I grew up reading comic books wanting to be a superhero. Comics taught me that those who speak the truth are heroes, all the rest are liars.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Killing the Democratic Party as we know it?

Just to warn you before you read this posting… If you’re part of the establishment (define this as you may) you probably won’t like this, so you may want to check out a different posting…

Let’s talk about the Democratic Party in this very important year of opportunity. Currently the Democratic Party has 3 strong presidential candidates by anyone’s standards.

I view the Presidential race as more of a cross roads for our party and our country. One road will lead us to growing our party (let’s call this a rebirth). One road will lead us to KILL our party, as we know it. And the last road will be somewhere in the middle. Can you guess which candidates are trying to lead us down what path???

Towards the beginning of the primary and caucus process I truly felt that any Democratic candidate would be a great President. I was proud of the diversity that our party was showing with our array of candidates.

This thinking was changed with New Hampshire.

It was Bill Clinton turning negative and going after Obama that put me in a state of disgust. I liked Bill as President. When he’s positive he can change the world. Now seeing the negative side, I fear he will damage our party.

Together Bill and Hillary turning negative are like taking a knife and stabbing a vital party in its heart. MARK my words – if things continue the way they’ve been with the Clintons and if Hillary gets the party’s nomination – it will KILL the Democratic Party, as we know it.

I’ve talked with friends and others who support Obama. I’ve heard numerous times “if Hillary gets the nomination I will not vote for her”.

Where Obama is bringing people to the party, the Clintons could very well drive people from our party - thus KILLING the party.

More to come…

Wakota Bridge Wonker

So once again we have the saga of mismanagement, poor decisions, wrong reasoning and just plain lack of leadership costing Minnesotan's more...And once again, it's MNDOT's process and the Wakota Bridge....

For $6 million more than the bid gathered over a year ago...MNDOT just awarded the Wakota proposal to Lunda Construction ...MNDOT opted to rebid the eastbound span of the bridge stating that the cost was too high. A year later and now $6 MILLION higher...MNDOT accepts the lowest bidder. MNDOT's new slogan should read...MNDOT's business acumen takes longer and costs more tax dollars! The Wakota bridge is the single-worse bridge project in Minnesota history in terms of delays and cost overruns...

Current traffic backups on the bridge are now at or exceed levels before the bridge was replaced. Often traffic is backed up miles as far as Hwy 52 on the eastbound side during evening rush hour and to nearly Interstate 94 on the westbound side during the morning rush hour. Last night I had occasion to cross the bridge and get on Highway 61...it was not a pretty experience given the mess. Snow and ice add to the dangerous crossing and massive delays.

So the question is: Why does Lieutenant Governor/MNDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau still have a job? She has garnered criticism from both the DFL and GOP for what they perceive as an unwillingness to advocate for funding for the state’s transportation needs. Obviously she has mismanaged this major project causing both delays and cost overruns. So again, why does she have a job when we so desperately need leadership and vision for Minnesota's transportation needs?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dinner Last Night

If I were to believe in a higher being, they would look, and talk, and think a lot like ex U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders.
I attend a Pro-Choice Coalition Dinner last night at the International Market Place in Minneapolis. The keynote speaker, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, gave an amazing speech. She was smart and funny and hit home runs with her truth and wit pertaining to abortion. Dr. Elders had been one of our most competent Surgeon Generals, urging this country to adopt a sane and progressive health agenda. Unfortunately like many progressives, her comments were exaggerated, distorted, politicalize and marginized by the media. She was forced to resign.

So many of us can't say the word because of the stigma that society, men and even women have attached to it. Yet there she was in all her glory speaking to us about abortion and citing examples and giving information...including the time before abortion was legal and being a doctor in the south.

She pointed out (paraphrased) that the right must stop it's love affair with the fetus and start their love affair with living children (noting the millions of children in the U.S. without medical coverage). My favorite line of the night was that dealing with the abortion issue was like dancing with a bear. You do not want to be the first one to stop dancing. You have to tire out the bear so it stops first. So most of us keep dancing with the bear.

All in all, she spoke of the rights of women to control their bodies and medical history and the prolong attacks by the right to subjugate women's rights while making those that object seem godless. Now more than ever, we need to find our voices.

Quotes from Dr. Elders:
"We must stop this love affair with the fetus." —Austin, Texas, Jan. 21, 1994

"Education, education, education. The only way we are going to get around [AIDS] is with education. We have no vaccine, we have no magic drug. All we've got is education."

"Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders once said that women are up against a bear. And when you're dancing with a bear, you don't get tired. You have to wait until the bear gets tired. You have to keep fighting with everything you've got.
"As long as I was in Washington I never met anybody that I thought was good enough, who knew enough, or who loved enough to make sexual decisions for anybody else."[4]

"We know that more than 70 to 80% of women masturbate, and 90% of men masturbate, and the rest lie."[4]

"Condoms will break, but I can assure you that vows of abstinence will break more easily than condoms."[5]

"We've tried ignorance for a thousand years. It's time to try education."[4]

"I'm against Abstinence programs, because I really consider Abstinence Only to be child abuse."[4]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Collective Thoughts

The recent ‘scorched earth’ media reporting does more to hurt the Democratic party and it’s candidates. It doesn't build a consensus or give value to the issues...instead the media reports as if Democrats were a 'a flock of Britney Spears' with no reference to substance like...oh I don't know...ISSUES! It's become painful to see as even the candidates struggle to bring attention back from their egos to the issues. Here's one blog's account from Jane Hamsher at firedoglake.com
If no decisive victor emerges before the convention, the superdelegates could force both Clinton and Obama onto a ticket. While I'm sure neither would be happy with that situation, it may be the best thing for the party as a whole. It certainly would be an unbeatable and historic combination, ushering in an era where we can hopefully begin to talk about these things. And after the damage that their mutual mud slinging contest has done to any kind of future coalition, the onus may be on them to suck it up for the good of the country.

Because it doesn't look like our high-minded press -- full of egomaniacs like Bai with no more imagination than to flog the horserace story for their own amusement --will content itself with anything less than scorched earth.

Finally! A reason why we vote against our best interests…read it…fascinating…

Because, in the end, even the people of Nevada, which has the highest home foreclosure rate in the country, will vote for the candidate they trust to keep them alive over the candidate they think will lower their mortgage!

My sentiments…exactly!

I'm thrilled that this seems to be a Democratic year and we have a choice between a woman and an African American, but we can take nothing for granted. I will work my tail off for whichever Democrat gets the nomination. I've already sent money and I expect to send more. I've already written articles, books, poems, parodies and will write more. I've spoken for the cause and will speak more. However the one thing I can't do is reform our irresponsible press. I can blog till the cows come home, but if the voters refuse to look at Hillary's record, and refuse to read and research, I can't shove my passions down their throats.

I’m posting this because I always wanted to say ‘mommy/ball-buster teeter-totter

In their appraisals of Hillary Clinton, the pollsters and pundits who have not gotten beyond that mommy/ball-buster teeter-totter narrative of American womanhood also have not begun to diagnose gender dynamics beyond the perspective of the little boy and his mom. A lot of female voters, however, may be factoring in a whole other kind of female archetype, whose wet eyes do not signal weakness and whose flashes of anger do not signal coldness, only pragmatic perseverance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seeing Invisible Sexism

Instead of seeing dead people, I’ve been seeing invisible sexism...everywhere…for most my life...Now that Hillary is running for President, its triggered an evaluation and review of just ‘how far have we come- baby’?. And my sense as well as the reality on the ground... is we've haven't made the strides we thought we would have by now. Not when the thought of a women President can evoke such vile and demented responsive from even the most mainstreamed media. For me personally, I think a lot of advancements were cosmetic (wearing pants to school) verses the same opportunities (attending A-listed schools).

In reading about gender as a political issue I ran across Erica Jong who speaks to finding that 50/50 division of sexual power. Jong tells us that Hillary's running (win or lose) has opened up the opportunity to look at the role invisible sexism plays in our society as well as the opportunity to change it.
The truth is, we want sexism to be pass√©. We don't want to keep fighting it. It's so uncool to fight it. We sound so shrill, so whining, so strident, so piercing, so shrewish, so female…

Youth has come in the person of Barack. Male? Not really. Think of his wife. Two for the price of one--like Billary in 1992. But will Ms. Obama be the prez? Not really. Power behind the throne. Same old, same old. We seem to have forgotten that we did this all before.

If this is the politics of gender, so be it. We need a politics of gender in this country.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stop The Pile On

Shouldn't we want the media to be fair in reporting on candidates?And along those lines shouldn't the media provide substance over framing. It's time we exam why we are uncomfortable support women running for higher offices or positions of power. And before you pants get in a bunch...this isn't about supporting Hillary over Obama. But it is about the unacceptable phenomenon of media uniquely attacking women who seek a higher position and unfairly framing them... and if it should be acceptable in our society? Kathleen Hall Jamieson has some interesting insight and concepts regarding the media's role in undermining women running for office and a disheartening lack of a national discussion of that behavior. see it or read it

Let's say if Elizabeth Dole was this far along in the polls for the Republican nomination. Would she be subject to the same kinds of attacks? And I think the answer is no…..

These kinds of attacks have actually been deployed against women as they began to run for public office in the United States before….

When you look at the number of members who identify with the sites that post these sorts of things, they're actually fairly small. One question is: How much social disapproval of this actually is there? Another is, within these communities, where is the capacity to talk back and ask where the boundaries of appropriate discourse would be? That is, is there a way to engage productively in the disagreement they want to express and have some substantive content attached instead of simply, you know, ad hominem, in this case I guess ad feminem, name calling.

Is this level of media reporting acceptable? Has it only been recently? I think not. Kathleen comment about Geraldine Ferraro not having the same level of attack but I clearly remember that when the press interviewed both Mondale and Farraro…They would ask Mondale about important international issues.. then immediately ask Farraro about who was watching her children while she ran for office. That type of questioning does two things: implies she was a ‘bad mom’ for running for office and degrades her as being less than an intelligent man.

The bulk of our press has turned into a pulp paper mill that will spend hours discussing the most idiotic things like Britney Spears or candidate hair cuts but nothing of substantial news and issues. Polls even get more attention then the candidates! And sadly the media report more on unacceptable, unproven and distorted trash instead of telling us what we need to know to make an informed decision. The question is, are you going to settle for it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

All Over The Map

The 'Church Secretary' been drinking the wine again...but not to worry...the visions are real..."Fuck hope. We've been stuck in stupid for so long, it's going to be hard and painful work pulling ourselves out of it. This country is in a hole, and we need leaders with the good sense to start by snatching the shovels from those who are digging us deeper."

Oh my gosh, the voters in New Hampshire can read more than in Iowa!

And what a long...long...long trip it's been...Expectation Low for Bush Trip.

I'm thinking of investing...

If you hate he Electoral College, then you're be really upset to learn about Super-delegates? And talking about College....How many times have you heard 'unglued in time for class'?

And finally the madman makes more sense than the rest:
Domestic terrorists. That’s what these people are. That’s how they should be treated. That they aren’t is just another demonstration that we don’t live under the rule of law, but rather the fiat of the powerful, who pick and choose their priorities, and those priorities generally do not include the protection of women.

If He Was A She

Okay unbind your shorts this isn't about one candidate against another. It's about exploring the role that gender plays in this election. Nice insight and some background on how age within gender also plays a role... Bonnie Erbe posts About Race, Gender and Class at US News. It opens with:
Women played interesting roles in last night's Iowa caucuses:
* Younger Democratic women deserted Sen. Hillary Clinton.
* Republican women at some caucuses opened with a prayer, then voted in large percentages for the preacher Mike Huckabee

Erbe goes about what that means and how gender factors into it...
Gender matters still, yet we act as if it is done.

Most of us who led the second wave came out of the civil rights movement. We were inspired by it, learned from it, and led where we could. I celebrate last night for a victory that we also feel, where our nation's troubled history with race, class and gender took an inspired turn for the better. That victory belongs to all of us, but as we celebrate we must remember there is still work to be done by and for women, as we are the group who cross 'all of us' but still don't own 'all of it'.

The race isn't over by a long shot, but the issue of women supporting women is something this campaign can get us to cop to and think about.

Party will always trump gender, issues and values will and always should count first. But if we want to be a fully representative democracy, we have to look at the fact that as much as I celebrate and admire Barack Obama, a woman of his age and stage would not have had the opportunity to make this historic mark in Iowa. She would have been counted out long before she stood up.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

If She Was A He!

Gloria Steinem, well know feminist and co-founder of the Women’s Media Center, has and interesting op-ed at the New York Times on why a women won't be president...speaking from experience, she's correct. Read it here.
"... Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.

That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).

If the lawyer described above had been just as charismatic but named, say, Achola Obama instead of Barack Obama, her goose would have been cooked long ago. Indeed, neither she nor Hillary Clinton could have used Mr. Obama’s public style — or Bill Clinton’s either — without being considered too emotional by Washington pundits