Gustav, New Orleans, Republicans, and Sociology

August 31, 2008

Yikes. We all have a home town. I have long said that if I had the chance to choose my home town I would have chosen New Orleans. It is the music, the interesting Southern culture/food, the French architecture, and yes, it is the home town of many of my favorite musicians. Harry Connick Jr., Lucien Barbarin, Bonearama. And did I mention the beignets?

So I sit and worry today about this **bothering** hurricane. I know the city is not the same after Katrina, but I fear that if this is a real direct hit, if levees fail, New Orleans will be no more (I do tend to think the worst). So get out people. Let’s hope FEMA can do a little better. Could they do worse?

So, Sociology: This year the public understanding of sociology award went to Shirley Laska. She really was THE sociological face of Katrina (that’s a weird sentence) who helped Americans understand that the effects of Katrina were not simply from a “natural” disaster but that poverty and race mattered for outcomes. So social factors mattered for who stayed and what heppened when they did. Yay Shirley Laska – hopefully that will make a difference this time.

And yet, again they are talking about the people who are too poor to evacuate. Oh, and price gouging on gas. Nice. In addition to criminal prosecution, I declare a special place in hell for these people (except that I don’t believe in hell so that is confusing).

Finally — Bush won’t be at the convention Monday at least. I really wanted the President at that convention so they could cut from bush to McCain and Mccain would be really tarnished by the presence of the least-liked President with the lowest approval ratings EVER. So I hope he can make it Tuesday.

Sad, sad, sad.

Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro

August 30, 2008

Two quick hits:

First, courtesy of Cass Sunstein on the New Republic’s blog site, here’s a quote from an interview of Gov. Palin published this Friday, the day her selection as Sen. McCain’s running mate was announced, on the “conservative” Newsmax site:

What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?

A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.

As Sunstein points out, her position that global warming is not caused by human activity contradicts both Sen. McCain and the EPA.

Next driving home from vacation this afternoon, I had a chance to hear America’s favorite bitter dead-ender and self-agrandizer, Geraldine Ferraro, speak, on the occasion of Gov. Palin’s selection. First, she once again stated that the reason Obama beat Clinton was because he’s black — all the blacks registered, she said, and then 95% of them voted for him. Yup, it must be just because he’s black. It was the same thing with Shirley Chisholm, Doug Wilder, Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton — an overwhelming black vote got them nominated, and then they lost in the general election. No?

Next, and even more egregiously, she wouldn’t say who she will vote for. Instead, she said that she’d “make up her mind in the voting booth.” What a crock. Is she going to bring her magic eight ball in with her to help her decide? It is very sad to see a woman who could have been a respected party elder (mostly due to happenstance and not to any real accomplishment or intellectual heft on her part, but still) using her last 15 minutes in the spotlight to indulge in personal pique. Every Democrat should shun her. Here’s a link to the interview, if you must hear for yourself.

McCain’s Running Mate . . .what is her name?

August 29, 2008

The Republicans have nominated Governor Palin of Alaska as McCain’s running mate. Is anyone besides me flashing back to Harriet Miers?

Favorite part:

Ms. Palin, a former mayor of the small town of Wasilla, an Anchorage suburb, and one-time beauty pageant queen, first rose to prominence as a whistle-blower uncovering ethical misconduct in state government.

Sounds qualified to me (irony). Do they really think this is going to get the disgruntled Hillary voters back? Bruce says he is going to research the number of cross-over women Republicans who were for Hillary in open democratic primaries. Those are the only ones they can hope to get back because if you liked Hillary you are not voting for this hunting, pro-life (in every circumstance including rape and incest), unqualified, inexperienced, suburban mayor, and creationist. Give me a break.

They have given this to us on a silver platter and if we can’t win it, I am moving to Canada.

They are doubling down (that means taking a big gamble) you only do that when desparate. And they should be. But seriously — Obama wasn’t ready to be President? Mccain’s birthday was a few weeks ago (interestingly mostly ignored by the media). Oops, it is actually today, but still interestingly ignored by the media. He is 72. The possibility of his VP becoming the P has to be taken seriously. I mean it has to be taken seriously for all of them because you never know, but for McCain it has to be taken even more seriously.

While I get the idea to get Hillary’s independent women voters I don’t think this is the woman. One of the reasons they were so strident for Hillary because they claimed she was/is the MOST QUALIFIED. Hey, Republicans: It is not the anatomy. The Hillary voters believed in her qualifications.

I think this is a big misstep and yet I still am worried. I think I will be until the election is over.

Chaos outside Invesco

August 29, 2008

Rather a lot of people…

Thursday's Crowd

Live from the DNC – BIRD PORN

August 29, 2008

The convention seems to attract a fair amount of crazies. These people are protesting the practice of ‘bird watching’. They argue that bird watchers are no better than Peeking Toms.

attention university presidents: don’t take pictures! Duh

August 29, 2008

Oh yeah – he got fired (but a $400k severance package). Highlight of the story is that he said, “the keg was malfunctioning” (uh . . . yeaaaaah). He is the one holding it.

Paxton, president of the Fort Dodge school for 13 years, signed a three-year contract days before the photo was taken. As part of his severance package, he will be paid for two of those years and get health benefits for a period of time.

I’m not sure, but I think I am considering getting a job as a community college vice president, having a raging party with my friends, resigning, and taking the $400k.

PS — why I am looking at the fox news website? because I assume they will get the story about McCain’s VP choice first.

does obama have a theme song yet?

August 28, 2008

Isn’t tonight after his speech when we find out his theme song?  I noticed they played Cliinton’s (Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow) and Kerry’s (I forget what it is — memorable huh?) 

Anyone have a prediction?  Jennifer Hudson is singing the National Anthem and Obama has used a lot of John Mellencamp, but what will be his theme song?!?!!? 

Harry Connick Jr has a hell of a cover of the New Orleans classic, Yes We Can. 

I vote for that.

Have you noticed that I have blogged more than worked today?

when did you first think it might be Obama?

August 28, 2008

At the risk of revealing how freakishly I love Harry Connick Jr (like you don’t already know – and besides he is a genius), I point you to my prediction made here – July 27, 2004 that Obama would be the first African-American President of the US.

media and the conventions

August 28, 2008

where is david spett when you need him?  i think this whole story about the new ways that the parties are using the media in these conventions is so interesting.  Now it seems like John McCain is going to tell his VP choice the news tonight.  I am guessing about 15 minutes before Obama’s speech and then it will get “leaked.”  If that news is trailing on the bottom of my screen while I watch Barack’s speech (it is Barack not Barak) I will be quite peeved.

Also, how smart where the Dems last night to get ALL the states that Hillary won to do the roll call (and Obama was ahead by A LOT) and then have Hillary make the motion just a few minutes before the national news.  Not enough time for the Republicans to get a shot in, but just in time for it to make the major news. 

Of course all we nerds were watching it live on CNN or CSPAN but I think we are outliers.

Should the Dems be quiet during the Republican convention?


August 27, 2008

Tonight we saw history being made.  The first African-American candidate for president from a national party.  I must admit, when driving home I heard the report from the convention floor of Hillary Clinton calling for a suspension of the convention rules and for the nomination of Barack Obama by acclamation, I got teary-eyed.  When I got home and watched the video on tv, twice, both times I got teary-eyed again.

I think tonight is a moment we should relish.  That is enough analysis for now.  Let us just take in this moment.