Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav - Get Outta Dodge!

Hurricanes are ranked 1 to 5 in intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale. A Category 4 has winds of 131 to 155 mph and can cause extreme damage. Hurricane Gustav rumbled through Cuba as a Category 4. Gustav has now set its sights on the Gulf Coast of the United States, with hauniting Katrina-like sights on the New Orleans area. reports that a hurricane watch was issued Saturday afternoon for southeastern Texas to the Alabama-Florida border as Hurricane Gustav's sustained winds reached 150 mph on its expected path to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The watch means hurricane conditions are possible within about 36 hours. It was announced Saturday as thousands were in the process of fleeing parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, three years after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina ravaged the area.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is quoted as saying, ""We could see tidal surges of as much as 15 to 20 feet. We could see flooding even worse than what we saw in Hurricane Katrina."

More than a dozen parishes in Louisiana have declared states of emergency, and St. Bernard Parish began a mandatory evacuation Saturday afternoon, with authorities calling it "a matter of survival." The evacuation began at 4 p.m. in the parish, which sits just east of New Orleans and was hard hit by Hurricane Katrina.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, still recovering from Katrina, anxiety was high Saturday as residents fled, leaving behind a virtual ghost town of boarded-up homes and empty streets. "I am strongly, strongly encouraging everyone in this city to evacuate," Mayor Ray Nagin said Saturday. "Start the process now."

At the Union Passenger Terminal in downtown New Orleans, people began arriving as early as 5:30 a.m., forming a line that snaked behind the main Amtrak terminal. Armed patrols and Humvees circled the crowds of people, many who waited as long as 2 hours, enduring the heat and relentless sun, unsure of their destination.

New Orleans officials had designated 17 sites for people without transportation to board buses to take them to the terminal, where they will be moved to shelters outside New Orleans. However, scores of residents went directly to the terminal, carrying one bag, as the city had instructed. The snafu prompted confusion, as did a glitch in the computer system that was being used to register people.

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The Republican National Convention begins this week in St. Paul, Minnesota. Officials with the McCain campaign and the Republican National convention are considering changing the event's agenda as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast.

Sen. John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, plans to meet with officials in charge of the party's convention planning in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Sunday to review the latest news on Hurricane Gustav and what their options might be and then consult with the presumptive presidential nominee to determine what changes may need to be made.

McCain had suggested to a Fox News interviewer that the convention could be suspended if it seemed that a festive gathering was inappropriate in light of the destruction the storm may bring.

Republican Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Charlie Crist of Florida, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Rick Perry of Texas -- whose states that lie in the path of Gustav, named a Category 4 hurricane Saturday afternoon -- will skip the GOP convention because of the storm.

The storm has forced last-minute changes in the convention's announced schedule: If the convention -- originally scheduled to start Monday -- commences by Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's speech will probably move to that night from Wednesday.

Read articles about Hurricane Gustav here and here and here.

Read New York Times article about Hurricane Gustav here.

plez sez: in light of what happened three years ago in new orleans, a force evacuation of the city is in order. especially, in those areas that were hardest hit by katrina, the governor should mobilize the national guard to clear the city out! it would be a public relations nightmare, with the republican national convention going on up the mississippi river from new orleans, to have a repeat of what occurred when the bush administration dropped the ball after katrina.

if i was governor of louisiana, i'd have the national guard going door-to-door requiring folk to pack a bag, registering them on a database, and requiring them to leave the city. for those who do not have transportation (or were handicapped or elderly), load them on anything with wheels that is leaving the city.

as bad as it seems, hurricane gustav presents a bold opportunity for the party of george w. bush to redeem itself during the week of their convention. they could cancel the party altogether and move en masse to the gulf coast and assist in the cleanup effort, or they could shorten the convention and handle only essential business (in stark contrast to last week's weeklong coronation of Barack Obama in denver).

last, and definitely, not least... if you are a resident of the gulf coast, you shouldn't be sitting at home and reading plezWorld, you should be getting the HELL outta Dodge!

BLOG UPDATE (08/30/2008 10:30 PM EST): The AJC reports that New Orleans has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city... read the article here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin Get's McCain Veep Nod

The McCain campaign calls her a "tough executive who has demonstrated" readiness to be president.

The Republican National Committee calls her a "conservative star with the talent, energy and family support necessary to carry out common sense policies."

But the Obama campaign calls her a candidate with "the thinnest foreign policy experience in history" who is "currently under investigation in her own state."

