Friday, June 6, 2008

The case for Webb

I've been reading all of the pros and cons of Obama picking Jim Webb as his Vice President, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. I don't say this because I believe that Webb can do a whole lot in securing the "white, hard-working" people of Appalachia for Obama, I don't think that's very realistic. Firstly, people simply do not vote for Vice Presidents, they simply accept them (what else could explain Dan Quayle?). More importantly, when racism is in your blood, it's hard to get out, and usually the only way it gets out of your blood is when you take your blood out. By that I mean is that you have to leave home and get exposed to different people and cultures that you've been never been exposed to from living in isolated rural areas. I'm not calling Appalachians racists in a derogatory sense, and perhaps racism isn't the right expression. Maybe it's something more along the lines of tribalism, something nearly all of us are plagued by. But the people in the Appalachia region by and large either do not like, nor do they trust, people of color.

Perhaps Appalachia is on my mind this morning because I just watched the premiere episode of the third season of 30 Days where Morgan Spurlock went back to his home state of West Virginia to spend 30 days in a coal mine. It made me think a lot about my maternal grandfather who was a coal miner in northern Alabama. It made me think of my mom's cousins who live in that area who I recently connected with again. It made me think of my sister and her family who are living there right now. These are all good people with their hearts in the right place, as long as the place in question is narrowly defined to not include people of color. With the exception of my sister, the rest of my family in northern Alabama are all racist. I wouldn't go so far as to say they are white supremacists in any way, but they just have little affection for people who aren't white. Even non-white pro ball players who they are big fans of are held in diminished regard, and are sometimes referred to by epithets such as "boy," and occasionally by the "n word." But this racism is not born from malice, so much as it comes from what they've been exposed to, or more likely what they've not been exposed to. The reason why my sister stands out as not being racist is because she got "her blood" out of there, and was able to experience much more of the world and was exposed to many different people from many different ethnicities, something my other family members have not had much of an opportunity to do.

I'm thinking more and more that the reason Jim Webb might be an ideal pick for Obama's VP is because of what they have both said on the topics of race. From Obama's amazing speech in Pennsylvania:

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

And Jim Webb said recently:

Black America and Scots-Irish America are like tortured siblings. They both have long history and they both missed the boat when it came to the larger benefits that a lot of other people were able to receive. There's a saying in the Appalachian mountains that they say to one another, and it's, "if you're poor and white, you're out of sight." ...

If this cultural group could get at the same table as black America you could rechange [sic] populist American politics. Because they have so much in common in terms of what they need out of government.

With Webb as Obama's VP, that would be a huge symbol of these two ethnic groups coming together at the same table. Would it erase over a century of bad blood? No way. Would it make the people of Appalachia more open to non-whites? Not most of them.

What it would do is legitimize the concept of the shared suffering of these two groups, and move the discussion of the racial divide in America forward in a way that nothing else can.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Punditry SNAP!

What CHANGE looks like

Know it!

From the DNC:

"The DNC and the Obama Campaign are unified and working together to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. Our presumptive nominee has pledged not to take donations from Washington lobbyists and from today going forward the DNC makes that pledge as well. Senator Obama has promised to change the way things are done in Washington and this step is a sure sign of his commitment. The American people's priorities will set the agenda in an Obama Administration, not the special interests." - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean


Senate Report: Bush Used Iraq Intel He Knew Was False

I hope these ass-clowns are tried for war crimes and other crimes against humanity, and are then meted with proper punishment.

*Apologies for such harsh language, but this is deserved. More than 4,000 US soldiers dead, thousands wounded and maimed, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead, trillions of dollars down the drain, and for what?

FOR WHAT?!?!?!?!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hey Floridians for Obama

The general election has begun, and Florida is once again a battleground state. So it's time to do your part to help move this country forward, and dig us out from eight years of Bush's mess, and keep McCain from piling on four more years of the same crap.

Start here:

As soon as you can, get your support packs of buttons, stickers, and signs, t-shirts, and other swag, to show your support for the future of America. Volunteer to help register voters, canvass your neighborhoods, and make calls for the campaign.

It was people like you and me who made the difference in the primaries. It is people like us who will change America, and change Washington. One man can't do it alone, but thousands of us working together can do it. This is your opportunity to prove that THE government is OUR government.

Our time is NOW! Rise to the challenge!

(Please forward this to other Floridians)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


We knew we could. We said YES WE CAN. And YES WE DID!

Another one for the record

I predicted the super-delegates would not show up today, but I was
wrong. And I am very glad that I was wrong.

Don't Cry For Me...

...Argentina America.

