Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Bubba Gap

This week’s Newsweek magazine cover features a sprig of arugula and a pint of beer with the title, “Obama's Bubba Gap.”

Increasingly, media attention is being given to white, working class voters who claim that one of the most important things they look for in a presidential candidate is someone with whom they’d be comfortable having a beer.

Are you kidding me!?

I guess the thing that disturbs me the most is the abysmally low bar being set for the so-called leader of the free world. This goes along with Obama being derisively labeled an elitist shortly before the Pennsylvania primary earlier this month.

Last I checked, elite is not a pejorative. In fact, my dictionary defines elite as a noun describing “a group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category.”

It’s the Presidency of the United States for God’s sake! It is the most difficult, stressful, awe-some job on the face of the planet. There is no more daunting responsibility. I don’t want just any idiot in the White House. (It’s worth noting that this exact same litmus test was used in 2000 and look where that got us). I want the best of the best. I want the most capable man (or woman) possible. I want someone lightyears smarter than me. And I sure as hell don’t want someone there because I think they’d be fun to throw back a pint with!

If a beer-drinking buddy is the highest criterion for white, working class America, then they…than we…deserve whatever we get.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shut the *&%@ Up!

Why won't the Rev. Wright just shut up? Out of the one side of his mouth he says he wants Barack Obama to become the next President of the United States and then, from the other side, goes on tirade after increasingly media-saturated tirade sure to damage Obama's chances with voters somehow unable to separate the minister from the parishioner.

Is Wright so full of pride, so offended, so selfish, so forgetful of what real Christianity looks like that he is willing to destroy something beautiful so he can resurrect what was a fading issue and have a second 15 minutes of fame? He says he is confronting the powers that be on behalf of black Americans everywhere. But what he is really doing is trying to make himself look good at the expense of the first African American in history with a real shot of sitting in the Oval Office. What he is really doing is injuring a man he claims is his friend.

For me, this is about context, not content. But the content is worth noting. I keep running into Christian friends who are horrified, aghast and enraged that Wright has dared to compare certain American actions to terrorism, has dared to prophetically confront this country's role in 9/11, has dared to level the charge that America's woes are the consequence of her own sins.

Oh, really?

Where was this rage and self-righteousness when Pat Robertson declared a tsunami would crush America's coastline or that God would assassinate the town of Dover, Pennsylvania for kicking Intelligent Design out of the school system?

Where were the incensed Christians when Rev. John Hagee claimed that Hurricane Katrina was the direct result of God smiting New Orleans’ sinful lifestyle?

Where were the shocked believers when Jerry Fallwell preached that September 11th was God removing his shield of protection over this nation because of its gathering wickedness?

Where is the incredulity when hundreds of pastors on any given Sunday preach that if America will not return to God, God will destroy it; God will, yes, “damn it”?

Where are the appalled Christians then?

Lunatics and liars? Yes. Every single one of them. But how about a little consistency from those on the religious right. Is a lack of blatant hypocrisy too much to hope for?

And as for you Rev. Wright, shocking as this may sound, this isn't about you! It's about something far larger than you. It's about some of the very ideals you have worked your whole life to see enacted finally blossoming into fruition.

If you’d shut the &%$@ up long enough, you just might realize it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Hitman

Should it make me nervous that the best man at my wedding is so good with a gun?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why I Don’t Buy Clinton’s “Big State” Argument

The tide hasn’t turned for Clinton, as much as she’d like to think it has. What no one is talking about this morning is that, going into Pennsylvania, she was up by more than 20 points (some estimates had her lead as high as 30) and she won by only ten.

Pennsylvania is a hollow victory in that the only advantage it gives her is perpetuating the race rather than moving her into the lead (and, one hopes for her sake, encouraging deep-pocketed donors who sniff a certain degree of viability in the air). Furthermore, almost every time she goes up against Obama and wins, she only ekes out a victory. The clock is against her. The numbers reveal that, given enough time, Obama would overtake her in nearly all of their match-ups.

Here’s my thing: in the general election, should he win the nomination, Obama is going to net almost all of Clinton’s voters, including those who cast votes for her in the big states like New York, California and now Pennsylvania. However, the same cannot be said for Clinton. Obama is drawing people in a wide net — he is devouring independent voters, signing tens of thousands of new voters and even snagging some Republicans. Those are voters who, were he to lose, will not turn to Clinton as a monolithic block — they are far more likely to turn to the “maverick,” “liberal-friendly” McCain. So what looks like a massive trump card now actually turns into a liability during the general election, a liability that not only dooms Clinton, put perhaps the entire Democratic party.

This is still a math game and Obama still wins it, no matter how you spin the numbers. Pennsylvania just strings out the process longer.

Which brings us to another point of contention. Are the Democrats destroying their chances to win the White House by bickering all the way to the convention in Denver? While I am the first person to say that the Democrats have always been their own worst enemies and only they can lose the most “sure thing” election in modern history, I am not willing to wag that reproaching finger.

This infighting may hurt the Democrat’s chances in November, but I think some perspective is important: what one person calls "infighting" another calls "the democratic process."

Think about it. It’s not as if malevolent, smoky room forces are manipulating events behind the scenes to extend the process to the breaking point. (Whether or not you define the future participation of the super delegates in that way is another story; ultimately it is not whether I buy Clinton’s “Big State” argument, but them). No, this is a simple, if shockingly unexpected and significant, display of two phenomenal and historical candidates going head to head in a battle in which their adherents simply happen to break straight down the middle in almost every single primary.

As frustrating as the ongoing slog may be (and is), it is also a mesmerizing and enchanting display of the democratic process we all love and value in breathtaking action. Because no one ever saw this coming (who could have foreseen the election of 2000?) doesn’t make it any less momentous.

If you are even remotely a politico, you have to just sit back and beam.

Monday, April 21, 2008

How My Sister Celebrates Earth Day

Goodbye SUV, hello hybrid! Nice.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Your Human Footprint

Have you ever wondered what your human footprint looks like? Exactly how do you, as a single individual, impact this planet's health?

This week I was invited to attend a screening of The Human Footprint at National Geographic's headquarters. Hosted by ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, the film, which premiers on NatGeo this Sunday night at 9pm ET/PT, attempts to answer exactly those questions.

When I tell you that you will go through 5,054 newspapers, 12,888 oranges, 3,796 diapers, 12,129 hamburgers, 31,250 gallons of gasoline and, should you shower daily, 700,000 gallons of water in your lifetime, the figures are dry and difficult to wrap your head around.

But what if someone took those numbers and transformed them into something tangible? What if the average human life was laid out in front of you? Would 43,371 soda cans, 38,320 pints of milk or 141,894 slices of bread collected into a visual montage make more of an impact?

Completely non-judgemental or preachy, this NatGeo special is a fun and fascinating way to look at the impact just one person has on the world--showing us what we consume, what we create, where it all goes and how it all fits together.

Check it out.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Humor Me

I know these have both been on the Internets for some time now, but I was just recently directed to both and thought I'd pass on the laughter. The first video needs no explanation. Before watching the second one, however, make sure you've seen the original before the parody here.

Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus