Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Departure...

From the intensity of Hammas and Israel, Obama's vacation in Hawaii and continued testiness with the press (um, NOW do I get to say "I told you so"?? I did, you know - recently, too, in my "Elevation" post. Just sayin'.), and all of that...

As you may know, I am on vacation, and had the opportunity to go to one of my all-time favorite places in the world, Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC. It is the largest outdoor sculpture museum in the country, and a gorgeous place to spend a day. It's also one of my favorite places to shoot, so for the PUMAS in the crowd, I have these three photos for you today:

Things are so up in the air in the world today, with the violence in the Middle East, and the most unprepared PEBO ever about to take office in the midst of the numerous issues facing our country and our world. And so, I have this one, "Into the Unknown." It is one of my favorite sculptures (and sadly, they had to put it behind this gate - it used to be out in the grounds):

In the face of it all, I am glad to be on this journey with you, faithful readers. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, and for reading these posts.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Today Is A Day

NOTICE: I will be out of town from 12/27 - 1/1. I will try to get a few posts up, but no guarantees! In my absence, please consider visiting some of the blogs on the Blogroll, especially Logistics Monster, No Quarter, and Insight Analytical.

To sooth the soul through music while I am out of town. First up is this piece by Clannad ("Croi Croga"):

And to stay with the Celtic theme, there is this from "Celtic Woman," a piece entitled, "The Voice," performed by Lisa Kelly:

And here's a bonus. "Celtic Woman" singer, Orla Fallon, performing a piece BY Clannad! But, in this you get to see the drummers, which is a total plus, in my book anyway:

There is just something about Celtic music that really gets to me, it's haunting melodies, the totally primeval feel of the drumming, and the beauty of the voices...It feeds my soul, and I hope it does yours, as well...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Possible Voter Fraud?

NOTICE: I will be out of town from 12/27 - 1/1. I will try to get a few posts up, but no guarantees! In my absence, please consider visiting some of the blogs on the Blogroll, especially Logistics Monster, No Quarter, and Insight Analytical.

Or should I say, MORE possible voter fraud? My local paper had this article recently: Is double voting a problem? No one's sure, but officials might try to find out..

Well, golly gee willikers. What a surprise! It's not like many of us have not been yelling this from the top of our lungs for MONTHS. Which is also why, not for nothing, many of us will never see Obama as legitimately elected. Heck - he wasn't even nominated legitimately - why should his election be any different? But I digress. Ahem. So, many of us have been writing, saying, talking about, the rampant voter registration fraud, and voter fraud that marred this election. It seems it may have occurred here, too:
As Charleston County's Board of Elections and Voter Registration recently discussed the Nov. 4 election, board member June Smith noted the heavy turnout of college voters and observed, "They could just as easily have voted here and voted absentee in their own state."

She's right, election officials say, but it's unclear how many, if any, did vote twice.

As states begin analyzing what changes would improve the voting process the next time around, they will decide if such duplicate voting is worthy of their attention.
(Previous Story: Registration rate for ages 18-24 double that of other age groups in S.C., published 10/12/08)

I'm sorry, WHAT?? They are trying to see if it is WORTH their attention?? When Georgia had over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND intrastate votes (FL and OH from GA), is it really possible that they wondered if it was "WORTH" it to pursue the matter? I dunno, but that kinda seems like an affront to our very democracy. Oh, and illegal. Whatever.

And speaking of duplications:
State Election Commission public information officer Chris Whitmire said he hasn't seen any recent analysis about duplicate voting, but two years ago, the state compared its voter registration rolls with those of Kentucky and Tennessee. It discovered about 14,000 South Carolina voters also were registered in one of those two states.

Of those, the state struck 5,659 from its rolls because their other registration appeared to be more current. It also sent a letter to them, and a handful wrote back that they needed to remain registered here, Whitmire said.

Kentucky later examined voter turnouts and discovered no one had voted there and in another state, according to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson's office.

"Just because we have not seen this type of fraud in previous elections does not mean we should rest on our laurels," Grayson said at the time. "We will be looking for other voter fraud prevention techniques, as well as other states with which we can compare data."

Were you people REALLY not paying attention to ANYTHING that went on this year??? Does the name ACORN ring a bell?? Maybe you could take a little look-see at ACORN for rampant voter registration fraud, which resulted in ACORN being investigated in over 16 states (including South Carolina). That might just give you a little clue into possible "prevention" areas. I'll spell it out for you: voter registration fraud, and voting in two states. Just a suggestion.

As a little reminder, check out some of the shenanigans of ACORN:

But hey - they are being really proactive:
This week, Grayson said Kentucky would continue to compare its most recent list of voters with lists from neighboring states, particularly the presidential battleground states of Ohio and Indiana.

Grayson said he became interested in the duplicate voting issue a few years ago after his parents offhandedly suggested that they could vote for him. This was after they moved from Kentucky to South Carolina.

"I said, 'Wait a minute. You're a South Carolina resident. You can't vote for me. It would look really bad,'" he said. "I saw that they could have, if they wanted to, voted and probably would have gotten away with it."

Well, that's just jake! The Kentucky Secretary of State just acknowledged that there is pretty much a voting free-for-all. You can now vote in more than one state at the same time! Whee!!! Or maybe it is because it does not seem to be a problem everywhere:
Even though Kentucky didn't find any case of duplicate voting, Grayson said it's still a good idea to check with other states because dead weight on the voting rolls creates a potential for fraud and because both campaigns and states want the lists as accurate as possible.

All I can say is, I would certainly hope so! Sheesh, that seems like the LEAST they can do!

Now, the following I found to be of interest, and would love to see their data, how they obtained it, and what their methodology was:
That no duplicate voting was uncovered is not necessarily surprising.

A national 2007 study of election fraud done by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law concluded that double voting is rare.

"The scarcity (of double voting) is expected, given the severity of the penalty (criminal prosecution) and the meager nature of the payoff (one incremental vote)," its report, titled "The Truth About Voter Fraud," said.

And it makes me question their conclusion. Do they think the 100,000 over-votes from GA, just GA, not even including the documented cases from, say, OH, don't blow their conclusion out of the water? Then again, their report was SO 2007 - and from the Pre-Obama days, so hey - they may have been right then. Doesn't seem so right now, though - maybe they want to re-do their study and include 2008? Just a thought.

Especially because of this next point:
Grayson said some in Congress are asking if the federal government should help out.

"Some people are asking the question should we go to a national system?" he said. "We're probably in the 'Is there a problem stage?' and it may be that there's not a solution to this."

Whitmire said South Carolina has considered joining with Georgia and North Carolina to compare registration lists and voter turnout, but the idea never got beyond the discussion stage.

In Georgia's case, attorneys advised the state not to participate because of a pending lawsuit involving Social Security numbers.

"The voter registration system is not Fort Knox," Whitmire said. "Someone who wants to commit voter fraud could probably do it."

"Some people may feel in their mind they should be allowed to vote in more than one place," he added. "If there is a risk for being caught and prosecuted for that crime, you would weigh that against casting one vote in another state for president. Is it worth the risk? I would say no. I hope most people would think the same way."

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or at rbehre@postandcourier.com.

Sadly, in this past election, many people thought it was worth the risk. But what I find most troubling is this quote:
"Someone who wants to commit voter fraud could probably do it.

"Some people may feel in their mind they should be allowed to vote in more than one place," he added.

Is he kidding me? Again, was he out of the planet during the course of this past election?? We saw rampant, MASSIVE, caucus fraud, in state after state after state (and explored in depth in the "We Will Not Be Silenced" documentary). We had freakin' Marshall scholars ADMITTING to voting in two states. Oh, they admitted it from England - a bit far from the arm of the law. And their wealthy parents paid for wealthy attorneys, so they got off with a slap of the wrist. US Justice at work.

