CE Beck's blog
Okay, I know we are trying to move away from politics a bit since the election is now finished, but this article is too funny not to post.
In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.
Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.
But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.
According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.
"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."
The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate -- we get it, stop showing off."
The president-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.
"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.
What's the healthiest city in America? It appears to be Burlington, Vt.
Vermont's largest city is tops among U.S. metropolitan areas by having the largest proportion of people — 92 percent — who say they are in good or great health.
It's also among the best in exercise and among the lowest in obesity, diabetes and other measures of ill health, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You can read the rest of the AP article here: Burlington is Healthiest City
The Republican Party--and I speak as a former lifelong Republican who, up through the 2000 primary campaign supported John McCain and even worked for him by arguing his case on various conservative and religious radio stations--is now the toy of the Rush Limbaugh windbags. These folks include outright crazies (such as Sarah Palin's Assemblies of God pals who are waiting for Spaceship Jesus to rescue them and/or rooting out "witches" from their midst), white racists and a few not-very-bright attention seekers, including Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity etc.
Read their blogs! Listen to their talk radio! You'll be in the twilight zone of front page tabloid fantasy on a par with Bat Boy Attacks! headlines. Bill Buckley roll over.
The Religious Right, the racists, the anti-gay hate-mongers are now not only marginalized but thoroughly out of step with even members of their own former constituency. For instance the Gordon College student newspaper (Gordon is an influential Evangelical College north of Boston) endorsed Obama this year. Many young evangelicals voted for the Democrats. James Dobson, Fox News, Limbaugh et al. were utterly powerless to do more than stir up hate. They are losing the next generation of their "base."
I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention? To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?" To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.
Beware, as this game is highly addicting. I have also discovered that the continent of Africa is my Achilles' heal when it comes to world geography.
I guess it is obvious by now that the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate has severely damaged McCain's run for the Presidency. I must say this fact makes me feel a bit better about my fellow Americans. Thankfully there are still Independents like Froma Harrop (the author of the article excerpt that appears below) who are not interested in Bible thumping or declaring certain parts of the country more "pro-America" than others.
Independents like me wanted two things out of a McCain running mate. (1) A capable leader who could step into the top job should something happen to the not-very-young No. 1. (2) Someone who would temper McCain's recent efforts to woo social conservatives. They got neither in the Alaska governor.
Sure, Palin gave him a bump in the polls right after the Republican convention. She gave a rousing speech, written by a crack speechwriter. But once on her own, she quickly displayed a shocking ignorance of world affairs and a general inability to talk coherently on policy matters. Her habit of dividing America -- even individual states -- into good and not-as-good sectors comes off as downright weird.
Just look at the poll averages dating back to early September. The McCain-Palin numbers started cratering about a week after the convention, which was two weeks before the stock market did.
Independents tend to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal and strong on defense. They were McCain's natural constituency and in mid-September gave him a 13-point margin. That lead has since flipped over to Obama, and Palin is a big reason. The choice of her as McCain's VP would have been politically brilliant had a Democrat made it.
As recently as three months ago, partisan Democrats were accusing centrist pundits of giving McCain a free pass by ignoring his conservative record. Maybe there's still an old John McCain under what we now see. But who can tell?
Obama also deserves much credit for the change in attitude. He dropped the rock-star persona and showed himself to be an informed and disciplined candidate.
The new Obama might have won over the fence sitters under any scenario, but one thing is obvious: If McCain had named Ridge as his running mate, he'd be getting a whole lot more love right now.
Click here to see our hometown's 2+ minutes of fame: The Little Bank that Could
Are our two favorite Mavericks justifiably comparable to George Wallace? A good case can be made that they are, in spite of McCain's emotional argument to the contrary. Here is part of Diane McWhorter's excellent article on the topic.
I finally understand the switch of doom that tripped somewhere deep in my soul during Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention. Her rhetorical star turn—the exuberant snideness, the gut-level rapport with the audience, the frank pleasure at being a yokel on the big stage—reprised the great gifts of the politician who dominated my youth: George Corley Wallace, perpetual governor of Alabama and frequent candidate for president of the less-than-United States.
U.S. Rep John Lewis of Georgia also noticed the similarity. He issued a statement last week accusing Palin and John McCain of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division." He invoked "another period, in the not too distant past," when George Wallace "created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who only desired to exercise their constitutional rights."
So how is Sarah Palin like—and not like—George Wallace? And how much is John McCain relying on tactics Wallace used? The answers: more than she can probably know and more than he appears to have admitted to himself.
Wallace is a pivotal figure in American politics, the man who yoked white racism with middle-class cultural grievance when the civil rights revolution and the Vietnam War protest movement provoked a (so far) permanent counterinsurgency of "real Americans." At the time of his ascendance in the 1960s as Alabama's "Segregation Forever!" executive, Wallace seemed to be on the wrong side of history, a "stumpy, dingy, surly orphan of American politics" (in the words of Marshall Frady, whose work I rely on here) standin' in the schoolhouse door of enlightenment. He turned out to be the godfather, avatar of a national uprising against the three G's of government, Godlessness, and gun control. There is ample analysis—see especially Wallace biographer Dan T. Carter, whose book I also rely on—tracing the line from Wallace to Ronald Reagan and on to Newt Gingrich with his 1994 junta. Now comes Sarah Palin.
Clearly Lewis' harsh analogy got under McCain's skin; McCain has said that Lewis, who got his skull fractured by Wallace's state police while marching for civil rights in 1965, is one of his heroes. McCain's objections rippled well beyond the 24-hour-news cycle, providing the only fresh emotion in Wednesday's presidential debate and spilling into his appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman on Thursday night.
McCain's impassioned rebuttal—the essence of which is, "I am not a segregationist"—is certainly true. But to define Wallace so literally is to miss his broadly toxic influence. It was the seriousness of Wallace's third-party presidential candidacy in 1968 that compelled Richard Nixon to devise the seminal "Southern strategy," using a coded form of bigotry palatable to moderates. Four years later, adopting a platform of what Carter describes as "soft-porn racism" for himself, Wallace was chalking up impressive primary victories as a Democrat when a crippling would-be assassin's bullet ended his campaign.
I highly recommend reading this article in its entirety here: A Legacy of Resentment
If the player isn't working (as it didn't seem to be when I posted this), link to the video here: In case McCain wins...
Since I've known for months who I would be voting for come November, my opinion on who won last night's debate is probably a wee bit biased. However, the fact that undecided voters completely agree with me (in fact, they think Obama trounced McCain last night) says a lot. The proof is in the numbers, my friends.