Saturday, February 10, 2007

O is for optimism

I just finished watching Barry's speech on C-SPAN, and one of the most striking things was his campaign logo:

To me, the "O" serves as allusion to a rising sun, a new opportunity, and of course his name. My wife said the logo reminded her that Oprah has basically endorsed him, calling on him to run and saying he was her "favorite senator" (poor Dick Durbin).

I wonder, what is going to happen to the logo if he wins the nomination? Will another initial be added for his running mate (OC for Obama and Clinton or Obama and Clark? OR for Obama Richardson?) Or will the logo change like Kerry's from a boring safe logo to an even more boring and safe logo? Every candidate has to use red white and blue, with stripes or stars or both...but at least Obama is trying something different. It is a bit narcissistic however.

As for the speech, he stepped on his applause/chant lines a bit. The crowd was cold and wanted to get into it, and he basically plowed through it. But can you blame him? Here is his schedule for today and tomorrow: Feb. 10 | Presidential Announcement
Springfield, IL, Feb. 10 | Announcement Tour Cedar Rapids, IA | Feb. 11 : Waterloo, IA | Ames, IA | Chicago, IL.

The content of speech was generally pretty good, although sometimes he used too big of words. There was an applause line for a long convoluted phrase that made you know most of these people were trucked in from Champaign-Urbana. But the area was packed with thousands, and he is a good speaker.

Bottom line: people hunger for leadership and change. For 7 years we have had a MISleader (great line by who has divided us for electoral success. People are tired of being prayed upon and leveraged for some ideological agenda. And people like the idea of Obama: a man whose life story represents the hope and promise of America. That somehow if you are smart enough, you can achieve greatness even if you are black, or poor, or foreign, or whatever. Obama the man might not be anywhere near the idea of Obama. And the idea that we can move past the debates that we have been mired in for the last 30 years. People are tired of talking about Vietnam even as this generation's Vietnam is well underway. They want leaders who can frame debates beyond Watergate and Vietnam, and Obama's youth (born in 1961) is a big part of the hope. All he has to do is sell that idea.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Buttars the first time

So as I foresaw, Sen. Chris Buttars used his position on the Senate Rules Committee to replace the new high school [GAY] clubs with his old version:
Under his proposal, Buttars said schools would be free from the fear of being sued for accepting or denying a non-curricular student club because the Utah Attorney General's Office could defend schools, freeing districts from legal costs.
Like a similar bill last year, Buttars wants to target Gay-Straight Alliances, allowing school leaders to deny the clubs at the school without the threat of losing resources in a lawsuit.
"In my opinion, I hope they don't allow them, they could, but I hope they don't," Buttars said. "The school would have the authority to make a decision on yea or nay — that part got taken out over in the House, and I am going to put them back in."

You can't draft a bill that targets a group because of who they are, that's a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. See Romer v. Evans. And like that terrible abortion bill, it makes the taxpayers pony up the money to pay for ideologs' battles. Not to mention that the schools don't want this bill. Not because they love their gay students, but because it is an administrative nightmare even if it wasn't unconstitutional.

Buttars may be fanatical about homosexuals, and have no knowledge of the law, but he is no dummy and knows his parliamentary tactics.

2007 Kerry to become 1971 Kerry

Now that he has given up losing to Hillary, Obama, Edwards, and all the rest of them (hopefully Clark soon...but I will get to that later), John Kerry has listened to the young man that famously asked who wants to be the last man to die for a mistake.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is embarking on a major national campaign to end the Iraq war and has pledged to spend a considerable amount of his campaign war chest on the effort. On Sunday morning, Kerry will appear on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to kick off the campaign which seeks to have all American troops home within a year....

Kerry will finally use the remaining $7.4 million from 2004 presidential primary account and his Senate campaign account. "He also has $5 million saved away in a special account reserved for legal and accounting costs related to his 2004 general election campaign." And who knows if he can use that for this...I doubt it.

