Archive for July, 2004

 

News Tribune Photographer

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Photog.JPG
Should be in the paper sometime this week.

 
 

Oh, You’re Gonna Love This One…

Friday, July 30th, 2004

So, I’m vacuuming the office last night, getting ready for the imminent arrival of the press. And all of a sudden…


POP!

The fuse blows. TV, vacuum cleaner, and computer all go out. Basically, everything plugged into a wall. It was about 9:45. I look through my drawer for a spare fuse but they’re all burned out. Panicked, I rush out the door to head to Home Depot when I meet a neighbor in the hall. I ask her if she has a spare fuse and she kindly gives me a spare one she has lying around.

Phew.

Except when I get everything turned back on my machine wouldn’t boot. Just wouldn’t mount the hard drive. I called my IT friend and no luck. I removed the memory, tried a number of configurations, and still no luck. Mind you, not only was this to get in the way of me blogging Kerry’s speech, but the newspaper wanted to take a picture of me blogging at my desk. So this outage was a big deal.

So I planned to pack up my machine and have my IT friend take a look at it this morning, when I decided on a whim to try turning it on one last time.

And voila.

So in any event, I have three pages of notes on the Kerry speech, but I have to time to blog it now. What I’ll probably do is find a transcript and fisk it a bit using my notes from last night, but I’ll have to do that this evening. In the meantime, I caught Cox & Forkum this morning, and of course, they hit the nail (er, or cannon….) right on the head. So go check it out.

 
 

Katie

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

I should mention Katie has blogging the DNC convention as well. Just keep scrolling down for some great commentary.

 
 

News Coverage

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

My blog(s) and I are to be featured in a local newspaper soon, and reporters are coming over to my apartment to photograph me in front of my computer. So I have some cleaning to do tonight. I’ll blog Kerry’s speech, but probably not much more.

Stay posted for more news on tomorrow’s event.

 
 

Edwards

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Just finished watching Edwards. I’m a bit tired, so I apologize in advance for any typos or bad sentence construction or the like.

He started out talking about his family, which was fine.

I take back what I said earlier tonite about the signs. The floor was covered with tall Edwards signs, and more on the signs later.

Edwards manages to get the crowd chanting his name, a feat accomplished only by Dean earlier.

Edwards repeated several times that Kerry volunteered for his military service. I’m certain that’s not true, that he was drafted, but I’m too tired to look that up tonight.

I really am tired tonight. I have 2 pages of noted on the speech and am unmotivated to comment on any of them.

Edwards said it’s time to “embrace the politics of hope”.

He elaborated by saying he’d stand against the HMO and medical insurance companies.

Surprise.

Edwards then went into his 2 America shtick. He also touched on the same theme that we’ve seen throughout the convention, that every American deserves the same health care coverage that those in congress get. Frankly, I don’t get it. Is that analogy between average people and congressmen supposed to motivate voters? Whatever. I bet that this thread will be lost on most viewers.

Edwards spoke of two public school systems, one for the affluent and one for the remainder. He made no mention of vouchers. He seemed to imply that he wanted to equalize what’s spent between affluent communities and poor communities. That very cause resulted in a tax revolt in California in the 70′s. I wonder if he really meant it.

So tired.

He said that he and Kerry want to give tax cuts to corporations who keep jobs at home, while repealing them for those who send them abroad. How one makes such a determination with respect to individual companies, particularly international companies, is perplexing to me. Then again, so few details have been discussed throughout this convention.

He wanted to give a tax break for health care for $1,000, and a $4,000 tax break for those who are the first in their families to go to college (I’m not making that up). How would one make such a determination? How far back in one’s family history would one need to go to qualify?

He said that he and Kerry would protect 98% of the Bush tax cuts, and trash the remaining 2% on the most wealthy. He said he and Kerry would cut corporate loopholes.

He said that poverty was morally wrong, and that children shouldn’t go to bed hungry. How brave.

Perhaps you can see why I’m tired. It’s the fucking rhetoric. Tired.

Stale.

Boring.

This was supposed to be the interesting guy too.

Oh, and they want to raise the minimum wage. Is inflation up? Did I miss something here? How high is high enough? We already have a black market in labor, mostly illegal immigrants. Doesn’t this say something about the minimum wage?

