Saturday, October 25, 2008

Highlight of the Campaign

Today I spent the morning working for the Barack Obama campaign. I must admit I was a bit anxious going into some of the poorest neighborhoods in our city where you generally don't see any middle class white guys walking around. I wasn't particularly anxious about talking to African Americans, rather, I was concerned about running into pit bulls who often roam the streets of poor neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. I was so glad I wore my Barack Obama tee shirt. The tee shirt apparently gave me street cred with the locals who to my surprise treated me with a certain amount of celebrity status as soon as the spotted Barack's infectous smile on the front of my tee shirt. Even some of the local gangsters types stopped and talked with me as I moved about the apartment complex where we were canvassing. All in all it was a very positive experience but one encounter in particular really touched me.

I walked up to the door and knocked on the screen door. The voice on the other end yelled, what do you want?...I walked right up to the screen door and our eyes met. She peered at my eyes...she looked suspicious... probably wandering what a middle class white guy was doing in her poor neighborhood where only poor minorities, mostly African Americans lived. I spoke up and said with a loud voice..."I am a volunteer for the Obama Campaign." The door flung open and to my surprise she threw her arms around me as if she had been waiting for my arrival for months and then this 83 year old frail woman who is dying of cancer danced around the living room while she sang the praises of Barack Obama. She then said something about hoping to live long enough to vote on election day.She then grabbed my hand and led me into her living room where I sat for about fifteen minutes listening to her story about cancer and living in a crack infested apartment complex. She then asked if she could have a Barack Obama button like the one I was wearing. I gave her mine. She was so happy and before I left I asked her if she needed a ride to the voting booth on election day. She said she did so when I got back to the headquarters later that day I made arrangements for someone to pick her up and take her to the voting booth... I will probably never see this dear soul again on this side of heaven but I don't think I will ever forget the spirit of this woman who I hope and pray lives long enough to cast her vote for Barack Obama on November 3. I was deeply touched by her even though I was only in her presence for such a brief time. This was the highlight of the campaign season for me.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Get your facts straight Palin

Here is what FACT CHECK had to say about Palin's suggestion that Obama "pals around with terrorists"...

The Statement: Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin said Saturday, October 4, that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is "someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

Get the facts!

The Facts: In making the charge at a fund-raising event in Englewood, Colorado, and a rally in Carson, California, Palin was referring at least in part to William Ayers, a 1960s radical. In both appearances, Palin cited a front-page article in Saturday's New York Times detailing the working relationship between Obama and Ayers.

In the 1960s, Ayers was a founding member of the radical Weather Underground group that carried out a string of bombings of federal buildings, including the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, in protest against the Vietnam War. The now-defunct group was labeled a "domestic terrorist group" by the FBI, and Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn — also a Weather Underground member — spent 10 years as fugitives in the 1970s. Federal charges against them were dropped due to FBI misconduct in gathering evidence against them, and they resurfaced in 1980. Both Ayers and Dohrn ultimately became university professors in Chicago, with Ayers, 63, now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Obama's Chicago home is in the same neighborhood where Ayers and Dohrn live. Beginning in 1995, Ayers and Obama worked with the non-profit Chicago Annenberg Challenge on a huge school improvement project. The Annenberg Challenge was for cities to compete for $50 million grants to improve public education. Ayers fought to bring the grant to Chicago, and Obama was recruited onto the board. Also from 1999 through 2001 both were board members on the Woods Fund, a charitable foundation that gave money to various causes, including the Trinity United Church that Obama attended and Northwestern University Law Schools' Children and Family Justice Center, where Dohrn worked.

CNN's review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told CNN that after meeting Obama through the Annenberg project, Ayers hosted a campaign event for him that same year when then-Illinois state Sen. Alice Palmer, who planned to run for Congress, introduced the young community organizer as her chosen successor. LaBolt also said the two have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Obama came to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they encountered each other on the street in their Hyde Park neighborhood.

The extent of Obama's relationship with Ayers came up during the Democratic presidential primaries earlier this year, and Obama explained it by saying, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood … the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago — when I was 8 years old — somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense."

The New York Times article cited by Palin concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers." Other publications, including the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, The New Yorker and The New Republic, have said that their reporting doesn't support the idea that Obama and Ayers had a close relationship.

The McCain campaign did not respond Saturday to a request for elaboration on Palin's use of the plural "terrorists."

Verdict: False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now "palling around," or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are.


