Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sleep Through the Static

On the occassion of 5 years at war in Iraq, 4,000 American soldiers killed and 29,000 wounded.

"Sleep Through The Static"
by Jack Johnson

Trouble travels fast
When you're specially designed for crash testing
Or wearing wool sunglasses in the afternoon
Come on and tell us what you're trying to prove

Because it's a battle when you dabble in war
You store it up, unleash it, then you piece it together
Whether the storm drain running rampant just stamp it
And send it to somebody who's pretending to care

Just cash in your blanks for little toy tanks
Learn how to use them, then abuse them and choose them
Over conversations relationships are overrated
"I hated everyone" said the sun

And so I will cook all your books
You're too good looking and mistooken
You could watch it instead
From the comfort of your burning beds
...Or you can sleep through the static

Who needs sleep when we've got love?
Who needs keys when we've got clubs?
Who needs please when we've got guns?
Who needs peace when we've gone above
But beyond where we should have gone?
We went beyond where we should have gone

Stuck between channels my thoughts all quit
I thought about them too much, allowed them to touch
The feelings that rained down on the plains all dried and cracked
Waiting for things that never came

Shock and awful thing to make somebody think
That they have to choose pushing for peace supporting the troops
And either you're weak or you'll use brut force-feed the truth
The truth is we say not as we do

We say anytime, anywhere, just show your teeth and strike the fear
Of god wears camouflage, cries at night and drives a dodge
Pick up the beat and stop hogging the feast
That's no way to treat an enemy

Well mighty mighty appetite
We just eat 'em up and keep on driving
Freedom can be freezing take a picture from the pretty side
Mind your manners wave your banners
What a wonderful world that this angle can see

But who needs to see what we've done?
Who needs please when we've got guns?
Who needs keys when we've got clubs?
Who needs peace when we've gone above
But beyond where we should have gone?
Beyond where we should have gone
We went beyond where we should have gone
Beyond where we should have gone

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Superdelegate "primary" in Dallas?

Here is one good suggestion on how to end the Democratic stalemate, floated by Governor Philip Bredesen of Tennessee: a superdelegate "primary" meeting in June.

Dallas was mentioned as a possible location for this event due to its easy access (and our fabulous nightlife I'm sure...)

The only thing that causes me heartburn about this idea is that it would wait until after the ten remaining state primaries and we'd have the sniping and media-fueled mud slinging until June. But it's better than waiting until August.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Party leaders, now is the time to intervene

It appears that Senator Clinton cannot win the nomination without the superdelegates overturning the will of the voters. And the only way she can make a convincing case that she is "more electable" than Obama, despite trailing in both the popular vote and the delegate count, is to tear down Obama so much that his campaign is too badly damaged to compete in the general election.

It is time for this to stop.

Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi need to step in and ask Clinton to exit the race for the good of the party. Those two have the necessary clout to pull it off.

I'm not anti-Hillary. I will vote for whichever candidate is the Democratic nominee in November. But she can't beat Obama without the superdelegates.

And more than one observer has noted that if the superdelegates overturn the will of the voters, thus shutting out the only black person to ever have a real shot at the presidency, the party will spend years recovering from the ensuing scandal. Yes, the whole furor about race has entered the campaign and you can't get rid of it now. It's out there. And if the party perceives Clinton as "more electable" than Obama, there is a large constituency of the party that will hear "more acceptable to whites." Fairly or not, that is how it will be perceived.

Leaders, it is time to lead. The Republicans are licking their chops in a year they should be resigned to a punishing loss.

The Morning News - the newspaper I love to hate

So my daily newspaper unveiled its latest look this morning. And it just screams USA Today. The pages are narrower and the section mastheads have a new colorful font. My pages weren't actually narrower this morning, just more white space on the sides - apparently they aren't done with all the old newsprint yet.

They assure us that this won't mean fewer stories. But I can guarantee you it will mean fewer words. Like in the story in the business section this morning about the price of oil and the stronger dollar. It was five paragraphs long. No, I'm sorry, upon closer examination, it's five sentences long, each sentence indented.

It makes me consider ditching the DMN for the Wall St. Journal, but the Journal's opinion pages make me angry, so there's no where to turn but the NY Times, which has such a user friendly site that I don't need the print edition (except on Sundays, which I will not relinquish any time in the forseeable future).

So I'll plod along with The Dallas Morning News, just taking whatever they throw at me, until it completely devolves into the free Quick tabloid the News publishes for commuters.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama picks up big endorsement

Question: Who is most frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for both Sens. Clinton and Obama?

Answer: Governor Bill Richardson, who will endorse Barack Obama today in Portland, OR.

This is a big win for Obama. In my admittedly biased opinion, I think this may be the first of several big endorsements to come Obama's way as Sen. Clinton's prospects dim.

Welcome to Team Obama, Governor. It's very good to have you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Race in America

Barack Obama's powerful speech on Race in America on Tuesday was a poignant moment in this campaign. He addressed an issue that I had honestly hoped would not have to be addressed. After listening to his speech, I realized that it had to be addressed, and it's going to be a long conversation. For all we hope that these divisions don't exist, they do, and we are better off confronting them and working toward healing old and new wounds rather than glossing over them.

As if preaching from a text, the speech began with the preamble to the Constitution, "we the people, in order to form a more perfect Union..."

Indeed it has not yet been perfected, but it is up to all of us to work to form a more perfect Union.

Some of my favorite political commentary comes from Jon Stewart. On The Daily Show on Tuesday night, after all the requisite funny observations, Stewart offered this:

"At 11:00 on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race, as though they were adults."

