Saturday, November 8, 2008
It was a revealing look into the building of a political movement. If you get the chance, definitely check it out.
The roast was a fundraiser for the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), which was founded by David Axelrod. (Axelrod's daughter suffers from developmental disabilities associated with chronic epileptic seizures).
Hillary Clinton was the final roaster before Emanuel came to the stage for his turn at the mic. Barack Obama had what I think were surprisingly bad seats for the festivities. Paul Begala was the M.C. Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were also in the house. There were probably dozens of other political heavyweights that I simply couldn't recognize.
As the closer, HRC made some prescient remarks about the role Emanuel would take in the pivotal elections of '06. She was also funnier than I can ever remember her being. She looked, dare we say, presidential.
Later, Emanuel started out with a few cracks about his good friend and neighbor, Barack. "Thank you for being here with us mere mortals tonight," he said.
Reflecting on that roast, it's stunning to think about what's happened since that night.
Emanuel helped the Democrats fulfill their promise of taking back Capitol Hill in 2006. DeLay was forced to resign his seat under pressure and threat of trial over violations of campaign finance laws. Clinton was the frontrunner to lead the Democratic takeover of the White House. And then she wasn't.
What happened is, seemingly, every other Democrat of note at the roast eventually coalesced in support of the improbable presidential campaign of that junior senator from Illinois who had bad seats.
Who would've thunk it?
UPDATE: It's interesting to learn that Axelrod's daughter was what Sarah Palin would likely call a special-needs child. I wouldn't have known this, of course, unless I was randomly channel-surfing during halftime of a football game. I think it's safe to say that, even with Palin back home in Wasilla, the White House will still be occupied by people who care about special-needs children. All children, in fact.
UPDATE 2: That Alabama game was just, wow. It seems like all November games in Baton Rouge go into OT. I still think the Crimson Tide will lose to Florida in the SEC title game, though. Maybe Penn State's loss today clears the way for that Florida-USC BCS championship game that I want to see. I'd be ok with Texas-Florida, too, though that seems like a bad matchup for the Longhorns. Continue Reading »
In short, I picked a really bad time to pick up an increasingly obsessive habit. I explained in the "About Me" section of this site that change is afoot. Well, I wasn't lying.
A couple of days ago, I looked up and realized that my home office was a mess, I hadn't finished a book in about four months, I'd been slacking on my workout routine, I wasn't studying enough for The Test and, every so often, I would be furiously pounding away on my laptop instead of spending q.t. with the First Lady.
That's no way to live. So things must change.
I'll still post semi-regularly, which for me, comes out to about once a day or once every couple of days. I plan to increase the pace on Thursdays and Saturday, my days off from work. That means disciplining myself against blogging about any and everything, as I've been wont to do over the past couple months.
It could also mean that I'll be a better blogger, posting more thoughtful and well-written items instead of ill-conceived and poorly executed ones. We'll see what happens.
I've often asked the First Lady what I'd blog about in the days after the Nov. 4 elections. As a guy who nearly double-majored in journalism and political science, I don't want to be a person who is more interested in campaigns than government. That seems shallow. But I also want to feel more free to blog about the other things that interest me - football, music, football, pirates, pop culture, the absurd and football.
The First Lady reminded me: "You know you're not getting paid for this, right?"
Yeah. That woman could be my salvation yet.
UPDATE: I hate the phrase "real talk." In fact, I often mock it. But, yo, I was fresh out of ideas for the title. Continue Reading »
Friday, November 7, 2008
UPDATE 2: Speaking of mysteries, how has Byron Allen managed to keep his little slice of TV time for this many years? Byron Allen is like the Julio Franco of entertainment, I tell ya. A modern marvel.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Every ethnic group supported marriage equality, except African-Americans, who voted overwhelmingly against extending to gay people the civil rights once denied them: a staggering 69 - 31 percent African-American margin against marriage equality. That's worse than even I expected.It is a cruel irony that the forces that helped Barack Obama into the White House also appear to have aided the forces of homophobia. Newly blue Florida even affirmed this nonsense with significant help from black and Hispanic voters.
"Obviously, having a robust African-American turnout was helpful," said lawyer John Stemberger, who ran the campaign Florida4Marriage, the group that sponsored the ballot measure.
In retrospect, I do wish Obama had spoken more forcefully on this issue during his campaign. I wonder if his powerful voice could have provided the difference. I suppose it's a reminder that we can't afford to fall in love with politicians - Obama has said he doesn't support full civil equality for gays and lesbians. Yes, even a historical figure like our new president will ultimately be on the wrong side of history.
