Friday, June 27, 2008

What is your accent?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

what do you know? How do I explain this?? Hmm.. I was born and raised in the Netherlands where I was taught ([tawt]) British english, hence my spelling. Then I emigrated to Canada (Ottawa) where they speak pretty well 'clear' english, not too 'slangy' or anything and after that I've lived pretty well in the southern part of the US. I can do my little 'ya'll' singing, lilt, whatever you'd call it but on the whole.. if anything, esPECially when I'm tired, people can detect my Dutch accent..somewhat.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sweet, George W. Bush the Sewage Plant?

Oh the jokes they could tell on the tour!

"San Francisco is to hold a vote on whether to rename one of its largest sewage treatment facilities after George W. Bush, in what supporters describe as “a fitting monument to the President’s work”. "

How would that be for a 'Up Yours'? More here.

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Black Adder's visiting puritan aunt and uncle..

When words or inspiration fails me, I go for an uplifting piece of British humour.
Note that the puritan aunt plays Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter series.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dobson; Get that Man off the Air!

OK, I know it is not going to happen but other than his own radio show, any other media outlet should not give this man and his views the time of day solely for having something to print or air. This is what Reverend Barry Lynn, from Americans United for Separation of Church and State has this to say about him:

“Dobson is an extremist who wants the government to impose his fundamentalist viewpoint. He simply cannot accept the fact that America is a diverse nation that welcomes people of all faiths and none. His tirade today is deplorable and probably the most insensitive of his career."

“It is ironic that Dobson is holding himself out as some sort of authority on constitutional law and theology,” Lynn continued. “He is not a theologian or an attorney, and his lack of knowledge about those fields really shows."

Barry Lynn is not only the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, but an ordained minister who later on became an attorney. He's put the two at good use. His book Piety and Politics; The Right Wing Assault on Religious Freedom is a great read and actually alerted me to his organization.

Are you fed up with religious intolerants? You'll need to learn a bit about the religious rights' attempt to erode that separation of church and state.

Check out the AU's research on religious right's organizations and their 'who's who' and what's what.

Anything fundamental in this 21st century is an abomination as far as I'm concerned and I have no use for ignoramuses(-ci??[g])being given any form of acknowledgment of their existence.

Fundamentalism, it is often said, is taking religion too seriously. The answer, in this view, is to take it less seriously. That conventional wisdom is wrong. The best response to fundamentalism is to take faith more seriously than fundamentalism sometimes does. The best response is to critique by faith the accommodations of fundamentalism to theocracy and violence and power and to assert the vital religious commitments that fundamentalists often leave out-namely compassion, social justice, peacemaking, religious pluralism, and I would say democracy as a religious commitment. - Jim Wallis

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama disillusionists; Come Join Us Independents!

Yes, do, come and join us. See, we know ALL about being disillusioned. Disappointmentment. Not to mention the harassment you get from 'those' who do not like your candidate well, you guys just went through the ringer with that one too the last half year haven't you?

But.. what IS required for joining is the following; (and since we're Independently-minded, we REALLY do not like the small print so here is it to you straight)


First off, you're not allowed to feel sorry for yourself. I know I know, it's a biggie and it's tough 'cause you've been getting together online, angry and upset at your Knight in Shining Armour..misery loves company. But.. it takes thick skin to be working on changing the political landscape. I mean, have you tried talking to people about electoral and campaign reform to anyone? Did not think so.

Secondly, becoming an Independent requires a shift in the brain. You'll be discussing/working together with a slew of people who call themselves Independents but trust me, sometimes they think totally opposite of you. And yet you pursue the same goals (electoral reform, breaking up that two party system, yadda yadda yadda). Democrats, Republicans, 'Unknowns', all together at one table? I know Obama thinks he can be a President encouraging bipartisanship but if you've never tried it, or you remain bitter about those 8yrs we've had to endure..cha.. just think of it as good practice.

borrowed from Reclaim Democracy

Thirdly.. did I mention you'd be in it for the long haul? Now of course, if enough Democrats mozy over our direction, we'd have more people out on the street and whereever we'd try to actually make some changes so who knows.. the long haul might actually get shortened.

