Friday, November 28, 2008

Thank the Troops

Even if you don't agree with the war, you can still thank the troops!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

David Cook at Do the Wright Thing at the Hard Rock Cafe

Wow - from the video on Youtube this was a great show. Here is Life on the Moon and Light On. David is a great performer! His album which comes out on Tuesday only got 2 1/2 stars from Rolling Stone, but as many have commented, the songs really grow on you after repeated listening. I am really getting to love Barbasol -it reminds me of the way George Pelecanos writes about music in his novels - something essential to a kind of edgy life. And Life on the Moon is terrific.

Here is the video: (there are more, just search David Cook Do the Wright Thing)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

David Cook on Soundcheck

The full show of David Cook is now up on Soundcheck. The songs featured are: Light On, Barbasol, Lies, Heroes, and Declaration. There is also an interview. Cook sounds pretty good, Light On and Declaration are great, Barbasol is growing on me, Lies and Heroes are ok. The setting is great, and Cook looks good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Transparency in the transition

Here is a video from Valerie Jarrett, a long-time friend of Barack Obama, who has been named as a senior White House Advisor (her official title will be: "senior advisor and assistant to the President for Inter-government relations and Public Liaison in the Obama White House." ) Her direct, no-nonsense style seems to mesh well with Obama's. As Jarrett mentions in the video, the Obama Transition Team website is

Monday, November 10, 2008 It's a New Day

I happened to like the dress, but I bet Michelle didn't realize how often it would appear after the fact. A historic dress for a historic day. Here is's new video - It's a New Day along with Oprah's introduction. And baby, it IS a beautiful new day!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More jokes - from Leno, Letterman, Myers, O'Brien, Maher, etc.

As printed in the LA Times:

David Letterman, on ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ Nov. 5 "At the end of the evening, the electoral vote count was 349 for Obama, 148 for McCain. Or, as Fox News says, ‘too close to call.’"

Jay Leno, on ‘ The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,’ Nov. 3 "According to recent news reports, Bill Clinton has now become an adviser to Barack Obama. Bill Clinton is giving advice to Barack Obama. Do you know who is really upset about this? Michelle Obama."

Conan O'Brien, on ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien,’ Nov. 5 "Last night, [Sarah Palin] denied rumors that she's getting ready to run for president in 2012. Palin said, 'That’s a long time away. I’ll be a great-grandmother by then.'"

Seth Meyers, on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Nov. 1 "At a campaign rally on Thursday, Senator McCain called Joe the plumber up to the stage, only to discover that he was not at the rally. In fairness to Joe the plumber, he did say he'd be there sometime between noon and 6 p.m."

Seth Meyers, on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Nov. 1 "This Sunday, daylight saving time ends. John McCain quickly condemned it as a redistribution of sunlight.”

John McCain, on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Oct. 31 “Look, would I rather be on three major networks? Of course. But I’m a true maverick: a Republican without money."

Bill Maher, on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ Oct. 31 "I think this says it all about the difference between the two parties. McCain is campaigning with Joe the plumber, Obama is down in Florida campaigning with Al Gore. One guy won the Nobel Prize in climate science. The other guy can get a fork out of a garbage disposal."

Jimmy Kimmel, on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Nov. 3 "This is a country that waits 18 hours on line for an iPhone. We'll sit for three days in the rain to get Halo 2. We'll camp out on the sidewalk for a week to get the first ticket to see a 'Star Wars' movie that we know is going to be crap. ... If we can wait in line to see the Jonas brothers, then by God, I say we can wait in line to elect the next president of the United States."

Craig Ferguson, on 'Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,' Oct. 31 " Barack Obama hit back at the charges that he's a socialist by joking that since he shared his toys as a child, he must be a communist. To which John McCain responded, 'You had toys as a child? I had to play with dinosaurs.'"

Friday, November 7, 2008

A joke for Democrats only

Sent to me by my friend Gail:

One sunny day in February 2009 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue , where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.'
The Marine looked at the man and said, 'Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.' The old man said, 'Okay' and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.' The Marine again told the man, 'Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.' The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S.. Marine, saying 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush. The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, 'Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?'