But I've already spoken on this, so there's little more than I can express today other than disappointment. TNC can handle it from here:
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan passionately details the fight ahead for gay couples. Loved this: "And this is a civil rights movement. It goes forward and it is forced back. The battle to end miscegenation took centuries. These are the rhythms of progress." Continue Reading »
I've always maintained that you don't have to like black people to do the right thing. Same thing here. I'm not very interested in folks's homophobia. I'm interested in why they think they should be in the business of dictating terms of love to two consenting adults. It's disgusting. And we need to let this shit go.
Maybe some of you remember K.J. as a three-time NBA All-Star and point guard of some title-contending Phoenix teams led by Charles Barkley.
But I remember him as the guy who momentarily embarrassed the only NBA idol of my youth.
It’s all good, though. Johnson never beat Hakeem and the Rockets when it really mattered. Glad to see K.J. finally learned how to win in the clutch. Continue Reading »
(Photo from Getty Images)
And I'm just some schmoe writer in Tampa. Can you imagine the feelings surging through Barack Obama this morning?
Part of the reason I aspired to become a journalist as a child was because I'm extremely nosy. I like to get information. If you know me, trust me, I've got some weird questions for you that I'll probably never ask.
Thus, if I had my chance to interview President Elect Obama today, here's a few of the questions I'd like to ask:
1. Did you sleep at all last night? If so, for how long?
2. What did you order for breakfast this morning? And what did you have for dinner last night?
3. How hard was it for you not to cry when you mentioned your grandmother during your acceptance speech?
4. Do you really want to leave Chicago for D.C.? Just saying.
5. What music did you listen to this morning when you woke up? And what was the last song you heard before you learned that you won?
6. What did you really want to say to John McCain when he called you to concede?
7. Who did you actually call last night? Not who called you. But who did you call once you were told that you were the winner?
8. Is today a bit of a letdown?
9. Uh, so, what did you and Michelle do last night after you got home?
10. Are you weird around Jill Biden after that awkward kiss you all shared during the Democratic National Convention?
11. This one from the First Lady: What did it feel like to vote for yourself?
12. This one for the new First Lady: Aren't you glad you got over that thing about dating co-workers?
13. This one for everyone: Do you think we'll ever elect a gay or Muslim president?
I'll probably have more later. Until then, here's something from Common to get the juices flowing. We did it, eh?
UPDATE: 14. Did you run a little Just for Men in your hair last night? Seems like you had a little less gray than usual. Continue Reading »
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
If you don't feel like "rocking" the vote, that is fine. But cast a ballot, regardless.
Also remember that beyond the presidential election, there's plenty of other down-the-ballot races going on across the country that will have a tremendous influence on your lives. All politics is local, no?
I'm off to monitor polling sites, talk with voters and keep tabs on the local races that I'm charged with covering. It's a great day to be a member of the liberal elite media in a swing state. What a rush. Continue Reading »
Much props to my friend's wife, who whipped up a batch not knowing that I was a banana-pudding virgin. She might have changed my life. Or, at least, broadened my horizons when it comes to dessert.
We are in two wars, one of them illegal. The national debt has mushroomed and our teetering economy may not have yet reached its nadir. Our reputation has been diminished around the globe. We torture the guilty and we torture the innocent. Still, we are not safe from terrorists. A great American city - a treasure, really - drowned three years ago and still sputters for life. Many of us have grown resentful of academia, if not intelligence. Some of us still wish to engage in culture war and identity politics. If nothing else, we are deeply divided.
These are serious times. And they demand a serious leader.
I can't - and won't - suggest whom you should vote for. And I'm certain that you will seriously think about the two choices that await you inside the booth today, assuming you didn't vote early like me or that you truly fancy Bob Barr or Alan Keyes.
One candidate tabbed a divisive, cartoonish, proudly ignorant unknown as his running mate. He relied on stunts rather than strategy when Wall Street collapsed. He missed a chance to separate himself from the sitting president - a "Maverick" moment, if you will - by choosing to back a pork-bloated, billions-dollar bailout. He mocked "women's health." He flailed about wildly for a narrative that would resonate. When that didn't work, he pursed his lips on that dog whistle. He allowed a divisive, cartoonish, proudly ignorant mascot to stump for him. At times, he has barely been able to contain his animus toward his opponent.
