Politics and Moose Headlines 1/30/09 - [UPDATE]

barack speak Pictures, Images and Photos

3 great essays up at the Moose

Denise Velez .

The social significance of Michelle Obama's skin color  


I have watched the Obama's now, since the early days of the campaign, and as they danced together at the inaugural balls to the strains of Beyoncé covering Etta James, "At Last", I mused about what we (as black American's and we as women of color) have finally achieved "at last".
When Reverend Lowery did the benediction earlier that day, his words echoed an old childhood schoolyard rhyme "if you're white you're all right, if you're brown stick around, if you're black stay back..."

Yes, we have the first POTUS of African descent. But that is not the focus of this diary.  Of more significance for many women of color, we have a first couple, where the wife is darker in complexion than her spouse.  

Much has been written about Barack Obama's mother being white, and Michelle Obama as a really  black American.  What I have not seen discussed are the social implications of the image they present to many in not only the African-American community, but to those of us who may also be from other communities of afro-descendancy (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Jamaica etc), where skin-color gradations have historically had a significant relationship to social class, and where this relationship has applied specifically to women of color.

In the Motley Moose "Guest Blogger" series they have Malini Mehra.

Malini Mehra is the founder and chief executive of the Centre for Social Markets, an Indian non-profit that has initiated the country's first national mobilization effort on climate change. CSM's 'Climate Challenge India' campaign is driving a pro-active domestic response to climate change and seeking to propel the country into the ranks of global leadership on the issue. CSM's US-India leadership programme on climate change is building bridges between the two nations with a particular focus on engaging Indian Americans.  

A Changing Climate - How Obama Inspires India

Speaking to the millions in America, but heard by billions around the world, President Barack Obama said:

"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."
Obama spoke of America, but he could have been speaking of the world. We are everywhere in need of renewal and hope. None more so than on the climate challenge where we need fresh vision and a politics that looks forwards not backwards.  The stakes are so high that anything less than an audacious, global effort to reconcile our differences and make peace with the planet will fail humanity. We will not regret it in our parochial nationalisms as Indians or Americans, but as humans - as a species that failed itself, and condemned the rest.

This is why 2009 matters and why this year's UN Conference on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen in December must not fail.  

Everybody's favorite, sricki, is up with a new essay as well.

Their Silent Suffering

According to Reuters, U.S. Army suicide rates are at their highest since the military first began tracking them in 1980. With 128 soldiers having committed suicide in 2008, and 15 additional deaths still under investigation, this is the first time the number of military suicides has been higher than the adjusted rate of suicide in the general civilian population since Vietnam.

snip

Hopefully the Obama administration will ensure that changes are made -- that the men and women who serve us so faithfully are protected both on duty and off. There is no way to eliminate depression, anxiety, and PTSD among our troops. Those are invisible wounds which will never be fully eradicated from their ranks. But the rate of suicide can be lowered with prompt and effective intervention. There is no reason the military can't provide more effective treatment to those who are suffering. There is no excuse for the lack of aid our veterans endure here at home.

And the sooner President Obama finds a way to safely bring our troops home, the more lives will be saved: both on and off the battlefield.

Stop by and chill.

Peace.

UPDATE Hahahahahahaha! I love you too haters! Cheers!

There's more...

Trolls and the Broken Window Theory

Crossposted from the Moose

Don't usually crosspost here but seeing that a "polite" diary comparing Obama to Hitler is on the Rec.List ...

... I thought I'd share this with those that don't visit us at the Motley Moose.

"University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."

- Henry Kissinger

Why are people so nasty on blogs?

Why aren't some people able to have a discussion about the merits of a candidate, or strengths and weaknesses of a specific strategy without

getting personal or mean about it?

Are the stakes really so low in some parts of the blogosphere, that people feel the need to be nasty about everything?

Short answer.

Yes.

For many people, flaming and hostility are the only reasons to get online.

These are folks who suffer from a chronic case of assholicism.

Trolls.

troll    
One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

It's much easier to criticise and inflame than it is to be creative and stimulating.

This is as true for the blogosphere as it is for the real world.

Not all trolls are loud, obnoxious and obvious though.

One of my favorites subset of trolls is one that does not fit this specific criteria.

The "polite" troll. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

These are usually the ones railing against opression and all about their right to spew whatever nonsense they are peddling that day.

They usually offer up blisteringly polite, well written 'snake under the rose' posts that are perfectly within the bounds of decency, but create unrest

and dissatisfaction with cutting accuracy.

