Sunday, November 30, 2008

InDigest Issue 8


Not sure why it's taken me so long to post this, as InDigest Issue 8 has been up for about a week now, but here it is:


InDigest Issue 8, including new poems, a new short story, new work in the Gallery (including painting included here), and columns from Bedside Stacks, Is That Cowardly?, and The Ulysses Sage.

Hope you like it. Let me know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Been a While

Wow, it's been two weeks since my last post. I have been extremely busy and, like a lot of people, just breathing a long sigh of relief after that great election. I don't have much to share, but Dustin is keeping up a little better: He's obsessed with Randy Newman at the moment, and, in a drastically different opinion than his own, I am astounded that Brad Liening's Daily Poem Factory is still going and I think it's awesome!!!

Look for a new issue of InD soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Response to "Drinking the Kool-Aid"

The joke, and possibly the actual concern of the day seems to be that too many Obama supporters are just "drinking the Kool-Aid,"* or in other words, we believe too strongly in this one man's ability to bring about change. It's silly, really, and those who will fall prey to this are destined for heartbreak. More importantly, they are missing the message, the point of this whole campaign: it has never been about this one man, no matter what "cult of personality" labels some have tried to pin on him. Yes, Obama has certain attributes that have allowed him an unlikely and ridiculously fast ascension, but many of these can be found in any great leader. Again, what has led him to the presidency is not so much him, as his ability to make the rest of us believe, and further still, to want to do something about what we believe in. The difference, therefore, will come from us, not him. Let there be no mistake, as I told my father over all these months, the man who told me (and with whom I wholeheartedly agreed) on those occasions when my fervor for Obama started boiling, "Obama is no savior," the real work began on November 5.

That being said, here are my two initial responses to people who are joking or are genuinely concerned about succumbing to "Drinking the Kool-Aid":

1) Don't. It simple. Just don't. Don't believe that Obama can do everything all by himself or even with his staff. That--to use a tired expression--is politics as usual. The change that is being called for is not just a change of president. The change is in the citizenry's apathy, in our indifference. Don't be apathetic and don't be indifferent and you won't have drunk anything. Here's one way those of you in St. Paul can get involved: The Lab, a program through the St. Paul Public Schools that offers a small group experience where youth are inspired, encouraged and empowered to discover, understand and share their voices and the truth of their lives, is always looking for volunteers. If you're not in St. Paul, 826 National is another organization always looking for volunteers to work with kids. There are seven 826 chapters across the country, from Seattle to LA to New York. Their goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing.

Volunteering some of your time to your community is one concrete way you can have an impact. These are just two places that need volunteers. The list is endless (if you know of others, please leave suggestions in the "comments" portion of this post). Don't let others decide how things will be different. Change them yourself.

2) I just picked up the book Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency by Robert Kuttner. (Please also leave book recommendations on this topic in the comments portion of the post.) Though I'm only about 20 pages into it, it seems like a book that will show how Obama must stay true to progressive ideas while convincing those on the other side of the aisle to come closer to those (progressive) ideas, rather than the reverse: the president moving toward the center. On page seven, Mr. Kuttner makes it clear that he hasn't drunk anything:

So either Barack Obama will be a transformative president, or the bad economic circumstances that he inherits will sink his promise and America's, and the moment will have been lost. He will be a great president--or a failed one, his presidency grounded "in shallows and miseries."**


Those are scary, but true words. I, for one, don't want this presidency to be a failed one. So, again, if you don't want to "drink the Kool-Aide," then don't. Stay involved. Volunteer. Keep reading about policy issues and decisions (just because David Plouffe doesn't send you an email about it, doesn't mean you can't find the information for yourself). Keep following Obama like you have over the last year (or two). Just don't rely on him to do everything. I'm telling you, you will be heartbroken if you do.



*From Wiki: "Having 'drunk the Kool-Aid' also refers to being a strong or fervent believer in a particular philosophy or mission — wholeheartedly or blindly believing in its virtues."

**Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I have had tears in my eyes on and off since last night when you took the stage in Grant Park, Chicago. When you implored us to fully believe that mantra "Yes we can," repeating it calmly and humbly, I knew it was finally true.

Your face, as you walked onto that stage last night held something often shadowed by your confidence (though your confidence is of a different sort than we have come to know, so refreshingly lacking in arrogance). You were humbled and in your humility, you cemented your humanity. And it was all there on your face, before you spoke one word. People have praised and attacked your oration these past several months. But there, standing before tens of thousands in Chicago and millions more watching across the world, you did not need to say a word. Your face held more eloquence than any speech you have ever given.

When you did finally speak, your modesty did not allow you to run away to some perch of hyperbole and expectation, too lofty to reach. Even in this moment of jubilation, you were realistic. And you showed great respect for your listeners by not making grand promises that would leave us disheartened in the end. Instead you did what you have done until now. You told us the truth. You told us that the road ahead will be long. The road ahead will be difficult. And you reminded us once again that it was not you that allowed for your standing there in Grant Park (though our praise may outweigh your modesty today), but us. As you have called on us before, you asked us to believe not just in your ability to bring change, but to believe in ours as well.

This last point is what will make you a great leader, Mr. President. No matter how many times it is repeated, let this fact never lose the weight it carries: You have inspired millions of people across the world to believe that their voices matter. Where before they had none, today they have one. And it is loud. And it is clear. And it is spoken through you, Mr. President.

As the world celebrates--and it is truly a world celebration--we recognize that there is so much work to be done. You would not let us forget this, even in your proudest moment. Today the real work begins. Having taken a giant leap for man, we are still great leaps and bounds from where we wish to be. You know this, Mr. President, as well as anyone. Still, today, facing in this new direction, the sun shining brightly on my face, I join the world in this celebration. And I say with more fervor than I have ever said before: I am proud to be an American. Because being an American today once again feels as though I am a part of the world.

Thank you for that, Mr. President.

Yours sincerely,
David Doody

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Election Day Poem

When I was in New York this past week I was lucky enough to attend a poetry reading where the poet Rick Barot read. He went out on a limb and read some very new poems. They were excellent, and I'm sure will only get better as he edits. After the reading I told him that I particularly enjoyed one, which was about John McCain. I told him that it did something that I felt I would currently be too angry to do in any form, namely humanize John McCain in a way that none of the "war hero" propaganda has done over these last few months. Rick was nice enough to give me that poem, which inspired a poem of my own, and Rick's reading of it--so soon after writing it--has inspired me to share my poem (something that, if you know me, you know I don't do easily). It is about as new as a poem can be, and may, in the end, look very different from this, but I am going to share it here, now.

Election Day, 2008

for Rick Barot

You fell down before I did, but while I was listening
to gospel music this morning I cried in the shower.
You fell, but I keep breaking down.

They’re telling us a new day is rising, and I’m too nervous
to believe them. There’s a landing strip on the other side,
they say, but I don’t even recognize what we’re flying.

Much less how to touch down softly.

We are all jungle cats skinned and placed on display
in markets we didn’t even know existed.
Our meat isn’t sold, but left where we were shot down

and skinned.