Yesterday at a fund-raising event in Colorado, Sarah Palin said, "Our opponent though, is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."... Shame on you Sarah Palin...Shame on you John McCain if you do not denounce this outrageous statement...Shame on the Republican party if you don't call for Sarah Palin to step down...Shame on any Republican if you in any way try to defend or rationalize this as politics... Shame on the campaign manager of John McCain for repeatedly playing the politics of fear...Shame on the political pundits if they don't call Sarah Palin and John McCain on the carpet...Shame on the radio political talking heads if they try to spin this and suggest, imply, or assert there is any truth to this statement,...and...shame on the American people if they don't stand up and say with a loud voice, "enough is enough"

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Joe Six Pack

Chris Matthews: Welcome everyone to Hardball. Today's guest is Joe Six-pac from Idaho. Welcome Joe. What did you think of Sarah Palin's performance last night in the debate, Joe?

Joe Six-pac: Sarah body slammed the "other Joe", Chris.

Chris: But,the polls indicate that Biden won by double digits. CBS reported among non-committed voters that Biden won 46 percent to 21 and CNN reported Biden won 51 to 36.

Joe Six-pac: Come on Chris, what would you expect from two socialist leaning liberal bias news agencies? Drudge reported that 8 out of ten people who responded to their website said Palin beat Joe Biden, hand's down. Them's the facts Chris.

Are you suggesting Joe that Drudge is not bias?

Joe Six-pac: Everyone knows the liberal media is biased, Chris...except...the liberal media itself.

Chris: So, why do you think Palin won Joe?

Joe: Did you see the wink Chris?...come on...She hit him with the facts, hard, and often.

Chris: But, alot of her facts were simply wrong, Joe...and...she often distorted and stretched the truth. It was like watching a female version of Pinocchio.

Joe: There you go Chris. Attacking her. That is all the liberal media knows how to do.

Chris: Joe, don't you care if she gets the facts straight?

Joe: You liberal media socialists wouldn't know a fact if it hit you between the eyes.

Chris: Let's move on...Palin looked and sounded like a robot...She didn't answer many of the questions...and...she simply repeated the talking points her handlers have been feeding her over the past week? Doesn't that bother you?

Joe: What bothers me Chris is that Biden and Obama are socialists...and...all they know to do is tax and spend.

Chris: You didn't answer my question Joe.

Joe: I am not going to play the liberal media's favorite game of gotcha.

Chris: So, Joe, why do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to be the next Vice President?

Joe: She is a maverick Chris, and she is going to clean house in Washington when her and McCain win in November.

Chris: Really...Where is this unbridled confidence coming from? What makes you think McCain and Palin can control the Democratic house and senate?

Joe: Not sure what unbridled means. The liberal media always uses big words when they can't handle the facts. That is why they are elitists.

Chris: Biden and Obama assert that McCain and Palin represent four more years of George Bush. Can you explain how a McCain/Palin ticket is different from Bush in the areas of foreign policy and the economy?

Joe: Didn't you listen to what I said earlier Chris? Palin and McCain are mavericks....All Biden and Obama want to do is surrender in Iraq and tax and spend. McCain will win the war in Iraq and bring our soldiers home with honor...and...McCain will capture Bin Landin. Did you know Chris that Obama voted to cut off support for the troops?

Chris: Joe, did you know that McCain voted against funding of the troops as well?...and...he voted against increased spending for vets.

Joe: How dare you question McCain's patriotism. He served this country with dignity and honor and has always put his country first...unlike...Obama who is only interested in himself.

Chris: There you go again, trying to change the subject and not answering my questions. You are beginning to sound like Sarah Palin.

Joe: There you go again Chris...attacking me...

Chris: Do you guys ever feel an obligation to answer any questions of the media?

Joe: We answer the questions Chris, but the liberal media don't listen because they are bias.

Chris: Look of frustration...moving on...Yesterday, McCain asserted that he has told the absolute truth 100% of the time. Do you really believe this Joe?...

Joe: The liberal media wouldn't know the truth if God delivered it personally. I believe John McCain, not the liberal media.

Chris: In closing...I'll give you the last word Joe. Tell the American people why Sarah Palin would make a good vice President.

Joe: She will make a great VP because she will bring American values back to the White House...and...she, and McCain will get our economy back on track by cutting out all the pork barrel spending in Washington that has occurred since the liberals took over the congress. She will make America the shining light on the hill that Reagan talked about...but most important...she and McCain will stop this country from becoming a socialist country which is what "will" happen if Obama and Biden win the election. The choice is simple. We can choose socialism and tyranny or we can choose democracy, capitalism, and freedom.

Chris: Thanks Joe...