Thursday, March 27, 2008

To the land of sun and sea

That's going to be me, flying over the fly-over states to the west coast where the sun sets on the correct side of the beach (over the ocean).

My mother is turning 70 and she's treating me to a trip to San Francisco to be with her, my theologically-awesome aunt and my earthy cool sister of Santa Cruz. Because this was too good a chance to see all of California, I'm flying to LA first to spend time basking in the UCLA Bruin Basketball Glow by staying a couple nights in Westwood (and seeing (!) Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott speak together in Royce (the god of halls) Hall - yes, exactly like chocolate, peach schnapps and good sex rolled into one, I agree).

I'm off to have those grey roots dyed, then to purchase a brand new tech toy (GPS devise), then back to work for the afternoon and I'll start packing my clothes later this evening... all while watching March Madness: Go Muskateers! Go Bruins!

Photos of California to come to this very blog in the very near future.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


She called today.

Me: How was the first day of spring classes?

J: Good. I'm looking forward to today's sociology class.

Me: What will you study?

J: The Salem Witch trials, child molestation, pornography and Satanists. So I'm really excited about it.


Well, who wouldn't be?

Ahhhh. My little anthropological sociologist.

Monday, March 24, 2008

UCLA makes nail biters of us all

The Bruins won't allow fans to breathe, pee, grow nails or blink. That's their style of winning and it doesn't seem to abate during the tournament.

Bill Simmons has given them the kiss of death by picking them as the champs. Great article, if I could read it without that annoying "last 30 second twitch" haunting me.

Bracket update: Georgetown loses and my final four suffers its first blow.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy farm animals

and chocolate candies day.

Bunny and cow

The Boss: Springsteen in Cincinnati

While the hot cross buns are rising...

Let's talk about Bruuuuuuuce...

Spent last night alone in the US Bank Arena with Bruce and the E-Street Band. I've never gone to a concert alone. Jon and I went out to dinner first, watched Xavier just about put away Purdue, and then listened to the rest of the game on the radio as he drove me downtown. Jon dropped me off, texted me the results of the game and went to a movie while I partied with the "born in the 1950's and 60's" crowd.

Of note: I showed up in Springsteen style—black top, jeans and boots. 7 in 20 women were wearing the identical look... and so was the Boss-man.

Next to me was a couple in their early 30's and they looked out of place. When I told the husband I saw Bruce for the first time in 1981, he calculated quickly and told me he was four years old "back then." Uh huh.

Two women in front of me were old friends. They now live in Boulder CO and Cincinnati. They had seen Bruce together in college and hadn't seen him again since. They'd planned this night together for months and were giddy when the lights went down, danced and sang to every song. Made me think of my college Srpingsteen friends... and miss them!

Bruce was great... he always is. His message could easily have stood in for the Democratic platform wherein he addressed blue collar workers (who used to race cars), immigrants who were beaten up (or worse killed) for building the railroads, cities and machines of America (Bruce's Irish jig version of U2's "The Hands that Built America"), and his announcement that the last eight years amount to "magic tricks" (title of his newest CD: "Magic"). He quipped, "I think someone's been riflin' through my passport..." Vintage Bruce.

He stunned me when he broke into "Candy's Room." Apparently it's been on the set list earlier in the tour, but I had never heard it live. What a great song. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" is still my favorite Springsteen album and he gave us three songs off of it.

Like a U2 concert, he has such an extensive back catalog that there will always be songs you wish he'd played and delightful surprises you never thought to guess he'd play. "Candy's Room" was the latter for me. Made the whole night.

Bruce stunned the crowd when he played "Lost in the Flood" off his very first album, "Greetings from Asbury Park." Not even sure how many people knew that song. The whole night was designed for long term fans and in that sense, it was well worth the trip.

Clearly his voice was tired and he drank gallons of water to keep things going. As a result, he was a lot less chatty than in previous concerts. Also, the band played many musical interludes (which were awesome - we are so lucky to see the E Street Band after 30 years of skill development) and Bruce shared singing honors with the audience or Steven Van Zandt.

The encore featured "Glory Days" which may be my least favorite Springsteen hit. It kills me that in other shows he played the "Jungleland/Thunder Road" combo as this is my favorite set that Springsteen does. Sigh. The encore seemed to end quickly and we were all done at 10:25. Lights came up, everyone packed their gear back into bags, all around me fans were saying, "That's it? Oh well. Bruce is getting old. Gotta give him a break." They began the long shuffling descent to the bottom....

