously (except that she must be now that she's catalyzing a level of hate I've not seen in the last 30 years of politics).

But Obama, being the cool as a cucumber candidate through all the muck flung in his direction, had this to say in July (the man saw it coming, what can I say?):

I'm appalled and embarrassed by the Republican party. I'm ashamed of them. I'm ashamed to have ever been affiliated with them. They deserve to be sent packing this fall. Republicans, reassess what it means to be a party for the people (not just the xenophobic whites). If you are not one of those who would call Obama a terrorist, who would call for his "murder," why would you vote McCain after this despicable demonstration of dangerous fear-mongering?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Obama: Yeah, more about him

So the biggest news is that canvassing and phone banking have become a heckuva lot more fun now that Obama is winning (leading) in Ohio. Last weekend, Liam, Caitrin and I hit eleven houses in a row (in West Chester, yes way!) that were Obama fans. Our neighborhood has seven Obama/Biden yard signs and three McCain/Palin. I can't remember a single Kerry sign in all of West Chester, last time. The tide is turning.

Even while it's clear that Obama is leading in the polls, there's a certain element in the voting population who still believe that Obama is a dangerous, alien, terrorist-affiliate. These friends become strained and even hostile toward me when they see my t-shirts or buttons or Facebook status updates. With all the thousands of words Obama has written and spoken to the press, with his record public for all to see, with his hours of youtube clips available, with his detailed policy papers easily downloaded from his website, there are still voters who believe that he is going through all of this exhausting hassle (mostly without a hitch) to hide a nefarious agenda to take down the United States of America once in office. I find that charge (that he's the "beast in Revelation," that he's a secret Muslim, that he's tied to foreign terrorist organizations - or even domestic ones!) utterly outrageous.

Meanwhile, these same voters (often conservative Christians) believe that McCain represents safety (a safe bet) - a man who cheated on his hospitalized wife, married Cindy before divorcing his first wife, has a pro-choice record in the Senate until he switched to a conservative posture for this election, not much of a notable Christian testimony and selected arguably the least qualified vice-presidential candidate in American history. How is he the safe bet? How is Obama the risk?

I thought it might help to read a bit by Obama himself and what he says about his Christian faith. I'm going to post quotes from his own book over the next week or so so you can read what he writes himself (instead of all those crazy email forwards filled with deliberate misquotes and lies).
"...I was drawn to the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change. Out of necessity, the black church had to minister to the whole person. Out of necessity, the black church rarely had the luxury of separating individual salvation from collective salvation. It had to serve as the center of the community's political, economic and social as well as spiritual life; it understood in an intimate way the biblical call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and challenge powers and principalities. In the history of these struggles, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; rather it was an active, palpable agent in the world. In the day-to-day work of the men and women I met in church each day, in their ability to "make a way out of no way" and maintain hope and dignity in the direst of circumstances, I could see the Word made manifest. (Audacity of Hope 207)
I attend an inner city black church here in Cincinnati. One of the startling features of weekly attendance is to listen to the pastor mention the church members who need prayer at the end of each service. My very first week, we were asked to thank God that one of the women members was yet with us, as she had been car jacked at gunpoint (placed against her temple) the night before and yet survived (never mind that she lost her car). Since that first, shocking week, I've heard of teenage boys who've been gunned down, neighborhood shootings, and other tragic deaths. I've also listened to sermons devoted to urging the congregation to get "legal insurance" to protect themselves against the likely need for fair representation against our city's police, unfair job firings and the notorious "driving while black" syndrome.

In the midst of economic challenges, this church continues to take love offerings any time a minister visits from out of town, they sing joyfully and pray enthusiastically. Sometimes just the mention of economic hardship during prayers leads the women holding my hands to a flood of tears, yet they come back every week, ready to praise God again. The black church has been a gift to me. It is the first time I've experienced the merging of both community identity and individual faith.