And these days I have learned to hate the flies
for being flies,
their lack of compassion for me.

I am angry. Other poets can still humanize
those in whom I can’t see the humanity anymore.
They sign their poems and hand them to me.
This is the closest I will get to understanding.

But maybe tomorrow I will break down for other reasons.

I Could Be Wrong, but...

aren't all taxes inherently socialistic--i.e. paying into a fund to be redistributed to where money is "needed"? So, if one is going to call any tax plan socialism, it's really just what degree of socialism he or she is comfortable with. Otherwise these people should refuse to pay taxes and demand to take it upon themselves to fix the roads near them, educate their own children, protect the land around them, et al. People just take for granted things that have come before and say things as if we don't have all these precedents to go on. It's like, you already pay taxes, and that's ok, uh? But others aren't ok, uh? Well, why aren't you fighting to stop the ones you already pay. Why isn't that socialism? Because you didn't have a say in them? So there's nothing you can do about them? I'm confused.

Bringing Sexy Back

Doesn't Obama look like he's in a Justin Timberlake video in this picture from the New York Times?

On This Election Day, Some Wise Words From Ben Harper and Some Blind Boys

I wish we could live forever
Then melt into the sun
Melt into the sun
Time is gonna change you
Once it gets you on the run
Gets you on the run

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light
There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

I've been running
Ever since
Ever since I was a child
Some call it free
And some call it wild

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light
There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

Let the warmth of my love
Dry away all your tears
Fear not for I am with you
I will fear not - fear not - with you here

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light
There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stories of Change: While I hear many things that should assuage my fears about Tuesday, I am still nervous.

As you know, the election is this Tuesday. As you may not know, unless you know me personally, and I've told you, I'm nervous as hell. I'm hoping that my nerves are just paranoia, but the last two elections brought with them almost unbelievable outcomes, and since that pretty much encapsulates my presidential election career, I'm a little cautious when it comes to anything resembling a prediction.

Still, there are many good signs that point to a change. And not just a change in the Executive Branch, but a change in how we approach politics. One such sign was posted last week at Guernica Magazine and is what Guernica founder and editor Joel Whitney is calling "The Obama Consensus": a list of Republicans who, as Joel put it, "are thinking more broadly than party affiliation this time." This is a sign of actual change. People thinking about what is good for the country, and not just what is good for getting them elected.

A friend of mine sent me another good story earlier this month that I think points to actual change. She is a teacher in Northeast Minneapolis and her fifth and sixth graders, frustrated by the fact that they could not vote, hit the streets to register people to vote. Now this seems like the kind of thing we need. Unlike the "mock elections" that took place in schools when I was growing up, this seems like it may actually instill in these young people a desire and an ability to be involved in the political process.

Obviously there are many other promising things to point to that should assuage my fears, but it's stories like these that are making me hopeful, even if I'm still nervous as hell.

-David Doody

From Maggie Struck, teacher in Northeast Minneapolis:

So, today, my fifth and sixth graders took to the streets and registered people to vote at the local grocery store in the neighborhood in North Minneapolis that our school is in. It was a great surge of energy...they all decided that since they could not let their voices be heard by voting, they would help get the people in their community registered to speak their voice through a vote.

I just thought with all the buzz that is going on with the upcoming election, these photos would speak to the power of that vote, and the right we have in our country. My students are definitely hopeful for a change that will impact their future. The optimism and resilience of children continues to inspire and amaze me.

Regardless of which way your vote is going to go, I hope these pictures encourage you to at least act out your right as a citizen of the United States to head to the polls in November.








Tax Questions Answered

Clear answers and examples, here>>>

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Video With Me In It

When I read the email from MoveOn with this video in it, I thought it would probably be pretty lame. But it's actually really funny, I think:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Michele Bachmann "Represents" Minnesota on Hardball

Admitting that the United States is imperfect is not the same as being "anti-American."

States like Minnesota are getting a lot of attention these days as we close in on the final two weeks of the race for the presidency. Political parties and the media alike are looking at the states that could swing the election one way or another. Unfortunately this week one of Minnesota's representatives (and I use that term loosely) Michele Bachmann found a national stage on Chris Matthews' Hardball to fan the flames of Sarah Palin's recent incendiary statements.

Steve Perry, writing for The Minnesota Independent, had this to say about the interview:

"Following Rep. Michele Bachmann's appearance with Chris Matthews [Friday], America is learning what many in Minnesota already knew, which is that putting Bachmann in front of a live microphone is like handing an excitable 15-year-old a bottle of gin and a loaded gun. The only question is when something unspeakable is going to happen."

What seems to be getting the most attention (even prompting a challenge for Bachmann's Congressional seat from within the GOP) is Bachmann's call for the media to investigate members of Congress to see which ones may have "anti-American views."

The problem with statements like this, as well as Sarah Palin's "Our opponent is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists... " is that they allow Americans to never have to learn from the past and change for the better. If something is already perfect then there is no reason to change it.

These statements are in direct contradiction with anything these leaders of the GOP might say about future change. When Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann claim to know that mistakes have been made and, therefore, changes need to be made, well, that is contradictory to the idea of perfection. Either something is perfect or it is imperfect. And (spoiler alert) nothing, including America, is perfect. Therefore, stating that you want to change what is wrong with it should not be seen as being in opposition to loving it.

When we strive for the best possible version of something, we are refusing to sell it short. When we say that the U.S., like everything else, is imperfect, that it needs to be worked on--in order to learn from where we have been and end up in a better place--that in no way should be seen negatively.

And it certainly should not be seen as anti-American. Allowing the country to continue down the same path, deeper and deeper into failure, should, however, be seen that way.



Crossposted at Guernica Magazine

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Joe Henry in Three Easy Steps

Step 1:
Read this interview by Jim Walsh with Joe Henry in Reveille.

Step 2:
Listen to some Joe Henry here.

Step 3:
Do yourself a favor and go buy some Joe Henry music.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The RNC That Should Have Been

I love the editing in this clip. Just how confused and sort of pissed off McCain looks. (Thanks for sending, Molly.)

Vote

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Way to Go America!

I just voted in every national poll asking the question "Who won last night's VP Debate." I don't think I've ever voted in such a poll, but it seems that for the time being these things play a big role in people's opinions or at least people put a lot of trust in them. So I went ahead and cast my votes for Joe "six pack" Biden. I was pleasantly surprised by these polls. Even the Fox News polls had Joe "commutes in and out of Washington everyday, proving he is not part of the boy's club that is D.C." Biden winning the debate like 59% to 40%. Maybe Americans can see through the note-card reading, tag-line saying, unable to actually answer a question, winking b.s. that was Sarah Palin's side of the debate last night. Thus, Wat to go America!!

If you feel like taking a couple minutes to respond to these polls click here>>>. Every little bit helps, right?

