Move On

This is too short to be a diary but I need to post it.  My 80-year-old mother, fairly new to computers and not aware of how much crap just goes through e-mails, got this this morning with her name on it: =NxGPAm5DWnshZd51hmjmsjQyOTQx&referr ed_by=5376188-gN7t6zx

This is from their website:

Make Sure All Your Friends Vote
We all know people who might not vote this year. So we created this funny news video about Obama losing by a single vote. It's a great, fun, scary way to remind everyone you know to vote. Can you send this video to your friends? (You can send yourself the video, too.)
Send this video »

It almost gave her a heart attack.  It was stupid and juvenile and for someone growing up in some of the times she did, absolutely frightening.

I had unsubscribed to MoveOn a while back because of stunts like this.  They are juvenile and lack judgment.  

Anyway, my mother called me, hysterical and frightened and I am angry beyond belief.

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Senator Kennedy has Brain Tumor

Just in:

Kennedy has malignant tumor

Sen. Edward Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor. The hospital treating Kennedy released a statement today saying that the tumor was found during tests after the senator had a seizure Saturday. The tumor is in his left parietal lobe.


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Eight Belles and the death penalty.

I love animals.  I have 2 rescue Australian Cattle Dogs, and 4 cats who were strays.  I've done animal rescue work and I am involved with the local no-kill shelter.

I've also always been a passionate opponent of the death penalty.  To me it is something that defines the US as not having made it to the ranks of civilized nations.  It is wrong in so many ways I can't begin here to enumerate them.  Our party was hijacked some years back by pro DP ideology, and except for John Kerry, every single candidate in recent years has run on a platform endorsing it.

This was on MSNBC today.  It is a statement by Justice Stevens, a vehement DP opponent of the DP, about the difference in the euthanasia of Eight Belles at the Derby and what happens to a condemned prisoner.  

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Women and the Process

One of the things this campaign has been bringing home to me lately is the paucity of women in general being groomed for higher office.  We have only 16 female Senators.  Most of the candidates I see advocated for on this site at the congressional level are men.

I was listening to Dee Dee Myers on NPR today.  She was talking about the campaign, and one thing she said that I agree with is that a woman exactly equal to Barack Obama in experience and qualifications, would not have been able to reach the level of a run for the presidency (paraphrasing).  I listened to that and thought a young woman, would people, male or female, accept her run, and came to the conclusion that Dee Dee is right.  Hillary Clinton has some things going for her that have made her acceptable as a candidate, her age (middle aged women are seen to have the kind of gravitas accorded to even much younger men) and her husband (not derogatorily, but women forging new territory do better with mentors and you can't beat hers).  

The question I've been trying to answer is what has to change before a 46-year-old female can be accorded respect that goes without even thinking about it, to a similarly qualified male of that age.

I realized I can't even sort out the problem here.  Is it that younger women are more involved in childrearing in a way that the men are not?  There are certainly ambitious and qualified young women, and women represent way over half of the vote in this party, so why the dearth.  What happens to eliminate women from the upper echelons of this sweepstakes?  Why did it take being married to a supportive (well mostly) former president to enable a qualified woman to be taken seriously in this national race.

Myers also told the story in her speech of how orchestral auditions changed when it became clear not enough gifted women were being accepted.  They started to curtain off the candidates.  This resulted, I think she said, in a 5-fold increase in woman who were accepted.  Something has to change in the way we hear and see women, something in our sense of what kind of style is acceptable for a leader, so that a young woman can receive the kind of hearing that a JFK, or Obama, or any youthful politician (male) receives.

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How has it come to this?

If you are a politically engaged human being, you cannot really separate your life from your politics.  Your history is your point of view.  

I am watching this political season for the Democrats and finally, tonight, have reached the limit of being able to intelectualize what is happening.  It is feeling like a punch in the gut now, not just some bad stuff going on that is about an election.  

I am a second-generation American.  My grandparents came over here from Russia shortly before the revolution.  They were socialists, and my parents were as well.  My father enlisted in the army the day after Pearl Harbor and fought his way from Africa to Germany for almost 4 years, in the infantry.  He came back and worked at unionizing.  I was raised to understand what was good in the country, also what was oppressive.  We were taught that you always worked to make things better, that you always had to be aware of who was being wronged and do something to help.  This was emphasized more than anything else as we grew up.

In spite of the fact that we were way on the left of the Democratic party, we always voted Democratic.  It seemed the party of hope, the party of social progress, the open party, warts and all, where it was not about business and privilege but about workers, immigrants, minorities.  I've always had s somewhat idealized view of the Democratic party I think.  

