Friday, February 29, 2008

Dipdive Strikes Again

The first one was better, I think. Seemed more spontaneous and authentic. This one's a bit of overkill. But I like it nonetheless. It still made me feel good to be an American. Nothing wrong with that.

C. Ray Nagin and LatiNola

Received this email invitation recently:

Mayor C. Ray Nagin would like to invite you to a One New Orleans Conversation with the Hispanic Community.

The conversation will take place on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Esperanza Charter School, 4407 South Carrolton Ave.

Complimentary Refreshments will be served. Please forward this e-mail to your family, friends, and neighbors.

Please respond back to this e-mail to confirm your attendance. Also, please e-mail me your concerns that you would like for Mayor Nagin and his staff to address. See attached flyer for details.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the numbers listed below.

Hope to See you there!

Malana M. Joseph
Director of Boards & Commissions
Council & Community Affairs Coordinator
Mayor C. Ray Nagin
Office of Intergovernmental Relations
Direct Tel # 504-658-4943
I might show up, at the very least for the "Complimentary Refreshments." A bit more than two years ago, Nagin asked: "How do I make sure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?" Maybe he can systematically go about "cold-cocking" them all. But one thing's for sure, he's gonna get an an earful. Should be entertaining. I hope some of the "Complimentary Refreshments" include milk-duds and popcorn, because it's gonna be a memorable show!

PS: If Nagin really were interested in doing right by the New Orleans Latino community, he might have considered attending the LatiNola Votes! press event this past Tuesday at the very same Esperanza School. Just showing up there to support an initiative put together by the Latinos of the greater Metro New Orleans area would have gone a long way towards initiating a constructive conversation with the community. Instead, he had to be the one sitting on the throne and pretending to be gracious by inviting Latinos to his little party.

LatiNola Votes!

Just a reminder that there is a great event taking place tomorrow from 10am-4pm over at the Esperanza Charter school on Carrollton Ave., close by Jesuit High School and the Mid-City Rock-n-Bowl.

It's a big kickoff event to launch LatiNola Votes! -- a voter registration effort for the Latino community. But I would like to point out that everyone is welcome. There will be food, drinks, music, a kid's area with face painting and such, in addition to a few voter registration tables. It's really more of a community social event than anything else. So, please, if you have some time on Saturday and would like to support a grass-roots community civic engagement effort (and have some fun), try to stop by and say hello. Look for anyone with a LatiNola Votes! yellow T-shirt on, and we'll be happy to greet you and welcome you to the party.

Monday, February 25, 2008


This is so friggin' cool. The "Yes, We Can" video digitally reconstructed from the compilation of photos and images of the Obama campaign as submitted by this site's viewers. It's apparently called a "Collective Video." When the video begins playing, just scroll your pointer over any part of the larger images to highlight the individual photos and images that comprise the video. You can even pause the video and scroll over a single snapshot picture of the video moment to capture all the individual pictures that make up this still, paused image. I tell ya, the technology innovation wrapped up in and emerging out of the Obama campaign is breath-taking and jaw-dropping. I've not seen anything like it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Obama en el Mundo Latino

In response to a few of my previous postings, a few of my regular readers have pointed me to some other youtube clips that show the pro-Obama presence in the Latino world. Here's one in what I'll call the modern Nueva Cancion tradition that NOLAblogger oyster pointed out to me:

And here's another reggaeton selection that my colleague and friend cynthia pointed out:

Nader's In

Just great! Now true hardcore, anticonsumerist, "green" progressives, who shall remain nameless, can ensure that McCain wins in November.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

LatiNola Votes! and Puentes

I'd like to introduce everyone to a great and relatively new community organization serving the Greater New Orleans area called Puentes. As a volunteer for Puentes, I can attest to the great work that the organization does and to its dedicated leadership and community membership. Its mission, as its name suggests, is to build bridges that link the Latino community to the larger New Orleans community and to foster civic engagement among the Latino community.

This morning, in preparation for a very busy week of kicking off an 8-month-long voter registration drive effort, I invited Lucas Diaz, the Executive Director of Puentes, and Alejandro Lurati, another Puentes volunteer and activist, to WTUL-New Orleans' (91.5 FM) Community Gumbo radio show to speak about Puentes generally and the LatiNola Votes! voter registration drive specifically.

The audio file of this discussion (about 50 minutes long) is available at the Community Gumbo website. Check it out.