He wants to finish jobs and welfare reform, whatever that means.

Edwards then gave a pandering talk about segregation, about how bad it is, how he remembers as a kid when it was in effect. It begs the question, who the hell is proposing to bring it back exactly? What is the purpose of this? What is the loaded implication he’s trying to pass here?

So tired. So bored, even reading my own notes.

We need a united America because we’re at war, apparently. I thought Bush wasn’t a war President. Who knew?

He said we’re three years from 9/11, and that he and Kerry wouldn’t take 3 years to fix broken intelligence services. I guess that means they’ll gut them as soon as they’re in office, because that’s the type of legislation Kerry’s sponsored his entire term in office.

He said he’d listen to the 9/11 commission, just not the the parts that discredit Joe Wilson.

He wants to support 1st responders. And with better armed 1st responders, he vows to Al Qaeda, “We will destroy you.” Admittedly, he didn’t make the connection that explicit, but he did make them one right after the other, and it’s hard not to draw the connection, given the party has said nothing in three days about how they’ll conduct the war we’re currently in.

Oh, am I the only one to notice that strange bump on Edwards lip?

Oh what else? He said vets need better health care, a big point in this convention. He wants to double the special forces numbers (isn’t that… special?), restore our respect in the world, close loopholes in the nuclear proliferation treaty (because it’s the loopholes that enable North Korea and Iran to develop nukes). He wants us to think about the women whose husbands are off at war, and for us to tell them that “hope is on the way.” Edwards delivered a bunch of successive “hope is on the way” bits, at which point all the “hope is on the way” signs came out. Coordinated now, not just with the individual speakers, but with the specific words as well.

I’m bored, frankly. I’m not hopeful that Kerry will be more interesting. But I’ll blog again tomorrow.

G’night.

 
 

Al Sharpton

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Just saw Al Sharpton’s speech. After seeing it, I may have a different impression of the signs than I did yesterday. This time, there seemed to be a lot of Sharpton signs, but they looked localized. But when the camera focused up close, the signs seems to be more ubiquitous than they really were.

He began by saying that he wanted to answer George Bush’s questions that he asked of black voters at his Urban League speech about a week ago. I heard excerpts of that speech, and Bush seemed gracious, congenial, and to be generating laughter and applause from the audience. The main question he asked there, the one that Al Sharpton sought to answer, is has the Democrat party taken black voters for granted?

Sharpton began his response by saying that the only choice to preserve our (black’s? America’s?) freedom was to elect John Kerry as President.

He then launched into an analogy regarding the Iraq war. He said that if he got on stage, sounded an alarm bell, saying that there was danger in the Fleet center and that we needed to evacuate, and then once outside, when asked of the danger, he said, well there was no danger, we just needed some fresh air, that that would be a misleading act, and that that was what George Bush had done.

He went on to bring up the Supreme Court, the first speaker I’d seen do so. He said that Bush would have the opportunity to appoint 2 or more justices in his next term of office. He pointed out that a number of cases, especially “women’s and civil right’s issues” were decided by a 5 to 4 vote of the court. He then said that if Bush had appointed the justices in 1954, Brown vs. Board of education wouldn’t have happened, and Clarence Thomas would never have been on the Supreme Court. He said that the last few decades of work could be overturned if Bush is re-elected.

What a crock. After Bush was as gracious as he was at the Urban League, saying he appreciated Al Sharpton running for President, when 2 of his 3 top national security advisors are black, for Sharpton to suggest that Bush secretly desires to deny blacks the right to vote is not only a lie (and he knows it), but it’s just beyond the pale. Just for that, allow me to mention Tiwana Brawley (or however you spell that name) and the lies that Sharpton perpetrated there. Allow me to mention the Jewish owned retail business that burned down after riots broke out when he gave a speech against whites and Jews in particular owning businesses in Harlem.

What a fucking asshole.

I frankly don’t know that much else matters about his speech. He did go on to address specifically the question of why blacks vote Democrat, and his answer was basically because Democrats were in the White House when the 1960′s civil rights acts were passed. Never mind who was in congress and who voted which way. But whatever. This man doesn’t have much regard for the truth, for for facts.

So I don’t have much regard for him.