Disruptive people, who keep themselves just at the edge of acceptable behavior.

They can drive away the sane people just as much as the loud and obnoxious obvious trolls.

These are the posters all too often cry innocence and hide behind the very worthy excuse of  open discussion, but are frequently just trying to stir up

trouble.

Those are usually the ones accusing trusted and long time users of promoting censorship and trollish behavior.

I'm pretty sure some of those will turn up in the comments.

They are predictable like that.

Blogs have to walk a fine line though.

- Heavy handed mods find themselves with a dead community, because people do not want to be dictated to.

- Mods that exercise too little input also find themselves with a cobweb, because trolls come in and run people off.

This last point is the one in which I'll expand in this diary.

I came across this very interesting article.

Which tries to apply the Broken Window theory to the blogosphere.

The book is based on an article titled "Broken Windows" by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, which appeared in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly.[2] The title comes from the following example:

"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."

A successful strategy for preventing vandalism, say the book's authors, is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood.

The theory thus makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior will be deterred, and that major crime will, as a result, be prevented. Criticism of the theory has tended to focus only on the latter claim.

Original in The Atlantic (1982).

This was in the news again because of a recent article in The Economist in which the theory is proved correct in an experimenal setting.

A PLACE that is covered in graffiti and festooned with rubbish makes people feel uneasy. And with good reason, according to a group of researchers in the Netherlands. Kees Keizer and his colleagues at the University of Groningen deliberately created such settings as a part of a series of experiments designed to discover if signs of vandalism, litter and low-level lawbreaking could change the way people behave. They found that they could, by a lot: doubling the number who are prepared to litter and steal.

How does this theory apply to blogs you ask?

Kottke says a bit like so :

Much of the tone of discourse online is governed by the level of moderation and to what extent people are encouraged to "own" their words. When forums, message boards, and blog comment threads with more than a handful of participants are unmoderated, bad behavior follows. The appearance of one troll encourages others. Undeleted hateful or ad hominem comments are an indication that that sort of thing is allowable behavior and encourages more of the same. Those commenters who are normally respectable participants are emboldened by the uptick in bad behavior and misbehave themselves. More likely, they're discouraged from helping with the community moderation process of keeping their peers in line with social pressure. Or they stop visiting the site altogether.

Hmmm...

Unchecked comment spam signals that the owner/moderator of the forum or blog isn't paying attention, stimulating further improper conduct. Anonymity provides commenters with immunity from being associated with their speech and actions, making the whole situation worse...how does the community punish or police someone they don't know? Very quickly, the situation is out of control and your message board is the online equivalent of South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s, inhabited by roving gangs armed with hate speech, fueled by the need for attention, making things difficult for those who wish to carry on useful conversations.

I wonder if we could test this theory out.

Maybe track a blog and see how things develop over time.

Heh.

Other than the quasiracist South LA dig I agree with the author 100%.

I get a more Medieval vibe from it though.

Kind of Braveheart meets The Warriors meets 9/11 truthers thing.

We all know what the end result of a poorly moderated blog is.

But few people know their is a Law in monetary economics that can be applied to this phenomena as well.

Gresham's Law

Gresham's law says that any circulating currency consisting of both "good" and "bad" money (both forms required to be accepted at equal value under legal tender law) quickly becomes dominated by the "bad" money. This is because people spending money will hand over the "bad" coins rather than the "good" ones, keeping the "good" ones for themselves.

Gresham's Law of trolls:

Trolls are willing to use a forum with a lot of thoughtful people in it, but thoughtful people aren't willing to use a forum with a lot of trolls in it.

Which means that once trolling takes hold, it tends to become the dominant culture.

Let's not let that happen here peeps.

What do you say MyDD?

There's more...

The Sexism Card

Not much of a diary but more of a general question which I'm sure will bring up debate. With this choice, McCain is obviously pandering to the former Hillary Clinton supporters. If he reaches them or not is entirely up to each individual person but I agree with Todd and believe backlash will ensue (has a bit already).

But another thing popped into my mind and I'm pretty sure you've thought of it.

I'm talking about the sexism card. I'm talking about seeing sexism in the most innocent comments and making the Obama campaign responsible for something Tweety said on MSNBC. You all saw it. Of course, many also saw racism in everything that was uttered by the other campaign and the media.

