Words Worth Noting

Favorite Quotes

"Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing."— Madeleine L'Engle

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama - Democratic National Convention - TIME

Barack Obama - Democratic National Convention - TIME

He is not a perfect candidate, but once again proved that he can, in the face of daunting expectations, deliver a simply breathtaking speech at an absolutely pivotal moment. Masterful performance to match a brilliantly written speech. Conversational at times, lofty at others - and studiously serious throughout, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate that he possesses the demeanor of a plausible president. Superhumanly poised, he exhibited no jitters, never rushed, and married his own cadence to the rhythms of the audience's reaction.

Hitting Bush and McCain like a pro, he damned with faint praise, mocked with humor, and emphasized issues on which the Republicans are vulnerable.

In the process, Obama appeared to achieve every goal the pundits and political backseat drivers had set out for him in advance: he showed his heart, emphasized the economy, and, most of all, looked like a president. Worlds better than the revelatory 2004 convention speech that set him on the course to the nomination.

by Mark Halperin

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Komen NC Triangle Affiliate:

Sign up by June 3 to Run, Walk and Unite for the Cure


All are invited to join Dems United for the Cure
, a diverse group of Democrats and other progressives from around the Triangle coming together for the Race for the Cure for breast cancer, for universal health care, and for victory in November 2008.

This election year, it's clear that we work together or we fall apart, and this is a cause we can all support. Because 10 million women around the world could die from breast cancer in the next 25 years without the cure, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is fighting every minute of every day to save every life. That's why Hillary and Barack supporters alike will be walking and running together June 14 in the Race for the Cure with the hopes of raising as much money as possible to support this mission.

Every dollar raised will be invested in breast cancer education, screening, and treatment for underserved women in our community and in the national search for a cure. As one of the most respected charities in the U.S., Susan G. Komen for the Cure has received four stars, the highest rating possible, from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator, and was named one of America's 100 Best Charities by Worth Magazine.

This cause is particularly relevant right now. Both presidential candidates understand the need for an effective and comprehensive health care plan, including marshaling resources against breast cancer. In keeping with that commitment, our participation in the Race for the Cure contributes to the life-saving work of the Komen foundation while demonstrating to our community that what unites us is more important and more powerful than what divides us.

Participants can join
Dems United for the Cure using the paper Race Entry Form available at http://www.komennctriangle.org/images/RFTC_08entryform_DO.pdf .

Choose any of the "Open" (coed) Team options: One-mile fun run/walk, Open Competitive 5k run, Open Recreational 5k walk/run, or even "Sleep in for the Cure". Most of us will do the Open Coed Recreational 5k at 9 am, but we also have people in the competitive 5k at 7 am AND the one mile fun walk at 9:45 am. Regardless of activity, you'll be a part of our team, get a team shirt, and funds raised will count towards team totals.
Completed forms must be returned to Team Captain Carole Bell by Tuesday June 3 at 5pm for submission to the Komen foundation. Please download today and then fax the completed form to 919.942.6443 (attn: Carole Bell, tel 919-619-5918) or email cvbell@gmail.com to make arrangements for dropping it off in person.

Donating is an excellent way to contribute to the cause, and it's quick and easy:
Go to http://race.komennctriangle.org/goto/united
Click on the link on the right side that says "Support Dems United for a Cure". This link is located under the kicking donkey image.
Choose the amount to give and enter billing information.

Contact: Carole V. Bell M 919.619.5918
cvbell@gmail.com http://race.komennctriangle.org/goto/united

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dems Unite to Run, Walk, or Sleep In for the Cure

Now that the primaries are almost over, all are invited to help put the divisions of the campaign behind us by joining a diverse, Triangle-based team of Democrats and like minded progressives to run, walk, or donate to the NC Triangle Race for the Cure on June 14th. Over a dozen people in three counties have already committed to being a part of this team. We believe it's the perfect opportunity for us to start working and having fun together for an important common cause.

In this election year, it's clear that we work together or we fall apart, so here's a cause we can all agree on. The Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the cure funds breast cancer education, screening, and treatment for underserved women in communities like ours across the country and also supports the national search for a cure. That's why Democrats, Hillary and Barack supporters alike, will be running, walking, and fundraising together in support of the foundation June 14.

