President Obama toured the Midwest this week doing his best to redirect focus from his disastrous defeat over the debt ceiling to the issue that everyone outside of Washington wanted him to be concerned with: Jobs. But other than learning how great of a photo backdrop palettes make, we still know very little about how aggressive the president is going to be in this fight. What he has here is the perfect opportunity to push himself off the ropes and start finally swinging again.
Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich (@RBReich) has been way out front on the issue of a comprehensive jobs plan. Aside from proving he appears exactly like I imagine comedian Jon Benjamin’s father to look, Reich’s recent media tour and frequent substantive tweeting has distinguished him as the leading progressive voice on this issue at the moment. And guess what, Mr. Reich was also a member of Obama’s economic transition advisory board. I can only hope this means he has the president’s ear.
So what is Reich’s position? In a phrase, it’s be bold Mr. President. So far Obama’s presidency has been defined by a whole lot of pragmatism. Great. I’m all for a pragmatic approach to solving our nation’s issues. The problem is that Obama’s pragmatism is too easily trumped by the Right’s bully politics. The Republican strategy of fighting tooth and nail for every political ounce of flesh has driven the so-called compromise point far far away from any policy that resembles Obama’s vision; barely pragmatic.
What the president must do with his jobs package next month is deliver an opening salvo to the debate so dramatic that it galvanizes the Left and gives us something worth fighting for. A strong jobs package that includes a robust WPA style program for giving people immediate jobs, an infrastructure bank that is empowered to actually fund big ticket items, and real money going straight into state coffers to make sure teachers and other public employees don’t have to be laid off will send the message to all the people that voted for him that Obama isn’t afraid of the big bad Republicans. Obama needs to show his base that he knows how to lead; that he remembers that spirit that invigorated the nation and made us feel the sensation of something we seem to have forgotten in the months since. Hope.
If we have learned anything from the 112th congress it’s that the anti-Obama strategy is to not let any bill pass that has any chance of being perceived as a win for the President. In this political climate, the Republicans are going to bitch and moan and cry about whatever jobs package Obama puts forth. Come on Mr. President! It’s time to give them something to really cry about.
I have been a bit hesitant to jump into the discussion on healthcare because of an overwhelming feeling that I just didn’t understand what was really being debated. Well after listening to today’s To the Point on KCRW I certainly feel like I have a better understanding of the political and practical issues involved.
Check it out and let me know what you think. Come on – how about a little enderzero.net discussion?
Check out this interesting CNN Article regarding the role Michelle Obama plays for women around the world.
“She could be a new face for India,” says Ferreira, program officer for an HIV-prevention program run by World Vision, an international humanitarian group. “She shows women that it’s OK to have dark skin and to not have a son. She’s quite real to us.”
Now that the election is over (congrats, congrats, yes), we can finally get a break from all the emails from MoveOn and the DNC and the Obama campaign asking us for money… right? no? Well at least they have some cool stuff to offer.
MoveOn is offering the above Shepard Fairey print commemorating both the election and the incredibly successful image – for a $20 donation.
Even cooler, they are giving a sticker of the same print away for free!
And the Obama campaign is giving away the Obama Biden T-shirt for $30, though I’m afraid the design seems a little crowded and uninspired. I wonder if the campaign will continue to colelct money into the beginning of the presidency. Obama 2012!!
So the trip to India went like this: Crazy taxi ride through incredibly horrible Kathmandu traffic (some of the worst in the world – but I don’t get to Delhi until Friday) 50 mins Free – Incredibly beautiful flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur, Nepal with views of the entire Nepali Himalaya 45 mins $156 – Shared taxi from airport to border town of Kakarvitta about 45 mins 300NRS = $4 – Nepali immigration then 15 minute walk across bridge to Indian immigration, both very relaxed – Shared taxi from Panitanki (Indian border town) to Siliguri a little over an hour 90RS = $1.80 – Shared Land Rover (sitting in the way back) from Siliguri to Darjeeling about 3 hours 120RS = $2.60. See, no prob.
I was Sitting at a nice little breakfast spot this morning, reading the Indian newspaper The Telegraph, when I came across this great Op-Ed regarding the election. Thought this would be a good view from afar at what the election means to the rest of the world. It is worth reading the whole thing, but here is the last paragraph:
So, at this Diwali and Kali Puja and Thanksgiving, let us join hands inside our souls and pray, pray hard to whatever god or human spirit that we will be delivered from the Bush-whackers without too much further damage, that we will be spared the McCain years (which will probably pale in comparison to the horror of the Palin years) and for a solid victory to brother Bar-Ob after which we can (cautiously) begin to welcome the United States back into the planet, and then, finally, let’s pray for the new American president to continue to have the courage, sense and genuine empathetic curiosity he has displayed so far, for him to grow rather than shrink in possibly the most important job in the world.
Made it to bustling Kathmandu late last night. It actually wasn’t bustling at all – completely asleep when I landed. But there is a bit more bustle on the streets this morning with every motorbike honking its way through the narrow Thamel streets that make up this city.
Murr-dogg and I met Pasong Sherpa, our extremely friendly trip organizer who made sure all of our gear was in order and arranged for our trekking permits. We set off early tomorrow morning for Lukla and the first day of trekking! Not sure what kind of internet there will be but I have been told there will be access in the sherpa village of Namche Bazar. I’ll try to sign on from there before really going off the grid. Unfortunately, posting photos I have taken so far has proven too difficult.
