Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
by Hendrik Hertzberg November 3, 2008
Sometimes, when a political campaign has run out of ideas and senses that the prize is slipping through its fingers, it rolls up a sleeve and plunges an arm, shoulder deep, right down to the bottom of the barrel. The problem for John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party is that the bottom was scraped clean long before it dropped out. Back when the polls were nip and tuck and the leaves had not yet begun to turn, Barack Obama had already been accused of betraying the troops, wanting to teach kindergartners all about sex, favoring infanticide, and being a friend of terrorists and terrorism. What was left? The anticlimactic answer came as the long Presidential march of 2008 staggered toward its final week: Senator Obama is a socialist.
“This campaign in the next couple of weeks is about one thing,” Todd Akin, a Republican congressman from Missouri, told a McCain rally outside St. Louis. “It’s a referendum on socialism.” “With all due respect,” Senator George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, said, “the man is a socialist.” At an airport rally in Roswell, New Mexico, a well-known landing spot for space aliens, Governor Palin warned against Obama’s tax proposals. “Friends,” she said, “now is no time to experiment with socialism.” And McCain, discussing those proposals, agreed that they sounded “a lot like socialism.” There hasn’t been so much talk of socialism in an American election since 1920, when Eugene Victor Debs, candidate of the Socialist Party, made his fifth run for President from a cell in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was serving a ten-year sentence for opposing the First World War. (Debs got a million votes and was freed the following year by the new Republican President, Warren G. Harding, who immediately invited him to the White House for a friendly visit.)
As a buzzword, “socialism” had mostly good connotations in most of the world for most of the twentieth century. That’s why the Nazis called themselves national socialists. That’s why the Bolsheviks called their regime the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, obliging the socialist and social democratic parties of Europe (and America, for what it was worth) to make rescuing the “good name” of socialism one of their central missions. Socialists—one thinks of men like George Orwell, Willy Brandt, and Aneurin Bevan—were among Communism’s most passionate and effective enemies.
The United States is a special case. There is a whole shelf of books on the question of why socialism never became a real mass movement here. For decades, the word served mainly as a cudgel with which conservative Republicans beat liberal Democrats about the head. When Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan accused John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson of socialism for advocating guaranteed health care for the aged and the poor, the implication was that Medicare and Medicaid would presage a Soviet America. Now that Communism has been defunct for nearly twenty years, though, the cry of socialism no longer packs its old punch. “At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives,” McCain said the other day—thereby suggesting that the dystopia he abhors is not some North Korean-style totalitarian ant heap but, rather, the gentle social democracies across the Atlantic, where, in return for higher taxes and without any diminution of civil liberty, people buy themselves excellent public education, anxiety-free health care, and decent public transportation.
The Republican argument of the moment seems to be that the difference between capitalism and socialism corresponds to the difference between a top marginal income-tax rate of 35 per cent and a top marginal income-tax rate of 39.6 per cent. The latter is what it would be under Obama’s proposal, what it was under President Clinton, and, for that matter, what it will be after 2010 if President Bush’s tax cuts expire on schedule. Obama would use some of the added revenue to give a break to pretty much everybody who nets less than a quarter of a million dollars a year. The total tax burden on the private economy would be somewhat lighter than it is now—a bit of elementary Keynesianism that renders doubly untrue the Republican claim that Obama “will raise your taxes.”
On October 12th, in conversation with a voter forever to be known as Joe the Plumber, Obama gave one of his fullest summaries of his tax plan. After explaining how Joe could benefit from it, whether or not he achieves his dream of owning his own plumbing business, Obama added casually, “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” McCain and Palin have been quoting this remark ever since, offering it as prima-facie evidence of Obama’s unsuitability for office. Of course, all taxes are redistributive, in that they redistribute private resources for public purposes. But the federal income tax is (downwardly) redistributive as a matter of principle: however slightly, it softens the inequalities that are inevitable in a market economy, and it reflects the belief that the wealthy have a proportionately greater stake in the material aspects of the social order and, therefore, should give that order proportionately more material support. McCain himself probably shares this belief, and there was a time when he was willing to say so. During the 2000 campaign, on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” a young woman asked him why her father, a doctor, should be “penalized” by being “in a huge tax bracket.” McCain replied that “wealthy people can afford more” and that “the very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do.” The exchange continued:YOUNG WOMAN: Are we getting closer and closer to, like, socialism and stuff?. . . MCCAIN: Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.
For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama “Barack the Wealth Spreader,” seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist. ♦
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.
Get the widget!