One of the reasons I find Obama's candidacy not only timely, but truly revolutionary (on par with the work done by MLK Jr.) is that Obama is able to be a president to all of us in a way that perhaps no president before him has ever been. He brings with him an intimacy with ideas, attitudes, and both white and black cultures that will shape and inform how he governs. His sensitivity to the diversity in himself has led him to be sensitive to the diversity of opinion in America. I strongly recommend reading his chapter on Faith in The Audacity of Hope next time you get coffee at Barnes and Noble. Find out what he says for himself. Don't take someone else's word. We've never had a president able to relate to so many in history. That doesn't mean we haven't had good presidents. We just haven't had one with this unique set of experiences that will help Obama to be a bridge of understanding between a stunning variety of backgrounds, socio-economic conditions, international relations and racial experiences.

Today a college friend sent me a message on FB gently chiding me for my Obama enthusiasm. He told me he has a bumper sticker that suggests who to vote for: "Coldest State, Hottest Governor." Really? Is it possible to be so flip this year, with the economic crisis, the war in Iraq still raging, with a fraudulent executive team leaving the country in shambles and a tattered Constitution?

If you are feeling nervous about Obama, take the next few weeks to read his own writings. Get to know him. Don't just watch the sleazy attack ads or trust some forwarded email. Read Obama's own words. Think about what he says he plans to do for America, what his vision is. Then make your decision.

Edited to add: Susan asked in the comments for verification of the McCain affair/divorce and I wanted to include this article from July from the LATimes: McCain's Broken Marriage Fractured Other Ties as Well.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm here! I'm here! And this is my 1001th post!

I hit the big 1,000 on September 24, apparently. Nice.

Anyway, yes, thanks for the emails asking me if I was yet dead, trapped in a time capsule or suffering from campaign fatigue.

Truth is, I'm burning the midnight oil for Barack. We are winning now in every meaningful poll and even in my highly Republican neighborhood, Obama/Biden signs are popping up like daisies. The enthusiasm is high here. When I wear my t-shirt with the graphic depiction of Barack's handsome face, checkers at the grocery store, newly minted 18 year old voters and fellow secret Obama fans give me the thumbs' up or compliment me on my good taste. It's fun supporting the "winner" in what is hostile territory.

Last weekend I canvassed in a neighborhood right around the corner from me. One of the recurring themes that continues to surprise me is that those over 60 are still pretty sure Obama is a secret Muslim. What I really want to know is why more people aren't worried that McCain is really a secret apathetic agnostic? Just because John says the right lines in public is no guarantee that he has a genuine, life-guiding faith. His biography certainly doesn't have the ring of Christian authenticity that Carter, or Reagan, or Bush have had (no matter what you think of their politics!).

Meanwhile, Obama (baptized, married in church, tied to a controversial pastor of a well-known Christian church) is still suspect as being a secret Muslim with terrorist connections that he seeks to activate (once president) to undermine the country! Mind-bending how deep our racism goes.

As far as other things in my life: well, my business website is in the middle of a kick-ass redesign. I'm so excited about it! It requires a lot of attention, though, to get it up to roll out speed so that is sucking my energy too.

And lastly, well, you all recall I'm in therapy (aka, emotional vacuum cleaner). Every week seems to suck a little more of my life points and right now I'm in need of some serious rejuvenation. Have to go get some lifes from some other source! :) I'm fine really, but just absorbed the way a native southern Californian is when navel-gazing and introspecting for any length of time.

But back to Obama:

Three reasons he should be our next president:
1. Obama has resisted the temptation to over-react to just about every crisis thrown his way. He drafted a game plan for his campaign (no drama, debate issues), he transmitted his philosophy to his staff of 2500 who have in turn trained their voluminous (magnificent!) cast of volunteers so that we are capable and confident of the campaign philosophy, and he has addressed every concern raised by the media and voters without stunts, hurling insults, or sleight of hand moves intended to deflect attention away from him. No stunts.

Obama represents the one candidate who has not even had a real break in schedule or competition in 18 months yet still looked fresh, had passion and demonstrated ease and competence with our nation's major issues at last week's debate.

2. Obama brings change because he brings it from the people. He is not posturing as the person with the plan, but the person with the people's hungers and desires. "Change does not come from Washington, it comes to Washington."

Obama openly and readily acknowledged McCain's good points at the debate, while nuancing them to reflect his views. McCain, on the other hand, wouldn't even look at Obama and repeatedly claimed Obama "didn't understand." Who of the two appeared more able to reach across the aisle... or in this case, the podium, to find common ground?

3. Finally, Obama is the candidate who has captured the imagination of the electorate (both dems and reps). He isn't merely the lesser of two evils in his party or the best his party could do at a time when the base and the mainstream are deeply divided. Obama represents more than a change of party or face in Washington. Obama represents the kind of enthusiasm Reagan generated when he ran in 1980. There's a shift in the winds. Americans sense it. They envision Obama as the one who will create the momentum necessary to address the national crises created by Team Bush. Not McCain.

Even McCain supporters sense this. The vast majority of McCain supporters I've met door-to-door are not McCain fans. They are afraid of Obama (often due to misinformation) or they like Palin.

So vote No-drama Obama! And if you are in Ohio, you can vote NOW!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Campbell Brown calls on McCain Campaign to end Sexism

in their treatment of Sarah Palin. Great twist. Campbell Brown has stepped up to the plate a few times in the last few weeks. Good for her.

“Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment,” said Brown. “This woman is from Alaska for crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heart beat away form the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters… Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chain you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one.”

HT: Notes From Off Center

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Conservative Commentator George Will eviscerates McCain

McCain Loses His Head
Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.


The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?

On "60 Minutes" Sunday evening, McCain, saying "this may sound a little unusual," said that he would like to replace Cox with Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic attorney general of New York who is the son of former governor Mario Cuomo. McCain explained that Cuomo has "respect" and "prestige" and could "lend some bipartisanship." Conservatives have been warned.

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Best First Wedding Dance Ever

This is too good to miss and I figure with all the bad economic news out there, we could all use a mental health break.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A true conservative comes out for Obama

I apologize for not writing my own thoughts on all this. They are coming. I'm too busy leading the phone bank effort here in West Chester and trying to recover from the power outage to give much more time to my blog. On the other hand, I do peruse the daily offerings of political speak that the Internet serves up to me and this one caught my attention. I wish I were as eloquent. As a lifelong conservative, THIS piece finally addresses my core anxieties about what has happened to the Republicans. It worries me deeply that some of my best friends who I consider good thinkers continue to buy the Republican line that they represent conservatism!

The second part of this article that especially connected with me is the writer's clarity about the kind of man that Obama is: prudent, wise, has read the Federalist Papers (has taught them!). It is in Obama's books (which he authors) that he gives the most comprehensive vision of how his viewpoint would address the core issues of our nation at this point in time. Obama may not resonate with all of the Republican ideological platform items, but he is not a reckless, "without blinking" politician who would rather rattle our sabers against perceived evil than thoughtfully deliberate how to best protect both our interests and our reputation.

A Conservative for Obama
THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me...


But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse....


Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Harry Truman

"The underlying differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties boils down to a very simple thing. The Republicans believe that the power of the Government should be used, first of all, to help the rich and privileged people of this country. With them property comes first. The Democrats believe that the powers of the Government should be used to give the common man some protection, and a chance to make a decent living. With the Democrats the people come first.

"The Democratic Party is a political organization that has a heart--it cares about the people--it cares about all the people, rich and poor alike. The Republican Party is ruled by a little group of men who have calculating machines where their hearts ought to be.

"Sometimes the Republicans aid their clientele by special favors--like the rich man's tax cut bill which was passed by the 80th Congress over my veto--or like their attempts to give away the Nation's oil resources to all the big oil interests.

"Sometimes the Republicans aid their special friends by doing nothing--by a philosophy of each man for himself and the devil take the hindmost. That's why they've fought such measures as minimum wage laws, social security, and the protection of the right of labor unions to organize. All these things and others like them have been opposed by the Republicans."

Harry S Truman
October 6, 1952

I don't know if this is a true quote for Truman. I've tried to find it on the Internet for confirmation but to no avail. I read it in the comments section of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Regardless, I thought it worth discussing. I agree with the overarching theme - that the Republicans seem to believe that providing for and protecting the interests of those with property (and wealth) is better for the rest of us than looking out for the common person in the middle and lower classes. The rhetoric goes that when you give monetary breaks to those who create jobs, they will pass along the wealth to the consumers and to their employees which will in turn foster healthy economic growth.