Ok, I wasn't going to write any more about last night's debate, because it already seems like spinning wheels (everyone seems to be on the same page), but I have to talk about the woman who was commenting on msnbc.com immediately following the debate. I think it was Geraldine Anne Ferraro, but I can't find the video. Anyway, she said something along the lines of she wanted her granddaughters to be able to look back on last night as an historic moment for women, and she thought that, given Sarah Palin's performance, they would be able to do that. I am still floored by some women's response to Sarah Palin. It really does seem that only because she is a woman they feel proud. It just doesn't make sense to me. Why is this not more of an insult? Why does any woman who actually has even a minimal amount of intelligence feel anything resembling pride when this woman speaks? I'm baffled by it. If anyone has seen the clip from msnbc.com please let me know, so I can post it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Thomas Jefferson 1802

Point, Counterpoint

I left a response to a post Dustin put up over at Blogs Are About Ego and thought I'd put it over here as well, as a point/counterpoint post. Let the discussion continue:

Point (Question):
Why Do the Candidates Continue to Refuse to Talk About Anything

It seems like the election has been a constant contest to seem who can say the least. I'm really amazed that we are only five weeks away from this being over. It feels like they are just getting started. Obama and Biden have really receded from the headlines and McCain is either stealing the headlines with Palin's idiocy (I believe my recent favorite was that she can't name a supreme court case outside of Roe v. Wade), or he's in the news aimlessly attacking Obama. What about what's actually happening, particularly the erosion of American civil liberties. Neither candidate would touch that topic with a ten foot pole. In their defense, it's lethal. What can you say on the topic that wouldn't piss someone off? But isn't that what we really want? I leader who isn't scared of opinion polls or talking about a something that people might get sensitive about? It's a real issue. The Bush administration has slowly but surely given the executive branch increased control of torture, spying, and all intelligence routes through the government. This is a flagrant violation of our constitution, of our rights. Yet, no one really seems to want to prod the candidates into speaking on the subject.

Obama is scared of looking left wing. And McCain has voted with Bush through the entire erosion. (and Obama is not innocent here) Why doesn't someone try to make them talk about it in a debate, or why aren't reporters hitting them with these questions. Katie Couric made Palin look dumb, but Palin has nothing to do with this, she is not a national politician, in my mind she's not much of a politician at all, but that's besides the point. Why can't we actually have an open discussion about these kind of issues in an election year? I think I know the answer, and maybe I'm being naive and idealistic in hoping that this could be possible, but dammit I don't care, I want to hear them speak about this. This may be a great plan for McCain in fact. It seems as though the debate would go to Obama, because McCain has always followed Bush through this erosion of our rights, and anyone that cares would have to side with Obama. But what if Obama can't defend a somewhat patchy track record here? What if he can't speak about it as eloquently as you would imagine? It might be a good chance for McCain to win over some of the liberal vote...try it, see what happens. It won't happen, but it's fun to imagine what kind of democracy you would wish for.
-Dustin Luke Nelson


Counterpoint:
There's a book by Dana Nelson called "Bad for Democracy" that shows how over decades and decades--not just through the W years--the presidency has sought and received more and more power, throwing the balance of government completely out of whack. The position becomes more and more like that of a king, and all the while the American people have accepted this piracy of the balance originally sought after by our founding fathers. Think of the language we use: "The leader of the free world," "The most powerful position in the land," et al. This is not what the presidency was supposed to be. It was supposed to be just one branch with no more and no less power than the others, or at least it was supposed to be able to be checked and put in line when it stepped out of that line.

But, more specifically in response to this post, you're right, they won't talk about incendiary issues because they cannot afford to piss anyone off who may be on the fence about those issues. It's like when they say "middle class" but never utter the word "poverty." It's spinning what they say to get votes...a watered down version of tackling the tough topics in order to get votes.

The point is, the position of president carries too much power and importance in the average American's mind. Yes, it is important that our representatives actually discuss important issues. But it's even more important that we not rely on them as much as we do to do anything about those important issues.

The fight does not end on November 5th, even if Obama is elected. Yes, we can all breath a sigh of relief if that is the outcome, because we will have taken a step in the right direction. But, and be sure of this, he is not a savior. He cannot undo all that has been done. He will not be able to retroactively give back all the civil liberties lost over the years. And you can be sure that there will be those fighting tooth and nail to keep the powers and tactics they have become accustomed to. The president is not our king and we cannot simply rely on him to answer all of our questions.
-David Luke Doody

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I've Been Writing

Hi all,

This is kind of a redundant post, as some of you may have already seen these elsewhere, but it's been kind of a nice week for me as far as writing goes. So.

I have a story up at mnartists.org here>>>

And I have my first ever post up at The Huffington Post (It's the same one as is on Guernica, but it's at the Huff Post, which is cool.) Read it here>>>

Anyway, thanks for reading my ramblings everyone, and for letting me know what you think. It warms the soul.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Don't Even Have to Change Sarah Palin's Words to Make Fun of Her on SNL

Watch Sarah Palin's original answer here, then watch the SNL spoof on it. Tina Fey pretty much just reads the transcript.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Story

Hey, so I have a short fiction piece up over at mnartists.org. They describe it as:

David Doody's winning flash fiction, "On Telling Her about the Short Story 'On Wanting to Get Three Walls Up Before She Gets Home,'" is a funny little meta-fiction gem about love, writing, and home improvement.


I kind of like that. Read it here>>>

Live-Blogging from the Debates

So, I'm going to condense all of the live-blogging from the debates into one post here. In case anyone cared.

Friday, September 26, 2008
"The Iranians have a lousy Government. Therefore they have a lousy economy." Hmmm, so he just called the U.S. gov't lousy.
Posted by David at 10:05 PM 0 comments
Obama just answered John McCain's story about parents telling him not to have let their children have died for no reason. All the parents except those who want to pull the troops out because they don't want other parents to go through what they have gone through.
Posted by David at 9:59 PM 0 comments
Add threats to Russia to the list of Iran and N. Korea.
Posted by David at 9:56 PM 0 comments
Did McCain just admit to starting the Taliban? I think if people can say that Al Gore said he started the internet, McCain's statement just indicted him as one of the founders of the Taliban.
Posted by David at 9:53 PM 0 comments
Live-blogging with the knowledge that no one is reading the live-blogging. How big of a loser does that make me? (Leave answers in the comments section)
Posted by David at 9:51 PM 1 comments
Actually, John, in Senator Obama's original plan we never would have been in Iraq, so no need for the surge.
Posted by David at 9:49 PM 0 comments
Actually, John, in Senator Obama's original plan we never would have been in Iraq, so no need for the surge.
Posted by David at 9:49 PM 0 comments
What the fuck does winning in Iraq mean anyway?! Does it mean killing 20,000 more Iraqis? 40,000? How many?
Posted by David at 9:46 PM 0 comments
"John, you like to pretend that the war started in 2007." -Barack Obama. Nice.
Posted by David at 9:44 PM 0 comments
10 billion dollars a month...hmmm, let's go back to that question on where we could cut spending.
Posted by David at 9:42 PM 0 comments
Do you think that John McCain knows what the Sunni Awakening is? Or do you think it's like the Bush Doctrine for Sarah Palin?
Posted by David at 9:40 PM 0 comments
Oh good. The Iraq War. Again, let's not just look back a couple years to what may or may not have succeeded then. Let's go ahead and look back to the lead up to the war when Obama OPPOSED a needless war. Such short term memories on these people.
Posted by David at 9:39 PM 0 comments
Apparently John McCain hasn't been elected as Ms. Congeniality. I didn't even know he was in the running.
Posted by David at 9:38 PM 0 comments
"I want to make sure we're not handing the health care system over to the federal government." -John McCain.

