Monthly Archives: April 2008

Supreme Court Hearts Big Brother

Perhaps John Paul Stevens, 88 years old, just signaled that perhaps he is ready to retire, providing yet another reason why this is an incredibly important presidential election.

The Supreme Court just announced its decision (6-3) on Tuesday in the Voter ID case in Indiana, which promises to create some confusion in next Tuesday’s primary voting there. The Case focused on the state’s right to impose voter ID requirements on a voter’s constitutional right to vote. Unlike the literacy test and poll tax, which the Court has deemed to be unconstitutional, the Court this time sanctioned the states to suppress voting (disenfranchising voters) by requiring a government issue photo ID before casting a vote.

Problem here is that 18% do not have such photo identifications; 16% elderly voters do not have the required photo ID and 16% of voters without a college education do not have such a photo ID. Related problems include cost of the ID and cost of the secondary documents needed to get the ID.

In addition to suppressing votes, the photo ID requirement plays into a larger condition exacerbated by Bush’s America: namely a national ID narrative, and Orwellian surveillance state. The Real ID Act, enacted in 2005, requires a “national” drivers’ license that private corporations– like Accenture, Unysis– input personal biographical information into a national database, sells the data to other companies and advertisers as well as shares it with insurance companies and potential employers.

Important firewalls protecting private data are circumvented as individual voters and drivers lose control over their own personal info. In addition, persons and groups of people (like the poor, black and elderly) who are not included in the data base, even more insidiously become the excluded other in society.

The bottom line is that you ain’t nobody in this new world, if Acenture or Unisyss don’t know your bio and medical condition, and if they don’t have your information, you can’t vote, and are not considered a citizen. Is this what Jefferson wanted?

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Jeremiah Wright doing Obama a Favor

By acting like the cartoon he has accused YouTubers of making him, Jeremiah Wright may have done Barack Obama a huge favor, if the Obama campaign plays it right.

Before this week, Obama knew that the Jeremiah Wright issue, right or wrong, was going to plague him all the way to the presidency. Wright appeared on Bill Moyers Friday and sounded thoughtful, insightful and reassuring. he underplayed his relationship with Obama and this appearance made it difficult for Obama and others to discount some of Wright’s more outrageous snippets about AIDS. Quite the opposite, Wright’s comments on Moyers challenged America to have the sort of race dialogue that Obama proposed last month in his Philadelphia race speech. Problem is, while Wright sounded pastoral and philosophical, the sniping against Obama for having a relationship with Wright continued.

Well, no more.

The mainstream media does not do well with subtleties. Nor does it do well with meta narratives that fail to play well in sound bites.

It couldn’t handle the possibility that Wright and Obama for that matter were making truth claims that might really challenge the hegemonic master race narrative in 2008 America. This is the narrative that has little institutional memory and almost no recognition of racism as an institutional or structural concept. Since race in america is more prevalently represented as an individualistic concept, the idea of the renogade Wright is something more manageable. The press can deal with Obama shunning his former pastor. Just look at this mornings headlines. Okay, thank you Mr. Wright, you have helped Obama to brush off some some increasingly heavy and distracting baggage.

Hillary Clinton is like my Cat

Our cat is 16 years old. He has had miraculous recoveries from more near death experiences than I can count, and by now has got to be on the 9th of his 9 lives.

Not long ago,

The cat had thyroid problems, lost half its body weight, received radiation treatments, and was on a death watch. He survived and has gained back most of his body weight.

A few months later, the cat had a smell of death about it. The vet told us he was dying of cancer and recommended we put him to sleep. we came within a couple hours of doing so, and then told the vet to let the cat hang on over the weekend so we could say our family good-byes. by time monday came around, the cat had responded to the antibiotics (a misdiagnosis. it was an ear infection), and came home.

Now the cat is spryly (for a 16 year old) jumping on the counter tops and peeing on the basement floor. In fact, his piss is so powerful that we can’t get the smell to go away, and now we cannot sell our house. Over the weekend a prospective buyer came back to the house three times, was taking measurements for her own furniture, and by all counts seemed ready to make an offer, and then at the last minute, backed out because of the smell in a small spot next to the furnace. The buyer thought her own cat would respond poorly to the smell and didn’t want her own cat to pee in the same spot, and so she went elsewhere.

sound familiar?

hillary has come back from the dead several times now, and each time, she continues to pee on the floor, leaving a stench that is going to force voters to go elsewhere.

key: Hillary=coco the cat; the prospective buyer=voters this november; cat piss= scorched earth