When suddenly the band burst through the tunnel into the fluorescent lights and Bruce yelled on mike: "What time is it? I said, what time is it? Is it time to go home? Nooooooo. It's Boss time!" Lights kicked off (as fans tumbled down stairs - j/k) and suddenly the room was filled with music again while fans streamed back to their seats as best they could.

Startling! They played a long version of "Kitty's Back," got us singing along and THEN sent us home closer to 10:45. :) The three hour+ concert is a thing of the past, but just as well. For all the beer being drunk by middle-agers, I think it was time for everyone to go home, too.

Bruce Springsteen Encore

Set List:
March 22, 2008
Cincinnati, Ohio
U.S. Bank Arena

Darlington County
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Reason To Believe
Candy's Room
Prove It All Night
She's The One
Livin' In The Future
The Promised Land
Be True
Lost In The Flood Tour Premiere
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home

Glory Days Tour Premiere
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
American Land

Kitty's Back

And so it begins again...

Just as I sit down to type and glance out the window, I see a little wren poke his head out of a conspicuous hole, gather a thatch of pine needles and disappear inside again. The pair of wrens who built a nest in our BBQ last spring are now constructing one inside the wooden frame of our Bengals cornhole game. And again, I get to watch as it is happening right outside my window. I love that little wren couple!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's speech on race relations today

For those who missed it midday:

Full transcript

Yes, I know this blog has become the "All things Obama gossip sheet." It's just that time of the election season. Not only that, if you know me and have for awhile, you'll know that the ideas that Obama shares, his commitments and passions mirror my own. When I read The Audacity of Hope, I found myself nodding in agreement, and at times, tearing up.

It's not so much that Obama represents some hybrid vision of Republican and Democratic policy positions. It's that he represents a new kind of politics guided by an intelligent, ethical, compassionate optimism. And he makes his case for his brand of politics in language and practical details that resonate with me. In fact, for all the supposed conservative values of the Republican party, I don't see the promises of smaller government, better schooling without federal interference, more opportunity trickling down to the inner city, lower taxes for the middle class, a humble diplomacy or compassionate conservatism that both addresses the born and unborn. In fact, for all my alignment with their values, I'm trying to think of what the Republicans have actually done that I can applaud as matching that list of criteria.

On the other hand, Obama seems to grasp that we aren't in a war to determine which set of values is most correct. He recognizes the legitimacy of rightwing morals and the aims of protecting our own self-determined wealth. I think he rightly expects that we can be both compassionate and self-sacrificing while also creating opportunity for self-advancement.

I'm tired of the hollowness of rightwing rhetoric. I'm ready to try something new.

Thought for the day

You know, is it not just the least bit ironic that Bush's administration has covered up intelligence that told them that Iraq was not a threat, then invaded anyway, has allowed for nearly 4000 of our kids to be killed and countless Iraqis... all due to a philosophy, a religious feeling, a belief in their invincibility and the rightness of their mission? How many times has Bush led from his gut, told us that the Almighty is guiding him?

White men - violent, white men pursuing their own advantage.

Yet if a black pastor says that the white man is out to get him, well THAT'S a lie that just can't be tolerated and we must trash the candidacy of the man who happens to be his friend.

ETA: Brian's brilliant blogging on this topic.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Unabashed shilling for Obama continues

I thought I'd repented of my fangurl ways, but it's just not possible. This is the stuff I'm reading and thinking about. Today, over at the bastion of all politics left - The Daily Kos - a reader there posted her experience of working for a union in IL and receiving a call from "the guy from Illinois with the funny name." She details the interaction here.
The first question on the survey did not ask about the issues. It merely asked, "What's most important to you?" I think his answer will look familiar to you:

Uniting a polarized America. There are those who are preparing to divide us. I say to them, there is not a liberal America, and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.

That's a direct quote from the man himself. When I read these words now, I have heard them so many times that I can hear his voice as I read them. But something became clear to me when I saw these words in my notes. This is not something his speech writers wrote for him. These are his words. These are words that Barack Obama said. The guy from Illinois with the funny name said these words, word for word, back in 2004 to a person that thought he was nobody.


He said that people who work hard should not struggle for survival. Not anywhere, but especially not in America. Healthcare was not even an issue that we asked about, but it's interspersed throughout his answers. He brought up working poor and healthcare again and again.

This is a man on his way to the U.S. Senate who picked up the phone to call a labor activist who was creating a small website that few people would probably see. This is a man who talked about America's working poor and the plight of people without healthcare even when the questions didn't require those answers. This is a man who had real, specific answers to complex and difficult issues that other candidates simply could not talk about in detail.