On Friday morning, in an attempt to trump the momentum of the very successful Democratic National Convention week, John McCain unveiled his choice to join his ticket. Not the former governor of a large state with a solid economic background, like Mitt Romney. Not the governor of a swing state that is hosting the Republican National Convention next week, like Tim Pawlenty. Not the governor of a large swing state and cabinet-level secretary, like Tom Ridge. Not the independent senator from a northeastern state, like John Lieberman. Not the woman senator from a large southwestern state, like Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Not the woman who was a CEO of a large multi-national corporation, like Carly Fiorina. Not the woman who was a former cabinet-level secretary for George H. W. Bush and current senator from a southern state, like Elizabeth Dole.

John McCain went with a little known woman who is a staunch conservative and a first term governor of the largest state in geography (larger than Texas, California, and Montana combined) and the smallest state in population (only 670,000 people - there are more people in the county where I reside in Georgia than in the entire state): Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Ms. Palin is a staunch conservative, she is a self-described Pat Buchanan Republican: she supports gun rights (she is an avid hunter and lifelong member of the NRA), she is in support of the right to life (opposes abortion in all cases, even incest and rape), and she's been the governor of Alaska for about 20 months (less than 2 years). Prior to her stint in running the state government in Juneau, she was the mayor of a small town with a population of less than 6,000 people.

John McCain (who met her on only one occasion prior to naming her) brought Palin on to shore up his support among social conservatives and to woe those woman who were disaffected by the Democratic Party when Hillary Clinton did not win the nomination.

NOTE: Gov. Palin is under a legislative investigation which is looking into allegations that she fired Alaska's public safety commissioner because he refused to fire the governor's former brother-in-law, a state trooper.

Read the articles about John McCain's choice for vice president here and here and here.

Read the New York Times articles about McCain's veep choice here and here.

Read Sojourner's Place's very interesting article about Gov. Palin having been considered a VP choice of conservative Republicans as much as a year ago (August 2007!)... but then she's introduced by McCain as a fresh-faced person that "no one" knows about... "something ain't right!"

plez sez: there was no way i could see this coming, since i'd never heard of gov. palin before. hailing from the least populous state (less than one person for every two miles) in the 50 state union, with less than two years of executive experience, and zero national presence... john mccain (the former POW who is 72 years old and has had four bouts of cancer in the last 20 years) has picked an unknown to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. this is a supreme failure in judgement!

lack of experience aside, this woman has not been vetted, she has not been tested (the county commission where i live governs more people than she does for an entire state), and the american people are given 8 weeks to get to know her! mccain has been the presumptive republican nominee for almost 6 months now, did he really have to wait until after Barack Obama selected Joe Biden as his running mate to pick someone we've never heard of, a person with little in the way of a public record, and only a pissy investigation into her firing someone for not firing her sister's ex-husband? john mccain's selection is a response to the Obama campaign with little or no analysis as to what his campaign really needed... like a message!

not only does America not know palin, john mccain barely knows her... the first time he met her for a substantial conversation was LAST WEEK! he selected her after their second meeting on thursday of last week! he knows her about as well as i do.

palin has only been out of the united states once, in july 2007, she had to get a passport before she visited members of the Alaska National Guard stationed in Kuwait. so much for foreign experience. so much for, as john mccain said, someone who will be ready to be commander-in-chief on day one day two.

and if she is supposed to be the answer for hillary clinton's pissed off pumas, try again! this must come off as a slap in the face, wanting to substitute an unknown woman from a backwater hick town for the likes of hillary! it would be like mccain picking ward connerly as his running mate for disaffected Blacks had Obama lost the nomination!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

and what of mitt romney? tim pawlenty? they must feel used and abused by john mccain! he has paraded them around like an organ grinder monkey for the past five months, taunting and tantalizing them with thoughts that they would be his running mate. they smiled when the camera lights came on, said all the right things, and wagged their tails for him on cue... wassup with that?!?

now my decision to vote for someone will not hinge on their choice for vice president: george bush (the first) waltzed into the white house with dan quayle puppy doggin' behind him and richard nixon pulled first term governor spiro agnew out of maryland to win the presidency in 1968. experience is not a defining measure of ones ability to fill the lukewarm seat of the vice presidency, but once again, i have to go back to my mantra that john mccain does not have the judgement and temperament to lead this country.

ms. palin may be a very nice lady, but i don't agree with her politics (right wing wackos who continually spout off about gun rights and the right to life, while condemning folk to the electric chair scare me) ... and i'm sure a majority of the "disaffected" hillary clinton supporters don't agree with her politics either.

