Thursday, October 30, 2008

All Out for Obama

If you didn't get to see the Obama-Biden campaign's fancy, well-produced $4 million commercial last night--which was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant--you can watch it here, courtesy of the campaign itself.

I've been too busy lately working and trying to do a little bit of elections work that I don't have time for a lengthy blog post, but let me just make a few key points about the Obama campaign:

-It's probably the smartest Presidential campaign I've witnessed in my lifetime. The campaign's use of technology to reach not just young voters but all voters (and non-voters! which is even more crucial this year) with their messages is fascinating and brilliant (there's that word again). If you don't believe me then log on to and find out for yourself.

-He's running a tight, well-oiled grassroots campaign. Just read an on-the-ground report from Colorado If the packed Obama East Bay headquarters I saw last weekend are any indication, there's no doubt Obama will win the popular vote (of course, the Republicans and far-right fanatics will do everything they can to make sure that vote isn't counted properly, as they did in 2000 and 2004). But even more than that, his campaign's slogan in these past few days has been 'Run through the tape', meaning don't get overconfident and cocky. I think this is more than inspiring rhetoric--it's a way to make sure that Obama wins by an undisputable landslide in as many states as possible--who ever heard of Montana, North Dakota and North Carolina becoming Democratic swing states?--so that his opponents won't be able to get away with stealing the election.

-His campaign's ability to utilize technology and grassroots organizing to fundraise from the bottom-up is simply astounding. ASTOUNDING. But also not rocket science. They ask, ask, ask (I think I get at least three emails a day asking for money), and they get, get, get. Who would've thought even a year ago that the first Black Presidential nominee-to-be would be able to afford to buy 30 minutes of airtime on four major networks during prime time? It's ridiculous and amazing and beautiful. And he did it mostly on donations of less than $250. Simple frickin' beautiful. I don't anyone to tell me anymore that poor people don't give money or that small donations don't matter. Obama has blown that argument clean out of the water for good.

-I'm so in awe of how poised, Presidential, sincere and compassionate Mr. Obama (I'd say 'President' but I don't want to jinx it) is in the ad, and in all of his media appearances. This is a man who's been called a Muslim (by the same people who decry his connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who is the pastor of a Christian Church), a terrorist who cavorts with domestic terrorists, a baby-killer, a commie faggot, etc., and whose grandmother is extremely ill in the last few days leading up to the biggest day of his life, and he still manages to walk out into the limelight with the regal bearing that is his trademark. I did notice a slight indentation between his brows yesterday that I didn't notice before--perhaps a sign of human weakness, stress? But other than that, he has proven over and over again how ready he is to take office during probably one of the most difficult periods in United States history.

-Taking the moral high ground works. Obama never mentioned McCain or Palin or even the Republican party last night. It was clear he felt he didn't have to. He felt that telling his truth would be enough. Worked for me (and i wasn't even the intended audience for the ad). I have faith it will work for the rest of the people that still need to be convinced.

All out for Obama folks! H. and I will be phonebanking this weekend, and hopefully attending the marathon phonebanks slated to take place at Oakland's Marriott Convention Center. It'll be the happening place!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What My Ballot Will Look Like on Nov. 4 (So Far)

We lucky Californians have a long ballot on our plates for November 4th, thanks to a slew of propositions that are mostly just wrong wrong wrong. I still have to research a few of these to figure out how I'll vote, but here's where I stand now:

Local Measures:
Yes on Measure OO to ensure much-needed funding for children and youth programs in Oakland. In a year when violent crime is on the rise, these programs are needed more than ever.

No on Measure N, which was placed on our ballot by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, probably to win some political points in his buildup to running for Governor in 2010.

Yes on Measure VV. Not only because I ride the bus, but because poor people, elderly folks and young people all rely on public transit to get around and live.

Yes on Measure WW, because I love our East Bay Parks and I believe that having green, open, undeveloped land is important to the health and well-being of any community.

Other measures I'm still pondering: Measure NN (more cops)

President of the United States - Barack Obama

California Statewide Ballot Measures:
Proposition 2
Proposition 5

NO NO NO to these heinous ballot initiatives that are just an abuse of the initiative process:
Proposition 4, which would force doctors and abortion providers to notify parents when their daughters are seeking abortions. I'm against it because I grew up in an abusive household, and nothing would have scared me more than to have to tell my parents I was pregnant. This law is all about limiting a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, not about creating more harmonious families.

Proposition 6, which would try juveniles as adults and further criminalize our young people, many of whom have so little opportunity to do positive things with their lives--the school system being as crappy as it is--that they turn to street life to just survive.

