Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Presidential Timbre

I would like to think my little donations helped to finance Barack Obama's effort tonight to communicate more completely with the American people about his life, his beliefs, and his plans for our nation. What an improvement over the 30 second hit ads of the usual campaign. And what a contrast to the silly "celebrity" "socialist" "terrorist" ads of his opponent. Did you count how many times the names "McCain" or "Bush" were uttered in the 30 minutes? Zilch. None. Nada. How refreshing. The candidate presented his case positively. With real people to illustrate the reasons for his policies and plans. I hope he gained a wide audience.

What an immense pleasure it is to campaign for such an inspiring candidate. America is fortunate to have this man at this critical time.

Don't stop working, friends. Let's help Barack Obama gain the kind of victory that will enable him to accomplish a healing of the country and a restoration of our nation's economy and America's reputation in the world.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powellful Endorsement

In what is surely a good omen, climbing through bricks piled by some workmen here at the house a few weeks ago, a dahlia plant blooms gloriously. I had completely overlooked it till we started out for a walk awhile ago. Thanks, Mike! I'd put its beauty up against any of yours. A bit more lonely than yours perhaps, but gorgeous! I suspect three-quarters of the population would admire this flower.

A person admired in America by all but the opposite endpoints of the political spectrum spoke eloquently today of why he has decided to endorse Barack Obama for President of the United States. When you look at the centrist, level-headed, patriotic group that Barack Obama has put together to advise him on domestic and international issues; when you look at the way he has reached for advice without regard to age, sex, race, or political party; when you look at the dignity, moderation, inclusiveness, intelligence, openness, thoughtfulness, and eloquence of his campaign; how could you pay attention to the mean-spirited, culture-warfaring, small-minded, campaign of his opponent?
Listen to Gen. Colin Powell's earnest, unreserved endorsement of Barack Obama.

Endorsements change few minds. But I think this one might help to solidify the impression among the majority that Barack Obama is who he appears to be and not the cartoon drawn by his opponents. Obama is, indeed, the leader we need at this time. He is a transformational figure. And potentially a great President.

The image of the Muslim mother at Arlington National Cemetery was very moving to me. Here is the young man's stone.

When I think of the Republican misuse of religion in politics, I think of the 15 year old former student whom I ran into at a festival yesterday. A great kid. All American. And Muslim. I could see him joining the service in just a few years. If he were to, he would be an exemplary soldier. And he has as much right to aspire to the Presidency as any other American teenager.

(Edited for clarity, 10/20/08)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What I Am Doing

Report from the front: my flowers still live!

I wrote a post today about my local congressman entitled: Mike Turner Is A Bum, For Our Democracy’s Sake, Let’s Throw The Bum Out I hope I've not gone too far. I hope his children don't read my article and ask their dad, "Daddy, Are You A Bum?"

And, by the way, "Bum" is a pretty kind word compared to other less kinds words that would certainly fit, like, "Thief," or, one my dad liked, "Shyster." I just looked the word up. How appropriate. Shyster: "One who is professionally unscrupulous, especially in the practice of law or politics."

I've had one comment to the article that inspired me to agree that there are plenty of Democrat bums that should be thrown out as well.

Last week, Ohio had its first execution in about 18 months. I wrote a post that quoted the Catholic Bishops' opposition to capital punishment. (I had more hits on that article, over 225, than any other article, so far.) My brother-in-law told me that it, officially, also is the position of the Methodist Church to oppose capital punishment. I'm wondering what percentage of Methodists agree with their church's official position on this topic? The support for capital punishment is coming from some where. It's a topic that deserves discussion. I wonder what Obama or McCain would say about the topic?

I thought I would try some Google ads just to see what would happen. It's been going for a couple of days. I just looked, so far I've accumulated ten cents.

John McCain's Worst Debate

Four debates. John McCain has debated Barack Obama three times. His strange running mate has (imagine McCain's air quotes and sarcastic smile here) "debated" Joe Biden once.
In each of the four cases the polls have inicated a clear win for the Democratic candidate. Last night was the biggest margin of victory for Obama yet.