All of that is to say, I do not know in which universe Whitmire and Grayson live, but it sure isn't the same one many of us endured this year. Because I tell you what, those thugs who bullied women in caucuses, as well as intimidated people from voting at all, and those who faked registrations do not seem like the type to worry all that much about duplicate voting. Hey, don't take my word for it, take this guy's:

And his:

So, yeah - I think it is time to take a little closer look at duplicate voting, and trying to ensure it does not happen - AGAIN. Oh, and intimidation and caucus fraud while you are at it. Just looking out for you, Mr. Grayson and Mr. Whitmire. And the rest of Americans who care about democracy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Maybe Resistance to Camelot is NOT Futile?

NOTICE: I will be out of town from 12/27 - 1/1. I will try to get a few posts up, but no guarantees! In my absence, please consider visiting some of the blogs on the Blogroll, especially Logistics Monster, No Quarter, and Insight Analytical.

Oh dear. The NY Times this article recently, Resistance to Kennedy Grows Among Democrats. Hmm - seems it is not as done a deal as we have been led to believe by the MSM:
Resistance is emerging among Democratic officials against Caroline Kennedy as she pursues Hillary Rodham Clinton’s seat in the United States Senate, with Gov. David A. Paterson bristling over suggestions that her selection is inevitable, according to his advisers, and other leading Democrats concerned that she is too beholden to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The governor is frustrated and chagrined, the advisers said, because he believes that he extended Ms. Kennedy the chance to demonstrate her qualifications but that her operatives have exploited the opportunity to convey a sense that she is all but appointed already. He views this as an attempt to box him in, the advisers said.

“You have people going around saying, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a done deal,’ ” said one of the advisers, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the selection process and did not want to anger the governor. “The quickest way to not get something you want is to step into somebody’s face.”

I had been wondering how Gov. Paterson was responding to all of the pressure he has been getting to give Kennedy Schlossberg Clinton's seat. Now I know:
The governor’s frustration follows reports last week that Kevin Sheekey, a top deputy to Mr. Bloomberg who has been advising Ms. Kennedy, had called a labor leader and told him that Ms. Kennedy was going to be senator, “so get on board now,” and that a member of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s staff was helping Ms. Kennedy reach out to unions.

It was not clear on Tuesday whether the governor’s reaction would seriously damage Ms. Kennedy’s chances to win the appointment or if it merely reflected Mr. Paterson’s desire to regain control of the selection process after Ms. Kennedy’s very public political debut.

But Ms. Kennedy’s ties to Mr. Bloomberg’s political team and her waffling over whether she would support a Democrat in next year’s mayoral race appear to be angering some Democrats. On Tuesday, Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, became the most senior elected official in the state to say that that Mr. Paterson should not select Ms. Kennedy to the Senate seat.

“If I were the governor, I would look and question whether this is the appointment I would want to make, whether her first obligation might be to the mayor of the City of New York rather than the governor who would be appointing her," Mr. Silver said during an interview on WGDJ, an Albany radio station.

Mr. Silver has long had a testy relationship with Mr. Bloomberg, fueled by battles over mayoral initiatives like congestion pricing.

I think I would be looking long and hard, too. Isn't the point of a US Senator to represent the people from the state that sent her/him? It seems from Kennedy Schlossberg's feet dragging on answering questions on, well, EVERYTHING, that maybe she does not have the best interests of New Yorkers in mind. Trying to steamroll her way in without a willingness to divulge any pertinent information, including whether or not she would support a Democratic mayoral candidate seems to be sticking in a few people's craw.

As you can probably guess, Kennedy Schlossberg's people have something to say about the appearance of this freight train:
A spokeswoman for Ms. Kennedy declined to comment. Ms. Kennedy’s advisers, speaking anonymously because they did not want to inflame the situation further, rejected any suggestion that they had portrayed her selection as inevitable and insisted that they had been respectful of the governor’s desire for a decorous selection process.

The criticism over her bid has also frustrated those advisers, who feel that Ms. Kennedy has been whiplashed by assertions that she is at once protected and presumptuous.

Both the governor and Ms. Kennedy’s advisers appear to have been thrown, in part, by Ms. Kennedy’s overwhelming personal celebrity.

Oh, dear - how could we have possibly gotten the idea that Kennedy Schlossberg was pushing for this when the poor thing is being whiplashed by all these reports? I mean, she couldn't have had anything to do with it, could she? Well, maybe if she put down the phone:
Ms. Kennedy made dozens of calls to elected officials and other leaders to build interest in her candidacy, and many of those with whom she spoke call her thoughtful and self-effacing.

But her refusal to say over the weekend whether she would back a Democratic candidate next year, when Mr. Bloomberg will seek re-election as an independent, set off intense reaction among some in the party.

A follow-up statement — in which her spokesman, Stefan Friedman, said that Ms. Kennedy “fully intends to support the Democratic nominee” — did not assuage those concerns.

Moreover, her ties to Mr. Bloomberg’s operatives have aroused suspicions among Democrats and labor officials that she would be beholden to the mayor. Ms. Kennedy hired the consulting firm Knickerbocker S.K.D., which includes Mr. Bloomberg as one of its biggest clients.

Those suspicions appeared to be compounded by a comment Mr. Bloomberg made on Monday defending Ms. Kennedy and suggesting that, though the choice was Mr. Paterson’s, the governor should move quickly to select a replacement for Mrs. Clinton, who is expected to be confirmed next month as secretary of state.

“We didn’t tell him to hurry up on term limits,” said another Paterson adviser, referring to Mr. Bloomberg’s move this fall in which he marshaled votes on the City Council to nullify a city referendum so that he could run for another term.

Oh, boy - seems like a whole lot more is going on in the Empire State than originally met the eye:
In a conference call on Tuesday, Mr. Paterson, who was traveling, declined to address Mr. Silver’s or Mr. Bloomberg’s comments. But he reiterated that he had made no selection and would not do so until Mrs. Clinton was confirmed.

“What I’m trying to keep away from is lobbying, coercion and distracting information,” he said. He added later: “I don’t feel rushed by any of this process. I have said from the very beginning what I thought the right way to do this would be.”

Mr. Silver also praised several other potential appointees to the Senate seat, including Andrew M. Cuomo, the attorney general. Should Mr. Paterson pick Mr. Cuomo, the Legislature would be responsible for choosing his successor, and Mr. Silver would have by far the most influence over that choice.

A spokesman for Mr. Silver declined to say whether the speaker had consulted with Mr. Paterson before speaking publicly about Ms. Kennedy.

Even some of Ms. Kennedy’s potential rivals for the seat expressed some sympathy for her quandary.

“Any true Democrat loves Caroline Kennedy,” said Thomas R. Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, who has said he is also interested in the Senate appointment. “I think the way that her handlers and strategists are pushing her and trying to box in the governor is damaging the reputation of someone that we all care about.”

Oh, yes, poor unqualified, inexperienced, secretive Caroline - what difficult spot for her to not get exactly what she wants without having any publicity. Must be hard to be her to be asked questions, and for people to want ANSWERS to those questions before she can be considered for a US Senate seat...Poor little thing. Ahem.

And here's a question: if she and/or her handlers were NOT trying to give the impression that this is a done deal, why is it we hear about few other potential replacements for Clinton? Nope - it's been pretty much Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg all along, except for a mention here or there of Andrew Cuomo, which, of course, means they have to mention how he was married to Caroline's cousin. So that's it, then, just those two?? Um, no. There are more, of course. But somehow, someway, all the focus has just been on CAROLINE. Can't imagine how that happened. Ahem.

Bottom line, glad to hear that Gov. Paterson is a little frustrated at the pressure, and that other Democrats might be taking another look. Kennedy name or no, it helps to have some experience. Especially since the PEBO doesn't have any...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And what better way to celebrate Christmas than this video? You might want to set aside your hot chocolate, coffee, eggnog, or whatever you are drinking. Without further ado:

Merry Christmas, everyone!

