Obama’s Stolen Strength.

February 20, 2008

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What comes to mind when I think of Barrack Obama? A candidate of nothing. An interesting man, a talented orator, a devoted father/husband, and a political novice. A shell of a president. A man with a brilliant future, several years from now, when he has the experience to command anything more than an audience. His own supporters have been stumbling in interviews when simply asked to state one legislative accomplishment. Why then is he winning? Two words: incandescent speech. When the man talks, he glows. He beams of confidence, optimism, and truth. In reality those beams consist of arrogance, naivety, and rhetoric. I appreciate a good public speaker and do value words. I would never lobby his lofty speech against him like some people have. Now his lack of experience is another issue that I have no problem holding against him.

So what is my point? You already know I support Clinton, but respect Obama (that does not mean I have to respect people who vote for him). Words are really all he has and now the news is reporting some of his words are not his own. Yes, I speak of plagiarism, a borderline curse word in the academic setting. Apparently plagiarism is completely acceptable in the campaign for the White House. Because he continued his surge of victories after the story broke. A man running solely on his words shouldn’t be simply quoting others. Many of you will jump to his defense, that is was his speech writers who plagiarized, but therein lies the problem. If words are all he has and we don’t hold him responsible for his words then there is nothing left of his candidacy.

In defense of being “just words”

Obama responded nearly word for word and without attribution, a quote from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream’ — just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ — just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ — just words.”

On another occasion

Deval Patrick: “I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”.

Obama: “I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”

On Pharmaceutical Ads

Edwards’s 2004 stump speech: “I love the ads. Buy their medicine, take it, and the next day you and your spouse will be skipping through the fields.”

Obama: “You know those ads where people are running around the fields, you know, they’re smiling, you don’t know what the drug is for?”

During Announcement Speeches

Edwards (2003) : “I haven’t spent most of my life in politics, but I’ve spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington.”

Obama (2007): “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Unionized Labor

Edwards: “We need a president not afraid to use the word ‘union,’

Obama: “We need a president . . . who is not afraid to mention unions,”

Working Class

Edwards: “Hard work should be valued in this country, so we’re going to reward work, not just wealth.”
Obama: “We shouldn’t just be respecting wealth in this country, we should be respecting work.”

 


Romney Waves Goodbye

February 8, 2008

After a less than Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney suspended his campaign.  Most of you probably already saw the news.  But I have been asked a couple times what suspended versus dropping out means.  It means he still holds his delegates for a little while.  He might be able to use them as bargaining chips.  For the Republican party, the individual state parties reallocate their delegates, but I believe it is not until the Convention.  Romney may well be hoping to be Vice-President Romney or to suggest a nominee.  If it had been a Democrat, like Edwards, the delegates are not redistributed.


Score One for Team Clinton

January 24, 2008

I read an editorial on the New York Times website endorsing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination tonight. I am not going to rephrase or highlight it, because I believe you should read it for yourselves in its entirety (its not long). I feel it accurately captured my view on the election, and the differences between Clinton and Obama.

I like both of them politically and because of the great overlap in their platforms it can be hard to differentiate.   I would be happy with either in the White House, but one clearly has more experience and is at least vocalizing more specific, in depth plans for our country.  While they share similar goals for the country, I need a president with plans to achieve those goals.  Although Clinton’s plans have not always panned out, she has always been forward about her successes and failures and willing to keep moving to get things done.

Read the Editorial Here


Pittsburgh: Gay Vacation Destination, Since When?

January 24, 2008

I wanted to share some excerpts from “The Out Traveler: Andy Warhol’s Pittsburg” by H. William Bain

From the spring 2008 issue of The Out Traveler.

“I am from nowhere,” Andy Warhol was known to say when asked where he grew up. With these four words, he often gave the impression of a strained relationship with his hometown of Pittsburgh, the working-class city that fostered his talents as a child and gave rise to many of the themes that recurred throughout his work and defined his career.  Today, Pittsburgh stands as a paradigm of urban renewal, shedding its reputation as the Smoky City and officially claiming the title of “America’s Most Livable City.” In fact, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a haven for “gay nesting” among settled Eastern same-sex couples.

You’ll find Andy’s boyhood home (3252 Dawson St.) in Pittsburgh’s university section of Oakland. The humble brick house has been privately owned for many years, but plans are being made to restore the home to appear as it did during Warhol’s childhood and open it as private housing for art students. Throughout his childhood, Andy’s family attended Mass each week at St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church (506 Saline St.; 412-421-0243).

Visitors to Pittsburgh will find a majestic theater nearby at the Benedum Center (719 Liberty Ave.; 412-456-6666), built in 1927 and restored to its original splendor as Warhol would have seen it.

It was while studying in the commercial art program at Carnegie Institute of Technology that Warhol first began to develop his ideas about the relationship between capitalism and art. Now called Carnegie Mellon University (5000 Forbes Ave.; 412-268-2000), this Pittsburgh institution is recognized as one of the world’s top arts and technology schools. Carnegie Mellon also borders on Shadyside, a mainly residential area where many gay couples now settle. While Pittsburgh lacks a true gay area, one can find several gay bars here, and it’s not uncommon to see shops flying the Pride flag.