I'm pretty sure McCain noticed the media backlash that ensued during the primary when, unfairly or not, everybody and their mother was being accused of being sexist against the Hillary campaign. Also, I want to make clear that for a bit everybody and their mother was being accused of being racist against the Obama campaign. Both candidates mainly stayed out of it but many surrogates, both on blogs and IRL were guilty of this (and still are).

I do agree their was some sexism but in the same way some Obama supporters see racism in everything, I believe it was way overblown.  We get that?

Now please, keep your youtube vids and quotes to yourselves. I understand their was sexism as their was racism as well. I am not denying that. I will say that each campaign exploited the others missteps and capitalized on mispoken or badly worded pharses. Both sides were guilty of this. Which is only natural because they are politicians and this is what politicans do. They try to win at all costs. No need to start a primary flame war please. This isn't about that.  

Here we have Karl Rove, and I'm sure he knows that the best way to rile up the select group he is targeting ( strong independent women) he has to portray his candidate as the heir to Hillary's run. He also knows he has to get Palin to look more approachable and create greater empathy  with women. Things that for all the hoopla about her being picked hasn't yet happened. The reception by most has been tepid at best.

So yeah, I'm positive they are going to milk the sexism card. I am sure Obama's every word will be dissected (and Bidens and other Democrats) and they will find outrage and sexism where there is none. Even when it's clearly being taken out of context.  I don't even want to think about the way Biden will be potrayed after the debate performance.

I also believe that fuck ups will ocurr and the media douchebags will provide plenty of sexist and gross behavior which can only benefit Palin. Which is exactly the point.

McCain is going to milk this for all it's worth.

My question is.

So when do you think they will start playing the media and Democratic campaign angle of sexism?

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H'rates for Hillary!

Tonight is the night when one of the greatest Democrats in the history of our party takes the stage during the Democratic Convention.

Hillary "18 million cracks on that glass ceiling" Clinton will speak on behalf of Senator Obama and more importantly, her supporters, in what could be the most anticipated speech in recent political history.

Hillary Clinton deserves the utmost respect and admiration for the campaign she ran and for her flawless transition from primary rival to General Election ally. I know some are still hurting over what transpired during the primary (on both sides) but tonight is the night when we either "stand together" or "fall apart" .

We were once Obama supporters or Hillary supporters but now, we are all Clinton and Obama supporters.

We cannot let minor differences affect the major things we have in common.

Respect for the Democratic Party and its leaders.

Respect for progressive values and ideas.

Respect for those who have earned it.

Period.

In this moment in time, there are no bigger names or better leaders in our party than Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ( and Teddy of course, God bless him).

This is just a blog (it's teh internets, why so serious? ) but it is a Democratic blog.

We cannot stand for bullshit attacks and smears on 2 great Democrats.

We cannot stand for bullshit attacks and smears on Hillary Clinton.

Tonight, as has been the case around here lately, this blog will be crawling with McBloggers. We now see how "Clinton supporters" are outing themselves as pathetic douchebags who never respected Hillary or what she stands for.

They smeared in Hillary's name and are now smearing Hillary's good name.

I have been criticized (not that I care) for having an itchy trigger finger when it comes to handing out donuts. But tonight, in honor of Hillary and her real supporters I propose we finish driving these toolbags from the blog.

Join me fellow Democrats (if you want to) ....

Join me...

In handing out...

DONUTS! (like their name was Chief Wiggum!)

H'rates for Hillary!

A few examples of what I'm talking about here.

There will be many more to come.

This is a user-moderated blog, let's stop complaining and start cleaning the place up.

Enjoy!

Re: Come Out Swinging, Hillary! (0.60 / 5)

Fallen?

Obama is the nominee, in case you've forgotten. Hillary is beaten. Tonight is her night to either pay homage or get ostracized from the party.

Her choice.

by lemon716 on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 05:46:37 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This | ]

Gotta love rankles!

Always classy.

Re: I sure hope she does (0.00 / 5)

I agree, how has anything the Clintons have done for the past week show that they are going to even attempt to unite the party, and go after McCain?

by Hillis45 on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 05:11:52 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This | ]

Wow. Who would of ever thought this person was a troll? /snark

History shows that the Clintons will come out talking about themselves.

I seriously doubt she will help Obama, and the american people, by attacking McCain.

by Hillis45 on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 05:08:52 PM EST
[ Reply to This | ]

Boo fucking hoo troll.

Get off my lawn!