Before I looked at my notes, I was convinced that this is a man who is truly sincere. A man who cares about ordinary people. After looking at my notes, I'm even more convinced than ever. For the first time in my life, a presidential candidate has convinced me. For a cynic like myself, that is extraordinary.

Sure, it's kind of cool that I can say I talked to Barack Obama before he was somebody. But what's really important here, what's really important for America, is that Barack Obama was willing to talk to me when I was nobody. That's something special.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

UCLA does its thang

without any Pac Ten ref help! Pac Ten Champs. Go Bruins! I predict they take it all in the Big Dance.

Oh, and By. The. Way. Anyone notice how Tiger Woods raised himself from the dead yesterday? Geesh.

Update: Shut up! Tiger wins it on the last hole with a 21 foot birdie while not having made a putt over 18' 10" all week. He was so excited by his own god-like prowess, he threw his hat, fist pumped both arms and yelled like we were in 2001.

Tiger is now tied with Hogan for career wins at 64, has won five in a row and 9 of the last ten, four in a row in 2008 and hasn't lost a tourney in six months. Two days ago, the sports writers thought this tournament would be the stopping point of his incredible streak. Tiger begged to differ.

It is just such a treat to be alive at this time in history and to watch him play. I grew up on Johnny Miller. It was nothing like this.

Indulge me... one more Obama video

I want you to view (it's only 2 minutes). Watch this and compare it to the rhetoric of Rev. Wright. Clearly, this man, this Barack Obama has a different outlook forged in a different time. It complements the stump speech he gave yesterday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama: We are One America

Obama's Plainfield Speech given today and posted to the Time magazine website.

Obama's finest hour may be ahead of us. If the following speech gets enough circulation and we have the opportunity to hear how he responds to those who frighten us, who appear to spew hate or at minimum, who speak in a language so foreign that we want to mistrust rather than listen, perhaps we'll actually forge a stronger bond and discover that we can overcome gross differences rather than merely hating each other.

Obama says that he can draw disparate people together, that he can be a diplomatic voice, he can "talk to enemies." Here's his chance - to comfort the anxious, to support the outraged, to interpret the different language of one group's history and experience on behalf of those who lived a different one.

...As I said in my speech at the convention in 2004, there is no Black America, or White America, or Asian America, or Latino America. There is the United States of America. But I noticed over the last several weeks that the forces of division have started to raise their ugly heads again. And I’m not here to cast blame or point fingers because everybody, you know, senses that there’s been this shift. You know, that you’ve been seeing in the reporting. You’ve been seeing some of the commentaries of supporters on all sides. Most recently, you heard some statements from my former pastor that were incendiary and that I completely reject, although I knew him and know him as somebody in my church who talked to me about Jesus and family and friendships, but clearly had — but if all I knew was those statements that I saw on television, I would be shocked. And it just reminds me that we’ve got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country. We’ve got a lot of pent-up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding. But what I continue to believe in is that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of divisions. That this country wants something different.

I just want to say to everybody here that as somebody who was born into a diverse family, as somebody who has little pieces of America all in me, I will not allow us to lose this moment, where we cannot forget about our past and not ignore the very real forces of racial inequality and gender inequality and the other things that divide us. I don’t want us to forget them. We have to acknowledge them and lift them up and when people say things like my former pastor said, you know, you have to speak out forcefully against them. But what you also have to do is remember what Bobby Kennedy said. That it is within our power to join together to truly make a United States of America. And that we have to do not just so that our children live in a more peaceful country and a more peaceful world, but that is the only way that we are going to deliver on the big issues that we’re facing in this country...

Driven to blog.... Obama and Wright

I'm reading comments about the scandal of Rev. Wright's comments and now Obama's attempt to address them from his own point of view. I worried at first that the nation would be derailed from the primary race into a fear-fest by the remarks of an inner city black pastor speaking to his own congregation about the ideas he felt were nourishing to them (never anticipating that they would be the subject of national scrutiny with the intention of derailing one of the bright rising stars of politics this century).

I've changed my mind. This topic deserves center stage because it reveals the gross misunderstanding of the white community when it regards racism and black history in America. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this discussion is the one that is long overdue in the states and has been suppressed since the assassinations of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X. Geraldine Ferraro's comments now rise as petty hand-wringing "take my marbles and go home" whining compared to the much more explosive force of Wright's ideas, suddenly unleashed on an unsuspecting, far-too-comfortable and trusting, white middle class.

