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The Inauguration Concert – We Are One January 19, 2009

Posted by Robert in Election 08, inauguration, Music, Politics, Social Commentary, Travel.
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DSC_0474

It was cold, dusty and there were several people who would have fit in better in the parking lot of a Dave Matthews concert, but for a proud Obamite like myself, it was Woodstock.

We arrived at about 11:30 and the National Mall was packed already.

There’s one at every show.

Steve Carell

That kid’s chin is ready for change.

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce!

Marine One?

So it would appear.

Security was tight, but very polite and not oppressive.  Snipers?

US Boarder Patrol.  They must have pulled every uniformed officer into DC.

DC’s Finest.

The American Communist Party.

These guys were popular.

Later we realized that they were probably playing this because George Lucas was in the front row.  Seriously.

“That was good chanting everybody!”  Thanks Elmo.

Lots. Of. People.

Garth sorta brought the house down.  “American Pie” into “Shout”

U2 – Pride In The Name Of Love, one day before Dr. King’s birthday.

U2 – City of Blinding Lights

Pete Seger and Bruce Springsteen – This Land is Your Land.  The whole crowd was singing along.  This was one of the more moving parts of the day for me.

Someone decided that Beyonce got to do the finale.  Ah well, I would have given it to Pete and Bruce.

Smilin’ Joe Biden’s Speech.

Barack’s speech.  He’s just warming up for Tuesday.

The streets out of The National Mall were absolutely packed to the gills with people.

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On The Eve of The Election: An American Prayer November 4, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Not Political, Politics, Social Commentary.
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Good Day America.   I write this post not as an amateur political pundit or an avid supporter of Senator Obama’s Candidacy or a wack-job, bed-wetting liberal.  Although I know that depending on who is reading this, you will inevitably group me into one of these 3 categories.

I write this as an American, in prayer.   Not a hypothetical “prayer” either.  An actual prayer that I will be praying tonight to the being that I call God.   The Catholic God of my childhood if you want details.   The same God that I’ve prayed to thousands of times before, be it the night before a spelling test in 3rd grade or for the recovery of an ailing loved-one or for a friend that I knew was going to be in harms way for a while.

I won’t be praying for the victory of a particular candidate,  God knows who I’d prefer to see win the Presidency and he knows that I feel very passionate about it (if you’re offended by my referring to the Judeo-Christian God as “He” my apologies.  Feel free to replace it with whatever 3rd person pronoun you prefer).  My prayer tonight will be for my country.  A country that I know will be in desperate need of some long overdue healing come Wednesday morning (at the very earliest).  My prayer will be very simple and very short.

Despite what you think about  the way this country has been handled in the days, months and years since George W. Bush was elected by electoral vote,  you would be hard pressed to point to a president that will leave office with a more divided country.    People are angry.  They are angry because they see a country that deem it unnecessary to provide equal and adequate health-care to all citizens.  They are angry because they see a country that allows women to terminate their pregnancies for reasons legally.   They are angry because to them, large sections of the country do not seem to have enough pride in our nation’s military.  They are angry because they see a country that is capable of rigging elections.

Whether or not any of these concerns are well-founded is up for debate.  What is not, is how bad this country needs to heal.   I don’t care if you live in Birmingham, Alabama or The Upper West Side of Manhattan Island,  you’ve undoubtedly overheard people talking about this election and what they plan on doing if the person they don’t want to win, wins.  You’ll hear everything from “I’m moving to Mexico” to “Well the Republicans/Democrats are already cheating so it doesn’t matter.”

I’ll be honest,  I am worried about what will happen to this country if Barack Obama loses.   I am in stark disagreement with Senator McCain on most issues and I haven’t exactly been vague in my criticism of his choice for his running-mate. To be brutally honest, she scares the ever-living hell out of me.   But what worries me more is the prospect that no matter which candidate wins, this country is going to continue to hate half (give or take) of itself.