The old man looked at the Marine and said, 'Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.' The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, 'Yes Sir! See you tomorrow.'

Last of the Culture Warriors

On November 3rd, Washington Post columnist Peter Beinart wrote his monthly column about Sarah Palin called "Last of the Culture Warriors." Beinart writes,

"Palin's brand is culture war, and in America today culture war no longer sells. The struggle that began in the 1960s -- which put questions of racial, sexual and religious identity at the forefront of American politics -- may be ending. Palin is the end of the line. "

The article continues, [emphasis mine]

"Today, according to a recent Newsweek poll, the economy is up to 44 percent and "issues like abortion, guns and same-sex marriage" down to only 6 percent. It's no coincidence that Palin's popularity has plummeted as the financial crisis has taken center stage . . . She's depicting the campaign as a struggle between the culturally familiar and the culturally threatening, the culturally traditional and the culturally exotic. But Obama has dismissed those attacks as irrelevant, and the public, focused nervously on the economic collapse, has largely tuned them out. "

Beinart's premise is at least temporarily belied by the success of state propositions banning same sex marriages, indicating that traditional culture advocates still prevail. But according to Beinart, culture wars wax and wane with generational change. He believes that

"The long-running, internecine baby boomer cultural feud just isn't that relevant to Americans who came of age after the civil rights, gay rights and feminist revolutions. Even many younger evangelicals are broadening their agendas beyond abortion, stem cells, school prayer and gay marriage."

The problem with "culture war" is that it divides us - across the nation, among friends, even among families - based on what we essentially believe in. At issue in the culture war is not which of several similarly plausible economic policies is best, but the core beliefs that lie directly in the center of our being - is it right to abort a fetus, is it right for two people of the same sex to be married, is it right for people to freely be able to purchase assault rifles, is it right to torture and imprison people without trial. These are not win-win scenarios, as solutions that would satisfy both sides are few and far between.

Beinart ends his article with the hope that the Republican party will choose as its leader for the future someone like Mitt Romney or Bobby Jindall; social conservatives, but not likely to "try to substitute identity for policy ." Beinart believes "Sarah Palin may be the last culture warrior on the national ticket for a very long time." With the increasing revelation of internal strife within the McCain/Palin campaign, and tales of "Wasilla hillbilly" shopping sprees, some factions of the party have already begun to discredit Palin. It will be interesting to see what path the Republican Party chooses to follow into the future.

David Cook Light On official music video

Here is Cook's Light On video. I am disappointed. I have grown to like Light On more and more, but the video not so much. The song has so much dramatic potential - leave a light on - in a window, in a lighthouse, a candle burning, etc. etc. But the video just doesn't do justice to the song. Look at the theme - boy meets girl - how cliche. It is a timeless theme, but the whole bus boy thing is so old fashioned. David is in LA for pete's sake - why not go for some glitz? Or use current events - it would have been really cool to do a soldier packing and getting ready to deploy overseas, asking his wife or girlfriend to leave a light on.

Plus, there are a bunch of flaws that seem to jump right out - lip synching in the acoustic part, sweatshirt on-sweatshirt off, David over-acting a little (points to head).

Take all this with a grain of salt, however - coming from a huge Cook fan. I guess it is like having a kid, you are hyper conscious of what they're doing! Anyway, here is the video:

Light On (Official Music Video)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nelson Mandela's note to Barack Obama

Here is what Mandela wrote to Obama: (emphasis mine)

Senator Barack Obama,


Dear Senator Obama,

We join people in your country and around the world in congratulating you on becoming the President-Elect of the United States. Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.

We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your Presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere.

We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead. We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all.


N R Mandela

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Text of Obama's victory speech

Here is the text of President-elect Obama's victory speech as prepared for delivery last night in Grant Park. I think it is important to read and re-read this speech, as there is so much to think about in it. One thing is starkly clear - it is not what you expect of a victory speech of a man who won by a landslide, but rather is the speech of a hard-working, humble man who knows there is a steep climb ahead.