McCain may have further solidified his base with his uncorked attack on Obama as a collaborater in "one of the greatest voter frauds in history." As the polls have verified his vitriol only further eroded his standing among the voters that will decide this race: the independents. What an incredible crock of unpleasantness from the party that perpetrated Florida 2000. First of all the fraud in the ACORN case is a fraud perpetrated against ACORN not by ACORN. Secondly, ACORN itself has alerted election officials to the possiblity of irregularities in some of the applications that they are required by law to turn over to the states even when they are suspicious of them. Finally, though these fake applications are an infuriating aggravation for state elections officials they do not represent a significant danger to the validity of the election. Election theft is much more likely, IMHO, from computer manipulation of paperless ballots.

Thank heavens for the immediate polling that is done nowadays. At least in the case of CNN the "spin room" has been abandoned in favor of a group of media commentators who, though mostly anxious to have a close race to boost ratings, temper their words until the polls come in.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I have voted!

I was privileged to cast my vote on Friday afternoon. My daughter Lillian (sporting a red, white, and blue Obama button) and I drove to the courthouse (the elections office is in the old yellow-brick federal building on First Avenue, one of three county courthouses in current use.) Signs led us to the second floor where we sat around a big boardroom table and filled out the forms. There were another dozen or so voters coming or going while we were there.

I was aggravated that despite being encouraged by state and local opfficials to "vote early" we were told that we had to mark the form "absentee" instead of "early voting" and choose one of several categories of reasons we could not vote on November 4. The truth is that I will be in town on the fourth. By voting early I am clearing the way for at least one voter to get in and out of the Town Rome precinct a little more conveniently on the actual "Election Day". In addition I can do some volunteer work that day to encourage more folks to get to the polls. Those reasons were not listed.

We handed our forms to an attendant and he soon returned with our little yellow plastic voting "credit cards". About six voting computer stations were scattered around a big courtroom.

Aggravation number two: I had to cast an electronic ballot with no paper trail in a state completely controlled by the political party I detest, one whose vice presidential candidate accuses the leader of my party of "palling around with terrorists". Why in the world should I trust this process?

I slid the card in and the screen lit up and the first race listed Barack Obama and Joe Biden for President and Vice President. I savored my proudest vote for a Presidential candidate since 1976. The pride I felt that year in being able to cast a vote for a native Georgian in whom I had great confidence was quite moving. This year I was privileged to exercise my sacred franchise to not only support the candidate whose programs and policies I support, but to support a candidate whose election will be a major step in putting race aside as a divisive issue in America.

Lillian and I were already at the car when we realized we'd neglected to pick up our stickers. We wanted folks to know we'd voted. So back inside, up the stairs to get the stickers.

Let everyone know. We have voted!

God bless America.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


John McCain is spending millions in the "Battleground state" of Pennsylvania. He and his lipstick bedecked pit bull ("Terrrrrrrrrrrorrrrrrissssssssssttttttt!
Terrrrrrrrrrrorrrrrrissssssssssttttttt! ") were there yesterday desperately campaigning to turn things around. Here is the current Pennsylvania polling from Real Clear Politics:

Meanwhile in good old solid red Georgia the current polling as recorded by RCP looks like this:

Lots of stuff can happen in four weeks, but I sure prefer our current position to that of the other guys.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The O Wins Again! & Ramblings...

Like a poster on Daily Kos I have enjoyed Barack Obama's campaign logo. It is at once evocative of tradition, patriotism, and change.

As early as the mid to late fifties I had ink in my veins. I loved "helping" my Dad with church bulletins and newsletters. Scratching out little bits of pics on stencils with a special stylus was high art to me. Then getting good and messy with the mimeograph machine. As an editor of our college newspaper -- fellow occupant of the Limb, Mike, was my editor-in-chief! -- I greatly enjoyed laying out a page. I felt satisfaction in arranging type, photographs, art, and white space in a pleasing way on the page. When I was involved in a folk trio I spent hours trying to design a logo and promotional brochure for our group. This has continued as an interest of mine through my ill-fated business efforts -- a newspaper, a magazine and a freelance desktop publishing venture. I still occasionally see a logo I designed around town.

So the self-taught graphic designer in me enjoys seeing the interesting variations on the theme that the Obama campaign has come up with. Check 'em out here.

The debate last night was a clear win for Obama. The manic McCain roamed nervously about, accused the composed Obama of "speaking loudly", misrepresented his own immoderate words in a political rally as a joke to a buddy! ("Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!" Witness the truth for yourself below), repeated "my friends" more often than the sleasiest car salesman, and, again, avoided eye-contact with his opponent.

After watching three debates, I certainly know who I will support... That one!

(I found this logo at simplifythepositive, a fellow Georgia blogger.)