A True Christmas Story

The other day, Truthteller had an open thread at No Quarter about a beloved, beautiful, cat who died last year. One of No Quarter's readers, Georgia, submitted the following comment, which is reprinted here with her permission. It's an amazing story, and absolutely perfect for the celebration of Christmas, of birth and rebirth, today.
I have a true story to tell, just in time for Christmas about Chaz, a 17 year old Golden Retriever. Last Christmas, he was very close to death. Our vet had taken a number of tests and said he had no Liver function, no thyroid function, and was in congestive heart failure. At best he gave him two weeks to live. He suggested I put him down. I just wasn’t ready to face that reality and refused. So I took him home all the while hoping for the best. In my heart, I prayed it wouldn’t come over the holidays. I really didn’t think I could handle that.

One week later, on Christmas Eve, my family had arrived from out of town and all was well except for Chaz. He was rapidly going down hill. I was up late that night finishing some last minute holiday baking. It was well past midnight when I finally went to bed but awoke abruptly at 2 am with the sound of Chaz struggling to breathe. This was my biggest fear, he was going to die on Christmas! I became panicked.

I got out of bed, sat on the floor, and held my beloved Chaz in my arms and began to pray. I begged God not to take him. I pleaded with him not to take him tonight of all nights, on Christmas Eve. And if it was his will, would he please heal him. Miraculously, and I do believe it was divine intervention, Chaz was healed that night. In fact, in January I took him back to the vet to be retested. All of Chaz’s tests came back normal. The Vet was so mystified he thought the lab samples had been mixed up. He called me and asked me to bring Chaz back in as there had to be some mistake. I assured the vet I didn’t think that was the case and no further tests were necessary.

Every day since then, I look at this sweet animal (above) and realize what I gift I was given. Now, one year has passed and Chaz is still here with us. Yes, he is in frail health, but he’s hanging in there. He’s always been a chow hound so I’ve been feeding him a few more special treats that in the past. (like steak, fresh salmon etc) You can’t discount his will to live and in his case the will to see his next meal. So from Chaz to all my friends on No Quarter we want to wish you all a Blessed Christmas and BTW …. Chaz is dreaming of his Christmas Turkey!

Truly a Christmas miracle story. Thank you, Georgia, for sharing this with us, and allowing me to post it. Many blessings on you, your family, Chaz, and everyone this Christmas Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Liberals Are Tight-Fisted?

Apparently, according to this article by Nicholas D. Kristof in the NY Times,Bleeding Heart Tightwads. I admit, I was taken aback by this claim:
This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

See, I was always reared on the, "To whom much is given, much is required," theology/philosophy, even though we didn't have money growing up. The idea was that, as bad as things may have been in my household (though I never wanted for any necessities, at least as far as I was aware), there was always the sense that others needed help more. Both of my parents were definitely liberal, and definitely Democrats. Hence my surprise:
Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children.

“When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

Wow. I admit, I have always been in the camp of both giving personally, and having our government help people. I figured our government was an extension of the people who elected them, but that what the government did was not intended to REPLACE what individuals did.

We are always hearing that Americans are the most generous people. Turns out it is yes and no:
Something similar is true internationally. European countries seem to show more compassion than America in providing safety nets for the poor, and they give far more humanitarian foreign aid per capita than the United States does. But as individuals, Europeans are far less charitable than Americans.

Americans give sums to charity equivalent to 1.67 percent of G.N.P., according to a terrific new book, “Philanthrocapitalism,” by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green. The British are second, with 0.73 percent, while the stingiest people on the list are the French, at 0.14 percent.

And then there is this revelation:
(Looking away from politics, there’s evidence that one of the most generous groups in America is gays. Researchers believe that is because they are less likely to have rapacious heirs pushing to keep wealth in the family.)

So, we gay people are only generous because we don't have HEIRS?? Well, here's a little newsflash - many gay people DO have heirs! As in actual children, living, breathing children in their families. Kinda blows that crapola explanation out of the water.

How about we are generally open-hearted, compassionate people who know what it is like to be in need, or to suffer, whether it be from oppressive religions or government, or homophobia from families or friends, we know how hard life can be, as well as how joyous it often is. So we like to help. I'm just sayin'...

Ahem. The article continues:
When liberals see the data on giving, they tend to protest that conservatives look good only because they shower dollars on churches — that a fair amount of that money isn’t helping the poor, but simply constructing lavish spires.

It’s true that religion is the essential reason conservatives give more, and religious liberals are as generous as religious conservatives. Among the stingiest of the stingy are secular conservatives.

According to Google’s figures, if donations to all religious organizations are excluded, liberals give slightly more to charity than conservatives do. But Mr. Brooks says that if measuring by the percentage of income given, conservatives are more generous than liberals even to secular causes.

In any case, if conservative donations often end up building extravagant churches, liberal donations frequently sustain art museums, symphonies, schools and universities that cater to the well-off. (It’s great to support the arts and education, but they’re not the same as charity for the needy. And some research suggests that donations to education actually increase inequality because they go mostly to elite institutions attended by the wealthy.)

Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in nonfinancial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often. If liberals and moderates gave blood as often as conservatives, Mr. Brooks said, the American blood supply would increase by 45 percent.

Again, wow. That is STAGGERING about the blood supply, isn't it? FORTY-FIVE percent?? Holy cow!! And, I have to say, while it is disappointing that liberals do not do more, I am not surprised to learn that conservatives do more hands on type work (yes, often through their churches, like Habitat for Humanity).

Kristof concludes:
So, you’ve guessed it! This column is a transparent attempt this holiday season to shame liberals into being more charitable. Since I often scold Republicans for being callous in their policies toward the needy, it seems only fair to reproach Democrats for being cheap in their private donations. What I want for Christmas is a healthy competition between left and right to see who actually does more for the neediest.

Of course, given the economic pinch these days, charity isn’t on the top of anyone’s agenda. Yet the financial ability to contribute to charity, and the willingness to do so, are strikingly unrelated. Amazingly, the working poor, who have the least resources, somehow manage to be more generous as a percentage of income than the middle class.

So, even in tough times, there are ways to help. Come on liberals, redeem yourselves, and put your wallets where your hearts are.

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

I am not surprised that those who have less financially give more to charity than those who have more by percentages. Again, those who have suffered know what it is like to be in need, and can empathize with others.

I agree with Kristof's call to action, though it is because we ARE In tough economic times that those of us who are able have been trying to give more. But liberal or conservative, independent or socialist, reaching out to others as best we can was always the American way, so yes - regardless of your political persuasion, if you are able to help, please consider donating of your time or money to a cause important to your heart (and time DOES count as giving - many organizations need volunteers, not just money).

I hope that, amidst the hustle and bustle that often accompanies Christmas Eve, you can take a moment to stop, breathe, relax, and reflect upon the season...I hope the following piece will help you move to that place - one of the greatest classical guitarists, Christopher Parkening, and one of my all-time favorite opera singers, Kathleen Battle:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


That's the number of questions Caroline Kennedy has answered in her pursuit to secure Hillary Clinton's seat, according to THIS article in the NY Times. Want to guess how many interviews she has granted in this pursuit? Zero. How about answers to questions regarding her finances? Zero. Yes, Caroline Kennedy is using the Barack Obama School of campaigning - give up NO information whatsoever. None. According to the article:
If she were applying to be, say, an undersecretary of education in Barack Obama’s new administration, Caroline Kennedy would have to fill out a 63-item confidential questionnaire disclosing potentially embarrassing text messages and diary entries, the immigration status of her household staff, even copies of every résumé she used in the last 10 years.

If she were running for election to the Senate, Ms. Kennedy would have to file a 10-part, publicly available report disclosing her financial assets, credit card debts, mortgages, book deals and the sources of any payments greater than $5,000 in the last three years.

But Ms. Kennedy, who has asked Gov. David A. Paterson to appoint her to succeed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — and who helped oversee the vetting process for Mr. Obama’s possible running mates — is declining to provide a variety of basic data, including companies she has a stake in and whether she has ever been charged with a crime.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, Cry Me A River...

Barney Frank. Now, I freely admit, up front, that when I lived in Massachusetts some time ago, I voted for Frank, more than once. At that time, he was not one of the Old Boys Club, he was not an establishment guy. He sure as heck is NOW, as he has proven with the whole mortgage fiasco, and his connections with Fannie and Freddie. It is hard to take him seriously now, is my point.

And now, Barney Frank is joining all the rest of us who went under the bus ages ago:
The first openly gay member of Congress said Sunday it was a mistake for President-elect Barack Obama to invite the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

"Mr. Warren compared same-sex couples to incest. I found that deeply offensive and unfair," Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said in a broadcast interview.

"If he was inviting the Rev. Warren to participate in a forum and to make a speech, that would be a good thing," Frank said. "But being singled out to give the prayer at the inauguration is a high honor. It has traditionally given as a mark of great respect. And, yes, I think it was wrong to single him out for this mark of respect."

No, really, ya think?? Hell to the yes, it is "wrong" to give Rev. Warren this "mark of respect" given his personal views on homosexuality. But my question to YOU, Rep. Frank is: What in the world from anything Obama has done in terms of our community made you think that he GIVES A DAMN if this is an insult to the GLBT community?? Maybe before you threw your weight behind him, you could have actually looked at to whom Obama turned for support, and who he counted as his close friends. Heck, look who he chose to take with him on the campaign trail, and you are SURPRISED???

As if any of the reality based people need this information, here it is again:
Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, is a popular evangelical who stresses the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes.

But gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election, are angry over Warren's backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.

Although Warren has said that he has nothing personally against gays, he has condemned same-sex marriage.

"I have many gay friends. I've eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church," he said in a recent interview with BeliefNet. But later in the interview, he compared the "redefinition of marriage" to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy.

Oh, how in the WORLD could I take THAT personally?? Child abuse? INCEST?? Why, there is nothing at all negative about THOSE connotations, right?? Yet he tries to claim he has nothing "personal" against us? Well, Rev. Warren, I respectfully (though you have been anything but with the GLBT community) disagree. Maybe you are trying Obama's tact of saying one thing and doing another, like not allowing gay people to attend your church, but saying you have nothing against us. No offense, Reverend, but you seem to be woefully ignorant of basic Scripture, both Hebrew Scriptures AND Christian Scriptures. Maybe you oughta go take a little look-see at what Jesus said about loving one's neighbor. Or take another look at the Good Samaritan story (Luke, chapter 10, verses 25–37).

At the time, Samaritans were DESPISED by the dominant culture. That a Samaritan reached out to someone who considered Samaritans to be the lowest of the low is kind of like a Drag Queen paying to take care of Jerry Falwell, had he been the one found in the road.

In other words, sir, you seem to have missed the point of the ministry Jesus exemplified. IMHO, that is.

But Barney better be careful, or else Obama will label HIM as intolerant:
Obama defended the selection of Warren last week, telling reporters that America needs to "come together," even when there's disagreement on social issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.

Oh, yes - by all means - we should happily embrace and support those who equate us to CHILD MOLESTORS and incest perpetrators! Obama seems to be a bit unclear on what it means to expect people to "come together." I dare say, if this was ANY OTHER COMMUNITY, he would not expect us to embrace our oppressors. Never, ever, would he pick someone who was antisemitic, or racist, nor SHOULD he. But he has NO qualms doing so to the GLBT community, and expects us just to take it. In other words, Obama's interpretation of "coming together" is just more of the same. No freakin' thank you. So much for "change we can believe in." The only change is the redefinition of "Change." The offense is still the same.

So, welcome to the reality based world, Rep. Frank, the one in which we know people actually SHOULD be judged by their associations and close friends. It really does help to give a window, or in Obama's case, a DOOR, into who he really is. And the one through which we could all see that Obama didn't, DOESN'T, give a damn about the GLBT community. Sad, but true - it was there to see all along...

Maybe you shouldn't have leaned on Clinton for an early exit, Rep. Frank. I bet you know that now. We, of course, knew it then, but you caved. And now you are surprised? Spare me. You knew the best one was Clinton, but you pressured her out of the race, and paved the way for Obama's rule-breaking ascent. And now you are crying about how he is treating us? Cry me a river, Rep. Frank. You enabled it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

The winter holidays are here. It is the time of year when we experience the darkest night of the year, the Winter Solstice. It is this time of year that brings darkness, and that also brings hope. It is the hope that is signified by the evergreen and the holly. Life is happening deep within the earth, gestating in the womb, to be (re)born when Spring returns. It is a time of drawing within to take comfort in the dark nights. It is a time of yuletide fires that remind us of the light to come. It is a time to gather with loved ones, to share one's presence (and presents). It is a time to give birth to hopes, dreams, and plans, to allow them to grow during the dark days. It is a time to renew one's spirit, to reflect, to love, to bring peace into this world, which knows too much unrest. It is a time for the rejuvenation and renewal of the earth, the renewal of our selves.

The winter holiday season can also be a difficult time. If you listened to the Joni Mitchell song, "River," you know that it is not a happy tune. It is beautiful, haunting, and moving, but not full of holiday cheer. Rather than focusing on the warmth of the season, it focuses on the chill when a relationship ends. While this time of year often signals weeks of festive engagements, with friends and family coming together from all over the map, it can also be a very painful time for many folks among us. There are a number of people who do not have family or friends with whom to share the holidays. They are lonely, and alone. They are not spending their time at parties, or at rituals celebrating the return of the light, or the manger birth of their messiah, or the eight nights of light, or any other winter celebration (or none at all). They do not embrace the dark, but rather fear it for the painful time it signals for them. This time of year, a time when so many are joyously celebrating birth in its myriad forms, can be a time so lonely for others, that it is lonely unto death. Theirs is not a time of celebration, but the remembrance of death, be it of relationships, family estrangement, shortage of friends. It can be a hard, sad, time.

And this year has definitely been one of loss for many of us. We have lost friends, we have lost family members, and some of us have lost our Party. We grieve the loss of those who turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the theft of a nomination, of voter fraud, of lies, of misogyny in the light of day. We mourn that our presidency can be bought so easily, with money, and callous disregard for morality and ethics. We are deeply saddened by what has happened in our personal lives, and our political lives. It has been a hard year for many of us, and we grieve.

To grieve is an important process, for those loved and lost, whether it be beloved four legged members of our families, or two legged loved ones; whether it be the end of relationships of great meaning, or loss of respect for those who embraced winning at all and any cost. Yes, it has been a hard year.

And yet, and yet, as the darkest night approaches, these sadnesses, these losses, can take us to another place. This season can be reclaimed as a time of spiritual renewal. It can be a time of deep introspection. It can be a time of going deeper within oneself to find the love one thought was lost. This is not an easy task, though. The spiritual journey is not a simple or painless one. But, it is a wholly worthwhile undertaking, if done with honesty, and compassion for oneself and others. There is mystery in this planet, in the universe, in the soul. This time of year, with the prevailing darkness, with the burning of candles, with the smells of evergreens seems to be the perfect time to engage in just such spiritual introspection, into the parts of who we are, that we may not venture to during the light. It is a time for reclaiming, rebirthing who we are, and our rightful place on this planet.

The following piece is by Clannad*. I think this piece is incredibly powerful - I don't understand the lyrics at all, but that doesn't matter to me. It's the music, all about the music. This one soothes my soul. I hope it does yours as well:

This wondrous time of year is a perfect time for spiritual reflection. Amidst the hustle and bustle in which many of us engage during this time, remember to take time for yourself. Go in. Go deep. Sow the seeds of love and peace. Be mindful of the spirit, of dreams waiting to be born, or the lonely among us. Extend the warmth of the hearth and heart to them.

Merry meet. Merry part. Merry meet again!

* In case you are not familiar with Clannad, they are Enya's family, and have been performing for years. Enya did sing with them for a couple of years, but then went out on her own.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Totally Synced Up"

That's what one of Obama's speechwriters said about Jon Favreau in this Washington Post article, Helping to Write History. That Obama and Favreau are "synced up." Well, that sure helps to explain a lot of things. Ahem. Yes, Mr. Favreau is currently hard at work writing Obama's big Inaugural speech. Um, surely the Obots did not think Obama was writing it himself, did they? Oh, I bet they did. Anywho, I find the very beginning of this article to be interesting (read: full of hooey):
The job requires him to work unnoticed, even in plain view, so Jon Favreau settles into a wooden chair at a busy Starbucks in the center of Penn Quarter. Deadline looms, and he needs to write at least half a page by the end of the day. As the espresso machines whir, Favreau opens his laptop, calls up a document titled "rough draft of inaugural" and goes to work on the most anticipated speech of Barack Obama's life.

Isn't this the very same paper that published THIS photo of Favreau:

And they think no one recognizes him? Yeah, okay. This is the extent of the Post's dealing with that reprehensible action by Favreau and his buddy:
Especially now, as Favreau and the rest of Obama's young staffers begin a transition that extends far beyond new job titles. Three months ago, Favreau lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning. Now, he has transformed into what one friend called a "Washington political force" -- a minor celebrity with a down payment on a Dupont Circle condo, whose silly Facebook photos with a Hillary Rodham Clinton cutout created what passes for controversy in Obama's so far drama-free transition.

Blech. Blech. BLECH. The author completely dismisses the blatant sexism demonstrated by Jon Favreay. In his mind, it's just a silly little thing. Yes, Teflon Man isn't touched by ANYTHING, it seems, even the degrading treatment of his Secretary of State to be! Grrr.

Not to quibble, but the author thinks this has been a drama-free transition?? I guess this is where the MSM tells us what to think rather than report what actually happened. I am pretty sure more than a few people were shocked - SHOCKED - by Obama's choice of Secretary for State, for example. Dr. Rice? Susan Powers?? GATES (not that he was a bad choice, but all of those folks who thought Obama was going to immediately cease the Iraq war must have had mini-head explosions)? Bill Richardson, also under investigation for "Pay for Play"?? Seems like they are continuing to redefine words, just like they did for Bush. Now, surprise and outrage at choices will be considered "drama free"! Wow. Just sayin'.

Now, a whole lot of this article is singing Favreau's praises, so feel free to go read it for yourself. But there are several quotes that deal directly with the relationship between Obama and Favreau:
During the campaign, the buzz-cut 27-year-old at the corner table helped write and edit some of the most memorable speeches of any recent presidential candidate. When Obama moves to the White House next month, Favreau will join his staff as the youngest person ever to be selected as chief speechwriter. He helps shape almost every word Obama says, yet the two men have formed a concert so harmonized that Favreau's own voice disappears.

"He looks like he's in college and everybody calls him Favs, so you're like, 'This guy can't be for real, right?' " said Ben Rhodes, another Obama speechwriter. "But it doesn't take long to realize that he's totally synced up with Obama. . . . He has access to everything and everybody. There's a lot weighing on his shoulders."

Ah, yes, Favreau and Obama are all linked up:
Still more daunting is the list of things Favreau can't think about as he writes the inaugural. He went for a run to the Lincoln Memorial last month and stopped in his tracks when he imagined the mall packed with 3 million people listening to some of his words. A few weeks later, Favreau winced when Obama spokesman Bill Burton reminded him: "Dude, what you're writing is going to be hung up in people's living rooms!"

Oh, but just wait. It gets better: Obama sometimes jokes that Favreau is not so much a speechwriter as a mind reader.
He carries Obama's 1995 autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," with him almost everywhere and has memorized most of his famous keynote speech from the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He has mastered Obama's writing style -- short, elegant sentences -- and internalized his boss's tendency toward reflection and ideological balance.

So, let's be crystal clear here: all of those speeches that had people fawning all over Obama were written by a 27 yr old who lived in a house with 6 other people, often playing video games into all hours of the night (according to the article). And this man is completely simpatico with Obama. Competely:
In four years together, Obama and Favreau have perfected their writing process. Before most speeches, Obama meets with Favreau for an hour to explain what he wants to say. Favreau types notes on his laptop and takes a crack at the first draft. Obama edits and rewrites portions himself -- he is the better writer, Favreau insists -- and they usually work through final revisions together. If Favreau looks stressed, Obama sometimes reassures him: "Don't worry. I'm a writer, too, and I know that sometimes the muse hits you and sometimes it doesn't. We'll figure it out together."

"The president-elect understands that Jon is a rare talent. He knows what he's got," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, who also worked in the Senate office. "There's a mutual respect and appreciation between them, and the president-elect trusts Jon's instincts and ability. It's a partnership."

Wow. Oh, the article goes on and on about Favreau, probably more information than you really want to know about this 27 year old who acted in an incredibly sexist manner toward Hillary Clinton.

Oh, and Favreau wrote the speech on race, too, with a little retooling from Obama. Huh. I wonder if Favreau also wrote Obama's "listen to what I say, not what I do" speech at his recent press conference, detailed in this Washington Post article, defense for why he chose Rick Warren to give his Inaugural Invocation:
President-elect Barack Obama this morning defended his choice of evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at next month's swearing-in, saying that although he differs with the conservative pastor on social issues, he wants to have diverse voices at the ceremony.

"I am a fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency," Obama said at a morning news conference to announce several financial appointments. "What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues...

"During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented," Obama said. "And that's how it should be, because that's what America is about. Part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated...

Obama added: "That dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about: That we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."

Oh, well, okay. So we are not supposed to pay attention to what you DO, but what you say. And those of us who continue to be oppressed in this country should just go ahead and take it because Obama wants "diverse voices" at his inauguration. He thinks we should just go along to get along. Because THAT has worked out so well in the past. Hahahaha.

Apparently, Favreau and Obama don't understand that some of us actually do see through these false claims. When Obama, not his transition committee, but OBAMA, picks this minister to give the invocation out of ALL of the ministers in this entire country, then tells us that we should just take this huge slap in the face because, in his most patronizing fashion, we should just be able to accept differences.

See, it's OUR problem, not Obama's, for choosing this man. WE just need to get over it, and stop being upset that Obama purposely chose a minister who is opposed to same sex marriage, who is a creationist who thinks homosexuality should have already been weeded out of the gene pool (H/T to AF Catfish, alert NQ reader, and who is anti-choice. Once we let go that Obama surrounds himself with homophobes in the name of diversity, this won't be upsetting to us anymore. Got that? Good - lay off the man already, he's just trying to Unite us, after all, by choosing this Divider to kick off his gala. And if you don't get it this time, maybe the next speech Favreau writes will convince you. If not, Obama will re-tool it and sprinkle magic dust or something on it so you won't remember all of the other crap he's pulled. Hey, it's worked before for the 'N Sync team of Obama/Favreau, I'm sure it will work again.

Friday, December 19, 2008

In The Spirit of Diversity...

At least in the world of satire. Once again, The Onion has come through with a funny piece. This is timely considering Obama's slap in the face to the GLBT community (AND women) by picking Rev. Rick Warren, the homophobic anti-choice minister from CA, to do the invocation for Obama's Inauguration. So after that additional (though not unexpected) insult by Obama, I bring you this current story:

America's First Gay President Concludes Historic Second Term

WASHINGTON—President George W. Bush was unusually reflective in the final weeks of his administration, taking time during speeches and press conferences to look back on key decisions, expound on his legacy, and tout his role in paving the way for the nation's first African-American president by serving eight years as its first openly gay president.

"I'm inspired by our great country's willingness to look past the color of a man's skin—or, in my case, his overt homosexuality—and elect him based on his ability to lead," Bush told reporters following his meeting with president-elect Barack Obama on Nov. 10. "I've always been proud of my homosexuality, and I am so proud of the United States."

Bush added, "Thank you, America, for taking a chance on an openly gay man from Texas: tight jeans, cowboy hats, and all."

Well, Bush DID have that "Brokeback Mountain" look when he was out on the range...