In 1968, when I was a senior in college I worked as a volunteer for the RFK campaign.  He was my senator and an extraordinary man.  I've written here before that he was shot on the night before my college graduation.  We all sat around eating sandwiches at a local deli after the ceremony, too stunned and miserable, and hopeless to talk to each other. That and the death of King that year, and the 68 convention, made it impossible to look at the political process the same way, ever, without the sense that someone took away the only golden moment of promise I had ever known in politics.  

In the early 70s, with the advent of a more active women's movement and the beginnings of a more formal environmental movement, there seemed a chance for some reasoned and positive change again.  I marched joyfully in the big march in NY, and enjoyed putting into words some of the sensed inequities that marked one's life as a female.  There was a lot of talk and there were some significant changes made.

As my life went on I started to focus on the issues that were  most meaningful to me (everyone does).  For some it becomes related to the way their family and home shapes up, or their career, or their personal relationships.  Some get a political construct from feeling where they are most vulnerable as a person.  Some from a communal experience.  It comes from all places.  What became most meaningful to me were issues of criminal justice, and environmental issues.  Life matters to me above all so I have a houseful of pets, vote as green as I can and spent a lot of time horrified and frustrated by environmental degradation, and strongly oppose the death penalty.  Life trumps all other issues.  For some people racial inequity trumps because it comes out of their experience.  For some, womens' issues.  I'm not saying we can't all care about all of this, but I'm talking the dagger to the heart personal stuff.

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How they should show what they've got....

Given Hillary's strong positives in PA, many of which have to do with who she is and her life experience, her roots in the State, etc, if you were advising Obama on his campaign in the state what elements of his experience and who he is would you suggest he put forward.  Their platforms are remarkably similar and most of the races come down to their intrinsic selves.

I'd be interested in any ideas of how Hillary can transcend problems in states she is not likely to capture, as well.

Now, this question demands overlooking gender and racial issues for the moment.  We have been going back and forth about that forever. It also, hopefully but I'm not optimistic, demands that the stupid flaming crap can be put on hold for a wee bit.

It would be very interesting to hear from people who live in the states that have not voted yet, who have a closer sense of how the different campaigns play to micro-areas.  

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Spitzer and the damage done

It's not just about Eliot Spitzer's private life, or even the illegality of what he did.  His hubris put the entire Democratic power structure in the state at risk.

The LG now becomes governor, if the Breaking Blue headline is accurate.  Now, Joe Bruno, the lead GOP in the state and head of the State Senate which I think is GOP by one vote (and a vote the LG can cast) becomes LG.  Grrrr.  

How the hell could Spitzer do this? ed/archives/2008/03/how_the_spitzer.php

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Bread and Butter

Before Ronald Reagan came into office most Americans had a sense that the government, at its best, could help them, could  make things better, could make things fairer.  Up to that point, after Hoover and before Reagan, administrations, yes, even Republican ones, managed to focus on doing some things right for the public good (even Nixon; head start and a bunch of other social programs).  The New Deal, of course, was the most potent example of this as it dealt with the worst depression in our history and some of the most imaginative and enduring solutions. Reagan, with his emphasis on deregulation and less government in those aspects of our life dismantled much of the structure of this, and just about all of the expectation and acknowledgment that government can play a profoundly good role in our lives.  I think this is also when the "tax and spend" chant towards Democrats started.  

Now our country is bottoming out economically.  We produce less, wages are stagnant, jobs are overseas.  Along with this we have global environmental issues.  

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From Now On.....Maybe

Last night, while suffering through Obama's defeats, I had some thoughts about what was making this worse than a normally sad campaign loss by my candidate.

I used to like Hillary; I voted for her for the Senate.  I had some reservations about her because of her husband's presidency (I really do not like him) but was open to being convinced that she is a viable alternative to first Edwards, then Obama.  I have to add right now that I will vote for whomever the Democrat nominee is, I am nothing if not a good soldier to my beliefs. The problem for me, however, is that any joy I might have felt about nominating a woman, an intelligent person whose values echo mine, a hugely better alternative to the current regime, etc. has been destroyed by the namecalling (please don't post ten posts on how this goes on on both sides, I know it does, that's not the point here) I've seen here.  When I hear Hillary Clinton I hear voices calling me a cultist, disrespecting my choices, shrill, nasty voices, that have taken any joy out of the process there might have been.  

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