My grandmother, OBM, was a lot of things, and a lot of them not too nice. But there was one thing she was, wholeheartedly and without reservation, and that was an ardent Zionist. There wasn’t a news story, a scandal or a non-fiction book published, that she didn’t ask the question: “But is it good for the Jews?” She was an old-fashioned woman, the kind who would spit (or at least pretend to) when certain people’s names were mentioned (oh, you know, like Adolf Hitler, or my first husband). Reading this story today, my grandmother would have become apoplectic.

I mean, OK, you want more power, so you turn your coat and become an “Independent” and no longer a Democrat, although you caucus with the Dems. OK, whatever, you nasty little chickenhawk, you want to support the meaningless war in the Middle East because you think it would be good for the Jews, although G-d only knows how. But to go out and campaign for John McCain? AND speak against Barack Obama? Oh, get over yourself, you terrible little man. Just declare yourself a Republican already. Oh, that’s right. You won your election as a Democrat, so changing parties after the fact is a little disingenuous. Still, it didn’t stop you from going to the indefinable middle, did it? Nor is it stopping you from giving a speech at the Republican convention, or even keeping you from being considered on the short list for John McCain’s running mate.

And you know what? Although my grandmother would be very unhappy with this, I say, go for it. Because in the long run, you on the ticket with McCain would be very,very good for the Jews. In that all those in-bred, racist fucks who don’t want to vote for someone who’s half-black will just have to kill themselves before they’d ever let a Kike be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Yep. You just get on that ticket and run, run, run, you little khazer. You sit out campaigning on the sabbath and push your Jewishness in all those white bread faces who are scared of anything different. Nothing you do could do more to help the Democratic candidate. And a Democrat in the White House, especially this Democrat, would really be good for the Jews.

Miz Shoes

I’m Voting Republican

Miz Shoes

This Land Is Our Land

Last night, Obama tied up the democratic nomination, and ClintonV2.0 allowed as how he had, but refused to concede, and is now campaigning for the VP slot. I hope and pray that Mr. Obama continues to play it straight and from his heart and not the polls and statistics, and puts someone, anyone, else on the ticket. ClintonV2.0 reminded me of that t-shirt from my college days (no, not the smoke Columbian one, the other one) that said “Obnoxious in Victory, Bitter in Defeat”. On the other hand, this is what the next President of the United States had to say in his speech:

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.

Just in case we’ve forgotten what passion and oratory sounds like. And let us remember this, from another man who inspired change and youthful voters—I give you John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address:

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge—to convert our good words into good deeds—in a new alliance for progress—to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support—to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective—to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak—and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course—both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.

So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms—and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah—to “undo the heavy burdens ... and to let the oppressed go free.”

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

And finally, from another voice, a very old cartoon strip, that maybe, just maybe, is no longer relevant. Oh, how I hope.

image
image
Doonesbury (c) 1974 G.B. Trudeau. Reprinted with permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved.

Miz Shoes

Radio Nowhere

I have to admit that I’ve never much cared for Tim Robbins as an author. I thought he was, at best, sort of a recycled, lesser Richard Brautigan. But an old friend sent this to me, the text of a speech Robbins gave last month to the National Association of Broadcasters, and I was so impressed with it that I present it to you in its entirety.

Subject: Tim Robbins
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008

The following is my opening keynote speech for the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, which I delivered Monday night.

Hello, I’m Tim Robbins. I’d like to thank you for the invitation to address you here at the National Association of Broadcasters. When I first received the invitation I was a little confused because the last time I had contact with the national media I seem to remember them telling me to shut the hell up.

I would like to start with an apology. To Rush and Sean, and Billo and Savage and Laura what’s-her-name. A few years ago they told America that because I had different opinions on the wisdom of going to war that I was a traitor, a Saddam lover, a terrorist supporter, undermining the troops. I was appealing at the time for the inspectors to have more time to find those weapons of mass destruction. I was a naïve dupe of left wing appeasement. And how right they were. If I had known then what I know now, if I had seen the festive and appreciative faces on the streets of Baghdad today, if I had known then what a robust economy we would be in, the unity of our people, the wildfire of democracy that has spread across the Mideast, I would never have said those traitorous, unfounded and irresponsible things. I stand chastened in the face of the wisdom of the talk radio geniuses, and I apologize for standing in the way of freedom.

So when they asked me to come speak to you I said, ‘Are you sure? Me?’ And they said, ‘Yes.’