That blacks have lingering feelings of oppression: not acceptable.

That blacks see the white race as the perpetrators of the most violence in the history of the world: dare not speak it.

That blacks live daily in a different reality than we whites: not the fault of whites (oh no!) - theirs: for not rising above it cheerfully, without criticism.

It is amazing to me the way no matter what black Americans do, they are painted together with one brush. That Obama has transcended race in his quest for the White House, has not allowed a limited vision of his future to dictate his place, has made use of the advantages offered through the Civil Rights Act to become an advocate for those whose rights continue to be threatened... this is of no consequence. The fact that he attended a church with a pastor who felt free to speak his mind (to even dissent with a "Damn America") is enough to say that Obama is all of that and therefore dangerous.

Let's look for a minute at the Southern Baptist beliefs, shall we? People without Christ go to eternal hell, including Catholics. Women are inferior to men in role and therefore are not equal to men in their ability to lead spiritually. How about the long relationship between war and standing for violence in the American Christian tradition that runs counter to the pacifism that characterized the early church? These are the beliefs of a Huckabee. Shall we also delve into the strangely unsubstantiated views of the Mormon church too because of Mitt Romney's candidacy?

Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell could say that the two towers fell due to our immorality (God keeping score on homosexuals and abortions) but Rev. Wright can't say that our capitalist, insensitive foreign policies led to the attacks on 9/11. Yet of the two, whose assessment deals with facts and reality?

In reading black theology and studying it for two semesters (and then again while working on my thesis) what stood out to me most was that the black Christian community is caught between "white man's religion" and a genuine experience of hope gained through the struggle to be free of the white man's domination. That hope comes through the message and person of Christ. It's the hope that fuels Barack Obama's passion for politics. It is a hope that might even say, "Damn America's past; Bless America's future." We can't get there through a pretense that somehow white America had nothing to do with the present conditions of black experience. In church on Sundays, the black community should finally have the dignity of a space to say what they think, what they need to to get beyond the nearly 400 years of second-class status we've accorded them.

One commenter to Obama's apologetic related to this scandal wrote along these lines: Here we whites ended slavery and gave blacks civil rights. And this is how we're repaid?

There you go. That's the problem in its starkest version. Get outside yourself and listen with different ears. Allow yourself to be troubled, pushed back, knocked out of your comfort zone. I'd contend that's how it is for many blacks every day.

I promise to get back to regular blogging

but my dishwasher has been on the blink for two weeks, I was out of town last weekend which meant lots of catch up in the business of living and the business of business, and my kids did need some of my time this week. I also admit I've been in political saturation mode. As My15Minutes (Beth) pointed out on the phone to me this week, it is so "me" to fully jump into a point of view or cause and throw everything I have into it, forgetting what lies behind, or at least building on it. Uh, yeah. That's just par for the ENFP course. I can't resist a new vocabulary or a misunderstood perspective. Sexy.

Obama speaks directly to the Wright comments

Honestly, why didn't we examine Huckabee's sermons during his campaign, or the head of the Mormon church and his beliefs when Mitt Romney ran, or Hagee's "whore of Babylon" remarks about the Catholic Church after his welcome endorsement of McCain? White America is so unfamiliar with black experience, with the theology that formed the civil rights movement that they are shocked by this speech (and the "damn America" comments of Rev. Wright do go beyond what most of us can tolerate).

If Obama survives this firestorm, he will be our next president. If he doesn't, then America really isn't ready for change after all.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barack responds to the comments of his pastor

On my faith and my church
The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He's drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.

Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

You can continue reading here.

A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama’s Path

A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama’s Path
Published: March 14, 2008
People who knew Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro well say they see her influence unmistakably in her son, Senator Barack Obama.

This article so moved me: Obama's complex, unique life as seen through his mother. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Keith Olbermann's special comment

Eloquent blistering editorial: Geraldine Ferraro

It's about ten minutes, but riveting. I recommend viewing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

Due to the benevolence of the weather gods, I escaped Cincinnati's "worst winter blizzard" in thirty years by traveling north. That just shows how incredibly popular I am with the sun. Grand Rapids was all melting snow just because I happened to drop in.

The weekend workshop I conducted, titled "Nurturing Brave Writers," gave me goose pimples and warm fuzzies, gratification and a sense of pride that the disparate bits of who I am have indeed coalesced into a more certain whole. I didn't expect it. I've given these talks for years - about writing, revising and editing, language arts, homeschooling. What emerged, though, in ten hours of talking was something else. Brave Writer is more than a system of tackling objectives for education. It has to do with a lifestyle that values ideas, talking, interaction, evaluation and reevaluation of what constitutes a rich educational life. We focus on writers, not writing.

