Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Night Open Thread

From one of the I Can Has Cheezburger sister sites

Political Picture - Barack Obama
see more politics and fun!

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Saturday Open Thread

more cat pictures

Happy Caturday!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Open Thread

Talk amongst yourselves...

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Trivia Time

Picked up some trivia books at the library earlier, and thought I'd share one of the amusing stories I'd read. Via BBC News

In 1797, a law was passed preventing people from wearing a top hat after London haberdasher John Hetherington showed off his creation round the city.

The sight of his hat caused quite a stir and according to Mr Cawthorne "people booed, several women fainted and a small boy got his arm broken", when a crowd formed around Mr Hetherington.

The haberdasher was arrested and charged with breach of the King's peace in particular "appearing on the public highway wearing upon his head a tall structure having a shining lustre and calculated to frighten timid people".
Also picked up a DVD of the documentary Cane Toads - An Unnatural History, which I heard of last time I was on a project scoring science tests. Never remembered to actually look for it at the time, but today I happened across it in the library and checked it out.

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Hillary Clinton to endorse Obama on Saturday

Via Oliver Willis

On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.

I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party’s nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.

When I decided to run for president, I knew exactly why I was getting into this race: to work hard every day for the millions of Americans who need a voice in the White House.

I made you — and everyone who supported me — a promise: to stand up for our shared values and to never back down. I’m going to keep that promise today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.

I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.

Updating with an article you'll want to check out: Obama And Dean Team Up To Recast The Political Map

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Not a bargaining chip"

Great article at Huffington Post
I Am Not a Bargaining Chip, I Am a Democrat by Hilary Rosen

It ends with this:

So, I am also so very disappointed at how she has handled this last week. I know she is exhausted and she had pledged to finish the primaries and let every state vote before any final action. But by the time she got on that podium last night, she knew it was over and that she had lost. I am sure I was not alone in privately urging the campaign over the last two weeks to use the moment to take her due, pass the torch and cement her grace. She had an opportunity to soar and unite. She had a chance to surprise her party and the nation after the day-long denials about expecting any concession and send Obama off on the campaign trail of the general election with the best possible platform. I wrote before how she had a chance for her "Al Gore moment." And if she had done so, the whole country ALL would be talking today about how great she is and give her her due.

Instead she left her supporters empty, Obama's angry and party leaders trashing her. She said she was stepping back to think about her options. She is waiting to figure out how she would "use" her 18 million voters.

But not my vote. I will enthusiastically support Barack Obama's campaign. Because I am not a bargaining chip. I am a Democrat.
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Open Thread

see more dog pictures

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Celebration thread

Obama Clinches Democratic Nomination

Update: Love this picture Oliver Willis has posted.

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Anybody remember the Bad Idea Jeans commercial parody from Saturday Night Live? (Viewable here--at least at the moment.)

Well, that's what came to mind when I read that Hillary Clinton is open to being Obama's vice president. She wants to be president so bad she can taste it. The thought of her being a "heartbeat away" from a Barack Obama presidency is unsettling, to say the least.

Endorsement update: Former President Jimmy Carter has stated that he plans to endorse Barack Obama after the polls close tonight.

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Open Thread

This is such a lovely, archetypically American photo, I wanted to share it.

Here's the AP article it graces: Clinton Seeks to Go After Obama Super Deligates, just in the interests of full disclosure.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday Open Thread

more cat pictures

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I just found this on Stumbleupon.

First, the golden rule of sending an email to more than, say, 15 people at one time.
Don't Do It. Seriously. Don't.

Now, if you must, here's how you can do it and still maintain the friendship and respect of the one who sent you here:

After you have selected the throngs of names to which you'll be forwarding the video of the cat playing Chopsticks, you'll probably have a very long list of names in the 'To' field of your email program. Complete the following steps:
  • Using your mouse, hightlight all of the names and email addresses appearing in the 'To' field.
  • Right-click (or Ctrl+click, if you're using a Mac) on the list of names and email addresses, choose 'Cut' from the menu that appears.
  • Right-click (or Ctrl+click) on the empty field next to the letters 'BCC' (case may vary), choose 'Paste'.
Commence sending your message.
Click for more.

Just so you all know, I'm not posting this because I am trying to send a message to anyone. I just found it, and thought it might be a good Public Service Announcement, and a break from the lolcats. ;)

But I'll add an amusing pic to this post anyway, just for good measure.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Thoughts from Charlie

I have been nearly silent, at least in writing, on the national election contest (which in America is unfortunately reduced to who will be president - as if Congress were an afterthought in the founding, a mere puppet for the all-mighty executive branch - needless to say this flips our Constitution on its head).

I saw you posted a reference to the "resolution" of the Florida and Michigan delegates.

But is it a resolution? Or is it more of the same of what happens in our political system: a sham, a farce, and more importantly - the explicit recognition that LAWS do not count, whenever following them is INCONVENIENT - or worse - when the Party or Parties decided that it may cause them some kind of difficulty in the next election (again "primarily" the next Presidential election).

We have elevated presidents to monarchs, at minimum, and to near absolute monarchs at worst.

This fiasco is an example of that. And the fiasco is not the controversy that "not all votes would be counted" by not seating these delegates. But the idea of seating them AT ALL and in the first place.

This is no different than the total ignoring of the rules that forced Dean OUT of the primary in 2004. But it is worse.

There should not be a SINGLE delegate from Florida or Michigan seated at the convention. Why? Because "that is the law." PERIOD. You don't just change the law to suit your desired outcomes or your concerns for bad-publicity or controversy.

This is a sign of the ultimate weakness (and lack of principles) of those heading the Democratic primary.

I predicted several months ago that THIS "deal" would eventually be the outcome - as WRONG as it is.

And the reason being - because it is PURELY symbolic and ABSOLUTELY pointless in the actual process.

Indeed to claim, as so many Democratic elites have been doing, that this ensures that "all votes are counted" only further undermines what that phrase means - and indeed LEGITIMIZES the kinds of acts that the Bush administration played in the last two president election cycles. All voters WERE NOT counted.

And NO VOTES are actually being counted in this "compromise."

Instead pandering is going on - along with "spin" - to create the false impression that the Party cares about the votes (and the voters) when it does not. It cares about the IMPRESSION that some voters might have it is is "reported" or "assumed" that the Democrats "ignored" Michigan and Florida.

Neither of those primary votes were VALID. That is according to the rules. I did not write the rules. And this whole fiasco is really a result of the convoluted rules - which were primarily convoluted in the 1980s with the creation of superdelegates (which every sort of downplays) AS A MEANS of ensuring that the PEOPLE (the rank-and-file) could not likely choose a candidate that is NOT TO THE LIKING of the party elite.

Seating a 50-50 delegation from each state accomplishes what?

Well the purpose for voting in the primaries is to "choose" (by the people) the party's nominee. (Actually this too is false - just as voting in the presidential election is portrayed as such).

Both processes are ACTUALLY a process whereby you are supposed, as a voter, to choose an INDIVIDUAL known to you and from your local area to REPRESENT you in the PROCESS of choosing a nominee (or a president in the case of the Electoral College), in a process of deliberation, which takes place at a CONVENTION (or at the Electoral College).

Indeed we publicly finance these "conventions" (with no purpose any longer) as nothing more than publicly funded campaign ads for the two major parties (and having the very real - and often very desired - effect of ensuring the hegemony of ONLY those two parties. Why does the Green or Libertarian party not have nationally televised primaries at the public expense? Because their members did not control Congress to GIVE THEMSELVES this benefit at the public expense).

A 50-50 seating delegation, which I predicted four months ago would be the outcome, is a SYMBOLIC gesture at the most.

It does not COUNT a single vote from either state. It merely "seats" PEOPLE from those states on the floor of the convention.

Indeed it is INTENDED to ensure that the Convention DOES NOT choose the candidate at all - but that it is chosen BEFORE the convention (which is the reason the convention has no purpose any longer - other than as publicly paid advertising for the two major parties).

Don't forget it was Terry McAuliff that led the pressure to REMOVE Dean from the 2004 primary early so that the decision could be made BEFORE The convention. Yet he is now Clinton's campaign advisor doing the exact opposite. These are the ultimate in hypocrites. They say whatever and do whatever in a RELATIVISTIC manner - relative to the present situation adn without regard for consistency over time.

The delegates to the primaries do little more than attend parties and have the privilege of sitting on the floor (and possibly being seen on TV).

Thus last time the DNC (led by McAullif) ensured that any delegate who did not follow the SCRIPT (made by whom?) would be BLOCKED from the television cameras with a complex system of surveillance and "troops" who would line up in front of them so they could not be seen on camera.

And of course the idea that the decision should be made BEFORE The primary is EXACTLY the rendering of votes of people of states MEANINGLESS.

Where are the other choices - now that it has been narrowed down to two? ANd by what rule was it narrowed down as such. IT is the same logic that says it SHOULD HAVE been ONE already - just like the Republicans.

This is a sham. Welcome Florida and Michigan delegates. You do not represent votes - you represent pandering to your states out of fear that some of you might "pout" over not being seated and not vote. So we will "seat" you. Will you have a vote? Not really - the decision will already have been made. Will your vote be a reflection (a representation) of the votes of the population of your state - clearly not. It is just an empty symbolic gesture meant to FOOL you.

Enjoy your stay at the Convention. There will be plenty of parties to attend. You can sit on the floor and watch as a host of speakers are lined up for days to promote the ALREADY DECIDED candidate (and thus your presence will have had nothing to do with that), and you will be expected to wave signs and sit and stand no less than in the ceremonies of the Catholic Church. The only difference is that "dissenters" will not be tolerated.

Let the primaries - all of them - actually WORK - if we are to have them at all. Let ALL states vote BEFORE there is a single candidate "forced" or "pressured" to "drop out." And let those votes determine the outcome. Remove ALL superdelegates from existence. And then - without public funds - let the delegates attend a convention.

Or have all primaries on the SAME DAY - just like the national election. (But that is not desired by the candidates and campaigns - and more importantly - the industry of campaign consultants).

Or get rid of the primaries all together and have a simple convention. WHo should attend. Well - either superdelegates (not chosen by you but by the party elite) - or one in which you vote for a person WITHOUT COMMITMENT to a candidate (indeed lets IGNORE candidates until the convention) but someone you trust and feel an affinity towards - and have them make the decision (as non-elites).

Or better yet, in my view, take the choice of president OUT of the hands of the people - as was intended - not because the people SHOULD NOT be allowed to choose presidents, but because popular votes for president DISTORT the role of the president and INFLATE him (or possibly her) into an entity of government never intended and FAR TOO CENTRAL and FAR TOO POWERFUL - and subordinating the Congress (OUR branch) to its own whims (and thus the whims of the "majority party").

Let's take back OUR control of Congress, as people, and render the Presidency what it was supposed to be - the "chief clerk" - who MERELY follows the DICTATES of a Congress, in executing the laws that THEY make, in reflecting the laws that WE INTEND to make.

I am going to write a more thoughtful piece on this and post it on my website in the next few days.

But this "compromise" or "solution" of the DNC - is an example of the very same "compromise" of our laws that lets Presidents GO TO war without Congressional declaration, etc.
It is the undermining of our system of government. And rather than ensuring every vote counts - it demonstrates that your vote is nothing, to the party and governing elite, than a way to keep you BELIEVING you have power when in actuality, so long as you play in that game, you HAVE NONE.


I cannot urge more strongly that as many of us, and those of our other friends and acquaintances, attend this year's DemFest.

Its been 8 years. We need a strong showing - and we need to really strategize for the future.

What IF a Democrat wins the presidency (a situation I would not say is ensured - but is more likely than not). Will this solve our problems?

No. Will it make us feel better. Likely.

But it will also likely sweep under the rug most of the serious and significant problems that need to be tackled - because such problems do not make for good "re-election" campaigns.

And the problems of our nation do not lie with answers that a President, any president, can provided - unless we can find a president who is willing to defy the consultants, the trends, the norms ... and often their own ignorance of our system (these are people trained in "the system" (as it is) not the government (as it is meant to be).

At the national level they lie primarily with the Congress and its subordinated role to presidential-led party politics. And the resultant complete elimination of the element of separation of powers/checks and balances meant to prevent that (even though we still play lip service to that as if it were there).

But most of all - it lies at our local level of government - where WE THE PEOPLE should be ruling far more directly and building that self-rule from the ground up, through our counties, to our states, and on up to our national government.

We have the whole thing backwards.

Charlie Grapski

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Sunday Open Thread

On this date in history, among other things, Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric voting machine.

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