PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

March 30, 2008

Let’s Go to the Tape

I feel like I’m beating up on George Bush tonight, so I’m going to start this one off with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.  But I will get to W soon enough.

My friends and family know me as something of a gadget guy.  Though I don’t usually have the disposable income to get the latest and greatest (I’ve been known to lead the kids past a big-screen tv at Best Buy and say “I could have one of those if I didn’t have to feed and clothe you.”), I’m usually at least passingly knowledgeable on the trends.

So it’s my great pleasure to introduce to you, the loyal readers of PCMS (or people just passing through; I’ll spread the seeds of knowledge willy-nilly) to a fascinating new technology.  I know you’ll find it hard to believe, but our scientists have now made it possible to point a box with a glass lense on it at one or more subjects and — make sure you’re sitting down — record what they do and say!!!

What’s that you say?    You’ve heard of this technology before?  Well, apparently Barack Obama’s former pastor, Hilary Clinton, and White House Spokesperson Dana Perino haven’t. 

By now, you’ve heard and read about the controversies surrounding recordings of the Reverand Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, some of which (Obama would say a very few of which) contained some fairly strident, anti-white (or anti-rich white) comments.  Obama gave ahat was IMHO a brilliant speech to try to not-so-much diffuse the issue, but to take the discussion to a new level.  I commented on the speech in a previous post, and St. Louis columnist Kevin Horrigan has an interesting column on the Post Dispatch website wondering if the speech wasn’t too intellectual for the general public. So I’m not going to rehash that.

On a number of occasions this campaign season, Senator Clinton has attempted to boost her foreign-policy cred by recalling a particularly harrowing trip she took to Bosnia back when she was First Lady. As she recalled it in a number of speeches, a welcoming ceremony on the airstrip was canceled due to heavy sniper fire, and the delegation had to run to their vehicles with their heads down. Then that nasty technology popped up, and video surfaced of Clinton emerging from the plane, daughter Chelsea by her side. They distinctly did not run, heads down, to their armored vehicles. Instead, they crossed to a waiting group, listened as a young girl read a poem she had composed for them, and accepted something from her.

“Well, what was I going to do,” Clinton asked, when confronted with the tale of the tape, “walk past this poor little girl? We ran to the vehicles after that.” More tape, more not running. Much handshaking and smiling and talking with soldiers, but no running and ducking, no sense of danger. Confronted with this additional evidence, she copped only to “misspeaking”, and blamed it on being overtired. Hopefully when she gets that 3 a.m. phone call, she won’t be misspeak and tell them to “attack” instead of “read poetry”.

At least Senator Clinton admitted to saying what she was quoted as saying. On his blog last week, reporter Eric Brewer recounted an exchange with White House Press Secretary Dana Perino regarding a speech the President had given on the anniversary of the beginning of the war. In the speech, the President warned that Al Qaeda might seize Iraq’s oil reserves and use them to damage the world economy.

There’s that fictional Al-Qaeda/Iraq connection again (yes, I know, he meant Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but that’s not what he said, and let’s face it, most of the public just isn’t hip enough on the difference to let the statement pass with a “well, everyone knows what he meant” shrug, like when he uses the non-existent word “nucular”), but that’s not what made me sit up and take note. Actually, that was because I think Ms Perino is kindof cute, and respect her for appearing on Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me, an NPR current events quiz show that regularly makes fun of her boss, but that’s neither here nor there in this discussion. What is important is that the President is now using Iraqi oil as a threat.

Remember when the war started, and the cynics pointed out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and that the U.N. inspectors had determined that Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMD, and that the only reasons to attack Iraq would be to avenge Hussein’s attempted assassination of George H. W. Bush and to control Iraq’s oil reserves? And remember when those cynics were branded as unpatriotic, and we were assured that we weren’t in Iraq for the oil? Well, now, 5 years and 4000 deaths later, we’re finally getting indications that, well, maybe the administration might have misspoken when they said we weren’t interested in the oil.

And Ms Perino’s explanation for the administration’s change of objective? Well, she didn’t really have one. She just denied that that’s what the President said and accused Brewer of taking the comments out of context.

Video of both the Perino/Brewer exchange and Bush’s comments are available at ThinkProgress.org. The text of the full speech is available at the White House web site.

The 300 Project: 18/59

March 15, 2008

Barack Obama Accused of Being Black — Heads Must Role!!!

So, Geraldine Ferraro’s talking the other day on tv. For those of you who are too young to remember, or who can’t quite place the name, or who have quite frankly just blocked the whole thing out, Ferraro was the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in the 1984 Presidential race. And she’s talking about the current Democratic candidates. And she did the unforgivable. She went somewhere that the Clinton campaign promised they wouldn’t go. She made comments that caused her, three days later, to resign from her post on the finance committee for the Clinton campaign (which, to be fair, no one knew she was part of until she ran her mouth off).

