A common concern: that the stadium appearance plays against Obama’s convention goal of lowering his star wattage and connecting with average Americans and that it gives Republicans a chance to drive home their message that the Democratic nominee is a narcissistic celebrity candidate.
“We already know he is a rock star, we already know he can bring 85,000 people together in a stadium. He has done it multiple times. He needs to talk to people who haven’t made up their minds yet,” said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.
“It’s likely that the campaign would do it differently if it had to do it again because the decision was made before the European trip,” said a senior Democratic elected officeholder who has worked closely with the Obama campaign. The GOP narrative of Obama as celebrity took root during that trip, where the Illinois senator played to large crowds of adoring Europeans.
One dude. And the McCain campaign. That’s who thoughtPlanet Awesome was a bad idea.
Now, that one dude needed to shut the everloving fuck UP, but seriously, one is “some democrats?” Maybe three … no, three would be “several” Democrats. Say five? Five named sources ranked higher than “photocopy git in Bob Casey’s office” and then you can say “some” Democrats. Can we get a number and/or level in the party at least from now on, please? What does “senior” really mean?
This is the problem with anonymous sources. I have very little doubt that some pussies in our party did in fact think that inviting 70,000 people to a party in your own honor was excessive. I’m having a hard time seeing it that way, but I can see where people not used to kicking ass for real would be freaked. Still, anytime you pull out the “some” you risk having paranoid hippies like me, having watched Politico roll over for every bit of spin McCain’s put out there, say to herself, “I wonder if this means they found two homeless dudes and one of their racquetball buddies and that’s who ‘some’ Democrats are.”
The unexpected disaster also offers the GOPa do-over on Bush’s disastrous response to Katrina three years ago. If the government can do a much better job of responding to a natural disaster this time around, it can only help the GOP.
It is different waiting and watching Gustav, than it was to do such three years ago with Katrina. Then I sort of knew one person in New Orleans. Now that one person is a dear, dear friend. In three years I have made many more friends. I know what they have been through the past 3 years. I know how hard they have fought to rebuild their homes and save their beloved city. It has been a long struggle in which they have been patient and brave and angry and determined and always still of good humor. Theare New Orleanians.Three years ago I didn’t know what that means. This time I do. And so I have a sick feeling in my stomach and a sadness in my heart knowing they must once again drive away from home, not knowing when they will return or what they will return to. To unbelievably have to face that terrible unknown, once again, all too soon.
Keep New Orleans and the people of New Orleans in your heart and thoughts and prayers and let’s hope…
As our friends in New Orleans face theexcruciating wait to see where Gustav will go, there is much talk of the possible political effects of Gustav hitting the Gulf Coast during the GOP Convention.Politico writes that it could “swamp” the GOP andthe NYT’s editorial board writes of possible “karmic payback” for the Republicans. Just as, much caution is advised in forecasting what Gustav will do, I would advise the same caution in predicting the possible political outcome. Because there is another political scenario far different from payback. It could be payoff.
One of the important lessons of Katrina was… don’t count on the feds. And the feds have been pointed and clear–you’re on your own for the first 72 hours. As a result the state of Louisiana and So. La. parishes know they are responsible for taking the lead for evacuations and have worked on their evacuation plans the past years. FEMA has a support role but the onus is onlocals:
These plans focus on two
things. First, it is
the responsibility of
each citizen to develop
their own individual and
family plans to evacuate
away from potential
hurricane damage and
sustain themselves for 3
days. Second, disaster
response starts at the
local level. The cities
and parishes along the
coast are the driving
force behind determining
what assets they have
and what assets they
need from the state to
protect their citizens.
Of course they must implement those plans andproblems will occur but I think given numerous changes we could see a rate of evacuation even better than the remarkable 90% for metro N.O. prior to Hurricane Katrina. If those plans go well (and I hope that is the case if it comes to that) it’s less likely that we would see the repeat of the terrible scenes (people awating rescue, food, water on rooftops,Interstate overpasses or shelters of last resort) as during Katrina.