Closing in on the Democrat’s End Game

A funny feeling emanates when Terry McAuliffe says the nominating fight will end by june 15th. Not the feeling of relief one might expect. Just a feeling of, ut oh, what kind of sh*t is up their sleave now? just today, the NC guv. Mike Easley  is announcing support for Hillary.   Why announce unless NC is in play?  Although she still needs to win about 70% of the pledged delegates to take the nomination, it sure doesn’t feel like they are giving up. just the opposite. Bill is now advisor in chief of the campaign and is pushing his “we aint quitters” mantra.  And while Barack suddenly seems tired, bored or, more likely, like he finally hit the campaign marathon wall, hillary is looking pluck and cheerful as the end game for indiana and north carolina begin to play out.  Were she to win indiana and come close, or even win in NC, the nomination will be pulled from Obama’s grasp, and the real death match with commence.  Is Barack up to it? i hope so but am not convinced.  Hillary has lived her whole life for this.  let’s see what happens

Jeremiah Wright is Right

Jeremiah Wright has important things to say about race and religion in America. The test for America is whether it is willing to listen and incorporate Mr. Wrights insights into a larger conversation about these topics. Such a conversation would be much more informative than the worthless conversations about “bitterness” and so forth.  The test for the media is whether it is willing to go beyond sound bites to give credence to the context of his remarks. 

Last Friday, BIll Moyers devoted an entire hour to an interview with Jeremiah Wright.  Initial reporting of this interview by the mainstream media focused exclusively on the last 5-7 minutes of the interview, which is the only time Wright mentioned Barack Obama. The media does an injustice to Wright, to Obama and to the country by excluding about 90% of Wrights comments which were insightful, and incredibly informative.

Wright was speaking about the Black Church as a different cultural phenomenon than the White Church.  Not better and not worse but different. He placed the church within the context of slavery, jim crow and civil rights.  What emerged from the interview was a strong rationale for why Obama would have joined the church and stayed with it for 20 years.   The message is one of empowerment and pride.  The key is not black separatism as Chris Matthews at MSNBC and Fox imply. It has everything to do with viewing christianity and the church through the lens of the African American experience.

Can the mainstream press deal with this perception?  Can it deal with something outside its eurocentric comfort zone?  These, i believe, are the real questions, and how the media handles them might well say more about Obama’s chances to win the presidency than we might care to admit.

 

Barack out- Foxed

I had real mixed feelings seeing clips of Barack Obama being interviewed by Chris Wallace today on Fox. I hate fox news and think there is little redeemable about its broadcast. I thought it was the right decision for Obama to boycott appearing on Fox, for as their running count had it more than 700 days.

So why appear? one of his aides suggested he would take fox on.  he didn’t.  Apparently he went on fox to 1) show he wasn’t a coward and 2) curry favor with fox viewers, many of whom he had trouble with in Pennsylvania.

I assume these are the folks for whom Hillary downed a shot and talked about hunting, and who Obama suggested were bitter.  

Obama ostensibly went on Fox to appeal to reagan democrats.  problem is he wont get their votes in November, and probably doesn’t need them, and certainly shouldn’t count on them.

Fox is the network that has spread faux political issues about Obama not wearing a lapel pin, about how his jeremiah wright relationship is a disqualifer for president and how he is muslim.  Hardly the sort of misinformation that should be smiled at or at least, not taken on directly. And this was his chance to tell Chris wallace that the Fox narrative is damaging to a democratic society, or at the least that wallace, the son of mike wallace should be ashamed of his lack of dad’s integrity and talent.

Obama did none of this.  he held the conversation to a standard of civil discourse; little more and nothing less.

so, is this how obama is planning to respond when the swift boating begins in earnest?  if it is, his appeal to the voters’ better angels might well go up in flames. 

In my opinion, obama needs to pick a fight with fox about their rampant spread of misinformation which has successfully filtered onto other mainstream media notepads.  Short of that, I’m not sure how his response will be any more successful that John Kerry’s in 2004.

 

If Hillary Doesn’t Win, Nobody Will

The media is reporting a growing tension within the democratic party that has the potential to destroy chances to stop the McBush dynasty in November.

The tension pits Obama’s “new politics” against Clinton’s search and destroy politics.

Cable and the blogosphere are reporting this evening that members of Congress–rep. james clyburn (dem. whip)– are suggesting that clinton believes she cannot win the nomination, and yet the campaign is doing everything it can to make sure Obama does not win the election in November, thus, the thinking goes, enhancing her chances in 2012.

The news here is that the press is finally naming an obvious strategy which has been apparent to many for several weeks. But once named, the good news is that perhaps superdelegates and others will now inform her that if this continues, she will never get their votes, not now, nor in 2012.

Obama refuses to return fire, a deliberate strategy that goes to his “new politics,” which, he says, endeavors to raise the dialogue above personal destruction.  This approach is designed to use his opponent’s weight against her. He seems to be banking on the possibility that Hillary’s scorched earth will envelope her own campaign.  

This strategy banks on the inherent decency and intelligence of the voter and on a media that will forego the food fight for the cspan-like dialogue.  Risky indeed.