 
 

Teresa

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

What a rambling mess of a speech that was. Let me see if I can pick out some salient points.

She said no one should be surprised she had something to say.

She then told of how she was born in Mozambique, and that she grew up in a dictatorship. She talked about marching against apartheid in Johannesburg while at the university there. These experiences, she said, taught her the “value of taking a stand, even if no one notices, even if there is a risk.”

Oh, and there were Teresa signs everywhere.

She said she cherishes her right to be opinionated, and said she longs for the day when women are no longer called opinionated, but instead are called “smart and well-informed, just like men.” This is so stupid it really doesn’t deserve addressing, but let me just ask, what the hell world does she think she lives in? She continued by saying that women’s voices were being excluded and discounted.

Huh? Is she really trying to say that criticisms of her statements stem from her being a woman? Really?

She concluded that it was time for the world to hear women’s voices in full and at last. I have no idea how long that whole rant about women’s voices took, but I’d say it was half the speech.

Her speaking demeanor was very quiet, and she almost seemed nervous and on the verge of tears while she spoke. She was not a very inspiring speaker at all.

She said that the Peace Corps was the face of America she wanted to show to the world, that John Kerry believes in inventing alternative fuels (perhaps she’ll sick AL Gore on that invention), and that John Kerry would not go to war as a result of our dependence on foreign oil (an enormous statement that deserves further scrutiny). She said that John Kerry would create “sustainable jobs” and that environmental policy made good economic policy. She said we needed affordable health care, leaders who do not mistake stubbornness for strength, and that Kerry would sign a global climate change treaty (if the Democrats really want to debate Kyoto this election, they’ll nosedive faster than Amelia whatshername).

Really, this speech was such a rambling mess, it was embarrassing to listen to. Why they have candidate’s wives speak at all is beyond me.

 
 

Barak Obama

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Let me open by saying that this guy was something else. His speaking ability and rhetoric were beyond reproach. Look for this man to run for President in 2008 or 2012 as the situation permits.

Obama began by recounting his family history, his father coming from Kenya, giving him an African name, etc. He emphasized the fact that his life story could not have happened in another country on the planet. His opening was inspiring and patriotic, in a way that none of the other speakers have been thus far.

In the midst of his praise of America, he made one snide remark, about how it’s a country where your vote will be counted, “well, most of the time.” It was the one low point of his oratory.

He detailed hard luck stories of people he’d met in Illinois, and while I dislike the use of such stories because they are inherently not indicative of the country or state as a whole, he didn’t dwell on them, and there was nothing uncomfortable or weird as with Howard Dean talking about his donors.

He said that the American people don’t want money wasted by welfare agencies, or the Pentagon, which is probably a fair statement, though the two are not quite equivalent.

He said it was time to eradicate the slander that a black man with a book is acting white.

He said that people don’t want government to solve all of their problems (of course, implying that they so want government to solve some of them), but they know that their government can do better by them.

He also made a comment that was almost identical to one that Daschle made, but that I hadn’t given thought to. He said that the American people ought to get health coverage that is at least as good as what congress gets itself. Watching each of these speeches, the common lines are becoming more clear, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kerry himself use that line on Sunday.

He went on to say that Kerry won’t use faith to divide America as a wedge issue (though he didn’t elaborate on how Bush does this specifically).

He said that Kerry knows war is an option, but will never use it as a first option.

He said that the government must take a solemn oath to provide proper health care for soldiers who return home from battle, and to not send troops into war in inadequate numbers.

And he acknowledged in a clear and unambiguous sentence that we do have enemies abroad, and that they must be perused. When Obama is in the senate, I would not expect him to be a pacifist. He may come to resemble Lieberman or Gephardt more in foreign policy in fact.

Again, another line we’ve heard from other speakers, in fact, just about every other speaker, was echoed by Obama, that we are all interconnected as a people. He said that we are our brother’s keepers, and that we can pursue individual dreams, but must come together as a family. Though I do not hold out hope that the Republicans will refute this collectivist rubbish, I am happy to see the Democrats articulate at least one philosophical point.

He said that Bush has divided us with an “anything goes” policy. He went on to condemn the media, which talks about a liberal America and a conservative America. Obama said that there is only one United States of America. He went on to use that rhetorical device with other examples, finally saying that there are religious people in blue states and gay people in red states, and we ought to stop all this divisive obsessing. I would tend to agree with that sentiment, and I do think that for once in this convention, the blame was accurately ascribed to the media, and not the Bush administration.

Obama concluded by saying that the Democrats were the party of optimism, not of blind optimism, but of the hopeful optimism that prompts slaves to write hymns, or that gets a young boat captain down the Mekong Delta, or that inspires a skinny kid with a funny name to run for senate. It was a great conclusion to a speech that is about as good as I would expect from a party I never vote for. Frankly, I look forward to seeing Obama in the senate, and with a guy as reasonable as that across the aisle, I can see why Republicans haven’t been anxious to nominate someone to run against him.

UPDATE: Here’s the transcript.

 
 

Dean!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

DEAN! DEAN! DEAN! DEAN!

The crowd chanted and cheered, you’d have thought he was the nominee. I was reminded of Reagan speaking at the 1976 convention. Watching it, you could see that the delegates really wanted Reagan, but nominated Ford to be safe. And as Dean, a dynamic and charismatic speaker took to the stage, you couldn’t help but think about the lamo who they’ll be highlighting on Thursday night. Dean said he was hoping for a reception like this, but on Thursday night instead of Tuesday. Frankly, I think Dean will be back in 2008 assuming W wins. The Dems love him too damn much.

Dean listed his priorities. Health insurance, jobs programs, working class Americans, a foreign policy where the president tels the truth before sending our troops into war, and supporting out troops with good health care benefits.

Dean said, “Greatness is measured more than in the power of our arms,” and went on to say that our moral standing played into it as well. That’s fine, but it implies a dichotomy. I don’t think that either side is trying to sacrifice one for the other, nor that one requires the sacrifice of the other. But the Democrats have always been plagued by the notion that they’re afraid of weapons, afraid of intelligence and defense capacities, and such a statement doesn’t really help them get over that.

Dean then had an odd moment in his speech, where he spoke of some of the people who donated money/time to his campaign. I thought it was an uncomfortable moment. He described a student who sold her bike for $100 and mailed the money to Dean. And the woman on disability to handed Dean a sack full of quarters totaling $50, telling Dean she wanted America to get well again. It doesn’t seem right that Dean should accept money from such people, especially from sick people. And it was unclear to me what his point was there. Was he saying that he has particularly devoted followers? Or was he trying to pay tribute to those who helped his campaign? Either way, it felt awkward to me.

Then Dean lit up on fire. It was time to take the country back. He insisted that Democrats would never be afraid to be Democrats again, that they would not be “shouted down” by those would employ a “false patriotism” against them. This caused more Dean chanting.

Interestingly enough, Dean said all this at a convention where the Kerry camp has ordered the red meat to be served in small doses if at all, so as to not scare away the moderates. Also interesting, there were no corresponding “Dean” signs, such as we say with Kennedy, Gephardt and Daschle. Finally, they concluded by playing “We Are Family” as Dean walked off the stage.

What the hell are these Kerry people afraid of?

 
 

Gephardt / Daschle

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Frankly, I don’t think either one of them said much, so I’ll blog them together. Honestly, I’m looking forward to Dean in a bit.

Gephardt’s speech was mostly an emotional swan song. And as such things go, his went well enough.

He did say that “win or lose, the dream is what matters, the fight is what it’s all about.” Hmmm, sounds as if he has a kampf going on.

Daschle was remarkably animated, with a grin he couldn’t get off his face throughout his speech. He said that the American people were upset at money spent in Iraq when more money could be spent at home, and he gave the obligatory list of things he wants to spend money on. His remark begs the question of whether or not he wants to cut and run on Iraqi spending, or if he just wants to increase domestic spending on top of it.

Oh, and Daschle ended off by condemning Enron and Halliburton. How heroic.

One final thing. I couldn’t help but notice how coordinated the sign holding is in this convention. When Kennedy spoke, seemingly everyone was holding a Kennedy sign, and when Gephardt spoke, all these “doing right by America” signs went up. Likewise, when Daschle spoke, Daschle signs went up, replete with a stalk of wheat on them. I thought that was an interesting touch.