McCain-Clinton 08

"There's going to be a competition for many of Hillary Clinton's former supporters. I think many of those voters are going to consider supporting McCain. They see in him many of the same characteristics they saw in Hillary Clinton." Republiscum guv of MN, Tim Pawlenty


As of 3:30 PM PST, only 11 delegates needed.

As of 2:20 PM PST, Obama has enough superdelegates to win. It is widely expected that Obama will easily capture 15 delegates in the two remaining primaries tonight, possibly 16 or 17. He has the promise of being endorsed by superdelegate Jimmy Carter after the polls close, and the elected leaders of Montana have declared they will support the winner of tonight's primary. Which means...

Barack Obama is the winner of the 2008 Democratic primary!

, though, the fat lady hasn't sung, and no bells have rung "ding dong, the witch is ..."

Will she bow out? NO!

NOPE. I called it.

I can see Obama making the argument that the best way to unite the country is to start by uniting the party, but that would be obvious and shallow. Putting Clinton on the ticket might create an image of unity, but there are too many voters who simply will not show up to vote if she is on the ticket, this one included.

If Obama caved in and added her to the ticket, how can he be perceived as someone who wouldn't cave to our enemies? If he can't stand up to Hillary, then who can he stand up to? He has painted her as the candidate of old politics, and he can't be the candidate of new politics if she's on the ticket. She brings nothing that plenty of other Democrats can't bring, and most likely without that notorious baggage. How would that be turning the page?

No, putting Clinton on the ticket is an endorsement of her nasty and repugnant style of politics that this country doesn't need. I'd be willing to wager that the thousands of Clintonuts who are voting with their vajayjays instead of their consciences can be let go and made up elsewhere. I'm also betting that any Dem behind Clinton on the ticket is probably just covering his or her ass in order to avoid a nasty 3am phone call from an angry red-faced Bill.

Military big opponent of national healthcare

Great comment on this interesting article:

Interesting that an American has to join the military to get the same sort of benefits everyone in Canada and western Europe gets simply for BEING A CITIZEN.


I've said all along that the only thing the polls have been consistent about is being wrong. That said, Pablano has been pretty good with his predictions, calling IN and NC near perfectly when everyone else was WAY off, especially the big pollsters. But Pablano was way off in KY and OR.

While Kos got close in OR and KY, he seems out on a ledge with MT and SD. This time around, my guess is the Al Giordano is right on the money in both states.

Al Giordano:

Obama: 58
Clinton: 42

South Dakota:
Obama: 53
Clinton: 47

More predictions here.

Firouz Naderi, Ph.D. NASA Scientist, Director of the Mars Exploration Program, and Iranian

(tip o'the chapeau to Kitten)

"...never turn to the dark side!"

The Empire Strikes Barack!

I can see it now. In her bid for the veep slot, Hillary declares the she is Barack Obama's father.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Will she bow out?

I want to go on the record for saying that I don't believe Clinton will concede. She may "suspend" her campaign, which means she won't be overtly campaigning, but she will not concede nor accept Obama as the party's nominee, despite his reaching the magic number on Tuesday night. If the supers don't come out by Tuesday night to push Obama to that number, I will damn well guarantee that she'll keep working behind the scenes to derail Obama's GE campaign, and try to influence the supers and other pledged delegates to switch on the floor in Denver. I am almost certain that she will not appeal to her supporters to get behind Obama, and she will not implore them to do anything  at all. Listen closely to her speech in NYC on Tuesday night that her campaign is already billing as a victory speech. Go quietly into that good night? Not Hillary.

Why do I believe this? Because for all of the times Hillary has been given some slack, or the benefit of the doubt, or the opportunity to be gracious, she's blown it and done exactly the opposite of what the pundits have expected.

After Iowa, she went to New Hampshire and cried. After NH, she went back to being a robot. After the debate before Ohio and Texas where she was so "honored" to be on the stage with Obama, the very next morning she was at first the shrill banshee wailing "Shame on you Barack Obama!" before she became the mocking clown exhorting the "the skies will open up" for Obama. Post-Super Tuesday, Clinton began running a GOP/Rove-style campaign against Obama, and there are no signs that she will stop. Just this weekend at the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, the Clinton team avoided every opportunity to deal, negotiate, or compromise, and they rejected the Obama camps efforts to reach out. In the end, it was the RBC itself that had to reject Clinton. That ended with Clintonut Harold Ickes crying about reserving the right to appeal the matter on the convention floor, and another Clintonut, Lanny Davis, screaming angry, spittle-laden vitriols at a DNC member.

What reason do I have to believe that she'll concede, given that she never has? Why would anyone expect her to do the honorable thing when she never has?