Proposition 7, which promises to deliver clean energy but is really just a scam on the part of utilities companies.

No on Proposition 8, which scares the shit out of me. Really, aren't there more important things to fight than whether people should have the right to love and marry the people they choose? As someone who's recently married myself, this initiative scares and saddens me, especially when I think about all my friends who are queer and just want to live and love without being intimidated or seen as 'illegal'. Gay rights are obviously not just about marriage, but I can't help but think that if gay marriage were legal in this nation then it would set a precedent for a lot of other pro-gay and anti-hate policies to come into place. As one of my colleagues who is in an interracial marriage recently said, "Fifty years ago my marriage would have been illegal too."

Proposition 9, which would eliminate early parole for nonviolent offenders, among other wrong-headed things. And especially at a time when our state and national economy is in tatters, throwing more money at inhumane, ineffective and expensive imprisonment strategies is not the answer to crime.

Other ballot initiaitives I'm still pondering: Propositions 10, 11 and 12.

Whew! That's a whole lot to vote on. But i'll be there with my black pen in hand and looking forward to getting my 'I Voted' oval sticker to wear proudly all day. I hope you'll be at the polls too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Cop Who's Doing the Right Thing

I was searching online today for examples of resistance to housing foreclosures, and am inspired and hopeful after finding this story about an Illinois sheriff who is halting tenant evictions in his county which are the result of the foreclosure crisis. I was talking to a co-worker yesterday about how people will start doing what they need to do to survive, and if that means resisting injustice and potentially breaking unfair laws--the way Martin Luther King, Jr and Gandhi and every other peace activist who fought for justice has done--in order to do so, that's what people will do. The fact that this story is about a sheriff is even more awesome, because we lefties don't think of cops as being our allies most of the time (with reason). But this goes to show that cops are just people, like the rest of us, who have hearts and consciences and who can do what's right when they are so moved.

I applaud Sheriff Dart and hope there are other Sheriffs out there like him who refuse to comply with the unjust evictions of innocent tenants who are victims of Wall Street's greed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scary Video, Sweet Video

Just a glimpse into the two different worlds that seem to be coming to a head in the United States right now.

Scary world: Bitter, angry ultra-conservative, seemingly proudly racist folks in Ohio at a recent McCain-Palin rally.

Sweet world: A first-grade teacher who is also a lesbian is greeted with a shower of flowers by her students in San Francisco.

I know which world I want to belong to (and already do, thank God--H. and I are not a same-sex couple but were lucky enough to have our civil ceremony at SF City Hall).

Which world do you want to live in?

Stealing an Election--Legally

There are probably other examples of how conservatives are trying to challenge the rights of new voters, who are being registered literally by the millions all over the country by both major parties, as well as several nonpartisan, grassroots organizations, but this was the first one I've come across. The scary thing is that the Republicans are now using 'legal' means to try and dismiss possibly hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters from the Ohio rolls.

I have a couple friends who actually worked on the ground in Ohio, registering and educating and mobilizing voters to the polls during the 2000 and 2004 elections. And from what they observed, what they saw on the doors and in neighborhoods--large numbers of people turning out to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate (Gore or Kerry)--just didn't jive with what 'officially' happened in Ohio: the state swinging to Bush, giving him the electoral college votes he needed to win the election. Rolling Stone magazine and other sources have written about this and documented incidents of clear voter fraud in the 2004 election.

But now, conservatives are taking a slightly different tack. Whether you love or hate right-wingers, you gotta give them something, they are some clever, ruthless MFers. I shudder to think that this is just the beginning of the battles that will follow to discredit Democratic or otherwise anti-Republican/right wing elections officials, and to disenfranchise voters (especially those that are young and / or African-American, both of which will vote overwhelmingly for Obama in November). But the history of federal elections in the last eight years tells us that the Republicans will do whatever they need to to win. To quote one of my favorite and insightful comedians, Cedric the Entertainer, George W. Bush and his party didn't win the 2000 election, they "just thugged [their] way up into the White House. Like Suge Bush!"

And don't think they won't try it again. Join the effort to ensure a fair election and protect voters' rights to cast their ballot and have it counted.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Wedding reportback

Yes, the wedding happened, just about two weeks ago at the Mills College Chapel in Oakland, and the reception happened at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Oakland. Both beautiful venues, although Mills staff are an absolute horror to deal with, but I won't get into that now. The Unitarian Church staff are a dream--friendly, helpful, professional and knowledgeable. They do tons of weddings and other events so they know what's up.

In any case, my real wedding reportback is on my wedding blog. No photos yet though, unfortunately, just a fairly thorough update of the event. Enjoy!