this choice doesn't hurt mccain with republicans... but in all honesty, it probably doesn't help much with independents! his pick is a knee jerk reaction to what the democrats have done, which only reinforces the assertion that plezWorld is REALLY SCARED of what a john mccain presidency will do to america... frightening! his lack of judgement will not only doom this nation, but portends horror for the entire world!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama: "America's Promise"

The best was saved for the last at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. On the final night of the convention, an emboldened Sen. Barack Obama addressed the 80,000 plus Americans in Invesco Field in Denver and the millions more watching his address on television as he formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. The moment was historic, as the first Black man to lead the ticket for a major political party in the United States. The speech was historic, as it was one part biographical, one part politics, and one part blueprint for the changes necessary for America to live up to its Promise.

Barack Obama gave depth to his American experience and his improbable journey on his quest for the White House. He paid homage to the work ethic that was instilled in him by his grandparents, the determination of his mother, and the intellect of his father. As he has said numerous times, his story could only exist in America. And while painting his biographical sketch, he also quashed any undercurrents that questions his love for country or his patriotism.

Obama fit nicely into his battle gear, as he challenged Sen. John McCain on his unbridled support of "these last eight years" of President George W. Bush. The self-proclaimed maverick has been in lockstep with the Bush Administration on economic policy, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the immigration issue, women's rights, and health care over 90 percent of the time.

The 42 minute speech kept the audience riveted to Obama as he detailed his plan for change in America. He touched on his domestic plan for the economy, the creation of jobs, a tax cut for the middle class (95 percent of the American families will benefit), the need the strengthen the military, a responsible withdrawal from Iraq, universal healthcare, reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and hunting down the terrorists responsible for 9/11.

Although, it was hefty, the speech was easy to digest and drew sharp contrasts between intellect of Barack Obama and the senselessness of John McCain.

Barack Obama - "America's Promise"

Text of Barack Obama's Historic Acceptance Speech
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest -- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Malia and Sasha -- I love you so much, and I'm so proud of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story -- of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart -- that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women -- students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments -- a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

We're a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land -- enough! This moment -- this election -- is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight.

On November 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives -- on health care and education and the economy -- Sen. McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers -- the man who wrote his economic plan -- was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and they give back and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

Now, I don't believe that Sen. McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy -- give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is that you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. You're on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You're on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps -- even if you don't have boots. You are on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America. And that's why I'm running for president of the United States.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president -- when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job -- an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great -- a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

Now, I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

What is that American promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves -- protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America -- the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I'll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will, listen now, cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. We will do this.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and by the way John McCain's been there for 26 of them. And in that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil that we had as the day that Sen. McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American -- if you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime -- by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less -- because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility -- that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keepour promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Sen. McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell -- but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice -- but that is not the change that America needs.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans -- have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America -- they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose. That's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America's promise -- the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what -- it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's about you. It's about you.

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us -- that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it -- because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. Because I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorist.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day even though they can't afford it than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit -- that American promise -- that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours -- a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead -- people of every creed and color, from every walk of life -- is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise -- that American promise -- and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Read the articles Obama's speech and the final evening of the DNC here and here and here and here.

plez sez: i was moved to tears, watching the culmination of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech come to fruition on the 45th anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech. the tears freely rolled down my cheek as Michelle Obama and his two daughters came out to greet him at the conclusion of his speech: he hugged his daughters and then embraced and kissed his wife! it was a very emotional moment in plezWorld!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

david gergen, political analyst at CNN, said, "It was less a speech than a symphony... it had high tempo at times, inspiring."

even pat buchanan - one of Obama's harshest critics - lauded the speech as one of the all-time great speeches... ever! it was a call to arms. it was an action plan. it was a repudiation of george bush and john mccain. and it was a celebration of what America will look like when Sen. Barack Obama becomes President Barack Obama.

once again, plezWorld defies ANYONE to come up with a valid set of reasons - other than inbred racism - why this man should not be the 44th President of the United States.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

tonight was the first night of college football. the jacksonville state gamecocks rolled into atlanta for a royal butt-kickin' by the georgia tech yellow jackets. there were several story lines at play for the game:
  • georgia tech has a new head coach - paul johnson - who came from a very successful navy program

  • coach johnson installed a new triple option offense that relies heavily on the running of the ball, instead of the pass (but the first play of the game was a pass by tech qb josh nesbitt, who played a hell of a game as an option quarterback)

  • the jacksonville state quarterback is none other than lsu castoff ryan perriloux, who was kicked off the team earlier this year, soon after they won the national championship (jacksonville, alabama is a LONG WAY from baton rouge, louisiana!)