With the 2008 presidential election, Americans face a pivotal choice between not just two candidates, but two paradigms. We need someone who understands the complexity of our time. Someone who believes in investing in renewable energy, in education, in women's rights, in civil rights, in healthcare for Americans. Someone who believes in dealing with global issues with diplomacy so we can restore our respect in the world. Barack Obama represents the change we need and can lead us into a brighter future.
“Vote For Hope” was written to encourage and inspire the hip hop generation—and everyone—to get involved, and contribute their time, energy, creativity, and other resources to be the change they want to see in the world. We have been inspired by the artistic and musical contributions that have been pouring out accross the nation in support of Barack Obama's campaign. Vote for Hope is our offering to this creative movement. It is our way of adding our small voice to the collective voice of millions of Americans calling for a change.
To see what we mean, check out this great speech from a worthy leader: youtube.com/watch?v=cM79CxHGhlY
Make sure to Vote on November 4th!
Here is where you can register: VoteforChange.com
MC Yogi has just released a new album, Elephant Power!
For other music by MC Yogi, check out mcyogi.com
"Vote for Hope" was written by M.C. Yogi and produced by Robin Livingston. The "Vote for Hope" video was created at Ursa Minor Arts and Media in San Rafael, CA with chief animator James Curtis, using designs and direction from M.C. Yogi. Video funded and supported by grassroots donations.
After I voted on October 20th, I got behind a car with this bumper sticker on it. Guess what? YES I CAN. And for your closed-minded information, NO ONE is "pro-abortion." Being pro-choice does not make you "pro-abortion." When Palin came on the scene and we all found out that her teenage daughter was pregnant, she said that the sat down as a family and they made a family DECISION about what to do. That's right, she had a decision. What's a good synonym for "decision"...hmmmm...that would be CHOICE.
This week there has been a lot of news to keep up with:
-Ex-GOP operative Allen Raymond published a book about how to rig an election. Oh shocker, a Republican trying to keep people from voting. I assume it's required reading for the hard-core right-wingers out there, so for your library list, the title is "How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative." "According to federal prosecutors, two top Republican Party officials tapped Raymond's Virginia-based telemarketing firm for the operation. Raymond then contracted out the job to a private phone bank in Idaho. Looking back, Raymond said, he thinks the scheme was ingenious in an 'evil genius sort of way.'"
-TRIVIA for your Halloween parties: When was the last time that a Republican won an election in which there was NOT a Nixon or a Bush on the ticket? 1922!!
-I absolutely love David Sedaris...I own at least two of his books. So when I saw this essay in the New Yorker about undecided voters, I laughed out loud. He sums up what I have been thinking the past few weeks when people tell me that they haven't decided who to vote for. A short little nugget from it:
Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.
I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?
To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.
I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?
What else has been happening? For those of you who only watch Fox news, you missed a lot:
-The Washington Post reports that chatter on Al-Qaeda website shows their support for McCain.
-Most major newspapers have now backed Barack (not to mention, um, COLIN POWELL), including the very conservative, very Republican Salt Lake Tribune. One of the most conservative newspapers in the country getting openly behind Barack is just fantastic.
-We all know about the RNC shelling out $150,000 for Sarah Palin's wardrobe in just the last 6 weeks. But did you realize that while she was decked out in the finest, Barack Obama's shoes looked like this? Or that, if Palin's new wardrobe were to come to life, it would get a tax cut under Obama's tax plan??
Also, did you know that McCain was AGAINST SPENDING CAMPAIGN MONEY ON CLOTHES BEFORE HE WAS FOR IT? Ooooh, a McCain flip-flop, I am so shocked. On May 25, 1993, McCain said, and I QUOTE:
"...The amendment before the senate is a very simple one. It restricts the use of campaign funds for inherently personal purposes. The amendment would restrict individuals for using campaign funds for such things as home mortgage payments, clothing purchases...If we are truly going to have campaign finance reform, I do not believe that campaign funds should be used for such things as country club dues, tuxedos...If we in congress learned one thing from President Clinton's $200 haircut last week, it should be that the public does not approve of its elected officials being treated as royalty. We should be no different."
To quote one of my favorite bloggers:
"The problem isn’t that the wardrobe cost so much. It’s that Ms. Palin has said on numerous occasions that she’s just a “hockey mom” and part of the 'Joe Six-Pack' nation. There were problems with this assertion before this latest gaffe.
The weird thing is that conservatives BUY IT. They believe that a couple making over a hundred grand a year is 'just like me'. The other people on the ticket all make more money than Palin, to be sure, but come on. Joe Six-Pack if your six-pack includes six bottles of expensive champagne. When was the last time YOU spent $75k on clothes from Neiman-Marcus?Conservatives got all crazy about John Edward’s $400 haircut and fashion expenditures of Hillary Clinton. The shoe is on the other foot now. And that foot appears to be in the self-righteous mouth of the GOP."