If you haven't watched the whole speech for yourself, please do so. I found it much more powerful than just seeing or hearing a few soundbites on the news.

This is not the end of the conversation. This is not the beginning of the conversation. But the other day, Obama offered our country an important and honest contribution to this conversation about race that our country is all too happy to ignore.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One week later, Texas called for Obama

I’d like to apologize to the rest of the nation on behalf of my home state. Apparently Texas Democrats have trouble not only with organization but with counting. But it appears that Sen. Obama actually won the most delegates in Texas according to CNN. And does that not mean that “Obama won Texas?”

Unfortunately because we didn’t have timely reporting of our caucus results (which in this day and age is ridiculous), the media and the public will remember last Tuesday as a victory for Sen. Clinton which gave her campaign the momentum to keep going. That momentum would have been seriously blunted if Texas had just called in their precinct caucus results to the party HQ on election night.

With Obama’s win in Mississippi, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Clinton will not be able to catch Obama in the pledged delegate count, even if the Florida delegation is seated as is. So her only hope is to have the superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters.

By the way, Florida and Michigan simply can’t be seated as is since the voters in those states did not believe their votes would count at the time. Therefore there was very little motivation for them to go to the polls. And of course Clinton was the only candidate on the Michigan ballot. I’m OK with a revote to allow their voice to be heard, but only if the DNC and both campaigns agree to the process (which may be a tall order). The simpler solution is to split the delegates 50/50 and save the money and energy for the general election.

In six long weeks we will see what the people of Pennsylvania have to say and hope that both the candidates are not too badly damaged and the party is not too badly fractured at that point.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

One more thought on the Texas primary

Just wanted to say thank you to the Fort Worth Republicans who kept creationist Barney Maddox off the State Board of Education. This was a very important election for the whole state and y'all came through. Thanks!

Clinton stops Obama's big mo'

The momentum has been halted. No way anybody's getting out of this race anytime soon. I think Obama will maintain his delegate lead. He'll actually probably win the most delegates in Texas due to the odd delegate rules, but that's a Pyrrhic victory. It's echos of 2000 with Gore winning the popular vote but losing in the electoral college.

(An aside: When is our democracy going to allow the people to directly elect its leaders? Why must we have surrogates vote for us? It benefits my candidate this time, but it seems not so, how shall we say, democratic.)

Well, this just means that several more states will get to have their voices heard. I just hope the party isn't completely fractured by the time we're done.

On to the next contest, which has no Presidential implications, but has lots of bracketology implications: Beat the hell outta Texas A&M!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dems make FV work hard to make voice heard

Just got back from the caucus and put the kids to bed. What a crazy scene. I must agree with the gentleman who patiently waited beside me in line to sign in who observed: "who knew there were this many Democrats?"

It was also suggested that this would be more orderly if the Republicans were running it.

The party (I guess) assigned four precincts to vote in a single location. That would have comfortably accommodated the normal primary/caucus turnout. But of course there was nothing normal about this year.

We started out at 7:00 with people crammed into the hallways waiting for the voting to end. We had to clear out so they could be sure everyone had voted first. While we were waiting we met some other nice folks who had brought their 19-month old. He thought our 3-year old was interesting.

So after waiting maybe 30 minutes we had to find the room for our precinct. There were so many folks there that we couldn't hear the instructions from the volunteers (who had the patience of Job by the way - kudos to them). So precinct 2209 filed into the gym. There had to be more than 100 of us by the time we all got in there. More instructions we couldn't hear. Then the order to form 4 lines.

Then we stood there like cattle for about 20 more minutes to sign in for our candidate. After you sign in you can leave, which we did as it was past bedtime. You are encouraged to stay however to vote for the actual delegates who will represent your candidate at the next meeting/caucus/convention/whatever they call it. But the initial sign in is what determines the split of the delegates so we had done our duty.

If you stay I think you also get to weigh in on resolutions and party platform stuff and get to have a group hug and sing kumbayah. I hope there are hundreds of resolutions suggesting that this process be improved (although I have to admit it was pretty cool to participate in).

Ran into friends after we had signed in that were having to caucus in the hallway. My oldest didn't even want me to make up a goofy story at bedtime. Just lullabies please.

Time to go watch the returns. I'm told that CNN is calling Ohio for Clinton and Vermont for Obama. I'm afraid it's going to be quite a while before we know the outcome of the Lone Star State, since our caucus delegates are apparently allowed to change their minds and if they don't show they can be replaced by a delegate from the opposing candidate. I don't think it's officially official until the state convention in June. But surely we'll have a candidate by then!

It felt good to cast a vote in this historic election. I'm fired up and ready to go. Go America! Viva Obama!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pajama Caucus

We're getting ready for step two of the Texas Two-Step in the FV household. Will attend the caucus at a nearby elementary school with kids in tow (probably in jammies). I'm really excited to get to participate in this way in choosing the nominee. It was just a few months ago I was grousing about how my vote wouldn't matter, and here we are with Texas as a crucial primary for the Democrats.

(Caucus is a funny word. Caucusing just looks wrong when you type it. Just an observation.)

At this point the campaign is turning increasingly negative and I think we need tomorrow night to be the last primary of import before somebody drops out. With the Republicans beginning to rally around McCain (or at least rally against The New York Times), the Dems can't afford to still be duking it out.

As far as I'm concerned, whoever is behind in the delegate count after tomorrow's contests needs to recieve all kinds of pressure to get out of the race for the good of the party and the nominee.

But 'til then, look out for Curious George slippers and dinosaur jammies at a primacaucus near you.

Si se puede.