  • my frat brother, DE Derrick Morgan, would record his first sack of the season during the game...

  • i left the game right before halftime with the score at 27-0 in favor of the yellow jackets... i had to high tail it home to watch Barack Obama's historic speech!

    the yellow jackets ended up winning the game 41-14... and it wasn't even that close!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Miseducation of Black Students in Gwinnett Schools

    Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks has been at the helm of public schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia since 1996, currently the longest tenure in the nation. He has been called to task for comments he made at a board workshop a few weeks ago.

    During a workshop he made an inflammatory comment about Black students during a presentation about the disproportionate discipline of minority students in Gwinnett COunty.

    An administrator said the issue is a problem for school districts nationwide except in Idaho, according to a study. Wilbanks then asked James Taylor, executive director of the department of academic support, “Do they have any blacks in Idaho? They don’t have many.

    A number of parents have been circulating the comment around the county and a number of folk have begun to ask for his resignation.

    Wilbanks has offered what he considers an explanation for his comments:
    [H]is comments were not meant to be “racist” or “insensitive.”

    “Those who know me and my record are well aware of my commitment to raising student achievement and to providing safe and orderly schools for all of our students no matter their race, ethnic origin, or socioeconomic background. The NAACP certainly is aware of these efforts because we have involved them in some of our most significant efforts to ensure that our discipline policies are impartial and clear and in the best interest of all students.”

    The Gwinnett Chapter NAACP, however, issued a statement Wednesday scolding Wilbanks for his comments. Branch president J.P. Portalatin said he called Gwinnett Schools on Wednesday to talk to Wilbanks, but was told that he was unavailable at the moment. The NAACP is not seeking Wilbanks’ resignation, but does want him to apologize.

    One should note that African-American students made up less than one-third of the population at Gwinnett County Public Schools last academic year, but they accounted for nearly half of those facing disciplinary panels for bad behavior. Of 1,910 discipline hearings held in 2007-08 to dole out long-term suspensions or expulsions to students, 931 of those were held for black students. About 18 percent, or 345, discipline panels were held for white students.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    This past Monday, NAACP officials met with Superinendent Wilbanks; the meeting didn't go so well. Wilbanks has refused to apologize for comments he made about the disproportionate discipline of minority students in Gwinnett.

    Gwinnett NAACP branch president Jorge "JP" Portalatin is quoted as saying, "Mr. Wilbanks refuses to acknowledge that his comments were offensive. His behavior today was condescending and he was clearly not open to constructive feedback. The inability to see from others perspective and apologize is unacceptable in a leader." Portalatin has said that Wilbanks’ remarks at the meeting seemed to blame African-Americans for the disparity in discipline in Gwinnett County instead of what could be the inconsistent application of the discipline penalties.

    Some Gwinnett parents have called for Wilbanks’ resignation.

    Wilbanks has "no comment" concerning his meeting with the NAACP!

    And now Idahoans are looking for an apology from Wilbanks:
    Idaho strives to raise student achievement and create a safe school environment by meeting the needs of all students, no matter a student’s race or ethnicity,” said Melissa McGrath, Public Information Officer for Idaho State Department of Education. “We are pleased to see the schools and districts in Idaho are treating students fairly and equitably when it comes to disciplinary action, and we will continue to work toward this goal in the future through providing extensive guidance and professional development for districts in the areas of working with aggression, alternatives to suspension and expulsion, student assistance programs, recognizing and addressing early delinquent behaviors and dropout prevention.

    Read the AJC articles about the Wilbanks Affair in Gwinnett County here and here.

    Blogger on the black hand side has a post about it, too.

    plez sez: gwinnett county, georgia has experienced a lot of growth over the past decade. most of the new gwinnett residents appear to be Black and latino.

    as is the case, when a system experiences rapid change, often times the system is unable to adequately adapt to changes. this appears to be the case in gwinnett county. this used to be an almost all-white enclave, the bastion of white flight from atlanta and dekalb county in the 1980's as large numbers of Blacks moved into what were white sections of the metro Atlanta area. well, it is predicted that white people will be a minority in gwinnett county within 10 years.

    a school system that is run by "old guard" white folk ALWAYS have issues in how to educate and deal with children who happen to have brown skin. these brown-skinned students (who tend to be African-American or latino) will generally be enrolled in slower paced special education classes and these students will also tend to be reprimanded, suspended, and expelled at a much higher rate that their white-skinned counterparts.

    i'm sorry, but plezWorld doesn't make The Rules!

    it is unfortunate that wilbanks made such an utterance. even though i don't find the comment patently racist, in these p.c. times, it does appear to be racially insensitive... especially, in light of the fact that there are scant few Black folks in the state of idaho!

    the problem of the education of our Black children runs a lot deeper than the analysis into the number of Blacks in idaho! i don't understand why anyone would call for his resignation, but i also don't see the big deal with wilbanks offering a token apology to those whom he may have offended.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Bill Clinton: "Obama is ready to lead"

    Obama is ready to lead!Speaking as the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to call in the votes of those disaffected Hillary Clinton primary voters.

