Monday, March 31, 2008

Obama is Right--Clinton can and should Stay In!

Obama is right, Clinton can and should stay in the race as long as there is a following.

More important that Clinton or Obama--or even Rep or Dem is that we preserve our democracy for the outside world--but even more importantly for ourselves.

Democracy is a messy business and there are always unforseen issues cropping up (who would have thought after more than a year of campaigning--the Dem race would still be unresolved). The debacle in Florida in 2000 or less so in Ohio in '04 should actually be looked at as triumphs of democracy (which can only triumph by having more people involved) The handling of the above issues, particularly 2000 were where the problem comes in.

It is very important that this nomination and subsequent election be open and fair. I ma a Floridian, we took a gamble (allbeit Rep lead--but there was not viable Dem opp) and lost--oh well--our party and elected Dem's should be the ones deciding this, and humbly asking to be seated (even at a .50 rate)--just like with sports, we lost this battle, but there is always next time. Get over it, there are bigger fish to fry.

If all things are open and honest and questions are dealt with, Obama will win the nomination. No question about it--throw whatever kitchen sinks you want, play whatever youtube clips you want--the man has reached into the American voter and has tapped into something that makes them want to make this a participative democracy instead of a plutocracy.

Obama '08

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Comments too good to pass up!

2 posts from a fellow Wash Post reader:

1> No wonder the R's are losing it. Just listened to Rush talk about how America is the world's best last hope. Nothing like turning a nation into an idol. Sounds just like Hitler's deification of Germany.

The world's last great hope are those who act justly and defend the inalienable rights of humanity, wherever they may be.

The founding fathers realized that the nation they were founding was another experiment in human governance. It could fail as easily as the many nations before it.

A nation which embraces torture, pre-emptive wars, invasions of sovereign countries, pollutes the environment, lives off the slave labor of poorer countries and legislates belief can no longer claim the moral high ground or pretend to be the last great hope of anything except humanity's basest desires.

America is not great by virtue of its existence. It is great only by virtue of its virtues.

So tragic that so many listen to such tripe. It's like people who are told they are good simply because they belong to a religion, mistaking membership for good works, ritual for good fruits, prayer for acts of charity, religious clothing for conversion of heart.

America is only as good as its actions.
No more, no less. To claim some innate divine superiority is as delusional as it is blasphemous.

But the weak and insecure always seek to clothe themselves in God's mantle when unable to do God's work.

The right is to be pitied when seduced by such a small-minded man.

Posted by: wpost4112 | March 27, 2008 01:52 PM

2> Charity.

As some one remarked long ago, the poor will always be with us. In other words, we will always be creatures of choice.

That same man remarked on the rich who paraded their charity for all to see. To empower the poor? To promote the general welfare? No. To reap compliements and indulge in self-pride at a being so "generous," giving a pittance from their piled-up of wealth.

True charity has little to do with money or tax-write offs. It has to do with treating others with respect. It has to do with empowering those who have no power. It has to do with protecting the environment. It has to do with creating balance in society. It has to do with sacrificing one's comfort for another's survival. It has to do with self-respect, respect for others and respect for the created universe.

It has nothing to do with sending a check to Africa from the comfort of a exclusive country club.

As that same man said so many years ago, it will be easier for a camel loaded with baggage to get through the tiniest of archways than a rich person to enter the gates of heaven. Not because they are rich, but because they can't let go of the baggage.

Money is not the root of evil, it is the desire for it.

But as some of the rich are unable to release their grasp of materialism for love of neighbor, so too many of those who are not rich are unable to release their grasp of envy.

Judging each other on matters of the heart are as meaningless as judging charity from an IRS filing.

Posted by: wpost4112 | March 27, 2008 03:35 PM

Comments from the Horse's Ass on Roasted Religion

Surely even Christians, died in the wool, conservative Christians have a problem with this kind of rhetoric--This CANNOT be seen as patriotic or American . . . right???

"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
-Florida Representative Katherine Harris (August 2006)

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”
-Presidential Candidate, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (February 2008)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

ROASTED RELIGION'S Predictions for The November Election

<p><strong>><a href='http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/campaign08/electoral-college/'>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>
Try for yourself:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/campaign08/electoral-college/?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Speech on Race on ROASTED RELIGION

Here is the speech in 4 videos.

People are already comparing it to Lincoln's A House Divided speech.










Obama's Speech on ROASTED RELIGION

What follows is a transcript of Barack Obama's speech.
I am not taking credit for this, just posting it as a copy for further reading.
*********************************************************************************
"A More Perfect Union"
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Constitution Center
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As Prepared for Delivery

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so na├»ve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

race comments

As a white man, it does amaze me how easily we whites get uncomfortable around a paradigm or viewpoint we cannot fathom or be a part of. Then we go one step further, out of racism, or guilt or both we deny that that person is allowed to feel, view, think that way.

We may excuse/ignore Robertson, Falwell, Hagee and the rest because we understand their context--but with Wright we (as a socio-group) seemed to just plain "get skered"--and truth be told, that is why a lot of this race issue is getting played--whites are fine getting along and being "equal" just as long as you agree with us. Stay in your place and we can all be happy together---Let me tell you, I am amazed at the patience and virtue of the African-American community when it comes to dealing with this country. They vote in higher numbers, repeatedly get put down, told to wait, mislabeled and denigrated--and yet they don't burn down our white owned businesses, bomb governmental facilities, or really make us feel what life would be like without their participation in our democracy. Americans are VERY lucky our largest historic minority is so dedicated to freedom and being proud to be an American--if not, we'd really see some trouble.

EX: Northern Ireland, Middle East, India, Tibet anyone?

Journey Not a Destination

Here is a wonderful musing about life being a journey not a destination.

I originally saw it on the Bourbon Cowboy's blog.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Who's Winning??

Obama or Clinton????

To listen to the momentum argument and chatter (which is at least 50 if not 65% of the election process) one would have to say that Clinton is winning.

She won 3 of the 4 contests on 3/4; and did two things very effectively:
1> She won the large state argument: Excpet Illinois (Obama's home state) and Virginia; Hillary has now won all of what are usually considered "big" states: California, New York, Texas, Florida (disputed), New Jersey, Massachusettes, Ohio and Michigan (also disputed). this was VERY important--more important than breaking Obama's momentum--because it served to showcase her electability; ability to carry the big states and trivialized his wins----even though he currently is in the lead with the most delegates, most states, and most of the poplar votes--but Preception is such a HUGE factor in this era of politics; it is hard to make that argument as definitive because of the facts I just stated above.
2> Hillary found a way to make the attacks stick--Hillary has been attacking Obama since prior to the SC Primary; but he has rebutted, parried and deflected every single one. What happened this time was in a two prong approach (well really 3) she was able to make the attack stick--1> she questioned his ability to be Commander In Chief with her 3:00 am ad--which he rebutted with his own 3:00 am ad about having the judgement to answer the phone--but her damage has already been done. 2> She spun the NAFTA debacle as NAFTA-gate and turned an unpaid advisor of Obama's talking without direction into a statement that Obama was "two-faced" on NAFTA--a point which in the days following the Ohio Primary received SCADS of attention in Canada (but do we know that--of ocurse not, because most people in America barely realize Canada is NOT part of the US, much less has its own gov't!!!) The Prime Minister got involved and the two leading newspapers in Toronto and Montreal ran cover stories on how it was actually Hillary's people who contacted them about ignoring the political "anti-NAFTA" rhetoric-and Obama's guy said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Not a great thing, but remember he was an unpaid advisor, not actually part of the campaign or acting on any official capacity. this is what helped Clinton, because Obama made an unequivocal deny that any of his people had been in contact with the Canadian government or said anything of the like--only problem, he didn't know about the unpaid advisor opened his mouth at a random meeting, where he was NOT representing the Obama campaign. 3> She succedded in "roughing up the refs" she pushed the press for being too light on Obama and after two appearances on SNL, convinced America that she was more hip than she looked and that she had a point--negative news to follow. . .

BUT--Obama has an argument:
He has won more delegates, more states, more of the popular vote; cut her lead in super delegates to a little over 20; WON the Texas delegate race, Ensured Clinton walked away from her "big" victory with a net gain of 2 delegates, and still well behind him, and went from being 20 points down in both Texas and Ohio to being 9 points in Ohio and 2 points in Texas--the problem then??? he didn't deliver like people thought he would, the momentum, the zeitgeist, everything was on Obama's side--and he fought close, but just enough to cut her lead to fractions, but not enough to win.

So what's to do--Obama won Wyoming and will probably win Mississippi. He will also probably win very well in NC; but the battle will be Pennsylvania. He has to get momentum back, convince the superdelegates he is still well ahead and going strong, and he has to WIN Pennsylvania. If he just breaks even or cuts her lead; his case for electability will be weak no matter how many delegates he has.
BUT--the good news comes two fold--this race (longest in american political history) has shown 2 things 1> Clinton is often the recipient of "reversed momentum"--that is she wins and pulls into the front; but people don't respond to her winning with more winning--usually its a "we just didn't want her getting beat up so bad; but we don't want her to win." this happened in Iowa; New Hampshire, after Super Tuesday and looks to be happening now--Hillary's comment about offering Obama the Veep job (as she lags behind in states, delegates and votes) has set A LOT of people talking again about arrogance and entitlement--2 things Americans don't like to support or reward--we'd rather have ignorance (current President . . . but that is another blog) :)
and 2> time is on Obama's side-he has proven to be the better candidate when it comes to winning people over, he learns from mistakes and fixes them. Ohio and Texas taught Obama a lot about what to expect; and chances are his strategy will prove effective in neutralizing any argument or points she has--Point in case--her push for more "negative" stories on him have been massively deflected in the light of the press. while they still try and tie him to Rezko, they cannot find any misdeeds on his part; and he continues to cooperate. He has turned her remarks on his suitability into "fear-mongering" and the worst thing Dateline could get on him was a former Republican Illinois Senatorial colleague who said Obama is pretty much tried and true; but while he passed a lot of bills-he didn't have any "big" movements--of course the Republicans controlled the Illinois Senate during most of his tenure and as the former colleague admits--"It was hard for any democrat to get anything done, much less a "big" movement."

That's it; that seems to be the worst thing they can say that actually has merit and sticks--the rest is just propaganda.

So, who do YOU think is winning?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Love--Sola Amora

If there could only be one word I could pick to live off, that word would be love.If I could only use one word , that would be the word.

To describe G-d, my world, my life, my focus and my goal.

My feeble tongue doesn’t have the words to translate what that word truly means.
Love is the purest, love because of and in spite of, out of choice and out of duty, love for and love against.
Love as noun and verb,adjective and interjection. Love. Simply stated, freely given.

Racial Profiling In the Atlantic

“Boat People” and Refugees:
Racial Profiling in the Atlantic
While listening to my local late newscast a piece
comes on about an "heroic" rescue. The anchorman is
seemingly elated as he explains this courageous event
of U.S. Coast Guard servicemen helping these freedom
seekers to shore . He finishes his story with the
declaration, "Since the Cuban refugees made it to
shore, they will be allowed to stay.”
Wasn't it just a few years ago our country "beefed-up"
border patrols to keep Haitians from entering. “God
knows we don't need any Haitian ‘boat people’ ", as
they were referred to on more than one occasion.
There have been MANY instances where Haitians were sent
back primarily because of our country's insane "wet
foot/ dry foot" immigration policy.
However, even this policy and seeming double standard
is not debase enough. The anchorman said the Cuban
"refugees" were "rescued" from the sea. How were they
able to make it to dry land, and thus be able to stay?
Did the Coast Guard "rescue" them and then escort
them to land? So, are our Coast Guard ships
patrolling the waters off our coast doing what amounts
to racial profiling when it come to the “tired and
wretched masses, yearning to be free."?
What is the difference? Could it be- dare I say it-
the color of the skin? Could it be that lighter
skinned Cubans, who also happen to be the ONLY Latino
group to overwhelmingly favor Republicans, are
"rescued" and helped from the bitter sea to the
welcoming shores of Florida; while black skinned
Haitians from the world’s second oldest Democracy (if
a failed democracy) are turned back to the island from
whence they came?
It is 2008, 40+ years since Civil Rights Act, over 140
since the Emancipation Proclamation and over 200 since
Toussaint L'Ouverture cast off the chains of
colonialism (and slavery) and declared the independent
Republic of Haiti and petitioned, eventually begging
its sister democracy for recognition and support. It
is 2008 and does the maul of slavery and inherent
racism so rampantly afflict us that even in our
decisions to help: 1> political refugees and 2> people
in obvious need, floating on rafts in the Atlantic;
the recipients literally live and die by the color of
their skin.

My God I hope not . . .

Wake Up To The World Around You.

In 1212, 30,000 children averaging the age of 12
years old, went to war. On a holy crusade, mimicking
the Knights trying to reclaim Jerusalem for the
Church, they set off only to be destroyed by
shipwreck, starvation and disease; or sold as slaves
in Palestine. Also during the Middle ages the
population of Europe en masse’ suffered from bad
nutrition and many lived with starvation. In addition
to these travesties, a disease we now call the Bubonic
plague laid waste to citizens regardless of national
border. Is it any wonder the life expectancy was
just over 30 years old in most areas.
These statistics even now, to our civilized ears,
cause concern. We cringe at the thought of children
suffering from famine and disease, much less heading
off to war. What is sad about these statistics is not
that they were true 800 years ago; but rather that
they are true today.
Today in 2008 these statistics are true for not just
a country but for a continent. These statistics are
more than numbers and issues, they are life for
millions of Africans everyday.
**In Africa disease, in particular HIV/AIDS is
reducing life expectancy to under 45 years of age.
**In Africa many children are thrown into the grown
up world of murder, rape and war by the age of 12.
**In Africa, famine and starvation ravage the health
of not only the countries, but of the citizens.

*HIV/AIDS has reduced the average life expectancy of
males in sub-Saharan Africa to 43 years of age, of
course this is down from the high of 65, the age where
we begin retirement, in which we will spend, on
average a third of our lives.

*millions of children are fighting as soldiers,
children who will never get their childhood back
even if they stopped today. children who have known
nothing
but war, poverty and famine. That is their life, that
is why they fight, because it is the only relationship
they can maintain, that of brothers in arms, because
they've watched their mothers and sisters die, their
fathers rape and kill BUT their brothers support them.

* Perhaps the best known image of Africa is that of
famine, in 1984 American pop-stars sang “We Are The
World”, and more than 20 years later the famine has spread.


We in the civilized, democratic West can remember and
study our own Middle Ages; and I can compare the
plight of Africa to Medieval times. But there is one
difference. In the 13th Century, there was no
civilized, democratic West; In the 13th century there
was no Super Power of America’s strength or wealth.
In the 13th century WE were not her to help and demand
help; You and I hold the future in our hands, and we
should be reminded of the bible verse “Unto whom much
is given, much is required.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

YES WE CAN on ROASTED RELIGION

READ BELOW TO GET A TAKE ON OBAMA'S RECORD:

Obama's Record

From the Library of Congress:

During the first - 8 - eight years of his elected service in Illinois he sponsored over 820 bills. He introduced 233 regarding healthcare reform, 125 on poverty and public assistance, 112 crime fighting bills, 97 economic bills, 60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills, 21 ethics reform bills, 15 gun control, 6 veterans affairs .

His first year in the U.S. Senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These inculded:
**the Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 - passed into law
**The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act, - passed into law
**The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, passed the Senate,
**The 2007 Government Ethics Bill, - passed into law
**The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill, currently in committee

Since entering the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096.

Not just rhetoric!