Recalling how he worried during his first campaign that voters were not ready to put a gay man in the White House, Bush said he was "shocked and overjoyed" to win in 2000, and could not have done it without homo-sexual adviser Karl Rove, his strong base of closeted gay ultra-conservative supporters on the Christian right, and his "best friend" Laura.

"While I tried to be commander in chief first and a homosexual man second, I knew that everything I did would be judged through the lens of 'America's first gay president,'" Bush said during an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson broadcast Dec. 1. "Looking back, my personal need to prove my man-hood definitely influenced my actions. The arrogant swagger, invading Iraq, my ruthless support of the death penalty—heck, even setting back gay rights 25 years—all of it seems so silly now."

Former press secretary Ari Fleischer agreed, saying that Bush carefully cultivated his image as a masculine, simple-minded, heterosexual male in order to combat his insecurities about appearing weak before the international community.

"Believe me, sister, he overcompensated with a capital 'compensated,'" Fleischer said. "But when the cameras stopped rolling and the podium was put away, he was just fabulous. We had a fabulous, fabulous time."

While many will argue for generations about Bush's political impact, all seem to agree that his presidency at last proved to a once-disenfranchised group that anything is possible.

"I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime," said David Nevin, a 58-year-old homosexual living in New York. "And I probably won't again because he was a terrible f***ing president who ruined it for all of us."

Added Nevin, "What a bitch."

I reckon that pretty much sums it up! "What a bitch!"

Back to reality for just a minute, and Obama's Invocation choice, alert NQ reader, Athena the Warrior provided a link to an Advocate article about Obama picking Rev. Rick Warren, out of all the THOUSANDS of qualified ministers in this country, Rev. Rick Warren, the pro-Prop 8 and anti-choice minister, to be a part of his big to-do in DC. Lemme tel you what, the vast majority of comments were from people who were HOT under the collar about Obama's treatment. Now, you know I think it is their own damn fault for ever thinking for one MINUTE that Obama cared one whit for the GLBT community. And not all of the people there voted for Obama. But many did, and they are already seeing the errors of their ways. So check out some of their comments. Very interesting.

And, to those who jumped on the Obama Bandwagon, like Joe Salmonese of the HRC, I say, SHAME ON YOU! Shame on you for not supporting the one candidate who walks the walk when it comes to the GLBT community. The one whose praises you sang just last year. That's right, it was Hillary Clinton. Even if they did support her initially, then throw their hands up once Obama was declared the victor by the DNC's RBC, I say shame on you for not standing up for JUSTICE, for what was RIGHT, and against playing fast and loose with the rules when it suited them. Same to all of those women's groups who jumped on that bandwagon, too, and for what, to be cool? To get money? Because you got "caught up" in the moment?? Please. Spare me already. There is no excuse for ignoring the reality that was right in front of your faces - Obama's anti-gay associates. Obama's nuanced language over gay marriage. Obama's continuing flip-flopping on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." And the list goes on. You chose to ignore the reality. You chose to back the man who has NOT backed you up over the woman who did. So now you are upset. Huh. Imagine that.

Sheesh. Enough of you people - I am too through with you all who thought that Obama was on your side. Enjoy the laugh about Bush. Hey, if you think about all of his little outfits he put on throughout the course of his presidency - the cowboy outfits; his flight suit; his wizard outfit with Boy Toy, Putin; elf clothes - oh, no wait - that was a JibJab production...You get my point. So, in that spirit, and in recognition of George Bush being the "first homosexual president" (who just bailed out Detroit), I leave you with this:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This Is Why...

I delete emails from organizations like SLDN when they send crap like this new logo:

Or this email from PFLAG:

Join PFLAG for Out for Equality and Dance for Equality!

PFLAG, along with partners Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund & Leadership Institute, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, National Black Justice Coalition, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Freedom to Marry, BiNet USA, DignityUSA, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Equality Federation, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National Coalition for LGBT Health, LGBT Community Center of NY, International Federation of Black Prides, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Family Equality Council, Unid@s, the National Latina/o LGBT Human Rights Organization, National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, GLSEN, Immigration Equality, and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

present: Out For Equality and Dance for Equality

Because of stories like THIS one: (CNN)
— President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony will feature big names like minister Rick Warren and legendary singer Aretha Franklin, the Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced Wednesday.

Warren, the prominent evangelical and founder of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, will deliver the ceremony's invocation. The minister hosted a presidential forum at his church last summer that challenged both Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain on a host of faith-related issues. Warren did not endorse either presidential candidate.

His public support for California's Proposition 8 — the measure that successfully passed and called for outlawing gay marriage in the state — sparked the ire of many gay rights proponents, who seized on a comment in an October newsletter to his congregation: "This is not a political issue — it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

You know, I really don't relish having to say, "I told you so," but dammit, I did. So did a whole bunch of other people. Obama has never done ANYTHING but give lip service to the GLBT community - WHEN are people going to get that through their thick heads???

And really, for SLDN (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network) to be so gung-ho after Obama has put off - AGAIN - his "commitment" to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" until at least 2010 just blows my mind. Wow.

Don't get me wrong, they are both good organizations, and do good work. But, really, what in the WORLD in Obama's history makes them think for one SECOND that Obama is going to do ANYTHING for this community? He has demonstrated time and time and time AGAIN, with his actions, his words, and his associates, that he doesn't give one good damn about the GLBT community. Yet there everyone is, falling all over themselves to connect with The One. How sad And infuriating.

Add to that this email I got today from WomenCount, and I am just bashing my head against the wall:
Dear Friends,

In recent days we have been urged by some of our colleagues in the world of women's advocacy to call attention to President-elect Obama's failure to nominate more women to his Cabinet.

Rather than speak out, we have given him the benefit of the doubt and encouraged others to do the same - until now.

With this week's announcements, the new Cabinet stands at 14 men and 4 women. That puts the current percentage of women in the Obama Cabinet at 22 percent - and there are only four Cabinet-level openings left to fill.

President Clinton's first Cabinet - 16 years ago - was 37 percent women. In his second term, it climbed to 47 percent women. President Bush began his first term with 22 percent women in his Cabinet. We want that number to go up - not go down or stay the same!

Some more math: women make up 51 percent of the American population and 56 percent of voters. In the 2008 presidential election, women voted for Obama 56 to 49 percent over men.

Dozens of qualified women have been recommended to fill critical slots on the incoming leadership team.

We urge the President-elect and his transition team to act now to improve their record of commitment to naming women to senior positions in the new Administration. It's not too late.

Such a lack of progress for women underscores the need for real change - now. WomenCount has launched a major petition campaign calling on President-elect Obama to create a Presidential Commission on Women in his first 100 days.

If you haven't done so, join our call for t he new administration to begin a national conversation on the future of women in our country.

Increasing the number of women in appointed and elected positions in just one of the many issues a Presidential Commission on Women would address.

OHMYGOSH - they are KIDDING, right?? The man who ran the most sexist/misogynistic campaign in DECADES not doing right by women???? Well, golly gee willikers, how can THAT possibly be? Maybe they can put on some Ludicris, Obama's BFF, and listen to it while they figure this one out. Or how about Jay Z's, "99 Problems But A Bitch Ain't One" while they consider why they ever thought a man who flipped Hillary off, brushed her off his shoulder - TWICE - and said not word ONE about his minions' misogynistic, vulgar language toward her OR Sarah Palin, and pays the women on his staff less than the men, would have more women in his Cabinet.

Have I mentioned that Rev. Rick Warren is also ANTI-CHOICE?? But yeah, Women Count (and PPA, and NARAL, and Emily's List) - y'all just go ahead and believe that Obama is really going to put more women in his Cabinet.

So far I have refrained from flat out name calling to these people and organizations who are just too blind, too uninformed, too ignorant, and operating with too few brain cells, actual names. But holy Freakin' Toledo, it is becoming harder and harder to do so. This is me biting my tongue.