That's not what happens, as we can see by the ever expanding gap between what CEOs of corporations earn versus the wage earners they pay at the low end. I found this information from 2005:
  • CEO compensation is out of orbit: At the 350 largest public companies, the average CEO compensation is $9.2 million. Compensation for oil and gas execs increased by 109 percent between 2003 and 2004.
  • In 2004, the average CEO received 240 times more than the compensation earned by the average worker. In 2002, the ratio was 145 to 1.
  • These levels of CEO compensation are not the norm for the industrialized world. Typically, CEO pay in other industrialized countries is only about onethird of what American CEOs make.
  • Highly-compensated CEOs are not being rewarded for performance with the interests of shareholders in mind, the “textbook” explanation of CEO compensation, according to an extensive body of research and reporting.
  • After-tax profits are booming and corporate America can easily afford to offer fair wages and benefits to rank and file employees. Unfortunately, while CEOs have enriched themselves, middle-class families have taken hard hits to their paychecks, their health coverage, and their pension plans.
Something's not right. And I don't know why we think that the Republicans will be motivated to fix it.

Also, don't you find it scary to think that we've been urged to tie our retirement earnings to the stock market rather than retaining our social security?

Politico's Elizabeth Drew

writes a piece (after having authored the book Citizen McCain... and is clearly a fangirl) that shows her disappointment in her candidate.

How John McCain Lost Me
While McCain’s movement to the center was widely popular (if not on the right) – and he even flirted with becoming a Democrat – there’s now strong reason to question whether it was anything but a temporary, expedient tactic. (In his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For,” he wrote, revealingly, “I didn’t decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I’d had the ambition for a long time.”)

When he decided to run for president in 2008, he felt he couldn’t win without the support of the right, so he adapted.

In retrospect, other once-hailed McCain efforts – his cultivation of the press (“my base”) and even his fight for campaign finance reform (launched in the wake of his embarrassment over the Keating Five scandal) now seem to have been simply maneuvers. The “Straight Talk Express” – a brilliant p.r. stroke in 2000 – has now been shut down.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ah the joys of the lightbulb

In honor of Thomas Edison, after our power returned, I cuddled the lowly light bulb and turned it on. What a difference!

Today I face a mountain of email after being away all yesterday assembling IKEA furniture in Johannah's college apt. She has three feisty roommates (as all girl roommates-in-college-apts. ought to be if at all possible). We purchased a futon and screwed the frame together with a power drill... my first solo drill-age outing. Drill, baby, drill!

The sun is out, the air is cool, I ate the newly discovered oatmeal in an adorable cup at Starbucks (yes, I'm a sucker for good packaging as all southern Californians worth their sea salt are) with my tall one pump decaf vanilla latte. I allowed the sun to bathe my back. Ahhhhhh. There are so few days left like this. I've got my solar panels hooked to my spine to soak up the last rays in time for the per youzh dark winter days rapidly advancing.

More Obama soon, I promise. Coming up: Why Obama is qualified to be president, even if you doubt his experience.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Power out in Cincinnati

Over one million without power now in Cinci, due to the ravages of Ike. Findlay Market (right across the street from my church downtown!) caught fire and several of the buildings adjacent as well. Hope my church is okay. :(

We are all congregating at Panera in the great Y2K diaspora, 8 years late. Wi-fi and hot coffee have drawn every small business owner and "out of school" teen to the electricity-providing bagel place.

We may be without electricity for a week. It's all McCain's fault, by the way. And Bush's. You know if Palin is such an energy expert, where is she? Hmm? Just sayin'.

Anyway, one more reason to vote Obama, obviously.

