rivka: (for god's sake)
I don't even want to look at the news today.

I am burned out. I am tired of being a member of a party that is so totally fucking incompetent at standing up for itself. We pissed away the opportunity handed us in the 2008 election. We were unable or unwilling to make use of the mandate we had. We spent two years bending over backward trying not to offend anyone, knuckling under to the fake offense generated by the right-wing media, and utterly failing to make our case, in anything approaching a compelling way, to the American people.

I. Am. Tired.
rivka: (for god's sake)
Beige. Beige. Michelle Obama wore a lovely BEIGE dress to her first state dinner, and she looked gorgeous.

Too bad the Associated Press ran into a little problem with their coverage.

First lady Michelle Obama chose to wear a gleaming silver-sequined, flesh-colored gown Tuesday night to the first state dinner held by her husband's administration. She was tending to her hostess duties in a strapless silhouette with the beads forming an abstract floral pattern that was custom-made by Naeem Khan. [emphasis mine]


And they ran this picture alongside it:



...So it's not like they didn't have a visual aid to help them remember THE COLOR OF MICHELLE OBAMA'S FLESH.

(Via TAPPED.)
rivka: (feminazi)
I've never seen a Roman Polanski movie.

And, you know, I'm glad. Because if there's some sort of magic crack in his films that strips people of any vestige of common decency, then I'm happy to have done without.

Kate Harding sums it up perfectly, as usual.
rivka: (smite)
I work very hard at having a positive view of humanity, and recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of all people. I continually fall short, but I do work hard at it.

And then I read about the people who are making hate calls to the family of one of the DC Metrorail crash victims, because just from seeing her name and skin color in the newspaper they've decided that she must be an illegal immigrant. Who, they apparently fear, has unjustly stolen a death that could've belonged to a decent white American citizen.

And all I can think of is, man. People suck.
rivka: (family)
I just cried and cried when I watched this video [livejournal.com profile] joedecker posted. Tears streaming down my face.


"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

At least some of the strength of my emotional reaction may be hormonal, I guess. But I see the love and joy and bliss on these couples' faces in their wedding pictures and know that they are truly married in every way that matters. There is no difference between their marriage and mine... except that there are people out there who want to rip their families apart and destroy their lives in service to some imaginary ideal.

This. Is. Wrong.
rivka: (Obama)
That was... yeah. It's been a long long wait.



Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing lyrics )
rivka: (Obama)
At a press conference in Washington today, President-elect Barack Obama repeatedly refused to answer questions about the size of his package, calling the subject "a personal matter."

Again and again, reporters attempted to get Mr. Obama to tell them exactly how big his package was, but the President-elect was steadfast in his refusal to quantify it.

"If I tell you the size of my package, some of you will think that it sounds too small, " he said. "And others will be uncomfortable with how big it is."

The President-elect seemed to indicate, however, that the size of his package may vary according to the circumstances.

"Depending on what is going on, my package could grow significantly larger," he said. "It all comes down to the amount of stimulus."
rivka: (feminazi)
I will not argue with men's rights activists.
I will not argue with men's rights activists.
I will not argue with men's rights activists.
I will not...

[repeat until believed]
rivka: (Obama)
I spent twelve hours yesterday driving to Harrisburg PA, getting out the vote for Obama, and driving home. It was a much better use of those twelve hours than the fretting which I would have inevitably done if I'd had time. Read more... )
rivka: (Obama)
I'm crying.

Being American feels different now.
rivka: (Obama)
A little Election Eve inspiration:



And a flashback to nine months ago:



We're in the home stretch, folks. Let's do this.
rivka: (Obama)
I just made last-minute contact with the Obama campaign to verify plans for tomorrow. They're diverting me to a "staging office," because there's no possible way the Harrisburg campaign headquarters can hold all the volunteers who are coming. My campaign contact reassured me that there will be indoor sitting-down work available as well as canvassing. (I can probably walk door-to-door for four hours or so, but not for the 8.5 hours I'm planning to be in Harrisburg.)

Harrisburg is a 90-minute trip from my house. I'm planning to leave around 7:30, arrive there at 9, stay until 5:30, and get home again around 7 or so. Then [livejournal.com profile] acceberskoorb, [livejournal.com profile] lynsaurus, and [livejournal.com profile] unodelman will come by for a while to watch election returns. Hopefully they will still like me after they've seen what I'm like at a high pitch of nerves. Or maybe I'll be so tired after a long day of campaigning that I'll be more bearable?

Things to do tonight: pack up a bunch of high-protein, high-calorie snacks in case it's hard to get food on the run tomorrow. Make brownies and cut up veggies for returns-watching. Get Alex's things ready so I can get her out of bed and straight out the door. Refresh fivethirtyeight.com until my fingers bleed. Fret.

Arranging for someone else to take your kid to school is more complicated in the carseat era. I looked through the nursery school directory for kids in Alex's class who (a) live close enough to walk to school, and (b) don't have parents with high-pressure jobs who need to get to work super-early. I wound up with a family I don't know terribly well - just to exchange a few sentences here and there, not someone Alex has actually had playdates with. I knew they were big Obama supporters, so I went ahead and left them a begging voicemail and got a very nice voicemail reply.

I made contact with the mom in that family this morning at school drop-off. "Bring her by any time! It's no trouble! We're up at the crack of dawn!" I explained that I would send Alex's breakfast along with her. "We've got plenty of breakfast food! Don't worry about it!"

"Thank you so, so much," I said.

"No, thank you," she said sincerely. "Thank you for going to Pennsylvania."

"I have to do something," I told her. "Otherwise the anxiety is going to kill me."
rivka: (Obama)
A while back I posted about McCain's apparent lack of a ground campaign - and especially the lack of a nationwide organizational structure capable of matching up against Barack Obama's. At the time, the discrepancy in the ground campaigns seemed so incredible that I was half-convinced there was some kind of weird Trojan Horse thing going on - a stealth ground campaign we couldn't see.

According to the Washington Post, apparently not:
McCain has faced a severe spending imbalance during most of the fall, but the Republican nominee squirreled away enough funds to pay for a raft of television ads in critical battleground states over the next four days, said Evan Tracey, a political analyst who monitors television spending.

The decision to finance a final advertising push is forcing McCain to curtail spending on Election Day ground forces to help usher his supporters to the polls, according to Republican consultants familiar with McCain's strategy.

The vaunted, 72-hour plan that President Bush used to mobilize voters in 2000 and 2004 has been scaled back for McCain. He has spent half as much as Obama on staffing and has opened far fewer field offices. This week, a number of veteran GOP operatives who orchestrate door-to-door efforts to get voters to the polls were told they should not expect to receive plane tickets, rental cars or hotel rooms from the campaign.

"The desire for parity on television comes at the expense of investment in paid boots on the ground," said one top Republican strategist who has been privy to McCain's plans.


The Post article quotes a campaign advisor saying that negative ads are more likely to change people's minds than personal contacts are. And maybe that's what the McCain campaign believes. But to me this reads more like a campaign that has realized that it can't and won't win (check out this piece of desperation), and is doing what it can to poison the well and make governance harder for the next president.

The problem with my giving up/spoiler interpretation is the overwhelming evidence that the ground campaign has been lacking from the beginning, even in swing states where it was presumably needed most. That link is to a 538.com article called "The Big Empty," a summary of their experiences visiting 50 McCain offices in 13 battleground states. It's a devastating indictment of the campaign - check out their photos, in particular.

On the flip side, Obama's ground organization has been truly revolutionary. Everyone with an interest in practical politics should read this lengthy, thoughtful, and fascinating analysis of how the Obama ground campaign is structured, and their intense efforts to develop, nurture, and sustain volunteer leadership.

The "New Organizers" have succeeded in building what many netroots-oriented campaigners have been dreaming about for a decade. Other recent attempts have failed because they were either so "top-down" and/or poorly-managed that they choked volunteer leadership and enthusiasm; or because they were so dogmatically fixated on pure peer-to-peer or "bottom-up" organizing that they rejected basic management, accountability and planning. The architects and builders of the Obama field campaign, on the other hand, have undogmatically mixed timeless traditions and discipline of good organizing with new technologies of decentralization and self-organization.

Win or lose, "The New Organizers" have already transformed thousands of communities—and revolutionized the way organizing itself will be understood and practiced for at least the next generation. Obama must continue to feed and lead the organization they have built—either as president or in opposition. If he doesn't, then the broader progressive movement needs to figure out how to pick this up, keep it going and spread it to all 50 states.


As I read the article, I kept thinking of my experiences working with Dean For America in 2003-2004. Many of the organizing principles sounded like grown-up, much-improved versions of the work we were trying to do in the Dean campaign. And indeed, the success of the Obama organization developed from both the DFA organization and Dean's work to develop a nationwide Democratic Party structure in his work as the Chair of the DNC.

Because I'm still a Dean partisan in many ways, I'm so thrilled to finally see public recognition of the brilliance of his 50 State Strategy. When he took over as head of the DNC, a lot of people thought sending paid Democratic organizers into places like North Carolina was a dumb waste of money. Dean looks like a genius now.
rivka: (her majesty)
I love this anti-prop-8 ad narrated by Samuel L. Jackson:



And in case there was any doubt: Post this on your blog if you're in an opposite-sex marriage and you don't want it to be "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage cheapens or hurts it somehow.

Yes, of course. Unquestionably. Absolutely.

We have lesbian friends who are expecting a baby six weeks before we're expecting the Niblet. There is no difference between their family and ours. Their son ought to have the exact same right to be born into a stable, legally protected, societally-recognized marriage that our son will have. And the same obviously goes for our GLBT friends who don't have kids, as well. Love is love. Marriage is marriage. Families are families. Sexual orientation should have nothing to do with it.
rivka: (Obama)
I don't care what your politics are: if this story doesn't warm your heart, there's probably something wrong with you.

Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country's first black presidential nominee.

The middle child of 13, Jones, who is African American, is part of a family that has lived in Republican-leaning Bastrop County for five generations. The family has remained a fixture in Cedar Creek and other parts of the county, even when its members had to eat at segregated barbecue dives and walk through the back door while white customers walked through the front, said Amanda Jones' 68-year-old daughter, Joyce Jones.

For at least a decade, Amanda Jones worked as a maid for $20 a month, Joyce Jones said. She was a housewife for 72 years and helped her now-deceased husband, C.L. Jones, manage a store.

Amanda Jones, a delicate, thin woman wearing golden-rimmed glasses, giggled as the family discussed this year's presidential election. She is too weak to go the polls, so two of her 10 children — Eloise Baker, 75, and Joyce Jones — helped her fill out a mail-in ballot for Barack Obama, Baker said. "I feel good about voting for him," Amanda Jones said.

Jones' father herded sheep as a slave until he was 12, according to the family, and once he was freed, he was a farmer who raised cows, hogs and turkeys on land he owned. Her mother was born right after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Joyce Jones said. The family owned more than 100 acres of land in Cedar Creek at one point, she said.

Amanda Jones' father urged her to exercise her right to vote, despite discriminatory practices at the polls and poll taxes meant to keep black and poor people from voting. Those practices were outlawed for federal elections with the 24th Amendment in 1964, but not for state and local races in Texas until 1966.

Amanda Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn't recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughters said. That she is able, for the first time, to vote for a black presidential nominee for free fills her with joy, Jones said.
rivka: (Obama)
I admire people who have the guts to do this in this economy:

Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger."

Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says. The call center is called Americall, and it's located in Hobart, IN.

"They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day."

The daughter, who wanted her name withheld fearing retribution from her employer, confirmed the story to us. "It was like at least 40 people," the daughter said. "People thought the script was nasty and they didn't wanna read it."

A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that "at least 30" workers had walked out after refusing to read the script.

"We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting."
rivka: (Obama)
I've signed up with the Obama campaign to go to Pennsylvania on Election Day, to help get out the vote. They've asked me to go to Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, which is a small conservative city in the southern part of the state. It's about 80 miles north of Baltimore.

The form e-mail I got assigning me to Harrisburg says that I'll either be canvassing or working the phones; I assume that on Election Day itself I'm more likely to be asked to work the phones, but it's possible that they'll still be going door to door even then.

So far I'm very impressed with their organization. They have a webpage aimed at "border state volunteers," people who live in safe blue or safe red states who want to travel someplace where the election will be close. They encouraged me to come for a four-day trip (and I wanted to!), but I was also free to sign up for whichever days I could actually travel. My field office match came complete with a link to a 16-page PDF booklet called the "PA Border States Volunteer Welcome Packet," which provided everything from the phone numbers and addresses of every field office in the state to a list of hotels offering discounted stays to a suggested packing list with wardrobe suggestions. The booklet also had a brief guide to the PA political scene and the parameters of the race in PA.

I was particularly struck by this:

Thanks to our hard work registering voters, there are currently 438,536 more registered Democrats in Pennsylvania than there were at the time of the election in 2004. Meanwhile, there are 175,472 fewer registered Republicans than in 2004. Democrats have nearly doubled their registration advantage of 580,208 voters in 2004 to 1,194,216 voters
through October 2008. The Obama campaign registered over 350,000 of these new Democrats.


I don't know how necessary I really am to the get-out-the-vote effort. Recent polls in Pennsylvania haven't been particularly close, for all that the McCain campaign has been insisting that they can win there. I guess I just want to feel like I've done my part, and there's not much I can do toward that end as a Maryland resident. Plus, I think it will be fun.

How about you, or at least, the Americans among you? Do you have Election Day plans? Do you live in a state where your vote might make a difference?
rivka: (psych help)
This is just sick and sad.

Police sources tell KDKA that a campaign worker has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter "B" in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.

Ashley Todd, 20, of Texas, initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car.

Police investigating the alleged attack, however, began to notice some inconsistencies in her story and administered a polygraph test.

Authorities, however, declined to release the results of that test.

Investigators did say that they received photos from the ATM machine and "the photographs were verified as not being the victim making the transaction."

This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story.

The commander added that Todd will face charges; but police have not commented on what those charges will be.


That was really the only thing lacking in making this the most disgusting campaign of the modern era, wasn't it?

I hope that all the right-wing blogs which spread the story far and wide are posting prominent corrections even as we speak. Particularly including the president of the FOX network, who posted that the original story might lead Obama supporters to change their vote for reasons having nothing to do with racism. But I hope I'm not going to see any triumphalism about this from Democrats. This is not a story we should be pleased to relate.

This young woman is seriously disturbed. I hope she gets the help she needs. I hope this story will lead more people to a sober examination of the ugly undercurrents in our society that made her original claims seem believable to many. And I hope that will be the end of it.
rivka: (ouch)
ZOMG how could I?!?!

I'm so embarrassed... and horrified...

(link brings up video; via Zoltan Lazar)
rivka: (WTF?!)
Breaking news from the McCain campaign: God is a petty, puffed-up, status-crazy adolescent.



It really makes you wonder: if they really believe that God is this way, why would they worship him?

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