Saturday, June 09, 2007

Open Thread

You know the drill...

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Desmond Tutu addresses G8 Leaders

From Ecumenical News International

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has joined other religious leaders and globalization critics in sending an anti-poverty message to leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations who are meeting in Germany.

"We can survive only together, we can be free only together, we can be prosperous only together, we can be human only together," said the former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town to lively applause at a rally during the Kirchentag, the once-every-two-years German Protestant convention, meeting this year in Cologne.

The June 7 rally, outside the city's cathedral, took place the day before the heads of six African nations were due to join the leaders of the G8 countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, German, Russia and the United States -- for the final day of their northern German summit.

"I want to say to the leaders of the G8, 'I am an African, I am a man, I am a human being ... I am not an object of pity, I am not an object of charity'," said Tutu. "I am an African, I am your brother."

The open-air gathering had a live video link to an anti-poverty concert in Rostock where rock stars were trying to put pressure on the G8 leaders meeting nearby in Heiligendamm, behind a 12-kilometer-long fence topped with razor-wire.

"The message of the Kirchentag is clear; we say: Pull down the barriers between those who decide and those who are affected by the decisions," the president of the Protestant convention, Reinhard Höppner, told the Cologne rally. "We say: Do not put your efforts into growth that violates the dignity of people."

More here.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Greetings from DeanFest

Update: Monica checks in at the BFA blog.

Charlie Grapski checks in from DeanFest

Hey everyone. Here in New Hampshire. Arrived yesterday and it was quiet - till Jessica arrived. :)

Charlene got in a bit later. And I ran into TTT in the hall about midnight.

Denise and I just picked up Subway from the bus station.

Settling in and getting ready for a good weekend.

I'm sorry to hear about many of you who are not going to be able to make it this year. Hope you guys are well - sending a hello from NH and letting you know you guys are missed. Hey Renee and Demetrius wish you were here. If anyone hears from Donna tell her I am also sad to hear she can't make it this year. Who is going to be my assistant in my talk?

Its always good to be around this crowd. It makes the rest of the year bearable knowing who else is out there fighting to take back our country.
Oh and listner wish you were here.
Cat and puddle (just getting through the messages to see who has been on) - good to see you too. Jessica said you were coming Puddle but I learned a bit ago that you too will be absent this year.

To all of you - we wish you were here and I'll try and get on and give some updates during the weekend.


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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bonus Open Thread

I couldn't pick just one of these, so you're getting two pics in tonight's open thread.

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Team Hillary is push-polling

Swopa at Firedoglake points us to this report in the Iowa Independent.

Then, Eness-Potter got a glimpse of what may become the positive side of Clinton’s message: “During Bill Clinton’s administration, the Clintons helped to create 100,000 jobs in Iowa. After hearing this, is your opinion of Sen. Clinton higher or lower?” The caller went on to ask a few questions about Clinton’s campaign platform, asking whether specific campaign promises, as worded by the campaign’s pollster, make Jason more or less likely to support her.

But the survey didn’t end there. As Eness-Potter’s patience continued to wane, the caller started into the negative questions about Clinton’s opponents. Although he cut the caller off fairly quickly after he saw where the caller was headed, he recalled two questions -- one about Sen. Barack Obama and the other about former Sen. John Edwards -- that were particularly memorable.

On Sen. Obama, the caller’s question had to do with the war: Paraphrased, it was “Sen. Obama boasts of his consistent opposition to the war, but he has contradicted himself by voting for appropriation bills to fund it. Does this make you approve of Sen. Obama more or less?”

And on Edwards, the subject was, predictably, about his $400 haircut a month or so ago.

It was roughly at that point in the call that Eness-Potter excused himself and hung up –- after the caller admitted to him that the survey was commissioned by the Clinton campaign.

He hung up forty minutes into the call, by the way.

danl318 at My Left Wing posts about similar tactics in New Hampshire.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Yet another open thread

Time for a new thread, I guess. Here you go.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How Scooter saved Halloween

One of the letters to the judge who was going to sentence Scooter Libby was sent by Mary Matalin, but also signed by her husband Skeletor. I mean Gollum. Oh, you know the one--the Democratic "pundit" who wanted Howard Dean ousted as chair of the DNC as punishment for the 2006 midterm elections. Anyway, Matalin and her main ghoul wanted the judge to know what a swell guy Scooter is. By way of illustration, she told the touching story of one time when the Scooter saved Halloween for the Cheney grandchildren at an "undisclosed location".

In a truly nausea-inducing segment of the letter, Matalin makes this case for the convicted felon who outed a CIA agent:

My lifelong view, which has only been validated in adulthood, is that kids are the most honest and true evaluators of people. Watching my children with Scooter, and all children with him, you'd think he hung the moon. He is gentle and caring. He is genuinely interested in others well being and still inspires me to this day. He is a compelling teacher and extraordinary role model for integrity and humility.

I have seen what this trial has done to my own kids, just their reading about it. I cannot imagine the toll on Scooter and Harriet's young ones. Setting aside the pain of the Libby family, my girls just don't understand. They are old enough to intellectually comprehend the facts of the case but associating these "facts" with "Mr. Scooter" remains a complete disconnect to them.

My family is praying the wisdom and mercy you bring to bear in determining Scooter's future will include a consideration of his family, the price they have already paid and what further justice would be served by additional devastation to them and the many other children who love Scooter.
I was going to comment on that, but at the moment I'm speechless. But I'm sure some of you can think of something to say, so I'll just open up the floor for comment on all of this.

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Open Thread

Decided to post an open thread before work, just so I could post this kitty.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

There has to be a better way

Last night, on my way to my last EfM seminar meeting of the year, I decided that I should put up a thread about the Democratic debate before heading out. Given that this is at least partly a political blog, I guess I thought I should. But my heart wasn't in it, because, frankly, I just don't care about the debates at this stage of the game.

Blogs are often seen by presidential campaigns as ATMs. If you are the proprietor of a high-traffic Democratic (liberal, progressive, whatever) blog, the upshot is that those who are running for office will treat you with some respect--because you are now Somebody That Matters. Your voice and influence could mean money in their campaign coffers and ballots in the box for them, so--goodness--you might even be deemed as deserving of the time of day as some of those high stakes corporate donors!

Almost a month ago, I wrote about "prophets and kingmakers", concluding that, while there's more money in the kingmaking gig, that role is not a very good fit for people who are mainly concerned about bringing about positive social change. A couple weeks later, in response to a diary about "the real gatecrashers", it struck me that the big problem with the whole "crashing the gates" model is, in fact, those damn gates.

I never consented to gates.

And it's become really clear to me over the past few years that we're not going to make anything better simply by installing a different group of people inside the castle. Trusting that they will "remember who got them there"--when the truth is, everything changes once they get inside those gates.
So I really take issue with the whole set-up where few are on the inside and many are on the outside. Similarly, one of the main drawbacks to being a "kingmaker" is that somebody is being made king.

I know these are metaphors, but there's something I think we forget too often. When we elect a president, we're not choosing someone to be our boss. We're hiring an employee for an important job.

Also, *we* need to be setting the agenda, as I noted here

I remember when Jim Wallis came to Columbus last spring, he said something about Martin Luther King. I don't have the exact quote, but it was something like, "he never endorsed a candidate, but he was able to get politicians to endore *his* agenda.

When I attended that B.R.E.A.D. assembly, I was impressed that so many people were willing to come out on a Monday night to demand fair treatment for a segment of the population that politicians may feel that they can safely ignore. These people showed up not for a political party or candidate, but in support of a shared value. WE were taking the lead, and telling the politicians and elected officials that *they* need to get on board.

So, no, I'm not interested in being the Democratic Party's ATM. I want to be--*we* need to be--the party's conscience instead.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Debate in New Hampshire

FYI, there's a debate tonight among the contenders for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.

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