You didn't think this would be a spacemanspiff diary and not have me mocking the biggest movement since McCain had his last bowel movement did you?

Hey PUMA's tune into tonight and learn what a REAL Democrat sounds like.

I'm sure you'll have a lovely time under the Clinton Express.

The wheels on the bus go round, and round,

round and round

round and round.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, and you'll love the view down there!

I'll leave you all with this message from a great sailor/soldier and patriot who I deeply admire:

"Hey PUMA's, I'd say that you were dumber than a bag of hammers, but that would be an insult to a useful tool."

Couldn't of said it any better Stipes.

There's more...

Obama/ Biden - CNN confirms

CNN confirms it. Just saw it on Larry King live.

Democratic sources "leaked" it.

No surprise there. Jerome called it earlier (as did many others). Now all the reporters (on CNN) with "sources" are confirming they had been told it was Biden was well. Can't wait to see Biden tear into Mittens in their debate! YEAH!

There's more...

Read this before you leave my friend!

This is a call out to all the lurkers!

To all those Democrats that give a damn about the people you've met here!

To all those Democrats who have left but still pop in sometimes!

To all those Democrats who miss your MyDD buddies but can't stand to post anymore!

To all those Democrats who have not posted in weeks but are reading this right now!

To all those Democrats who got tired of the flame wars and miss civil and wonkish debate!

To all those Democrats who are thinking about leaving!

To all those Democrats who left!

To all those Democrats who care about MyDD!

This diary is for you.

( I apologize upfront for any typos or incoherent rambling)

Friendships that have been made during these months (and years) on MyDD are the reason many of us come here. The real reason we have stuck it out is the great people one gets to meet in such a small close community. I could never surf the intertubes without looking back and thinking about my favorite people.

Where are they now?

How are their cats doing?

Happy?

Sad?

It's these bonds formed during our time on this blog that have made it very hard to leave when the shit hit the fan. MyDD was at a crossroads when the primary ended and many stuck it out hoping things would turn for the better. They did for a bit thanks in large part to the ClintonistasforObama and the Obama supporters who acted in a civil way and respectful way. Anyways, writing is not my thing ( I can't spell worth shit) and I'm sure that's the reason I majored in science and that's not what this diary is about.

So, before you leave my friend, take a moment to leave your email (or other contact info) so even if you're gone, we can still keep in touch. If you don't want to do that,  tell us where you are posting right now and what you are doing.

This way, we can recommend blogs or other sites. We can email and tell people who have left that MyDD is once again the progressive leader it once was.

Maybe we can tell you to come back because the new ratings and rec system is in place! (I can dream can't I?)

We need to organize, we need each other out there in the intertubes.

So what do you think?

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Obama : Clark does not owe McCain an apology UPDATE

Short and sweet.

From Mark Halperin over at The Page

http://thepage.time.com/

The Senator says his call Monday for supporters to avoid denigrating military service was not a reference to Wesley Clark's comment about McCain.
"I think in at least one publication it was reported that my comments yesterday about Senator McCain were in a response to General Clark. I think my staff will confirm that was in a draft of that speech that I had written two months ago."
Also says Clark does not owe McCain an apology.

That's going to leave a bruise!

Watch video here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTSLBjA2R 0w

and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if0guuE-H XE

McCain's camp responds :

McCain campaign accuses Obama of repudiating his own repudiation, and says, "Apparently Barack Obama now thinks that smear attacks on John McCain's military service are fair game."

Really, what more can I say?

UPDATE : Thanks to Shaun Appleby for digging this up : http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/07/obama-clarks-cr.html
ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: Senator Obama denied that Gen. Wesley Clark's critique of John McCain's war service is tantamount to the Swiftboat attacks of 2004. Obama's comments came after day two of a controversy which originally spurred from Obama supporter, Wes Clarke's, statements Sunday on "Face the Nation."
Clark further explained his comments to CBS
"He hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded -- that wasn't a wartime squadron," Clark told CBS, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," he added.
Obama in Ohio :
At a press availability in Zanesville, Ohio Obama denied the connection of Clark's statement to that of the attacks by the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth to John Kerry's war record in 2004."I don't think that General Clark you know had the same intent as the swift boat ads that we saw four years ago, I reject that analogy," Obama said curtly back to the allegation by a reporter.
McCain? WHINING? Naawwwww!
ABC News' Bret Hovell Reports: John McCain , taking questions from reporters aboard his Straight Talk Express: The Airplane Edition, said it was time for the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama to cut retired Gen. Wesley Clark loose.
Boo freaking hoo! Cry me a river Senator! I'm loving it! Out a bit and I'm on the Rec.List! WOW! Thanks guys! I'm not much of a diary writer and prefer reading the work of this great community and debating in the comments section. As long as I have this stage I'd like to point all of you to the best diary on General Clark I've read just about anywhere ( I'm a big Clark fan, see my sig.) Here is the link. Please take the time to read it if you haven't already. It's really a great diary (prophetic even) by USArmyParatrooper: http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/6/19/12339/8206

There's more...