Therefore, tonight I invite you whomever you are to join me.   Before you fall asleep tonight I hope that you will take a moment and say a prayer or wish upon a star or talk to yourself.   Just give a thought for this country and remember that even if the side you want to win doesn’t, that doesn’t mean this country is incapable of bettering itself.

In case you’re wondering, my prayer is only one word long.

Unity.

McCain Campaign Muzzles Muslim McCain Supporter October 21, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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Meet Daniel Zubairi, a grassroots organizer for the McCain/Palin Campaign.   Above you’ll see Daniel bravely speak out against the hatred being spewed by one of a bunch of bad apples that have been making the McCain rallies sound a lot like some other rallies that you can find in old news reels. 

Daniel confronts 2 people that are handing out stickers and spewing lies about Barack Obama being connected to radical Islam and Communism.  As an Muslim and a McCain campaign organizer, Daniel really sticks it to them and says in no uncertain terms that they do not represent the views of the campaign and the campaign does not condone their actions.

Wonderful!  This is just the kind of straight-talk that I would expect from the McCain campaign.  The only problem is, the campaign is not allowing Daniel to speak to the press. 

Wow.  Just when they get a chance to allow an official representative of the campaign to speak out against hatred, fear and lies as a campaign tactic, they muzzle him.

I thought McCain said he was proud of the people at his rallies? I agree that it’s foolish to judge a candidate based on the lowest of his supporters.  I’m sure that Obama has radical Islamic supporters just like McCain has White Supremacist supporters.  But I’m positive that if the press wanted to interview an official member of the Obama campaign that confronted a group of radical Islamics at an Obama rally, they would be allowed.   Why is the McCain campaign extending it’s theme of press black-outs?  It hasn’t worked with Sarah Palin, and it’s certainly not going to work with a like-able character like Daniel.

Let Daniel Speak!

The Exact Moment That Decided This Election October 8, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
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Both candidates have these same expressions right now.

Both candidates have these same expressions right now.

There have been many gaffes during this campaign.  Both Republicans and Democrats have put their feet in their collective mouths  more times than one blog can cover.

But McCain managed, in 3 short seconds, to (at least in my humble estimation) loose his last remaining chance at winning this election and the last remaining shred of respect that I had for him.

Here’s what he did.

Oh. My. Rude. Senator.

I really can’t think of a time where I’ve had such an appalled reaction while watching television.  Well, maybe season 2 of HEROES.   But my wife, myself and I’m sure a great many American’s all shared a collective “WTF” moment when the Arizona senator referred to his opponent as “That One”.

I mean good Lord.  Barack Obama has a title, sir.  It is “Senator”.  Just like yours is.  You could have probably gotten away with “my opponent”, “Barack” or even “Barack-man Turner Overdrive”.  But “That One”?  Hell ta’ tha’ no.

I will now offer at no charge a retort for Senator Obama to use during the 3rd and final debate.

Who was it that voted with the Bush Administration over 90% of the time? Who was having cake with Bush while people drowned en masse in the wake of Katrina?  Who can’t smile without it looking really, really creepy?  You may not be able to guess, but it’s “Gramps” over there.

Use it in good health, Senator Obama and feel free to thank me later after your inauguration.

Shocking Obama Secret Revealed! October 2, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Social Commentary.
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Senator Obama has been pulling the wool over the American peoples eyes for too long. It really pains me to say this because I really had high hopes for him to turn this country around and usher in a new kind of politics. But thank God that Florida resident Andy Lacasse has uncovered the horrible truth.  You see, after discovering Obama’s dirty secret, Andy decided to fashion this articulate and well researched sign in his front yard to warn potential Obama voters of their folly.

I know,  you must be as shocked as I was.  Here I was going about my day telling people to vote for Barack Obama because I though he stood a real chance of getting our country back from the neo-conservative, Bush/Cheney/Rove years and then this pops up.  Man, I’d say that I’m crushed, but that would be too much of an understatement.

To think that not only was Barack Obama lying to us about his past, but he’s not even eligible to be President.  Everyone knows that you have to be a natural born American citizen over the age of 35 and you must not be a finely woven cotton fabric.   To think that I was going to vote for a “Half-Breed Muslin” to be my president.  His mother probably slept with a length of polyester when she was in college or something.

And don’t you left wing wack-jobs even think about going down to Andy’s home in Barefoot Bay, Florida and trying to remove his sign or take away his freedom of speech.  He’s waiting for you.  Just read the warning he gave to local news channel 13.

“I got nothing good to say about Obama. If I see anybody touching that sign, I got a club sitting right over there.”

That’s right folks.  A Club, and he don’t mean he’s going to fix you a tasty multi-layered sandwich either.  He means this kind of club.

Andy Locasste

Andy Lacasse - An artist's conception

Well, thank you Andy Lacasse.  Your open mindedness, pursuit of truth and mastery of the English language has shown me the light.

McCain wins debate, loses staring contest. September 27, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
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(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Well, it wasn’t quite the slug-fest that I wanted it to be, especially from Obama, but we did gain some key insights as to how both sides have decided to play their hand in these debates.

Honestly, I do have to give a narrow win to McCain on this one, but very narrow and won solely based on sharp direct and often times, dare I say it, unsportsmanlike attacks on Obama.   But in an age where the sound-bite rules, he definitely got in some good punches.   The only problem is, he did it at the expense of looking very un-presidential.

I was absolutely amazed at McCain’s inability to make eye contact with his opponent.  It was downright eerie.   Even after being told several times to direct their retorts at each other, McCain refused to give his opponent the satisfaction of even acknowledging him with one fleeting glance. He did, however, manage to correctly use the word “Festooned”. But that is certainly not going to silence any of the people saying his age is an issue.

As a quick aside, this is my attempt to recreate a text message from one 7th grader to another that correctly uses the word “Festooned”.,

nce nu jckt. it’s 100% festooned w cul stf.

Ok, now that I got that out of my system…

McCain also made one of his strongest and most shrewd moves when he said that he thought that Obama “Didn’t possess the knowledge or experience” to serve as President. I’m really sorry, but I thought that one of the things that the Right keeps repeating is that Obama is too “Ivy League”.   There are certainly things that someone looking to find fault with Obama could find, just read those chain emails from your weird aunt.  But I haven’t seen one crazy email that has challenged Obama’s intelligence.

If you’re confused as to where I’m going with this, here’s a hint.

Obama is smart.  Really smart.  Possibly too smart for some who try to paint him as a sort of  douche-bag valedictorian type.  But personally, I want my president to have a higher SAT score than I did.

Now, I know that John McCain is smart as well, but even if he wasn’t I think Obama proved that he has the demeanor of a person who realizes that personal attacks like that don’t belong in the political discord.  Obama may have not had as many sound bites as McCain, but he did have a few very good ones and more importantly than anything else, he continued to look Presidential as McCain continued to look sloppy.

Did I mention that the hardened Navy Pilot/POW who supposedly looks everyone in the eye wouldn’t look the skinny Harvard grad in the eye?  Yeesh…

Now I certainly thought that Obama missed some chances and was being a bit too polite.  Several times you could tell he really wanted to set something straight after McCain took a swing at him but either let McCain steamroll him or allowed the subject to be changed.   This is something that he will most definitely need to correct in the future debates.

So if you’re keeping score, McCain squeaked by with a victory by taking the low road.  The good news for Obama fans is that this was the debate where everyone said McCain would have the upper hand.  So because he was able to stand up and not get completely crushed, it’s a moral victory.   Now on to the VP debate and the second and third Presidential Debates.

If the McCain campaign want’s some advice for the coming debates, Number 23 has some.

Update: Well, it looks like I saw the debate differently than most uncommitted voters.  That’s what this CBS poll says anyway.

CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.

Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw.

Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight. Thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better.

Sixty-six percent of uncommitted voters think Obama would make the right decisions about the economy. Forty-two percent think McCain would.

Forty-eight percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-six percent think McCain would.

We will have a full report on the poll later on. Uncommitted voters are those who don’t yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds.

The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

The First Debate: It’s on like Donkey Kong! September 26, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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The McCain campaign confirmed that John McCain will in fact be at the debate tonight.   There’s still no resolution about the proposed bailout, so I’m not sure what exactly has changed other than possibly coming to realization that having either Obama or McCain in Washington trying to help figure this out was a huge mistake, but either way the political junkies of the world are rejoicing.

This means that the VP debate that has everyone in the media and blogosphere salivating will in all likelihood occur, as the McCain campaign’s only excuse to do away with it is now gone.

Oh man, I’m so excited.  I’m not sure what the tone of the debate tonight will take, but I am sure that you’ve probably will never hear so many foreign policy questions answered with domestic finance responses again in your life.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the debate will look something like this…

or this.

Letterman is Pissed, McCain is Scared September 25, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
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John Paul Filo/CBS, via Reuters)

(Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS, via Reuters)

Something is amiss in the world of John McCain. I don’t know what he’s thinking, I honestly don’t.   But what I do know, is that you do not cancel on David Letterman on the day of taping.

NO SENATOR!! BAD SENATOR!!

Lucky for us, someone at CBS leaked the as yet to air segments where Dave shows McCain what happens when you  mess with a man who has a TV show with his name on it.

In the world of late night television, if you cancel your appearance the day of you better be dead or dying.  It’s basically like standing up your bride on her wedding day.   Of course this is a little different, because in this case John McCain decided to walk down Broadway and marry some other girl. Namely, Katie Couric.

I’m honestly not sure what I’m more upset at, the slap in the face to one of the greatest living broadcasters, or the fact that McCain doesn’t think it’s a good idea for the American People to see him in a debate in one of the most domestically, internationally and economically unstable times in the history of our country.

McCain says it’s because he thinks this is time to focus on fixing the economy and making sure that this bailout passes through congress.   Great, that’s wonderful but I’d believe it more if it was his idea and if he was ahead in the polls.   Unfortunately neither of those things are true.  It was in fact Barack Obama who first approached the McCain campaign to suggest that in this instance they present a united front and release a joint statement about the  importance of the bailout bill.  But you might be confused because John McCain decided to go public before responding to the Obama Campaign and say that he would like Obama to join him in suspending campaigns and postponing the debate until this crisis has passed.

How very convinient.   Let me ask you Senator McCain,  what happens when things get tough if you become president?  What happens if Russia pulls a couple Destroyers up to our coast at the same time oil is at $200 a barrel and the Dow is down 800 points in a day?   Do you get to postpone being president?  Because based on your actions now, that’s the impression that I get.   I also don’t appreciate you insulting my intelligence by attempting to play this brand of “but seriously folks” politics.  It comes off very disingenuous.

Sure, times are tough.  But now is the time to really show us what you’re made of.  You want to be president?  Show us.  Don’t retreat out of the public eye and away from the scrutiny of the press.  Stay and show us what you would do if you were in charge.    Debate your opponent.  Because you owe it to us to stand next to the man you think you would be better than, and tell us why.

Also, this is fun…

McCain Campaign Continues It’s Shadow Puppetry. September 23, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Social Commentary, Television.
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The McCain campaign continued it’s “Nothing to see here. Hey isn’t that a giant robot bunny?” style of campaigning today by consistently trying to draw attention away from it’s lack of identity and focus on false and tepid diplomacy stunts and economic non-statements.

Sarah Palin traveled to the UN to meet with a few world leaders including Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Henry Kissinger.   Unfortunately for the American voter who might be looking to events like this to help make their decision, the McCain campaign decided it would be a bad idea to allow reporters to observe these “diplomatic meetings”.

This is some scary stuff right here ladies and gentleman.   We’re just getting through what is arguably the most secretive and covert administrations in the history of the office of The President and at least one of the major candidate’s campaigns is quickly showing that in terms of journalistic transparency, they will be more of the same.    I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat or politically Bi-Curious, that should send chills down your spine.

This country needs a press corp that is free to cover the news where and when it finds it, not when it’s deemed politically convenient for it’s leaders, would-be or otherwise.   Beware the person who has the political strategy of staying outside of the public eye as much as possible.  If John McCain is worried that he will not benefit from more journalistic scrutiny, he should not be looking to fill the most powerful office in the land.  And if he feels that his choice for a running mate is better served by being allowed to campaign in a vacuum (no, that is not a sexist comment about her being a woman),  he should have left her to the relative anonymity of our northern-most state.

Look John, as a candidate you can’t expect to be able to stick to your talking points 24/7.   It’s just the nature of running a presidential campaign in these modern times.  You don’t get to give a press conference for 11 minutes and then take a few weeks off, sheltered from the main stream media.   You have to be there, non stop, answering whatever question is thrown at you.  You owe us that much.   You want us to follow you for the next 4 years?  Then answer every single question.  Allow the press open access to you, your running mate, your advisers and anyone else who might be able to give us some insight as to the type of leader you will make.

This is the absolute least we should be able to expect from our potential leader.  Let us ask and the free press we depend on to ask you anything.  Don’t call it “unfair scrutiny” when there is no such thing in this game.   All is fair in politics and if you can’t understand that, you don’t get to play. Period.

See you Friday boys.  John, lets see if you can channel that guy from 2004 who used to make me believe that non-partisan politics really were possible.

McCain/Palin, you sit on a throne of lies. September 16, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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Well, it would seem that running roughshod over the campaign with the reckless abandon of an 11 year old boy who just had 3 Capri Sun’s would seem to be a fleeting strategy.  The McCain/Palin campaign has certainly enjoyed quite a boost from the addition of the sexiest governor ever to strike fear in the heart of a moose.   They’ve jumped in the polls, although they have seemed to settle down. They’ve even enjoyed some favorable press.

But then, they got greedy.

They decided to see how far they could push their luck.  They released some ads that were, ironically, liberal in their definition of “truth”.

They attacked Obama for wanting to teach “comprehensive sex education to kindergartners”.  In fact, they called it his only accomplishment on education.   Laughable. First off, the bill was trying to protect young children from sexual predators. Second, it didn’t pass and Obama really had very little to do with it. Luckily, there are people who keep track of these things and this ad has been completely dismissed as false by several independent political fact checking organizations.  Here’s one.

They continue to spew lies regarding Obama’s tax plan.   Just for the record, Obama is NOT going to raise taxes on any American household who earns less than $250,000 a year. Check out this page to see how much you’ll save if Obama is elected. Here’s an interesting video that I found on a little cable news outlet that shares it’s name with animal that English nobleman hunt.

Wow, first Toby Kieth and now Fox News?  I predict this isn’t the last time we see Fox be critical of the McCain campaign.  Rupert Murdoch is a semi-closeted Obama fan and he owns the place.  He also owns all this stuff.

And after they released an attack ad so unfounded that CBS News forced it to be removed from Youtube because of it’s use of Katie Couric.  Today, John McCain admitted that Obama was not referring to Sarah Palin when he said “lipstick on a pig”.  He did say that he believes Obama “chooses his words very carefully”.  Maybe McCain should take a lesson from that.

But who am I to say that the McCain campaign has gone too far?  I mean, I certainly don’t have any clout in the political world.  Well, certainly not as much as this guy.

Now of course Rove is going to bash Obama and say he’s lying in his ads.  But if you’re the Republican candidate and Karl Rove is saying you need to be more truthful, you’ve got a problem.

Maybe the pursuit of trivial issues in the campaign last week called down the gods of clarity because today the country got over 500 reasons to focus on the real issues like the sub-prime mortgage crisis and whether or not the government should be bailing out banks.   This is unfortunate for McCain because he’s not in his element answering questions on the economy.   He now says when he’s referring to the “fundamentals” of the economy, he’s referring to the American Worker.

Is this the kind of worker he was talking about? Because that’s the kind we’re going to see more and more of if we don’t get a leader who takes this issue seriously and knows the plight of the middle class working American.

Have we learned nothing from Shakira? If her hips continue to not lie a full 31 years after they were created, why can’t John McCain stay honest?