See you soon, I hope!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Facts about their tax plans

One of the chief reasons my Republican family is voting McCain is that they think Obama will raise their taxes. And, perhaps he will, since some members of my family make a whole lot of money (a lot more than the typical middle class family who earns less than $250,000 per year). If, however, you fall into that vast group of families who earn under the quarter million a year mark, there is good news for you. Obama will help you more.
McCain's new ad says that Obama plans to impose "painful tax increases on working American families" and past ads have said Obama wanted to raise taxes on "families" making just $42,000 a year.

Here's the truth: Obama's plan would substantially cut taxes to all but the wealthiest families — far more than McCain's tax plan would. But if you're yearning for some more hefty tax cuts for the nation's rich, then McCain's your man.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has analyzed both campaigns' tax plans and found that Obama's would cut taxes for 81.3 percent of all households and for 95.5 percent of households with children.

Going with Obama's plan, according to the center, would reward middle-income taxpayers to the tune of $2,200 in tax cuts annually by 2012. While taxpayers in the top 1 percent of income would face an average tax increase of $19,000.

Under McCain's tax plan, middle-income taxpayers would see a rise of $1,400 in after-tax income by 2012. But for those in the top 1 percent, McCain would cut their taxes by more than $125,000 annually.

McCain's plan would increase the national debt by $5-trillion by 2018, while Obama's plan would increase it by $3.5-trillion, according to the center. Yet McCain's ads warn that Obama's plan would bring about "years of deficits."
Check out the whole article.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama's foreign policy judgment

In light of Sarah Palin's interview with Gibson last night and this a.m., everyone is talking foreign policy. One pressing question may be: How can Obama address our international concerns when Illinois can't see a single foreign country from any of its borders?

Andrew Sullivan today offers a run-down on the foreign policy judgments Obama has offered over the last year. Each one had been "smacked down" as being misguided... until Bush decided to adopt them himself.
The Bush administration - when guided by the saner forces within it such as Gates and Rice - eventually follows Obama's advice. In that sense, Obama has been president for quite a while already. And proving he could be a shrewd, pragmatic and prescient one.
Read it all. Discussing foreign policy is not a quiz to see if you know the right policy answers based on your party's established viewpoint. It's a question of keen interest, thoughtful reflection, investigation into the dynamics of each region and how they impact each other and our national security, filtered through superior and sober judgment. One reason I'm an Obama fan.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another look at Palin from an Alaskan native

The following is a diary from dkos that shares one woman's experience of Sarah Palin. She admits up front that she is an Obama supporter and she tries to give a fair treatment of Sarah by sharing both good and bad impressions of her work in AK.

Sarah Palin: My Alaskan Opinion

Investigative journalist looks at Palin

This article is the first of its kind that I've seen and I don't have any way to verify it. Take it for what it's worth (I can't reprint the lead; too despicable). I expect we'll see a lot more investigation into Palin's reputation etc. in AK since she is currently unwilling to meet with the press.

60 days to go...

And my email and facebook message box is filling up. Even though it's been obvious that I've thrown my support behind Obama for months, friends, Internet contacts, former neighbors, even family are asking me why.

A good question. Having voted Republican every single election except my first (when I liked Carter better than Reagan), it's surprising for some to discover that I'm not only disgruntled with Bush and co. but that I've jumped the fence to whole-heatedly back a Democrat, to work for Obama's campaign, not just to vote for him.

Over the next little bit, I want to talk about why I've switched teams and how Obama helped me to do so. I also want to ask in all sincerity some questions of our undecideds and Republican-leaning readers. I hope you'll share.

We've only got a few weeks left to decide this thing. We've got to get it right. McCain or Obama will be our next president. Not Biden. Not Palin. (Barring tragedy) The most important question to ask between now and then has to be: "Is it right to give another four year chance to the Republicans after 8 years of Bush?" (Bush, who lied about intelligence, WMD's, Iraq's role in terrorism, who has violated the Geneva convention in using torture against our prisoners, and who has allowed the economy to tank.)

One of the things Americans are good at is holding those they elect accountable. That's why congress swings from Democratically controlled to Republican and back. That's why it's hard for one party to win back-to-back-to-back presidential elections, if the incumbent has dropped the ball.

We expect better and we are anxious about empowering any one person or party with too much faith, too much trust, too much power!