For the moment, I'd like to take the opportunity to encourage all of my NOLAblogger friends to consider attending the upcoming LatiNola Votes! kick-off event that Puentes has organized for Saturday, March 1, from 10:00am-4:00pm at the Esperanza Charter School located on South Carrollton Avenue (4407 S. Carrollton Ave.).

There will be a kid's area, as well as free music, food, and drinks at the event. Of course, we'll also have a couple of voter registration tables. The event is intended to be fun, family friendly, celebratory, and open to all in the greater New Orleans community. There will be information tables from a variety of other community organizations and agencies at the event as well. Please plan to stop by.

Let me also say that this is a completely non-partisan effort. We want to encourage civic engagement and community involvement that transcends race, class, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and ideological differences.

In fact, if anyone reading this would like to become involved or would like to volunteer, contact me directly at huckupchuck_at_hotmail_dot_com.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Clinton: Texas Doesn't Count!

Well, that's basically what she was saying in a discussion concerning whether or not she would press to seat Michigan and Florida delegates:

We do not want to be disenfranchising Michigan and Florida. We have to try to carry both of those states. I’d love to carry Texas, but it’s usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are. [Emphasis added.]
Read the whole snippet of this interview that Clinton gave to get the full context. Now, I understand what she is saying. She's basically saying that the Democratic Party shouldn't alienate Michigan and Florida delegates because these are states in the General Election that are up for play between Republicans and Democrats. And it is also true that Texas hasn't really been up for play in the General Election since, well, before Ronald Reagan; and has been solidly Republican in national Presidential elections.

However, she shouldn't be going around campaigning in a state whose Democratic delegates she so desperately needs, saying that Democrats in Michigan and Florida matter in November but that Democrats in Texas don't. It's a sign of the 51%/49% Rovian electoral strategy that people are generally sick and tired of, and which is associated with a pattern of politics that plays negatively for Clinton. If I'm a Texas Democrat, and if I thought my vote didn't matter in November, why then would I bother voting in March for the person I hope would win in November. Voting in March is a prelude to hopes and aspirations for success in November. We have primaries so that we can seat candidates we think can win in November, and not just win other states, but win OUR OWN states.

It seems to me that what Clinton is conveying to Texas Democrats is the following: "You only matter to me for the little bit that I need you for. And beyond that, forget it, you're no longer important." (Aside: Where have Louisianans felt treated like this before, I wonder??) And this especially doesn't jive with the line she is selling in Texas to Democratic Voters that she needs them to help turn Texas "blue" in November. I can't find a clip of this, but I saw Hillary Clinton say this specifically in her post-debate speech to Democrats at the Democratic Party headquarters in Austin. It was part of her opening lines.

So, Hillary is telling Texas Democrats from one side of her mouth that they matter and that their votes could move Texas's electoral votes from Red to Blue in November. And, in fact, this is what Texas Democratic voters need to hear. But, then, in her cynical play for Michigan and Florida electoral votes, she indicates just the opposite to Texas Democrats ... that their votes in November aren't as important as those of Democratic voters in Florida and Michigan.

On the flip side, what she is conveying to Obama-supporting Democrats in Michigan and Florida is that their states' electoral votes only matter if Hillary gets her way regarding the seating of delegates in an unfairly contested election that benefits her and doesn't give Obama or his supporters a fair shake in a fairly-contested election.

It's a disastrous lose-lose strategy, if you ask me. It's a sign of a truly desperate candidate who is preparing to lose Texas (which she desperately needs to win in a big way), and banking on a spurious strategy of relying on obtaining delegates in an underhanded and devious way, a way that is not likely to prevail anyway.

If I were Obama, I'd pound this over and over again. I'd use Clinton's dismissive treatment of Texas's importance to Democrats in the General Elelction in November to bury her. In her efforts to promote a strategy regarding Florida and Michigan that probably won't pan out anyway, Hillary has just set herself up to be targeted as a cynical user of Texas Democrats that can cost her the "firewall" she needs to make her Michigan and Florida strategy viable in the first place. Obama should capitalize on this in the most positive way. He should stick to his line of building successful electoral coalitions that can, indeed, turn "red" states "blue." And I can't think of any Democrat in Texas who wouldn't want to hear this and who wouldn't be charged up to think of this as a real possibility.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obamariachi: Viva Obama!

My friend and colleague Gray has sent me via YouTube this wonderful mariachi song and video on behalf of the Obama campaign:

If anyone knows anything about traditional Mariachi music, then he or she would know that this video is pretty darn good as far as the genre goes.

A mis amigos latinos de Tejas, les suplico que, por favor, voten por Obama!


[UPDATE: Sunday, February 24, 2008, 10:30AM: I changed the title of this posting to reflect my creation of a new word for the Encyclopedia Baracktannica: Obamariachi!]

Clinton Wins When Obama Isn't On the Ballot

I can't tell if this comment, left as a reader response by one "Rhubarbs" on a blog posting on The New Republic's "The Plank," is parody:

Yeah, but this just goes to show that Obama only wins in states that hold contested elections. Sure, he wins big in caucus states, he wins big in primary states, he wins big when turnout is low, and he wins big with record-high turnout. But what the Obama-worshipping media is overlooking is that in each of the 25 state contests Obama has won so far, his name appeared on the ballot. It's time to stop giving Obama a pass on this critical issue.

Remember, if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama's name will not be on the ballot in November. And only Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she can win when Obama's name is not on the ballot. In fact, she's undefeated in contests where Obama is not on the ballot, making her clearly the more electable general-election candidate.
Regardless of whether the author of this comment is serious or being silly, it's quite hilarious nonetheless. I think it captures perfectly the absurdity of the latest spin coming out of the Clinton campaign to explain away the latest trends that favor Obama.

[H/T: Patrick Appel, guest-blogging at Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish".

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bill Clinton For Obama?

Sure sounds like he would have been if these words are any measure of what he values in a candidate:

Actually, the Bill Clinton in this clip, with his poise, youthfulness, and composure, brings back fond memories of a time when I was also pretty excited about a Democratic Presidential candidate. I haven't felt that way in a long time until now. Just look at Clinton, the upstart, against Bush, the elder statesman. If we have an Obama/McCain contest, that's the kind of picture we're likely to see again. It's just a pure winning matchup for Obama. I like Hillary in many ways, but she just doesn't cut the same figure as Bill did in 1991, and as Obama does now. I guess I like a smart, competitive, and youthful spirit in a candidate.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Oyster Vindicated

Oyster's been calling the incompetence of the Hillary Clinton campaign for some time now. Well, now there's this from a recent story in the Washington Post:

Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

What Clinton aides discovered is that in certain targeted districts, such as Democratic state Sen. Juan Hinojosa's heavily Hispanic Senate district in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton could win an overwhelming majority of votes but gain only a small edge in delegates. At the same time, a win in the more urban districts in Dallas and Houston -- where Sen. Barack Obama expects to receive significant support -- could yield three or four times as many delegates.

"What it means is, she could win the popular vote and still lose the race for delegates," Hinojosa said yesterday. "This system does not necessarily represent the opinions of the population, and that is a serious problem."
I think publius at Obsidian Wings has the best summation of what this tells us:
Good lord, let’s see if I have this right. The Clinton campaign decides to cede every post-Super Tuesday state to Obama under the theory that Texas and Ohio will be strong firewalls. After – after – implementing this Rudy-esque strategy, they “discovered” that the archaic Texas rules will almost certainly result in a split delegate count (at best).

While they were busy “discovering” the rules, however, the Obama campaign had people on the ground in Texas explaining the system, organizing precincts, and making Powerpoints. I know because I went to one of these meetings a week ago. I should have invited Mark Penn I suppose. (ed. Maybe foresight is an obsolete macrotrend.)

In this respect, Texas is simply a microcosm of the larger campaign dynamics. In fact, if the Clinton campaign were a corporation, the shareholders would have pretty good grounds for a derivative suit for Texas alone.
Oyster, care to gloat some? You certainly earned the right!

The Warrantless Blogtapping Program

Issue: Democrats, Obama, and John Hawkins' Screwed-Up Mind on Race

Conservative blogger John Hawkins of the Right Wing News blog, just can't make up his damn mind about Democrats, Obama and the subject of race. Today, Hawkins posted this "thought" (more like a brain fart, if you ask me):

Barack Obama is the single least qualified candidate running for the presidency, on either side, and he wouldn't have the slightest chance to win the Democratic nomination or the presidency if he weren't black. So, if he were to get elected, wouldn't that make him the first Affirmative Action President? [Emphasis added.]
Umm ... wait a minute, Hawkins. Didn't you say this not too long ago?:
You have black Democrats, who are hypersensitive about race related issues seeing a black candidate being denied the presidency by Democrats because of his race -- and let's face it, Obama may win the nomination because he's clearly the better candidate and because the mainstream media seems to be lining up behind him, but if he doesn't get the nomination, it'll be because he's black. [Emphasis added.]
Well, what is it, man? He'll get the nomination because he's black? Or he won't get the nomination because he's black? Is he the "single least qualified candidate ... on either side"? Or is he "clearly the better candidate," at least on the Democrats' side? Democrats will choose him because he's black? Or Democrats won't choose him because he's black? Or whatever it is that Democrats do regarding Obama, it'll be because Obama's black. What the hell?!?!?

Let's forget, for the moment, about the flip-flop on Hawkins' take on Obama's relative qualifications for the Presidency (which implies that he really has no idea who - at least among the Democrats - is the more qualified candidate, even by his own criteria). I want to focus on Hawkins' obsession with race. When it comes to race, Hawkins, you are one conflicted and confused dude. You have got to find a way to exorcise your "race" demons, dude. It's clouding your mental abilities. What does it say about you that you can hardly ever mention Obama without referring in some way to his skin color as the defining characteristic of his candidacy? What does it say about you that you can't seem to get beyond race when thinking about Obama? You are so damn obsessed with Obama's skin-color that you simply can't imagine any consideration of his candidacy without referencing his skin color. Well, let me tell you something, Hawkins. It's you who are the one obsessed with how Obama's skin color will play out in this election. It's you who are making race a central and defining issue in the Obama candidacy. It's you who are so obviously NOT color-blind when it comes to Obama that it makes unbelievable any claim you might make to the contrary.

Really and truly, how is it that I can go days and weeks without even thinking about Obama's skin color, that I can have conversations and debates and disagreements about Obama with decent conservatives like President_Friedman without race ever factoring into the mix, that I can even go back and forth with leftist Obamaphiliaphobes over the merits of Obama's candidacy without once mentioning race, but that I get slapped in the face with inflammatory racialized commentary regarding Obama ONLY when I read such supposedly "color-blind" conservative bloggers like John Hawkins at Right Wing News? And Hawkins thinks it's the fault of liberals that we can't get beyond playing the race card in political discourse in this country?!?!? Sheesh! For God's sake, man, PLEASE look in the mirror and think again.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Chris Wilson, over at Slate, has introduced the Encyclopedia Baracktannica, in which a whole new vocabularly is being constructed through reference to the name (or "cult" for all you Obamaphiliaphobes) of Barack Obama. Some of the entries include: Baracktogenarian (an Obama supporter who's older than 21); Obamaraderie (goodwill and lighthearted rapport at a campaign rally); Baracktorate (a Ph.D. in Obamalogy), among others. Check it out. There are plenty of fun and hilarious entries. And readers can even submit their own creations. Here's what I sent in:

Baracky Obamalboa: An electoral candidate who demonstrates a toughness of character that defines the ability of a wiry and tenacious underdog in an electoral fight to beat the champ through force of will, rigorous preparation, an inspirational message, and an irrepressible hope. [Queue the theme music: Trying hard now! Getting strong now! Gonna fly now! Flying high now!]

On Video: (Pay special attention around 32 seconds into the clip)

(I can't wait to see how the Obamaphiliaphobia cultists will respond to this post!)

Obama Likely to Pick Up More Delegates from New York

Why? Because it appears that a substantial number of voting machines in New York City initially and, apparently, incorrectly recorded "0" votes for Barack Obama. No one seems to be suggesting Clinton hanky-panky here, but it is eyebrow raising, don't you think?

Just Words?

Obama in Wisconsin:

He's concluded his stump speech with some version of the above many times now. But I think it merits being heard more than once. And, as is the case with any speech, it gets better with practice.

A Clinton-Obama Debate in Wisconsin?

It is no secret that Hillary Clinton is calling on Obama to debate her in Wisconsin before that state's primary. I can understand Hillary's strategy here because she's actually quite good at debates when she's not using them as character attack opportunities. When she sticks to policy issues, she comes across eloquently and well-informed. Likewise, Obama is smart to refuse to debate her for precisely the reason why Hillary wants to debate: he's better on the stump than in the debate format. At least I think so.

But Obama has a chance to turn this situation to his advantage. He can agree to a debate without its probability of occurring while also exposing the vacuousness of Hillary's actual commitment to a debate beyond a campaign strategy to paint Obama negatively. Let me explain. According to a report filed today by Beth Fouhy for the Associated Press, Clinton is drumming the "Obama-won't-debate-me-in-Wisconsin" meme while she also plans to stop campaigning in Wisconsin a full day before Wisconsin voters go to the polls. What Obama should do is to agree to debate Clinton, but to do so the day before the voters go to the polls. That way, Hillary will either have to disrupt her campaign plans to do so, or she'll have to eat crow about Obama's unwillingness to debate her when it would be Clinton herself who would have to beg off a debate. At the very least, she'll be forced on the defensive regarding the subject by having to come up with some excuse about unfair play on Obama's part. And if she would agree to do a debate, she'll have to do some explaining and offer some apologies to the folks who were expecting her elsewhere that day.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems like this could be a shrewd move for Obama, with minimal risk involved for him. At worst, he'll have to debate Clinton in Wisconsin, which is not the worst thing for him to do. At best, he can put Clinton on the defensive regarding the whole issue and perhaps put the subject of debating to sleep for a while in the Clinton campaign strategy.

If I am missing something here, someone please fill me in.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Responding to the Cult of Obamaphiliaphobia

This, from Athenae at First Draft, is so friggin' superior that I have to take note of it here at The Huckupchuck. Here are the proverbial "money" paragraphs:

So we're all bloodless now, and along comes a reason for us to get flushed and excited, for us to stand up and wave our arms and shout and cheer. Along comes the passion we feel we've been missing in American life and in politics, and we throw ourselves at it like prom dates two minutes to midnight. Can you blame us? It's not just Obama, or just blogs, where I find the thundering power and might of the righteous voice these days. It's not just one candidate over another. It's that for too long we've been told to sit down and shut up and that it's rude to give a damn, and that isn't living, that isn't life, that's not even death, not even that honest. That's slow suffocation by superiority, that's what that is.

We throw ourselves into it and of course it scares the shit out of people whose stock in trade is convincing us to view everything like it's some big ironic joke. Of course it looks like a cult. What they can't see is that the opposite — where we deify disinterest — isn't all that far off. They accuse you of being that which they fear they've become.
Exactly! The "slow suffocation by superiority" is classic! The imagery is fantastic in that phrase, and the alliteration of the sultry letter "s" is perfect.

And the last line of the piece gets right to the point and garners a whopping punch in striking at the heart of the meaning and causes of Obamaphiliaphobia.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Cult of Obamaphiliaphobia

In an effort to expose the cultist irrationality of those who predicate their dislike of the Obama candidacy almost exclusively on the enthusiastic and inspired sentiments of many Obama supporters without ever seeming to pay attention to Obama's policy specifics, I will highlight whenever I can the cultist rituals of Obamaphiliaphobia. And I will introduce such postings under the heading of: "The Cult of Obamaphiliaphobia."

And I annoint NOLAblogger Jeffrey as the High Priest of the Cult of Obamaphiliaphobia. Enough is enough. Time to stop the Obamaphiliaphobia cultists from drinking the spiked Kool-Aid.

The GOP Plan for an Obama Candidacy

Charles Krauthammer has a recent column in which he discusses what he sees as the disturbing nature of the "Cult of Obama." It is a meme against Obama that is recently gaining steam, but is based on nothing more than a fear of the "feel-good" candidate. Part of the rich irony of this meme, at least coming out of the GOP, is that it constructs Obama's emotional appeal around a religious messianism and, almost incredibly, paints such an appeal in a very negative light. This is the same GOP that makes no bones about a Huckabee candidacy, whose populist religious messianism is not only NOT constructed by Huckabee's opponents, but is actually embraced and promoted by Huckabee himself as the very strength of his appeal. Here's Krauthammer:

And now, in the most amazing trick of all, a silver-tongued freshman senator has found a way to sell hope. To get it, you need only give him your vote. Barack Obama is getting millions.

This kind of sale is hardly new. Organized religion has been offering a similar commodity -- salvation -- for millennia. Which is why the Obama campaign has the feel of a religious revival with, as writer James Wolcott observed, a "salvational fervor" and "idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria."

"We are the hope of the future," sayeth Obama. We can "remake this world as it should be." Believe in me and I shall redeem not just you but your country -- nay, we can become "a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest."
But this meme is as empty of substance as it claims Obama of being. It rests on an assumption that any candidate who taps into emotion must not have much of policy substance about him. Again, here's Krauthammer on the point:
I've seen only one similar national swoon. As a teenager growing up in Canada, I witnessed a charismatic law professor go from obscurity to justice minister to prime minister, carried on a wave of what was called Trudeaumania.

But even there the object of his countrymen's unrestrained affections was no blank slate. Pierre Trudeau was already a serious intellectual who had written and thought and lectured long about the nature and future of his country.

Obama has an astonishingly empty paper trail. He's going around issuing promissory notes on the future that he can't possibly redeem. [Emphasis Added.]
I, like Andrew Sullivan, find this a baffling and completely unsubstantiated charge. Think about it on a number of levels: (1) What other candidate, even before being catapulted into the national limelight or any political office, had published an autobiography that opened a window to his life that almost no other politician offers at the beginning of his political career? (2) He has a political career as an elected official in State and National politics that spans more than 10 years. (3) He has organizational and grass-roots credibility that shames many other well-heeled and long-standing Washington insider candidates. So there's undoubtedly a "paper trail" of policy positions and votes and legislative initiatives and personal experience to review and debate.

What I think Krauthammer and other Obama critics mean when they make such arguments is that Obama has a "paper trail" that is empty of scandal, hidden secrets, and policy positions that are assailable. In other words, he's an already-exposed candidate with a "clean" and forthright record that is eminently transparent to all who take the time to look. But, Krauthammer is a neocon after all, so what can one expect from him? After all, he's just part of a GOP machine that will try to make this the defining theme of difference between the long career and extensive "paper trail" of McCain (though, interestingly, the McCain "paper trail" should and does rub conservatives the wrong way). So, no matter that Krauthammer is playing fast and loose with the truth in an attempt to spin the political discourse in favor of the GOP. But what gives Krauthammer and his conservative ilk currency is not that they are spouting such drivel that's as empty as the imagined "cult of Obama" they lament, but that they can refer to Clintonista liberals such as Paul Krugman (or anti-establishment establishment "progressives" like NOLA's very own Jeffrey) for backup.

The intellectual dishonesty here among the Krauthammers, the Krugmans, and, yes, the Jeffreys of this campaign season is that they intentionally obfuscate or ignore Obama's "paper trail," which is pentiful, wonkish, AND the most progressive, with a visceral and irrational reaction against Obama's "inspirational" qualities.

It's turning into a cult itself, I'd say. The cult of Obamaphiliaphobia.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Clinton, Obama, Florida, Michigan

I'll happily vote for Hillary Clinton if she's the Democratic Party nominee fair and square by winning a majority of the pledged delegates. I'll even vote for Hillary (though not completely happily) if she's the nominee because she managed to twist the arms of enough superdelegates to overcompensate for an Obama lead among pledged delegates. Both of these scenarios are within the rules of the game.

But, I tell you what, if Clinton loses the legitimately contested pledged delegate battles, and can't muster up enough superdelegates to pass Obama, but ends up stealing the nomination by forcing Michigan and Florida's delegates to be seated for her, I'm voting third party in November.

You just don't lie your way into a position of pledging first to accept the Democratic Party's decisions regarding stripping Michigan and Florida of its delegates, then casting off that promise, just so you can begin to act like the GOP did in Florida in 2000 to steal an election from a fellow Democrat who won it fair and square by playing by the rules.

What honest, ethical person can accept a candidate who would act in such a brazenly unethical way?

If it comes down to it, and Florida and Michigan want to do it over again, giving all the candidates (not to mention all the voters) a meaningful and fairly contested electoral competition, that's another thing altogether. I could deal with that as a compromise. But what I will absolutely NOT deal with is an internal and anti-democratic coup d'etat within the Democratic Party.

And for the record, I'd do exactly the same if the situation were reversed and if it were my preferred candidate Obama pulling such shenanigans. But part of the reason why I prefer Obama over Clinton is that I can't fathom him even contemplating such a stunt, even if Florida and Michigan were Obama-leaning states.

The Thing About Obamaphiliaphobes

I'm convinced that the Obamaphiliaphobes, those who seem to dislike the fact that people are "inspired" by Obama more than they dislike Obama himself, who also seem clinically obsessed with his personality more than his policies, are just generally grumpy and fidgety because they have issues with feeling good and happy about something. They just can't stand to see people feeling giddy and happy for whatever reason.

As I see it, for them, life's no good if there's a reason not to be all broody and mysterious and cynical and contrarian just about all of the time. They mistakenly think that to give into enthusiasm will make them seem silly and embarrassing, that it will damage their standing as the tortured and perenially misunderstood artist. We know the type: the non-conformist conformist who embraces the anti-chic chic. Ironically, they're the ones who are so painfully self-conscious about self-image and appearing "uncool" that they're easily embarrassed by simple, sincere, and spontaneous joyful displays of emotion in public. But they are are always there to witness such demonstrations and titter at them (a bit wistfully and jealously, too, I think).

Well, to these Obamaphiliaphobes, let me say: I'll trade your James Dean for Jimmy Stewart any day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

MLB Scandal

Clemens, Pettitte, McNamee, and HGH ... Does anybody really give a damn? Maybe it's because I've just never been a diehard Baseball fan, but, personally, I couldn't care less. What in tarnation is the government doing investigating this non-issue. Let the fans decide via ticket sales.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is the Political Process in a Liberal Democracy Necessarily Conflictual?

By way of an answer to this question, here's something I wrote in a previous comment thread some while back. I was just thinking on this topic again recently and thought it worthwhile to bring out again here:

Democratic politics is competitive, not conflictual. It is based upon the pluralism of competing interests working towards compromise. Hardly anyone is ever completely satisfied with the outcomes of a pluralistic and competitive democratic process, but all should be able to live with what the outcome produces. A politics of "conflict" implies a winner-loser scenario where to the victor go the spoils and to the guillotine go the losers. A democratic politics of competition implies a winner-loser scenario where the loser has to buy the beer, but where we all still get the pleasure of drinking the beer together when the game is over and washing away whatever animosities or grudges the competition might have produced.

Convincing Win

Latest results:

With 100% of the votes reported in the Louisiana Primary: Obama 57%, Clinton 36%.

A 21% differential statewide can be called a decisive and convincing win by any measure.

And capturing 75.34% of the Orleans Parish vote is a bona-fide trouncing.

I tell you, I'll be very disappointed if Hillary Clinton ends up winning because of the completely undemocratic inclusion of superdelegates in the process.

If I were a superdelegate, I'd pledge my vote to whoever won the majority of the delegates that resulted from popular primary voting or caucusing.

I'm bummed, though, that oyster didn't make the cut for the Orleans Parish Democratic Party Executive Committee for District B.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama on Catastropic Insurance Reform

A comment by bayoustjohndavid in the comment thread in one of my previous postings made me want to highlight and compare both the Clinton plan and the Obama plan for Gulf Coast Recovery, especially regarding catastrophic insurance reform.

As you will see from both plans, they are very similar in many respects. But this is how each plan approaches the subject of catastrophic insurance reform.

The Clinton plan says this about insurance in a section on affordable housing:

In addition to addressing Road Home, Senator Clinton would pursue two specific policy initiatives. First, she would address the skyrocketing cost of insurance by: investigating insurance pricing and claims adjustment practices in the Gulf region; reforming the National Flood Insurance Program; reviewing the insurance industry’s antitrust exemption; and working with states to support their insurance programs.
Investigating, reforming, reviewing, and working with. Sounds nice, but falls short on specifics.

The Obama plan says the following:
Provide an Insurance Backstop: The damage caused by catastrophic hurricanes and other natural disasters over the past few years makes clear that we need a paradigm shift in how the Federal government responds to major emergencies. Rather than only stepping in after the fact with expensive clean-ups and financial bailouts, the Federal government should work with the insurance industry before the next major disaster to set up an efficient catastrophe insurance "backstop" that protects both homeowners and business owners against catastrophic loss. Barack Obama will create a National Catastrophe Insurance Reserve that would be funded by private insurers contributing a portion of the premiums they collect from policyholders. Such a framework would neither distort the insurance market nor discourage risk avoidance and risk mitigation investments because insurers would not be forced out of high-risk markets for fear of bankruptcy in the event of a disaster. With this program in place, disaster victims would no longer have to depend solely on taxpayer-funded federal disaster aid loans. It has been estimated that a properly managed fund could save homeowners $11.6 billion on annual insurance premiums.
Perhaps not perfect, but much more specific and detailed than Hillary Clinton's vague statements. If catastrophic insurance reform was a concern of mine, I'd pick Obama's plan over Clinton's plan any day of the week, every time. Its not only more specific and clearer, but I think it's also a more progressive and innovative solution.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Anti-Chic Chic

Question: What is it about very smart people who think it is oh-so-cool and hip to costume up, get pissed-drunk, and think Krewe de Vieux and its fixation on sex organs is "da bomb," and yet find expressions of enthusiasm for the excitement and emotion generated by a political campaign or a political candidate so embarrasingly phony and annoying? Is the irony of this lost on such folks. Hell, I'm all for letting it all hang out and rubbing elbows with fellow yuppie hipsters in the Marigny as an expression of one's "coolness" and cred as a member of the anti-establishment establishment -- and feeling jazzed by all that. I can get into that myself. But then I also think it's cool for moms and dads to do silly impromptu dances in public with their kids at the zoo or, for that matter, for people to get caught up in the emotions of a political campaign and to enjoy it, too. Shouldn't it all be good stuff and isn't it all liberating of the spirit?