    Over the past 9 months, President Clinton himself had been a frequent critic of Sen. Barack Obama's experience level. But on Wednesday night, he favorably aligned his experience when he was elected to that of Obama (actually, Obama is older than Clinton was when he became president).

    Clinton said, "Last night Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything in her power to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us -- actually that makes 18 million of us!"

    A reference to the number of Democratic primary voters who backed Hillary Clinton.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Democrats Wednesday officially nominated Obama to be their candidate for president, making him the first African-American to lead a major party ticket. Earlier in the day, Sen. Hillary Clinton graciously released her delegates to vote as they wished.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton motioned to cut the roll call short saying, "With eyes firmly fixed on the future, and in the spirit of unity with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together with one voice right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president."

    "Is there a second?" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California asked the crowd of more than 4,400 delegates.

    Delegates then affirmed Obama as their choice with cheers, officially capping a long and hard-fought battle between Obama and Clinton.

    Read the articles about Bill Clinton's speech and Obama's nomination here and here and here.

    plez sez: on to november... this healing should've taken place weeks ago, like on June 4th (the day after Obama secured enough votes to win the democratic nomination)!

    plezWorld is glad that the rift is seemingly over... we must set our sights on removing the republicans from the white house.

    Hillary Clinton: "No Way. No How. No McCain."

    After 18 months of hard campaigning against Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton delivered a rousing endorsement of Obama as the next President of the United States.

    She challenged her supporters to question whether they wanted "four more years of the last eight years" or if they truly were on board to enact the changes that she and Obama were fighting for during their candidacy.

    The line of the week: "No way, no how, no McCain!"

    Portions of Hillary Clinton's speech:

    Text of Hillary Clinton's speech:

    I am honored to be here tonight. I'm here tonight as a proud mother. As a proud Democrat. As a proud senator from New York. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

    My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

    And whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines. Watch Clinton tell the party to unite »

    This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win together.

    I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family and fighting for women's rights here at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people.

    And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

    No way. No how. No McCain.

    Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president.

    Tonight I ask you to remember what a presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you -- the American people and your lives, and your children's futures.

    For me, it's been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces and your communities. Your stories reminded me that everyday America's greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people -- your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.

    You taught me so much and you made me laugh, and yes, you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.

    I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism. She didn't have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care for her and her children.

    I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care and he said to me: "Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there, and then will you please take care of me?"

    I will always remember the young boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do.

    I will always be grateful to everyone from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush administration.

    To my supporters, to my champions -- to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits -- from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

    Thank you because you never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.

    Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Chair Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South should be Democratic from top to bottom.

    And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother, a courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.

    Our heart goes out to Stephanie's son, Mervyn Jr., and Bill's wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join this family of Democrats.

    Now Bill Gwatney and Stephanie Tubbs Jones knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.

    Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation's history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.

    Putin and Georgia, Iran and Iraq.

    I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to those who were willing to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.

    To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green-collar jobs.

    To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that every single parent knows their children will be taken care of. .

    We want to create a world class education system and make college affordable again.

    To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality -- from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. And to help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.

    To make America once again a nation of immigrants and of laws.

    To restore fiscal sanity to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.

    To restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home with honor, care for our veterans and give them the services they have earned.

    We will work for an America again that will join with our allies in confronting our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

    Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years. Those are the reasons I ran for president, and those are the reasons I support Barack Obama for president.

    I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

    We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.

    Now, this will not be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat back into the White House.

    We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a president who understands that America can't compete in the global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in the new technologies that will build a green economy.

    We need a president who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.

    Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. And he knows government must be about "We the people" not "We the favored few."

    And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And if we do our part, we'll do it again with President Obama and the Democrats.

    Just think of what America will be as we transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. Get middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I cannot wait to watch Barack Obama sign into law a health care plan that covers every single American.

    And we know that President Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home and begin to repairing our alliances around the world.