If that occurs I predict we will see the mighty Wurlitzer spin faster than a Cat 5 hurricane. Bush, McCain and the GOP will work to spin this as their Redemptive Moment. They will claim credit for improvements as hard as they spun the blame last time on Democratic officials at the state and local levels. The credit would more rightly belong to the State, Parishes and citizens but that won’t be the story except in the case of the inevitable touting of a Republican Governor–Bobby Jindal. It will be said they delivered on the promise ofNever Again. “Karmic Payback” could turn to GOP Payoff.
My point is…forget the politics. There is not an upside or downside, to Payback or Payoff, worth the pain and misery that could be wrought upon our fellow Americans.
We need to remember what happened and hope and pray andact so it never happens again…(h/t for video to Toulouse St)
(Caveat: If the levees fail then it’s a different story. Hopefully that wouldn’t be ignored as it has these past 3 years.)
Realize that someone, whether they are your friends or not, is going to get hit. Realize that Jamaica and the surrounding islands are being torn up by Gustav as you read this, realize especially that Cuba is almost sure to suffer a devastating storm surge, no matter what. Realize that after that, Gustav will sit and recover, then keep on coming and wreak more damage, closer to home.
Realize thatright now is the time to make your online donations, buy groceries for the food bank shipment, look up who in your community is putting together the truckloads of clothing and food and water, and if no one is, then maybe you could start.
There isn’t going to be a horse race to cover, either in New York or San Diego, but we gave you the air waves for free 70 years ago and 357 days a year you can say who’s up and who’s down, who won the West and who lost the South but what’s wrong with 8 days, not every year but every 4 years, showing our leaders talking to us. Not a fraction of what they said but what they said. And then the balloons.
— Toby, The West Wing
The story all week is that there is no story. Why are we here? It’s a big, expensive, annoying (probably mostly so for Denver) spectacle devoid of any surprise or delight, not to mention redeeming value. We all should have just stayed home, sniff the networks that spent thousands of dollars to not only be here but build pavilions from which to report the complete lack of news. We should have just stayed home, mutter the people who wearied of the protests and protesters, of the speeches and songs, the silly hats and the sillier signs (seriously, Crystal Pepsi?).
But the story here is the story of speeches and songs, protests and protesters. It’s even the story of silly hats. We’ve had eight years in which we’ve been told to sit down and shut up, to fear one another and hate one another and never, ever ask why? We’ve had eight years in which we’ve been told that compassion is weakness, questioning is betrayal, and the urge to serve one’s country is due at best moderate contempt, and at most a stop-loss order and a long wait for care.
We’ve had eight years of charities shuttered, phone lines tapped, immigrants deported, rumors of torture that turned into horrifying fact. We’ve had eight years of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Harriet Miers, Karl Rove. We’ve had eight years of David Brooks, James Lileks, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Brian Sussman. We’ve had eight years of what one blogger last night called “the inexorable creep of political slime” covering every single thing about this country that we love.
And I think after all that, after all of that and worse, we need a big fucking party.
I’m being quite serious. The GOP has sucked all the joy out of American life for SO MANY of us, sucked all the joy and goodness and hope and faith right out of the world we know, with year after year of nothing but death. We’ve been demoralized and sad and angry, and we’ve all wondered, at one time or another, if anything we’re doing as Democrats is doing any good at all. We need to pack into a room together, with signs and stickers and again with the stupid hats, and listen to the people who lead us, and cheer or boo them as they deserve, as they’ve earned.
We need to walk around an amazing city, in the shadow of mountains blue and blush in the morning light, and see nothing as far as we can see but people with Obama buttons, Hillary signs, Biden stickers, donkeys on doors and windows and light poles, nothing but people who believe, in some fashion, in large part, what we believe.
