Friday, July 30, 2004
There's a lot of problems with this morning's News-Press editorial, Scripts, parties and a waste of money. It may set a new record, actually: I think there's something in just about every sentence that I disagree with! I just boiled down a few of my arguments into a letter to the editor...
- Dear News-Press Editorial Staff,
Today's editorial on what a "waste" the national political conventions are makes a common mistake in viewing them as some kind of advertising. This is a pat reflection of the current Conventional Wisdom around these events, which states that since they're at least partially staged now, they're boring and not news.
As so often happens, the Conventional Wisdom is out of touch with reality. In this case, wildly so. More than a dozen folks from here traveled to Boston, we had local weblog coverage on sbdems.org and DailyKos, and of course there were the hundreds of people locally who attended house parties to watch Kerry's speech.
Why would so many people expend so much energy on this if it's just one big informercial? Because, simply, it isn't. John Kerry wasn't selling a product on Thursday night, he was describing his vision for the future of this country and what he'll do as President. That's not advertising, even if it looks a little like it. It's democracy as practiced in the age of media omnipresence.
And why shouldn't the television networks carry this? Are their advertising revenues really vastly more important than the process of choosing who will shape our economy and determine our foreign policy? The airwaves ought to belong to the people, not the corporate behemoths who have carved them up into profit centers. What's criminal is that they didn't carry more of the conventions, not less. At least some of us have C-Span.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
The silliest Republican talking point of the week is definitely "the Democrats are being partisan at their convention!" Dear GOP: Yes, the Democrats are being partisan, and even occasionally mentioning George Bush's name, at their national convention. When did the Right develop such fragility and such thin skins? Can they not take even this much heat? They sure can dish it out, one would expect them to be able to handle it.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Bob Novak is a sexist pig. So is practically all the press when it comes to Teresa Heinz Kerry, but Novak just said "She should shut up and sit down for her husband's sake." If Bob Novak said that about my wife, I'd sock him. "Shut up and sit down," verbatim. Unbelievable!
Monday, July 26, 2004
Convention Madness. There's a whole lot going on this week around the convention. The main site is www.dems2004.org, but there's also the official convention weblog at www.BostonDParty.com. It's going to get started around 4pm EST, so 1pm here on the left coast. The cable networks will all have coverage to some degree or another and C-Span will be carrying it gavel to gavel. And it looks like I will be on KETY news as a live guest tonight at 5:30.
Locally, check out ordinary American and "journalist/mom/activist/computer scientist/attorney/blogger" Susan Epstein's super-comprehensive DailyKos weblog. She's in Boston with press credentials covering the convention for the SB Independent, but she'll be blogging there a lot too and has already started. Her coverage is going to be as close as you can get to actually being there!
We watched Kerry talking to a crowd in Ohio on C-Span last night, and it was really something. I have a prediction, in fact. While so far most people's enthusiasim for Kerry has been a result of how much they dislike Bush, by the end of this campaign, practically everyone is going to be really voting FOR Kerry, not just against Bush. He's that good. It's going to be an interesting week!
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Ah, another cool, overcast morning in a Santa Barbara tucked sweetly under the marine layer. The harbor is calm, the tourists getting coffee on lower State are wondering where the sun went. But just when you thought it was safe to curl up in your favorite sweatshirt with a cup of joe, yet another ridiculous omission by the News-Press editorial page Elwood Mesa rips through the peace of our little community.
It seems like a nice enough piece. Sure, there's a little dig at the Coastal Commission, but what's new. And the rich folks (including News-Press owner Wendy McCaw) who have chipped in to make it happen certainly get plenty of ink. But the impression it leaves is that they've given everyone who helped out their appropriate due.
Problem is, they left someone out. Again. Glaringly.
The fact is that this deal simply would not have happened without Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson's pit-bull like determination and leadership. Here's a picture of her out at the site last week, announcing yet another few million that she sheparded into the project... Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson speaking out at Elwood last week.