He was crazed in the face of calm. He was cranky in the face of hope. He was deeply unserious in the face of stoicism.
So I went with the other guy, who is serious without taking himself too seriously. I think our nation and the world demands that sort of leader at this moment.
And in a way, that's my closing argument. There's really nothing left to say or do - save call a few folks to make sure they hit the polls - until after the numbers roll in this evening. Until Wednesday morning, if I can help it, I'm going to pray hard and free my mind. I hope you can do the same. Continue Reading »
Monday, November 3, 2008
Barack Obama is indeed a man of uncommon sense.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, I disagree with McCain's concern about performance-enhancing drugs in sports. I just can't summon any outrage about this. And I don't think the fans really care about this anymore either.
UPDATE 2: Nice riff from McCain about "that's why they play the game." Then he went off into something about "country first ... yada yada yada ... jay-vee football." (Yawn). I damn near tuned him out. Continue Reading »
I'm no big fan of Hitchens, who can be tremendously pompous about his antitheism, but his latest screed about McCain's unapologetic attack of Palestinian academic Rashid Kalidi is a must-read. Here's an important passage:
I'll never quite understand how anyone thought foreign policy was one of McCain's strengths heading into this campaign. Apparently, Hitchens is right there with me.
If Rashid chooses to state that he doesn't care to be evicted from his ancestral home in order to make way for some settler from Brooklyn who claims to have God on his side, I think he has a perfect right to say so. I would go further and say that if Barack Obama was looking for a Palestinian friend, he could not have chosen any better. But perhaps John McCain has decided that he doesn't need any Palestinian friends and neither do we. Perhaps he thinks it's all right to refer to refugees and victims of occupation, who have been promised self-determination and statehood at the podium of the United Nations and the U.S. Congress by George Bush and Condoleezza Rice, as if they were Hitlerites. How shameful. How disgusting. How ignorant.
(H/T First Lady.)
UPDATE: Speaking of Palin, the AJC's Cynthia Tucker offers up a name for the top of the GOP ticket in 2012: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The only flaw I can find with this suggestion is that Obama might be a strong incumbent (if the polls are to be trusted and, honestly, who really knows?) and the Republicans might not want to waste a rising star in that election. That's why I think Romney, Huckabee and Palin will be the also-rans given a chance to knock B.O. off his throne four years from now. If they lose, no biggie. A Jindal defeat could be a crippling blow for the future. Continue Reading »
I'll refer, once again, to a timeless quote from James Baldwin:
"History is not a procession of illustrious people. It's about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about."Dunham got us moving along, doing what she understood to be the right thing during the wrong time: love her grandson. For her act of courage, she was blessed with a gift that she's now passed on to the rest of us.
The question is: are we worthy?
UPDATE: Atrios brings up something I was talking about with my mother earlier this evening: "Obama's going into this without any of his guardians left - father, mother, stepfather, grandmother, grandfather."
If you'll allow me some sappiness and schmaltz for the moment, there's a sort of poetry to this moment. I just wonder if the woman Barack called "Toot" finally felt enough peace to let go, realizing that everything will be OK. Continue Reading »
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Was it the strait-laced constraints of cable news? Was there not enough money on the table? Are there other projects in the works?
Anyway, Rock made a stop in Tampa on Saturday to stump for Barack Obama. Apparently, it was free. The First Lady and I missed it and, as a result, I'll probably be sore about this for awhile. Well, at least until Tuesday evening.
Rock, as of late, has been on fire. Here's a couple of samples:
Continue Reading »
"When you go to somebody for help you want somebody who can relate to what you have to say. Like, if I have problems getting laid, I wouldn't call Brad Pitt 'cause he wouldn't know what I was talking about."
"... McCain was on MTV's Cribs 15 times. This is not the guy you want to be president ... McCain probably had financial problems too, but we can't all do what he did. We can't all dump our first wife, marry a rich one and have all our bills paid."
I especially love the brief shout-out to my alma mater. A school, by the way, with the nation's 11th-ranked college football team.
UPDATE: Isn't the Web a wonderful thing? I recognized the music from the ad as familiar - sounded a lot like Jay-Z's "Blueprint" from the "The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse" album. Actually, it's the "The Ecstasy of Gold" from Ennio Morricone. Who knew? Enjoy. Continue Reading »
This might actually be the gamechanger McCain was hoping and praying for before Election Day. Let's hope the MSM doesn't get a hold of this.
Continue Reading »