Fourthly, do expect a rude wake up call. Seriously. I mean, have you ever thought about how you treated your local Nader supporter asking you for getting his name on the ballot?? hmm?? We still remember California (nasty asses, sheesh)

Lastly, even though we are a band of Independently run organizations, we do have 'some' clout in the election. Swing voters they call us but I personally do not like that term. We're no 'swingers' but try to support politicians at state and national level who come closest to our leanings and if in luck, our pursuits. (electoral and campaign reform, you'll get tired of that subject but it's an important one)

So what does this 'clout' mean for this election? Well, speaking for Independent Texans, that means we do support Obama. (isn't it ironic, I'm sure you see the humour in this but stay with me on this one)

See, we off all voters understand that there is no perfect solution with only two candidates who have to somehow appeal to a mix of left or rightwing voters.

You'll see that that mix at any given table can still cause some pretty passionate and sometimes angry discussions but.. you're still either on the left, or the right so what can you do? Ahaa! Well that's the beauty of it all;

You become Independent, still supporting and voting for Obama BUT..sending a big message to the Democratic Party (most people seem to really be annoyed with Pelosi so here's your chance..); listen to us more closely or we won't return to the fold.

Call their bluff. And take some distance from it all while helping us Independents out at the same time. You go back no problem, you go back. Hopefully we all will be a bit closer if not really close to all our goals; being heard and yes, yes..electoral and campaign reform!!

Check out some Independent blogs and links.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back from camp..

Bald Cypress getting its toes wet in the Guadalupe river, near the camp

My oldest (10yr) was away at camp all last week. We picked him up yesterday from kinda the middle of nowhere (ok, Sisterdale is not 'nowhere' but it is off the beaten track). The location was on his teacher's private property, 1 1/2 hours from Austin and 1 1/2 hours from San Antonio. The neat thing about this camp was not just the environment, but the fact that they were studying 'origins' all week. Lead by a professor of Philosophy who taught them about Euclid this past school year and Euclidian geometry, they studied all kinds of creation myths. When you think of creation myths, we in the Western world are pretty much stuck with the Christian (fundamentalist/literalist) version of creation. What a concept to think that other 'people' (i.e. cultures) have (had) their own version of events.

ewwwww! COOL!

The parents were given the reader so they could read along at home with everyday's reading and discussion materials. It definitely would have been threatened material for most Christians, ok, fundamentalists. There seem to be so many these days but hopefully that's a wrong perception. Even the most intelligent 'believer' seems to somehow struggle with the Biblical notion of creation and not quite know how to think about it. From my exposure/experience, a lot of them just gloss over it as it's "the Old Testament" anyway.

For those, I would recommend dr. Rocco Errico's writings as he has studied in depth with George Lhamza and knows (how) to bring the Bible into context. Oversimplified explanation; the bible is full of allegories as the 'eastern culture' used that to teach morals, through stories. He also explains bible passages by looking at the cultures of its time and the psychology of the people. Really, when you read (or hear) about that, I think you can see it as 'just another' creation story. People have psychologically had the need to explain the Origins of life; frame behaviour or expected/considered 'just' behaviour so in that light, the Old Testament if anything is to me, an account of a people that's just been lucky to have stuck around.

Poseidon, the camp's mascot. Naturally allowed to hop away at any given time.

Consider the following creation myths;
myths using the parent-child relationship model, parents giving life to the children -
Hesiod's Theogony

myths using the 'problem parents' model;

Enuma Elish (ancient Babylonian poem)

Then it evolved to delving into which philosophers started to look for rationale explanations of 'the cosmos' and the philosophic outlook of where it all began to into a long timeline (since our origin is considered to have started 15 billion years ago) starting with the 'flaring forth'. They discussed the origins through philosophy (plato) and science (A Brain for All Season: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change). They went through thought experiences, learned about the (briefly) timeline of human evolution. They were taught to examine, compare, experience and reflect. Thinking skills, what a concept.

Dirk, playing around with the digital camera I lent him.

They did look into the old testament creation story, as the Quiche Maya story as the Bushongo story from Africa. I wished I could've been there myself to read and discuss and explore.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


..magazines are you subscribed to? We have gotten our subscriptions through frequent flyer points;

Sunset magazine (great ideas for gardening even if you are in a different 'zone', recipes always interesting)

Wired(love it)

American Scientific(creation schmeation)

Austin Runner (not through the mileage points, published through Runtex, Austin's famous runners' shoe store)


Randy Pausch, inspiration for the taking..

Randy Pausch, who's "Last lecture" has been a great hit worldwide and on the world wide web. I finally took the time to watch this in full yesterday. It's an hour and 16 minutes. Not only was he inspirational, he was quite a great professor. I am saying 'was' because I am assuming that he is too sick to work. He is still alive and fighting his cancer. For an update on Randy, see below his update page..

I wish him well.

Randy Pausch Update Page

You can also read his book, The Last Lecture that was co-authored by Jeffrey Zaslow. Jeffrey interviewed Randy over the phone while Randy went on his bike rides so that he would not take any time away from his family.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Pirates of Penzance in Austin TX

This is obviously NOT from the Gilbert and Sullivan Society here in Austin but since they don't have anything out on video, I'd give you a taste of the 'Modern Major General'.

This summer's production is the Pirates of Penzance. Last night I volunteered as usher (am about to nap, I got to bed late and my brain is affected with not enough sleep) and this Saturday I will do the same. The fun part is that everybody has a day job but loves to do this anyway. How often do people want to pursue something in entertainment but solely want the recognition and attention? I am a big supporter of amateur theater of any kind. To me, those are the people who are truly committed and are in it for the sake of 'the art', nothing else.

Thursday June 19th 8pm Preview
Friday June 20th 8pm Opening Night Gala
Saturday June 21st 3pm Matinee
8pm Evening Performance
Sunday June 22nd 3pm Matinee
Children's Activities | 2pm
Thursday June 26th 8pm Evening Performance
Friday June 27th 8pm Evening Performance
Saturday June 28th 3pm Matinee
Children's Activities | 2pm
8pm Evening Performance
Sunday June 29th 3pm Closing Performance (buy tickets online)

My plug for the weekend, have a good one.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jon Swift: The Russert Rule

Jon Swift: The Russert Rule

This piece (post) alone makes him weblog award winner of 2008.. after reading a great post (such as this one), I always have the desire to improve my writing (skills).. no matter.. I still have 'momnesia' (scientists recently found out what us moms have known for centuries..well, not the old rich, they had their hand maidens..

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

For Christopher..

Since Christopher posted this British Heinz commercial (see here).. and a certain commentary ensued.. I wanted to show him this one..

I still remember my uncle (who since has passed away) singing along with an English song having NOOO idea what the words meant..

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The Fear of Hope - oh the smears...

yes yes...

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Jon Stewart on California's Gay marriage

Tonight's Moon Illusion

Source via the Angry Astronomer

Tonight, the moon will seem especially large;

"The moon illusion, as it's known, is a trick in our minds that makes the moon seem bigger when it's near the horizon. The effect is most pronounced at full moon."


"The reason, according to NASA, lies in lunar mechanics: The sun and full moon are like kids on a see-saw; when one is high, the other is low. This week's high solstice sun gives us a low, horizon-hugging moon and a strong, long-lasting version of the illusion."

source; Philip Plait, Bad Astronomy

Read Robert Roy Britt's full story at
Check your local moon and sun settings at the US Naval observatory site


Monday, June 16, 2008

Join the Fight The Smears Campaign Blogroll..

Mash, from Docstrangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying) is ready for the upcoming smears and ugly campaign tactics that the McCain supporters and campaign will put out there. The Fight The Smears Campaign blogroll will actively seek to counter all the inundos, smears, out-and-out lies, and other ugliness that seems to have become an accepted lowest common denominator amongst voters and campaigning politicians alike.

Well, no more. Increasingly, voters have and are turning to the internet to investigate if something is true or not. It should become more difficult to 'drop' something into the blogosphere in the hopes for it to grow and spread and stick in people's minds.. WE, the People, have the power to undo all of that. Fight The Smears was started up by the Barack Obama campaign but Mash decided to up the ante.

Join Mash's Fight The Smears Campaign Blogroll and actively seek out to undermine all those supposed bombshells that the GOP will seek to detonate;

This is from Mash's post:

(Today) I am launching the "Fight The Smears" Blogroll. If you have your own blog, I urge you to join us and become part of the blogroll. By doing so, you will be helping spread the truth about Barack Obama while helping push the smears into Google search oblivion. As more people join the Blogroll and add the blogroll to their blogs the more prominent the blogroll will become. So join and do your part in stopping the smears.

To join this blogroll, follow these easy steps:

Write a post on your own blog about fighting smears (much like this one) with an invitation to join this blogroll.
Leave a comment on this post with the URL to your post or send me the URL to the post via my contact page. I will add a link to your post on the blogroll.

Sit back and watch the blogroll grow and the smears disappear from search results.
The "Fight The Smears" website currently debunks the following smears:

Michelle Obama Says “Whitey” On a Tape
Barack Obama’s birth certificate
Barack Obama is a Muslim
Obama’s Books Contain Racially Incendiary Remarks
Barack Obama Won’t Say The Pledge of Allegiance/Won’t Put His Hand Over His Heart

I'm joining up. Are you? Go to Mash's site to copy the code! (I had it up here but it turned into the actual list. I am not that html-savvy to figure out how else to put the code up here since I added the code to my sidebar already!!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Year At Danger

Seen last night as an encore at the Austin Film Society festival.

"For operations in Iraq, the National Guard mobilized teachers, police officers, bankers, mechanics… and one filmmaker.

Nine days after getting married, Steve Metze found out he was being deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Metze, a West Point graduate, Desert Storm veteran, and documentary filmmaker, decided to pack a camera and document his year in Iraq.

Metze gets closer to his subjects than even the most embedded reporter, and is able to use his eye for filmmaking to bring back more than simple home movies. The resulting film is an objective look at the lives of National Guard soldiers. There are no politics on the front line, only personalities and Metze captures all of them in a film that combines humor with the, often grim, realities of a war-torn country and the brave soldiers who live there.

Year at Danger is a soldier’s story, told by the soldier. No bias, no headlines, just the day-to-day reality of life in Iraq."

Steven Metze, the filmmaker/National Guard member (I forgot his rank I'll post that when he/Steve emails me back) who documented his stay in Iraq is a student of my friend Chris, an English professor who teaches all manner of writing. She had mentioned him to me before as I have been wanting to set up a (support) retreat for Veterans with combat-related PTSD. She figured he'd be a great source for me and after seeing his documentary, I feel I've glimpsed a bit of what that 'resource' contains of.

My friend Chris. She went to Bosnia in the '90s to teach an English class to American military through the University of Maryland. She had to go through basic training like everyone else. Now, some 15yrs (plus) later, this Fall, she'll be doing the same but going to Afghanistan next. She's preparing for two classes; "writing a war memoir" and a "class on the Afghan culture". She's awesome. I'm counting on her doing workshops for veterans when she returns. Safely! In one piece!

This documentary was truly excellent (and have I ever mentioned my screenwriting workshops and documentary film making workshop background..I've seen PLENTY of documentaries)as it was both personal, poignant, heartbreaking and hilarious all in one but not necessarily all at once. The people who spoke on camera became so familiar that this morning I found myself wondering whatever happened to some of them. For me, it had moments of recognition. Having lived in Saudi Arabia for a few years (back in the 90s), I could relate to; searing temperatures (enigma,remember the bangladeshi street sweeper story??) in this case waaay over 50C/122F; an Iraqi teenager harking somewhat off-camera (ah the sounds and smells of another country), so recognizable when I lived in Saudi (better out then in I say); and the settting. Desert, sandy and square white houses/buildings, kinda desolate looking. Of course in Saudi there were the posh areas with lots of vegetation (definitely not native plants) and some houses coloured pink.

I digress. In the trailer you'll see Zachary Scott-Singley who's an Arabic translator, coopted by the military. As Steve documents his stay by way of film making, Zachary documents his experiences by way of blogging. Trying and finding him online today I realized I once visited him a year or so again. Here is the actual post that you see him reading a snippet of in the trailer excerpt: Lesson Learned.

Zachary Scott-Singley

Then there are the regulars who's names I totally do not remember (or their ranks!) but I can 'see' their faces. I remember the chaplain who, inspite of his smiling and joking, is obviously deeply affected by all what he has witnessed. (traveling 20 days out of the 30 to the different F.O.B.'s (forward operating base)) At one point, he gets called back to the States. I really wonder how he is now too. A future candidate for my hopefully future retreat perhaps?
I got definitely pulled into everyone's story. But I also realized, that there are many many paralel stories to theirs going on right now in Iraq. At least it won't be at FOB Danger.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

McCain's legendary temper

Amazingly enough, after all those years, McCain finally got the nomination to run for President. Is there a collective amnesia going on within and outside of the Republican party? There are some idiots that seem to think that it's good to have a war president that is not afraid to butt heads (see one of the commentary of the article in CCM), but all in all, most people do not like someone losing their cool for whatever perceived slight. Considering that the College Conservative Movement made a list of his outbursts should tell 'you' and him something as well.

That said, it could bode well for the Democrats. Someone who can give it but not take it will lose it under pressure and most importantly, during a televised debate. Barack Obama has kept his cool (except for one time but I don't recall exactly with which incident, remind me pls) under the most GOP-worthy savagery from the Clinton campaign. He kept distinguishing himself by not giving in and continuing to take the high road, the last notable one during his victory speech . McCain on the other hand better have some good handlers because I suspect he will let it rip sooner or later in public. This man apparently has gotten a free pass all these years and to be this immature at his age is indicative that his 'getting older and wiser' has come and gone.

