Monday, June 30, 2008

Photos from England

From the bus tour on the first day. We particularly noticed the signs, politely telling people what to do or not to do -- but does anyone know what a sign saying "Weak Subway" could possibly mean?

Great Line of The Day

Well, two actually.

Matt Bin guest blogging at Canadian Cynic highlights the plight of the families of Canadian veterans suffering from chronic conditions brought about through their service:

I've been saying since the start of our work in Afghanistan that the price of this war isn't tallied today, but starting ten years from now and carrying on to the end of this generation. We've sent thousands of Canadians into an intense war zone -- many of them reservists -- and we must bear the cost of dealing with the consequences of our little national adventure as great and as long-term as those costs might be.

If we don't actively and cheerfully bear those costs, if we don't care for the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of the wounded and their families for as long and as far as they need us, then we have failed as a nation. The "support the troops" brand of politicization, crude and inane as it might be, requires those who subscribe to it -- most notably our current government -- to actually put in place the infrastructure and mechanisms by which these troops are actually supported.

As Matt points out, Veterans Affairs Canada has seen a marked improvement in the provision of service over the past decade but VAC is still an inflexible organization, either unwilling or unable to assess the needs of wounded and disabled veterans and their families beyond a set of rigid and often pointless rules.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And in other news...

Henry Morgentaler is to receive the Order of Canada. The usual suspects are not pleased:

It is dreadful that this honour should even be considered for a man who's [sic] only claim to fame is that he is a professional killer of defenseless babies in their mothers' wombs.

Hmm, how can we work a little racism into this? No prob, Kate McMillan's winged monkeys rise to the challenge:

Morgentaler is getting an award from a Haitian voodoo princess? Who cares?

Ah, well. Congratulations, Henry. Long overdue and well-deserved.

Sunday nostalgia

Remember when...

"cop killer" used to mean someone who killed a cop?

"Christian love" wasn't a contradiction in terms?

Wars ended?

"Homewrecker" meant a woman attracted to husbands?

A square meal was good for you?

The ultimate crust

After chasing his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai out of a run-off election race and terrorizing his supporters, the one guy remaining on the ballot is declared elected, and invites the other fellow to his inauguration. He calls this "reaching out" and "a major step towards political engagement."

There must be a specific word or phrase for this, but it's not coming rapidly to mind. "Sheer cheek" and "colossal gall" somehow don't quite seem to cut it. Anyone?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The speech-warriors explain it all away

How on earth did the Canadian Human Rights Commission come to refuse even to hear the complaint against Maclean's magazine? It couldn't be that it simply judged the complaint to have no merit. Other forces had to have been at work. In the speech-warriors' own words:

Given the heat the Human Rights Commission has been taking I'd expect them to back off on the high profile cases. That way they can concentrate on the little guy that can't afford heavy duty legal counsel and doesn't have the resources to fight back.

The CHRC can retrench, and return to its bread-and-butter business of destroying little people.

So they blinked. Against everything in their DNA, they let Maclean's go. That's the first smart thing they've done; because the sooner they can get the public scrutiny to go away, the sooner they can go about prosecuting their less well-heeled targets, people who can't afford Canada's best lawyers and command the attention and affection of the country's literati.

Even with Taylor rules the mere threat of a CHRC complaint, not to mention the CHRC investigator’s rule-free techniques, put an ongoing chill on political conversation in Canada. The overbreadth of s. 13 means that for less well heeled respondents, the CHRC remains a real threat.

It seems the HRC is playing pure politics -- hammer the little guys but avoid the big players who could do it some injury.

Good grief, do these people have regular teleconferences, or what?

So here are some of the "big guys" that the CHRC has cravenly refused to send to a Tribunal...oh, wait, they did, and then the Tribunal settled the complaints:


Amrow v. Royal Canadian Mounted Police


Goodman v. Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Via Rail:

Arsenault v. Via Rail Canada Inc.