Seriously - Obama has done virtually NOTHING to make these people THINK he is going to do these things except words, not at all backed up by actions. In fact, he has already reneged on a number of promises made (FISA anyone). A man (and woman) is only as good as his word, and Obama has made it abundantly clear that the words he says are only to advance his own career, not because he actually CARES about these issues.

Yet, despite his constant deeds showing where he really stands, like asking Rick Warren, proponent of Prop 8, to conduct his Inaugural Invocation, there they still are, fawning and swooning, just waiting for that crumb to drop from the table. Wow. What does it take? Really - what the hell does it take before these groups stop revering this man who has done nothing for them. No, rather he has done things that negatively affect them (remember, he is opposed to Same-Sex marriage, no matter how much people like Ellen Degeneres sang his praises and conveniently failed to mention in her attacks on Sarah Palin for the same thing), and associates himself with known homophobes.

Maybe Jon Stewart should have this conversation with Rev. Warren AND Barack Obama:

It would be nice, but it'll never happen. We can't actually acknowledge where Obama stands on these issues. We sure can't admit he is really no different from Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, OR John McCain. Oh, no...

Holy crap. Have some respect, dammit!! Stop selling yourselves short! Stop buying snake oil from the snake oil salesman! C'mon already!!! Seriously, people. Seriously. Open your eyes. Stop giving Obama "the benefit of the doubt" - on these two issues, he has shown numerous times he does not deserve it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Huh - Guess It WAS Sexism After All...

When Gov. Rendell made his obnoxious comment about Gov. Janet Napolitano. You may remember it from this Campbell Brown video:

Well, despite his protestations to the contrary, when Gov. Rendell decided to endorse CHRIS MATTHEWS in his run for the 2010 US Senate run in PA, he pretty much sealed his own place in the Sexist Hall of Fame. I mean, REALLY - how can he go from supporting Hillary Clinton to supporting one of the most sexist, misogynistic men in the MSM, who ROUTINELY demeaned and belittled Clinton??


And along those lines, did you catch Rahm Emmanuel complaining the other day that he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time? Oh, no - that's not right. No, he said he couldn't be a father and answer a reporter's questions all at the same time. I am not kidding. It was in the Chicago Sun Times, regarding the whole Blagojevich debacle:
President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, refused to take questions from reporters this morning about whether he was the Obama “advisor” named in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich...

Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s news conference this morning. He was spotted two hours later in the lobby of Chicago’s City Hall. He was there to listen to his two children performing in a concert with their school, Anshe Emet.

A Sun-Times reporter pressed him to comment about whether he was the emissary named in the criminal complaint.

“You’re wasting your time,” Emanuel said. “I’m not going to say a word to you. I’m going to do this with my children. Don't do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.”

Asked, “Can’t you do both?” Emanuel replied, “I’m not as capable as you. I’m going to be a father. I’m allowed to be a father,” and he pushed the reporter’s digital recorder away.

Holy cow. Can you IMAGINE what would have happened if, say, PALIN had said that? Oh, here's a little example of the crapola said about HER being a parent:

Where the hell was Ed Schultz when Rahm Emmanuel couldn't even answer a SIMPLE question because he's a FATHER??? He's something - besides being a father. Let your imaginations go wild...But hey - I didn't hear any hew and cry from the Brotherhood of Sexist Men about THAT response, oh no.

Oh, but Schultz isn't the only one. Remember this little gem by Campbell Brown questioning Palin's fitness as a mother?

How about when Obama got all pissy with reporters for following him around when he took his two girls trick or treating? Oh, wow - can you IMAGINE if Hillary or Sarah or ANY WOMAN in public life got all cranky with the national media if they were out and about with their kids?? Whooey - the airwaves would be filled with the videos of them, over and over, with the predictable question of, "if they can't handle a little thing like this, how are the going to deal with National Security" or whatever the issue of the day is. Yeah. But Obama can tell these folks to get back on the bus, Gus, and with a very few exceptions, we don't hear a lot more about it. Just like the little Rahm fit.

Gwen "I Want to Help Obama Get Elected So My Book Is Relevant And Sells" Ifel asked Rep. Heather Wilson the wrong question. Rep. Wilson pretty much says it all about the vast discrepancies between the sexes, with some bonus discussion on how much more Palin was vetted than the other candidates:

It really is remarkable. Somehow, Governor Palin is capable of being governor of an entire state while having five children, and HER abilities are questioned all of the time. How DARE she not be there full time for her children!! Rahm Emmanuel has a hard time answering a question when he is at his kids' school to just LISTEN to a concert, and gets whiney about how he cannot do two things at once. Please. Don't use your kids as a damn excuse, Rahm. Funny - it seems you were capable of multi-tasking before, you know, talking to your good buddy, Rod, and being Obama's right hand man.

My advice, if you can't handle being a parent and a Representative/Obama tool, maybe you should give one of them up. I vote for giving up the Representative/Obama tool part. That would make one less Chicago politician in Washington, which would be just peachy with me. Just go home with your kids, Rahm. You can teach them all about Politics, the Chicago way! Make sure you tell them ALL about Uncle Hot Rod, Uncle Billy (Ayers), Uncle Tony (Rezko) while you're at it. Or maybe you could call Hillary and ask her how to do more than one thing at a time. I'm sure she could teach you how to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chicago Politics

I saw this headline in my local paper, "Illinois Corruption: Deep Roots, Tough to Weed Out" an AP piece by Sharon Cohen. In this piece, she details the long, long history of corruption in Chicago, and Illinois, politics. Also in this lengthy article, the only mention of Obama, the man who chose to move to Chicago precisely to get INTO politics, was this:
There have been reforms in the state, most notably a new ethics law designed to limit the impact of money in politics. It was approved only after Obama, a former state senator, called his one-time mentor, Senate President Emil Jones, and urged its passage.

His "one-time mentor"? Are you freakin' KIDDING me??? How about the Kingmaker who put Obama's name on legislation on which he had not worked?? Oh, wait, that's just too close to the truth of Obama's lack of experience/qualifications. No way can the AP get that close...

Ahem. But of course, the ONLY reason The One made the decision to begin his political career in Chicago, apparently, was to clean up Illinois politics. Hahahahaha! Yeah, and that's why he endorsed Blagojevich - TWICE. And worked on his campaign. But why quibble over past history, right? RIGHT??

That does seem to be the MO around anything related to BO. It is really amazing to me. In my opinion, though, the only way someone can deny Obama is a Chicago-style politician is flat our ignorance, or flat our denial of reality. Take your pick. There is NO way from the stories that have come out about Obama, his relationships to Blagojevich, Rezko, Wright, Meeks, Ayers, et al, that he is above typical Chicago politics. The Rezko thing ALONE is indicative of his involvement. And there is no way that Blagojevich JUST became corrupt as of Nov. 5th when Obama, with the help of ANOTHER corrupt Chicago political institution, ACORN (there have been so many stories written on ACORN and its actions this year, that I scarcely would know were to start for just one link, but here's one to a YouTube video, and here's another. Again, this is but the tip of the iceberg of information available on this connection.), helped him become PEBO.

Yes, I know the MSM has been a HUGE help in both regards - ignorance and denial. But not ALL reputable sources were completely in the tank for The One. The New Yorker, for instance, had some impressive pieces, particularly this one,The Political Scene: "Making It: How Chicago shaped Obama. The article title alone is indicative of the effect of Chicago-style politics on Obama. The author, Ryan Lizza, published this article in July 21, 2008, so like I said, the information was definitely available...

Many of us have heard of Alice Palmer, one of the first people (of whom we are aware) thrown under the bus by a power-hungry Obama. There was another woman, too, Toni Preckwinkle, who had a whole lot to say about the young Mr. Obama on his ascension into Chicago politics:
One day in 1995, Barack Obama went to see his alderman, an influential politician named Toni Preckwinkle, on Chicago’s South Side, where politics had been upended by scandal. Mel Reynolds, a local congressman, was facing charges of sexual assault of a sixteen-year-old campaign volunteer. (He eventually resigned his seat.) The looming vacancy set off a fury of ambition and hustle; several politicians, including a state senator named Alice Palmer, an education expert of modest political skills, prepared to enter the congressional race. Palmer represented Hyde Park—Obama’s neighborhood, a racially integrated, liberal sanctuary—and, if she ran for Congress, she would need a replacement in Springfield, the state capital. Obama at the time was a thirty-three-year-old lawyer, university lecturer, and aspiring office-seeker, and the Palmer seat was what he had in mind when he visited Alderman Preckwinkle.

“Barack came to me and said, ‘If Alice decides she wants to run, I want to run for her State Senate seat,’ ” Preckwinkle told me. We were in her district office, above a bank on a street of check-cashing shops and vacant lots north of Hyde Park. Preckwinkle soon became an Obama loyalist, and she stuck with him in a State Senate campaign that strained or ruptured many friendships but was ultimately successful. Four years later, in 2000, she backed Obama in a doomed congressional campaign against a local icon, the former Black Panther Bobby Rush. And in 2004 Preckwinkle supported Obama during his improbable, successful run for the United States Senate. So it was startling to learn that Toni Preckwinkle had become disenchanted with Barack Obama.

Well, I'll be damned - Obama DIDN'T win all of his races! Amazing how we have RARELY (if ever) heard about his "doomed" race. Or that some people who know him, really know him, no longer are delighting in his glow:
Preckwinkle is a tall, commanding woman with a clipped gray Afro. She has represented her slice of the South Side for seventeen years and expresses no interest in higher office. On Chicago’s City Council, she is often a dissenter against the wishes of Mayor Richard M. Daley. For anyone trying to understand Obama’s breathtakingly rapid political ascent, Preckwinkle is an indispensable witness—a close observer, friend, and confidante during a period of Obama’s life to which he rarely calls attention.

Although many of Obama’s recent supporters have been surprised by signs of political opportunism, Preckwinkle wasn’t. “I think he was very strategic in his choice of friends and mentors,” she told me. “I spent ten years of my adult life working to be alderman. I finally got elected. This is a job I love. And I’m perfectly happy with it. I’m not sure that’s the way that he approached his public life—that he was going to try for a job and stay there for one period of time. In retrospect, I think he saw the positions he held as stepping stones to other things and therefore approached his public life differently than other people might have.”

Well, again, if anyone could see the trajectory of Obama's career as anything other thank opportunistic "stone-stepping," it is only because they did not WANT to see that Obama was a driven POLITICIAN.

But here is my point: Chicago politics. This is a major foundation the MSM and Obama worshipers/supporters refuse to acknowledge - because it does not fit the narrative they have created:
On issue after issue, Preckwinkle presented Obama as someone who thrived in the world of Chicago politics. She suggested that Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for political reasons. “It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners,” she said. “It’s a good place for a politician to be a member.” Preckwinkle was unsparing on the subject of the Chicago real-estate developer Antoin (Tony) Rezko, a friend of Obama’s and one of his top fund-raisers, who was recently convicted of fraud, bribery, and money laundering: “Who you take money from is a reflection of your knowledge at the time and your principles.” As we talked, it became increasingly clear that loyalty was the issue that drove Preckwinkle’s current view of her onetime protégé. “I don’t think you should forget who your friends are,” she said.

Others told me that Preckwinkle’s grievances against Obama included specific complaints, such as his refusal to endorse a former aide and longtime friend, Will Burns, in a State Senate primary—a contest that Burns won anyway. There was also a more general belief that, after Obama won the 2004 United States Senate primary, he ignored his South Side base. Preckwinkle said, “My view is you have to bring your constituency along with you. Granted, you have to make some tough decisions. Granted, sometimes you have to make decisions that people won’t understand or like. But it’s your obligation to explain yourself and try to do your supporters the courtesy of treating them with respect.” Ivory Mitchell, who for twenty years has been the chairman of the local ward organization in Obama’s neighborhood—considered the most important Democratic organization on the South Side—was one of Obama’s earliest backers. Today, he says, “All the work we did to help him get where he finally ended up, he didn’t seem too appreciative.” A year ago, Mitchell became a delegate for Hillary Clinton.

What?? Obama not appreciative? Yeah - no kidding. He has made it abundantly clear that he will step on whoever whenever it is politically - I said, POLITICALLY - expedient for him to do so. And still:
The same month Mitchell endorsed Clinton, the Obama campaign reached out to Preckwinkle, and eventually she signed on as an Obama delegate. I asked her if what she considered slights or betrayals were simply the necessary accommodations and maneuvering of a politician making a lightning transition from Hyde Park legislator to Presidential nominee. “Can you get where he is and maintain your personal integrity?” she said. “Is that the question?” She stared at me and grimaced. “I’m going to pass on that...”

Can't say as I blame her. What does it say when someone who DOES actually know him has "to pass" on answering a question regarding Obama's integrity? Or when the governor of his home state refers to him as a "mo***r f***er"?? These are the people who KNOW him, after all, not just who worship him from afar.

And then there is this (emphasis mine):
Chicago is not Obama’s home town, but it’s where he chose to forge his identity. Several weeks ago, he moved many of the Democratic National Committee’s operations from Washington to Chicago, making the city the unofficial capital of the Democratic Party; his campaign headquarters are in an office building in the Loop, Chicago’s downtown business district. But Chicago, with its reputation as a center of vicious and corrupt politics, may also be the place that Obama needs to leave behind.

Exactly. Chicago, with its long, long, LONG history of corrupt politics, is the city in which Obama decided to forge his political identity. One other interesting note on Obama and Chicago politics:
...David Axelrod, who has been Obama’s chief strategist since 2002 and is the foremost political consultant in Chicago, was a witness to all of it, first as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune and later as the chief consultant to two mayors: Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor and a hero of the Independents, and the current Mayor Daley, whose last name still carries negative connotations in the precincts of Hyde Park...

Uh huh. David Axelrod has shown himself to be a part of Chicago-style politics in the way he has run Obama's campaign, that's for sure. And no doubt, he will continue to use Chicago-style politics in the White House, too. Why change horses in mid-stream, right?

Oh, wait - that's the wrong talking point. Ahem. Yes, Obama is trying to distance himself from Chicago politics NOW. Now that so many of its players' wrong-doings are in the headlines, but those of us who have been keeping score know the real deal. Obama is inextricably bound to Chicago politics, and Chicago STYLE politics, as we saw this year with Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and John McCain. Basically, anyone who had the "audacity to get in Obama's way experienced Chicago politics up close and personal, and it was not pretty.

There is much, much more to the New Yorker article, and I hope you will click HERE to finish reading it (it's long, which is why I am not reprinting it all here). In it you will read about Obama's contentious relationship with another member of the IL Senate, Rickey Hendon; his relationship with Rezko, Ayers, and Dorhn; how his community organizing REALLY went (hint: not as well as he likes to claim NOW), and much more. I will leave you with this passage:
Part of Obama’s political success is that he has been able to exploit relationships with important yet ethically dubious figures in Illinois while still maintaining his independence. In some ways, this is an Illinois tradition. When the liberal reformer Adlai Stevenson ran for governor, in 1948, one Democratic boss reportedly noted that he would “perfume the ticket.” The earnest Lincoln scholar Paul Simon stood out in the Senate for his moral rectitude and his commitment to good government even as his state wallowed in scandal. “The political bosses knew they had to have what they used to call in business a loss leader—the showcasing,” Don Rose, the Chicago political consultant, said. “The car that you sold for under its value for advertising purposes. While you had at the top of your ticket a shining star, under that it was like turning over a rock.”

Obama has said little about the scandals in his home state. Besides the Rezko and Blagojevich cases, there have been indictments and convictions against the Daley administration concerning hiring and contracting practices. Getting close to the sullied political leadership in Illinois was probably an unavoidable cost of winning the U.S. Senate seat. Emil Jones told me that another of the lessons Obama learned after his 2000 loss was the importance of political sponsorship.

You can say that again...