Hillary misspeaks in Puerto Rico

I'm not a very good writer. I'll try my best to get my point across.

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and have lived 12 years now in New York City. I've been on the island because of work for 2 months now. I am speaking as 1 Puertorrican. I don't pretend to speak for an entire island. That being said, I do have insight on what's happening on the ground and how the primary is shaping up.

Turnout is expected to be low. The polling places were cut in half because of lack of volunteers and enthusiasm. This is not good news for the Clinton, obviously.
That being said, things are close but I expect Hillary to prevail by a small margin.

Link to local newspapers :

http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias

http://www.primerahora.com/home

http://vocero.com/

For those interested their is a great diary over at DailyKos:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/24/ 104947/076/361/521370

It's from an Obama supporter but it provides good info on both candidates.

Now to the purpose of this diary.

Hillary misspoke yet again in an interview with a local station yesterday. I was going to write a diary from my point of view and Hillary's blunder in her interview yesterday in Puerto Rico but I found that Obama for PR over at Daily Kos explained it better than I ever could.

Quote :

Yesterday, the second part of the interview Hillary gave to a local station aired. She was grilled by the reporters on her husband's actions towards Puerto Rico manufacturing during the 90's.  US companies that established here had tax-exempt status and could repatriate their earnings to the mainland without paying federal taxes, under Sec. 936 of the US Tax Code.  Sec. 936 had always been a major roadblock to statehood, because if PR were to be admitted as the 51st state, the other 50 states would not allow us to have that competitive advantage.  So in the 90's, our pro statehood Governor and his pro-statehood delegate in Congress mounted a huge campaign in Congress and the White House to have the 936 eliminated. And they succeeded.  When asked about it, Hillary says it was not her husband, but the Republican Congress that eliminated 936.  False.  The budget submitted by the WH did not contain Sec. 936, it was dead before it even made it to the Hill.  The net result: We have lost over 40,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 10 years (much like Ohio, Michigan, and other manufacturing powerhouses).

End of quote.

This is a very hot button issue in Puerto Rico. Many people lost jobs when Sec.936 was scratched. I know Hillary is not Bill but the fact that she would lie and say it was the Republican Congress who eliminated 936 is a joke. Everybody knows it was President Clinton. This is not helping her cause on the island.

Hillary knows her husband and one of her biggest supporters on the island (ex-Governor Rossello) were responsible for the death of 936. I have no idea why she didn't just distance herself from Bill (like CAFTA) and instead lied about how things went down. Puertorricans are not naive and can see  straight through the spin. This strengthens her position with the PNP (pro-statehood) group but completly negates any chance she has at getting votes from the PPD (pro-commonwealth).

The island is split almost 50/50 in support of either party.

(Obama has support from both parties)

Hillary should just come clean and admit it was a mistake by her husband's administration. She is going to be on the island until Monday so I expect her to clear this up. I am just surprised she would make such an obvious mistake in her first interview with the local press.

Video from the interview : http://www.wapa.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8508&Itemid=57&videonews=1

There's more...

Barack and Hillary will share Florida stage (UPDATE X2) Halperin statement resurfaces

Ben Smith over at Politico has the news.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/

Mark Halperin has this to say.

http://thepage.time.com/2008/05/19/sunsh ine-you-are-my-sunshine/

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be in Florida on Wednesday.

Rumors are swirling that they will be on the same stage at some point.

What do you guys/gals think?

Update : The initial link provided to The Page had a line which stated that they would be on the same stage together. It seems Halperin has removed it from his blog. UPDATE : Al Rodgers has provided proof of the possibility of an ENDORSMENT (rumor) and provides the visuals to back up my claim that Halperin had indeed stated they would both be on stage together in Florida. Why would he back off his initial line?

There's more...

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