In quick political news, Yahoo Politico has a good article summing up Rove’s and other Republican strategists’ admissions that if the election was to take place today, it would be all Obama. Mike Murphy (architect of McCain’s 2000 campaign) says:
It’s McCain’s barn that’s on fire. … Thirty days out, I think McCain can win. But the fact is, [if the] election were held today, he’d lose. And I think he’s on a losing path.
That is great, but I’ll reiterate my general sentiment – I should damn hope so!
The Shepard Fairey designed Obama is quickly becoming the iconic image of this election (posted here back in Feb). It is definitely all over LA and I am guessing most of Obama country. A local hair salon was rocking an image along these lines and I had to do my best to reproduce it. Add mine to the growing collection of rips/mods (let’s just call it a mash up for buzz sake).
Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges — including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America. I’ve never asked members of AlGore.com to contribute to a political campaign before, but this moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action.
No huge surprise that the spiritual leader of the Democratic Party is endorsing the presumptive democratic candidate – but I can’t miss the chance to put the Gore/Obama graphic on the site for eternity.
I’ll also take this opportunity to mention I just finished both of Obama’s books and really enjoyed them. I highly recommend both – but particularly Dreams from my Father (his first written in 1995) which tells his truly fascinating personal story. He has had quite a life. The latest book, The Audacity of Hope (written in 2006) lays out his wonderfully progressive yet pragmatic political platform that really has me excited for a potential Obama presidency.
All this weekend from noon to 11pm there is a big anti-war festival happening at The Firehouse (map ) downtown.
LA vs WAR highlights the travesty of a senseless war now going into its 6th year, giving LA artists a platform to exercise their freedom of speech. Hundreds of artists representing our diverse communities unite in delivering a universal message of peace and understanding, and offering resistance and opposition to the US government’s war policies.
With print and graffiti exhibitions, live djs, film events, and plenty of anti-war info – this should be a pretty positive and interesting event.
There is a horrible new trend happening all around us of amateur videographers making grotesque campaign videos to show their support for their candidates. I can’t imagine these are sanctioned by the candidates… unless they are really struggling in the press oversight department. Hillary’s is especially horrendous and absolutely serious.
There are a ton out there for Obama as well – this one is particularly bad. Man I hate iPhoto-esque slideshows set to music. How many transitions can you come up with?
According to witnesses, a loud black man approached a crowd of some 4,000 strangers in downtown Chicago Tuesday and made repeated demands for change.
It is estimated that, to date, the black man has asked every single person in the United States for change.
“I’ve already seen this guy four times today,” Chicago-area ad salesman Blake Gordon said. “Every time, it’s the same exact spiel. ‘I need change.’ ‘I want change.’ Why’s he so eager for all this change? What’s he going to do with it, anyway?”
Those who encountered the black man Tuesday said he engaged in erratic behavior, including pointing at random people in the crowd and desperately saying he needs their help, going up to complete strangers and hugging them, and angrily claiming that he is not looking for just a little bit of change, but rather a great deal of change, and that he wants it “right now.”
Is anyone offended by this? Of course it is satire – but even so is anyone out there a bit offended by the racial issues?
…I’m not. But why would I be? The real humor is that I actually do get an email prety much every day from the Obama campaign asking for money.
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In other Obama news, Barack has announced that he will have an intimate dinner with 4 lucky donors selected at random from people who donate between now and Mar 31. Interesting idea – win a dinner with Obama. It does not seem to be evident where the dinner will take place and I can only assume winner will be responsible for getting to the location (odds on it is Pennsylvania). Anyone think he might see some backlash for this kind of move?
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Finally – both Arianna Huffington and Bob Scheer had some really great things to say on last week’s episode of Left, Right and Center (radio) about Obama taking the higher ground and winning! This is in response to last week’s amazing “A More Perfect Union” speech addressing race (which everyone has already watched, right?). This week’s episode has a lot of the guest host annoyingly arguing with Tony, but to hear the two progressive voices very very happy with Obama and the nation’s reaction is quite heartening. Time to build some MOMENTUM!!
I’ve been spreadin the love over SNL since they came back from the strike a few weeks back. I’m happy to say that after an off week last week with Amy Adams (maybe not her fault) they were back with guns firing this week with Jonah Hill. I’m definitely not saying that every sketch is a hit – but this is the zeit poppin off and there are some definite winners. Above is the clip from this week’s Weekend Update where Tracy Morgan takes a shot at Tina Fey’s pro Clinton mono from a few weeks back. Booosh.
Here are a few links to this week’s SNL. Check out the DigiShort and my other fave this week, the Country Music Commercial – Rocket Ships, Model-T Cars, Toddlers, and Jars of Beer.
…Notice that last one wasn’t a link. That is because NBC has been on the DMCA takedown warpath – pulling all their clips from YouTube. WTF!? Sure they might be losing some ad dollars from their nbc.com site – but they don’t seem to be getting the fact that it is allowing people like me to email these clips around that gets twice as many people to tune in NEXT WEEK. The buzz around SNL 3 weeks ago (after Huckabee) was nutty – the next week they KILLED it with Clinton. But not allowing their clips online and not putting all the clips on their site is just backwards backwater bullshit thinking. Booooo.