Big bankers:

Adamsu v. Bank of Montreal

The Canadian Forces:

Beyer v. Canadian Forces

Oh, and the dread State:

Attorney General of Canada (Applicant) v. Public Service Alliance of Canada and Canadian Human Rights Commission. [The CHRT findings on pay equity in the federal Public Service were eventually upheld. The Canadian government has to make good to the tune of $3 billion to current and former PSAC members.]

Now, don't give me any guff about these not being Section 13(1) cases. Either the CHRC is afraid to take on the big fish or it isn't. But not all the big fish meet the standard for a complaint against them to be heard. Maclean's was one of those latter fish. We've been saying so all along.

But why should we expect accuracy or honesty from the speech warriors? They're on a roll. In fact, at this point they're most likely in a fugue state, devastated by their recent win loss. These are the folks who brought you this:

Congratulations to CHCH TV out of Hamilton. They had me on a show today, along with a comedian, debating the decision by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to put a comedian on trial for unfunny jokes about lesbian hecklers.

(, Ezra. Settle down. It wasn't off-colour jokes, but a tirade of homophobic abuse from a guy on-stage. It had nothing to do with his comedy routine.)

And this:

, Kathy. You're being sued for defamation, because you publicly called a person a criminal.

And so the speech-warriors stagger into the dark night. Keep your eye out for the tell-tale flashes of heads exploding when the BCHRT, too, fails to uphold the complaint against Maclean's.

(Crossposted from Dawg's Blawg.)

Posts we never finished reading

From the mudfortunate Dr.Roy: "Even dion realizeds he is difficult to understand in
English....He has apparently has had his people contact a speech therapist..."

Physician, heal thyself.

(Crossposted from Dawg's Blawg)

Change, we can believe in...

...but not this. Obama starts his Long March to the same-old, same-old. And Keith Olbermann isn't looking very good about now: Glenn Greenwald is on it, and Olbermann isn't happy. But his trademark rants won't save him this time. When his candidate flipped, Olbermann flopped, and that's all there is to it. One man's 4th Reich fascism, as it turns out, was another man's brave defiance of the Left. Sheesh. For my money, this makes Olbermann the Worst Man In The World, but you won't see that on MSNBC.

The FISA fiasco seems, however, like a good jumping-off point to discuss the art (or perhaps "craft" is a better word) of practical politics. The Bill that Obama is set to support will extend the government's ability to conduct warrantless wiretaps. Worse, information obtained in this manner may be used as evidence even if the tap is subsequently found to be unlawful--take a nice juicy bite of the fruit of the poisonous tree, folks.
Finally, the Bill will allow bulk monitoring of electronic communications, making a hash of quaint notions like probable cause.A little safety trumps liberty anytime in Bush's America. And, it appears, in Obama's America too.

I'm not surprised or even very offended by this. American politics is a cramped room that simply doesn't permit a lot of new ideas to enter, as I've observed before. The best it can offer up is old, stodgy, sometimes dangerous ideas, adjusted for the times and presented in attractive new bottles. Obama is most probably just another one of those bottles. Heaven forbid that he seem Soft On Terrorism. Or Soft On Anything, where only a brutal hardness will do.

During a political campaign, it's important to remind ourselves that what a candidate says and does is a product of calculation. "Just be youself" tends to be bad advice. You aren't running by yourself, after all: a Verizon-like network is always right there with you, on and off the scene. Once a campaign starts, the aim is to win, and it's not just the candidate's personal ambitions that are at stake, to put it mildly. In some respects, almost everything goes; in others (when it comes to the candidate him- or herself) very little does that isn't scripted and vetted by a small army of handlers.
The candidate could be Charlie McCarthy (and here I think of Ronald Reagan, for some reason). But that's no problem, if you've got a competent Edgar Bergen.

And the culture of US campaigns is a low culture, one of Sesame Street-like soundbites, swarms of politically-connected media talking heads parsing every syllable, continual appeals to emotion (usually negative), mines and deadfalls everywhere. Issues are important only as a collection of slick debating points and one-liners. Negative campaigning (imported to Canada by the Harperites) is the order of the day. "Swiftboating" is an ever-present threat. And that stuff works like a hot-damn: a candidate who golfed his way through the Vietnam War came off looking more patriotic and heroic than the guy who went and got wounded.

