Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'll listen to Journey for a month and wear a fleece hoodie in public if someone...

...can explain to me how Chris Matthews has a job.

The homeless guy who routes for change in the convenience store pay phone across the street speaks in the same cadence and is every bit as lucid.

Does Matthews have a G.E. executive's mom duct taped to the water heater in his basement?

There's no other explanation.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What the fuck?

I can't fathom the circumstances under which this decision would make sense.

From today's Dallas Star-Telegram via Wonkette:

Police Concerned about Order to Stop Weapons Screening at Obama Rally:

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.

"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Because we could all use a pallate cleanser:

The video for Chris Walla's awesomely catchy and moving-in-a-good-way "Sing Again" packs more familiar faces and indie fun times than the green room at Neumo's. Commence with rockin'. Or bending slightly at the knees and swaying almost imperceptibly. (I say it with love, emotards I stand behind at shows.)

On plagarism and pride:

As everyone knows by now, Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Barack Obama have been friends and political allies for fifteen years and both say they talk several times a week. David Axelrod helped coordinate Patrick's campaign and oversees Obama's and according to CNN, as early as a year ago, both Patrick and Obama said publicly that they sometimes use each other's lines. Since yesterday, in at least two interviews, Patrick has made abundantly clear that they sometimes swap adages and that he encouraged Obama to employ the phrases in question. Plagiarism, by definition, involves theft. As a writer, I take the charge extremely seriously. If I thought Obama stole another's words, I'd forfeit my position as county delegate. But it's like Patrick gave him the keys and said, "Here, borrow my car" and the Clinton campaign is crying, "Grand theft auto!" Logically and morally, it doesn't make sense.

Re what Michelle Obama said about feeling pride in her country for the first time in her adult life: I have complete respect for her and I like that she often speaks off the cuff and perhaps she misspoke, but any way you parse it, it was a ridiculous thing for a potential first lady to say to a room full of reporters. Please, Mrs. Obama, do not morph into Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"Besides, if there is another life after this one, think how much we'll get to laugh watching it all...."--Molly Ivins; "I've always said that in...

...politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you.”--Ann Richards

As the Texas primary looms, I can't help but wish Molly Ivins and Ann Richards were still alive.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the precipice of turning 41:

1) Regarding my last post: I was wrong about Denver. All of us who were elected county delegates at Saturday's caucus must attend our legislative district caucus on April 5 and/or the county convention on April 19. Then we attend our congressional district caucus on May 17th. Out of the county delegates, a group of convention delegates is elected. They attend the state convention in Spokane on June 14 and then, of course, the DNC in Denver August 25-28.

At my caucus on Saturday, I was elected precinct secretary and asked to speak on behalf of Obama before being elected one of the county delegates, so I was recording the caucus minutes and discussing with Obama supporters the points we should make and it's entirely possible something got lost in the fray. But I asked a number of detailed questions of those running the show and was under the impression no one was quite sure what the hell was going on. Or if they were clued in, they were unable to elucidate the proceedings.

I still had a number of questions and went to the Washington State Democratic Party web site and as far as I can discern, the info I listed above is correct. I know a whole bunch of writers who tend to vote Democrat and I might corral said scribes and see if all of us can help with the party's written materials. There's no way a button for the state party crab feed should be front and center but the delegates should have to dig around to find what, exactly, we're supposed to do. And I think it's confusing to refer to both county delegates and convention delegates as "delegates", even if the latter is elected from the former. It's sort of like calling prime rib and sirloin steak the same thing because they both come from cow, when really, they're similar but different.

Given the deadlines of my novel and the parameters of my health, I'm not sure if I'm going to try to get elected a convention delegate. I want to go--of course--and am fairly certain one of my editors will assign something in conjunction, but I don't want to end up in a wheelchair with an unfinished novel in order to do so. I've decided to take it day by day: if I'm persistently ambulatory and still writin' well when the congressional district caucus rolls 'round on May 17, I might toss my hat in the ring. We'll see.

