February 25, 2008

A magic wand Part II

I started to reply in the comments to this, but it got long, so I decided to post my comment instead. Not Your Mama of Coyote Angry, a blogger I truly admire, and I have a major disagreement about Clinton and Obama. She's pissed. I'm pissed.

To my post below, she says, in part:

Most of us have already had enough snotty, sarcastic and condescending people in our lives at one time or another (and happily they ultimately come to bad ends) why on earth does anyone think we'd vote for another one?
My reply:

I will tell you what, some of the nastiest stuff I've seen yet has come out of Obama's campaign. No one on his side has YET addressed what Jesse Jackson, Jr, said about her choking up in New Hampshire, saying that she was crying over her looks, and where were her tears over Katrina? The Obama campaign first inserted race into the contest (starting with that Katrina comment) and then turned it around and accused the Clintons of being racists to such a ridiculous degree that for anyone on Clinton's team to even mention the fact that Barack happens to be black, or refer to a historical fact about a previous black presidential candidate, they are pilloried, and drawn and quartered in the public square. Jeezuz on a triscuit!

I've yet to see Obama speak out against the blatent mysogyny of this campaign season, and in fact he makes comments like "Periodically, when she's down she lashes out..." He's playing the old, wink, wink, nudge, nudge "well, you know how women are .. "

And hoo baby, I saw some real viciousness coming from a couple of his supporters at our convention yesterday.

I find it incredibly frustrating that supporters on his side and the rest of the mainstream media are demanding that she leave the contest when they are just about a 100 delegates apart in votes and three of the biggest states have yet to vote. If the situation were reversed I wouldn't be calling the game for Hillary. I'd be happy if she was ahead, but neither has the nomination buttoned down, so why should either of them quit? And what would Barack's supporters be saying about Florida's delegation if he had pulled off a win there or at least came in a close second? What would they be doing if the Michigan uncommitted numbers had beaten Clinton?

He has been condescending, and he has used right wing talking points that undermine core Democratic values, and frankly, I find that just as offensive as you find this.

It seems to me that he is riding a wave of magical thinking and many of his supporters have just projected their own beliefs on him. Even he admits that he serves "as a blank screen on which people of vastly different stripes project their own views.” Whoa. So, just exactly what is it that we are getting?

I saw the same phenomenon in GW Bush supporters and if frightens me that our side seems to be engaging in the same blind adoration, and asking for no proof that he can actually do the things he says he can do, and dismissing any sort of evidence to the contrary. I don't have these same sort of illusions about my candidate. I know that I am not going to always be satisfied. I don't believe that she alone can rescue our country or Washington. I've been around the block too many times to know that just isn't possible. Hell, I'm a member of the Democratic Party and I've been to too many meetings where people who are seemingly on the same side can't agree.

So anyway, NYM is pissed at me, and she's pissed Hillary. I'm not pissed at NYM. But yeah, I am pissed at Obama.

I sure as hell hope this rend in the party is fixable.

A magic wand?

This is what I've been saying all along.

February 24, 2008

Bitch is the new black

This is good! For all of us who have been called bitches (to our faces or behind out backs), I give you Tina Fey on last night's SNL:

Why It's Worth It

Yesterday was WOW busy and full with the Lyon County Democratic Convention.

I got up at 4:30 (after going to bed at 1am), left the house at 7am, was at the convention (I was the convention committee chair) from 7:15 until 5:30 completely busy the whole time...running around..answering questions, working with both campaigns, the credentials committee to work out issues, working with my own group (Hillary) to make sure all our missing delegate slots were filled, etc, etc, etc.

It was frustrating to many of the delegates that such mundane things as platform discussions, waiting on the credentials committee report, and other business delayed the moment they had all been waiting for: Delegate Election.

The moment of truth finally came and the convention came alive with competing group chants of "Yes we can!" and "Yes we will!" Determining group strength was easy. Then we moved into delegate election and each group worked out a way for each person running for delegate an opportunity to speak on their own behalf. The convention rules said they could speak for a minute, but in our group we realized that we could be there for 30-40 minutes, so limited time to 30 seconds. We picked a time keeper (the ten-year-old daughter of one of our delegates) and she was a very conscientious time keeper.

Everyone gave their speeches and I was so incredibly impressed by the life stories many of them wove into their narratives. I am sure the Obama group would say the same thing. We were allowed to vote for five delegates per ballot and let me tell you, that was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. They all deserved to be delegates. How could I pick only five? We elected half our delegates (14) on the first ballot and had to make the tough choice again of five more for the second ballot where we elected our remaining 13.