As I presented the material, I noticed how comfortable I've become in my own skin. For a long time I've had to walk a tightrope between my business world and my personal evolving religious and political convictions. Yet this weekend, I didn't. Without divulging personal details, I found that my private conversations with these mothers surprised and gratified me. There were several who were shedding the voices of old English teachers, legalistic, fundamentalist parents, their own internal editors. Having been through so many deconstructions myself, I felt uniquely able to listen, to offer support, to validate the tentative steps toward clarity and confidence. Really cool.

I have more to share, more to talk about on this blog than me. I hope to get back to it asap. Until then, thanks for reading along. My readership has really grown this year and I enjoy hearing from you a lot. So thanks. (Btw, I would love to add you to my blogroll if you aren't already there. Send an email or post a link in the comments.)

I have also promised to share how Dave and I solved the democratic race for the nomination. And we did. If everyone would just listen to us! Stay tuned. :)

Friday, March 07, 2008

In Grand Rapids

to give a homeschool writing workshop tonight and tomorrow. A bonus: seeing Mr. Pomoxian on his home turf. We intend to solve the debacle that is the Democratic race for the nomination by the end of tomorrow evening, in case you're wondering. Details to come.

I'm still recovering from strep and apparently Liam now has it as well. Jon is holding down the fort at home in the middle of a snow storm, with a sick child and a dog who had to have his bandage changed at a busy vet office. Said dog then rewarded Jon's patience and driving all around town by pooping in my van. You have to wonder: who is really working this weekend? Me or Home Executive, Mr. Jon? I tell you what - I'm nominating him for the Best Damned Husband Award! Deserves a big chocolate bar and thorough foot rub.... both of which I plan to give him in the biblical sense when I get home Sunday.

Until then, I'll be talking, sucking on throat lozenges (does anyone call them that any more?), and selling books. I'll also be sleeping on a very comfortable Hampton Inn bed. See you later.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yes He Can: Andrew Sullivan on Obama

Yes He Can.

...But the show must go on, because the Clintons' egos demand it, and because as long as Obama has not crossed the magic line definitively, the destiny of the Clintons to run America for sixteen years must always be pursued. Ask Sid Blumenthal why. It's also vital for the Clintons psychologically to undermine Obama's appeal. He represents a systematic rebuke of their style of politics, their tactics and their worldview. If they can manage to damage him enough, even if he wins the nomination, their own sense of their own historical importance will be assuaged. Maybe they can damage him enough to ensure that McCain beats him in the fall. That would, at some level, satisfy them. To be beaten in a Democratic primary is bad enough; but if their opponent goes on to win the presidency, it would be unbearable for them, close to an indictment. That is what is fueling them: the terror of an Obama presidency and history re-written with Clinton as a minor footnote in the minor 1990s.

Obama supporters should not be dismayed.

Obama has a tougher, nastier opponent in the Clintons than he does in McCain. If he wins this by a long, grueling struggle, he will be more immune to the lazy, stupid criticism that he is some kind of flash in the pan, he has more opportunity to prove that there is a great deal of substance behind the oratory, he has more of a chance to meet and talk with the electorate he will need to win in the fall.

I think the argument for Obama is easily strong enough to withstand the egos of the Clintons. The more people see that her case is almost entirely a fear-based one and his is almost entirely a positive one, the more he will win the moral victory as well as the delegate count. In the cold light of day, the bruising news that the Clintons are not yet dead seems less onerous.

Know hope.

Cincinnati: 61% Obama 38% Clinton

Despite our loss last night in Ohio, Cincinnati delivered for Obama! We had the highest percentage in the state for Obama. Also, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland all went Obama. What is striking is just how many rural counties there are and how substantial the percentages are, yet how few the votes!

The road ahead is long (I feel like singing a spiritual!). But we have come a long way and it is far from over. Barack's speech in San Antonio last night was of the spirit and nature I've come to expect from this campaign - positive, respectful, issues-driven, calm, direct. This morning, Barack sent this email to my in-box:
Julie --

We may not know the final outcome of today's voting until morning, but the results so far make one thing clear.

When the dust settles from today's contests, we will maintain our substantial lead in delegates. And thanks to millions of people standing for change, we will keep adding delegates and capture the Democratic nomination.

We knew from the day we began this journey that the road would be long. And we knew what we were up against.