And we need to say it out loud, say it as big as we possibly can with whatever voice we have, who we are and what we want, not just so that others hear us, but so that we hear ourselves.
So that we hear Diane Watson, who joined the Army in 1977, when women were even less welcome than they are now. Watson, who turned 50 on Wednesday, worked as a supply technician for twelve years in Korea and Japan before coming home and finding a job in a bank.
She rode the bus downtown Wednesday, an Obama fan to the core and a proud Democrat.
“We need to treat our troops better,” she said, when asked why she is supporting Obama. “We need to bring them home and then we need to take care of them, because the people in charge right now are not doing right by them. It’s time to stop this war. They shouldn’t be fighting someone else’s war, and that’s what this has turned into.”
So that we hear that we are the party that proposed and pushed for improvements to veterans’ health care, making of Republican bumper stickers the actual truth, the hard unsexy work that needs to be done when the flag-waving is over.
So that we hear that we are the party that fights for the equality of women, of minorities, of the poor and the powerless. We need to remember that we are the party that carries the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, in whose wake two men checking their text messages on Tuesday afternoon grew up, in Montgomery, Alabama.
Twenty-seven-year-old Roy Hightower and 26-year-old Will Preyer had travelled from the South to be, in their words, “spectators at this moment of history.”
Hightower was drawn to the Democratic Party by its support for the middle class, for working people like him (he works for Louisiana’s lieutenant governor) and his family. “They care about working folks,” he said.
Preyer was raised Democratic in a Democratic family in the South, but didn’t really become politically active until the Obama campaign. “As a Generation X-er,” he said, “this campaign, this man, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I felt compelled to be here.”
His younger sister, who has been apolitical her whole life, has been calling him nonstop on his cell phone, asking for photos and reports from what has become ground zero for young people in politics.
“She’s calling asking, ‘Where are you? Can you take a picture for me? Can you get me up there somehow?'” he said, chuckling. “When I see someone who has the power to move someone to that level of interest, I know something special is happening.”
So that we hear that as much as we have been disappointed in recent years by our own party, we are still the party that offers a place to those who see the highest call of government as service to its citizens.
So that we hear two women in sun visors and “Hope” t-shirts at a 15th Street bus stop, who stared as a man walked by, leashed to a dog that wore its own Obama bandana. They live in the Denver area, but instead of fleeing the city during its gigantic Wonk Sleepover Party, they came downtown to view the festivities first hand.
“I’m a teacher and a counselor and I believe that government is for everybody,” said Pat Sablatura, 64. “The Democratic Party is about community and respect for regular working folks.”
Sixty-one-year-old Donna VanHook’s party affiliation stems from her attention to what she called “kindness issues,” the social programs that grew out of minority movements in the 1960s, when she grew up. “What I saw in those years is woven into the fabric of me, the importance of being kind and helping people who don’t have as much as we have,” she said. “And in recent years, especially, the Republican Party has a real problem being kind to people in need.”
So that we hear single mother Jayneen Allen, 44, who became a Democrat out of love for her two young sons. Their schools are getting squeezed by penurious tax cap laws, by the constant arguing of greedy Republican politicians that nobody should have to pay for the things we as a country need to provide.
“I want them to have a better future,” Allen said, “and I don’t see one with John McCain as president. People are losing their jobs. Friends of mine are losing their homes. Working people who follow the rules and pay their taxes are getting squeezed, and for what? The jobs are all going away. We need a change.”
So that we hear the people who make us up, marrow and bone, so we hear them all together, in one place at one time, rising up and calling out to the rest of the country, come join us, come fight this fight with us, because this is who we are and this is what we want.
Maybe nobody’s saying anything “new.” Maybe nobody’s saying they found Obama’s Secret Muslim Stash or discovered a plot for a Hillary Coup. Maybe nobody is, thank God, blowing stuff up. But once every four years for four days, we get together and we talk to one another, and we talk to the country, about us.