At the end of the day, our convention was almost perfectly split in raw votes: 78 to 77 (with Obama getting the one extra vote) and splitting the delegates to the state convention evenly: 27 to 27.

Lots of drama and intense feelings, but at the end of the day, I really realized why I love being involved in grassroots politics. Its about the people. Period.

February 21, 2008

Jill's In!


Jill Derby is throwing her hat into the ring to take on Dean Heller. Her web site is up, and she tells me that they should have the "contribute" link working by tomorrow. Let's all help her out and work to send Jill to Congress.

From her announcement speech:

I'm a Democrat, and I know there are a lot of Northern Nevadans who aren't. But unlike Dean, I have always put Nevada first and I always will. Now I'm sure that over the course of this campaign, Dean will spend a lot of time highlighting the fact that I'm a Democrat, and hoping that's all you'll ever know about me. Like many in politics these days, he hopes voters will simply follow the party line and not question anything else, especially his record. But, I would like to ask a simple question, one more important than political parties or campaign tactics. The question is, ‘Are you satisfied?' After giving him two years to get it right in Congress, it's time to ask that question. Are you satisfied?

February 18, 2008

The GOP plan for Obama

What we've been saying all along. From Politico.com:

RNC donor event outlines Obama attack plan

RNC Chairman Duncan as well as Co-Chairman Jo Ann Davidson opened the Sunday session with a Power Point presentation outlining five main strategic attacks against the Obama candidacy. A Politico reporter witnessed the document, but not the presentation.

The first called for pointing out what the GOP views as a seeming incongruity between Obama and the mantle of commander in chief. The second point harkened [sic] back to Obama’s days in the Illinois state Senate, noting how his “pattern of voting ‘present’ offers many openings to question his candidacy.” The third offered hope to the GOP faithful that “we can be confident in a campaign about issues.” A fourth bullet point relayed how “undisciplined messaging carries great risk,” while the fifth and final attack point stressed, “His greatest weakness is inexperience. He is not ready to be commander in chief. He is not ready to be president.”

Just words...

For those of us who haven't been taken in by the "new kind of politics" hype, for those of us who have been asking our Obama supporting friends, "Yeah, but what's he going to do? How is he going to be able to wave a magic wand and bring all the partisanship to heel? How is it that he can be so eloquent on the stump, but seems so unfocused in the debates?"

It's all starting to make sense now. It appears that David Axelrod has a one-size-fits-all candidate suit. As Taylor Marsh puts it:

Rhetorical flourishes are inspiring, especially when they're authentic. The problem comes when they're canned.
Even Jake Tapper, no Hillary lover by any stretch of the imagination, notes:
It does seem to me that this issue may also be one between Obama and his supporters, not just Obama and Patrick. Thousands, if not millions, of Americans are inspired by Obama's words. They do not think they are "just words." But many of them also likely think they are at least somewhat original.
And before the Obama supporters come over to tell me that it doesn't matter, that this troubling pattern of "borrowing" and claiming for one's own is irrelevant, please be prepared to tell me at the same time, what ONE issue does Barack claim as his line in the sand? Give me one, just ONE issue where he has taken a stand and says there is no room for compromise. And please don't tell me that he opposed the Iraq war because I will ask you, what exactly has he done in the US Senate since being there that hasn't been identical to Senator Clinton?

I don't want someone who is willing to concede any point before negotiations even start. This is not operating from a position of strength.

I don't want a motivational speaker for President. I am not looking for an Orator-in-Chief. I want someone who has a deep understanding of the intricacies of policy and who has gone to bat for the issues I care about, even after being knocked down, time and time again.

I want someone who will stand up for what's right, even when the recipient of her support slaps her in the face. Yes, I am talking to YOU MoveOn. For those of you unaware, when the Republicans forced a vote to condemn MoveOn.org for their Petraus/Betray Us ad, who voted to support free speech and who ducked out on the vote?

I want someone who can walk in to a meeting and be so well-versed on a subject that she knows what questions to ask and of whom to ask those questions.

I want someone with well-thought out plans for how this country can restore the middle-class, create new jobs while weaning us off oil, who realizes that the cost of secondary education is out of reach for some and has a plan to help. I want someone who is willing to fight for universal health care.

I don't want someone to tell me "Yes we can!"

I want someone who says "Yes we will!"

(Edited at 10:11) Ooh. This sounds familiar!

February 17, 2008

Women On Top

A musical tour through the Women's Movement.

February 16, 2008

100 Reasons

David Speakman - 100 Reasons to Support Hillary Clinton

Here are a few:

Reason #14 to Support Hillary:
In 1962 she met MLK Jr. preaching a sermon in Chicago and learned from him the importance of equal rights for all.