Primary Endorsements

As far as the Democratic Presidential Primary election goes, do I even need to say what The Huck Upchuck recommends? Hell, I'll say it again anyway:

Barack Obama

Perhaps more importantly, though, are the less prominent elections to the Orleans Parish Democratic Party Executive Committee. And some of the folks that The Huck Upchuck would like to see seated among this group are identified here. Click the link, write down the names, and then go out and vote for them, too, if you are in their districts.

Obama Cultists? Come again ...

Here's something for you condescending cynics. And you know who you are.

Read it and think.

And if you skip the link, watch this (and if you read the above and watched this clip there, watch it again here):

Cultist my a*s!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Two More Reasons to Vote for Obama over Clinton

Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. If these two are willing to go to bat for Hillary, regardless of why, all the more reason to vote for Obama -- even if you don't think so highly of Obama. Any Democrat who finds himself siding with Limbaugh and Coulter on the matter of a political campaign and election needs to do some serious reevaluation of his position.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fat Tuesday Campaigning

Here I am plugging Obama at the uptown Parades on Mardi Gras day.

I have to say that I've never gotten so many throws from a sign ever! It was a great day! My unofficial poll from the reactions that I received to my sign (measured by the thumbs up gestures, head nods, and tonnage of the beads that it generated) indicates that Obama is headed for a sweep of Louisiana this coming Saturday. How strange that Louisiana's primary matters!

Best of all, I came to work today and found an announcement in my email inbox from Tulane President Scott Cowen that informed us that Barack Obama is coming to Tulane tomorrow to speak at Fogelman Arena. I have a staff meeting scheduled for that time, but since my office is just 50 paces away from Fogelman, I'm going to try to see if I can get out of it to attend the speech.

I also have some thoughts about why Hillary is doing so well among Latinos and why Obama seems to be struggling with them; but I'll share them for another posting. Suffice it for now to say two phrases: inter-ethnic rivalry (which we've heard a lot about) and Marianismo (which we've heard much less about). Food for thought.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hail Thoth!

Yesterday, in the midst of some pre-parade jitters about possible bad weather, I awoke early, picked up my little brother and fellow Thoth rider, and headed down to the downtown Hilton grand ballroom for our annual Thoth breakfast and pre-parade gathering. It's always quite fun. We hang out with our floatmates, some of whom we only see one time each year, eat heartily, get an early start on the imbibing, and costume up in preparation for our Thoth ride. Then, at around 10:00am or so (this year we started later) we board busses and head in an impressive caravan to our floats which are lined up ahead of time along Tchoupitoulas. Then we board and wait for the parade to roll.

This year, I think we got started at around 12:30pm, which is almost one hour past our regular scheduled route. And we rode for 5 hours until disembarking at about 5:30pm back where we started, right out in front of the downtown Hilton.

My brother and I generally tend to ride heavy, meaning we have an inordinate amount of throws, so that we can pretty much chunk all along the route.

Saw lots of friends and colleagues and their kids along the route. Saw lots of friends of friends of friends, too. Saw plenty of my students, too. I even had the chance to see fellow NOLA blogger Leigh C.. If I missed anyone on the route, I beg your forgiveness. It can be quite difficult to catch everyone in the constant din of hollers and merriment, as I am sure anyone who has ridden before knows.

I can tell how much fun I had by how exhausted I was in the end. I crashed and burned (from exhuastion and not from being sauced!) at around 8:30pm, and I slept for about 11 hours. Today, I'm sore and reliving the good memories and looking forward to tomorrow. Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Mardi Gras this season and, if I didn't see you this year, there's always next year! Hail Thoth!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

MoveOn.Org for Obama!

The netroots endorse Obama by a wide margin. On the one hand, I'm tickled, because that means that most of the support for Edwards will tilt towards Obama. On the other hand, I'm worried, because the netroots don't have all that good of a record in picking winners. Perhaps this time, they got it right. I can only hope so. But, at the very least, I think their endorsement is just one more piece of evidence that Obama's progressivism is for real.