The Days Dwindle Down ...

My dahlias, at last, are almost in full bloom. I’m finally getting around, this morning, to taking a picture, and it is raining. Just part of the continuing saga. I’m thinking that I might make a slide show of a collection of dahlia pictures, just for the fun of it, and maybe try to create a soundtrack that would include my “Sandwich With Steve” idea.

A new first for DaytonOS -- the covering and reporting a live event -- Charlie Gibson came to Dayton this week, and I, your reporter, was there representing DaytonOS.

Yesterday, I visited with a local judge in our local Common Pleas Court system, Judge Francis McGee. Judge McGee is a Democrat and was appointed to the bench by our Democratic Governor Ted Strickland over a year ago, when the sitting Common Pleas judge passed away. Now she is standing for reelection. I took some pictures of her in her robe on the bench, and I intend to write an article, under the title, something like, “Who Should We Choose To Judge Us?” I intend to interview her opponent as well. I’m busy expanding what DaytonOS is doing.

I’ve become fascinated with the blog statistics and how it is that content drives readership. There is a huge market of information seekers out there who are seeking answers, sort of like fish seeking bait. I’m imagining that there is a good sized public in Montgomery County who might be looking for information about judgeship candidates, seeking election in November. I, for one, always feel guilty when, on election day, I read the ballot and have no notion which judge to vote for. So, I’m going to try to write several posts featuring judges. If nothing else, DaytonOS is a means for me to satisfy my own nosiness. A one-man citizen journalism empire at work.

I’ve been noticing ads on local TV for Chris Widener, a Republican who is running for the State Senate in a District near Dayton. I am working today on an article that asks, “Does Widener Have A Plan To Help Those In Need?” or something to that effect and connect it to my article summarizing an Ohio budget expert’s analysis about how the recession is devastating the state’s revenues. Compounding the effects of the recession on Ohio’s revenues, is the impact of a large tax cut passed in 2005 by a Republican Assembly and Republican governor and by Republican Chris Widener, in his capacity as member of Ohio’s Assembly. (Widener is finishing his term as state Representative.) This tax cut gave 26% of the tax relief (Over $500 million each year) to incomes in excess of $340,000, about 1% of Ohio’s tax payers. It’s funny how Republican tax cuts at the state level in Ohio, mirror the Republican tax cuts and Republican thinking at the national level.

In his TV ads, Widener brags about his role in the tax cut. He makes no mention of the recession and the fact that Ohio is facing a severe revenue crises. (Just this year, the governor has announced over $1.2 billion in budget reductions) It looks like this lack of state revenue will cause a big constriction of Medicaid benefits and other support to the needy. And the number of needy is rising. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to rescind the tax cut, at least for this top 1% of incomes? The whole matter raises some important questions about “fairness,” about the purpose of taxes and government, about how to handle the widening gulf between the very rich and the very poor. There are real questions about government, the role of government, tax fairness, that should be at the center of Ohio Assembly campaigns. But these questions seem largely ignored.

I’ve spoken by phone to Widener’s Democratic opponent, Roger Tackett, and I’ve e-mailed him the links to several articles. I’ve not met him in person, yet. Tackett is an interesting man, his in a Vietnam veteran who suffered injuries in the war that left him handicapped. He is always in a wheel chair. He has managed to get elected as County Commissioner, running as a Democrat in a rural county that usually votes Republican. I’m urging him to speak the truth about the state’s financial crisis and how this crisis will impact the poor. I think he should say, flat out, that if elected, he will seek to rescind the income tax cut for the wealthy. I’m urging him to make his election campaign actually about something real. But, we’ll see. I’ll report more later. The days dwindle down ...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Palling Around with Palin

Whatever honor John McCain showed in the Hanoi Hilton evidently got used up there. His campaign announced over the weekend that they plan to "turn the page" on the campaign by running attacks against Barack Obama for his acquaintances. (See our previous post) Never mind Sarah's "keep up the good work!" to Alaskan separatists. Never mind McCain's visits to the Bahamas as the guest of Charles Keating. Never mind McCain's praise of Gordon Liddy. For that matter never mind Phil Gramm.

McCain, understandibly wants to "turn the page" on the economic implosion. Especially since his misdeeds with Keating in the eighties led to problems very similar to those we confront now.

Here's McCain's vicious running mate probably winking as she heaves the slime. (Click the pic.)