    And Barack will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle's speech last night knows she will be a great First Lady for America.

    And Americans are fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama's side. A strong leader, a good man, who understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.

    They will be a great team for our country.

    Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

    He has served our country with honor and courage.

    But we don't need four more years of the last eight years.

    More economic stagnation and less affordable health care.

    More high gas prices and less alternative energy.

    More jobs getting shipped overseas and fewer jobs created here at home.

    More skyrocketing debt and home foreclosures .and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.

    More war and less diplomacy.

    More of a government where the privileged come first and everyone else comes last.

    Well, John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's OK when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.

    Now, with an agenda like that, it makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.

    You know, America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to every challenge and every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.

    And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I'm a United States Senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women's rights in our history.

    And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter -- and a few sons and grandsons along the way.

    These women and men looked into their daughters' eyes and imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment and brave violence and jail.

    And after so many decades -- 88 years ago on this very day -- the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote became enshrined in our Constitution.

    My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.

    This is the story of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

    How do we give this country back to them?

    By following the example of a brave New Yorker , a woman who risked her life to bring slaves along the Underground Railroad.

    On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.

    If you hear the dogs, keep going.

    If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

    If they're shouting after you, keep going.

    Don't ever stop. Keep going.

    If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

    And even in the darkest of moments, that is what Americans have done. We have found the faith to keep going.

    I've seen it . I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, I've seen it in the men and women of our military. In America, you always keep going.

    We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

    But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

    We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

    Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hangs in the balance.

    I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come Election Day. Think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.

    We've got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

    That is our duty, to build that bright future, to teach our children that, in America, there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great, no ceiling too high for all who work hard, who keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and each other.

    That is our mission, Democrats. Let's elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden for that future worthy of our great country.

    Thank you. God bless you, and Godspeed.

    Read coverage of Hillary Clinton's night at the DNC here and here and here and here and here.

    plez sez: hillary clinton saved her best stuff for her speech before the democratic national convention. she received her props as being the first viable woman candidate for president (she was greeted with a rousing 5 minute ovation), she gave props to Barack Obama (she gave him an unequivocal endorsement as next president), and she repudiated the thought of electing john mccain to the white house in november.

    in the words of some of the talking heads, she "knocked it out of the park!"

    even though they differed in style and substance, both hillary clinton's and michelle obama's speeches were the highlights of their respective nights. both speeches highlighted (in different ways) the basic reasons why Barack Obama should be the next president. it is every hope that hillary's speech squelched all talk of the democratic party no longer being unified behind Obama... of course, there will be some who will not be able to vote for a Black man, but i contend that clinton's supporters now have no reason why they cannot support his candidacy going forward.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Michelle Obama Delivers at DNC

    Our First Lady-in-Waiting delivered a rousing, yet touching speech on Monday night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Michelle Obama gave depth to the man who is Sen. Barack Obama as a husband (of almost 16 years) and a doting father to their two young daughters. She spoke of their journey to the White House through the lens of an All American family being afforded the opportunity to aspire to the highest position in the land.

    Barack Obama is in Kansas City, Missouri, where he will campaign Tuesday. The Democratic delegates will make history this week by officially nominating Obama as the first African-American presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party.

    Michelle Obama delivered a heartfelt and humble speech.

    Michelle Obama's speech at DNC

    Transcript of Michelle Obama's Speech:
    "American Dream"

    I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.

    At 6-foot-6, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too...literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me -- he was watching over me.

    And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when -- with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change -- we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that has led us to this moment.

    But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.

    I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.

    And I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.

    And I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world -- they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future -- and all our children's future -- is my stake in this election.

    And I come here as a daughter -- raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.

    My Dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. But as he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing -- even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder.

    He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child could receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and their hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives -- and mine -- that the American Dream endures.

    And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities that they never had for themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

    And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and to pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children -- and all children in this nation -- to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

    And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. You see instead of going to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.

    The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. See they were parents trying to get by paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. See they were ready to work -- they wanted to contribute. They believed -- like you and I believe -- that America should be a place where you can make it if you try.

    And Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is -- even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we also know what our world should look like. He said we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves -- to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?

    It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls and high school gyms -- people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had -- refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.

    It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.

    I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history -- knowing that my piece of the American Dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country:

    People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift -- without disappointment, without regret -- see that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for.

    The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

    The young people across America serving our communities -- teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.

    People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters -- and our sons -- can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

    People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

    All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do -- that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

    And that is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.

    That is why I love this country.

    And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us -- no matter what our age or background or walk of life -- each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

    It's a belief Barack shares -- a belief at the heart of his life's work.

    See it's what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe -- working block by block to help people lift up their families.

    It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard-working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.

    It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure that the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care -- including mental health care.

    See that's why he's running -- to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make sure health care is available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation has a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as president of the United States of America.

    He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has -- by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from, or what your background is, or what party -- if any -- you belong to. That's not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us -- our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future. He knows that that thread is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.

    It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.

    It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed, but can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.

    And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that has been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.

    Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; Millions of Americans who know that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.

    And in the end, And in the end after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her something he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love.

    And as I tuck that little girl in and her little sister into bed at night, You see I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they -- and your sons and daughters -- will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, how this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country -- where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House -- that we committed ourselves, we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

    So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future -- out of gratitude for those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment -- let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

    Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

    And also an impassioned speech from
    Sen. Ted Kennedy who has inoperable brain cancer:
    "The Dream Lives On"

    Read the articles about the happenings at the DNC on opening night here and here and here.

    plez sez: i watched Michelle Obama's speech with plezWife. we watched as history unfolded before our eyes: a 44-year old Black woman speaking at the Democratic National Convention as the wife of her 47-year old Black husband who is poised to become the next President of the United States.

    we were moved to tears. tears of joy. we were both so proud of Michelle. tears of hope. we are hopeful that the promises of America continue to shine on us and our family. this was an awesome occasion... i can't wait until the Obamas move into the white house in january!

    tonight we witnessed the epitome of the American Dream!

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    2008 Atlanta Classic - FAMU vs. TSU

    BLOG UPDATE: 09/27/2008 11:44 PM - The FAMU Rattlers have won their seventh straight Atlanta Classic, by defeating the TSU Tigers by a score of 28-21... and the afterparty was OFF DA CHAIN! Read the live blog of the game here.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The 2008 installment of the Atlanta Classic will feature the bands and football teams and alumni of Florida A&M University against Tennessee State University on Saturday, September 27 at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta.

    A couple of my frat brothers (alums of FAMU and TSU) will be hosting a big after party the night of the game at the Georgia Freight Depot ... check out the video with the party's plug (purchase tickets here). ENJOY!

    "We Run the Classic" by Kountin' Fast Cash

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Deconstructing Obama's VP Decision

    plez sez: To my way of thinking, the process of making decisions is as important as the decision itself. This has always been an endearing fact about Sen. Barack Obama, he is a thoughtful and deliberate and intelligent man. His openess to learning and curiosity belies that rampant ignorance that has characterized George W. Bush over the past 8 years... you get the feeling that Bush doesn't give a damn about facts.

    In reading the New York Times, I ran across an interesting article about the thought process that went into Obama's decision to pick Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate. Although, it was a deeply personal decision, the decision came at the end of a carefully deliberate process.

    One thing to note while reading the article, there is not one mention of Sen. Hillary Clinton. I read in another article that she asked Obama not to vet her if she was not going to be his selection for vice president. Now, we know why she wasn't vetted!

    In Obama's Choice, A 'Very Personal Decision'
    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenburg for
    WASHINGTON — In the beginning, Senator Barack Obama was not entirely sold on Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. And Mr. Biden told friends that he was pessimistic of his chances of becoming Mr. Obama’s Democratic running mate.

    Over the course of two months, as the dynamics of the presidential campaign and world events shifted quickly, Mr. Biden’s stock rose through one of the most rigorous vice-presidential vetting processes that Democrats could recall. It was a process in which Mr. Obama applied intense secrecy, careful pragmatism and political input from a team of internal and external advisers that have guided his campaign from the start. And it ended Thursday with a phone call from Mr. Obama, who reached Mr. Biden as he was at a dentist’s office where he had taken his wife to have a root canal.

    On Saturday, as the two men embraced before a crowd in Illinois, the new Democratic partnership made its debut. Yet in a moment that could have showcased Mr. Obama’s decision-making, his top advisers made a concerted effort not to disclose how he made his choice, instead choosing to showcase the life stories of the two men on the ticket and to present Mr. Biden as a forceful new critic of Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

    “It’s a very personal decision,” said David Axelrod, the campaign’s chief strategist, in a brief interview Saturday. “He approached it in a very serious, sober and reasoned way.”

    Mr. Obama reached the decision about 10 days ago while on a weeklong vacation to Hawaii. That week, Mr. Biden’s strengths in foreign policy were highlighted by the conflict between Russia and Georgia, giving his prospects a further boost. Associates of the other main possibility on Mr. Obama’s list, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, said Mr. Obama cited the situation in Georgia in breaking the news to Mr. Bayh late last week that he had chosen Mr. Biden.