That unforgivable allegation? Ferraro alleged that Barack Obama is…make sure you’re sitting down now…black.

Specifically, what he said is that he wouldn’t be where he is now if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s black. And the crowd went (excuse my language) batshit. (Actually, I originally typed “apeshit”, but didn’t want it to be construed as a racist remark, given the conversation.)

As a politician and, perhaps more importantly, an English major, I’m well aware of the sometime-dichotomy between what people say and what they mean. But it seems to me that if you don’t understand what Ms Ferraro was saying, you’re willfully trying to not understand. The most common response is the figurative rolling of the eyes and dripping-with-sarcasm observation that “it’s sooo advantageous to be a black man in America”.

Digression:
I’m not going to sit here and say that blacks in America are on equal footing with whites. I believe (hope?) that they’re better off than they were thirty or twenty or ten years ago. But I’m not black, and I’m not going to pull the “some of my best friends are black” disclaimer because, quite frankly, they’re not. I hope (believe) that I treat everyone the same, regardless of race. I work with a lot of Indians and Asians (yes, I know that India is part of Asia, but go with the flow here), and have in the past worked with a few African Americans, and I would hope that I never gave any of them cause to think that I was treating them any differently because they were not white than I would if the were. If any of them do, I would truly like them to contact me and let me know.
End of digression

So anyway. Ms Ferraro said (essentially) that Barack Obama is the front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination because he’s black. And everybody went nuts. Cries of racism and worse (well, no, not worse) rang from the rafters. And everybody who railed against Geraldine Ferraro and called for her resignation or, better yet, her firing and lynching, missed one major point: She’s right.

Barack Obama is a junior Senator from Illinois. He has very little in the way of legislative achievements to show for his time in the Senate, or even in the Illinois Senate. He has a flair for rhetoric, and promises sweeping change, but elements of his past (his involvement with a shady financier) and present (an aide telling foreign governments that he’s just saying things to get elected, not to worry about him following through once he’s in office) could cause people look closely to question how much the new is actually different from the old. But people aren’t looking very closely as of yet, and Obama’s gone in to states where the Clinton name has traditionally done very well, states that were seen as virtual gimmes for Clinton, and either won or made it a race. And the reason for that?

Black voters.

You cannot convince me, though you’re welcome to try, that a relatively inexperienced white politician from Illinois could go in to Mississippi with a pocketful of nebulous promises and a pretty turn of phrase and have them turn out in droves at the polling places to pull the lever for him. But turn out they did. If anyone can explain to me why this would be other than race, I’m willing to listen.

No, wait. I need to amend that last statement. Because it sounds like I’m saying that the only thing Obama’s got going for him is the color of his skin. I certainly don’t believe that at all. And I don’t think Geraldine Ferraro does either. But to say that Obama’s race plays no part in his success, especially in areas with high African American voter turnout, is disingenuous at best, and delusional at worst.

The 300 Project: 10/51

January 31, 2008

Political Eggshells

So I was going to write an incisive dissection of the Presidential race. I was going to use egg metaphors. Breaking a few eggs to make an omelet, wittily used to describe the “gloves are off” tactics of the remaining candidates, with Clinton and Obama sparring over Las Vegas food service workers being allowed to vote at their workplaces or Clinton’s ill-phrased comments regarding President Johnson’s role in the equal rights movement, and Obama proxies deliberately misrepresenting it. It’s cropping up on the Republican side now, with McCain and Romney going back and forth regarding whether or not Romney was actually calling for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq when he spoke of timetables.

I was going to talk about putting all of one’s eggs in one basket, the way Rudy (9/11) Giuliani (9/11) did. He (9/11) decided that since (9/11) there were way more delegates at stake in Florida (9/11) than in those piddly little states (9/11) that came before it (9/11), he’d ignore (9/11) them and concentrate on (9/11) Florida. Of course, by that time, he’d been so totally marginalized in the race that nothing (9/11) could save his candidacy. There was a great quote by Missouri Senator Kit Bond, our state’s Giuliani coordinator, who observered “He went up against the conventional wisdom, and the conventional wisdom won.” Well, yeah, Kit. That’s why it’s the conventional wisdom.

I was going to use the marginally egg-related term “chicks” to mourn the loss of two hot first-lady-wannabees, as Elizabeth Kucinich and Jeri Thompson stood by their men as they withdrew their candidacies.

But I’ve been letting these chances slip by, not writing them down until now, and in a much less incisive, much less in-depth manner than I had originally conceived. I find that, with everything else going on in life, I just don’t have the patience or mental acuity to compose these kind of posts either in the early morning or late evening when I’m usually at the computer in a “leisure” mode. I would love to write the type blog my friend Mike Wallack authors (noted in this post), but just don’t have the energy.

And I’m not sure that I have observations that aren’t readily available elsewhere. Except about the eggs. And I’ve made those observations now.

So my work here is done.

The 300 Project: 22/22

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