This event is fun and highly relevant right now. Both candidates understand the need for an effective and comprehensive health care plan in this country, including marshaling resources against breast cancer. In keeping with that commitment, our participation in the Race for the Cure demonstrates to our community that what unites us is more important and more powerful than what divides us.


With participants from Orange, Chatham, Durham, and Wake, we'll make a solid contribution to the cause of fighting breast cancer, have a visible presence at this major
community event, and demonstrate much needed Democratic Party unity across counties and candidates. And yes, there will be a cool Dems United for the Cure team T-shirt, which we'll all wear to show what we're walking for.

There's one thing you need to do today to show your support: Register Online. Online team registration is only open through midnight May 27. After that, new team members can use a paper registration form (available for download from the web site), which must be submitted to me by June 3.

Even if you can’t join us June 14, you can still make a contribution. Either sign up as a team member to "Sleep in for the Cure" or make a donation to the team. If you join our team and "Sleep in for the Cure", you can get your team t-shirt through the mail.


  1. Go to http://race.komennctriangle.org/goto/united and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  2. Click on the link that says "Join Dems United for the Cure".
  3. On the registration page select: "Open Recreational 5k Adult - Teams" to walk with our core group at 9 am. Registration is $25 per team member.
    • Or choose one of the other team activities such as the competitive 5k, 1 mile fun walk, or "Sleep in for the Cure" (also quite fun). You can be a part of our team, get a team T-shirt, and the registration fee and funds raised will count towards our team totals.
  4. After you submit the form, you'll receive an email confirming your registration.
    • When you register online, your confirmation explains how to use the Race Center web site to customize your personal fundraising page and e-mail friends using preexisting message templates provided by Race for the Cure. The Race Center will allow you to recruit teammates and supporters, track your progress and get fundraising tips.
    • As team captain, I'll also get a notice of that info including your email address so I can keep in touch about logistics like your team T-shirt and our progress overall.


Making a donation is an excellent way to support the work of the Komen foundation and is quick and easy:

  1. Go to our team page at http://race.komennctriangle.org/goto/united
  2. Click on the link on the right side of the page that says "Support Dems United for a Cure". This link is located under the kicking donkey image.
  3. That will bring you to the donation page where you can choose the amount you want to give and enter your billing information.

Thanks in advance for your support. Please give me a shout at cvbell@gmail.com if you have any questions, suggestions, or if there's anything I can do to help.

All the best,

Carole Bell cvbell@gmail.com

Team Captain, Dems United for the Cure

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Loving v. Virginia - Roanoke.com

Many people would like to draw a line between restrictions against interracial and same sex marriage, labeling one racist and obviously wrong, the other natural and right, but Mildred Loving, whose marriage challenged Virginia law in the 1960s, made no such distinction:

"Loving, whose husband was killed in 1975 by a drunken driver, eventually stopped giving interviews. But she broke her silence last year on the 40th anniversary of the ruling, to speak out in favor of gay marriage.

'I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry,' she said. 'Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights.'"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Declarations - Getting Mrs Clinton - Peggy Noonan on WSJ.com

Declarations - WSJ.com
All hail Peggy Noonan. With all due respect to David Brooks, for me, recently Peggy has been the right's most consistent voice of reason. And now this Wall Street Journal oped on the latest Clinton drama:

I think we've reached a signal point in the campaign. This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don't. There's no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don't. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don't, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will.

That's what the Bosnia story was about. Her fictions about dodging bullets on the tarmac -- and we have to hope they were lies, because if they weren't, if she thought what she as saying was true, we are in worse trouble than we thought -- either confirmed what you already knew (she lies as a matter of strategy, or, as William Safire said in 1996, by nature) or revealed in an unforgettable way (videotape! Smiling girl in pigtails offering flowers!) what you feared (that she lies more than is humanly usual, even politically usual). But either you get it now or you never will. That's the importance of the Bosnia tape.