The NP did (grudgingly) cover this story, but they only gave it a few inches. At least they included her name. But it's a pretty stark reality: no Assemblymember Jackson, no butterflies.
It sounds like all the natural features in this place are going to wind up with the names of the folks who were rich enough to part with a spare million or two to contribute. What a statement it is that the public servant who put all the pieces together will likely not even get a footnote.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Wow: Garrison Keillor's A Democrat knows that the leaf turns...
"There is a message here: if lower taxes are your priority over human life, then we know what sort of person you are."
Friday, July 16, 2004
"We might have to disrupt democracy because...terrorists want to disrupt democracy" Minister of Fear. What would we do without Mark Fiore?
Friday, July 09, 2004
Conservatives this week (including President Bush himself) have been downplaying the president's relationship with the finally-indicted Ken "Kenny Boy" Lay. Too bad there are documents floating around the public record like this one. My favorite response of all of them (I forget who said this, unfortunately) was "Well, Bill Clinton played golf with Ken Lay, too!" Which I guess would be some kind of an issue - if Clinton were, say, running for president right now.
Values values values! In other news, Kerry and Edwards have both finally been taking it to the hoop on the continued attempts of conservative extremists to hijack the word "values." The first edition of George Lakoff's seminal Moral Politics came out in 1996. This book laid out a complete and coherent moral framework for both the conservative and liberal worldviews. Eight years later, a candidate from the left is finally starting to get it! Or really, another candidate: Clinton was OK at this although I never got the feeling that he hit it as hard as he could have, and Gore certainly didn't. Kerry and Edwards might, and given that 48% of Americans say that Kerry shares their values while 46% say Bush does, they certainly have an opportunity to give it a try.
The press has even been starting to cover this - both the WaPo and the NYT ran stories around this earlier in the week. This is exciting news, really, since this hijacking has been something the Right has gotten away with willynilly for a long, long time.
To celebrate (and to serve as a reminder), I've started collecting good lefty values terms permanently over in the right-hand column of this 'blog, underneath the authors section. It's not a complete list, but leave any others you think of in the comments and I'll add them!
Monday, July 05, 2004
It was a great fourth!
Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson with her grandkids Bolden and Georgia, in place for the Carpinteria parade
The crew for the Santa Barbara paraade: Bolden & Georgia again, with Ms. Jackson and staffers Jen & Caroline
This week, Ms. Jackson has the singular pleasure of returning to Sacramento to deal with Governor Schwarzenegger's ham-handed handling of the budget. George Skelton of the LA Times captures the scene eloquently...
Instead of staging anti-Legislature rallies up and down California, [the Governor] should be reading up on American civics — reading about those Founders setting up two coequal branches of government with checks and balances, with separate powers to propose and dispose. The executive signs or vetoes bills; the Legislature amends and maybe passes them.
This is OK. As Mr. Skelton points out this is a rookie mistake. Which would be fine if it wasn't for the Governor's rather odious strategy of staging all these anti-legislature events. The idea I guess is to demonstrate what fantastic public support he has, but of course he can get people out to these things - he's Arnold Schwarzenegger! They're completely meaningless wastes of time and they cheapen the process. Think he'll stop doing them soon?
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Happy Birthday, America! In the past two weeks, two huge flags here have been desecrated by people throwing paint bombs at them. I can't even begin to describe how sad and wrong this is, I'm really not even sure where to start. One of the flags ordinarily hangs about an eighth of a mile from Heeyah HQ here on Yanonali Street, and even though I vigorously disagree with the politics of the group that flies it (the right-wing Young America Foundation), I see that flag every day and it reminds me of the necessity of dissent and finding ways to articulate what you believe in, which is what this blog is really all about.
Tomorrow, the 4th of July, is the flagiest of all days -- probably even beating out Flag Day when it comes to Americans displaying Old Glory. So for those of you who plan to get out the Stars and Stripes for all of those parties and parades, don't forget to use the proper etiquette. Have a great fourth!