Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Charles Kaiser puts it very well this evaluation of Obama's current stances.

Also, the angry Hilary supporters are missing the forest for the trees in a big way, here, but I give one of their organizations, PUMA, a little credit for a hilarious, if counter-productive, name:

Party Unity My Ass.

The main thing we should be disappointed about with our boy's move to the center....

Is this.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Last Call to Hillary

"If you leave a club at 1 a.m., it was your choice not to get laid. But
if you wait till the club closes, you're ugly, and that's why you didn't
get laid."

- - CHRIS ROCK on Hilary Clinton's end game

Monday, May 12, 2008

From a lawyer poll observer in NC

Below is an email from a lawyer friend-of-a-friend describing what was happening when she worked the polls in North Carolina, what the main voting problems were, and the main issues to understand to improve voter participation. I have been making calls from home, and a post is coming about that, but in the meantime, here's the word from a legal mind at the polls:

folks--an update: yesterday was a marvelous day. i was a poll monitor for obama's campaign, assigned to a predominantly black precinct in high point, nc. by close of the polls, 552 folks had cast their ballots at williams memorial precinct.
my job was to make sure that folks were not innappropriately turned away from the polls and, at regular intervals throughout the day, report to the campaign the total number of voters who had cast their votes. the purpose of regular reporting was to gauge voter turnout at key precincts and, where turnout was lower than expected, my notification would enable the campaign to investigate why, make calls to voters, knock on doors and get folks to the polls before they closed.
most of the problems that i encountered involved:
1. folks being at the wrong precinct because (a) precincts were closed or consolidated and it's questionable whether voters were notified of that fact or (b) people had moved and went to the precinct that their neighbor told them to go to rather than to their old precinct where they were still on the books . . .in these scenarios, generally because inside poll workers failed to research the voter's appropriate precinct, i called an obama hotline and gave people the name of their correct precinct.
2. folks who were not on the books at what would have been their correct precinct, as an agency like the dmv or social services failed to register them . . .
3. inside poll workers discouraging people from going to their correct precinct to cast a regular ballot and encouraging them to cast a provisional ballot (which may or may not be counted) . . .in these cases, myself and my buddies (folks from high point there to pass out campaign literature on behalf of a state senatorial candidate and two district court judicial candidates), encouraged people to go the extra distance and go to their correct precinct.
it's quite an image to walk into a precinct and see only white faces, mostly over 70, sitting behind the booths. between that image, the poll workers cold or lackluster approaches to helping voters (some wouldn't even get up from behind their desks), it becomes more clear why the relationship between citizens and the voting process has eroded. the deep mistrust of the electoral process lives on . . .
when i "worked the polls" in columbia, sc in january, it was rainy and cold, but nonetheless, exciting to witness the droves of people inspired by this election cycle to come out to vote this primary season. yesterday, it was sunny and warm, and joy and pride was in the air. indeed, it was a site to see the obama t-shirts, stickers, fist pumps in the air, smiles, and jumps associated with people so excited to vote. i'm sure you all felt the same way and sensed those shared sentiments when you voted in your respective primaries. people were ready to vote at 6:30 a.m. before going to work, 12:00 p.m. during their lunch brunch, at 3:00 after their work shift ended and up and through 7:30 p.m.
so lessons learned from canvassing and poll monitoring:
1. national politics are significant, and so are local. as much as we need obama as our president, we need obamas to sit on school boards, county commissions, judicial benches, and inside the polls. i can't express how differently the voting process would be if the people sitting behind the booths had warm faces, believed that every vote counts, went out of their way to ensure that every person casts their ballots by hunting down correct precincts, articularing the various forms of Ids that are legally acceptable, were pleasant . . .
2. money matters. many of the people who went to the wrong precincts had moved since they last voted and never regsitered their new address (or re-registered their new address but may not have been notified of their new precincts). it's a luxury to remain in a home for more than a year such that you always receive your mail, your voting precinct is less likely to change . . so, stability is a privilege . . .
3, one-stop registration/early voting is the way to go. w/ one stop early voting, voters can go to any precint in their home county. if this was standard practice throughout the 50 states, then folks would not be turned around and misguided about where they should vote as can be the case case on a normal primary day. 3. teaching young folks about what people have done to secure voting rights for all people is imperative so that when things don't go smoothly at voting booths, lines are long, inside poll workers look at them cross-eyed and purse their wrinkled and pale lips, voters do not give up, but instead go the distance to vote.
4. november is a long way away. everyone can play a roll in getting obama into office. non law students/lawyers can knock on doors and pass out campaign literature, as I did in Mebane, NC. It's easy and fun and a good way to learn what's on people's mind. lawyers, observing the polls on election day in november, as it was on primary days, will be eye opening. we have ways to go to make voting an equal process for all. so help in any way that you can.
toodles folks. change is a coming!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The question, then, is...

"The question, then, is not what kind of campaign they will run; it's what kind of campaign we will run. It's what we will do to make this year different. You see, I didn't get into this race thinking that I could avoid this kind of politics, but I am running for President because this is the time to end it."

That from this Time Magazine feature by Joe Klein on our boy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From a friend: Can we please stop talking about Reverend Wright...NOW?

I got an email the other day from a friend. I read it and thought, this is what the blog was for. I changed up some of the paragraphing to make it easier to read online. Here's what she wrote:

Friends, please indulge me a moment on my soap box..... (apologies!)

As the country talks endlessly about Rev. Wright, what he has said and what Obama has or has not said about him, 24 public school students in his city of Chicago have been gunned down this school year. I just watched this photo gallery... real kids with real stories, not just demographic info in an article.

This is not a Hilary vs. Obama issue I am stumping, I am trying to emphasize the misplaced dialogue in this country. We need to talk about urban warfare in our country... kids taking bullets and firing bullets....

Why are mill workers in NC or unemployed manufacturing workers in PA the only people that matter in this campaign? I am not saying that they shouldn't matter, they should and they do, but who's talking about the kids in Durham, NC who are gunning each other down on the street?

I know its not what gets people votes, I hear that.... but, really, this is shameful. And the ugly truth of it is that each one of those 24 kids was black or Latino. We say that we as a country are talking about race now... that we are really open to it and people feel good if they can still support the black candidate amidst all this controversy. But we are not talking about it all.

50 bullets fired by the NYPD, killing Sean Bell and wounding two others.... and the officers walk out of the courtroom acquitted of all charges, assigned to desk duty in Gramercy Park. As a good friend said to me on Friday, its easy for one to excuse 50 bullets (and a reloading of the weapon) when one does not have to worry that someday a police officer could make an "error in judgment" and shoot 50 bullets at them. She's right.... there is little chance that that could happen to me. I just wish everyone could have the luxury of not having to worry about that.

And this culture of impunity within the justice system does nothing to help dispel the "stop snitching" message which is so antithetical to ending youth violence in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Brooklyn. It is all part of the same problem...... the Sean Bell verdict makes it even harder to encourage kids to speak up about guns, speak up about who killed a kid on the street, speak up about who fired those bullets that went through an open window and killed a nine-year-old sitting on a couch. Who wants to talk to the police? It doesn't even matter anymore if Cam'ron thinks its uncool.... it's just plain hard to justify talking to the ones who "shot that man in Queens with 50 bullets."

And so, the silence and "lack of cooperation with the police" will continue... and the killers of these 24 Chicago kids will go unpunished and continue to enact violence on the streets.... or go to prison instead for petty drug crimes for a couple of years and come out angrier and more violent than before (and perhaps have contracted HIV in prison due to a lack of prison-issued condoms).

This is what we should be talking about..... Instead we go on and on about the Reverend from Chicago--- who incidentally talks to youth about elevating themselves, making better of their lives, becoming "self reliant"--- yet we are more concerned with what he said about the government and AIDS five years ago, or what he said on 9-12-01, or what he said about Farakhan yesterday.....