-INDIANA has become a swing state. After 44 years of going Republican, Barack has so many Hoosier support that McCain has been forced to really start campaigning in a state that Republicans haven't had to sorry about in decades. ha!
-AP reports that "Sarah Palin considered herself intellectual" and that she "always wanted a child named Zamboni."
-And just in case you have forgotten John McCain's opinion on women's rights, specifically equal pay for equal work, here is a link from the US Senate Website showing how he voted on a bill that seeked equal pay for equal work.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
I have already done some volunteering/campaingning (phone calls) for moveon.org and will hopefully have time to do a little more before November 4th. Man, I wish I had 150K to spend on campaign clothes!!
But oh, it felt so good to finally vote after being decided for so long.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
You know that stupid recorded notification you get after someone's voicemail beeps? As if you do NOT know how to leave a voicemail for someone? Several people have asked me how I turned mine off. Sooooooo.....
If you have Sprint, this is how you turn it OFF (hint, hint):
Call your voicemail, then from the main menu choose:
3 - Personal Options
2 - Greetings
1 - Main Greeting
3 - Add or Remove Caller Instructions
2 - Do not play the instructions
Thank you, and goodnight.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Joe the Plumber"
-My name is not Joe, I am not a plumber, and thanks to Republicans, I cannot afford a six pack.
"Well, Americans have gotten to know Sarah Palin. They know that she's a role model to women..."
If Sarah Palin is a strong role model for women, then this must be 1890. Sarah Palin does not represent me or any of my friends.
-I do not believe that dinosaurs roamed the earth 5,000 years ago.
-I do not believe that religions other than Christianity are witchcraft and sorcery.
-I do not believe that a 12-year-old girl who is raped by her father should be forced to have his child, a baby that would be both her son and her brother.
-I do not believe that polar bears (or beluga whales) should be removed from the endangered species list just so that drilling for oil will be easier in Alaska.
-I do not believe that people should use their power in an elected office to seek revenge on others because of personal vendettas.
-I do not believe in banning books, or even inquiring about it.
-I do not believe that folksy anecdotes or winking belong in a political race; they only reinforce her lack of experience and knowledge, and prove that she has to lower herself to flirting to get the job, something that is the most anti-feminist thing she could do. Feminism is about equality, not using your sex appeal to seem more "relatable." Would you wink in a job interview? How about a job interview with an entire country?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I love this new calendar! The best feature, aside from the gorgeous typography, is the perforation at the bottom allowing you to re-use it year after year. I could see all twelve months grouped on the wall in frames painted all in the same color. And it's only $28, on pre-order now. Such a fantastic gift idea (hint).
Monday, October 13, 2008
(article from Wooster Collective)
The "Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill" Opens in New York City
While New Yorkers have been consumed by the stock market meltdown, a tiny little pet store quietly opened four days ago at 89 7th Avenue between West 4th and Bleeker Street in the West Village of New York City.
There are no puppies or kittens in the windows here.
Instead, a live leopard lounges on a tree in the window.
Or is it?
In other windows, things get a bit more bizarre.
McDonald's Chicken McNuggets sip barbecue sauce. A rabbit puts on her makeup. A CCTV camera nurtures its young.
Clearly, that this isn't your typical pet store.
So who's the "owner" of the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill at 89 West 7th Avenue?
Once inside Banksy's pet store, you discover such things as breaded fish that swim in a large round bowl while hot dogs are living the high life under heat lamps in cages near the cash register.
This is the first time that Banksy has used animatronics, and the effect is absolutely amazing.
A clear departure form last year's behemoth show in Los Angeles, Banksy's first ever show in New York City (the others have been fakes) is being held in a tiny storefront that's less than 300 square feet and can't hold more than 20 people at any one time.
One of our favorite things about what Banksy has done is that the entire show is completely visible to the public both day and night through the store front windows. And unless you're a hard core Banksy fan, or until someone like us tells you, it's absolutely impossible to know that the work has been done by Banksy. There are no paintings or graffiti in the entire space.
We're sure that as soon as people start reading this, photos and video will be all over the web. But Sara and I don't want to give too much away. It's just too much fun to be surprised (and delighted) in person.
So here's just a taste of what you'll experience in Banksy's "Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill":
Friday, October 10, 2008
Most people outside of Texas seem to view Dallasites as confederate-flag-loving, gun-toting, good ol' boy idiot carbon copies of our current world leader, but that simply isn't so. Sure, some of those people exist (most of them in the suburbs, outside of the county line, thank God). But Dallas county went DEMOCRATIC in the primary, and is a battleground county right now.