We knew that the closer we got to the change we seek, the more we'd see of the politics we're trying to end -- the attacks and distortions that try to distract us from the issues that matter to people's lives, the stunts and the tactics that ask us to fear instead of hope.

But this time -- this year -- it will not work. The challenges are too great. The stakes are too high.

Americans need real change.

In the coming weeks, we will begin a great debate about the future of this country with a man who has served it bravely and loves it dearly. And we will offer two very different visions of the America we see in the twenty-first century.

John McCain has already dismissed our call for change as eloquent but empty.

But he should know that it's a call that did not begin with my words. It's the resounding call from every corner of this country, from first-time voters and lifelong cynics, from Democrats and Republicans alike.

And together you and I are going to grow this movement to deliver that change in November.

Thank you,

Hillary's attacks worked, in my opinion. She went negative and fear-based, allowed for doubt to be cast about Obama's faith on 60 Minutes, sustained misinformation about Obama and Canada's NAFTA conversations and used sleeping children as a ploy to evoke votes. (And she says she's about the issues...)

Every single Obama ad that I saw (and believe me, they were on every ten minutes this weekend) focused on a single issue, well-articulated, clearly outlined. He never went low, didn't attack Hillary, stayed on message. The whole campaign constantly reminds us to stay on message, to stay above the fray of negative campaigning. Even on our list which is still recovering from the losses last night, there is respectful conversation and avoidance of bashing any other candidate.

I'm so weary of this constant need to play on the emotions of our electorate. It is time for a real change and Obama is the face of that change.

Last night while I sat with the Cincinnati team and friends at the Cadillac Ranch for the primary party, three of our table mates received free drinks from a couple of businessmen at the table next to us. All of them were African Americans. We discussed why we, white folk, were supporting Obama. As I got up to leave, one of the drink-senders stood and literally bowed in my direction, "Thank you so much for supporting Senator Obama. You have no idea. No idea what this means. Thank YOU."

I imagine that the entire world will have that response if Senator Obama wins the nomination and then the election (as I expect him to). We have no idea... only a glimpse of what it could be like for the face of America to change in both appearance and substance.

Yes. We. Can.

Obama 08

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Six words to say it all...

I read a great article in the LA Times (see my delicious links) that described the process of writing a six word memoir that would encapsulate your life.

One of my Brave Writer moms sent the following two to me this a.m. to describe Hillary and Barack. These were each written by one of her kids.

Hope. Children. Change. Yes we can!

She was weaned on a pickle.

Ah the skies are already clearing a bit. I love my Brave Writer families. :)

A morning from hell...

Without casting aspersions or blame, let's just say that this morning didn't go quite the way I had hoped. It's class registration day for Brave Writer and my FTP program decided to quit working right after Jon's computer's start up disk took a late winter's nap. Ergo, I had no way to make the registration page go live at the 12:00 noon time mothers around the world were waiting for. In fact, I got an email from a mother in Australia telling me she had stayed up until 3 a.m. her time for that magical "live" moment... which didn't come.

After 100 attempts to fix the problem before the clock struck noon, I writhed on the floor in desperation and then stopped the hemorrhaging by sending out an email with the registration links (only to discover that the email itself had the wrong links in it!). Oh horribly cruel world!

At that point, I sent another email, slathered the information on my BW blog, yahoo lists, the public Brave Writer forums and answered the endlessly ringing phone with sincere moms who were sure that they had done something wrong (Btw, can I just say I love women? They are always so much more willing to assume the best about you and the worst about themselves than the men who call...). In any case, of course they had done nothing and they all immediately empathized with my plight, offering me verbal hugs and ladle sized doses of forgiveness.

For some unknown reason to any but the computer gremlins, my FTP program decided to work again about ten minutes ago for ten minutes. It is now officially not working again, but it was enough time to make the links go live. Which matters. Johannah's college fund will thank it.

And now I am sitting in my office, staring at a dreary, rainy world of downpours (which means bailing water in the basement). All I can think about is the election, the importance of these returns, the enthusiasm of the campaign this month and the heart-break it will be if Clinton hangs on to her lead. I can't stomach any more of the attacks - her aligning with McCain saying they have experience and Obama has speeches, intimating on Sixty Minutes that "Of course Obama is not a Muslim... as far as I know." It's enough. She's willing to tear the party apart to win. Obama just keeps pounding his platform.

So today is a fittingly stressful grey unsunny day. May the skies clear tonight!

Today's the day!

Vote today - Ohio and Texas!