Reason #15 for Supporting Hillary:
In 1965 she brought black classmates to her until-then all-white church.

Reason #16 to Support Hillary:
Since 1995 has criticized China’s human rights abuses.

Reason #17 to Support Hillary:
IN 1988 Instituted gender diversity Report Card within the American Bar Association, which sets standards for lawyers in the U.S.

Reason #18 to Support Hillary:
In 1972 worked as a lawyer suing white-only schools, working with Marian Wright Edelman on enforcing school desegregation in the South.

Reason #29 to Support Hillary:
Although she was in college during the height of the drug culture in the late 1960s, she was devoted to work on civil rights instead of partying and taking drugs.

Reason #30 to Support Hillary:
She is fighting for Universal pre-kindergarten.

Reason #31 to Support Hillary:
Wants to establish an education “Bill of Rights” - Establish right to education from pre-school thru college.

Reason #32 to Support Hillary:
Since 1998 has fought publicly to keep art and music programs in public schools. “Arts education is needed in our schools.”

Reason #33 to Support Hillary:
‘Government should pay off all student loans for teachers who go to urban schools.” March, 2000

Reason #34 to Support Hillary:
Wants a complete re-write, a Total change in No Child Left Behind. (August, 2007)

Reason #41 to Support Hillary:
Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence. (Dec 2006)

Reason #55 to Support Hillary:
Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition

Reason #62 to Support Hillary:
Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record.

Reason # 68 to Support Hillary:
Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision. (Dec 2005)

Reason #70 to Support Hillary:
Voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees. (Sep 2006)

Reason #75 to Support Hillary:
Would accept minimum wage as president. (Jul 2007)

Reason #81 to Support Hillary:
Reaches out to conservatives but voting record is progressive.

Reason #85 to Support Hillary:
Rated 100% by the AU, indicating support of church-state separation.

Reason #86 to Support Hillary:
Voted NO on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Reason #87 to Support Hillary:
Voted NO on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice.

Reason #88 to Support Hillary:
Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.
And for my friend, Leigh:
Reason #99 to Support Hillary:
Calls to Increase spending for libraries.


Obama Unmasked & Gamed (MyDD)

The pattern is so widespread that one has to wonder what is going on?

Obama, via his now obvious campaign strategy outlined above, would have us believe that his cross party appeal is bringing in tons of new voters. Men and women, he asserts, who are abandoning their party to vote for him. And some Democratic Party officials and activists are supporting Obama based on this assertion. Who doesn't want a candidate who can bring in masses of new voters? Nancy Pelosi it has been rumored, impressed by this vote-getting ability, is considering endorsing Obama.

But what if Obama is not actually bringing in tons of new voters? What if Republicans have organized to cross party lines or vote independent with one goal in mind: to defeat Senator Clinton. And what if this strategy was developed by top level Republican party functionaries-- including Karl Rove-- who believe Clinton will be the more formidable opponent in the general election?

Anecdotal evidence in support of a Republican manipulation is everywhere. Remember the recent Obama win in Maryland? Nicole Price, the Maryland political director of Obama's campaign told the Washington Times that when she arrived in the state to ramp up the campaign. She found "a home-grown campaign already thriving." Republicans backing Obama had put more yard signs in Maryland than in South Carolina and they had paid for the signs "themselves." The Times also noted that in Louisiana, where he won by a wide margin, exit polls showed that Republicans who voted in the Democratic primary favored Mr. Obama 3-1 over Clinton. About 5 percent of the voters in the Democratic primary said they were Republicans.

According to the Washington Times story, Daniel B., Chance, a retired oil man, voted for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the Maryland Republican primary in the morning. He then spent the afternoon making calls from the phone bank at the Obama campaign's Baltimore County Headquarters in Towson.

The critical point here is this: what is a loyal Huckabee supporter doing making calls for Obama?

Moreover, the Huckabee supporter joined a large mix of either Republicans like himself or Democrat for-a-day Republican converts who were also making calls on behalf of Obama.

Besides this anecdotal evidence, are there any hard facts which support a widespread Republican manipulation of the Democratic primaries? Time magazine reports,
"Rank and file Republicans in red states have switched their party registrations to vote in Democratic primaries."
In Nebraska, the mayor of Omaha publicly rallied Republicans to caucus for Obama on February 9th. And according to CNN in Iowa 44 percent of those voting for Obama were Republican.