This election ought to be a blow out for the Democrats. And it may yet be. President Bush has the lowest approval rating on record (29%). We have a struggling economy (record highs for unemployment just yesterday and the Dow struggling) and an unpopular war. That's usually enough.

But the difference maker this time is that there is an unacknowledged anxiety around electing a black man (just to point out - half black and half white). I'm running into it more and more. I heard from a CA friend recently who wrote to me that she thinks Obama is a terrorist! Really? Like the U. S. gov't. would allow a known terrorist (a convicted terrorist) to run for president?

A local friend of Jon's told him that he could never cast a vote for a "black man." On my canvasing route last week, I ran into the "But how can I trust Obama?" meme several times. I have yet to hear anyone ask that question of McCain (the "can he be trusted?" question), yet his campaign, vice presidential candidate and current president with whom he has proudly voted 90% of time have all lied directly to the American people. Somehow McCain's "trustworthiness" is not an issue.

The widespread, unrelenting, willful ignorance of the electorate as relates to Obama can only be explained by the unconscious anxiety that a half black man creates in white voters. Fortunately, the under 30 set seem oblivious to skin color. They love Obama and they can't relate to McCain.

I invite you over the next couple of weeks to share your thoughts and to think about why Obama is the better choice for president over McCain and his Republican party, no matter how "maverick" he wants you to believe he is. My aim is to at strip away the mischaracterizations of Obama that persist, to give reasonable support to how a conservative could vote for a democrat this time around and to expose the hypocrisy of the Republican party. Should be fun. :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

How Obama explains his community organizing

Question: How is community organizing relevant for the presidency?

This is very curious. They haven't talked about the fact that I was a civil rights lawyer, or taught constitutional law, my work in the state legislature, or US Senate, they focused on this 3 years where I worked as a community organizer, right out of college. As if I'm making the leap from 2-3 years out of college to the presidency.

I would argue that doing work in the community, trying to create jobs, rejuvenate the communities that have fallen on hard times, bringing people together, set up job training programs in areas that have been hard hit where the steel plants have closed—that's relevant only in understanding where I'm coming from, who I believe in, who I'm fighting for and why I'm in this race.

The question I have for them is: Why would that kind of work be ridiculous?

Who are they fighting for?

What are they advocating for?

Do they think that the lives of those folks struggling each and every day, that working with them to try and improve their lives is somehow not relevant to the presidency?

I think that is part of the problem, that they are out of touch and don't get it because they haven't spent much time working on behalf of those folks.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Community Organizing

I wanted to make one comment about Sarah's point that Community Organizing is somehow not a job with responsibilities (like being mayor) and that it is not worth putting on a resume of service to the country.

I was reading along at a political blog site where a woman called "Homeschool marm" made the remark that community organizing might be a worthwhile resume item if running for dog catcher, but not president of the United States. Her comment stunned me even more than Palin's weak snipe.

Any of the movements that the right cares about have been fostered and advanced through community action. Homeschooling as a free and clear right in all 50 states came through grassroots, jail time, trials and activism. My goodness - homeschoolmarm wouldn't even have the moniker she bears online without community organizing. The pro-life movement (pregnancy crisis centers, Operation Rescue, abstinence only movement) all owe their existence to community organizing. Campaigning for McCain requires community organizing - that's all campaigns are!

We don't even need to cite women's suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, unions and both sides of the gay marriage debate.

I find it utterly incredible that someone wanting to lead the country would caricature and put down Obama's choice (after being editor of the Harvard law Review) to give his first years of adulthood to serving the needs of inner city poor through community organizing as though that was somehow small potatoes compared to the noble service of being a mayor in Wasilla. Why must these compete for merit?

Meanwhile, Obama refuses to attack her family, asks his campaign to leave them in peace and has yet to make a single snide remark about her speech. I think he's still waiting to hear where she stands on issues, like the rest of us.

Update: Aha, apparently I'm not the only one wanting to defend the value of community organizing.

Here's a fact check for Palin's speech assertions and record

for those who emailed and asked (from Yahoo):

Attacks, Praise Stretch Truth

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."