An American Masterpiece reaches 50

50 years ago perhaps the landmark work of American music was recorded and released, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. e

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250 Million

     I recently heard that there are an estimated 250 million guns in the United States. There are an estimated 111 million households in America. Using these numbers that would mean there are 2.2 guns for every household in America. That seems like a lot of guns to me. As I began to ponder these numbers I wondered with all of these guns are we a safer nation? Have all of these guns provided us with the security many of us are seeking?

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1984 in 2008 - Bill Ayers Speaks

I know references to 1984 are cliche, but the editorial today by Bill Ayers in the New York Times brings it home:

Unable to challenge the content of Barack Obama's campaign, his opponents invented a narrative about a young politician who emerged from nowhere, a man of charm, intelligence and skill, but with an exotic background and a strange name. The refrain was a question: "What do we really know about this man?"


I was cast in the "unrepentant terrorist" role; I felt at times like the enemy projected onto a large screen in the "Two Minutes Hate" scene from George Orwell's "1984," when the faithful gathered in a frenzy of fear and loathing.

This happened a lot during the campaign. Reverend Wright, Tony Rezko (that one never really did catch on), and towards the end, Barack Obama himself - they were yelling, "Kill him!"

And it's happened a lot in our society, both under Bush and more broadly. A government spying on its citizens. A country in constant, often meaningless war. When Osama Bin Laden's face flashes on screen, it's almost a literal Two Minutes of Hate.

How does this get changed? Ayers has his solution:

With the mainstream news media and the blogosphere caught in the pre-election excitement, I saw no viable path to a rational discussion. Rather than step clumsily into the sound-bite culture, I turned away whenever the microphones were thrust into my face. I sat it out.

Can Obama move us away from 1984-style governance? I really hope so. But as Ayers says, this stuff - suspicion, sound bites, hatred, violence - it's part of our culture. Moving away from an incurious, reactionary culture towards something else is more than one man can do in a lifetime. And besides, this change can't really be legislated - it's going to take every one of us, individually.

I'm not saying we should move backwards and use cultures of the past as our models - technology and modernity have forever closed off that route - but we should move somewhere new. And I'm not saying this process hasn't started already. The day after the election, K Street in Washington DC (where I work) just felt different.

Still, there's a long way to go and I'm not sure the Ayers solution, sitting it out, is really appropriate for everyone. We're part of this country and this culture whether we like it or not. So, what else can be done?

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ObamaHeads: Fire One UP!

Much like Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul, Campaign Activists can be, uh, "interesting". Ok, some are flat out weirdos. But Obama's are a special breed and are certainly smarter and less wacky, they still have their own Culture and Language. Here are some terms you may never hear spoken in the light of Day. But an Obama staffer will testify to their existence. Well Maybe. Like AFTER the Election that is.

10. Barackoderm
A converted Republican who now stands for Obama.

9. Obamatron
A term that describes some O Supporters who want to talk about nothing but Obama. They also have no sense of Humor. Ahem.

8. Breaking Baracks in the Hot Sun
When a new person is brought in to help the Campaign, they sometimes get their mettle tested by being sent to walk a, Uh, NOT nice neighborhood. Like where Zeke lives. Scary scary. If they come back, the rookie gets promoted.

7. StreetBaracker
Term to describe some people who come from "Out of State" to help. Usually on the Greyhound. Some are doing it, Zeke thinks, just to get some free food and a place to sleep. They never bring a suitcase.

6. Obamabud
Comes from Hawaii. Maui, in fact. Very fresh, brah.

5. BarackStar<sup>TM</sup>, Energy Drink
Instead of Coffee or even Latte's, Obama Activists drink a strange fluid made up of Kool Aide, crushed Berries and "Something else". I don't wanna know...

4. Wrong Side of the Railroad Baracks
Some times Party Activists who are "Not as enthusiastic as they should be", don't get called anymore. To return to "Barackstar" Status they may have to go "Break Baracks in the Hot Sun".

3. Obamazombies
After being hung up on and yelled at on hundreds of "ID calls", some Obama Supporters become desensitized and actually try and eat the brains of the living. Scary stuff. Beware.

2. Barackitis
Sometimes people who had once been an avid supporters suddenly "find a reason" that they can't help anymore. This rare disease, is similar to Hillarytosis and Paulobia.

1. Obamormon
Yep. Believe it or not, many conservative Evangelicals and Mormons have started working for Obama. These mainly young volunteers often "leave out" their religios leanings as they feel they are "weird" for opposing their hardcore parents leanings.

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I Confess I Was Wrong About Obama

My conviction, even before Barack officially joined the race a year and a half ago, was that he could win the presidency by forging a definitive mandate for a progressive agenda and a new political culture. I thought he could pull off this feat with his unique vision, his rare ability to articulate that vision, his extraordinary creativity/imagination, and, of course, his native political skills.

Looks like I'll be proven wrong.

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