As much as I wanted to attend the anti-Palin protest (she spoke downtown at the Fairmont) held in Dallas this past week, my schedule would not allow it. Thankfully, 300 people showed up to protest this folksy, backward, winky-dinky, secessionist, anti-feminist candidate, who does NOT represent the ideals, morals, and values of any modern women. She is basically just another Bush in a skirt, but scarily in some respects is worse than Bush, and is of course, just a heartbeat away from the presidency if McCain is elected.
Anti-Palin protect in Dallas, 300 strong:
Monday, October 6, 2008
In life, there are "quotation mark friends." You know, those "friends" who because of various reasons (romantic relationships, children, work, sheer laziness), drop off the face of your life. There was a time of course, when you were very close. When they were in your Top Five. When you would've used them as a Life Line or maybe even your One Phone Call from jail. But one day you realize that you haven't heard from them in weeks, months, maybe even a year. Or if you have heard from them, it's only when they need/want something from you. They never actually call to see how you're doing, just to get a ride when they're stranded at the airport or something.
Now, friendships definitely go through phases and cycles. Sometimes your schedules just don't match up for a while, or your friend has a new baby and you know you won't see them for say, six months or so 'til they get in the swing of things. This is normal. But say, a year or two without a single personal phone call (I reiterate, a call that does not involve a favor or a bailout), is a BIG SIGN that your are no longer friends, but "friends."
In my life, I have noticed that it tends to be important life events that bring these "friendships" into the light. Like a major breakup, a big cross-country move, or a serious health problem. This past Thursday I had an arthrogram and an MRI for some hip pain that has been worsening since college. It was a relief to find out that it was not all in my head. It turns out I have a torn labrum in my left hip and will need arthroscopic surgery to prevent the tear from continuing to scrape on my cartilage and causing further osteoarthritis. As I was leaving the MRI, I had several thoughts running through my head , one of them being "oh my gosh I have so many people I need to tell about this; who should I call first?" But then as I thought about it, the list quickly dwindled, DRASTICALLY. Which of my friends really care about this? Who deserves a call, who can I just text, and who hasn't called me in two years? I quickly came to the consensus that I needed to call just FOUR people, and that this list of four people is completely different than the people I would've called, say, 3 years ago. I mean, these four people are the ones who I know I can call and will ANSWER their phones. (Why do people have cell phones that they NEVER ANSWER?! That's a whole other blog entry right there.) These are friends I can call when I am in recovery and need help doing laundry, picking up the dog poop in my backyard, or changing a light bulb - whatever. Actually, one of these friends lives in another state, but if I really needed her I can tell you right now that she would jump on a plane with her six-month-old and come to my rescue.
I think one of the hardest things about being out of that high school/college bubble, where I saw the same people every day and friendships that just sort of kept themselves, is admitting that some people aren't as interested in maintaining their friendship with me as I am with them. It takes two, and I can't do it alone. Unfortunately, I still take it personally and it's hard to let the friendship go. But I am starting to see the signs. If I feel I am being taken advantage of, I will stop being the one to always initiate contact, and sort of sit back and see if the other person will ever take the lead and call me for a change. If they don't and they easily drop off the face of my life, then I know that the friendship has probably run its course and I should stop trying so hard. However, sometimes these quotation mark friendships still sneak up on me, and it's always disappointing to realize that I care more about someone else than they do about me.
So if you haven't called to see how I'm doing in over a year (or, um, two), then don't expect any heartfelt e-cards from me on your next birthday.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
1) McCain vs. the Des Moines Register editor board (click on link):
Shakin' in his boots and lyin' through his teeth. Or should I say, dentures.
-the beginning when he refers to himself as a dictator
-he admits he has never been without cushy health insurance that was paid for by American taxpayers (oh yeah, except for when he was a POW, what a shocker, a POW reference)
-he LIES yet again about Obama teaching kindergarteners about sex education
-he LIES when he says that Palin is the most popular governor in America (her approval rating in Alaska has dropped significantly and she is no longer tops)
-he LIES about his record of LYING
-he says that Palin's qualifications include the PTA and lists "mayor" TWICE
2) Palin can't think of a SINGLE newspaper that she has ever read
3) Palin can't name a single supreme court ruling other than Roe V Wade that she disagreed with. SHE CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER EXXON VS. BAKER which effected her OWN state. Which is funny, considering that she seemed to have an opinion about it when it actually happened.
4) In short, watching a Palin interview is a lot like watching, well, Miss Teen South Carolina: