Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On Barack

Barack Obama spoke recently at CollegeTown, IN (really, you've got two choices, one sucks one doesn't).

Awesome.  The crowd was huge, I know, it was his kind of town but still - he had all ages and all races and all types.  It was an experience.  I especially liked how he called BS on the 'gas tax suspension', and followed it up with how he believes it should be handled.  Also loved the emphasis on 'ending the game' instead of voting in someone who can 'better play the game'

  • wow.  what a crowd.  all ages, all races.  someone fainted even before he arrived...
  • cool "Yes we can" song/chant thing going on.  good video
  • baron hill gives same intro he gave hil-hil, follows with Endorsement
  • he acts so young!  the way he shook baron hill's hand was awesome, that youthful, shake/grab with the half hug
  • witty, check.
  • goes into great detail about the primary in IN, where to vote, when, how
  • shout out to baron hill
  • will replace white house bowling alley with basketball court
  • witty, check.
  • people still yelling I love you
  • ----------------------------------------------------------
  • why run?  references King, 'urgency of now'
  • afghanistan = ok, iraq = nope
  • 'issue touching' goes domestic
  • avg family has lost $1000 in income in 7.5 years
  • health premiums have gone up 47% in 7.5 years
  • all this issue touching goes to his larger point - the URGENCY of now
  • goose bumps, check.
  • america is tired of 'tear-down politics' - time for lifting up
  • spontaneous chant of "Yes we can", check.
  • pokes a little fun, bush won't be on ballot in november. 
  • pokes a little fun, doesn't want to go on cousin cheney's family hunting party. witty, check.
  • have to change washington cuz their policies will live on after they're gone, if we don't
  • mccain = bush x3, including the economy.......although McCain said originally that the bush tax cuts offended his conscience
  • someone faints
  • here's the note exactly as it was taken:
               abs(clinton-obama)<<<<<<(abs(or(clinton, obama)-mccain))
  • which i think means that the differences between hil-rod and barack are tiny compared to those between the democratic party and mccain, and obama goes on to promise a unified democratic party in november, win or lose the primary
  • drug + insurance lobbying > $1 billion in 10 years
  • $1 billion / day oil imports
  • we don't need someone who can play hte game better (as say opponents), we NEED SOMEONE TO END THE GAME
  • On the Gas Tax Suspension Idea: mccain jumps on it, hrc says 'me too'.....reality?  $28 savings in 3 months, less cash to fix roads and bridges.  is a GIMMICK so that politicians can act like they're doing something and avoid the real issues
  • his answer?  repeal bush cuts, give middle class tax cut, focus on long term energy strategy centered on renewables.  emphasizes he said this in detroit, not to an environmental group
  • emphasizes he went to Wall Street and said end the tax cuts for the wealthy.  says 'wall st can prosper only if main st can too'
  • another fainting
  • $400 million/day in iraq.....but they have oil revenue they're not investing!
  • moves on to education....need to emphasize on, all ages, pay teachers better, have high standards but not a single, hig-stakes standardized test situation
  • $4000 college tuition credit, every year, in exchange for national service - habitat for humanity, homeless shelter, etc
  • national security....won't hesitate to strike enemies, to defend america
  • but will use force wisely
  • emphasizes better support troops (references to homeless vets, the GI bill, medical care)
  • iraq was a distraction that made us less safe
  • not just end the war - end the mindset that took us there, the politics of fear, focus on diplomacy, gives JFK quote, 'don't negotiate our of fear, rather, don't fear to negotiate'
  • restore america as leader in world, close guantanomo, restore habeas corpus
  • will obey the constitution
  • unite not divide, talks about the campaign as something they decided they wanted to be able to be proud of, win or lose.  election is about YOU, not HRC, me, MCC.....but the opponents want to make it about me (obama) to distract from the YOU and the ISSUES
  • finishes with some of his story, its (or hrc's) possibility only in america, quotes the declaration of independence, emphasizes that reality <<< our ideals

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On Voting

Went to vote today and watched a man get turned away for lack of ID.  A homeless man.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Live blogging Random Computer Exam Proctoring

3:38 - start time.  1 student sadly missing.  too bad...
3:45 - walk around room for 15th time...too much coffee!
3:53 - nothing has happened.
3:58 - officially give up on missing student coming.  too bad...
3:58 - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
4:18 - wha-?  mmmm... just 10 more minutes...zzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, April 25, 2008

On Hil-rod

Hillary spoke recently in CollegeTown, IN (really, you've got two choices.  one sucks, one doesn't). 

Full disclosure, I'm an Obama fan.

I liked it.  Left me feeling somewhat blah in places, but I especially liked the national service academy idea, and am intrigued by the Build America Bonds idea.  Still thinking through the various healthplans we hear about.

Not so much: divisive rhetoric, fake rhetoric, and statistics.  (There are lies, damned lies, and statistics") ~ someone famous.  Also, the first student who spoke as an example of the need for better aid for students.....was awful. 

Somehow this kid racked up $70k+ in debt for an undergraduate education, along with $17k in credit card debt.  He said, in effect, that 'you get these predatory credit card offers from day 1 and you know, I started with a $500 limit and it got increased to $5,000, now I owe $17k.  As a student, you know, you spend, you have to spend...'  WHAT?   Personally, either this kid is out-of-state or he's living the high life.   I believe in education and I believe the government should do more to make education affordable.  BUT, I don't think that people should be encouraged to drop ridiculous $$$$ at out-of-state schools and expect taxpayers to dime up for it.  There's better uses for that money.

The way he talked, I just heard 'me' generation written all over it.  <Sigh>.


  • baron hill and hillary (hill and hil, get it, hehe) fulfilled that classic elementary school joke, 'did you two call each other last night to plan your outfits?'
  • baron hill gave some weird introduction about 'Tell me X is not good for Indiana!?' - repeat with Y, Z, etc
  • awkward comments to said CollegeTown.
  • too much bush-bashing.  boring, tired, annoying cheapshots.
  • contrast to Obama - HRC says 'my campaign', he says 'our campaign'
  • conciliatory mention of Obama - they both wouldn't have been able to do what they're doing 10, 20, x years ago (this is followed by the expected But....)
  • says she has specific things, she has always stood by them.  like NAFTA, right?
  • refers to Republicans as 'the other side' demeans them.  does it again.
  • thought: compared to obama, rhetoric seems divisive - the bush-bashing, demeaning the republicans...
  • more bush-bashing: he ruined the economy - look how great things were in the 90s - 22.7 million jobs created, $7000 income boost to middle-class.  POINT: hard to argue mr. clinton had anything to do with the internet revolution and subsequent dot com bubble.  those gains were coming anyway.  The income boost?  it's not clear if she adjusted for inflation.  since she's a politician, probably not.  ....adjusted for inflation, income would have risen 38% in nominal terms over that time period...
  • she repeats how the 90s were the decade of peace and prosperity....which one didn't the republicans like?  POINT: completely Amero-centric.  so, if that's her attitude, how will things change? 
  • so, bush ruined the economy, she promises to revisit trade agreements... in fact, time-out on all trade agreements.  what does this mean?
  • it's indiana, so she promises to help manufacturing.  tax subsidies or something.
  • Build America Bonds.  neat idea
  • proposes an 'energy space race' hmmmmm
  • promises 8 million jobs.  is that: eight million new jobs?  eight million more jobs?  eight million jobs saved?  if Random Dime Shop goes out of business and Random Shoe Shop replaces it in the strip mall, does that count?
  • healthcare:  notably forgets to mention patients when listing off hte parties to her coalition.  points out that insurance companies spent $50 billion avoiding covering people.  points out Obama's plan (according to Random Experts), will leave 15 million uncovered...hers makes it mandatory so all are covered.
  • students, student aid, education: one example is of young, middle-class, black girl, joined national guard to get through school, says she is training to go to iraq in 2014.  fuck that.  next example, Hillary introduces him as having $100k in student debt.  He says, I have 70k.  Oops.  Also: who in the !bleep! goes about racking up $70,000 in debt (+ $17,000 in credit cards) to get an undergraduate degree?????????  ??? ?????????????
  • no more FAFSA?  more Pell.  more Stafford. 
  • i like this: national service academy!
  • and stuff about mortgate criss, iraq, and viewing the election as a hiring decision.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cat, the Owl, and the Eating Utensil

Nevermind the title.

Sitting at this wonderful little cafe, on the porch, having a chat with this nice lady about what makes the place awesome.  It's the people, of course ... the food is  usually great but you can never trust them to actually have exactly what you want, and more often than not it will arrive with their own little twist on your idea of your meal. 

It's a place of community.  Last night, The Fatted Calf played a nice night of bluegrass and general fun, patio was packed.  Any weekend morning, place is packed for breakfast.  Etc etc.  The kind of place you can play scrabble at once per week, and bring your own food some nights.

The kind of place where the waiter cares about who you are and how you treat him.  Go to Random Chain Restaurant and you get ... worshipped?  What else do you call it when You Are Always Right ?  Here, as we were discussing, especially this particular waiter, you get treated according to who you are.  So, if you show up in a huge group on a random Sunday night, when the place is traditionally dead, and you get upset because service is slow because there's only a single waiter because they didn't know you were coming because you couldn't be bothered to call ahead...well, you get the treatment you deserve.  I watched the following exchange:

Customer: "Excuse me, my salad is cold.  Could you microwave it?"
Waiter: "We don't have a microwave." (exit stage right)

Awesome.  Actually, double awesome.  He told them to call ahead next time, all the while treating them to the evil eye. 

Back to today:

I mean, the place looks nice, especially at night, but let's be real - it looks nice in that sort of quaint, dumpy way that dive cafes (with amazing food and drink) might.  The waiter is walking around in 10 year old dirty black Carhartts with a bandana on his head.  And...

And a young couple shows up, acting all European and all over each other, they order a bottle of wine, he brings it out, lays out the glasses, skillfully decorks it, pours a taste, and hands it to the young man.  With a look of pleasant, mild surprise, the young man has a smell, a taste, smiles at his lady, and then both glasses are poured and the beautiful afternoon in the sun picks up again.

I applauded him as he passed :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


It just seems like Obama is truer.  He is acting out who he is, doing only what he could do.  I see Hillary as more calculating, with her message vacillating from guns to trade to whatever the flavor of the moment might be, and without a core centrality that connects it all.

I read Obama's Dreams From My Father.  From it, and watching him, listening to him campaign, I see him as someone from a diverse, poor background, who has truly wrestled with questions of race and unity.  In Chicago, before law school, he organized a dispirited and economically-depressed neighborhood, brought it together, and inspired them to win basic services from the city (that had been neglected).  Now, when pressed by the 'gay press', for example, on why he doesn't do more interviews with them - he responded that he gets the same criticism from the black press and from many other 'niche' group pressi.  He responded that he doesn't want to put constituencies in boxes, separate them, and give each a separate message prepared especially for them.  He wants to reach the whole audience, with one message, and bring them together.  I see this coloring of unity and organizing all about him. 

He also seems to have an ability to pick out the neglected cracks, the empty spaces between boxes, to say what needs to be said.  Listening to his speech in Philadelphia I felt he spoke in such a way that the mere words themselves were healing. 

I think he has a message that is so integral to who he is and so tightly connected with itself that attacks on him are beaten off almost automatically.  The 'bitter' controversy, with its so immediate attacks by Clinton and McCain, seems to have glanced off him like nerf balls.  Because, because because because, he speaks the Truth and he means it. 

This is a late night confused post but it seemed like a good idea.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

On Material Bigotry

I think I might be a material bigot. I hope so.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Movie: No Country for Old Men

...was a good movie.

I think it was a movie about violence. Violence, death, murder - it was so omnipresent in the movie, so placeless. I felt like the movie was intended to hit the viewer with the baseball-bat-of-violence, so to speak - as if it was meant to force acknowledgment of something so common, so brutally accepted that it goes unnoticed in normal context - how sad is the meaning behind those words, 'normal context.'

The killer used, as his 'weapon of identity,' the same tool used to slaughter cattle. How are cattle slaughtered? Led, one by one, completely unaware, into a place where a machine is placed against their head and a button pressed, causing a metal rod to explode into the brain and back out again. The first man the killer killed, aside from the hapless deputy who had to be killed for escape - this first man, however, he was killed randomly, senselessly, inevitably ..... the killer took the deputy's squad car and pulled a man over. He walked up with the oxygen taken and the cattle-killing machine attached to it (powered by the oxygen tank), told the man to get out of the car, the man, unknowingly, powerlessly, gets out, saying, 'What's all this about?', looking confused and unaware, even when the killer pressed the machine to his forehead - he kept right on standing there, 'What's all this about?'.....pop

The man was led to slaughter like a bovine - as was the audience! I personally find genius in this film. The audience itself! we knew something wasn't right, it was so obvious, but still we didn't came as a surprise, the sudden, helpless brutality of it. I felt like the filmmakers led the audience to slaughter.

Two final and interesting points -

Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson. Total red herrings in this movie - esp. Woody. They didn't really do anything, not at all like the audience would expect upon recognizing them in the movie. Brilliant, strategic casting decision.

Second, the murders. I don't have time to analyze the thing to its fullest, but it seemed like the random, awful, reminder-of-your-helpless-mortality murders were the graphic ones. When main characters died, there was respect. The guy running with the money, he died but only a glimpse of his body was shown, after the fact. His wife, hunted down by the killer in a sort of ultimate, make-the-main-story-murder-penultimate (since the story mostly centered on the hunting and killing of the husband) way, was killed but all that was shown was the killer being in her bedroom when she returned from burying her mother, they talked, she refused to play his coin-flipping game, and then he is shown leaving the house, checking his boots for [blood].

Good movie.