[Side note: My condo on Nickerson hasn't sold yet and I'm still registered in that precinct. I'd read that you could "re-register", i.e. update your address and precinct at your new precinct caucus site on caucus day, but so much of what I'd read that week was incorrect, so I decided not to risk it. I caucused at the Coe School on Queen Anne instead of Prospect Church on Cap Hill and while I missed hanging with my new neighbors, it was nice seeing some of my old ones.]

2) What's up with Democrats wringing their hands over the notion of "electability"? Yesterday I read in the New York Times and in the Stranger online two different pieces decrying the impetus to choose a candidate based, in part, on whether she or he can get elected in November. I agree with the larger points: that it's a bit cynical and that it's impossible to predict with utmost certainty what voters will do, particularly this year.

But here's the thing: Democrats haven't won the White House with a significant majority of the popular vote since Carter beat Ford in 1976, and that was in huge part because Ford pardoned Nixon. Clinton didn't win a majority of the popular vote in 1992 or 1996--hey, Ross Perot!--and it left him without a mandate and vulnerable to the Gingrich-led smackdown in 1994. Gore won the popular vote, but just barely, and while it seems clear the Supreme Court decided the outcome, the Florida embarrassment could have been avoided if the esteemed Vice President had won his home state.

So yes, "electability" isn't an ideologically pure notion, but it is an important one. Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry all have one thing in common, you know? I happen to agree with most of Obama's positions--he still hasn't sold me on nuclear energy--and I think he has the best shot to beat McCain, so the electability question isn't a tripwire for me. And no, I'm not naive. I realize I think an African American first-term senator will beat a decorated war hero who's whiter than toothpaste. But I know many life-long Republicans and Bill Clinton voters in several states who are voting for Obama and I think that's significant. No matter what, though, I believe it's crucial to remember how difficult the next nine months will be and that all three candidates have smart, conscientious supporters in their camps.

3) For the most part, being 40 was awesome. The novel, new home, dudes, and donuts. If possible, I heartily recommend living at least this long.

4) And now I'm 41. So far, so good.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's been a long and invigorating weekend and I can barely keep my eyes open, but...

...I'm pleased to report that at my caucus site on Saturday, I was asked to speak on behalf of the precinct's Obama supporters, then I was asked to be a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. Denver, ho! I know his positions in fair detail, but I intend to learn them as well as Daschle. Re Friday's rally at Key Arena, I'm too tired to elaborate and if you're voting for him, you've read about it by now. Also, I don't want to proselytize.

And because we've got nine months to go and it's important to keep a sense of humor:


Tuesday, February 05, 2008


  • I figured HRC would take California, but you have to give her props for winning Massachusetts. Obviously, I'm displeased, but I'm not Teddy's biggest fan and I'm intrigued that Massachusetts Dems, of all voters, weren't swayed by the Kennedy mystique. (They weren't swayed by John Kerry or Deval Patrick, either, but that's ultimately less noteworthy.)
  • I think Obama's momentum will propel him to win the nomination. If I'm wrong, though, like I've said before, I'll back Hillary. I've read a bunch of comments on sundry message boards today wherein supporters of both parties have said they'll jump ship if their candidate isn't the pick. Weird that any voter could lose sight of the Supreme Court.
  • My dad grew up under Nazi occupation in Greece and survived the country's subsequent civil war. I have so many family members who grew up without food and shelter, much less the right to vote, so election years always resonate with me. I feel grateful to have been born here and in this era.
  • Read that Mitt Romney has spent nearly forty million of his own cash in this campaign. Can't help but think that, after all this dies down, his kids (and presumptive heirs) are going to be pissed.
  • Cindy McCain's hair tonight was colored and styled exactly like Gwen Stefani's. Unintentional no doubt (rim shot!), but I like that, while her husband is going on about showing that dipshit Rumsfeld a thing or two, she might be channeling her inner rock star.
  • I don't understand women who vote for Huckabee. If a candidate proclaimed, "All darkies should fix me a sammich!" she or he wouldn't garner African-American votes. Yet ladies surround Mike on the dais. Evangelicals of any stripe perplex me.
  • The 2008 campaign seems like it was scripted by Aaron Sorkin on Red Bull. I mean that in a good way.