And especially after a long primary, especially after the last eight years, especially after the long and painful fight that was the last time we tried to elect a Democratic president, after all that, we need to stand up and say what we believe so that we know, know it in our bones.
We knowTeddy Kennedy, being treated for a brain tumor, striding on stage and banging on the podium because he wants the rest of the country to have the care he’s getting, and not one dollar’s worth less.
We know LilyLedbetter, who in the face of discrimination rolled the hard six and told us what we ought to know already, that if we do not receive equal pay for equal work women will never stand equal with men in America.
We knowDennis Kucinich, who took the stage and instead of issuing a tepid endorsement, shouted out a call for us to shift “not from left to right, but from down to up,” to rebuild our country’s jobs and roads and schools and homes with the passion that built them in the first place.
We knowHillary Clinton, who came through the worst of what our society still has to offer women and Democrats, and stood tall and strong and opened her arms to the country, gracious and funny and gloriously brave.
We knowPatrick Murphy, who told us a story about working in Baghdad’s ambush alley, and coming home to find his fellow veterans hurting and homeless, and fighting to change that forever.
And we know a man from Hawaii, a senator from Illinois, a teacher of the law and a student of history, who raised his arms in a football field on Thursday night and called out to the best that is in us, called out over the roar of fault and failure and fall, called out over hatred and despair, and said, as he has said hundreds of times before and as we echo, we can be better, yes we can.
We know hundreds of people now, hundreds and hundreds of people who came here to talk and to write and to work and to march, to network and to protest, to fight for the things they all believe in. We know Diane Watson and Jayneen Allen, Will Preyer and Roy Hightower, Donna VanHook and Pat Sablatura.
We know me. We know you.
We know all of us.
And we know we won’t stop. We won’t back down. We won’t back off. And we won’t back up.
Have fun in the van tonight, guys. I’ll be updating as Twitter and the weather allow, and will have photos later. A post I’m really proud of goes up shortly after midnight, so be sure to stop back in. New photos in the album from Rachel Maddow this morning up in a few.
MorethanjustafewNOLAbloggers have rippedWill Bunch and aKos diary for writing how Hurricane Gustav hitting the Gulf Coast at the time of the Republican Convention could be a “nightmare” for the Republicans. The NOLA bloggers find it insensitive and callous to be speaking of “a realpolitik point of view” as they possibly face another disaster.
I hadn’t thought of Gustav in terms of the Republican Convention. Rather I have been thinking of how my friends in New Orleans may be packing up their important papers, family photos, children’s favorite toys, placing beloved pets in their carriers, gassing up their cars, making hotel reservations and readying their homes for what only knows may be headed their way. I was thinking what a nightmare this must be for them to have their lives completely disrupted and to wonder will those levees hold this time.
But having read the many above linked posts, I find I have very hard time with Kos diarist DigitalApoptosis describing Gustav as
“this perfect reminder of the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.”
Is Katrina not perfect enough as a reminder for us?
Do we really need another disaster to remind us of the terrible last one which occurred only 3 years ago?I can guarantee you the people on the Gulf Coast don’t need a reminder as they are still living it each day. And if the rest of us need a new disaster as a reminder of Katrina then what the hell is wrong withus?
We don’t need a reminder, we just need to fucking Remember.
Del Martin, a pioneering lesbian rights activist who married her
lifelong partner on the first day same-sex couples could legally wed in
California, has died. She was 87.
Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian
Rights, says Martin died at a San Francisco hospital Wednesday morning
two weeks after a broken arm exacerbated her existing health problems.
Kendell says her wife, Phyllis Lyon, was by her side.
I’m not the NOLA expert around here, so I won’t say anything…
was my first thought after readingScout’s excellent post but goddamn if I wasn’t committing one of the Stupid Liberal Tricks* that chaps my ass more than almost any other:
“I’m not a woman so my opinion on abortion or birth control doesn’t matter.”