This dreadful style, furthermore, feeds on itself. Lapel pins! What your pastor said!* Your middle name! Every campaign seems to find a deeper barrel to scrape the bottom of.

Nice guys and gals finish last in this kind of contest. Ditto ones with vision, and overly thoughtful ones. There is little room for spontaneity on the campaign trail, and none at all for nuance. So political campaigns almost inevitably attract a certain type of person: glib, opportunistic, shallow, unprincipled. In fact, the people expect nothing more, and if you've got more, it's best to keep it to yourself until you win--and even thereafter, if you don't want to be a one-term wonder.

But suppose--just suppose--that Obama is more than just a bottle. Suppose he does have what Greenwald mockingly called a secret plan. What, then, in the American context, would Barack Obama do with his plan if he became President? Or, to put it a little differently, what could he do?

The US governance engine is never easy to influence, and, like the Borg, it absorbs those who find themselves in its toils. The President, even with all of his broad powers, can't do much by himself. He is surrounded by advisors, flacks, lobbyists, big-money donors calling in markers, the media, and countless elected officials. His powers are curbed by
the Constitution, Congress and the Supreme Court, and their exercise is shaped and constrained by public opinion polls and the aforementioned interested parties. The new guy will be pushed and pulled this way and that until systemic stability is achieved.

We are so used to conceiving of leaders as almost by definition in charge that we seldom look at the human matrix, its complex set of associations, interactions and interrelations, that give a leader form and substance. In this vast, sticky web, leaders cannot easily act upon personal visions and hopes, wear their hearts on their sleeves, say what's on their minds, or even keep and maintain a functioning conscience. The "art of the possible" is a ceaseless series of compromises, big and small, that allows its practitioners to survive.

Obama is a fresh new face in American politics. In some ways his very candidacy is profoundly significant and positive. But I suspect that he's already had to put his official portrait in a closely-guarded closet somewhere.
Welcome to the Machine, Barack. Resistance is futile.


(Crossposted from Dawg's Blawg.)
*It goes without saying that every serious candidate needs a pastor, in a land where half the population rejects the theory of evolution and one-quarter not only believes in the Rapture, but thought it was going to happen last year.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Releasing our inner Sweeney Todd

Dr. Dawg slices and dices Margaret Somerville's article against euthanasia so I don't have to.
But there's one thing I just have to comment on -- she asserts that if euthanasia is legalized people will be afraid to go to a doctor to get treated.
Now, this is just silly. First, it assumes that sick people have a single-minded fixation on making sure their doctors will let them die by inches, piously ignoring their suffering. And second, it assumes doctors are just champing at the bit to start slaughtering their patients.
But if the only argument she can come up with against legalizing euthanasia is how noble and meaningful it is for people to suffer, maybe the inner Sweeney Todd is closer to the surface than we would like.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

There but for the grace of God

Alison introduces the saddest story you will ever read -- Ashley Smith:
"If I die then I will never have to worry about upsetting my Mom again."
Reading about what she went through, I realized I have known teenage girls who were almost as mixed up as Ashley was -- some girls just seem to spiral into disaster when they are 12 or 13, and they don't find their equilibrium again for four or five years, until they are 16 or 17. But the girls I knew lucked out, mainly because their parents could afford good lawyers and special schools and stays with relatives in other cities. So the criminal justice system never got the chance to chew them up and spit them out.

Great line of the day

Comment from DennisSCMM to TBogg's post about the mutual admiration society that is John McCain and Washington Post columnist David Broder:
In the good old days that both of them yearn for, McKrusty and Broder would, at this point in life, have both been smothered or stranded on an ice floe. They demonstrate that the custom is not without merit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We're finally going to England!

Roger Miller - England Swings

Yes, on Saturday we're flying off to Merrie Olde England -- first London, then Edinburgh, for two weeks in all.
This was the trip which I had to cancel two years ago because of my car accident.
My sister has us all organized for day trips to Stonehenge and Stratford and Windsor Castle and Jack the Ripper's London and all that, and we also want to see the Imperial War Museum -- oh, and mustn't forget Westminster Abbey, the Tower of Big Ben, the rosy red cheeks of the little children...
My own posting on the blog will be light -- maybe a few photos if I can -- but I'm honoured to say that Dave from Galloping Beaver, Skdadl from POGGE and Dr. Dawg from Dawg's Blawg will all be posting some of their usual great stuff here while I am gone.

Monday, June 23, 2008


There are 2,400 George Carlin videos on YouTube. with more than 700 posted today. Its a kind of immortality, I guess. He left us so much to remember.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Giving birth is not a choice issue

Shakesville has a skreed by a woman who has never given birth about how pregnant women have the right to give birth whatever way they want to -- turning it into a "choice" issue.
Sorry, no, it's not.
The only thing that is important in childbirth is a healthy baby.
The ONLY thing.
Nothing else matters -- the mother's experience, her doctor's opinions, her midwife's opinions, her husband's participation, whether or not she uses drugs, whether or not she uses technology, etc etc -- all of this is completely irrelevant to whether she has a healthy baby or not.
I get pretty hot about this issue -- my daughter would have died in childbirth if I hadn't been in a hospital and if I hadn't listened to my doctors -- who were quite candid about not knowing what was wrong and why my baby's heartbeat kept falling and why my labour was not progressing normally, but advised that I have a c-section.
Turned out the cord was wrapped around her neck, and was too short. If I had tried to give birth vaginally my daughter would have been severely brain damaged, if she had lived at all. I might have died, too, of course.
Then I had a neighbour tell me how sorry she was -- SORRY?
My daughter was alive and healthy. Nothing else mattered then, nothing else matters now.
Nothing else.

Snakes in a .....

Dawg's Blawg has progressive politics, Cherniak covers the latest from the Liberal party HQ, Galloping Beaver covers all things Canadian military, and I rely on TBogg for when I need some bassett blogging.
Nice to see that Shakesville has also found its niche.

Oil? Perish the thought!

We in the global so-called West can talk all we like about how our wars of choice in the Middle East are not about oil, but we cannot possibly be surprised when the people of the Middle East do not believe us.

Great line of the day

From Rev Paperboy:
The creationists sometimes try to pin the massacres, holocausts and pogroms of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot on atheism and their own misinterpretation of Darwin's theories as a justification of "survival of the fittest" -- when the real cause of these horrible events, and indeed most of the evil that men do, is the "true believerism" the notion that one is righteous that brooks no doubt, no reconsideration in the face of evidence that one's thesis is not airtight. It is that sort of inability to admit errors or tolerate dissent that leads to everything from the Iraq war to religiously driven fatal child abuse and deadly neglect.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm baaack!

So what did I miss?
Oh, just the destruction of the American Constitution -- no biggie.
I think MoveOn had better think twice before it dismantles its political outreach mechanism -- they may find that, even with an Obama adminstration, they still have something to say.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Away til Sunday

And I am having computer trouble so its hard to post -- I'll try, though.
I'm going to a conference in Windsor -- looking forward to seeing that city.

Great line of the day

Glenn Greenwald:
Threatening Americans with obliteration unless they support authoritarian and war-making hysteria ought to be the most discredited idea there is. But there is Newt Gingrich, invited on Face the Nation to opine, because he's a very Serious and important Ideas Man. As but one example, here's Time's Liberal Pundit Joe Klein, chatting with Hugh Hewitt about Gingrich:
I've always really respected Newt, because he's a man of honor, and he is a
real policy wonk, and he really cares about stuff.
That's how most media stars talk about Gingrich, as he wallows in his never-ending dreams about American cities being vaporized and how the only way we can prevent that is if we relinquish our Constitution -- or at least just small parts of it such as the First Amendment and habeas corpus -- and start more wars. That's squarely within mainstream American political discourse.
Why does anyone listen to Newt ("Cry-baby") Gingrich? Well, I suppose he makes as much sense as John McCain -- which isn't saying much because the Republican level is pretty low now, isn't it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great line of the day

NYT columnist Frank Rich writes about myth and reality in the American election campaign:
The ludicrous idea that votes from Clinton supporters would somehow make up for McCain defectors is merely the latest fairy tale brought to you by those same Washington soothsayers who said Fred Thompson was the man to beat and that young people don’t turn up to vote.
And remember how we kept hearing about how sexy Fred was, and now everybody just loved Mitt's shoulders, and how everything was good news for Rudy Guiliani? And remember how Bloomberg was going to announce any day now and this would cut the Democrats off at the knees? In reality, I think Bob Barr is going to be cutting McCain off at the knees.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This will be a problem

Glenn Greenwald writes about the increasing level of hysterical right wing fascism-- talk show host Laura Ingraham saying that the Bush administration should just ignore US Supreme Court rulings, while talk show host Michael Reagan says anybody who believes that the Bush Administration was responsible for 911 should just be shot outright :
... people like Laura Ingraham and Michael Reagan are crazed and absurd figures, but they have large audiences. There is a sizable portion of this country's population that has been fed a steady diet of ideas of this sort for years, a view of Government and political power that prevails in the worst tyrannies on the planet. The Leader has the right to break our laws. He should defy court rulings that enforce constitutional guarantees. The Government has the right to put people in cages for life with no process. People should be imprisoned or shot by virtue of the views they express.
As the Right comes to accept that their political movement lies in ruins -- as evidence of their rejection by the country becomes too compelling to ignore -- the desperation and frustration level increases and much of this rhetoric will become more extreme (note that Ingraham cited the President's low popularity ratings as a reason why he should ignore the Supreme Court's ruling; National Review's Andy McCarthy on Thursday suggested that in response to the Court's ruling, we should take all of the Guantanamo detainees and just slaughter them en masse). Having millions of citizens inculcated over many years with truly deranged, extremist tripe of this sort -- and Fox just announced that Ingraham would have her own show beginning next week -- obviously has consequences. We've seen just some of those over the last seven years, and the reaction is likely to intensify as that movement grows more impotent and marginalized.
Sometimes I think the US is heading toward some sort of cataclysm.
Politics in a democracy has a normal range, an ebb and flow -- we see this in Canada where the Liberals give way to the Conservatives who give way to the Liberals -- but where individuals including politicians still have a respect for government and where government has a respect for its own standards and traditions. Thus, however much I dislike Harper for his policies and his budgets, for example, I can give him the credit he deserves for actions like the residential school apology; however much Harper disagrees with the NDP he can still meet with Jack Layton to talk about issues like this. I think this is the kind of respect for each other and for the common good which Barak Obama is trying to achieve when he talks about making Washington less partisan.
But I wonder if this can still be done in the States or have they already moved too far away from civilized politics. Greenwald says their movement is in ruins, but millions of people in the States are still apparently so far down the rabbit hole that their only moral arbiter is whether the Bush administration is for something or agin it. These people want Bush to have a third term, and will happily vote for John McCain to provide it.
There is nothing more important to these people than their own personal safety, and they think they have made a bargain with Bush that he can do whatever he wants as long as he keeps them safe.
It's called a Faustian bargain, and generally it doesn't work out very well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An extraordinary event

The apology will be seen as a very significant achievement of Harper and the whole government.
Bishop Mark MacDonald, the national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he was pleased with the government’s apology. "I’m going to be processing it for a long time," he told the Journal. “It was an extraordinary event and I was very happy with what I heard and
moved by what I heard and I’m filled with all kinds of emotions. So it will take me a while to process it but I thought it was an
extraordinary day and one of the best days of my life."

It is amazing what a difference a sincere and humble apology can make.
Canada is being noticed around the world for doing this -- from the Sydney Morning Hrald to China Daily

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wasn't that Mulroney?

Spokesblob update:
Jason Kenney, Conservative secretary of state for multiculturalism, shot back the Liberals have a "secret" plan to impose a "multi-billion-dollar tax on just about everything for Canadians."
Yeah, and I hear Dion is going call it the GST.
Oh, wait...