Fired Up in Chapel Hill NC

Obama for America has finally come to the sky-blue dot in the semi-red state of North Carolina. This is our fearless, tireless team in their new home at 504 West Franklin.
Our kickoff meeting is this Saturday March 29 at 10 am.
We will soon see how fired up the Tar Heels are for Barack Obama.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Making the personal political: Another view on Obama's Big Speech

With thoughtful, measured analysis and uncommon historical context, Duke law prof Jedediah Purdy considers "A More Perfect Union" and debunks some of the more shallow criticisms leveled at it, noting, "the most principled political heroism has always grown up out of what Yeats called "the foul rag and bone shop of the heart"." Further, "King himself, far from being the universally accessible Tiger Woods of racial politics, said plenty of things that would have gotten him pilloried." It's a really smart, insightful commentary on what is already one of the most talked about speeches in recent history.

This is one of Purdy's most important contributions, exposing the false dichotomies and extremes presented by so many professional commentators:

So which is it: the "profile in courage" that the New York Times admired, the evasive cop-out that conservatives denounced or the failed tactic that horserace handicappers predicted would not placate white swing voters?....It was, for all its ambition, a tactical speech by a candidate in a corner. It's amusing to see some commentators chide Obama for going after the Clinton campaign here and here....Even Lincoln's speeches - the mythic standard Obama has managed to get himself thrown up against - are political through and through, full of wry, ironic digs at opponents (and outright laugh lines, which Obama couldn't risk). The idea that moral and rhetorical ambition can't coexist with running to win is a trap for Obama, one he's mostly managed to avoid. That kind of ambition is how a candidate explains why he wants to win, not a high-minded consolation prize."

Purdy also remarks at length on the honesty and singularity of the vision and voice put forth in "A More Perfect Union", placing the speech squarely in context alongside Obama's memoir Dreams of My Father.

Most important, he acknowledges that, in addition to being necessary means to an end, enabling Obama to secure political redemption in the eyes of the American public, the personal, revelatory tone of "the speech" was needed simply because that's the way change is made:

The reason to go through the unpleasant stuff Obama called up is that there is no other way. There is no alternative that is purely "rational", washed pure of unstable emotional elements, whether technocratic problem-solving or clean principles. Every redefinition of the rights and duties of American citizenship has come with a vision of dignity. From Abraham Lincoln to Lyndon Johnson and beyond, civil-rights residents have helped people give up (some of) the perquisites of race in favour of the dignity of belonging to a (more) free country. Franklin Roosevelt redefined frontier independence as requiring security against sickness, joblessness and poverty in old age. Ronald Reagan justified his takedown of Roosevelt's welfare state by reasserting, in sometimes beautiful political prose, that we had been stalwart frontiersmen all along. [italics are mine]

It's a really smart reflection. But don't take my word for it, everyone should really read the whole thing and tell me what you think!
read more digg story

Lessig Bets 'Wikipedia' Approach Will Transform Congress

A prominent Stanford law professor on Thursday launched an ambitious project that aims to use collaborative software to harness the extraordinary levels of pent-up political energy and dissatisfaction that voters have shown over the past two years with their members of congress.

read more | digg story

New CBS Poll: Most See Barack's Speech on Race as a Success

New Poll Shows Obama Speech Effective: "Most voters following the events regarding Senator Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright think Obama's speech was a success. Most agree with his thoughts on race, and think he did a good job explaining his relationship with Rev. Wright..." 1/4 of Dems say they are now MORE likey to vote for Barack.

read more | digg story

Friday, March 21, 2008

Story behind the story: The Clinton myth - Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen - Politico.com

Politico makes a well researched, but surprisingly bold and likely controversial assessment given Barack's recent troubles, "Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning."

Citing a variety of unnamed inside sources, they explain:
Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.
People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet."

McCain getting crushed by Dems in money war - Kenneth P. Vogel - Politico.com

And yet even as this AP report reveals a huge imbalance in financial terms in favor of the Democratic candidates and the record shows similar imbalances in primary turnout, the polls are telling a very different story. There, McCain is running strong with little paid media support. This should give any Democrat pause, a sense of mission, and a great deal of respect for the candidate we will face and the work we have to do in the Fall:

"John McCain had his top fundraising month in February, pulling in $11 million mostly after he all but secured the GOP presidential nomination with a collection of big wins in the Super Tuesday contests on Feb. 5.

But that was less than the $11.7 million the senator from Arizona raised in January, when he was still locked in a tight four-way race for his party's nomination, suggesting Republican donors have yet to coalesce behind their standard-bearer.

His February tally pales in comparison to the staggering sums raised by the two Democrats, raising troubling questions for Republicans as they look toward November and perhaps increasing the likelihood McCain will accept taxpayer cash for his general election campaign."

Full Faith

Writing for the New Republic EJ Dionne, author of "Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right," provides a fuller look at the place of Christian faith in Obama's progressive vision:
"In truth, Wright's statements highlighted by the press ran directly counter to the gospel Obama has been preaching: the message of Civil Rights Christianity, a decidedly multiracial and hopeful creed. Obama's emphasis on hope; his talk of struggle, organizing, and movement-building; his repeated references to 'the fierce urgency of now'-all openly echo the vocabulary of a civil rights cause steeped in the Scriptures. In particular, he invokes not the
side of Martin Luther King Jr. capable of great anger over injustice, but, rather, King's most conciliatory themes.

If Obama's approach is a sincere move (he is plain in his book that he became a Christian in part because he was 'drawn to the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change'), it is also a shrewd one. In trying to move the religious dialogue forward, Obama is drawing it back to a time when so many pastors were successfully allied with liberalism on the civil rights question that none other than Falwell scolded, 'Preachers
are not called upon to be politicians, but to be soul-winners.'

Civil Rights Christian language has many political advantages; most notably, it is resolutely centered not on the defeat of adversaries, but on their conversion. The conversion theme, and Civil Rights Christianity's notion of building a cross-racial 'beloved community,' fit almost perfectly with Obama's core message of political and racial reconciliation. 'We need to take faith seriously,' Obama writes in his book, 'not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal.'"

Richardson Endorses Obama - New York Times

Great timing, excellent statement by Bill Richardson:

"“I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” Mr. Richardson said in the statement, provided by the Obama campaign early Friday morning.

“As a presidential candidate, I know full well Senator Obama’s unique moral ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent
challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation.”"

A Thinking Man's Speech - Peggy Noonan

I even agree, at least partially, with Noonan's one caveat about the speech. Well worth reading in full. Key quote:
"it was a good speech, and a serious one. I don't know if it will help him. We're in uncharted territory. We've never had a major-party presidential front-runner who is black, or rather black and white, who has given such an address. We don't know if more voters will be alienated by Mr. Wright than will be impressed by the speech about Mr. Wright. We don't know if voters will welcome a meditation on race. My sense: The speech will be labeled by history as the speech that saved a candidacy or the speech that helped do it in. I hope the former."

E. J. Dionne Jr. - Another Angry Black Preacher

EJ Dionne's column is simply the smartest, most insightful and fair analysis I've seen on this whole affair:
"One of the least remarked upon passages in Obama's speech is also one of the most important -- and the part most relevant to the Wright controversy. There is, Obama said, a powerful anger in the black community rooted in "memories of humiliation and doubt" that "may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends" but "does find voice in the barbershop or the beauty shop or around the kitchen table. . . . And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews."

Yes, black people say things about our country and its injustices to each other that they don't say to those of us who are white. Whites also say things about blacks privately that they don't say in front of their black friends and associates.

..........I'm a liberal, and I loathe the anti-American things Wright said precisely because I believe that the genius of our country is its capacity for self-correction. Progressivism and, yes, hope itself depend on a belief that personal conversion and social change are possible, that flawed human beings are capable of transcending their pasts and their failings.