Not far from Carnegie Mellon, you will find the Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave.; 412-622-3131), which houses a number of Warhol’s works. Called the world’s first museum of modern art, it was envisioned as a showcase for the “Old Masters of tomorrow” by its founder, Andrew Carnegie, in 1895.

…the city is now ground zero for Warhol art, thanks to the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St.; 412-237-8300), one of the most extensive museums dedicated to a single artist in the world. Opened in 1994, it houses more than 12,000 of his works, including homoerotic drawings, portraits of gay icons, and films that explore the connection between voyeurism and desire, like Blow Job and My Hustler, as well as important documents, records, and source material. Together with the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way; 412-231-3169), an avant-garde art museum exhibiting room-size installations, the Warhol plays an integral part in the contemporary art scene touted by Pittsburgh’s urbane gay set.


Veteran’s Day: Some Facts

November 11, 2007


  • At 11 minutes past the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the “War to End All Wars,” “The Great War,” World War I officially came to an end. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson called on the nation to observe Armistice Day and honor the soldiers who had served in World War I; in 1926, Congress declared it an official federal holiday.
  • The purpose of Veterans Day and Memorial Day are often confused. Memorial Day is for honoring military personnel who died in service to their country. Veterans Day is for thanking ALL men and women who have served honorably in the military during times of war and peace.
  • Over 48 million Americans have served in the military during war and peace since 1776.
  • There are currently about 25 million living veterans.
  • Of the 25 million living veterans, most (75 percent) served during a war or an official period of hostility.
  • About one in four homeless people are veterans.
  • 43% of homeless males over 25 are veterans.
  • In contrast to earlier American wars, where only men engaged in combat, many veterans returning from today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are women. The new study found that female veterans are more likely to be homeless than non-veteran females, and that overall, female veterans are more likely to be homeless than their male counterparts.

Apparently civil rights don’t include gays or women

October 24, 2007

Homosexuality is a sickness, just as are baby-rape or wanting to become head of General Motors. ~Eldridge Cleaver, “Notes on a Native Son,” Soul on Ice, 1968

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I recently came across this gem of a quote by Eldridge Cleaver and have begun to read Soul on Ice. I have not finished by any means, and as such will reserve final judgment until the end. But so far it has been possibly the oddest read of all times. It has insane range. It varies from brutally honest introspective analysis to preachy ivory tower judgments of others. It varies from oblivious and cocky to self aware and humble. It may be the most offensive thing I’ve ever read (that was not intended as hate speech) towards both women and gays. But at the same time he is very aware of his misogyny and understands his hatred is misdirected. He admits to raping multiple women and practice on girls from the ghetto. There are no direct references really, but it is well known he killed several people over the course of his life.

The book was extremely popular in the 60s, he was a revolutionary (literally and figuratively) and was considered a significant civil rights figure. But his idea of civil rights was extremely limited. He notoriously switched religions at his convenience and after each conversion was a fierce proponent of that religion and its accompanying doctrine. I think if he came forward in our politically correct world and tried to step up as a civil rights leader, he would be a laughing stock. An angry, violent ex con with a disposition towards sexism and homophobia telling us how the world should be equal. Equal for black men at least, all the while flip flopping on religion and trying to assist international revolutions.

As it is with all the crazies, I admire his passion. I am looking forward to finishing his book, and to researching him further. Maybe there is a movie!


Tearing Immigrant Families Apart

October 3, 2007

Eduardo Gonzalez, a petty officer second class with the U.S. Navy, is about to be deployed overseas for a third time. What makes his story particularly saddening is the fact that while he is gone, his wife may face deportation. He doesn’t know what would happen to his young son if she is deported.

“I like being in uniform and serving my country, but if she goes back I’m going to have to give it all up and just get out and take care of my son and get a job,” he said. “Defending the country that’s trying to kick my family out is a thought that always runs through my mind.”

These cases are handled one by one by the immigration authorities not the government. It is a conflicted situation because the government is supposed to help military families but at the same time another part of the government is try to stem the illegal immigrant population.

“What’s happening right now is, because of the dysfunction and complexity of our immigration laws, we’ve got people fighting overseas who are facing the impossible situation of having family members facing deportation back home,” she said.

His wife came to the US when she was 5 under political asylum because of her status as a war refugee from Guatemala. Her mother applied for legalization with her on the application and was approved. The problem is that six weeks before the approval, she married Gonzalez. By marrying him, her mother could no longer apply for her (you have to be unmarried and under 21). As a result, her legal status still remains in danger.

While they don’t have the exact numbers this is not an uncommon experience.

U.S. Army Sgt. Emmanuel Woko, a member of the Army’s 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division who faces his third tour in Iraq, understands just how Gonzalez and his family feel. His wife and children could be sent back to Nigeria. “My heart is bleeding on the thought that my wife could be deported back to Nigeria while I am deployed in Iraq,” he said. “I am extremely distressed and distracted by the thought.”

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