Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bill Clinton, First Black President but...

Toni Morrison, the Noble Prize Laureate, who dubbed Bill Clinton as the first Black prez, has endorsed Barack Obama. The Transgriot has the full story here including the story of the Black prez statement and Clinton's response. ( And, that was quite a statement, yall. I'd never read it in it's entirety.)
Morrison who makes no secret that she admires Hillary Clinton's knowledge and political savvy, chose vision over experience. She said of Obama:

"In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates," Morrison wrote. "That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it."

The poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. That's what I'd like to see the next president address.
Obama speaks of working to change that landscape which is often all or part of our problems.

I definitely hold some faith that Hillary Clinton could be that president too.
Having close proximity to a Commander in Chief, is different from being the Commander in Chief. With the power of the presidency, it's possible that if Hillary gets the command, sits in that oval office, her office, we could very well start seeing some landscape changes. I'm just saying...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Passing the Torch to a New Generation

Democratic icon and patriarch of the Kennedy clan, Senator Ted with his son Congressman Patrick, Kennedy sister Jean Smith, and JFK's daughter Caroline, publicly endorsed Barack Obama, Monday at American University.

Ted gave a rousing, emotional, patriotic speech, evoking his two brothers words, hopes and visions for this nation. He recalled a time when young people were inspired to public service, not disgusted by the system. He spoke of a President who would be innovative and uniting, not stuck in establishment politics and divisive. A president who will bring out the best in Americans and restore respect for America.
He said about Obama, "He is tough-minded, but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to 'the better angels of our nature."
"With Barack Obama we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay."

Rep. Patrick Kennedy said, "In times such as these, we need, as we had with my uncle, a leader who can inspire confidence and faith in our government. A sense that our government can be good again."

Sen. Kennedy said,
"There was another time, when another young candidate was running for president and challenging America to cross a new frontier. He faced criticism from the preceding Democratic president, (Harry S. Truman) who was widely respected in the party."
"And John Kennedy replied, 'The world is changing. The old ways will not do. ... It is time for a new generation of leadership.'

"So it is with Barack Obama."

Ted Kennedy spoke highly of Hillary Clinton's and John Edwards' credentials and vowed to support either should they win the nomination. But he endorsed Obama because he does not see Clinton breaking away from the old guard, the same old tactics or see her inspiring new ideas and bringing young blood to America's service.

I don't see this either. The Clinton's deep connection to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has always been troubling to me for many reasons. Although they have supported some good legislation they are bound to an agenda are and big business and status quo orientated. Doesn't sound like "change" to me.

Obama didn't score all of the Kennedy clan. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his sisters Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Kerry Kennedy are supporting Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Endorses Obama

The reason I am not only for but actually excited about Barack Obama's candidacy, is summed up perfectly by Caroline Kennedy. I believe Hillary Clinton would be a good President. But, I do not believe she can break away from her powerful political machine and effect real change. I actually remember the way JFK inspired young people and all Americans to public service. I do not believe Hillary Clinton will inspire Americans who are sick of "business as usual" politics.

Published: January 27, 2008
New York Times

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oscar Nom for RUBY DEE

Ruby Dee has been a star of stage and screen since her 1946 Broadway debut in Anna Lucasta. She has since appeared hundreds of times in plays, movies and television shows. She is a published novelist, poet and columnist for the Amsterdam News, as well as a longtime activist in the civil rights movement. She has two Emmys, a Grammy and was honored with her late husband Ossie Davis with a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild. The list of her achievements and awards go on and on and on.

And now, for her role in An American Gangster, Ruby Dee at age 84, has been nominated for an OSCAR in the Best Actress In a Supporting Role category.
How 'bout that!

It was a long time coming. I think she (and other cast members) should have gotten the Oscar nod for the 1963 Gone Are The Days and it baffles me how the Academy missed all the superb performances including Dee's in A Raisin in the Sun. But I won't go there.
Congrats to RUBY DEE !!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008


I miss his words and his vision. We could use both in the world today.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."

"A right delayed is a right denied."

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

"The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers."

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."

"The question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be."

"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing."

"The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hillary makes History

Interesting picture, post and comments on Mes Deux Cents, regarding Hillary Clinton's win in New Hampshire.

Although the polls all gave Barack Obama a more than comfy double digit lead, Clinton beat him 39% to his 37% with John Edwards coming in a distant 17% third.
What happened? Lots of theories out there.
Bill Clinton's "aggressive campaigning" delivered a punch to Obama.
Hillary Clinton's tears created sympathy votes.
Polls made Obama supporters over-confident and they stayed home.
Polls made independent and Republican Obama supporters feel safe to vote for McCain.
Polls galvanized Clinton supporters especially women and they got out and voted.
Swift rhetoric/tactic changes by Clinton did the trick.
All of the above.

Well, I vote for all of the above. This is going to be so much fun. History being made all over the place and polls and news pundits manipulating the candidates tactics. It's interesting to watch how fast they all dance.
On one hand this has been wonderful. Obama winning a presidential caucus in a 99% white state and Clinton being the first woman to win a presidential primary give both candidates a place in history and shows some growth in America's character. Listening to voter's comments across the nation, it seems America may actually be getting to a point of being able to focus on what these two brilliant folks can bring to this nation, not just on their race and gender. We'll see.

On the other hand, I realize image is important and candidates need to say the right stuff but I am beginning to hate the word "change". John McCain said it four times in one sentence. Geesh!
How fast can Hillary do the image dance? Well, the huge young folk turnout for Obama prompted much commentary that Hillary had old cronies behind her on stage during her Iowa speech. To the young folks, this made her look like a relic from the past. Anyone notice the quick difference at the New Hampshire speech? No Madeline Albright, not even Bill. Behind Clinton a sea of youth, and prominent on stage, yep Chelsea. I get this, I just hate when it's so obvious. I like, respect and trust Madeline Albright, I hope Hillary (or whoever) will keep her close.
Iowa and New Hampshire are just spring training. By convention time, there will have been lots of tears all around (real and crocodile) lots of jabs and punches and we'll see what they are all made of.

Hillary in Iowa

Happy Hillary in New Hampshire

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Caucus - A Fascinating American Process

The Iowa caucus is the first test on the road to the White House. This process is peculiarly and uniquely American. This is a great nation and it's amazing to watch it at work sometimes.
I must admit I never really understood the caucus process. But, now with the big news stations in depth and Internet coverage, I do.
Simply put, Iowans don't actually vote like in a primary, but align themselves with a candidate. Republican and Democratic caucus rules are different. Republicans gather, listen to speeches for each candidate and then take a straw poll for their choice. Actual numbers are reported.
Democrats gather, then align themselves in the corner of the room allocated for their chosen candidate. Any candidate with 15% of the room or more is declared "viable". If their candidate is not viable they can re-align themselves to a different candidate if they choose. Percentages are reported only.

The beauty of this system to me, is that people gather and actually discuss candidates and issues, and then decide. These caucuses are held in church basements, school lunchrooms and libraries, and in living rooms. They don't just stand in line and pull a lever, they discuss and haggle and decide. The Iowans did this 212,000 strong.

Huckabee 34% God forbid! Bush but worse. Nuff said.
Romney 26%
McCain 14%
Thompson 13%

Obama 38% Change won out over experience.
Edwards 30%
Clinton 29%

Obama winning in Iowa, a majority white state, is huge especially to Black voters who needed to see that he could win in such states. That it is possible. That Clinton was not inevitable.
Obama won the independents 41%, he also won the women's vote including the over 50 group.
The young voted overwhelming not only for Obama, but against Clinton.
Age 17-24...57% Obama.
As the voter's age went down so did her percentages in that demographic. Could it be to these young people, that the Clinton is just a name from the past?
Could it be that for many the Clinton name carries baggage? And could the affinity many have for the charismatic Bill and transferred to Hillary has worn out?
She has to create a connection of her own.

John Edwards' speech was inspirational and quite presidential. His second place win in Iowa proves he is a contender.

Hillary Clinton changed her tune a bit already in her post caucus speech. She did not use her usual "when I am elected" instead saying "when a democrat is elected"..
She also emphasized change and the need for young people to join her. She touched my heart when mentioning ending the horrid No Child Left Behind program.

Obama sited this win as a defining moment in history. Hope over fear. Hope is a man running for president whose father came from Kenya, mother from Kansas, a story that can only happen in the United States of America.

So now Obama and Edwards ride their winning momentum on to the New Hampshire primary. Huckabee will not have his Christian conservative base there. In that more liberal state Edwards will have a tougher fight for his piece of the democratic pie. We will see if Obama's support continues to translate into votes. And, Clinton may have finished third in Iowa, but she is far from being defeated and will be hard to defeat.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!


But, back in the day when Jimi rocked the house....

"Auld Lang Syne" 1/1/70 @ The Fillmore East