And I said, ‘You know, I have a tendency to say things that I believe at the time to be well-intentioned but that are actually traitorous.’ And they said, ‘Sure, cool.’ And then I read the press release and it said, ‘Mr. Robbins will be speaking about the challenges of new media and delivery systems.’ Oh, OK. But I just want you to know I’m not sure I know what that fucking means.
But it is an honor to be speaking to you here at this years National Association Broadcasting convention even if I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

I owe a lot to broadcast media. I got my start in radio in the early 20s. In my early twenties. And it was television.

But these tremendous inventions have benefited us all.

Radio has come a long way from the early days when family’s gathered around the trusty old Philco to listen to such programs as Superman, Sherlock Holmes and Amos and Andy. Thanks to music and sound effects, this magical medium was able to transport families to a place where a man could fly, a brilliant detective could solve the most perplexing of crimes, and two white guys could portray ridiculously offensive black stereotypes for the amusement of millions.

The first broadcast occurred on Christmas Eve in 1906 at Brant Rock, MA, when a man named Fessenden played his violin, sang a song and read Bible verses into a wireless telephone of his own invention. His goal was to find financial backers, but no investor of the day believed that radio could ever replace the most popular leisure activity of the day; listening to the hoot owl while playing the zither as your 14-year-old niece bounced on your knee. Some of you may remember. It was all the rage in the early century.

But soon broadcasting over the radio caught on and zither playing and child molestation were a thing of the past. Radio reached a boom time during the Depression as people begin to listen to and depend on radio to lift their spirits during that catastrophic economic crisis. Shows such as The Bickersons taught people life is not so bad as long as somebody has got it worse.

President Roosevelt became the first ‘radio president’ and his ‘fireside chats’ set the stage for later presidential weekly addresses such as; ‘chew the fat with Ike,’ ‘LBJ’s bull session,’ and George W’s ‘Hooked on Phonics and Strategery Hour.’

Radio continued to expand and soon, the public turned to their radios for news, which began to mature during World War II with the regular reports of the bombing of London by Edward R. Murrow, with his ‘London After Dark’ series, where Murrow coined the famous phrase: ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ as well as the lesser known phrase; ‘Die, you Nazi cocksuckers.’

In the post war years, the radio business exploded when 90% of all American’s claimed radio was their primary source of news and entertainment. To meet this incredible demand Philco built 6 million radios in 1947. And to provide content for those 6 million radios, we were introduced to some of the greatest drama, comedy and musical entertainment this country has ever seen.

In the ‘70s, radio took a serious nosedive when Edwin Armstrong invented FM to eliminate the static and noise associated with AM and unwittingly provided a home for easy listening jazz rock, overly dramatic disco songs and 20 minute psychedelic sitar jams.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s the FCC, under pressure from the Reagan and Clinton administrations, changed the rules limiting the number of radio and television stations a business entity could own, paving the way for such conglomerates as Infinity broadcasting and Clear Channel to buy up local stations and put them under the umbrella of their larger corporations. Again the community benefited because due to Clear Channel and Infinities’ conservative approach, listeners no longer had to be subjected to perplexing controversial subjects, or confusing varied opinion, or alternative rock. And as a bonus these large companies, with the help of Mr. Reagan and Mr. Clinton got rid of that annoying Fairness Doctrine, freeing its listeners from the burden of hearing equally from all sides of the political debate. What a bore.

This new world of conglomeration also brought us back to a simpler, more exciting time with regard to natural disasters and calamities. Your local station would now be broadcasting from a city many miles away and should there be a tornado coming your way you wouldn’t know about it until the funnel was in full view. Exciting times.

In the 1950s, television began to replace radio as the chief source of revenue for broadcasting networks. It quickly became apparent that talking about ‘Old Sandusky Lager’ on the radio didn’t quite have the same impact as watching a buxom flaxen haired temptress in a skin tight dress play pool in a bar while she drank ‘old Sandusky Lager.’ Beer sales skyrocketed.

In the ‘60s, American television networks began broadcasting in color bringing a new vibrant reality to the content of the day. Suddenly it didn’t seem unusual that an astronaut was dating a scantily clad genie that lived in a bottle in his living room.

Television also brought the horror and reality of war into our living rooms airing footage of the war in Vietnam. Building on the mistakes of the past, war is now televised in an easily digestible sanitized version. The current administration has proven that war doesn’t have to be upsetting, or sacrificed for, or even reported on at all. We have come a long way, baby.

But what is the state of broadcasting today? Some critics have noted that there is a dangerous lack of diversity and opinion. That may be true, but imagine the nightmare of having to rectify that situation.

I propose a much simpler solution, which I’ve separated into three prongs, or a Satan’s trident if you will.

First, erase all diversity. Thankfully the majority of what is broadcast over television and radio is of two opinions and that feels good. That’s simple. But unfortunately there is a tiny minority out here on the airwaves expressing a different view outside of the Democrats and Republicans nexus trying to confuse us all. Can we please shut them up? How expensive could it be to buy Pacifica Radio? These people are driving us apart.

Secondly, let’s stay focused on Sex Scandals. Stop with the in depth reporting that gets outside of the sound bite. More sex scandals! Surely with a little more prying, a little more effort we can find more sexual deviants. And trust me, sexual deviancy is something we can all agree on. It’s deliciously intoxicating to watch unfold. It’s titillating.

The absolute zenith of news, the perfect storm of reporting, the shining city on the hill in news coverage was Lewinsky v Clinton. Now that was fun. We couldn’t get enough of that. There were salacious details, semen stains, oral sex. And the president lied. He threatened every notion of marriage and the sanctity of family. He put our country at risk. And when he did lie we held his feet to the fire. We reported on every angle, every permutation of the story. We held hearings, appointed an independent council, led off every newscast for months about the lie, played it until there was no hiding from it, and then held him accountable by impeaching him. It is our moral responsibility to report on the sex lives of the powerful. It is the only thing that kept our country alive at that point. It righted our ship of state. It saved our collective soul. And it was great, juicy fun. Imagine what would have happened to our country’s soul if the president lied and nothing was done about it, if impeachment was off the table. Where would we be today if we did not hold our president accountable?

Third, find more racially divisive news and play that constantly. As long as we hate each other we will never be bothered with this gnawing lefty obsession with information. Let’s make the purpose of the media salacious entertainment, not information. The more our news outlets and talk radio can distract us the better. We love distraction. When the nattering nabobs of negativity tell you that the economy is falling apart, that gas costs four dollars a gallon, that they are foreclosing on your home, that there is chaos in Iraq, when these propagandists spread this ‘information’ it is our moral responsibility to distract. I don’t know about you but show me a starlet without panties getting out of a car and suddenly the world seems like a better place. Show me Knight Rider drunk on the floor eating a hamburger, and I won’t ask why my kid has no health insurance. Let’s stop burdening people with facts. I bet some of you are saying; ‘Sure Tim, there’s no question, sex scandals, race riots and drunken TV stars are a lot of fun, but shouldn’t broadcasters see themselves as part of the larger picture? Isn’t there an obligation to honestly report on what is going on, to pursue stories past their headlines? Haven’t criminal acts occurred in government? Shouldn’t there be accountability for inept policy decisions? Shouldn’t someone be fired?’ And you know something? I didn’t hear any of that because I’m still thinking about that starlet getting out of the car without her panties. You see, that doesn’t take any energy. I know exactly what to think about.

Now some of you are concerned with that unrelenting pesky competition. You know, the new technologies; the Internets and satellite radio and television. The problem is there are too many people in this country that take the notion of creativity and invention too damn seriously. Just when one technology is centralized, conglomerated, monopolized, along come new technologies and delivery systems to threaten the good work born of deregulation. Just when we were getting close to a national playlist for our music, satellite technology is threatening to provide music that people actually want to hear. Just when we were close to a national news media, providing a general consensus on what the truth is, along comes the Internets that allow its users a choice on the kinds of news it watches. And the You Tube. My God we’ve got to stop them. Recently when we were about to enjoy our great national pastime of ‘tearing apart a presidential candidate with relentless repetition of ugly things his friend said’, You Tube provided the candidates reasoned response and millions watched and responded positively.

Well you here at NAB have the power to stop this dangerous technology. The question is, how? I respectfully suggest that you do what others have done when facing the competition of new technologies. Get compromising information on your enemy and expose them in a sex scandal. Or call them a racist, or better yet a traitor. That not only undermines your competitor, but provides the public with fantastic entertainment.

Of course you can do that. And no one in this current world would fault you for it. It is, after all, where we stand today. In all seriousness folks, let’s face it. We are at an abyss as a country and as an industry. And I know that saying we are at an abyss isn’t the stuff of keynote addresses but all sarcasm and irony and rude pithiness aside, we are at a critical juncture in this nation’s history. This is a nation divided and reeling from betrayal and economic hardships. And you, the broadcasters of this great nation have a tremendous power, and a tremendous potential to effect change. You have the power to turn this country away from cynicism. You have the power to turn this nation away from the hatred and the divisive dialogue that has rendered such a corrosive affect on our body politic. You can lift us up into a more enlightened age. Or you can hide behind that old adage; ‘I’m just a businessman, I provide what the audience wants.’ Well, I’m here to tell you that we don’t need to look at the car crash. We don’t need to live off of the pain and humiliation of the unfortunate. We don’t need to celebrate our pornographic obsession with celebrity culture. We are better than that.

Some of you are trying. Some of you are inspiring people towards altruism and compassion with your programming. Some of you are trying to lift the civic dialogue into a more responsible and adult arena. But I know you do so against the odds of ratings and job security. It is really up to the leaders in this room. It is up to you, the scions of this industry to leave behind formulas and focus groups and your own fears of job security. Only with your courage and your vision can we begin to imagine a world of broadcasting where the general consensus of those with real power say ‘Enough is enough. Now is the time to move away from our lesser selves. Now is the time to stop making money on the misfortunes of others and the prurient and salacious desires of the public. Now is the time to admit and recognize that we aren’t just businessmen but the guardians of the human spirit, with a responsibility to the health of this nation. That we can lift this country up with our programming, that instead of catering to the gossips and the scolds and the voyeurs we can appeal to the better nature in our audience, the better nature of what this country is all about.’

This is a country filled with people of great compassion and tremendous generosity. This is a country that has survived dust bowls and depressions, that united to defeat Hitler and fascism and communism. We are a resilient people and a tenacious people. And we are ready for change.

Imagine a new broadcasting industry aesthetic, that respecting the better nature of the American people, produces shows that promote strength instead of fear. That does not divide, but inspires, that does not promote hate, but unity, that will not tear the weak down, but build up their strength. Imagine a world of broadcasting where the American people are encouraged to reject despair and distrust. And when they turn their TVs and radios off at night and go to sleep they possess strength, and unity and compassion for those they disagree with. That’s not out of the question. You can make that happen. It will be difficult, and will fly in the face of conventional wisdom, and standard operational procedures. But do we have any choice? The road we are on is leading us to a corruption of our former selves. We are better than that. You can help us reclaim our better nature, our perfect union. It isn’t necessarily a matter of country before profit, or of patriotism and truth before personal comfort. There could be money to be made in appealing to our better selves. Wouldn’t that be great?

And if there isn’t and we came out of it a little less rich but more unified and healthier as a nation wouldn’t that be something we could all be proud of?

Miz Shoes

One Trick Pony

Brilliant. And, sadly, true. Even sadder? I knew this man when he was still the president of the Florida Young Democrats, before he determined that electability in the Cuban Diaspora was dependent on being a Republican, and switched parties. So much for convictions.

Miz Shoes

Bruce 4 Obama

I was waiting for this. From the official site, the official endorsement.

Dear Friends and Fans:

LIke most of you, I’ve been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.

He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I’ve envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that’s interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where “...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.”

At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man’s life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams of My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.

After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.

Over here on E Street, we’re proud to support Obama for President.

Bruce Springsteen

Let’s see if he preaches the word on Friday night.

Miz Shoes

Gonna Be a Long Walk Home

Well. I mean, just. Read this… and weep. Weep for the poetry of the words, for the power of the message. Weep if this man does not become the next American president. Weep for the worthless, illiterate gomer we’ve kept propped up in the White House, raping and pillaging our economy, our bill of rights, our constitution.

I am hereby declaring my official support for Barrack Obama, and I am proud to do so. Hillary, as smart as you are, as much as I want to love you, you will never, never, never, be able to write like this, or deliver a speech like this.

(taken verbatim from his web site)

As Prepared for Delivery…

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy.  Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished.  It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.  What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.  I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren. 

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people.  But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas.  I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas.  I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations.  I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters.  I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate.  But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity.  Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country.  In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign.  At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.”  We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary.  The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.  On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. 

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.  For some, nagging questions remain.  Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy?  Of course.  Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church?  Yes.  Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views?  Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed. 

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial.  They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice.  Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough.  Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask?  Why not join another church?  And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man.  The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.  He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones.  Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.  Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories tha t we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity.  Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger.  Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor.  They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear.  The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright.  As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me.  He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.  Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.  He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.  I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me.  And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable.  I can assure you it is not.  I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork.  We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.  We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.  And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point.  As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried.  In fact, it isn’t even past.”  We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country.  But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations.  That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened.  And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up.  They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted.  What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination.  That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future.  Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways.  For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.  That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends.  But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table.  At times, that anger is exploited by politicia ns, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews.  The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.  That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change.  But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community.  Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race.  Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch.  They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor.  They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense.  So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committ ed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company.  But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation.  Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition.  Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends.  Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.  And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now.  It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.  Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past.  It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.  But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans—the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family.  And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons.  But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society.  It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old—is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past.  But what we know—what we have seen – is that America can change.  That is true genius of this nation.  What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed.  Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.  It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us.  Let us be our sister’s keeper.  Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country.  We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism.  We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news.  We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.  We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction.  And then another one.  And then another one.  And nothing will change.

That is one option.  Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”  This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children.  This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem.  The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy.  Not this time. 

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life.  This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.  We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country.  This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.  And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta. 

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina.  She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer.  And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care.  They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches.  Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice.  Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally.  But she didn’t.  She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign.  They all have different stories and reasons.  Many bring up a specific issue.  And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time.  And Ashley asks him why he’s there.  And he does not bring up a specific issue.  He does not say health care or the economy.  He does not say education or the war.  He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama.  He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.”  By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough.  It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start.  It is where our union grows stronger.  And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Miz Shoes

Cheap Trick

It’s a cheap shot, but I gotta take it. William F. Buckley is dead, but how could anyone tell?

On the other hand, this is just the shot in the arm P.J. O’Rourke needed for his career. Now he can be the go-to guy for rabidly right-wing rhetoric from an upper-class twit. As far as that goes, he’s certainly funnier than Bill Buckley, and arguably better looking. Not that that’s saying much.

Miz Shoes

FAME!

I wanna live forever!! Or at least, leave a lasting impression on the world. That’s why I, Ralph Nader, will not stop until I have screwed every presidential election between now and the day I die.

That’s the only thing that Miz Shoes can figure is going through Ralph’s head these days. Why else would he do this? He’s got no platform, he’s got no chance, he’s got no backing (unless he’s a secret agent for the Pure Evil that is Karl Rove). What does he have to gain, other than a footnote or a couple of paragraphs in the history books?

Get over yourself, Ralph. And go do something productive for a change, like take on Hummer. Or start a viable, well-conceived third party. Start at the grass-roots, and construct a platform. Engage voters. Promote clear thinking and honest debate as opposed to scripted sound bites and photo-ops. Or would that be too much hard work and not enough instant gratification?

Miz Shoes

Sister Suffragette

This election cycle is the one where one of my oldest-held political beliefs will be tested. I have always held that America will elect a Black man to be our president before it will elect a woman of any color, and a woman will be president long before a Jew of either gender. It is just unfortunate that we have a charismatic man running against a woman who was never charming on her own, and was demonized by the Republican right to the point where she can never recover. Don’t get me wrong, I admire much about Hillary Rodham Clinton. I just don’t think she’s at all electable to anyone outside of the intellectual elite. Even though I could, if I wanted, place myself in that group, I can’t vote for her. I tried, Lord knows, but when push came to shove, she reminded me of too many women I’ve known in politics in my life: hard, calculating, cold and as much a smoke-filled back room playa as her husband. I never drank the Clinton kool-aid, neither pro nor con. I don’t think that they are in league with the devil, and I don’t think that they are the best and the brightest of our generation.

Bill was a great president, and a seriously flawed human being. Hillary may be a better human, but she’s a political hack through and through. I don’t want to vote for another party clone. And therein lies the problem of this election. Who do we have running? We have the Manchurian Candidate (McCain) and we have The Candidate (Obama) and we have… what? What does Hillary stand for other than getting elected? Geraldine Ferraro was a more potent icon of the political potential of women than Hillary can ever be.

Which brings me to the point. Hillary needs to let it go. She needs to walk the walk and let the popular vote decide the process, and not manipulate it to achieve the results she and the other power holders want. The Democratic party needs to embrace the populace, and not just pretend to for the sake of rigging elections. We (speaking for the nation, and why can’t I?) have seen how power brokering and rigging elections works. We’ve seen it for eight years. It has worked us to the brink of another Great Depression, and worked us into a quagmire of a war in the Middle East. It has destabilized our position in the world.

Oh, for a viable third party. Any third party. Green, Libertarian, Socialist, Creative Apathy, or even Very Silly. Sigh.

Miz Shoes

A Mighty Wind

I’m skimming the news about the tornadoes and I run across this sentence:

President Bush, who said he called the governors of the affected states to offer support, plans to come to Tennessee on Friday. “Prayers can help and so can the government,” Bush said.

Prayers can help? Help what? Help who? They did a splendid job of keeping the winds out of the area yesterday, because that statement surely means that the people in the nearby towns that didn’t get destroyed must have prayed harder than the people who died…right? That’s what the Idiot in Chief was saying, wasn’t it? Or do I just not (being a Jew and therefore bound for Hell) understand how that Christian prayer thing works.

And if his idea of the government helping is New Orleans two years later? Then count me out. For the love of all that is sacred and holy (in Bush’s case, that would be oil, money and power) what is he going to do? Send in the trailers and tents that are affectionately known as “Hurricane Magnets” in my part of the woods and “Tornado Magnets” elsewhere?

Is he going to send in the prayer squad or is he going to actually send in food and generators?

I just really need to stop reading the papers.

Miz Shoes

This is the Story of the Hurricane

So in all the years the RLA and I have owned the Casita des Zappatos, we have never filed an insurance claim. The no-name storm caused our living room to flood? We mopped and squeegeed and toweled and dried and threw out some papers. Katrina and Wilma decimated our trees? We sawed and cut and cleaned up. Lost tow truck forcibly removed about 80 feet of chain link fence? We found a fence guy, repaired and replanted and went on about our lives. Never a claim.

But the insurance industry is in the toilet. And we were lucky not to have our insurance canceled. No, we just had our rates adjusted. To about triple what it was last year, which means the escrow account at the mortgage holders now has a shortfall in the many, many thousands of dollars, which I either have to pay up front, or let my mortgage payment fucking DOUBLE! Double to pretty much exactly my monthly take-home pay. Which means that I couldn’t pay the other bills. Or, I can find about nine thousand dollars in the couch cushions, pay the escrow, and watch my mortgage go up only three hundred dollars a month. Or I can tell the mortgage holder thanks, but I’ll pay the insurance and taxes myself when due and hope that the change in the couch cushions builds up really fast, so that I actually have the money when the time comes to pay the piper.

Or, I can just pay off my mortgage, and only pay the taxes and insurance. That’s assuming I can bring myself to gut my brokerage account to do so. Or. Or what, exactly are my other options? Get a second job? Cut back on my other bills? That would mean turning off the air conditioner for the entire summer. Or selling my car. Or canceling the cable and the land line and only using a cell phone and NetFlix.

Time to tighten the belt another couple of notches.

Miz Shoes

Brass in Pocket

Well, we all knew it was only a matter of time before this happened. Many thanks to RJ for sending this my way.

Miz Shoes

Feed The Birds, Tuppence a Bag

There has been a flurry of e-mail the past couple of weeks as a certain “this is not a fake, click on this button and donate to charity” chain letter makes the rounds. The thing is, it isn’t fake, and even though I think I’ll remember to click and donate dog food to shelters, I don’t remember. So.

Over there on the right, in the endless blog roll, just above the Daily Puppy (aww) and the Daily Kitten (double aww) I have added, for your and my convenience, a Daily Click. Click and choose which or all of the charities on that page you wish to support. There’s animals, children, breast cancer, literacy. You name it, there’s a tab for it. And there is shopping for charity, about which one can feel so morally smug.

It’s a win-win all the way around.

From the AP: the Democratic candidates for President were asked who they liked in the American League East run for the pennant. The two teams in the playoff are the NY Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. These douche bags can’t even answer that question. They name their home teams. Who cares, assholes? It’s BASEBALL: pick a team in the running.

By The Associated Press

How the Democratic presidential candidates responded when asked during Wednesday night’s debate whether they support the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees baseball teams:

- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: Red Sox.

- Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Cleveland Indians.

- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Yankees.

- Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel: Red Sox.

- Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: Red Sox.

- Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: White Sox.

- Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: Red Sox.

- Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: Yankees.

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