God bless Barack Obama - please continue to pray for his safety!

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama

(as prepared for delivery)

Election Night

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Viva intelligence!

What a joy this election has been! One of the surprise benefits has been watching smart people talk on TV again. Rachel Maddow has had Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker on several times, what a great mind he has! Also Jesse Jackson Junior, and one of Chris Matthews' guests tonight on Hardball, a state representative from South Carolina, I can't remember his name. But all of a sudden, NUANCE is back! ANALYSIS rules!!! I LOVE IT!!!

I could even watch George Bush, something I haven't been able to do for years.

Viva intelligence!!!

WE WON!!!!

Amazingly, I have had many more tears since we won this election than I had when we lost. There have been so many moving images and experiences.

Here is the video of President-elect Obama's victory speech from Grant Park in Chicago:

Here is John McCain's concession speech, surprisingly gracious at times:

Here is President Bush congratulating President-elect Obama and pledging his cooperation.

Here is Condi Rice's reaction Obama's election:

Monday, November 3, 2008

You Can Vote However You Like

Here is video from CNN of the terrific 6th and 7th grade kids from Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta doing their take of TI's "Whatever You Like." I'm with the folks at CNN, these kids are amazing - smart, funny, musically talented, they've got it all!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

David Cook ROCKS Saturday Night Live

David Cook and his band ROCKED on Saturday Night Live. EW's Popwatch blog is full of kudos for Cook & Co. - a lot of surprised comments from people who couldn't believe that an American Idol winner could actually do rock, and do it successfully on the very tough stage at SNL.

Here is the video of David Cook and band singing "Light On" on Saturday Night Live:

David Cook's second song was "Declaration" here is the video:

And finally, here is a video about Obama with David Cook singing "Time of My Life" in the background. How good does it get? By the way, "Time of My Life" just needs another 30,000 or so downloads to go platinum at 1,000,000. There is a very interesting story behind the song, once you know the story you understand why David embraced it so completely.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Drunken Halloween

A coalition of university presidents has been lobbying to have the drinking age lowered back to 18 to cut down on underage drinking. I guess kids drink when they are underage whether it is legal or not. For example,

Gail Collins is laugh-out-loud funny today

I wish I could post all of Gail Collins' NY Times OpEd piece "Our Election Whopper," which is not about a lie, as I suspected from the title, but about the "super-sized" election. Collins writes,

"Omigosh! It’s almost here. The one and only Election Day! Except, of course, in the 30-odd states where voting has been going on for some time. Nov. 4 is not quite as much of an event there . . .

. . . Our two-year presidential campaign now ends with a monthlong vote, followed by weeks of litigation over provisional ballots. After that, the new president is sworn in and given 100 days to accomplish his legislative agenda, after which everyone will start plotting for 2012.

It is a grand system in that great American tradition that has given us the seven-month baseball season and the half-gallon cup of soda. We have supersized the election. And why not? Barack Obama’s campaign budget is now supporting half the national economy. I don’t know how we’re going to get along without it, unless we can convince Mitt Romney to start gearing up instantly for his comeback."

And then there's this paragraph about why Obama is campaigning in 8 states in 3 time zones in the last 72 hours of the election:

"Obama’s target audience is the 10 percent of voters who told this week’s New York Times/CBS News poll that they did not feel as if they had received enough information to make an informed decision on the presidential race. I believe we have met them before. They are the men and women who get up at a town hall meeting after the candidate had just made a 20-minute opening speech about his/her plans for health care reform, and say: “What I want to know is, what are you going to do about medical costs?” My theory is that whenever they hear someone start to discuss the issues, they cover their ears and make humming noises, the way my husband does when I say it is time to take a look at our 401(k)s."

The Daily Show talks community organizing

Here is a video of John Oliver talking to and about community organizers in the Daily Show's usual hysterical and insightful way. Warning - frequent use of the f%*# word at the end)