    But people involved in the process said it was not just foreign policy that tilted the balance. They said Mr. Obama’s decision had as much to do with Mr. Biden’s appeal among white working-class voters and compelling personal story, and his conclusion that the Delaware senator was “a worker.”

    The plans for the announcement began to take shape in early July. Until the end, aides said, a small team inside the Chicago headquarters planned for four possibilities: Mr. Biden, Mr. Bayh, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. Speeches were written, media plans were made and private planes were at the ready to take any of the four to Springfield, Ill.

    Mr. Biden was hardly considered a likely pick at the start of the process. His reputation for verbosity was Washington legend. While he impressed at the debates by defying expectations with his brevity, his presidential campaign foundered and ended quickly.

    “I think in his heart of hearts he thought in the end he wouldn’t get it,” said Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, a friend. “During the vetting process you mostly hear why you wouldn’t be a good candidate,” he added, naming “the change issue” and “some of the things he said during the campaign.”

    But Mr. Biden had some powerful patrons in his corner whose opinions Mr. Obama respected, like Mr. Rendell; Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus; and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts — not only a respected Senate lion but also uncle to a senior member of Mr. Obama’s vetting team, Caroline Kennedy.

    As the vetting team sorted through Mr. Biden’s financial statements, political statements and medical records, Mr. Obama’s top political aides — Mr. Axelrod chief among them — reached out to friends in Mr. Obama’s orbit to get a sense of what sort of politician Mr. Biden was. The results belied Mr. Biden’s reputation. Reports came back that he was not only potentially more energetic and disciplined than widely known, but also that he had a distinct appeal suited to the areas throughout the industrial Midwest where Mr. Obama had struggled in the primaries.

    But Mr. Obama was seeking a running mate with whom he would be comfortable governing for four or eight years, a bit of advice Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had given him.

    “I get the sense that he was quite serious about thinking through about the nature of who his partner will be there and, I think, the role of the vice president as a future partner in government,” said David Wilhelm, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who worked on Mr. Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign and is close to Mr. Obama.

    “I think it’s easy to give that sort of thing short shrift,” he added, “so ‘what kind of partner I’m getting’ mattered quite a bit.”

    Much of the process unfolded in silence as dozens of lawyers completed their tedious assignments for the vice-presidential vetting team. They conducted lengthy sit-down interviews with at least six Democratic prospects, and they demanded thousands of pages of documents, including copies of speeches delivered more than two decades ago.

    In addition to the four ultimate finalists, Democratic officials said, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut were also among those who received extensive consideration. Teams of lawyers, at least 10 for some candidates, were assembled to inspect finances, medical histories and political backgrounds of the prospective candidates and their families.

    In an interview Saturday, Mr. Richardson said that Mr. Obama called him soon after he claimed the nomination on June 3 to tell him that he wanted to put him on his list of prospects. But, Mr. Richardson said, Mr. Obama warned him that it would be an intensive process, and asked him to consider whether he was up for it. (After checking with his wife, Mr. Richardson said, he called back to say he was.)

    Mr. Obama called to check in with him midway through the process, Mr. Richardson said, before his vacation to Hawaii. As always, Mr. Obama dialed Mr. Richardson himself from his cellphone. Mr. Richardson said he told Mr. Obama that he had not seen his name on lists in the news media, and Mr. Obama responded by saying, “No, you’re in this thing.”

    Mr. Richardson was alerted weeks later that his vetting process had gone well, he said, but late last week — he would not say exactly when — Mr. Obama called to thank him and tell him, “I’ve made up my mind, and we’re going in another direction.”

    In the waning days, several people close to Mr. Bayh said he remained upbeat over the possibility that he would be Mr. Obama’s choice. He had met with Mr. Obama several times, and the amount of information Mr. Obama’s staff had asked for was beyond anything Mr. Bayh — who has been in contention for the vice-presidential position at least twice before — had experienced.

    Mr. Biden, meanwhile, was viewed as undercutting himself with his own behavior as reporters staked out his Delaware residence. When Mr. Biden returned home in his white pickup truck from a garbage dump and made an off-color joke to camera crews last week, an e-mail message circulated among Mr. Bayh’s closest associates that read, “Keep talking Joe, please keep talking.”

    He did not.

    Read the New York Times article the deconstructs Obama's selection of Joe Biden here.

    Read the article Obama's selection of Joe Biden here.