(alternate version: “I’m not straight so my opinion on abortion or birth control doesn’t matter” or “I’m 87 so my opinion on abortion or birth control doesn’t matter.”)
“I’m not gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer so my opinion on GLBTQ issues doesn’t really matter.”
“I’m lucky to have a comfortable job and benefits so my opinion on poverty issues doesn’t really matter.”
“I’m only 17 so my opinion on political stuff doesn’t really matter.”
(fill in the blank, rinse, repeat)
All of those are just another way of saying “I don’t want to get involved.”
The thing about not wanting to get involved is not really that it’s almost always a morally bankrupt cop-out, not really that it’s a luxury progressives can’t afford in this day and age, it’s that it’s a complete and utter refutation of reality.
We can say it, and we can even think for a bit that we’re getting away with it, the way we can look at pictures in a magazine of a hole in the ozone, pick up our coffee cups, take a sip, and turn the page.
We are involved. We were born involved, remain involved even if we are unconscious of it, and we’ll die involved even if we never wake the fuck up. We are involved with other Americans and with every other person on the planet. We are involved with the rest of that big family in the same way that our each individual hand is involved with our each individual kneecap and they both are in turn involved with all the fingers and toes.
If my hair catches on fire, my hand doesn’t have a choice but to reach up, my feet no other choice but to run for water, a blanket, help. To say I would do otherwise in that situation is ludicrous. To believe I would do otherwise in that situation is insanity. Todo otherwise when the situation actually happens is symptomatic of something even graver: catatonia, quadriplegia, a persistent vegetative state.
What’s our side, our party, our country’s diagnosis folks? When it’s so easy to think that way, when it’s the norm, when the words come out of our mouths without even thinking. When aWill Bunch looks at the track of Gustav and just sees the bright colors, lines and arrows, just sees a hypothetical, a scenario, a good opening paragraph for a story about the Republicans he could have written a month ago, that doesn’t fucking need another disaster to make it real?
And about that paragraph? When you say “I hope, for the sake of those, you know, airquote peopleairquote it will overwhelm, injure, maybe even kill, that this humanitarian crisis doesn’t happen, BUT…” see, already, there’s a problem. You’re not just saying you don’t want to get involved, you’re saying there can be a context wherein involvement is irrelevant. And that, Will, is somefuckmookery.
What to do with Jimmy Carter? I don’t know. I didn’t see the Democratic Convention video of him interviewing New Orleanians last night, but I assume it was pretty good.
Republicans like to slag on Carter, and they havecompared Barack Obama to Carter during the campaign. This linkage is sort of useful, actually, because you wouldn’t believe how many conservatives think that they need to suffer through another “Carter” before the country will be ready to elect the“next Ronald Reagan”. Operating under that assumption, conservatives will be much less willing to hold their nose for McCain this election if they think there is some strategic, long-term benefit in having a “Carter-esque” Democrat elected. And that’s fine. I won’t disabuse them of their “ultra-strategic” political history models.
However, in the meantime, could Democratic talking heads please rememberone little talking point about Carter that stops conservatives in their tracks? I mean, it stops them cold. Seriously, you want to see a confused Gooper?– well, after they complain about the “malaise” of the Carter years, and how Obama will be “Carter’s second term”, hit them with this:
Over 10 million net jobs were created during Carter’s four year term, compared with only (about) 5 million during Dubya’s two terms. Why does the so-called “Bush Boom” compare so disfavorably to the so-called “Carter malaise”, in terms of net job growth?
Let’ em chew on that packet of butterscotch for a little while.
=== Further, more jobs were created during Carter’s four years than in either of Reagan’s terms. And if we’re gonna talk Democratic Presidents and net job growth, we’d be remiss not to mention the 23 million jobs created during the eight year Clinton administration. If you combine the net job totals under Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43… you get approximately the same total! So, twenty years of GOP presidents created roughly the same number of jobs that Clinton did in eight.
Hmm. But we don’t hear those facts very often, do we?