Barack Obama's campaign has stayed almost exclusively positive, only attacking on matters of voting record or in response to McCain's mud-slinging. McCain's campaign is now 100% slime. Here comes another desperation Hail Mary pass from erratic John McCain. This one looks very wobbly and weak to me and just might get picked off. It looks like McCain has set the precedent that allows his opponents to bring up his part in the Keating Five affair, a scandal that actually took place while McCain was senator, with McCain's direct involvement, for which he was reprimanded by the Senate, and that relates very directly to the current economic scandal.

And the market just dipped below 10,000.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Palling Around

When I was a young teacher I commuted fifty miles or so to take some graduate classes. I shared the ride with three others. One was a brilliant but off-beat fellow who professed to admire Mao and to believe Communism the best form of government. I remember attending a political event for a fellow teacher who was running for state senator. That guy was there. I also attended a wonderful dinner he and his wife hosted at their house. I played chess with him a time or two.

I have served on the boards of several charity or comminity organizations. I know of several once active members of the John Birch Society - remember I am a former constituent of Congressman Larry McDonald - who have served with me on those boards. Some have attended events at my home.

I regularly hug and express admiration and love for some people who still support George Bush. One of the people I admire most in this world is the national spokesperson for a very conservative political group. Several people I regularly associate with write far right blogs.

Perhaps knowing these people of such diverse views has helped me a little in clarifying my own. I certainly don't share their beliefs however and their views have no real relationship to my abilities, my beliefs, or my political aims.

Barack Obama taught with, served on a charity board with, attended political meetings with, and was acquainted with, a man who was an extrenist many year ago. John McCain has expressed admiration for, and appeared on the radio show of, a man who brags about planning a murder (He did not carry it out.) and who served prison time for participating in the Watergate break-in. Sarah Palin has had a close relationship with Alaskan separatists.

My opposition to Sarah Palin and John McCain is not based on their acquaintances. My support of Barack Obama is not based his acquaintances.

A majority of voters, accouding to Gallup, Rasmussen, ABC, CBS, and other pollsters, currently support Obama. The majority agrees with the proposals of Barack Obama. The only way for McCain to win at this point is to somehow convince a portion of his opponent's current supporters that, however much they agree with him, Obama is not the person they think he is. In other words McCain must drag Obama's reputation down.

This is from the Rasmussen polling site:
Forty-five percent (45%) of voters say they are certain they will vote for Obama and will not change their mind. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say the same about McCain. Thirteen percent (13%) currently have a preference for one of the candidates but might change their mind. Four percent (4%) are either undecided or plan to vote for a third-party candidate.
One way of understanding the difficult challenge now facing McCain is to consider the relatively small group of persuadable voters who could still change their mind. The Republican hopeful would have to win nearly 80% of those votes to pull ahead in the race. That’s especially challenging because most of those voters are currently leaning towards Obama. In other words, while the race is not over, McCain needs a significant--game-changing—event to win the White House. Simply doing what he’s been doing a little better will not be enough.

McCain knows this. He is now running almost exclusively negative ads. As the "Road to 270" gets harder for McCain, he will react by making ever wilder accusations, hoping to stumble upon something "game-changing".

We are in for a rough few weeks.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

John McCain's Choice Exceeds Expectations

Walter Mondale - Bob Dole
Geraldine Ferraro - George Bush
Lloyd Bentzen - Dan Quayle
Al Gore - Dan Quayle
Al Gore - Jack Kemp
Joe Lieberman - Dick Cheney
John Edwards - Dick Cheney
Joe Biden - Sarah Palin

I think this list is the complete list of the major party Vice Presidential debates in our history. These debates have included some interesting moments. Think of these 13 folks and their debates. The most famous moment was likely Lloyd Bentzen's stinging put-down of a stunned Dan Quayle in 1988:
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy."
- Lloyd Bentzen, after Quayle had compared his own experience to that of John Kennedy.
None of these candidates, including the hapless Quayle, however, were as incomprehensible, unresponsive, or glib as the winking "you betcha" Governor who has been fearlessly guarding the Bering Strait as Putin "rears his head".

Joe Biden deftly torpedoed what few relatively coherent arguments Gov. Palin made. He beautifully stated the case for the Democratic ticket and gave a heartfelt defense of his own understanding of the real life struggles of ordinary people.

John McCain's choice to lead the free world in the aftermath of a Presidential calamity?

Well... she exceeded expectations.