Really? But handing over our whole economic system is ok? Hmmmmmm.
Posted by David at 9:36 PM 0 comments
Friday, September 26, 2008
How can these people still argue for less regulation when it has shown that the market will not right itself? And then they only want regulation when they need to bail out their rich friends. If it's broke, change it. Don't keep arguing it will correct itself.
Posted by David at 9:30 PM 0 comments

Someone tell John McCain to stop fucking laughing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Live-blogging with the knowledge that no one is reading the live-blogging. How big of a loser does that make me? (Leave answers in the comments section)

On "The Daily Show"

A while back New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani wrote of John Stewart and "The Daily Show":

"Mr. Stewart … and his writers have energetically tackled the big issues of the day -- ‘the stuff we find most interesting,’ as he said in an interview at the show’s Midtown Manhattan offices, the stuff that gives them the most ‘agita,’ the sometimes somber stories he refers to as his ‘morning cup of sadness.’ And they’ve done so in ways that straight news programs cannot: speaking truth to power in blunt, sometimes profane language, while using satire and playful looniness to ensure that their political analysis never becomes solemn or pretentious."


It's amazing that, in the pages of the New York Times the sentence "they’ve done so in ways that straight news programs cannot" can be written with seemingly little shame, apology, or call to action. Media critic Norman Solomon was perturbed by this praise in the pages of a "straight news" source as well, which led him to write this at Guernica in response:

"If -- as the New York Times soberly reported in the article -- 'straight news programs cannot' tackle the 'big issues of the day' while 'speaking truth to power,' we should ask a key question: Why not?"


Exactly. Why can't the New York Times and other "straight news programs" do this:



Forget about speaking truth to power, let's just speak truth to the people of this country whose memories are so short or whose lives are too comfortable to care that they are lied to repeatedly, over and over and over.

It's Fun to Laugh

Retelling of historical events from extremely drunk people...why didn't I think of that?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pictures of Obama



A while back MoveOn had a contest called "Manifest Hope Gallery Contest...to help spread the word about Barack Obama and the inspirational themes of his candidacy." Some of the finalists' artwork is pretty great, like this one from Larissa Brown Marantz from Orange, CA.

Free Wilco Cover of Bob Dylan Song

Click here to get the song. You just have to promise to vote.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blaming Bill Clinton for the Bush Years? Really?

I don't usually respond to articles I read online, but his one kind of pissed me off, so I wrote this. Turns out the Huffington Post doesn't let you post more than 250 words. Probably for the best, some people (ahem) can go on and on.

Here's the story from Paul Slansky at the HP about how Bill Clinton is to blame for the Bush years and how it will "be on" him if Obama loses. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?

And here's my (extended) response (I can't even find my truncated version in the comment section of the article. Shows how much I do this. If anyone finds it--under dluke--let me know what page it's on.):

I'm assuming someone already would have mentioned all of this, but I it's important enough to state again. First, it's not Bill's job to do anything for Obama. It's just not. Second, blaming Bill Clinton and the blowjobs he received while in office for the Bush years is absolutely absurd. I, as a Democrat, am offended by such an accusation. Let's not lose sight of who is actually to blame for the Bush year, namely, Bush and his cronies. To suggest it was in some way Clinton's fault is a joke. If you want to look to some Democrats for blame, why not look at the complete ineptitude of both the Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns. But certainly not Bill Clinton. If a campaign needs one person to put them over the top (as Mr. Slansky is suggesting for the Obama campaign, and I'm sure would be his explanation for the Gore "loss.") then some serious retooling of that campaign needs to be done. Third, having Bill campaign as rigorously as Mr. Slansky is calling for could easily do as much damage as good. I know many independent voters who can't stand Hillary or Bill and their praise for Obama does nothing for these voters if not make them think twice about voting for him. So, if you want to be as black and white as this piece is, one could say that if, for the last month of this campaign Bill does what Mr. Slansky is suggesting and campaigns so rigorously, and Obama loses one of the states where, had Bill not been such a strong supporter, Obama would have won that state, then Mr. Slansky and this whole article is to blame for the WarFest that would be McCain/Palin. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Of course it does. As does blaming Bill Clinton for any of the past eight years or the next four. Lastly, "We forgave you for Monica, Bill..."? Who's "We"? You are definitely not talking about me. I have never felt a need to "forgive" Bill for anything he did with Monica. His response to the issue can be called into question, but that is not what is being suggested here. What is being suggested here is that "we" need to forgive Bill for the unholy act of an extramarital affair. As though "we" are in some righteous place to do so. That kind of speak sounds far too similar to things that come out of Sarah Palin's mouth, and I for one don't associate with the "we" referred to here.

What to do About the Finacial Crisis: Some Ideas From Great Minds

I have been posting all of Robert Reich's blog posts about the issues on Wall Street lately at Guernica Mag. He was the secretary of labor under President Clinton and gives very clear explanations and solutions to the current woes. Read those here, here, here, here, and here.

And then there's this from Barack Obama late last night:

The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has created a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression.

Congress and the President are debating a bailout of our financial institutions with a price tag of $700 billion or more in taxpayer dollars. We cannot underestimate our responsibility in taking such an enormous step.

Whatever shape our recovery plan takes, it must be guided by core principles of fairness, balance, and responsibility to one another.

Please sign on to show your support for an economic recovery plan based on the following:

• No Golden Parachutes -- Taxpayer dollars should not be used to reward the irresponsible Wall Street executives who helmed this disaster.

• Main Street, Not Just Wall Street -- Any bailout plan must include a payback strategy for taxpayers who are footing the bill and aid to innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

• Bipartisan Oversight -- The staggering amount of taxpayer money involved demands a bipartisan board to ensure accountability and oversight.
Show your support and encourage your friends and family to join you:

http://my.barackobama.com/ourplan

The failed economic policies and the same corrupt culture that led us into this mess will not help get us out of it. We need to get to work immediately on reforming the broken government -- and the broken politics -- that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place.

And we have to understand that a recovery package is just the beginning. We have a plan that will guarantee our long-term prosperity -- including tax cuts for 95 percent of families, an economic stimulus package that creates millions of new jobs and leads us towards energy independence, and health care that is affordable to every American.

It won't be easy. The kind of change we're looking for never is.

But if we work together and stand by these principles, we can get through this crisis and emerge a stronger nation.

Thank you,

Barack

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Conservative for Obama

Any rationally thinking person can see the game John McCain is playing. If I were a conservative (especially one with strong religious beliefs) or a woman I would be offended by his attacks on my intelligence. That is apparently how this guy, Wick Allison, feels. He has a column in his magazine, D, that addresses why he feels Obama is the better presidential candidate. The article is titled "A Conservative for Obama." Read it here>>>

It's refreshing to hear from conservatives who aren't buying McCains BS, especially from one who used to be on the board of directors of the National Review, a magazine that I am not all that familiar with, but in which today this idiotic story was published as the main feature on its home page. Really? If that's the type of nonsense you lead with, I don't feel much of a need to go any deeper.

(Thanks for sending the article, Molly)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Trouble the Water" Opens in Mpls.

A documentary on Katrina and the government's lack of response is now playing at the Lagoon in Minneapolis. If you're in the Twin Cities go check it out.

Republican's Love Nixon

Though Republicans always extol the virtues of the Reagan years, when it comes time to practice what they preach they are much closer to Nixon.


Illustration by KAL from the Economist


My favorite part of this article from the Economist (Thanks, Trev):


"Nixon's original insight remains as true now as it was in the late
1960s: lots of liberals do, indeed, look down on flyover Americans as
stump-toothed imbeciles and, for some strange reason, lots of flyover Americans resent them for it." (emphasis added)


Why do you care if someone from Vermont or New York thinks you're an idiot?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Link Round Up

It's getting hard just to keep up, isn't it?

Well, since these days I'm wearing my political thoughts and concerns (and anger) on my sleeve more and more, the good people around me are sending me a lot of important links to important stories. Here are a few of those:

Not a lot of national attention given to the police state that was St. Paul during the RNC (if you read local sites like The Minnesota Independent and Twin Cities Daily Planet you were kept abreast.). Here's something from the New York Times>>>

McCain's radical ideas for the health care system would result in fewer young people covered and unsophisticated consumers into a marketplace that is driven and controlled by sophisticated salespeople. It will be the housing crisis all over again (as this article points out): The people selling the product on the "open market" know all the ins and outs and are only out to maximize profits, all the while hoodwinking the consumer who, necessarily based on both parties' job descriptions, knows less. And guess who will pay the price when everyone involved gets burned? If you don't know the answer to that, you haven't been paying attention, which is exactly what this article argues>>>

I've talked about McCain's total reversal of the man he once was on this blog before. Here, in the Washington Post Richard Cohen does it as well. He says, "His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for." I'd take it a step further and take out the "personal" before the "treason." The decision betrayed this country's trust in politicians so greatly that the man should be put on trial. Along with all his cohorts who have committed crimes against this country and many others around the world for the last eight years. I wouldn't change another word in this article>>>

Sarah Palin is Barack Obama's shadow:

In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other."


A call to bring everything into the light to be examined by Deepak Chopra>>>

I was sent an email called Different Outlooks, which I assume many people got--it seems like one of those viral emails that makes it's way around quickly and people talk about it for a while. Still, if you haven't gotten it in your inbox, it's worth checking out. Since the author is, apparently, unknown, I'll just link to the first blog that came up when I googled "Different Outlooks Obama Palin." Looks like you may be able to stock up on some Obama gear at this site, too. Read the list of different outlooks here>>>

For a woman "to vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, 'Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs.'" I have said on this blog that I think John McCain's citizenship should be revoked for his Palin decision. Let me say this as well: If you are a woman and you vote for McCain/Palin, you will have your feminist card revoked. I'm not 100% sure I have the authority to do that, but I do know with a McCain/Palin vote you will do nothing to help the advancement of your gender (check McCain's voting record on issues that are historically of concern for women voters) and in fact will be setting back the cause that so many women--and men--have fought for for so long. Here it is: She is a pretty face who can deliver a prepared speech. That's it. Now some say the same thing about Obama, but, if anyone seriously takes the time to compare the records of the two, the claim does not hold up (and Obama can hold up in an interview; Palin's handlers won't even let her be interviewed after the Charlie Gibson debacle). If you are a woman who votes for McCain/Palin, you have never known a time when girls were shipped across the country to have their babies, where the only people affected by abortion laws were the poor and minorities. And apparently you don't care to learn about those times. More from Gloria Steinem here>>>

An unbelievably important issue that does not get enough attention: election fraud and votes going uncounted. Even if the number is 100 and not the staggeringly high numbers some people claim (180,000 votes not counted in Florida), that would be enough for a massive investigation into this issue. The biggest elephant standing in the room right now is that racism still looms large in this country. We like to think that having Obama as a serious contender for the Presidency sweeps that all under the rug. Well, it doesn't. This county is still a hugely racist one, and the manipulation of votes is a testimony to this. Check out a preview of a documentary about this issue here>>>

My mom said this evening that "The media makes the news, it doesn't report it. And it makes me sick." Well said. Here's a story from Glenn Greenwald on Salon that eerily reports the consequences of this fact (and it is a fact). (This is an old one, and many of you are probably fully aware of this story. Sorry, I'm behind on all the details of it, so I'm posting it here>>>)

Thanks to all who send me this much needed information. It is our responsibility, since the mainstream media doesn't seem to really want it, to spread this news to as many people as we can. Keep talking. If we talk about the issues, the Republicans cannot win an argument. Go ahead, keep talking about Palin, but talk about her lack of qualifications and John McCain's recklessness in choosing her. And talk about all the other issues, too. Every day for the next month and a half. That's all the time we have, so say as much as possible from now until then.

John Cusack and Chris Farley

In an article in the Huffington Post yesterday John Cusack had some insightful and scathing things to say about the McCain/Palin ticket taking the horrid and criminal tactics of the Bush/Cheney years to a whole new level. Scary thought, but one that's becoming easier and easier to imagine the more and more these people talk...and by talk, I mean lie. Can you imagine looking back two years from now if McCain is president (or maybe it would be at his funeral when president Palin is being sworn in) and thinking, "Wow, I sure wish W was still president"? I can. I had no idea that this threat existed. I thought we had seen the worst.

But, you're probably wondering just what Chris Farley has to do with any of this. Well, here's a bit from Cusack's piece at HP:

Now, no one in their right mind -- including reasonable independents and Republicans -- wants to double down on neocon ideology, but here comes the "maverick" and his economic advisers to use the crises we face to implement more "change" and "reform" to the system by privatizing everything in sight. Is this what the American people want? When they are aware of it, the answer is always no. It's the same bullshit re-branded.


Remind you of something?

Customer: But why do they put a guarantee on the box?

Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer's sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.

(From the 1995 movie Tommy Boy starring Chris Farley)


Replace "customer's" with "country's" and "daughter's" with "economy's" and I think we have a pretty dead-on description of what we've had to deal with and what we will continue to deal with if we let McCain/Palin shit in a box and stamp it with the Bush seal of approval, the same seal of approval that, as Cusack put it, allowed for "a fuck of a lot of innocent people die." All the while being branded and guaranteed as the right thing to do.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Can Handle Conservatives if They're Not Complete Idiots

Like this guy (at least here. I haven't read anything else by him.)

Clinton/Palin Hypocrisy

I can't believe I hadn't made this connection. When the Clintons have a private matter, let's impeach Bill. When the Palins have a private family matter, then let's just stay the hell out of it.

From Frank Rich's The Palin-Whatshisname Ticket in the Times:

The same gang that once fueled Internet rumors and media feeding frenzies over the Clintons’ private lives now express pious outrage when the same fate befalls the Palins.


These people have no principles. It's all about staying in power. It has nothing to do with beliefs. But, well, by now that's an obvious statement. Otherwise someone wouldn't be up for the job of VP.

In Case You Haven't Seen It

I can't say it better than my friend Paul, so:

And a clue to Palin: It ain't no "worldview," it's an approach to foreign policy that took us preemptively into Iraq, and it could take us preemptively into Iran, North Korea, or Syria. Whether you agree with it or not, a vice president should have some semblance of an idea what it means. A lot is at stake folks.


The most important part of that quote is, "Whether you agree with it or not, a vice president should have some semblance of an idea what it means." It hearkens back to John Stewart's comments on the Obama/elitist issue: These people should be a whole lot smarter than us. So smart, in fact, that if we were to ever walk into a room with them, we should immediately feel embarrassed by just how stupid we are. I don't want someone in power who I think I might possibly be smarter than. I have enough friends; I don't give a fuck if I think it might be a good time to have a beer with one of them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

John McCain Rips Sarah Palin

John McCain, Oct. 21, 2007 (discrediting the experience of former NYC mayor Giuliani and former Massachussets Gov. Mitt Romney):

“I need no on-the-job training. I wasn’t a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn’t a governor for a short period of time.”


Check out Eyeteeth for Sarah Palin ripping John McCain.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Exactly

"It's absurd. It's totally absurd."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Facts About John McCain's "Education" Ad

Here is everything you need to know about that obscene ad that John McCain put out a couple of days ago. From FactCheck.org.

My favorite parts:

The bill, which would have allowed only "age appropriate" material and a no-questions-asked opt-out policy for parents, was not his accomplishment to claim in any case, since he was not even a cosponsor – and the bill never left the state Senate.


Even if we wanted to argue about the merits of the bill, which I would be more than happy to do, as would Obama (which he did against Alan Keyes' same accusations in 2004), it's not even something that he could take credit for!

And this:

The last quote used in McCain's ad is attributed to the Chicago Tribune and says that Obama is "a 'staunch defender of the existing public school monopoly.' " This is actually from a piece by Steve Chapman, former associate editor of The New Republic and contributing writer to Slate and the conservative publications The Weekly Standard and The National Review. The piece isn't a Chicago Tribune editorial at all, though it's made to appear that way in the ad. And Chapman, none too pleased about how his opinion piece was featured in the ad, responded in a Sept. 10 Tribune blog entry with this:

Chapman: ... the ad itself doesn't bother explaining how the candidates differ on school vouchers, the subject of my column. Instead, it insults our intelligence by expecting us to believe that Obama thinks kindergarteners should be taught how to use condoms before they're taught to read. Right. And Joe Biden eats puppies for breakfast.


They continue to just make things up. It's unbelievable.

Maybe the World Will Be Ok

So we all know how terrible the Republicans are and how awful America's complacency is in the face of horrific acts occurring throughout the world, but maybe, just maybe, if this is a legitimate video, everything may be ok.

I'm Making Jason Doyle a Famous Photographer

Just look at all the places he is on the web with his photo credit: here and here and one more coming...

p.s. Thanks to Jay over at Twin Cities Daily Planet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ok, This is Just Fucking Scary

I don't think John McCain should be allowed to be a citizen of this country any longer. I don't give a shit how many years he spent in a POW camp. Fuck him. This ad is sick. When you so blatantly make someone look like a pedophile...I mean seriously?! This is a presidential election and all McCain's camp can do is put out shit like this. And the morons who I apparently have to call fellow citizens eat it up and they're too stupid to even know what they are eating. Half this country should do all of us a favor and commit a mass suicide and go onto their precious afterlife and leave the rest of us here. If your god's so great, please, visit him sooner than he's expecting you.





Some responses from the Huffington Post here and here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Missed Opportunity: Rappers at Take Back Labor Day Concert Didn't Do Enough to Speak to Young People in the Crowd

Last week as the Republicans’ trip to St. Paul was delayed due to weather, some musicians still came to town for the Take Back Labor Day concert on Harriet Island, directly across the Mississippi river from downtown St. Paul and the Xcel Energy Center, where the Republicans were going to congregate to talk about their version of change, which is funny, given that if they actually wanted change it seems like, having control of two branches of the government for six out of the last eight years, they could have made some decisions to create some change. I guess change really does take time. But I digress; the concert and the musicians is what I want to talk about today.

The concert was put on by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and was an effort to “draw attention to the issues that America’s working people care about.” On the bill for the St. Paul show was (and this is the order they played in) Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Tom Morello (guitarist for Rage Against the Machine), Atmosphere, Mos Def, and The Pharcyde.

It quickly became clear that, coming from the direction we were coming from, it was going to be difficult to get to the island. From the west and north we would have to walk by the Xcel Energy Center. The blockades surrounding the arena were many and the organization of the concertgoers was of little concern to the thousands of police present for the RNC. Our convenience was not their top priority, though it does seem like keeping a massive crowd orderly would be of some concern to these uniformed men and women. Again, I digress. By the time we reached the island we had been knocked off schedule so much that we didn’t get to see even one song by Billy Bragg, the outspoken Englishman.


Just after getting across the bridge to the concert, riot police formed a blockade. Photo credit: Jason Doyle


















I trust, given that I saw him two days later in concert, that Bragg’s set was politically charged, which given the location, the timing, and the host of the show—SEIU—one would expect. Both Steve Earle and Tom Morello (playing as The Nightwatchman) did their part to fill the air with political ideas and bring attention to labor unions. Before his song, “City of Immigrants” Steve Earle said, “It is election time again, and here I am again at the wrong convention. I think it’s fairly obvious that I’m not going to vote for any Republican.” While Tom Morello started his set off by saying, “First of all I’d like to say, it’s an insult and a crime that the Republican Convention would start on Labor Day of all days. With their long history of union busting and support of U.S.-based corporations that use sweatshops at home and abroad, I think it’s a crime, and they should be ashamed of themselves. Which is why I’m here, to help you take back Labor Day.” Later he brought out members of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War and played the classic Woody Guthrie song, “This Land is Your Land,” with about 15 members of that group standing and singing behind him.

The last half of the show was dedicated to hip hop, which I believe has been the most overtly political genre of music as of late. Hip hop artists have attacked some of the most important issues of the day; The Roots latest album, Rising Down, Brother Ali’s “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” and Mos Def’s “Dollar Day” are just a few examples of artists becoming—with the mainstream press’ refusal to do so—the Fourth Estate and speaking truth to power. Unfortunately on this day, on this stage there was little to none of this for the people in attendance.

After Steve Earle came Twin Cities hip-hop hero, Slug, with DJ/producer Ant, who together make up Atmosphere. Slug came out wearing an Obama ’08 t-shirt and the set that Atmosphere put together was obviously very intentional—meant to focus on the “working man” or the downtrodden that they often sing about. The song “Guarantees” is a well-drawn portrait of what it means to be working poor in this country and all the hardships that come with that title. Still, the message was not obvious enough and was made all the more disappointing by the fact that Slug said little to address the labor unions or the RNC between songs (Slug’s only real comment about the day was a question: “Do you think you can make enough noise to make them hear us across the river?”). It can be noble for an artist to let his work speak for him, and in this regard, Atmosphere did their duty on Labor Day. But by the time they came on many in the crowd had been “celebrating” Labor Day for a few hours and their minds may not have been working on the level needed to pick up on the underlying message; something a little more obvious—something along the lines of Morello’s, “I got a feeling this land was not made for war criminals in the White House” would have been more effective in reaching the crowd. This is more disheartening when one takes into account that year after year Atmosphere continues to add younger and younger fans to its audience, and Slug has an uncanny ability to take on something of an idol role to the younger members of his fan base, and therefore wields an immense ability to influence them. Any words spoken that day would have resonated hugely for everyone, but especially in the ears of those young people, many of whom may be voting for the first time this November. Or, as we have seen time and again with young people, may not be voting this fall.

When Mos Def came out I expected the show to get back on track politically. This is a man who was arrested two years ago for playing his song, then titled “Katrina Clap,” on a flatbed truck outside of Radio City Music Hall in an attempt to raise awareness about the poor conditions still affecting the people of the Gulf Coast as a result of hurricane Katrina. Surely, with the Republicans rushing to that area of the nation for photo-ops as hurricane Gustav descended, Mighty Mos would have something to say about the matter. But no. Instead, Mos Def was even less straight forward than Atmosphere, only telling a brief proverb of sorts about the role of the underdog throughout history. And, as far as I could tell, unlike Atmosphere’s set, Mos Def’s wasn't particularly political.

By the time The Pharcyde came out, with the unbelievably self-conscious move of playing their videos behind them on the big screen while they preformed (“Hey, remember us? If not, remember these videos? That’s us, we swear.) and one member’s self-centered diatribe about rumors of his crack addiction, I was done. And I like The Pharcyde! Still, the only reason I was still in the crowd was in hopes that Bragg, Earle, and Morello might come back on stage for an encore.

I left Harriet Island that day disappointed by a missed opportunity. All the old hippies who came out for Bragg and Earle, and who maybe stuck around for Morello, were gone or trickling out as the second half of the concert played. Who was left were the young people, the ones who have never gotten involved in the political process. The ones who did not already go through this in the Sixties. The older audience members had seen the effect music can have on a political landscape. The people who need to stand up and take hold of politics now were all standing there until the end. And, unfortunately, these artists missed an opportunity to actually speak to them, to motivate them. It was just another hip hop concert—one that, on that basis alone, would have been very good, but given the timing and the setting, was anything but.

Crossposted at Guernica Mag.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wish I Could've Been There

But I'm glad this video exists. At the 5:50 mark Tom Morello tells it like it is. Preach on, brother:



Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some Things I Learned From the Speeches: The politicizing of issues that, apparently, should be too human for politics.

Last Monday as the Republican Party was supposed to be descending upon my little town of St. Paul, an opportunity arose for them to, finally after three years, play hero in the face of a storm. This whole week has been full of pleas to not politicize human events that are happening and could happen to any of us—hurricanes, military service, pregnancy, special-needs children, et al. It started with Gustav, and John McCain, instead of flying to St. Paul, flying to the Gulf Coast. Why exactly would an Arizona Senator need to be in Mississippi during a hurricane, other than for (as many, including Barack Obama have pointed out) a photo op? He is not president and he has never had anything to do with a state that must be concerned about hurricanes. I’ve been to Arizona once. Before I went I always thought it was a bit of hyperbole when people spoke of a “dry heat”—“Oh, it’s not that bad when it’s 110 in the shade, because it’s a dry heat.” Coming from a place that can reach 100 degrees with 85% humidity in the summer I just couldn’t believe it. After visiting, I realized that there was truth to the statement; indeed I realized just how dry a place could be. So, why was McCain in the Gulf Coast? The simple fact that he had a chance to look like he was doing something that his party failed so colossally to do three years ago when Katrina hit—to actually appear like he was a caring, compassionate human being.

In another bit of politicizing, we are all now, after watching the Republican nominee for vice president’s speech at the RNC, fully aware that Sarah Palin’s son is in the Army after she told us:

“[John McCain]'s a man who wore the uniform of this country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who have now brought victory within sight.

And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief. I'm just one of many moms who'll say an extra prayer each night for our sons and daughters going into harm's way.

Our son Track is 19.

And one week from tomorrow — Sept. 11 — he'll deploy to Iraq with the Army infantry in the service of his country.

My nephew Kasey also enlisted and serves on a carrier in the Persian Gulf.

My family is proud of both of them and of all the fine men and women serving the country in uniform.”


Contrast this with Beau Biden’s speech, and his reference to his future service:


“I know my father will be a great vice president. As I mentioned, my dad has always been there for me, my brother and my sister, every day. But because of other duties, it won't be possible for me to be here this fall to stand by him the way he stood by me. So I have something to ask of you. Be there for my dad like he was for me.”


And add to that Joe Biden’s response to his son; he said only, “Beau, I love you. I am so proud of you. Proud of the son you are. Proud of the father you've become.”

There is no debating here which Party is using “service to this country” for its own political gain. One Party puts country first out of obligation to fellow citizens. One uses “country first” as a stepping-stone to another platform. And I’m not only talking about military service here. I’m talking about the larger call to serve that even John McCain called for in his acceptance speech at the RNC. He said:

“If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you're disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our armed forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.”


Which brings me to perhaps the most infuriating part of what took place inside the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul over these last few days (Much time can be spent debating the most infuriating parts that happened outside of those walls, on the streets and bridges of this city). Even as the leader of their party planned to call each citizen to action in the final speech of the RNC, two of the most publicized members of his party openly mocked that call to action in their own speeches. Referring to Obama, Rudy Giuliani said the following:


“On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? He worked -- I said -- I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.

He worked as a community organizer. He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.”


And the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population roughly 5,000 when she was mayor) said, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

So much for “American hats.” When it comes to the level of importance of what John McCain called “serv[ing] a cause greater than yourself,” the Republican Party will be the judge.

And then there is the politicizing of the future grandchild of the Republican VP nominee. I will only say this about this issue: If you make it your position to make it so government can categorically go into the homes of families and would-be or would-not-be families, then do not expect people to stay out of yours when you’d like them to. The Republican Party’s policies already politicize this issue; it is, in fact, one of their absolutely necessary issues—one that has helped them feed their frenzied members and galvanized them to vote in huge numbers. Simply because you wish to spin the politicizing of such an issue so it will be seen in a positive light by your base (Read: at least no abortion), does not make it an issue that only you can politicize.

So here’s what I learned from the speeches and talk that came to my hometown this last week: There seems to be a turning in the way some are thinking about politics and a steadfastness in others to adhere to a view of politics that somehow became the norm. When did it become unfashionable to know about what is going on in our country? When did the political process become something that should be put to the side when more important human matters need to take center stage? Isn’t that process inherent in our country’s DNA (to steal another line from an RNC speech), in the words, “For the People, by the People”? It became abundantly clear this past week that the Republican Party is not averse to using anything and everything to gain a political leg-up. What did not become abundantly clear is why they claim to want to be separate from the political means towards their end, indeed from the process that makes this country what it is, or should be, or could be.

Crossposted at Guernica Magazine

Thursday, September 4, 2008

616 Votes to Win the 1996 Mayor's Election in Wasilla, Alaska. I Bet Obama Talked to That Many People In a Couple of Days Back in the Windy City

I have to admit that I have not finished watching Palin's speech from last night; I was simply too pissed off by what I was watching to take it all in one shot. I did, however, listen long enough to hear her joke about Obama's experience as a community organizer, which pissed me off more than anything up to that point.

Here's a response sent out from the Obama camp today that I agree strongly with.


From David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America:

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

And it's no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America's promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it's happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.

Meanwhile, we still haven't gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies.

It's now clear that John McCain's campaign has decided that desperate lies and personal attacks -- on Barack Obama and on you -- are the only way they can earn a third term for the Bush policies that McCain has supported more than 90 percent of the time.

But you can send a crystal clear message.

Enough is enough. Make your voice heard loud and clear by making a $25 donation right now:

https://donate.barackobama.com/fightback

Thank you for joining more than 2 million ordinary Americans who refuse to be silenced.

David

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America


And check out this story breaking down all the lies Palin and McCain and their cronies are passing off as their talking points.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who Is Sarah Palin?

It's becoming abundantly clear that not even the man who chose this woman as his running mate can answer that question, having met her only once or twice before offering her the position. McCain's decision to choose Palin as his running mate is like a child who can't get his way and frustrated by that fact pouts and says fine, do whatever you want: "But I want my buddy Joe Lieberman. I can't have him?!?! Fine you just pick it then, I don't care."

Here is some useful information about the person Republicans want as their future VP, someone who apparently they believe could step up on Day 1 and handle the responsibilities of the presidency. Screw what they said before, it's a new ball game, and experience is not, apparently, as important as they have been claiming it is:

MSNBC

Yahoo News

Frederick Lane at Guernica

Robert Reich at Guernica

MoveOn.org

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dustin L. Nelson: "I am Robin Gunningham" on Guernica









My writer/editor partner-in-crime Dustin wrote a cool little article about the artist Banksy, so I put it up on Guernica.

Check it out here>>>

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

John McCain's Disingenuous Years

The other day I was discussing my thoughts about John McCain (as I find myself doing often these days) with someone who is still on the fence and who has obviously been affected by the smear tactics used by Republicans against Barack Obama (read a fantastic short piece about this matter from Robert Reich that recently went up on Guernica). This person is one of the many who doesn't necessarily vote Republican or Democrat; he believes that neither party--or anyone in politics for that matter--has his best interest in mind. He groups them all together as one lump of disingenuous, to use his word, assholes. I can't necessarily disagree with that sentiment. I do think there is a tremendous amount of self-interest in any political endeavor. And this won't ever drastically change while we are under a strictly two-party system. There are just too many political moves one must make when adhering to a certain dogma, to which a number of other people have hitched their wagons. That being said, on this point I argued that in this particular election we at least have an option who is drastically different than any other in recent memory. I do not need to give Barack Obama's life story here, since he has done so already in a book and many others have given shortened versions elsewhere. But I don't think it's a stretch to say that that story is radically different than the upbringing--and in some cases it's more like breeding--of many of our current politicians. He is not a Clinton, a Kennedy, or a Bush (Full disclosure: I will count myself among the camp that now considers John McCain a third Bush). I told my discussion partner that if he actually wanted to cast a vote in November for someone different than what he has seen, then there is really only one choice. (To this person's credit, in my eyes anyway, he does put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, having voted for both Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura. An attempt anyway to jettison the two-party system.)

But this whole discussion isn't why I am writing this. What I have been pondering lately more than how Obama is different than those who have come before is just how far John McCain has come to being exactly the same, or worse, than those who have come before. What sparked my interest most in this discussion I was having was my discussion partner's statement that at least John McCain was "genuine," to which I replied, "I may have said the same thing eight years ago." Now, eight years ago I was a junior in college and maybe more worried about a creative writing class, the lacrosse club, and which party I was going to attend on a Friday night than about the senator from Arizona. That is to say, my political interests didn't get fully piqued until the nominees for both parties were already in place, so I wasn't fully aware of all the skullduggery that led to G.W. being awarded that nomination. But it does seem to me that at least back then John McCain stood for something. Even if what he stood for wouldn't always have fallen in line with my beliefs, he seemed to stand behind his own thoughts and opinions. His indictments of Bush in those days were scathing, to no political gain. But these last years have been nothing but a political ploy on the AZ Senator's part. Once McCain knew he could not beat Bush he started, slowly at first and now full steam ahead, to put his ducks in a row for this very moment, for the chance to be President of the United States. Beliefs be damned, the man only wants one thing. That title is his only desire, and apparently his only reason for anything he does right now. I see no other way to explain how someone who was courted by the Democrats four years ago to jump ship and run as Vice President with John Kerry could fall so in line with the Right's agenda, other than, as Robert Reich puts it, the ends justify the means. What I have seen from John McCain over the last eight years does not strike me as actions I would attribute to a "genuine" person.

Crossposted at Guernica

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Election '08: Take Nothing for Granted

An important message/reminder from MoveOn.org. Let's not assume anything.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Few Recommendations

Just a quick list of books I've recently finished that I would recommend to all of you:

Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya. This is a paranoid freak fest. The guy doesn't care for periods too much, which adds to the main character's (often) seemingly delusional state. And while this stylistic choice is good for the voice of the story telling, it can wear on you as you near the end. However, the last few lines make it all worthwhile.

Superpowers by David J. Schwartz. The way in which David Schwartz uses the events of 9/11 in this book are, to me, stunning. A lesser writer could have easily, in a book that stars five superheroes, sensationalized and exploited those events for the purpose of his story. The way Schwartz writes about it makes the characters all the more real.

The Man in the Blizzard by Bart Schneider. Read this one in the next couple of weeks because it is set in the Twin Cities in the months leading up to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. The private eye is a pothead and the St. Paul Police detective quotes poetry throughout.

Next on the list is Drama City by George Pelecanos, who also wrote for The Wire, and Graceland by Chris Abani, an author whom I've never read, but saw reading his poetry twice last summer in New York. One of the times he played the sax, too. This guy was locked up for his first novel, which he wrote at the age of 16 (I should check that, but I think it's right). He probably should be more widely read, which is why I'm going to start reading him.

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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