Joe Conason in Salon in late December wrote,

"In the weeks since Karl Rove offered his unsolicited advice on how to defeat Hillary Clinton in the pages of the Financial Times, right wing expressions of support for Obama have become increasingly conspicuous and voluble."
These include opinion makers like the Weekly Standard, William Kristol who endorsed Obama in a NY Times editorial and George Will. Three major fundraisers for the President have now given money to Obama. The Weekly Standard ran a cover story in early December that according to Conason "literally swooned" over Obama. This story was written by Stephen Hays, Dick Cheney's admiring biographer and according to Conason "the last journalist on earth who still believes that Saddam Hussein was allied with al_Qaida."
On a personal note, Democratic caucus goers here in Nevada have told me of Republicans literally leaving their caucuses (that began at 9am) and heading over to ours that began at 11am. We know of at least one Obama supporter distributing "Be a Democrat for a Day" flyers in Reno, specifically targeting the Hillary-haters that lived in his precinct.

The Obama campaign tried to wave this off as an over-enthusiastic volunteer, but the evidence is starting to mount that that the Obama campaign may be encouraging these "Democrats for a Day" strategies. And the GOP is happily playing along.
That's why "Democrat for a Day" was launched this spring by ObamaFlorida2008. Using the official forms provided by all Supervisors of Elections offices, you may re-register as a Democrat for that one day -- when the primary is likely to be held -- on February 5, 2008. You must do so before the end of 2007, to make sure it is done 30 days before the primary.

But this is not about some "hard sell" to recruit voters to become permanent Democrats. Not at all. After the primary, you may re-register back to the
Republican or Libertarian parties, or revert to your previous status as an Independent! There will be plenty of time before the general election in November 2008.
We are being gamed and there are enough people in my party who so want Obama to win that they are willingly deluding themselves that these "new" Democrats will be standing with us in November.

More to the point, shouldn't Democrats be determining their Democratic nominee? This is one of the few topics where I and the Lyon County Republican Party chair see eye to eye. Political parties are about partisanship, and there's nothing wrong with that. Democrats and Republicans have unique world views and beliefs in the best use of government, its responsibilities to the people it serves, the best use of our military, our resources, regulation, etc, and we need to be able to draw upon those distinctions when selecting our party's nominees.

We need to be able to sell our unique points of view to the voters, not mush it up into some non-palatable bipartisan mush. Yes, there are places where we can work together, but there are places where we have to draw our lines in the sand and make our case. As Anglachel puts it, there are "Fights worth having."
These are the battles that are fought when it seems we are just doing some policy wonkishness. The details matter. The concessions matter. There are points on which there cannot be compromise, where unity is not just undesireable but a mark of failure.
This is why I am supporting Hillary Clinton. She's not unwilling to work across the aisle, and in fact, has effectively done so. She just isn't willing to give away the store.

Other Disturbing News.

I am stunned. Talk about race baiting and extortion. I think I am going to be sick.

I would NEVER tell a woman that she should support Hillary just because she's a woman, but here we have the national co-chair of Obama's campaign doing just that with Black super delegates.
One black supporter of Clinton, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, said he remains committed to her. "There's nothing going on right now that would cause me to" change, he said.

He said any suggestion that elected leaders should follow their voters "raises the age old political question. Are we elected to monitor where our constituents are ... or are we to use our best judgment to do what's in the best interests of our constituents."

In an interview, Cleaver offered a glimpse of private conversations.

He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him "if it comes down to the last day and you're the only superdelegate. ... Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

"I told him I'd think about it," Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. "Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position" in the future, he added.

Black Superdelegates Threatened, Pressured (No Quarter)

Black Commenter, Criticizing Obama, Causes Firestorm
Tavis Smiley, the bestselling author of the "Covenant With Black America," is in a world turned upside down. He said he's being "hammered," "barbecued," and is "catching hell" from black Americans for suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made a major mistake by declining to speak at the State of the Black Union event that Smiley plans to host next week in New Orleans.

"There's all this talk of hater, sellout and traitor," Smiley said to me in a telephone interview. Smiley even mentioned getting death threats, but wouldn't elaborate. He said his office has been flooded with angry e-mails. "I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It's getting to be crazy," Smiley said.

On another note: Is Obama the Messiah?

February 14, 2008

Oh Yeah!

Anglachel's Journal: Fights Worth Having: Anglachel nails it. Read the whole thing, but here are two sections that jumped out at me.