As The American Prospect's Garance Franke-Ruta argues, "it's starting to look like the real [bold leaders] are the former presidential candidates." That is because they don't have to suck up to interest groups any more and they can reveal their true selves. And unlike term-limited sitting presidents, they can't sign last minute executive orders or pardons.

Al Gore's moral authority and persuasive power now comes precisely because he is not seeking any political office. If Gore tosses his hat in the ring, his crusade becomes political message or theme and loses its punch. Plus, he can kiss that Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize goodbye.

Does this mean that Kerry is not running for reelection in two years? Or that he will merely confine himself to being the junior Senator from Massachusetts for life?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

East of San Francisco

Former Utah Jazz Center John Amaechi wrote a biography about the great time he had as a closeted gay black man in Salt Lake City. How had how delusional people in Utah (and the NBA) are about all the homosexuals in the midst:
It's hard to overestimate the stranglehold of the Latter Day Saints on the state of Utah. With the majority of the residents, the church had major say in everything from the composition of the legislature to what was considered appropriate attire. Which is why I was astonished that the city is the hippest, gayest place east of San Francisco. (Okay, so there's not a lot in between.)
Frankly, the Jazz fan base isn't all that different from that of Coffee Garden. You can't throw a basketball into a crowd without hitting a gay man or a lesbian. Dozens of season ticket holders who sat directly behind the bench were same-sex couples. I knew they were gay because they'd show up at some of my parties. (One of my guests even turned out to work for Senator Orrin Hatch.)
. . . Yet the Mormon majority seems blithely unaware of this flamboyant minority in its midst. They see same-sex couples walking down the street hand-in-hand. They drive by parts of town where every other Victorian house is festooned with rainbow flags. They see joyfully gay men pouring in and out of bars and clubs.
And at the same time, they don't see it. They're oblivious.

The Salt Lake Tribune, got an advance copy of his book that will be released next week, "Man in the Middle," and provided juicy excerpts.
"Homosexuality is an obsession among ballplayers, trailing only wealth and women," he wrote. "They just didn't like [gays]- or so they insisted over and over and over again. It soon became clear they didn't understand [gays] enough to truly loathe them."

Similarly, a local sports columnist took it upon himself it to point out that that Armaechi was not a good basketball player, as if that was relevant:
John Amaechi remains one of the worst players in franchise history.
I'm not Amaechi-bashing here.
I'm just stating a fact.

On a related note, Jazz owner and homophobic businessman Larry L. Miller (who payed Amachi's salary) regrets blocking 'Brokeback Mountain' from his theaters.
Miller said he probably would allow "Brokeback Mountain" to be shown if the movie was released now, calling his ban a bad decision.
"Not because I got beaten up over it, but because it was a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "You have to choose your spots to draw your lines and I didn't choose a very good one."
"It was good for me in a couple of ways," he said. "I learned a lot about them with some open and honest dialogue. It didn't change my way of thinking or theirs, but we all realized after talking with each other we have a better understanding of each other.
"I'm still outspoken on issues, but I know I have to look at people's feelings and lives. I'd like to say I'm more understanding now. To say I'm tolerant would be less
accurate, but I am more understanding."

Folks, you tolerate bad tasting food, you understand why Germans voted for Hitler in 1933. Of course understanding and tolerating are not the same as condoning or liking or supporting.

Nonetheless, he is trying.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Utah GOP: life begins at conception and ends at birth

The title of this post was taken from an Ed Bagley cartoon that I posted on my blog a several days ago. But the point is still true.

First, punish women and other taxpayers for your anti-choice views:
A proposal to ban abortions in Utah might also carry with it a criminal penalty for women who get an abortion. Representative Paul Ray thinks it's not just the doctor who deserves to be punished in what he calls "killing babies."

"It's a two-way street," says Ray. "The provider's not forcing the woman to do it - she's opting to go there and to pay for it."

If that weren't bad enough, there's the $4 million price tag for this pointless bill:
Even if both Bush-appointed justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito "were hellbent on overturning it, they don't have a fifth vote," said Pam Karlan, a constitutional law professor at Stanford University. "Right now, on the Supreme Court there are not five votes to overturn Planned Parenthood versus Casey. ... It's absolutely clear that the current court would not permit a state to ban all abortions."
"If all the lower courts agree that this is unconstitutional, then the Supreme Court would probably react cautiously and not take it," said Robert Bennett, a constitutional law scholar at Northwestern University.

Meanwhile, Utah Republican controlled legislature wants women and girls to die, because they might have had sex:
Introduced by Rep. Karen Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights, HB 358 would have given the Utah Department of Health $1 million to raise awareness of the disease and immunize girls and young women against it with the new Gardasil vaccine.
Many health providers hailed it as a major advancement because it is the first vaccine designed to prevent human papillomavirus, which can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.
Critics have said it is too early to know if Gardasil is effective and questioned whether it might lead to increased promiscuity among adolescents.

HPV is a curable disease and having a shot would not make people want to have more sex. It is not like sex has gone up since HIV has become less of a worry. And who says that these females won't get HPV from their husbands who sleep around? This is a public health issue, and shouldn't be another front in the culture wars.

I would also like to point out that Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) signed an executive order to do the same thing as HB 358. And no one would accuse Perry as being a liberal or disloyal Republican. Of course, the Texas Republican Party is freaking out about that executive order.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Buttars luck next time

(photo credit: Deseret News, © 2006)

I never grow tired of those puns. I am sure you do though. Anyway, it looks like the Utah House bothered to make Sen. Chris Buttar's (R-crazytown) anti-gay bill constitutional and administratively possible. Originally, Buttar's wanted every high school club to submit minutes and [OF THEIR RADICAL GAY] agenda to the principal (or vice-principal) and have copies of such items available for parents prior to any meeting of any [GAY] club, so the parents could pull their kid out of the club [BECAUSE THEM GAYS ARE TRYING TO CONVERT LITTLE EPHRAM SMITH GAY!!! BOO!]. Here's what happened House side:
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Tilton, R-Springville, now only requires all clubs to have a name consistent with its purpose, that the club can't deviate from its purpose and that a parent must sign a consent form.
The House eliminated language defining human sexuality or allowing administrators to block clubs for moral reasons. Lawmakers also removed a provision requiring the state to cover the costs of lawsuits involving the restrictions of school clubs. And the bill no longer requires clubs to provide the principal with information that would be presented to the club a week in advance so parents can review it.
House members responded to the pleas of Rep. Scott Wyatt, R-Logan, who said the original bill placed a "bureaucratic stamp" on what should be handled on the school district level.

If you really care about what you are pretending to care about, Sen. Buttars, then you will pass this bill as is. But if all you want to do is keep them gays out High Schools, well then you are going to have to kill all the gay Utahn teens, or use your voucher bill to send them all to private gay schools. People are gay because they are born that way, they don't catch it like some disease (or is a disability to be born homosexual). It isn't a cult where you can be convinced you are attracted to the same sex.

All his obsession with gay sex really makes me wonder if he isn't hiding something from himself.

the announcement that wasn't

So I got back information...Clark seems to have pulled back on his announcement plans this past weekend after he got a luke warm reception from the DNC winter meeting folks.

He canceled his Hardball appearance, and never went back on TV. Could it be that one of the candidates talked him into joining their ticket? Could he have decided he couldn't win based on the reception? Could it be that his old donors said their sticking with Hillary or Obama? Who knows.

Clark has a rock-solid NH asset: newly election US Rep. Carol Shays-Porter, who actually worked for Clark in 2004. Will he be able to use it? Will he use it if he can?

It is sad that a man would be a hell of a president and his over-qualified is not considered a front runner because a bunch of party hacks didn't like the way he talked.