One of our local Cincinnati volunteers posted the following report about the ground crew in Ohio and I share it with you now:

Greetings and salutations to all of you have committed your time, your devotion, your money and your hearts to the most unique, most uplifting, most positive Democratic Campaign for President that most of us have ever seen... Obama For America.

After 11 straight wins and a huge lead in delegates, I know everyone is hoping we can keep this trend alive in Texas and Ohio. I know that our friends in Texas are working their butts off, and I can assure you that here in Ohio, we're doing the same.

Here are a few things that the polls just don't reflect that I hope everyone will take into account as they watch the returns Tuesday night:

- Here in Ohio, we embarked on an historic effort over the weekend: the largest Get Out The Vote canvassing operation every assembled. Together, volunteers across the state participated in the One Million For Change canvassing campaign. Men and women, young and old, political activists and newbies, and people from every walk of life took to the streets and to the homes of our neighbors to encourage them to give their vote to Barack Obama on Tuesday. It was the most incredible political event I have ever participated in. I can guarantee you that no such ground effort was underway this weekend in southwestern Ohio from the Clinton campaign.

- Not only does the Obama campaign rule the ground in Ohio, they rule the airwaves. It doesn't matter if you're watching American Idol, Meet The Press, Jericho or Big Brother, you're going to see three to four Obama ads (and zero Clinton ads) within that hour. And it's been that way for two solid weeks now. Every ad is positive and persuasive, youthful and upbeat. The only Clinton ad I've seen is that "Obama will allow your children to die in their beds while he has the phone ringer on 'silent'" crap when it is played ad nauseum on the cable political shows and Sunday talk programs. I honestly do not see her on television or hear her on the radio, while Obama is just everywhere. Oh, including in two full-page Cincinnati Enquirer ads in the past week!

- The major Ohio newspapers are behind Obama. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Toledo Blade, The Canton Repository, The Dayton Daily News, the Cincinnati Enquirer. Not sure if the Columbus Dispatch has endorsed yet. I understand some paper down in Zanesville and another in Akron are big on Clinton, though. ;-)

- Obama wins the sign wars! You might see a few Hillary signs on public corners, but in front of houses, Obama has the clear "loud and proud" advantage.

- Obama wins the visibility wars! Every Friday and Monday for three weeks now, during rush hour, you'll see dozens of Obama supporters at enthusiastic "Honk-and-Wave" events across this area. On the way to Obama HQ yesterday (Sunday), I drove by the largest one I'd seen yet... over 100 people spread across all four corners of one of Cincinnati's busiest intersections. There was so much honking and jumping up and down that I had tears in my eyes. :cry:

- Ohio has A LOT of college students. I mean, A LOT. And of the major universities, only the University of Toledo is on Spring Break this week. ;-)

- Supporters from across the country are phonebanking Ohio in a massive effort that began in earnest last Wednesday and continues through 7:15 pm on Tuesday. OH and I forgot to mention the busloads of Chicago volunteers that flooded Cincinnati on Saturday... including our own DUer, mopinko! It was SO fun canvassing with them!

In closing, don't forget that just a few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was leading Ohio by double-digits. We're closing this thing fast, and if we had another week, I'd be more confident in saying we'd win comfortably tomorrow. We may be victorious tomorrow, we may not... but it won't be because we didn't pour our hearts and souls into it in this state. We gave it everything we had, and then got up the next day and gave more. Please remember our effort as the returns come in. And no matter what... we're confident when the votes are counted, at the very least we will have drawn to a de facto delegate tie with Clinton coming out of Ohio while closing a twenty-point gap in a matter of days. The Clinton campaign will not take from Ohio what they had hoped to just a few weeks ago.

There is something happening in America, and it's too important and meaningful to show up in some poll. You hear it in voices. You see it on faces. You feel it in hearts.

So, my Obama friends, think happy thoughts tonight and tomorrow, and log on to and give the Buckeye State a ring!

Yes, We Can, Ohio! Yes, We Can, Texas! Yes, We Can, Rhode Island! Yes, We Can, Vermont!

All of my love and support,
Jennifer in Cincinnati
I'm proud of the positive nature of the campaign and all the hard work.

Yes We Can!

Obama 08

Monday, March 03, 2008

Because I really hate being sick

There are several things wrong with being sick, not the least of which is the tender crusty nose and the throbbing head that makes me grind my teeth unconsciously, leading to temporary TMJ and insanity.

The other thing I hate is the "no energy" thing. I'm allergic to low energy. I keep thinking I should be able to do the stuff I normally do (and more!) since I'm sick and have all this free time. But the "free time" gets filled with coughing, prompted by sucking on cough drops or by staring off into space while I try to remember my name or how to type. I resent the idea that being sick means the body takes over the brain and requires you to "lie down." WTF? Now that I'm "sick" I have the perfect excuse to ignore everyone and Finally. Get. Something. Done! Or so I thought.

Right now I'm supposed to make dinner and all I can picture is germs crawling down my arms onto my fingers and into the food. Gross.

And, oh, yes, I do have a speaking engagement in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday night and all day Saturday. Yes, I'm also the only speaker. Correction: I'll be the only nose-blowing, hacking, scratchy voiced front-of-the-room person for the two day stint. And all these nice women are paying me to do it... some even flying from snow blizzardy Colorado for the privilege.

Here's hoping that strep goes on spring break early and leaves me alone.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Canvassing on Red Mill

Just got back from canvassing my neighborhood. I picked up the packet yesterday and deliberately chose the streets all walking distance from my house. I got to visit with so many of my neighbors (some I've met trick or treating, some I've never met, several who are friends whose political views I didn't know until now...). It was a great experience!

The weather cooperated (we're up to 60 degrees which made for a wonderful, sunny, nearly-spring walk). I have to tell you how encouraged I am! We live in the middle of Republican-ville, seriously. Yet in my neighborhood, I ran into many Obama supporters (both Dems - the few - and Reps - the many). Some of the neighbors were just so happy to see me canvassing on Barack's behalf and asked if there were more than "just the two of us" for Barack.

As I walked, a white mom and dad rolled by with a plastic wagon and two kids inside. The wagon was covered in Obama signs and the kids were waving Popsicles sticks with pictures of Barack. The parents rushed over to me to ask if anyone in the neighborhood besides me was for Barack. I said yes and they cheered up. (We both know this area is the bastion of all things Republican and talk radio.) Then these neighbors asked if anyone needed yard signs as they had two extra. (You have to understand - last week 10,000 signs came into Cincinnati's HQ and were gone in just a day.) The craving for materials is at a high right now and none are to be found.

I directed them to the two homes where I was asked for yard signs. Hooking up neighbors - love it.

I met a Nigerian man who talked my ear off when he discovered my enthusiasm for Obama (he was delightful); I met a young African American police officer who wasn't sure if his registration to vote from years ago would still qualify him to vote today. I told him it would. He said he never votes usually but he wants to vote for Barack. He took information for his girlfriend too. Both Obama supporters.

One older couple told me they would be voting for "the lady." The wife was firm on it, but her husband said, "We're die-hard Democrats and we think both candidates are terrific so whatever happens is good with us. I've gone back and forth."

I ran into a friend whose husband has terminal liver cancer so we stood talking and catching up (hard but good); understandably unconcerned with the election right now. Talked with another neighbor I haven't chatted with in a couple of years and he and I had a very good political discussion in spite of the fact that for now, he's leaning toward Nader. I got to talk about Obama's appeal which was good practice. It is interesting to talk with disillusioned Republicans. I think that will be the key to November.

What encouraged me the most was realizing that my neighborhood is not the monolith that it appears. Not everyone is Republican, not every Republican is implacably against the Democrats. One neighbor up the street declared, "I'm a Republican for Obama - have any signs?" I told her I'm a Republican for Obama too. Instant bonding.

One guy challenged me with anti-Obama rhetoric, but ended up laughing with me by the end. (Warning: he's a typical racist from these parts.) He started with the "Are we just trying to elect Obama because we feel guilty about slavery? Is the appeal that he's black? That's it, isn't it?"

"Obama's half white."

He looked startled. Then said, "Really? Well no one ever says that that I've heard."

I responded, "Well it's true. I don't know if slavery can ever be paid back. But Obama is different than the other candidates for a lot of reasons." (I then attempted to enlighten him.)

So then he started on the typical "Obama has no experience" line and that the Dems are no good. I countered that I'm a registered Republican, voted Bush twice and what good did it do us? Bingo! Suddenly I was his new best friend as he launched on Bush and all the failed policies of the Republicans.

By the end of our chat, he said, "Hey I sure hope you don't hate me now!" I said, "No way. It was a good conversation, and besides, my kids trick or treat here. How could I hate you?"

It was such a nice walk; I feel all connected to my neighborhood and the world. Thank you Obama.

(Tally: 13 for Obama, 20 non-supporters, 15 not home, 5 undecided)

So not bad given what I thought our neighborhood would be like.

Fired up and ready to go!!