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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quantum of Solace

I saw the movie tonight and I liked it. It was very action packed, but I'll discuss more over at The Movie Cabinet. I saw Daniel Craig's earlier effort, Casino Royale and I reviewed it there as well.

Now I'm just ready for the new Star Trek movie. Just before I entered the actually auditorium to see the James Bond film there were a couple of posters featuring Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. The new film is scheduled to be released on May 8, 2009.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Chicago Argus on the Shaw brothers

A very interesting piece about how the Shaw twin's wielded their political power in the Chicago area. From their days on the far south side of Chicago and then moving to the south suburbs with the culmination of the election of Bill Shaw as Mayor of Dolton. Even a mention of the political struggles between the Shaws and the Jacksons (ie Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr, Sandi Jackson, and associates).

BTW, on Thankgiving Day it was announced that Mayor Bill Shaw had passed away from cancer. Funeral arrangments are set. The pic to the right is of the late Mayor Shaw of Dolton.

Here is another link of interest on the story from Marathon Pundit!

Website of the Village of Dolton, IL.

Went downtown today

I was on the L sometime after 11AM and I encounter a couple of interesting characters on my way towards the Loop.

The first sat next to me even though there were plenty of seats to be had on the train. I thought it was unusual especially when you had your pic and the train wasn't particularly crowded. He was talking like he knew people on the train.

He moved to this other girl on the train and sat next to her. In doing so he chose to crouch down like he was hiding. From what? I had uttely no idea. He talked to this girl like he knew her and for real not like he knew everybody.

Now by 69th Street he got off the train and he did the same thing walking away from this girl. He crouched back down onto the floor like he was hiding. And then made it back to the doors he must have boarded the train thru. Then apparently he did some kind of dance and he had the other passengers talking about him like something was off. There probably was something off!

Anyway as the train pulled off from 69th Street he didn't go anywhere he was sitting on the platform as the train pulled off. He was still munching on his McDonald's fries and I must say he didn't look like he could've been homeless. If nothing else he may have had no where he needed to be on this day.

This next character after 69th Street I ran into him numerous times. You can see one such story here. In any case he was on the train begging as has been the general experience with this man, but there was a woman on board the train who decided to start talking about him loudly. That invited him to stick around on this car a little longer instead of moving on.

He was mumbling some stuff and then mentioned that he went to war college and he put himself thru that sh*t. And then he finally moved on but this woman was still talking about. She said that he smelled like death (I never smelled him thank goodness) and that she said he had two bookbags and he carried his life in them.

Then no other characters. I spend a brief period of time downtown. Basically I was supposed to pay my mother's water bill but City Hall was closed I had to get a shot of the signs that congratulated the President-elect (the signs apparently were paid for by Mayor Daley's campaign committee looking at the fine print in red though perhaps for some of you that's old news). I got a few mobile phone photos of the sign.

I had trouble walk thru Daley Plaza with the Christkindlmarkt going on and there was about to be an animal rights protest that started on Daley Plaza. I checked out the studios of CBS 2 with a photo of the CBS logo on Washington. Then I headed to State Street towards Macy's and it seemed oddly busy even if they've fired the original Christmas window dressers that were holdover's from the Marshall Field's era.

I decided to go shopping but basically for stuff I could buy at any store back on the south side. Either way I decided I wasn't going to stick around the loop this afternoon. I'll be back home for a much longer period in two weeks so I'll have plenty of time to lounge around. That was my brief time in the Loop this afternoon.

On the same trip at the beginning of this story read this blog from Chicago Carless about the new policy regarding continuos riding that Mike Doyle believed is directed towards the homeless on the L.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Property and the First Thanksgiving

Just in time for the holiday courtesy of LewRockwell.com:
At Thanksgiving, Americans reflect on their blessings and hope for uplifting family gatherings of togetherness and unity, with the Pilgrims used as examples of peace, harmony, and thankfulness. However, while the Pilgrims' 1623 "way of thanksgiving" represents what we wish to infuse in Thanksgiving, Plymouth Colony before 1623 was closer to a Thanksgiving host's worst fears – resentments surface, harsh words are spoken, and people turn angry and unhappy with one another.

The Pilgrims' unhappiness was caused by their system of common property (not adopted, as often asserted, from their religious convictions, but required against their will by the colony's sponsors). The fruits of each person's efforts went to the community, and each received a share from the common wealth. This caused severe strains among the members, as Colony Governor William Bradford recorded:
You'll have to go over there to read the whole thing. I've learned over the years that Thanksgiving evolved. The history most of us are familiar with is more or less a fairytale compared with what really happened. This story underscores that.

Still I've had friends who refers to this holiday not as Thanksgiving but Thanks-taking. I don't remember exactly where this get this from, but I have an idea that the Native American Indians have an unfortunate role in this term.

Surely in our idealized version of the history of Thanksgiving we've heard about the Indians. They contributed to this big feast with the Pilgrims and with open arms. Unfortunately the Pilgrims who might have been struggling before this point probably weren't very willing to share land in this new world with their native neighbors. Thus people will call this holiday Thankstaking.

You can rebut if you wish or agree.

Regardless of this story I hope you have a joyous and restful holiday and thanks for reading today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pittsburgh Turns 250 Years Old Today

I'm going thru this article from NewGeography currently. Very interesting and perhaps a cautionary tale about central planning. Here are some interesting effects for poor/black neighborhoods in a city seeking to revitalize:
The post-WW II power elites cleaned up Pittsburgh’s poisoned three rivers and Venutian atmosphere, but Jacobs said they also worked overtime to protect incumbent steel and manufacturing industries and discourage new industries from being born. They also launched misbegotten urban renewal projects in three poor and/or black neighborhoods – the Hill District, East Liberty and the North Side – whose destructive effects still afflict the city.
The rest of the article concerns itself with reasons in general why Pittsburgh isn't a city on the rise. Before the second World War the city seemed to have been doing well until it was decided to protect a once cash-cow industry that would eventually find itself in a downturn and doesn't seem able to turn itself around anytime soon.

Reading thru this article they might be having worse issues that I would even imagine Chicago suffering thru. Inept public schools, a transit system with fallin ridership but justifying enrichment of their unionized workers, and a city barely able to offer basic city services. Any other city out there on the rise shouldn't look much further than Pittsburgh to look at what not to do.

Another article worth reading from New Geography an article about Mayor Bloomberg of New York City.

Sports business

Coming back home this morning I passed thru Gary, Indiana this morning and one of the places I passed by was the Genesis Convention Center. This is the home of the minor leagues basketball team Gary Steelheads.

That brought to mind this piece by Chicago Argus. Gregory Tejada discusses how the struggling economy is affecting these smaller minor league franchise in such cities as Gary. The major league franchises are doing OK but not those franchises that aren't as well known as those of the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA.

I remembered that while it's important to follow the action on the field, rink, or court. My thing is that I choose to follow the business aspect of professional sports. It's isn't about following every draft, trade, waiver, release or whatnot. But certainly the activities of the franchise owners.

Ideally the goal of sports owners is to win although some FAIL at that more than others. Or I could say that some probably aren't intentionally allowing their franchises to tank, but they aren't making the best possible decisions to insure the success of their sports franchise. I could point to the late Bill Wirtz for example he probably wanted to see the success of his franchise before he passed away, but it seemed to many die hard fans he wasn't always making the best decisions for the success of his franchise.

Another guy I talk to at school who's from Detroit we talk sports sometimes and we talked about the Lions almost on the verge of going 0-16 and he says he doesn't think it'll happen. I told him that I follow the business side of sports more and I often wondered why some teams seem to succeed while others struggle or fail. But it's interesting that the Lions aren't a team famous for their success in the NFL.

Also I've been following the sale of the Chicago Cubs. It's been interesting to see who MLB wants to own them and who they don't. Also the one who MLB doesn't want to join their group also got slapped with some insider trading charges. This sale is also impacted by the slowing economy because of the lack of credit available and this requires the selling Tribune Company (owned by Sam Zell) to have to perhaps own a larger share of the team than they would like.

I suppose this is an interesting time to watch the sports business. From these small minor league franchises to the large major league BIG-TIME franchises. Let's see who can whether these changes and who can't.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time's Person of the Year 2006: You!

Do you remember that? You (or us) was worthy of that distinction.

Everyday folks like ourselves who in some respects became celebrities in our own right. We created and we wrote and most importantly we shared. All thanks to this wonderful network we might refer to as the Internet or the World Wide Web.

Here's the direct article, but I thought about this article because I remembered that I wrote a post about this and there was another by the Peoria Pundit over at Illinoize.

Person of the Year: You - My post
I'd like to thank the academy ... - Bill Dennis, the Peoria Pundit.

A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Sways Judiciary

I just found this article today, of course this article was made over a year before the SCOTUS rule in the case of DC v. Heller.
The earlier consensus, the law professors said in interviews, reflected received wisdom and political preferences rather than a serious consideration of the amendment’s text, history and place in the structure of the Constitution. “The standard liberal position,” Professor Levinson said, “is that the Second Amendment is basically just read out of the Constitution.”

The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” (Some transcriptions of the amendment omit the last comma.)

If only as a matter of consistency, Professor Levinson continued, liberals who favor expansive interpretations of other amendments in the Bill of Rights, like those protecting free speech and the rights of criminal defendants, should also embrace a broad reading of the Second Amendment. And just as the First Amendment’s protection of the right to free speech is not absolute, the professors say, the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms may be limited by the government, though only for good reason.

The individual rights view is far from universally accepted. “The overwhelming weight of scholarly opinion supports the near-unanimous view of the federal courts that the constitutional right to be armed is linked to an organized militia,” said Dennis A. Henigan, director of the legal action project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “The exceptions attract attention precisely because they are so rare and unexpected.”
It seems that while we are expected to respect the law, they law is often made up by people. What this means is that the law isn't perfect and certainly questionable by people who may differ on the interpretation of said laws. Of course to be sure I believe in the idea of rule of thumb, that is on a given law there are certain observances that are to be observed.

Let's not forget that America largely observes a common law system. Some states might be more codified although that's a matter of say what sphere of influence the state fell under before they became a state. Like Louisiana, I understand that they have some form of Napoleonic code in that state.

In any case I would like to know how DC v. Heller might stand up during an Obama Presidency. Might citizen have a somewhat unencumbered right to own and bear a weapon in the privacy on their own property?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Black churches weigh value, risk of political messages

Reading this article from the Austin Weekly News should cause one question to come to mind. Should the "Black church" continue to play a significant role in political life?
The Rev. Keith Gordon of Pilgrim Baptist Church on the South Side describes his Sunday sermons as verse-by-verse Bible teaching.

Gordon, who grew up in Englewood, said his job at the pulpit is to defend against sin, not necessarily to address social issues. Another black Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., became nationally known for some of his past sermons criticizing U.S. policy and the government when videos of those sermons surfaced during the presidential primaries in the spring. Wright had been Barack Obama's pastor until the presidential candidate broke ties with the South Side pastor after more recent comments by Wright over the summer.

Wright spoke at Northwestern University earlier this month, insisting that even Ray Charles could see how several news organizations had misrepresented his messages and beliefs. Gordon, 38, said he cannot afford a similar scenario.

"It might come back to haunt you later on," said Pilgrim's pastor of the last two years. "And by haunt I mean you never know what other people might interpret or assume we're saying. Anything can be misconstrued."

Vincent Wimbush, religion professor at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif., explained the standards for black pastors are different because history has taught society to fear strong, independent black males.

"Someone has to take the time to get to know the textures and rhythms that are part of black life and a black church," Wimbush said. "The onus is not on Wright to be weak and appease others. [Society] needs to come to terms with what it is that makes them fearful in the first place."
Well the first part of this quote is correct a pastor's job isn't exactly to address social issues at the same time I have no problem with any religious person addressing them. Better a church than the government.

At the same time is this about fearing strong and independent black males? I'm not sure I know the answer to that, but using the Wright example is controversial. Wright is certainly a strong personality with certain convictions as to what's going on in the world. I don't often agree with them but that's just my opinion.

Maybe this might be related to this issue or perhaps it's not but I found this on the Daily Dish this week, but I figure this brief quote could apply to the black church:
"I have no belief in the virtue or durability of official philosophies, and when it comes to state religions, I have always thought that, though they may perhaps sometimes momentarily serve the interests of political power, they are always sooner or later fatal for the church.

Nor am I one of those who think that to exalt religion in the eyes of the people and to do honor to the spirituality of religious teaching, it is good to give its ministers indirectly a political influence which the laws refuse.

I am so deeply convinced of the almost inevitable dangers which face beliefs when their interpreters take part in public affairs, and so firmly persuaded that at all costs Christianity must be maintained among the new democracies that I would rather shut priests up within their sanctuaries than allow them to leave them."
I suppose I could say that the Black church isn't as concerned about maintaining Christian values in the country as it is forcing society to live up to their supposedly Christian ideals. And not just Christian ideals but also the secular ideas upon which this nation is based. That all men are created equal, that we all have natural rights, that we have the right to reach our full potential (or I could say life, liberty and pursuit of happiness).

At the same time mixing religion and politics can be dangerous. It's just as true for a Black minister as it is for a member of the Christian Right. I suppose it's easy to look at politics in a much different light than politcs, but mix the two together I'm not sure it won't be problematic.

Both have to believe that they are right. Of course one might want to believe their right because the people wills it. Especially since well a politician seeks to maintain the support of the people or gain the support of the people.

A person with relgious convictions however may not be as concerned about the will of the people. They might be more concerned with what pleases God. That can be problematic because who can determine what pleases God?

Well I know it's a little heady but I'm sure someone had an idea here. I open up the floor for comments.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Concealed Carry Permits Go ‘Poof!’ in California

Reading this interesting essay on Concealed-Carry around the country. It starts to contrast California with North Carolina. California is a may-issue state that allows the various county Sheriff's their own guidelines to issue concealed-carry.

Thus in California you might have a sitution like they won't issue a permit for you in San Francisco while they may allow you a permit in Orange County. Sounds a bit draconian but then again I would have no problem with this. Perhaps I would see less of a one size fits all solution because one region might be a lil squeamish about what another region might do. Especially when it comes to guns.

Then there's North Carolina. I can't argue with this idea of the criteria for the issuance of a concealed-carry permit. This will include being aged 21, a background check, attending a safety class, a range/check certification, and a fee. After all that you get a permit in a shall-issue state.

The main idea of this article is basically that there is evidence that says that if people own a gun there isn't a rise in crime. Also it is showing how out of touch the Sheriff in Orange County, CA was in talking about restricting concealed carry and forcing those with permits to justify keeping their permits. In making this declaration of policy she was shocked to see that the response was largely against her.

Here's something worth noting...
Is it unfair to hold a California sheriff up to national scrutiny? While Orange County’s crackdown on justifying carry permits isn’t out of line with that of other restrictive California sheriffs, it does go against the grain of a steady national push towards more liberal concealed carry laws across the United States that began in Florida in 1987. To date, 37 states are now regarded as “shall issue” states, while nine are “may issue” and just two — Wisconsin and Illinois — are states with no provision for concealed carry at all. Two other states, Alaska and Vermont, have no restrictions on concealed carry and a permit is not required.
Generally you should know my position on this issue. I certainly err on letting "responsible" individuals own a gun. I put responsible in quotes because that's a very subjective term. How do we define responsbile? Is going the route NC is going a way to define respobsible?

All the same I don't think anything can justify removing a person's right to own a gun. Especially if a gun is used for an individual's own protection. At the same time there are those who might be more concerned about accidental deaths due to perhaps negligence or indeed some people might be concerned that having a gun causes a person to turn from Mr. Nice Guy to Bank Robber.

Well I might have changed the point of this post. I suppose all the arguments involved are emotional. We don't want to either be seen as either criminals or even bad people who might accidentally harm someone they care about. At the same time people do believe they have the right to protect themselves from a criminal or someone who wants to do them harm.

All I can say is that we should consider the source before we make up our minds on a given issue. What might be in your best interest when it comes to a gun? Do you think you should own one for you protection? Might you be concerned that a gun is too dangerous to have in your possession?

While I can err on the side of no gun control, I can certainly understand that there are those who probably shouldn't own a gun. Still I'd trust an individual whether or not there is a provision of concealed-carry, to make the right decision with regards to a gun.

Auto execs remain tone deaf

This Dana Milbank column talks about the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler asking for their bailouts but they continue to not only draw their large corporate compensations, but also to fly on their corporate jets. This part of the column however spoke volumes to me:
So it was hard to feel sorry for the executives when Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), late in the hearing, reminded them again that "the symbolism of the private jet is difficult," and mischievously asked the witnesses whether, in another symbolic gesture, they would be willing to work for $1 a year, as [Robert] Nardelli [of Chrysler] has offered to do.

"I don't have a position on that today," demurred [Richard] Wagoner [of GM] (2007 total compensation: $15.7 million).

"I understand the intent, but I think where we are is okay," said [Alan] Mulally [of Ford] ($21.7 million).

"I'm asking about you," Roskam pressed.

"I think I'm okay where I am," Mulally said.

And don't even think about asking him to fly commercial.
Could one conclude that these CEO care more about maintaining their perks than the longterm health of their respective companies? Especially if cutting their own salaries or taking a commercial flight might help the future financial well-beings of not only their companies but America's auto industry?

I suppose when you think about it this is what happens when you come to the gov't expecting some sort of bailout because your business just isn't making the cash like it used to. Maybe Washington is finally tired of this bailout business having had to bailout the financial industry. My conclusion is that the reason these companies are in this situation has nothing to do with the economy but it's of their own makings. They're responsible for their failings and while they could stress their importance to the economy of this nation if they made some necessary steps years ago there's be no need for this bailout. Also I won't hold either industry totally culpable since the Gov't has a tendency to intervene not thru financial aid but by regulations.

I want you to also look at this vid produced by the auto industry. What's do you think about this?


Another post of interest on this subject comes from Marathon Pundit
Big Three jump start looking unlikely

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Replica Mark IX tricorder too good to be kept on Twitter

I just posted a video of a replica Mark IX Tricorder on Twitter. This is an instrument you would see in such programs as Star Trek: The Next Generation and probably thru to Star Trek Voyager. Man for some reason I long for those sounds that was normal for me as a regular viewer of Star Trek.


BTW, this is old news, but I'm lil disappointed in the new design of the original USS Enterprise. I don't mind some tinkering but they should have left it alone. Well I'll still go see the new Star Trek film anyway.

What is a Tricoder you may ask? Click here!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Henry Paulson to Supply-Side Economics: Drop Dead

Because of the recent financial crisis, I've been paying attention a little but more to business/economic news. This is an interesting article perhaps spending isn't always the way to jumpstart an economy. That is making good for people to buy thus jobs for people making these goods for people to buy. Or people who will be the go-between for the producers and the consumers.

Article from RealClearMarkets:
All of which brings us to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s announcement last week that the latest version of Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program will focus on the consumer. In an administration that has sought to deify the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the supply-side revolution that he was often associated with, Paulson’s latest move speaks to an administration that either never understood supply-side theory, or understood it but views it as unworthy of emulation. With regard to Paulson, we’re all Keynesians now, and supply-side economics can drop dead.

Paulson’s reasons for “aiding” the consumer have to do with his view that consumer finance “is currently in distress, costs of funding have skyrocketed and new issue activity has come to a halt.” As such, his plan according to a Wall Street Journal account is to use TARP money to “increase the availability of student loans, auto loans and credit cards.” Adam Smith is doubtless spinning in his grave.

Indeed, if we try to forget for a moment that the proliferation of federally-backed student loans has necessitated more student loan money for driving up education costs, Paulson’s newest attempt to “fix” the economy is surely inimical to our economic health. In times of economic distress, when capital is in short supply, the last thing an economy needs is for more capital to be consumed as opposed to being supplied to future entrepreneurs.

Indeed, in times of economic weakness the best economic “stimulant” absent a stabilized dollar or tax cuts is paradoxically the very consumer pullback that Paulson and his minions are trying to avoid. That is so because when individuals choose to save rather than consume, their capital, far from vanishing, funds the growth of job-creating business concepts. To the extent that Paulson’s activities foist more credit on an already tapped consumer, there will be even less capital available for tomorrow’s ideas. Recovery will be pushed back even further.
I liked how this piece started out with stories about rich people in Britain driving around in expensive luxury cars. They spend like crazy, but they didn't invest. Everyday people should know a car, no matter how expensive isn't much of an investment. These individuals didn't invest in any budding new enterprises, unfortunately.

Still the economy rests on the producer as long as they have an incentive to produce. Also stated in this article is that focusing the economy on consumption could become problematic if there is little attention paid to saving. So then the rest of the article looks at Treasury Secretary Paulson's action and argues that he's only arguing the continuation of the policy of encouraging consumption.

Read the whole thing!

N'Digo Obama Cover

It's been a while since I cracked open an N'Digo publication but it was also good to see them have their own cover page for the newly ascendant President-elect. You can check out their cover story well actually it's an open letter by Derrick Baker.
In the frenzy leading up to November 4, on most days, the best I could muster in reply to avid, rabid fans of Sen. Barack Obama who asked if I expected him to win was an, “I’m cautiously optimistic” answer. While that response sometimes went over like a lead balloon more than once, I was protecting my head and heart in case Sen. John McCain and that lady won.

Although I have never been bitten by police dogs or hosed down on public streets, those black history images have been seared into my consciousness. My psyche likely has been vicariously injured enough by black history that I subconsciously have morphed into a human version of that caterpillar-looking insect that rolls itself into a ball when you touch it. Since childhood, I’ve never known the name of that insect, but its instinct to self-protect when approached also symbolizes the life experience of many African Americans older than me who’ve sadly experienced the worst of what America has had to offer.

That analogy helps explain why I was unable – and unwilling – to totally convince myself that an African American man would be elected president. Like top-tier pro athletes who purportedly hate to lose more than they enjoy winning, the depth of my despair at an Obama loss would have registered more intensely and longer than the height of my euphoria at his victory.

That cathartic opening aside, I could not be more enthused and hopeful and re-energized that Americans elected Sen. Obama as the forty-fourth president. I want to think voters made informed decisions about the candidates’ position on the critical issues of the day, closely examined the experience and platform of each vice presidential candidate, and ultimately decided Sen. Obama was the best person for this job at this point in time—his race notwithstanding.

OK. Not so much.
Read the whole thing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where's Obama's 'mandate'?

Another Obama item for today from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review:
Watching CNN's Wolf Blitzer add up the numbers on that night, you'd get the idea that a massive turnout of dramatically energized and newly liberal voters had produced an Obama landslide.

In fact, despite the pictures of four-hour lines at the polls, American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate reports that voter turnout in this year's election was the same in percentage terms as it was four years ago --- or at most had risen by less than 1 percent.

"Between 60.7 percent and 61.7 percent of the 208.3 million eligible voters cast ballots this year, compared with 60.6 percent of those eligible in 2004," reports Curtis Gans, the director of the university's center.

In both years, in short, some 40 percent of those eligible to vote didn't show up at the polls, with Republicans, in particular, taking a none-of-the-above stance this year and staying home.

"A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower than predicted turnout," states the American University report. "Compared to 2004, Republican turnout declined by 1.3 percentage points to 28.7 percent."
As far as Electoral Vote Obama certainly crush McCain but as happens since we have an Electoral College that formally elects the President the popular vote totals doesn't always match up. I suppose that's OK, but the fact is there isn't a great popular mandate for the President-elect. Perhaps that'll come when he runs for re-election four years from now.

Read this previous post about this subject here and then....

Have you forgotten about The Movie Cabinet. I posted a fun piece about Obama over there.

I found this column via RealClearPolitics.

ADDITION: This post from Mechanics says that Obama did indeed win a mandate. I suppose I can agree it has nothing to do with the popular votes but in some of those red states he had flipped to win such as Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

Still I wonder if this victory is truly transformational...
The much more salient point is whether the 2008 election was politically transformative in the way that Franklin Roosevelt's election was in 1932. And what was transformative about FDR's election, you might ask? Well, it wasn't his margin of victory or even the innovative policies he implemented once in office. It was the way in which his election shifted the political allegiances of whole demographic groups across the country, ushering in nearly 40 years of Progressive policy-making and Democratic electoral dominance. The answer to this second question is more complicated but here are some very encouraging signs, at least from this Progressive's point of view.
There's a lot of information in this piece so do read on, there!

Who'll Cause Obama's First 3 a.m. Call?

Remember that ad from the recently concluded campaign. Actually it was released during the Democratic primaries with Hillary Clinton highlighting that she can be trusted to answer that 3 AM call over the future President-elect Barack Obama. Well now we know who'll have to answer that early morning call and Real Clear World, a division of Real Clear Politics, has already started to ponder this subject:
Indeed, throughout his two-year campaign for the most powerful office in the world, Obama's lack of executive experience was almost always Topic No. 1. And his virtual blank slate pertaining to foreign policy produced more attack lines by his opponents than anything else.

During the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton made much hay when she unleashed the famed "3 a.m. call" television ad questioning whether a nation at war could risk electing someone so green as its leader. She made dramatic gains following the ad's unveiling, taking Obama to the wire in a spirited intra-party fight.

With an electorate more concerned about the current financial crisis and other more pressing domestic issues, Obama beat McCain comfortably to win the election. But the world's bad actors and flash points will not simply go away. Fortunately for him, some of the potential problems will remain more long-term and less urgent, such as China, India and Brazil; while others, such as Venezuela, Cuba and Africa, will not be strategically pressing enough to warrant emergency actions.

So just who'll be responsible for Obama's first 3 a.m. phone call at the White House?
Included is this piece is the ad in question. In any event the future is here. Now we have to consider if Obama is available to answer that late night/early morning call. Indeed how he will respond.

I just remember that he has another four years to earn my vote. I'm only speaking for me, because he surely has to earn the votes of others again four years from now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Myth: A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory

An excerpt of a column by Washington Post's Chris Cillizza who also blogs at The Fix:
Afraid not. Heading into Election Day, cable news, newspapers and blogs were dominated by excited chatter about record levels of enthusiasm for Obama among two critical groups: African Americans and young voters (aged 18-29). It made sense: Black voters were energized to cast a historic vote for the first African American nominee of either major party; young people -- following a false start with former Vermont governor Howard Dean in 2004 -- had bought into Obama in a major way during the primary season, and they finally seemed on the cusp of realizing their much-promised potential as a powerhouse voting bloc.

Or not. Exit polling suggests that there was no statistically significant increase in voting among either group. Black voters made up 11 percent of the electorate in 2004 and 13 percent in 2008, while young voters comprised 17 percent of all voters in 2004 and 18 percent four years later.

The surge in young and African American voters is not entirely the stuff of myth, however. Although their percentages as a portion of the electorate didn't increase measurably, Obama did seven points better among black voters than Sen. John F. Kerry did in 2004 and scored a 13-point improvement over Kerry's total among young voters.
The others myths covered here are the death of the Republican Party, the beginning of new Progressive era, A Republican could have won the Presidency, and finally McCain made a bad VP choice in Sarah Palin.

VIA Real Clear Politics!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Myth of Good Government

I above all else want a good government, but it probably takes a number of things. It's probably a concept that isn't easily quantifiable. I have never really thought about what that means.

However, I have heard about what others think is good government. Perhaps good government involved adhering to the letter and spirit of a constitution. Perhaps good government is providing services in the best manner possible. Perhaps still good government involves little or no corruption amongst government officials.

The first paragraph in this column by Lew Rockwell certainly hurts because I consider myself a "classical liberal" but there are some good points to be made here. Here's one:
Sometimes the point is easier to see when looking at foreign governments, such as the tragic case of China. The government is embarking on an explosive venture to dump $586 billion into "infrastructure" over two years. The reason is the classic Keynesian excuse: the spending is needed to stimulate investment. Never mind that this trick has never worked in all of human history. This is instead a grand plan to loot the private sector on behalf of the Communist Party, which will then spend the money bolstering its power. 

No country knows more about the failures of this type of central planning than China. Every form of collectivism has been tried out on these poor souls, and tens of millions lost their lives in the course of Mao's insane collectivist experiments. That this new plan is being enacted in the name of Lord Keynes rather than Karl Marx is irrelevant. The effects are the same: expand power and reduce liberty.

China's recovery from communism is one of the most inspiring stories in the history of economic development. The country went from being a suffering and impoverished land of catastrophe to being modernized in just 15 years. The state shrunk in scope nearly by default as the private sector grew and grew. This wasn't the plan. It was the de facto result of the new tolerance of free economic activity. The state went into protective mode to keep its power, and did nothing to stop the swell of private enterprise. The result was glorious.

Keep in mind this critical point. China's restoration as a civilized society came about not due to some central plan, but by its absence. The fact that the state did not intervene led to prosperity. Again, it wasn't a policy or a constitution or a law that made the difference. There was no switch from a communist-style government to a night-watchman state. Because the state abandoned its posts under public opposition and contempt, society could flourish.

But the state never went away. It's just that its depredations have been spotty and unpredictable. Had history taken a better course, the central state would have melted away completely, and law would have devolved to the most local levels. Sadly for the Chinese, the state persisted in its old structure, even as the private sector grew and grew. The state still had its hand in the large industries such as steel and energy, and, of course, it controlled the banking sector. 

For some of you, the thought is scary, but I wonder if Lew is advocating some form of anarchy. I don't like anarchy to be honest, but he may have a point when he says that government can only grow in scope. I won't advocate anarchy but I can certainly advocate ways where the people can keep the state in check.

Of course these days it probably would be hard, because the American citizen expects so much from their government although these days, I'm not so sure government can provide Especially if 41 state and city budgets are falling fast. Even government can't use their resources efficiently to satisfy the wants of a populace.

One reason that the Illinois Constitutional Convention referendum failed last week was because so many state workers retired or otherwise were concerned about their pensions. And never mind that they still want theirs because it's said to be often underfunded. It's safe to say it might be time to re-evaluate what the government can or can't provide for anymore.

I just have to add that this financial crisis from my basic understanding of it starting with the sub-prime loans and then the collapse of investment banks because of these sub-prime loans. It's just a huge mess! Because of this I pay attention to any economic news I can.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Arlene Jones: To The Black Community - What Excuses Now?

Bill Baar blogs over at Illinoize about a column from Arlene Jones of the Austin Weekly News and adds his two cents. He says that Jones should really challenge the fact that blacks vote in lockstep for the Democratic Party. Indeed Ms. Jones and other should demand some attention by the Republican Party.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Ad Age President Who ‘Killed Election Day’

Pajama's Media:
Barack Obama’s presidential victory last Tuesday was a triumph of clever advertising, slick marketing, and subversion of the way elections were run in America for over 200 years.

I’m not saying that. Fawning advertisers, marketers, and writers at Advertising Age are.

On October 17, two and a half weeks before the election, Ad Age named the Obama campaign its 2008 Marketer of the Year, beating out the likes of Apple, Zappos, and other household names that sell real products and services to consumers.
I gotta admit that I loved to look at some of the graphic art that came out of the Obama campaign. In fact I linked to a website where you can add different words and slogans to a representation of an Obama poster. I want to find some more examples though. I hope some young up and coming politician can steal some ideas or come up with new ones.

And you know the Republicans can use a few of their own as well. Some will say that some of this material almost look like communist or cultist propaganda. Either way it seems that a form of flash would go a long way in getting a very good or a very bad politician election. And I would like to see good politicians get elected.

BTW, I know that good and bad is subjective, but if you want an example of a bad politicians look no further than Illinois' Rod Blagojevich. He's a man who despite his own bluster seems to have the inability to get absolutely nothing done. An ineffective politician, IMO, is a very bad politician.

Black African American Men must "man up"

The "Mayor of Blacktown" talking about Black manhood on Chicago cable access.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

School Watchdog Says Sherman Elementary Manipulating Enrollment

Well this would be unfortunate news from CPR:
Sherman Elementary sits on 52nd Street a mile west of the Dan Ryan. It's undergone big staffing changes over the last few years to improve performance. Last year, the percentage of low-income kids at the school dropped by nearly 10-percent. That raises flags for Julie Woestehoff, head of a group called Parents United for Responsible Education. She says it's unlikely the neighborhood's income level changed that much.

WOESTEHOFF: So I don't think we're really looking at an artifact of demographics. I think we're looking at a manipulation by a school that's trying to weed out students who might drive their test scores down.

Other schools in the area also had drops in the percentage of low-income students, though not as dramatically as Sherman. The school's principal says Woestehoff's allegations are "ridiculous." He says Sherman enrolls every student that shows up at its door.
You know instead of just making themselves look good, the schools should just remember that low income children deserves a quality education too. Assuming that these charges are substantiated perhaps the Chicago Public Schools ought to remember that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Theory on the next Great Depression and a "new" New Deal

From LewRockwell.com:
Along with the ascendancy of the Democratic Party to control of the executive and legislative branches of government has come the repetition of the tired, old mantra of an alleged need for a "new New Deal." God help us. The original New Deal unequivocally made the Great Depression much worse, and much longer-lasting, than it would otherwise have been.


One of the most readable expositions of why the New Deal was an economic debacle is Jim Powell’s book, FDR’s Folly. It summarizes more than a half century of economic research on the actual effects of the New Deal and presents the results in a very readable, conversational style that is suitable to a general reading audience. And every bit of it is being studiously ignored by the powers that be in Washington. After his voluminous survey of the ill effects of New Deal interventionism Powell concludes with "lessons for today." Every one of these lessons is not only being ignored by Washington policymakers, but the policy proposals coming out of Washington are ominously structured to do exactly the opposite of what Powell suggests.
Read that whole article for more points, but let's get back to a mainstream article an of arguments against a new New Deal:
There is evidence, however, that FDR's very strength was a negative, because he used it to give himself a license to do true experimenting. In his second inaugural address, FDR said that he sought "an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world."


No one knew what it meant, and markets were terrified. Everyone feared FDR would regulate or prosecute them next. Businesses refused to invest. The 1930s' second half proved frustrating for the country: The economy was always recovering but never quite recovered. The Dow didn't get back to its 1929 level until the mid-'50s.
Of course the New Deal does still have it's fans...
The great genius of the New Deal lay not in ideology but in its pragmatism and practicality. People were out of work so it created jobs. The country’s infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas, was primitive, so it took on the task of modernization.


In some ways, this paralleled what was also being done under the Communists in the Soviet Union as well as under Fascists in Italy and under the National Socialists in Germany. This has led some conservatives, such as “Liberal Fascism” author Jonah Goldberg, to conflate the New Deal legacy with fascism. But this assertion is belied by the fact that we still live under a democratic and liberal political structure, one that by the 1980s had turned to oppose much of that legacy.

Yet I believe that even Ronald Reagan – himself once an avid New Dealer – would admit that the New Deal did much to expand America’s middle class. It did so not by promoting redistribution and welfarism or by moral cajoling – characteristics Mike Lind identifies with the more elite Progressives – but by practical actions that gave people the tools with which to build their own individual prosperity.
Well to close this post out I'm more pro-laissez-faire. Government should provide at the very least minimal activity into the affairs of the economy and therefore should not interject in how private individuals or companies tend to their business affairs. Of course let's not put all of our faith into the business community. I just don't expect government to be the hero when the economy goes into the tank.

Thoughts?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Vote totals

They started handing out Maroon Tiger newspapers today. Obama certainly demolished McCain as far as the Electoral Vote, but the popular vote doesn't reflect the landslide Obama won. Of course what I want to do is verify the actual popular vote totals which are 63 million to 55 million in favor of Obama. These are probably estimates and I need to find some actual numbers on the popular votes.

I might be wrong but the popular vote doesn't indicate a popular mandate to me. The totals don't indicate a huge difference in popular votes between McCain and Obama. The different is only about 8 million perhaps I expected to see more maybe a difference of 15 or 20 million.

It doesn't matter tho since McCain didn't win those states that could have netted him this victory. The Electoral College counts more than the popular votes. Perhaps Obama was playing a good game of chess and essentially was able to garner that majority he needed in the Electoral Votes to win the Presidency.

In trying to assess the math of this election I'm looking at Real Clear Politics but all that tells me is the percentages no numbers that explain the percentages. So at this moment I'm still looking. If the popular vote totals are out there, they will be found!

ADDITION: Bloomberg says...
Obama won the highest proportion of the popular vote since Republican George H.W. Bush defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988. The 52.4 percent of the popular vote that Obama won -- 63.4 million ballots -- is the highest of any Democratic candidate since Johnson's 1964 victory.
...
Obama is the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote. Bill Clinton was twice elected president without getting half of the popular vote. Obama's opponent, Arizona Senator John McCain, got 56 million votes, or 46.3 percent of the total, according to the latest figures.
...
So far, the popular vote total is 121 million. The vote total would have to reach 135 million to exceed the 1964 turnout, when Johnson beat Barry Goldwater, another Republican senator from Arizona, Gans said.


It would take 140 million votes this year to reach the 67 percent turnout recorded in 1960 when Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Richard Nixon, he said.


The final totals may not be known for six weeks as states finish counting and verifying the results, Gans said. For example, in California, the most populous state, 5 percent of precincts still haven't reported complete results.
I'll keep looking!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Get your vote on!!!!

One of the poll workers had a nice bedside manner. His delivery certainly wasn't dry as he seemed have this great ability to rhyme his words. Especially in giving instructions to voters who dropped on by to get their vote on.

When we arrived at this polling place he told us his personal history. His mother wanted him to go to Morehouse, but he didn't want to. In telling us his story he almost flubbed by saying that he wanted to go party, er, Tennessee State Universtiy. That lets us know what he went to Tennessee State and he said he spend plenty of time there in his youth.

It was fun watching that guy using his beside manner in getting these voters ready for their time at the polls, especially if the wait was better than maybe one or two hours in the morning.

An incident happened as me and a partner were at the polls on Election Day. Some election officials from Fulton County dropped by to tell us, even though we weren't campaigning or other wise connected to any political candidates that we were too close to the polls. To be on the safe side we were told to move away at least 125 ft. That put a dent in the original plans which were to get every third black voter to take this survey.

The poll worker with the beside manner and drove an old VW Beatle told us that those individuals from Fulton County were just busy bodies trying to justify their jobs. He told a story how they actually measure the distance from the polling place to whatever place campaign signs were supposed to be.

Another guy was a black radical from way back. He said he used to be a Black Panther, these days he's a member of the NAACP. He talked about how no one messed with them because back in the 1960s and 70s blacks were more organized while blacks aren't much organized now. He helped us out immensly as we continued our exit polling work.

He gave us another story in this lil incident. He said it was politics with Atlanta being a city in Georgia and Georgia not being a home rule state, meaning that Atlanta isn't totally free to govern its own affairs. Thus Fulton County can intervene or even the State of Georgia can interfer. Indeed this man said that Georgia is under both a Republican Governor and a Secretary of State who sent in people from Fulton County to make trouble for Atlanta election officials.

Indeed the man said the Secretary of State also was a commissioner in Fulton County and this person may certainly still have some contacts in the County to be able to make trouble for city election officials especially in the precincts. He gave us a brief run down especially with the lady in charge in this precinct saying that voter knows who she is, but it might serve someone to cause some trouble and find a way to get the workers in the precinct in trouble even if it's relatively minor.

This guy may not have looked educated but he's had masters and law degrees. He often referred to the institute we were doing these surveys for. He knows the man who it was named for, a former Morehouse College Political Science professor. He never indicated that he went to Morehouse however.

We did meet two Morehouse alum one of whom was an actual student of this professor. He was class of 1970 and a minister at a church in Atlanta. I almost talked to him like he was young, but he let me know that we're peers. Well that felt great, perhaps that's the brotherhood that Morehouse is advertised as having.

Later this day I had switched partners and met another graduate. He and his wife were handing out snacks to voters at this precinct. I asked if he was from any political organization and he said that he works for another Morehouse alum who has a seat on the Atlanta City Council. They come by with snacks for "moral support" of the people who came by this precinct to vote.

There was another guy who dropped by to talk to us. I thought he was especially nosey and he was in the mood to talk about people and he especially homed in on me. The other young man I was with at this time has a much more fresher and cleaner look than I did at the moment. He easily deduced that I was a senior and he is correct about that, but all that other stuff he was talking about well, I could say he was full of it.

TMI, on some of the young ladies who dropped by. He liked eye candy he said and said that one young lady who walked into the polling place was too old but she was f*ckable. He also mentioned that he was working on getting his stimulus money. He also said he was a computer science major, but currently unemployed and he was 49. He still goes to his mom's home to pick the refrigerator.

It took awhile for him to just leave the polling place, but needless to say although he might have homed in on me and negatively me and my partner found ourselves talkin about him ourselves. With us agreeing that he's 49 years old and a computer science major, but has little to show for it. I also deduced that I know why, his mouth's too big!

Anyway this guy was a big character on this day. Although who knows his ability at being a character probably might have hurt him with me and perhaps with my "friend" for the day as well. Still this was an interesting day I had on a very history Election Day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Defender's Obama front page

This was provided by the Chicago Defender via e-mail.

Barriers Broken?

A piece by the man behind LewRockwell.com himself...
Of course, the Obama victory elicits its own spin, which is also highly dangerous. The main message concerns race. All the headlines blared that a racial barrier had been broken. The subtext here is impossible to miss: heretofore America has been a hopelessly racist country that put up barriers to the advance of people of color.

But why should politics be the standard for what constitutes a barrier or a barrier broken? The ability of individuals in a group to navigate the murky and treacherous waters of electoral politics has no necessary connection to the status of the group as a whole.

A much better indicator concerning the status of any group – racial, religious, sexual, or otherwise – is commerce, which is the real engine that makes society work. And here we see that there are no such barriers in existence. We need only look at the status of black-owned businesses to see that there are more than one million in the United States, generating revenue of some $89 billion per year, which is more than the GDP of 140 countries around the world, and growing (according to most recent data) at a faster pace than all businesses.
Like I keep saying I'm trying to keep this into perspective. I don't want to be like some blacks who are still at this moment besides themselves because America elected a Black President. At the same time will Obama's ascension be a catalyst for blacks moving up in the world?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Exit polling on Election Day

Unfortunately I don't know what the findings are. When I finally got back to campus that night I gave the data to one of the professors in the Political Science Department and then I headed towards my room to chill and then I took a shower before I went to Douglass Hall to check out this Election Watch Party.

An interesting day with a hodgepodge of people going to vote. Yeah they were mostly elderly but a few younger people voted. Ran into some Spelman alumni there to vote on this day. I also ran into some Morehouse College alumni as well.

Also a member of the New Black Panther Party dropped by. I'm not sure he voted, but he was there pointed out by an older guy who claimed he was a member of the original Black Panthers, he currently works for the NAACP as a poll watcher at this precinct. He told me a lot of stuff after some election officials dropped by to let us know that we were too close to the precinct.

We had to move out a little unfortunately it was difficult for us to do what we were tasked because we were supposed to get a random sampling of voters. That means that we should get at least every third person but we can't get every third person if we couldn't come up on the people.

We did find away around that although by the time I had thought of this it was a little late. And there wasn't a late rush at all by the evening. It was a good plan though to have one of us stand back while the other would tell people about the exit poll survey. It was also a good idea by one of us to have some of the essays to have some of the voters complete. Although near the end no one came out towards me and there was never a late rush.

I also want to say that the neighborhood we were in seemed very country. It was a city neighborhood, but it was quite hilly and there were some nice looking single family homes around. The neighborhood was generally quiet except for a home that had the music blaring, although the music was usually jazz playing.

This neighborhood seemed almost like a suburban neighborhood or I could consider it county especially since well I didn't see a lot of street lights. While I'm sure they were there this polling place where I spent most of the day well the only illumination was from this park where the polling place sat.

On the way back to school I forgot to note if there were streetlight even though it was dark on the ride back. I don't recall the streets in this neighborhood as being particularly dark. But my day was interesting and I look forward to telling you about some of the characters I have seen on this day.

No He Can't

This morning here's a commentary from LewRockwell.com about the election of Sen. Barack Obama as President of the United States:
Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul’s name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival – all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn’t look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration – political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

I would have to believe that "fairness" is equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.
Well I'm trying not to predict the future as I didn't predict Obama's election. That's not to say I wasn't surprised that he would win this one. I just didn't anticipate that he'd lock up the nomination, although to be sure I'm glad it was him instead of Hillary Clinton. I really didn't think he'd give McCain a good beating in the Electoral College.

Like I've said this was a tough election for me because most of the candidates in this election weren't people I wanted to vote for. I should have done what this lady did and what a guy said he did in another class and voted for Ron Paul as a write-in. All the same the only thing that I did was observe the overwhelming emotions that befell Morehouse because of Obama's win.

In my mind I can't just vote a black man for President, but I would like to try to vote for a man who I believe will do the best job. Everybody's standards are different on that so if the most qualified man or woman to me actually gets elected then I suppose I've done my job. If not then hey this person has four years to earn my vote assuming no one else comes along.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Announcing!

In addition to posting not only here, but at The Sixth Ward and being an author at Illinoize although I don't post there as frequently I also blog at the new Gaper's Block politics blog, Mechanics. Join me there!

I just posted about an Alderman getting a silly ban on ice cream trucks without as much as anything resembling an investigation.

Barack Obama wins the presidency

And McCain takes the shellacking of his life!

Well neither one was really my candidate and unfortunately the reasons for voting for either one was entirely varied. For some it was the lesser of two evils, for others it was experience, and for some still it was the race factor. Or perhaps for others still they like one candidate more than the other.

Whatever your reason Obama has won it. Some look at it with a sense of dread, but it has nothing to do with Obama's race. It certainly might have more to do with his background or uncertainty about an Obama presidency and what he might do. Indeed he has offered some hints and has caused speculation from the paranoid to the supporter.

I'm uncertain. I told you last night that the schools of the Atlanta University Center was overwhelmed last night. I got caught up in it because I with some guys banging on a drum telling the world that Obama has done it and offered a prayer for him and his family.

I think the next four years will likely be interesting. His race will have nothing to do with it for me. If he's a sucess or a disappointment his race will have nothing to do with it. At least it shouldn't! The sucess or failure of his presidency will be on his. Perhaps the first step was the selection of Joe Biden. Don't forget about my post on VP candidates from the summer.

For those who may read this blog on the right-wing. I feel your pain, but there has to be some redefinition. Somehow you have to get the younger folks to vote for you. Would this race be different if you had a Ron Paul running against Barack Obama? Could Congressman Paul have excited the conservative base?

Also is Obama's election as President a sign that America has rejected big government Republicanism? I saw that in an e-mail this morning. Some will say that Bush's "War on Terror" and his expansion of government certainly didn't help Republicans and is probably one reason why the Congress isn't controlled by the Republicans. Because the Republican Congress failed to stop Bush!

I want to harp on Change also. What is this change? OK Obama represents change as he's of a new generation, but then what? Someof what he said isn't much different than what any other Democratic pol has said over the years. I would guess that it will be more of the same even if Obama proves himself to be a pragmatist. In fact let me point you this rather sarcastic post at the Broken Heart of Roger's Park.

People hope for all these wonderful things and Obama is offering the world to a lot of people. I'm not sure he'll deliver but people will eat it up anyway. He has charisma and while charisma does only go so far it might catch him quite a few breaks in the next four years.

The future is NOW. Let's see what happens. Whatever happens we can start preparing for the next few years. Perhaps the opposition will retool or Obama will prove himself an able President. So much anticipation and so much things to do from here on out! Where do we begin?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

From yes we can...to...yes we did...

I was out with some guys in my dorm. They effectively changed the slogan from yes we can to yes we did. Well that's new.

I pulled out my camcorder to capture as much of the festivities as possible. I cursed and yelled more than usual got more exciteable with the ladies. Even told a girl that as a sagittarius I liked cute sagittarius girls.

I might show it perhaps here or the grandkids we'll see. I don't feel like doing any editing. Windows Movie Maker is cheap and Sony Vegas is difficult to learn for me.

I'll be back in the morning. This is just a rare midnight post!

I've been out all day

I got material for maybe two or three posts for later. I took some mobile pics of my day over at The Beta. Interesting day and probably as interesting as the one day I was an elections judge at a neighborhood precinct in Chicago. Stay tuned for those posts. I'll just have to get to it before I forget everything.

SALUT!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Blacks' dreams will come true. Then what?

This morning's Laura Washington column from the Sun-Times.
'This is a time that even folks of my generation have never seen before," says Timuel Black.
Black has seen many a lifetime from his lifelong perch on Chicago's South Side. The revered scholar, historian, political activist and grass-roots intellectual turns 90 on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day. He was born and raised in Bronzeville, the historic and iconic heart of black Chicago.

He is my most reliable barometer of what thoughtful African Americans are saying. I caught up with by phone last week. He had just returned home after voting early for You Know Who.

So what will black folks be thinking as Sen. Barack Obama seals the deal -- to become America's first black president?

Black -- and every African American he knows -- desperately wants Obama to win. "Barack is the best that America has to offer," he says.

He notes that the senator's saga -- born and bred in Hawaii and Indonesia, schooled in the Ivy League, a life of relative privilege -- is not shared by the preponderance of American blacks. "He has a different experience."

Indeed. Blacks must tamp down their sky-high expectations. Obama is running to become president of the world. We must learn to share.

By necessity, he has run a post-racial campaign. "To be a good president, you first have to be president," said Black, professor emeritus of social sciences at the City Colleges of Chicago. "I am not being derogatory, but explanatory."
Check out the conclusion:
African Americans -- and a lot of other people -- better hunker down for some disappointment. Their hero is already getting fitted for the economic and political straitjacket he'll wear for the next four years. The Middle East wars will rage on and that shiny piggy bank known as the U.S. Treasury will be busted. As black folks always say, when they let us take over, you know things are pretty dire.

One thing Obama has going for him: He will look stupendous compared with the current occupant of the White House. Incompetent predecessors present propitious opportunities.

So how will he govern? Turn on the tube and watch the conservative pundits sniff: It goes something like "America is a center-right nation, but Obama will surely govern from the left." He will inevitably overreach and fail, they cackle. They are gleefully awaiting the fall.


I've always said this. I haven't always rooted for him but I think he might have made it easier for any future Black candidate for President of the United States to ascend to not only a major party nomination, but also to the Presidency itself. I'm still not sold on if he is the one, but that's one way I try to look at it.

And I wonder what these sky-high expectations are? Over a year ago a friend of mine and I said that perhaps it's not good politics to stick it to "whitey". That's what some Blacks are oriented towards have this overwhelming since of righteousness while at the same time expecting them to bow down is unreasonable.

Also it might be unreasonable for Obama to govern as if he's the President of Black America. The Presidency of the United States has a much more broader constituency. Always has I doubt that all citizens in the history of this nation was only White Anglo Saxon Protestants.

I'm sure the sky-high expectations will draw many different ideas. What might you think?

CNN Shocked Black Men Not Voting Obama

Three black men were interviewed on CNN. Apparently these men won't be voting for Barack Obama. They must not want to vote for a man because he's black. I suppose that is their perogative and it's mine as well.

I've had difficulty with this election. I wasn't sure who I'd vote for. Obama has some postive things going for him in this election. Especially a sunny disposition and charisma that draws people to him.

For me that's not enough. There just has to be more to the man than the fact that he looks good and he sounds good. Of course there's a lot more to Obama than the fact that he's a man of color.

I prefer calling him that because personally and he admits this he isn't defined by the Black community. He may have been of the community that is he's active in the community especially as a community organizer. Still his ancestry will not connect him to most Blacks. He's more African than any black person you might see in the streets wearing African clothes and probably wouldn't know the difference between Ghana and Nigeria on a map. Or even the difference between Ethiopia and South Africa. Just compare different nations on the continent and you'd get the idea.

Any case I will not vote for Obama because I want to see a black President. I wanted to vote for the best man for the job. I don't think Obama is the best man but honestly neither is John McCain. I base this somewhat on my worldview. Yeah I can be described as somewhat conservative on some issues, especially taxes and I would like a more limited government. In fact, in that vein, I prefer to call myself a "classical liberal".

Obama isn't going to offer that. His tax plan is too good to be true. In fact I saw an article today about how that threshold for who he's tax and not tax it seems to change. In addition it's something that's been said for years. Plenty of politicians on the left especially want to get those rich people to pay their fair share although there might not be much agreement on what that fair share should be.

This election might be an illustration of the same tired rhetoric that we've heard for who knows how long. Obama might be a new face on the scene, but he's not saying anything much different than anybody else. Honestly neither is McCain.

It's great to know about tax cuts and that he'll be tough on America's enemies (especially terrorist) but he's not offering anything incredibly radical. Some might allege that Obama will offer full-blown socialism while McCain might choose baby steps towards socialism. Whatever is said neither candidate has honestly floated my boat.

There are some issues that need fixing in this great nation. Does anyone have faith that the current crop will be able to fix them? I'm not sure I do, but they must be fixed. Of course there isn't a right or wrong way to solve problems, but I know what I'd like to see.

That being said I wonder if I should either dread or look forward to this election. The future is here! Can't be scared because the events will proceed anyway. We didn't know what would happen with Bush in 2000 or after 9/11, but we survived.

America can survive an Obama presidency as easily as we'll survive a McCain's. All the same I'm not too thrilled at the prospects of either, yeah I voted but I wasn't excited. I was more excited about a constitutional convention in Illinois.

I can only hope that during the next four years a new generation of leadership will come into American politics at whatever level they are able with the idea that they can break from the past and then bring in new and fresh ideas. Right now it is needed more than ever. What has worked during the 20th century or even this first decade of the 21st isn't entirely ideal.

Perhaps Obama will spawn some new leaders. Perhaps McCain will do the same. I want to look right at those people who supported Ron Paul the truly breakout candidate of the 2008 election. Although Ron Paul didn't make it in this campaign to even be close to contention he had a decent following and I sincerely hope someone out there will be willing to take his place. Besides he's no spring chicken unfortunately.

My last words on this subject is bring on this undiscovered country. Perhaps something good will come out of this afterall!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Should You Live in a Red State or a Blue State?



You Should Live in a Purple State




Your preferences are 35% Blue, 65% Red

You may not be a swing voter, but you feel comfortable around moderate people.



You tend to do best in states with a red and blue mix - like Nevada and North Carolina.

You are adaptable. You can converse with a church crowd as easily as with grad students.

Purely for fun!

VloMo08 began yesterday

I just saw this video from Ryanne's Video Blog. She was in Florida petting cows and it's interesting because I never thought of cows as pettable. Almost like an overgrown pet although I never think of cows that way because of their general function. It doesn't need to be said.

Anyway I look forward to this month. Let's see what other video blogs are participating this month.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What If It Had Been More Than an Infomercial?

Pajama's Media on this informercial Obama aired earlier this week. Unfortunately I didn't get to watch but I hope I can find out there on the world-wide-web.
Americans know that they themselves can do better, that they can be better citizens. I hear it as I talk to people throughout the nation. Most would grade themselves a “B” in terms of citizenship, if that. They’re waiting for an invitation to step up, and many observers see Obama’s candidacy as just such an opportunity.

But he played it safe, sticking to the well-worn talking points and really, it seems, just hoping to make his points through repetition. I guess it is hard to fault someone in Sen. Obama’s position for steering a course that minimizes mistakes. After all, he’s trying to close the deal, and that’s a job not yet done.

But imagine if Sen. Obama’s campaign had instead seen these thirty minutes as an opportunity — not for his own campaign, but for the American people. He might have taken a different tack.
...
Or, maybe, he might have spent the time weighing the relative merits of his and his opponent’s world views. He might have asked a co-host to present opposing views not in a demonic way, but with their best feet forward. After all, Sen. McCain is a serious person and his proposals are worth taking seriously. Why not examine them at their best, and explain why notwithstanding their good points, Obama would go in another direction? And why not point out the downsides of Obama’s own proposals — for everyone knows that there are upsides and downsides. This would just be leveling with the American people and telling them what they already know in their gut: there is no silver bullet and no one answer is undeniably the right one. This could have been a moment when the American electorate were finally being treated as the grown-ups they are.

Instead, Sen. Obama’s campaign chose to sell us a grill and a set of knives. It probably did his campaign good and it’s unlikely that it hurt.

But it could have been so much more.
I have to see the informercial before I can truly judge. Read the whole thing!

Here's the informercial itself...