One thing Hillary said in her Politico interview was that it's not clear what struggles of the last few decades Golden Boy Barry would consider worth his time. As I have asked over and over, just what is it that The Golden One offers Democrats? Be concrete. What fights is he going to wage for us? Taking troops out of Iraq? Uh, all the Dems say they will do so. Has he committed to what kind of judges he will appoint? What parts of Social Security are off limits to discussion? Holding the line against Republican intransigence? Saying unequivocally that the Democrats advocate what is right, good and for the betterment of the nation, and that the Republicans are fear-mongering cretins? Exactly what he will do to reverse the gutting of the Civil Rghts division of the DOJ? His policies on restoring privacy to the average American? Etc.

Hillary said something powerful in that interview that the A-List Blogger Boyz keep side-stepping in their fanatical promotion of all things Obama - there are fights worth having. Division can be constructive. Unity is self-defeating if it leads you to undermine the core beliefs that make you what you are. This is what Krugman and Perlstein get at, this is what my mother knows from having fought these battles in her youth and right through her life; it matters what we are for, what we are willing to stand up and defend.


The wine-track Left's fatal flaw is its distaste for politics, the dirty hurly-burly of trades and deals, scams and sales, scratching backs and twisting arms. It is the disdain of the philosopher kings for the agora. But the public good is just as much the public's bad (as Madison famously balanced out), and there is nothing pure or simple about that market. They keep wanting to pick a leader who will somehow transcend politics, change the tone of the dirty market traders, dare us to hope for a time when we will unite as a single people with a single vision and march forward into a better future.

It isn't so much liberal fascism as the fantasy of the zipless fuck.

One Obamabot in a Corrente comment thread whined that he wanted to win, not struggle, and so he was voting for Obama, demonstrating once again the deep stupidity of the Obamaphilic Left. There will always be a struggle as long as there is a right-wing. We cannot "win" by putting a single person into a single office because of his mad oratorating skillz. This has to be likened to fending off a tide that will always be moving against us, corroding our foundations even when it ebbs. The A-List Boyz, the ones so angry at Hillary Clinton for daring to stand up against the calumny thrown at her (and most especially the calumny that comes from their own, dear, sweet little sexist mouths) are all slavering and quivering over the prospect of a political zipless fuck, where they can have their philosopher king, and an election success and have sweetness and light magically transform and transcend the icky struggles of the Clinton era into a progressive wonderland.

Oh, and a pony, too.

February 12, 2008

Money Bomb for Hillary

Today's the day to show Hillary we have her back. Pull out your credit card, make a donation, and don't forget to add 44¢ to your donation!


February 11, 2008

Media Rules

William comments about how the media spins Hillary to suit THEIR agenda. It's Calvinball, writ large:

Well, let's see what misinformation/spin the media has put forward in this campaign so far to help obtain the result they seek:

Iowa was a great victory for Obama.

If Clinton lost New Hampshire, she was through and should concede.

Clinton won New Hampshire because she cried, and because of a "Bradley effect," where racist whites refused to vote for Obama.

Nevada was a split decision, even though Clinton won the popular vote.

Michigan didn't count.

The Clintons decided to make race an issue, just in time for the South Carolina primary, where 53% of the voters would be Black.

South Carolina was a tremendous win for Obama.

Florida didn't count.

On Super Tuesday, Obama did better, because he won the caucuses. Obama's ability to draw Republican votes in states like Idaho, Utah and Alaska is testament to the broad appeal of his message of hope.

Clinton has run out of money and her campaign is in disarray.

Clinton may or may not have raised some additional money, but Obama has raised more. Also, because the campaign changed managers, this is further sign of disarray.

Obama would do better against McCain, because...well, he just would, everyone knows that. And look at all those Republican votes Obama has been getting.

Clinton should withdraw for the good of the Party. Actually, she should have withdrawn after Iowa, but we'll take it now.

Caucuses are quite fair, because Obama has done very well in them. Superdelegates are not, however; because Clinton has more of them. And Florida and Michigan votes should not count, and Clinton is playing dirty politics by insisting that the votes count.

Clinton is too polarizing a figure. For proof, just look at all the negative things we say about her. We are not saying negative things about Obama, thus he is obviously not as polarizing.

National polls may show Clinton ahead with Democrats, but we don't feel like covering that. Also, she may have received about half a million more popular votes, but we're not impressed by that, either, and won't mention it.

We are sort of tired of covering this campaign, and would like to get back to celebrity gossip or disappearing women abroad, for a few months. Why can't Clinton see that, and just give up? If she stays in, we are going to just keep on hammering her, you know.

February 10, 2008

Trying to have the conversation

In the light of the David Schuster incident, I had hope that men and women of good will would be able, finally, to sit down and have an open conversation about the enduring and deeply internalized sexism within our society.

What has been particularly frustrating for me, is that when I try to have any kind of discussion with men about sexism in our culture, I honestly feel like I'm speaking a foreign language to them. No matter how I try to get them to try to understand where I am coming from, what my life experience has been, most men, if not all, just don't get it. Worse, they don't appear to want to understand. And I am speaking of men who are my friends and closer, solid progressives every all.

A defensive wall goes up and I cannot seem to get them to at least acknowledge that my experience and point of view may be valid, or that I may have some legitimate concerns, or to admit that though they may not understand, they are willing to at least listen. Alas, no, because if I even bring it up, somehow I get the feeling that they think I am holding them personally responsible for the misogyny I see, and that I expect them to "fix" it. I hold neither position, but gawd-amighty, I sure would like to be able to at least have the conversation without being told that (a) I'm being too sensitive (b) I'm taking it too personally (c) I'm seeing things that aren't there.

On a related note, Nicholas Kristof looks at the challenges faced by ambitious women running for, or holding, political office in our democratic age.

When Women Rule (NYT)

In one common experiment, the “Goldberg paradigm,” people are asked to evaluate a particular article or speech, supposedly by a man. Others are asked to evaluate the identical presentation, but from a woman. Typically, in countries all over the world, the very same words are rated higher coming from a man.

In particular, one lesson from this research is that promoting their own successes is a helpful strategy for ambitious men. But experiments have demonstrated that when women highlight their accomplishments, that’s a turn-off. And women seem even more offended by self-promoting females than men are.

This creates a huge challenge for ambitious women in politics or business: If they’re self-effacing, people find them unimpressive, but if they talk up their accomplishments, they come across as pushy braggarts.

The broader conundrum is that for women, but not for men, there is a tradeoff in qualities associated with top leadership. A woman can be perceived as competent or as likable, but not both.

Cat Stevens

This may bring back some memories for some of you. From the way-back machine, Cat Stevens looking for a hard-headed woman.

America needs one too.


February 8, 2008

Heller Telephone Town Hall :The Straight Skinny

From my pal Dee in Winnemucca. Written at my request after she sent me a quick email telling me that she had listened in on one of Dean Heller's telephone town halls. The girl's got more stomach than I do.

Through a strange turn of coincidences, I was invited Thursday night to be on Congressman Dean Heller’s Town Hall telephone conference for rural voters. It was … enlightening, to say the least.

I had several favorite moments. One was the concern Heller expressed for the disenfranchisement of veterans. It seems, according to Mr. Heller, the Nevada Caucus unfairly excluded veterans who were overseas fighting for their country and therefore did not get to vote. I’ll just let that one speak for itself. Another favorite moment was when a self-identified conservative from Winnemucca asked why her party always has to “bow-down” to the liberals. I just laughed out loud. I think the world would be a better place if there was a lot more of that than there is.

Despite the fact voters at-large pay for the town hall teleconferencing, the meeting quickly turned to liberal-bashing, with specific reference to environmentalists. According to Heller, environmentalists want to shut down the public lands, prevent hunting/4-wheeling, and end the time-honored tradition of folks camping with their kids. Here’s a direct quote from Heller’s environmental speech, “At the end of the day they want to take your guns away.”

Wow. I’ve been an environmentalist for years and I didn’t know that. I must have missed a memo. Here all along I thought it was about conservation and using limited resources wisely.

It was concerning environmentalism that I had my second-favorite moment of the evening. A caller from Battle Mountain complained to Heller about not being able to eat the fish he catches because of the mercury content. Mr. Heller was sympathetic. He waxed poetic about his days as a boy when he would ride his bike to the Carson River, fish, and then eat what he caught. Without a hint of irony, Mr. Heller said, “My children can’t do that.” And then he went further and blamed the mercury content in the water on mining. Not to worry, though, because the problem can be fixed with money from the Superfund (that Dean Heller – what a joker!). In the end, Heller said the problem with mercury is a “state issue”, but the “state” can come to the “federal government” for help. By “help” he means “sympathy” and not “funding” because there’s no money left for those kinds of problems.

Here’s some other things you should probably know: Heller hates San Francisco liberals (who, to be fair, aren’t all that fond of him, either), supports making Bush’s tax cuts permanent in order to help the middle class (I assume that’s a conservative joke I don’t get), is for more coal-fired power plants and off-shore drilling, supports building a big-‘ole fence between ‘us’ and ‘them’, opposes amnesty for ‘them’, and also opposes repeat sex offenders. Oh, and he also feels very strongly that English should be the official language of America. I think that’s great. Of course, now we’re all gonna have learn it.

The more interesting aspect of the phone call was a poll Heller was conducting concerning the Berkley City Council. The BCC, as you probably know if you’re a regular watcher of FOX News (insert gagging noise), recently voted 6-3 to have a Marine recruiting station moved out of the city. This action followed two years of almost constant anti-war demonstrations in front of the building, which resulted in a negative impact on local businesses. In retaliation for their vote, Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced legislation that would cut off all federal funding to the City of Berkley. Congressman Heller supports the legislation and wants to know how you feel. Before you give him a big thumbs-up, you should know the federal funding is limited to UC Berkley, money for school lunches so poor kids can eat, and public safety. Education, nutrition, and ambulances. Very nice. That’ll show those liberals.

Buried in all this hatred and misunderstanding was an important nugget of good information. Heller noted he’s supporting HR 315, which would allow rural veterans to get their health care (when possible) at local clinics instead of driving hundreds of miles to get to the VA Hospital. In case you don’t know, the current compensation for vets who have to travel for health care is 11 cents a mile with a $6 deductible (this amount was set in 1978 by then President Jimmy Carter). By the bye, props to Heller’s helpful and polite staff for promptly calling me back with accurate information on this bill. If you support this bill, and I assume you do, let your representatives know.

Dee Holzel
The Winne-muckraker

Beyond the Pale

Can you imagine if someone had said this about Barack Obama and his daughters? About Michelle Obama? The shitstorm would be unbelievable.

DAVID SHUSTER: Bill, there's just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea's out there calling up celebrities, saying support my mom, and she's apparently also calling these super delegates.

BILL PRESS: Hey, she's working for her mom. What's unseemly about that? During the last campaign, the Bush twins were out working for their dad. I think it's great, I think she's grown up in a political family, she's got politics in her blood, she loves her mom, she thinks she'd make a great president --

SHUSTER: But doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?

But not when it comes to Hillary. No charge is too outrageous, no comment out of bounds. I've never considered myself a militant or radical feminist, but lately my bile is rising more and more every day. And where is Obama in all of this? Letting it happen. Saying nothing. He rides the wave of misogyny and hatred. That's because he's "above it all" and stands for a "new kind of politics." Whatever.

(H/T to Taylor Marsh)

Edited to add: I have stood with union members, though I've never been one. I have stood with veterans and the military, though I've never worn the uniform. I have stood with the GLBT community and marched in Gay Pride parades, even though I am straight. I have stood for civil/minority rights even though I am white.

Where the hell are our Democratic men? Why are Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Biden, Dodd, Kennedy, Dean, Schumer, Reid, etc, etc, etc, not screaming bloody murder about this shit?

February 5, 2008

Oh My, What a Shocker!


The gap in good press has widened since the New Hampshire primary, with Clinton dropping to 47% positive comments and Obama holding steady at 83% positive. NBC’s coverage has been the most critical of Clinton – nearly 2 to 1 negative (36% positive and to 64% negative) Conversely, ABC’s coverage was most supportive -- nearly 2 to 1 positive (63% v. 37%). CBS and FOX were more balanced – 50% positive comments on FOX and 56% positive on CBS.
And sadly:
Only 1 in 5 stories (20%) contained a discussion of any policy issue. By contrast, a majority of stories (57%) discussed the strategy and tactics of the contenders and nearly half (47%) discussed their prospects for becoming the party’s nominee, i.e., the campaign horse race.

Alicia Keyes: Superwoman

Everywhere I'm turning
Nothing seems complete
I stand up and I'm searching
For the better part of me
I hang my head from sorrow
Slave to humanity
I wear it on my shoulders
Gotta find the strength in me

Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman

For all the mothers fighting
For better days to come
And all my women, all my women sitting here trying
To come home before the sun
And all my sisters
Coming together
Say yes I will
Yes I can

Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman

When I'm breaking down
And I can't be found
And I start to get weak
Cause no one knows
Me underneath these clothes
But I can fly
We can fly, Oooohh

Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman

H/T metrolyrics.com

February 4, 2008

"I'd have to think about that."

Michelle Obama's response when asked if she would work for Hillary Clinton's election, should she be our party's nominee.

Well, alrighty then. First Obama says he can't guarantee his supporters will support Hillary, (I thought he was a leader?), and now this.

February 3, 2008


This powerful piece by Robin Morgan should be required reading.


Goodbye to the toxic viciousness . . .

Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary's "thick ankles." Nixon-trickster Roger Stone's new Hillary-hating 527 group, "Citizens United Not Timid" (check the capital letters). John McCain answering "How do we beat the bitch?" with "Excellent question!" Would he have dared reply similarly to "How do we beat the black bastard?" For shame.

Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged—and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.

Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan "If Only Hillary had married O.J. Instead!" Shame.

Goodbye to Comedy Central's "Southpark" featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC's vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame.


I was celebrating the pivotal power at last focused on African American women deciding on which of two candidates to bestow their vote—until a number of Hillary-supporting black feminists told me they're being called "race traitors."

So goodbye to conversations about this nation's deepest scar—slavery—which fail to acknowledge that labor- and sexual-slavery exist today in the U.S. and elsewhere on this planet, and the majority of those enslaved are women.

Women have endured sex/race/ethnic/religious hatred, rape and battery, invasion of spirit and flesh, forced pregnancy; being the majority of the poor, the illiterate, the disabled, of refugees, caregivers, the HIV/AIDS afflicted, the powerless. We have survived invisibility, ridicule, religious fundamentalisms, polygamy, teargas, forced feedings, jails, asylums, sati, purdah, female genital mutilation, witch burnings, stonings, and attempted gynocides. We have tried reason, persuasion, reassurances, and being extra-qualified, only to learn it never was about qualifications after all. We know that at this historical moment women experience the world differently from men—though not all the same as one another—and can govern differently, from Elizabeth Tudor to Michele Bachelet and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.


Goodbye to the accusation that HRC acts "entitled" when she's worked intensely at everything she's done—including being a nose-to-the-grindstone, first-rate senator from my state.

Goodbye to her being exploited as a Rorschach test by women who reduce her to a blank screen on which they project their own fears, failures, fantasies.

Goodbye to the phrase "polarizing figure" to describe someone who embodies the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make in this one. It was the women's movement that quipped, "We are becoming the men we wanted to marry." She heard us, and she has.

Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn't as "likeable" as they've been warned they must be, or because she didn't leave him, couldn't "control" him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!) Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn't bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She's running to be president of the United States.

Goodbye to the shocking American ignorance of our own and other countries' history. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir rose through party ranks and war, positioning themselves as proto-male leaders. Almost all other female heads of government so far have been related to men of power—granddaughters, daughters, sisters, wives, widows: Gandhi, Bandaranike, Bhutto, Aquino, Chamorro, Wazed, Macapagal-Arroyo, Johnson Sirleaf, Bachelet, Kirchner, and more. Even in our "land of opportunity," it's mostly the first pathway "in" permitted to women: Representatives Doris Matsui and Mary Bono and Sala Burton; Senator Jean Carnahan . . . far too many to list here.


Old woman are the one group that doesn't grow more conservative with age—and we are the generation of radicals who said "Well-behaved women seldom make history." Goodbye to going gently into any goodnight any man prescribes for us. We are the women who changed the reality of the United States. And though we never went away, brace yourselves: we're back!

We are the women who brought this country equal credit, better pay, affirmative action, the concept of a family-focused workplace; the women who established rape-crisis centers and battery shelters, marital-rape and date-rape laws; the women who defended lesbian custody rights, who fought for prison reform, founded the peace and environmental movements; who insisted that medical research include female anatomy; who inspired men to become more nurturing parents; who created women's studies and Title IX so we all could cheer the WNBA stars and Mia Hamm. We are the women who reclaimed sexuality from violent pornography, who put childcare on the national agenda, who transformed demographics, artistic expression, language itself. We are the women who forged a worldwide movement. We are the proud successors of women who, though it took more than 50 years, won us the vote.

We are the women who now comprise the majority of U.S. voters.

Hillary said she found her own voice in New Hampshire. There's not a woman alive who, if she's honest, doesn't recognize what she means. Then HRC got drowned out by campaign experts, Bill, and media's obsession with everything Bill.

So listen to her voice:

"For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.

"It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

"Women's rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak freely—and the right to be heard."

That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the U.S. State Department and the Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (look here for the full, stunning speech).


Me? I support Hillary Rodham because she's the best qualified of all candidates running in both parties. I support her because she's refreshingly thoughtful, and I'm bloodied from eight years of a jolly "uniter" with ejaculatory politics. I needn't agree with her on every point. I agree with the 97 percent of her positions that are identical with Obama's—and the few where hers are both more practical and to the left of his (like health care). I support her because she's already smashed the first-lady stereotype and made history as a fine senator, because I believe she will continue to make history not only as the first U.S. woman president, but as a great U.S. president.

As for the "woman thing"?

Me, I'm voting for Hillary not because she's a woman—but because I am.

February 2, 2008


This will break your heart and warm it at the same time. (NYT)