I keep saying that if the Republicans had chosen a nominee who would embody the same high road principles that have made Obama stand out, they would have really chosen a candidate that would have differentiated him (her?) self from the Bush administration. And gotten a few Democratic voters in the process. People are tired of politicians behaving badly. Is the GOP so out of touch and focussed on power taht they cannot see or accept a trend when there is one? It must have been slim pickins' because somehow McCain resurfaced and finally got the nod of approval he apparently so craved(s). The other candidates were not too memorable and perhaps with Obama being young and obviously being able to reach out to young(er) voters, the GOP will rethink their strategy. This McCain campaign already has the markings of a patronizing 'we/I know better' routine, and quite frankly, I'm 'already' 44 and I get annoyed by that. (read about McCain's infamous speech)

If we get more of these types of reactions from McCain, I think we needn't worry come November;

It's well known that McCain has a temper. He is commonly despised by people he works with. But I don't agree with Kevin here that this is just an intemperate blast that shows he's too hot-headed to be president (although he certainly is.) It is to establish his dominance on military issues and the war. As much as he's a mean man for real, he is also a ruthless politician who is positioning himself as the older Alpha Dog against the "disrespectful" upstart. This is some primitive stuff unfolding here.

McCain is also playing rather crudely into the developing theme that Obama isn't patriotic or quite a "real American." You would think that it would be ridiculous to claim such a thing when Obama is voting for a GI Bill and McCain isn't, but when you really look at what McCain does in his statement (you can read it in full, here) he goes out of his way to juxtapose his family's long history in the US military with claims about Obama only supporting veterans out of political convenience. It's really quite insidious.

I have no doubt that McCain really was pissed off.But this statement is also a political document, vetted by the campaign, and they aren't idiots. They released it for a reason. We all think this makes McCain look like a crazed hot head and that people will reject him for it. But keep in mind that this kind of thing also plays into McCain's carefully crafted persona of being a "straight shooter" who doesn't calculate his every word for public consumption. Losing his cool is part of what a lot of people like about him. They see it as a sign of authenticity.

It's a rather audacious shot across the bow to Obama, who came back with a measured and reasonable response:

Read the full article McCain Puts His Temper on Full Display with Anti-Obama Rant

And for the Mark Benjamin article; Military leaders concerned about McCain

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Denny Crane for President if McCain had Denny Crane to contend with, we might be up for a more interesting race. I'll be doing some research and reading for next week's posts so for the weekend, here is Denny.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Read Obama's speech and think..

what a gracious statesman and President he would be.

(Victory Speech from St.Paul Minnesota, Tuesday June 3rd, 2008)

"Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said - because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another - a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign - through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she's a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning - even in the face of tough odds - is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency - an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say - let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college - policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

And it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians - a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this - there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged. I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years - especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It's time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century - terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy - tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That's what the American people want. That's what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy - cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota - he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need.

Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future - an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for President.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon - that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment - this was the time - when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

(from The New Republic)
Pictures from Daily Life


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Walter Mossberg/Kate Swisher interview Rupert Murdoch

"Mr. Murdoch, did you have anything to do with the NY Times endorsing Obama in the Democratic Primary in New York?

"We're on the verge of a complete phenomenon," - "Politicians are at an all-time low and are despised by 80% of the public, and then you've got a candidate trying to put himself out above it all. He's become a rock star. It's fantastic."

"McCain has been in congress a long time and you've got to make too many compromise,"

"What does he really stand for? He's a patriot - he's a friend of mine and a really decent guy - but he's unpredictable.

"[He] doesn't know much about the economy and - I say this sympathetically - I think he has a lot of problems."

Hat tip to Kel at The Osterly Times for first writing about it.


Monday, June 02, 2008

The Osterley Times: Return of soldiers' remains greets release of Hizbullah spy#links#links

Kel is a super machine when it comes to writing his posts. Always, they are thoughtful, outspoken, and even though he's 'left' (that's an 'even though' for people who don't care for anything that side of middle line), he is fair and reasonable. In this post, he reminds us all to remember this young 18yr old kid, Gilad Shalit who has been abandoned by his government, and as Kel mentions, seems to have been removed from discourse. L

The Osterley Times: Return of soldiers' remains greets release of Hizbullah spy#links#links