Obama understands the anger of whites as well as the anger of blacks, but he's placed a bet on the other side of King's legacy that converted rage into the search for a beloved community. This does not prove that Obama deserves to be president. It does mean that he deserves to be judged on his own terms and not by the ravings of an angry preacher."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Zbigniew on Morning Joe: Iraq through the eyes of a psychic

Former National Security Advisor Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski was prescient in his concerns on the eve of the United States-Coalition forces'invasion of Iraq. Five years later, on MSNBC's Morning Joe, he characterizes America as "bogged down" and "part of the problem" and explains why Barack Obama is the best leader to help us find a way out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chris Matthews Does Some Hardball Dancing with Ellen

When talk show hosts collide. It's not pretty. Chris Matthews starts off solid in his little intro dance on the Ellen Degeneres show, but then he gets creative and things go terribly, terribly wrong. Gotta love him. And I do.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hope lives in bereft dad

As the News Observer reports, "Hope lives in bereft dad" of Eve Carson:
"In a church packed with mourners, Carson's remarks echoed many of the themes his daughter did, in word and action. They are words to remember as our community confronts the violence that ended Eve Carson's life.
Bob Carson noted that the roots of crime, and the pain of violence, are dilemmas that have been shuffled from one generation to the next -- until now.
'... I must tell you -- even with an aching heart, and yet with such hope and love -- that the friends of Eve, and their generation, will not be denied. They've got miles to go, and missions to keep, and we will be so much better for their undaunted perseverance.'"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Keith Olbermann on Ferraro

Keith Olbermann on the politically cannibalistic Geraldine Ferraro uproar:
"Senator Clinton: This is not a campaign strategy. This is a suicide pact."

As much as I want this absurd, offensive Ferraro discussion to be over and fear its backlash may hurt Obama's chances, I am grateful for Keith Olbermann's contribution tonight on Countdown. This editorial comment says everything I've been feeling about this issue and much more and I thought it deserved to be shared.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Card-Carrying Civil Libertarian - New York Times

A Card-Carrying Civil Libertarian - New York Times: "IF Barack Obama wins in November, we could have not only our first president who is an African-American, but also our first president who is a civil libertarian."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Glenn Greenwald - Amnesty Day for Bush and lawbreaking telecoms

With the presidential election taking up all the oxygen and attention in the political sphere, legal expert and progressive blogger Glenn Greenwald keeps a critical eye on pivotal developments in the Bush administration's battle to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans and provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms:

"Chris Dodd went to the Senate floor last night and gave another eloquent and impassioned speech, warning of the consequences for our country from telecom amnesty. He specifically focused on the permanently and comprehensively suppressive effect it will have on efforts to investigate what the Bush administration did in illegally spying on Americans.

....The Dodd/Feingold amendment to remove telecom immunity from the bill just failed by a whopping vote of 31-67 -- 20 votes shy of the 50 needed for a passage. A total of 18 Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for immunity: Bayh, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Stabenow, Feinstein, Kohl, Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, Carper, Mikulski, Conrad, Webb, and Lincoln. Obama voted against immunity, and Hillary Clinton was the only Senator not voting."

So, how could this have happened? Glenn Greenwald makes an important observation:

"There's a temptation, particularly on days like today, to talk about what motivates Democrats" -- as though they're a monolith acting collectively with the same drives. They're not. Some do what they do because their only concern is a craven desire to be re-elected. Others believe in one thing but are afraid to vote that way (because they'll be called Soft on Terror, Liberal, etc.), while others still are influenced by Beltway money and other cultural pressures. Some are motivated by a combination of those motives. But a large number of elected Democrats vote in favor of the radical Bush agenda for a very simple reason: they believe in it.

....The fault lines in the Beltway aren't primarily between Republican and Democrat but between those who support the core values of our political establishment (as reflected by the Bush administration) and those who don't."

While Senator Clinton's domestic agenda is progressive, on this issue of privacy and on so many other critical foreign policy and national security issues, it seems clear that Senator's Clinton's values are not mine. So when I hear that there is little policy difference between Obama and Clinton it's frustrating. There are very serious differences as so many analysts have attested - on authorizing the war in Iraq, on the Iran censure resolution, on the telecomm amnesty (skipping the vote in this case), on Cuba. These issues matter, and it is time for Democrats who care about such isssues to take note and take a stand.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Obama's breakthrough among whites

A historical perspective from William Saletan, with a few, very important stats:

It was possible to argue, as Clinton implicitly did, that Obama's ceiling, like Jackson's, was limited. Obama hadn't cracked 40 percent of the white vote anywhere. He hadn't even cracked 37 percent. Pundits theorized that John Edwards' presence in South Carolina helped Obama by splitting white support that would otherwise go to Hillary Clinton. The theory implied that in a two-person contest, Obama still wouldn't draw much white support.

Tonight's results crushed that argument. Even if you don't count Obama's caucus victories in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, and North Dakota, he shattered his previous white-vote ceiling in 11 other states. In eight states, he crossed the 40 percent threshold. In Connecticut, he tied Clinton among whites. In California, he beat her. In Utah and Illinois, he won commanding majorities.

I don't mean to oversell what Obama accomplished tonight. It's easier to ascend from the 20 percents to the 40 percents when you've got only one opponent left. It's easier to climb from 30 percent to 40 percent than from 40 percent to 50 percent. And it's easier to win support from white Democrats than from white Republicans. But when you look at Obama's numbers tonight and compare them to Jackson's numbers 20 years ago, you're looking at a sea change. This is not a diversity-training exercise. It's a nationwide primary to choose the next president of the United States. The American color barrier, at its highest level, is collapsing.

That's been a central theme of Obama's campaign all along. The message of South Carolina, he suggested in his speech tonight, was that "maybe we don't have to be divided by race and region and gender." But that message didn't come from South Carolina. It came from California, Arizona, Connecticut, and the other states that voted Tuesday. And with those votes, an aspiration is becoming a reality. No matter whom you support for president, that's a victory worth celebrating.

Monday, February 04, 2008

YouTube - Why Lorna Switched from Clinton to Obama

Short, to the point, powerful endorsement from a leading prochoice advocate. It's about integrity.

Obama vs. the Phobocracy - washingtonpost.com

Obama vs. the Phobocracy - washingtonpost.com
Stunning editorial by Michael Chabon. After all the ink that has been spilled over this election it may seem pointless to post yet one more endorsement, one more argument asserting why one should support this candidate over that one. But Michael Chabon's essay is well worth reading if for no other reason than its rhetorical conviction and beauty.

But the most pitiable fear of all is the fear of disappointment, of having our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by this radiant, humane politician who seems not just with his words but with every step he takes, simply by the fact of his running at all, to promise so much for our country, for our future and for the eventual state of our national soul. I say "pitiable" because this fear of disappointment, which I hear underlying so many of the doubts that people express to me, is ultimately a fear of finding out the truth about ourselves and the extent of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into. If we do fight for Obama, work for him, believe in him, vote for him, and the man goes down to defeat by the big-money machines and the merchants of fear, then what hope will we have left to hold on to?

Thus in the name of preserving hope do we disdain it. That is how a phobocracy maintains its grip on power.

To support Obama, we must permit ourselves to feel hope, to acknowledge the possibility that we can aspire as a nation to be more than merely secure or predominant. We must allow ourselves to believe in Obama, not blindly or unquestioningly as we might believe in some demagogue or figurehead but as we believe in the comfort we take in our families, in the pleasure of good company, in the blessings of peace and liberty, in any thing that requires us to put our trust in the best part of ourselves and others. That kind of belief is a revolutionary act. It holds the power, in time, to overturn and repair all the damage that our fear has driven us to inflict on ourselves and the world.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Zakaria: The Wrong Experience | Newsweek Voices - Fareed Zakaria | Newsweek.com

Fareed Zakaria's analysis of the differences between the two remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination focuses on differences in policy, principle, and political will (most important).:
Zakaria: The Wrong Experience Newsweek Voices - Fareed Zakaria Newsweek.com:

"Obama has advocated easing the Bush-imposed ban on Cuban-Americans visiting the island and sending money to their relatives. He makes a broader case for a new Cuba policy, arguing that capitalism, trade and travel will help break the regime's stranglehold on the country and help open things up.

Clinton immediately disagreed, firmly supporting the current policy. This places her in the strange position of arguing, in effect, that her husband's Cuba policy was not hard-line enough. But this is really not the best way to understand Clinton's position. In all probability, she actually agrees with Obama's stand. She is just calculating that it would anger Cuban-Americans in Florida and New Jersey.

This is the problem with Hillary Clinton. She is highly intelligent, has real experience and is an attractive candidate. But she is terrified to act on her beliefs. In fact, she seems so conditioned by what she sees as political constraints that one can barely tell where her beliefs begin and where those constraints end."

So well said and well supported

Yes we can (video)

"In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dawn in South Carolina

A native Tar Heel's take on the results, reflecting what so many progressive North Carolinians were thinking and talking about yesterday:

Dawn in South Carolina:

"When I was growing up in North Carolina, our neighbor South Carolina played an important role in our lives--giving us something to look down on. We fell for too many racist demagogues through the years (y'all remember Jesse Helms?), but we weren't always run by them. We didn't have no rebel flag flying over our statehouse. We elected a racially moderate governor at the height of the civil-rights backlash in 1960. It was something to say for ourselves, and we appreciated South Carolina's making us look relatively all right.

After Saturday's primary, this Tar Heel can do nothing but offer a big, deep bow to the Democrats of South Carolina. Not because I was particularly rooting for Barack Obama over John Edwards--but because of these fine folks' rejection of the Clintons' gutter politics. The majority of white Democrats, in a state where the Democratic Party was so long the organized mob enforcing Jim Crow, repelled the Clinton campaign's unspeakably vile attempt to paint Barack Obama as some kind of coke-dealing, slumlord-pimping cousin of Al Sharpton--and their equally vile assumption that Deep South whites, whether they're Democratic or Republican, can be manipulated by coded racial divisiveness in 2008 the way they were in 1968. Or, to add a bit more vileness to the mix, their assumption that they could make South Carolina blacks believe that one of their own would be 'unelectable' by definition."

Stunning Facts from Obama's SC Primary Victory

Lots of important data points in last night's historic win....

No Bradley effect in SC.
One big surprise is that Senator Obama managed to increase his share of the White vote significantly over the most recent polls, garnering nearly 25% of that demo rather than the projected 10%, a rare if not unprecedented feat for an African American candidate, especially noteworthy in the "deep south". Second, the senator's share of the white male vote was almost even with Hillary's.

Here are a couple more points, from MSNBC.com:

"COLUMBIA, S.C. - There were two true stunners Saturday night: the size of Sen. Barack Obama’s margin of victory over Sen. Hillary Clinton — 28 percentage points — but just as significantly this number: total turnout for Democrats in their primary was greater than the turnout for the Republican primary in this state, which is one of the most loyally Republican in the nation.

Four years ago about 293,000 Democrats voted in the state’s primary: Saturday Obama alone got more than that number of votes.

Why did Obama win South Carolina and what does this triumph portend for
future contests?
One short answer: He and his campaign staffers

Big congrats and much respect is due to the South Carolina democratic party for their fairness, hard work, and impeccable organization!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Radical Love Gets a Holiday - New York Times

Radical Love Gets a Holiday - New York Times

An interesting, thoughtful perspective on MLK from the very smart, very funny frequent NPR contributor Sarah Vowell:
"Whoever wins the presidential election this year will be a Christian. (Unless of course it’s that one guy who is a member of a Muslim sleeper cell. Just when you think the electoral process couldn’t get any more stupid....) So the rest of us might as well suck it up and see if we can pick the Christian who is, if incapable of loving his or her enemies, the one who seems least likely to drum up a bunch of extra, new enemies to hate."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The hardball master has taught Hillary well | Andrew Sullivan - Times Online

One of my favorite conservative writers, Andrew Sullivan, nails the thinking behind the Clinton camp's Machiavellian by way of Karl Rove political calculations and machinations of the past two weeks:

The hardball master has taught Hillary well Andrew Sullivan - Times Online: "The Chicago columnist Don Rose explained the logic clearly enough: “They’re not really racists, they just want to stress that Obama hasn’t really transcended race and that a person of colour may not be electable. Think about it, folks. Over and over again.”

The hardball tactics of Rove have defined American political life for a long time. The Clintons have now shown they have learnt from the master. The question for the Democrats is whether they want a candidate who can play the Rove game as cynically and as brutally as the Republicans. Or whether they want a new start and a new politics. That’s what is at stake now in the Democratic race. And one side has shown its true colours."

Weddings - New York Times

I don't usually blog about wedding stories, but this is a great unexpected love story and a lovely perspective on recognizing love:

"...They met on whirlwind encounters in 14 countries, and on one of those trips, they bought her engagement ring in Edinburgh.

They were married on Dec. 29 by the Rev. Glen Robyne, a United Methodist minister and Mr. Robinson’s nephew, at the Old Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach. The nondenominational service had American Indian touches and also included a friend reading a Portuguese poem and Mr. Robinson’s oldest son, Lawrence, reading a French poem.

Several guests said that they had come halfway around the world to witness the wedding of Ms. Thompson, who had an explanation for why she finally said yes.

“When he looks into my eyes,” she said, “there is adoration there that makes me feel wonderful about me. That’s what you should really look for in someone. Because if you feel wonderful about yourself, you can do things.”"

Hillary, Barack, Experience - New York Times

Hillary, Barack, Experience - New York Times: "Mrs. Clinton’s strength is her mastery of the details of domestic and foreign policy, unrivaled among the candidates; she speaks fluently about what to do in Pakistan, Iraq, Darfur. Mr. Obama’s strength is his vision and charisma and the possibility that his election would heal divisions at home and around the world. John Edwards’s strength is his common touch and his leadership among the candidates in establishing detailed positions on health care, poverty and foreign aid.
Those are the meaningful distinctions in the Democratic field, not Mrs. Clinton’s spurious claim to “35 years of experience.”"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jon Robin Baitz: Leaving Los Angeles (Part Three: Epilogue) - Entertainment on The Huffington Post

Jon Robin Baitz: Leaving Los Angeles (Part Three: Epilogue) - Entertainment on The Huffington Post

A heartfelt account about the personal costs of the ongoing writers' strike from one of TV's most successful and outspoken creators, Jon Baitz, formerly of ABC's Brothers and Sisters. It's interesting when the labor struggle involves some of the most privileged among us:

"It came as no particular shock that the head of ABC Studios very politely fired me Friday evening. 'What did I think was going to happen?' is not an unreasonable question. I have not, for someone with a show on the air, been particularly politic about the strike; specifically the media moguls and their polarizing intractability. The head of the studio said it was a bad day, he was making a lot of these calls. I felt sorry for him. I really did. Not so bad for myself. Still, I guess I no longer have any relationship to Brothers & Sisters or to the studio. Just a very gracious, exceptionally polite 'bye-bye.'"

American Pie in the Sky?

Columbia Law Professor Patricia Williams writes an excellent analysis/indictment of our image-obsessed national political psyche in the current issue of the Nation magazine, daring us to rise above the incessant, reductive, and ultimately degrading spin this election season. The title of her piece, "American Pie", however, betrays the persistently challenging, perhaps even impossible, nature of that goal:
American Pie:
"I hope that we Americans can resist the vicious vacuity of politics at the level of whether Tara Reid has hit 'scarily skinny.' We will have enough to deal with as the right's Rovian spinmeisters kick into action, wrapping both Obama and Clinton in sticky webs of hybridized stereotypes. She will be too 'mannish,' he too 'boyish.' She'll be too familiar, he too foreign. He'll be a wimp, she'll be a pimp. Yet this is an extraordinary moment in American history--we have our first serious black and female presidential candidates. It is my audacious little hope that the two of them, in whatever order, will become running mates by November. They must not fall prey to those who would love to see them wound each other before then, in the scramble to be top dog."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hillary’s Free Pass - New York Times

Hillary’s Free Pass - New York Times: "My own favorite theory is that this week, Hillary was a stand-in for every woman who’s overdosed on multitasking. They grabbed at the opportunity to have kids/go back to school/start a business/become a lawyer. But there are days when they can’t meet everybody’s needs and the men in their lives — loved ones and otherwise — make them feel like failures or towers of self-involvement. And the deal is that they can either suck it up or look like a baby.
The women whose heart went out to Hillary knew that it wasn’t rational. She asked for this race, and if she was exhausted, the other candidates were, too. (John McCain is 71 and tired and nobody felt sorry for him.) The front-runner always gets ganged up on in debates. If her campaign was in shambles, it was her job to fix it or take the consequences. But for one moment, women knew just how Hillary felt, and they gave her a sympathy vote. It wasn’t a long-term commitment, just a brief strike by the sisters against their overscheduled world."