One success for the Bush administration

They have raised bullshit to an art form.

Does anybody know how to play this game? Part 2

Chet writes about why the Liberals are not succeeding:
When I was a kid, a friend tried to teach me chess. I was awful. The reason was that, although I considered myself intelligent, I really had no idea what I was doing. As a result, I would concoct these elaborate, twenty-move plans that had nothing to do with how to win the actual game in front of me, and which I was utterly unable to adapt as the board changed. That's more or less the game Dion is playing. It depends on a whole series of things going his way which are not going his way. Worst of all, it depends on his opponents not actually wanting or knowing how to beat him, and on the voters being incredibly naive and gullible. He's cruising for a disaster, and he doesn't seem to have any idea of it.
I keep hoping Dion will have some kind of epiphany and realize that he will never be Prime Minister unless he figures out a way to put the ball in play.
He reminds me of a kid who stands in the batters circle huffing and stomping and swinging his heart out, but when he gets to the plate and sees the pitcher glaring at him, he freezes.

Great line of the day

Over at Inkless Wells, Paul Wells takes on the racist ignorance of the anti-apology crowd:
“My husband went to elementary school in small-town Eastern Ontario in the 1940s. He tells me that there were many occasions when his teachers gave him ‘the strap.’ Lots of kids were punished or disciplined that way, in those days…
“By modern standards, my husband and his classmates were physically abused. Should they now be getting an apology from the government, and perhaps some compensation?”
Gee, Karen, that’s an excellent question. I can certainly understand your concern, and I can tell you’re a really smart, thoughtful person. I’ve given this matter a little thought myself.
Here’s a handy checklist to ascertain whether your husband’s treatment rises to the level of what the Prime Minister will be addressing this week. Ready?
• Was your husband systematically raped by authority figures at school for years on end?
• If he spoke the language he had learned from the cradle did he get beaten?
• Were his classmates dropping like flies from tuberculosis due to appalling hygiene and incompetent health care?
• Here’s an excerpt from a transcript of an interview with Bernadene Harper, who attended one of the residential schools: “In the evenings what I remember is, when all the girls were put to bed, we had night watchmen that would take care of the building. I always had the fear of having a night watchman coming in and shining the flashlight around, because I knew that’s when things were happening with the little girls. I guess that’s where the abuse had started.” Does that sort of institutionalized nightly horror ring a bell for your husband?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then your husband had a horrible time indeed and I think he’s owed an apology. If not, I think we’ll get around to your husband a little later. ‘Kay thanx.
Emphasis mine.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Does anybody know how to play this game?

Bottom of the 10th and the Jays need one run to tie, two to win. They're managed to load the bases, with nobody out.
So why oh why didn't they bunt?

Talking grease spot = Harper's Conservatives

I wonder if a talking grease spot * is really the image the Conservatives want to have in Ontario? Dion says
"... What do the Conservatives offer Canadians? They offer a cartoon, a talking grease spot,” he said. “When are the Conservatives going to stop insulting Canadians and offer a real plan to tackle climate change instead of cartoons and a campaign of lies?”"
I'm getting the impression, too, that Harper's iron fist is starting to rust.
This attack ad campaign is getting sillier and sillier, when the Young Conservatives start acting like Hare Krishnas in their yellow t-shirts handing out their little prayer cards while refusing to tell a reporter their names -- proud of their work, aren't they -- and now the gas pump ads aren't going to run and the gas companies aren't about to be bullied by 26-year-old Ryan Sparrow screeching about a contract.
Yeah, that Ryan Sparrow.
Classy, boys, real classy.

*Kady O'Malley from Macleans calls it Oily the Splot and Oily, the virtual spokesblob.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Is it real or is it ...

This story -- Police unveil cardboard cops -- just begs for a clever comment a la The Gazetteer. Who is away for the weekend, darn it.
The one on the right is the cardboard replica.

Well, duh!