Yeah, so I got reminded ofThe Muppet Show recently. And that made me think of Mr. Belafonte there.
I hate to sound like a dirty fucking hippie, especially since Athenaehas that nailed down for us, but damn. C’mon, people. It is up to us. Shit’s never gonna be perfect, but the world doesn’t have to exist in a state of perma-suck.
And, yeah, there are always gonna be assholes telling you that you’re stupid, or you’re fighting the inevitable, or you’re just too naive and eager. Well, those people can either help us or get kicked in the nuts*. So roll up your sleeves, or start buying icepacks.
*Yes, I realize that some of those assholes don’t have nuts. In that case, find something else to kick that will hurt.
National Journal apparently has another follow up to their reporting on the federal investigation of HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson but it is subscription only. However a Dallas Observer blog reports on the article which includes that Alphonso’s wife had ties to at least 2 companies that did business with HANO. FromThe Dallas Observer Blog Unfair Park…
Today, theNational Journal offersa subscription-only follow-up
that says federal investigators, the FBI and a Washington, D.C., grand
jury are digging even deeper into Jackson’s affairs and discovering
further connections, including a “stucco contractor” with whom Jackson
is pals and to whom the HUD secretary helped awarded a contract worth
about $500,000 for work in New Orleans. Also revealed: Jackson’s wife
Marcia, now a D.C.-based consultant, also had “financial ties to at
least two companies that did business at” the Housing Authority of New
Orleans (or HANO), one of which is a Houston-based company calledMetroplexCore, whose president was a President Bush appointee to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Dallas in 2002.
Reports theNational Journal:
Despite the criminal inquiry, which involves federal
prosecutors, the grand jury, the FBI, and HUD investigators, Jackson
has remained in the Cabinet post he has held since 2004. That is not
entirely surprising. He is a close friend of President Bush’s from
their days in Texas. Jackson’s wife is a friend of first lady Laura
Bush’s and often attends social functions at the White House. In 2001,
President Bush appointed Mrs. Jackson to the Commission on Presidential
Marcia Jackson, who ran a small marketing and development firm in Texas
before moving to Washington, has represented only a few companies
during her husband’s time at HUD. Alphonso Jackson’s public financial
disclosure reports identify his wife as a “marketing consultant
self-employed specializing in municiples & cities.”
There is no indication that Mrs. Jackson is a target of the federal
inquiry. Nonetheless, investigators recently began asking questions
about two minority-owned companies that have worked on HANO projects
and that have also used Mrs. Jackson as a consultant, according to a
person familiar with the probe.
Another name that has surfaced as an “important witness” in the
government’s investigation is Lori Moon, who worked with Jackson during
his tenure at the Dallas Housing Authority. According to theNational Journal, she was involved in choosing St. Louis-basedKennedy Associates,
an architectural firm, for a $2.4-million design contract for a New
Orleans apartment complex HUD wanted to partially replace that city’s
public housing projects. At the time the contract was awarded in 2003,
Kennedy Associates “still owed [Marcia Jackson] an undisclosed amount
of consulting fees.”
From theNational Journal again:
In a statement issued in response to questions fromNational Journal,
Moon said she was aware at the time of the … award in 2003 that
Alphonso Jackson knew Michael E. Kennedy, the company’s president and
CEO. But she emphasized she was not aware that Mrs. Jackson had
financial ties to Kennedy Associates. Moon said that any firm with such
ties to Jackson or his wife should have been disqualified from doing
business at HANO “given Mr. Jackson’s involvement in the management
decisions” at the New Orleans agency.
This story gets more and more interesting yet National Journal is the only one covering it. Kudos to them…specifically Edward T. Pound but where is everyone, err anyone, else? I mean weare talking about a member of the President’s Cabinet, the head of a major federal agency and one who is now becoming more involved in dealing with the housing/mortgage crisis. Itwould be nice to know if the guy is a crook, would it not?