A consumate Hillary supporter - Part 2


From kossak altruista:

You, woman screaming into the cameras: you are old enough to remember the pre-Roe v. Wade days in America. Remeber coat hangers, Drano, women hurling themselves down steps, women dying and left unable to bear children from illegal botched abortions? Remember birth control outlawed? Remember the early 1970s, when a woman could not get a credit card or bank loan in her own name---when a woman needed an adult male co-signer's permission for them because we were deemed incompetent to manage our own financial affairs? Remember when sexual harassment and open sex discrimination were legal? Remember when we didn't have rape shield laws, when marital rape wasn't illegal? Remember when a woman being used as a punching bag by her husband had no recourse---had no earning power, no options, when the police she turned to often were abusers themselves and sympathized with the husband, when domestic violence shelters weren't even a twinkle in anyone's eye?

Sadly, people vote their emotions, and there's often little rationality to emotions. Unless these Clintonuts can be talked down from their ledges, they may actually do something as stupid as voting for McCain. Imagine how they'll feel two years into a McCain presidency.

Original post:

Hillary supporters must be so proud of themselves.

(hat tip to the always wonderful Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shirley Golub for CD-08

(For SF Bay Area voters)

If you are against the Iraq War, if you abhor torture, if you think Bush should have been impeached a long time ago, if you think the Democrats (especially Nancy Pelosi) have been spineless and have squandered their 2006 victories, please vote for Shirley Golub on June 3rd.

Shirley is running against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, CD08). She has no chance in hell of winning against such a strong incumbent, but this is not about winning. This is about sending a message to Nancy Pelosi that it is time that she remembers where she is from. It is time Pelosi realigns herself with her constituents. It is time to hold Pelosi - and other Democrats by extension - accountable to progressive ideals.

If you haven't heard of Shirley, check out her website, She is credible. She's been politically active since 2000, she's local, and she volunteers at the SPCA, so you know her heart is in the right place.

She's an Olbermann fan, has a bone with Comcast, and also has a good sense of humor:

When you vote on Tuesday, please cast a powerfully symbolic vote for Shirley.

Brer Barack

Bellows at HuffPo makes a strong case for the DNC and the Obama campaign walking into Brer Hillary's briar patch trap. No doubt tar babies were on his mind. But I'm not buying it, at least not the full account. Sure, his predictions seem accurate, but most of us paying attention expected the same thing. Given that all of what happened today was predictable by Bellows's measures, then I am confident the Obama camp had considered this also.

Bellows tries to push the point that Obama should have conceded everything, allowing Clinton to have her way, then being left with the option to appeal. Or said another way, Hillary can become the pretend winner while Obama could become the hopeless whiner.

Two words: FUCK THAT.

Obama played his hand well, as we could expect a good card player to do. He did grant a concession on Florida, and he stood his ground on Michigan. He showed be can be magnanimous without being a fool. By staying strong and not belittling himself to being the "sour grapes" guy, he doesn't become Al Gore in 1999. He knows better. Because the Democrats abandoned Gore back then, and they'd abandon Obama too, the same way they are going to (rightly) abandon Clinton. You see, Democrats present themselves as champions of the underdog, but in the end the party as a whole is weak at its very core. (If you need proof, I will refer you to the past two years since they've controlled the legislature and have accomplished little more than continued acquiescence to Bush and the Republicans.) Dems pretend to support the little guys while they bow to corporate lobbyists, but Obama knows this. The reason why Obama is reaching out beyond the party is because he knows the party is weak, and that the party cannot govern. Obama has gone straight to the people, because the people - when motivated and energized - can control the government.

There's a reason Obama encouraged supporters to avoid the RBC sessions, and it dovetails nicely with the campaign strategy that has been in play all along. Give Clinton enough rope and she'll hang herself. Take Indiana for example. (This same strategy is working on McCain now). Hillary actually walked into his trap. The weak showing of her supporters this weekend demonstrates the limits of her appeal. Imagine what Denver will be like if Obama says to his supporters, "I need you in Denver!" compared with Clinton's same rallying cry. Now imagine many thousands of young and hungry and invigorated Obama supporters contrasting with the paltry numbers of old and tired and bitter Hillary supporters. That very act will reshape the party forever, and make Blue Dogs quiver in their boots.

As with everything past its prime, things break down in places you least expect them to. If Clinton was betting on the RBC being her briar patch, she might have benefited by considering first that she might not be able to squirm her way out of her latest of so many prickly situations, and that there might actually be a smarter, leaner, and more crafty rabbit who led her into his own favorite briars.