My reaction to the news that the United States wants to stay in Iraq forever is "well, duh!"
Of course that's what they intend to do.
The Bush administration has the maturity level of a bunch of testosterone-addled, wargame-playing teenagers. These guys actually believe that America has to have a visible, swaggering , threatening presence before it can influence the Middle East.
And they're a backward-looking bunch -- they never really got over feeling emasculated by Bush Daddy's decision not to invade Iraq in 1990, by Jimmy Carter's Iranian hostage crisis, by Richard Nixon's withdrawal from Vietnam.
So they think that staying in Iraq will keep America sitting in the catbird seat this time, able to run the whole Middle East. That's why they started the war in the first place.
And when Barak Obama is elected president the pressure on him to keep Americans in Iraq will be intense and unrelenting.
Iraq is now "strategic", ya see.

Friday, June 06, 2008

There are no rules in a knife fight

Pardon me for being cynical, but Obama's decision that the Democrats should refuse donations from businesses and interest groups strikes me as a sort of silly and ultimately unproductive.
Obama will get some style points from the election reform folks, but style points don't win elections. The general public is only going to notice that the Republicans and their friends are running a lot more TV ads than the Democrats are. Downticket Democrats who don't have Obama's fundraising charisma will be worried and resentful, while it will provoke a lot of corporations and businesses and interest groups to join the "he's too inexperienced" chorus.
But then again, maybe I'm just too cynical.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Who's at the table

Bella Abzug once said:
If men could have babies, abortion would be a sacrament.
I remembered this line when I was thinking about how our perspective about what is important can change depending on who's at the table when the decisions are being made.
Over the course of my own lifetime the women's liberation movement has brought substantial changes just about everywhere, from corporate leadership priorities to health research. As baby-boomer women entered the workforce determined to establish legitimate and substantial career paths for themselves, and as they got a seat at the table where the benefits were being negotiated, we saw many corporations and public employers and unions give importance to things like child care benefits, family-friendly policies of all kinds, prosecuting sexual harassment, equal pay for work of equal value, taking responsibility for environmental damage, etc -- things which, when I was growing up, were either unheard of or considered completely trivial. And once women were running the research labs, we saw some significant changes in what was considered important research, from male-female differences in drug trials to
All of these changes followed when women got a seat at the table. And these changes not only benefited women, but also men. As well, the analyis and rhetoric around the importance of inclusion and diversity were also adopted by Aboriginal people, visible minorities, gay people, and other marginalized groups to advance their own causes.
So now Barak Obama will have a seat at the table.
More than that, he'll be the chairman of the board.
I'm looking forward to seeing what changes this will make -- more than we can imagine now, I think.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


What an amazing accomplishment. And to think America went from "I have a dream" to Obama within my lifetime.
As disappointed as I am that Hillary didn't make it, and as upsetting as it was to see the demonization of Hillary and of women in this campaign, it's easy to be enthusiastic about the man who will be, I hope and believe, the next president of the United States. Chris Bowers analyzes how he did it. It comes down to this:
Without his opposition to the Iraq war, Obama doesn't dominate among activists to nearly the same extent. And without his activist advantage, he doesn't win the nomination. The DFH's delivered Obama the nomination.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Terry McAuliffe has lost it

Or, maybe, he never had it.
Here is Clinton campaign manager -- her CAMPAIGN MANAGER!- Terry McAuliffe babbling this morning about how Hillary has won the nomination. The conclusion of the YouTube commenters was that he was drunk

So this evening I watched Obama's speech and the incredible tribute he gave to Hillary.
And then I watched McAuliffe on the Daily Show, where he babbled on about her being the next president, and called Barak Obama an ass.
Did she really let clowns like this manage her campaign?

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Digby writes the truth:
Obama supporters should acknowledge the fact that Clinton got an enormous number of votes and represents a vital constituency in the Democratic party that must be respected if we are going to win. And Clinton supporters need to acknowledge the fact that while their candidate came extremely close, at the end of the race, she came up short. Somebody has to win it and by the measures the party has set forth, Obama is the one who did.
Both sides need to listen to Aretha now.