Friday, October 31, 2008

Yet ANOTHER Side Effect of 8 Years of GOP Rule

I received this email today from Dan Seals, the Democratic Candidate for the 10th Congressional Seat in Illinois against 4 term incumbent and George Bush YES Man Mark Kirk. If this doesn't terrify you, well, then I'm not sure what to say. But it should. It should terrify you that if someone at the post office doesn't like you or your business, then your outgoing mail (that has cost you significant money to send) could just get misplaced. Of course, this comes just a month after Dan Seals campaign office was broken into and a computer was stolen. Coincidence?

This is definitely not the kind of America I want to live in. The only way I know to stop these nasty tactics is to vote all the Republicans out of office. That will send a very clear message that won't get "lost" at the Post Office.

Onto the email . . .

October 31, 2008

Dear Little Merry Sunshine,

ALERT
Last week, thousands of Seals supporters should have received our campaign's final direct mailing. Unfortunately, those letters were tampered with and never left the post office. Authorities are now investigating the situation, but we have already missed a critical opportunity to raise funds and keep Dan on the air in the final days of our campaign.

THE SITUATION
The campaign's final direct mail piece, which included a quote from Senator Barack Obama supporting Dan, was set to hit the mail boxes of thousands of supporters last week. The mail was received by the United States Post Office and then transferred that same day to a United States Post Office Distribution Center.

After realizing that supporters had not received the letter, we discovered that the mail had been set aside and out of sight at the post office. The letters were supposed to have been treated as first class mail. They were not.

CONSEQUENCES
We lost the money that we would have raised over the past week if the mailing had been delivered on schedule. With the election just days away, we need to raise money to keep Dan on air, in the third most expensive media market in the country, so that he can continue to communicate his positive message of change to every 10th district voter.

THE SOLUTION:
Please contribute to our campaign today and help us raise $10,000 by Midnight tonight. We had counted on these contributions and with only 4 days to go we cannot take a single dollar for granted.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Team Seals

P.S. Help us raise the money we lost so Dan can reach every IL-10 voter before November 4.

Barack on The Daily Show

Did you miss Barack on The Daily Show on Wednesday night? Have no fear, Little Merry Sunshine has you covered.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Three of My Favorite Men

Bill truly delivered for Barack in Florida on Wednesday night. It truly brought back so many memories for me of living in DC in the 1990s. I used to love to hear President Clinton speak.

During the primaries this year, I became disenchanted with the Clintons (both of them), but thanks to Bill and Hillary's speeches at the Convention this summer and their campaigning for Barack, my good feelings for them are back.

Wednesday night's speech reminded me why I'm such a huge fan of Bill and solidified (again) why I love Barack. Watch both parts. You can see the torch being passed. And Bill's okay with it. I truly believe that.

Part One: Former President Bill Clinton introducing Barack Obama


Part Two: Barack's speech (it seems to cut out in the middle of Barack's speech, but I haven't been able to find the entire speech online)


I didn't actually see this on Wednesday night and my mom told me on Thursday that Jimmy Smits was there. Truth be told, I didn't believe her. But she was right! He was! I'm a huge fan of Jimmy Smits (aka the most recent Democratic President), not just because he was on The West Wing, but also because when my friend Kelly and I volunteered at the President Clinton's Inaugural Ball in January 1997 (we spent the night hanging out in the Green Room with all the celebs!), we met Jimmy Smits and have a great picture with him. I have to find it and post it.

I've Never Been So Proud!

I just called my brother Dave and he answered and said he couldn't talk because he was phone banking for Obama up in Traverse City, Michigan!

This is the first campaign he's ever been involved in. I just love that Barack is energizing young people and other people who have not previously been engaged.

Yeah Dave! I'm so proud of you!

Now if I could only get my dad to vote for Obama instead of McSame and Caribou Barbie.

Stephen Colbert's "The Word": I Endorse Barack Obama

Yet another important Obama endorsement!

What Could YOU Do With Sarah's Spending Money???

H/T to Americablog for this fun website!

Paper dolls for grown-ups!

Dress Like Sarah Palin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barack Obama's 30-Minute "Commercial": American Stories, American Solutions

Did you see Barack tonight? If you missed it, like I did or you just want to watch it again and feel inspired, just click play below.

Yes We Can! Vote NOW or Vote November 4th!

If you're still really undecided (but how is that possible?), visit BarackObama.com.

YES WE CAN! And We Will!

Because as we move into the final days of this long election (And for the record, even I'm feeling more than a little "election fatigue." And that's saying something!), we must not be complacent, we must be energized. If we lose, it may well be because we got overconfident. We believed the polls and let it slip away.

We cannot let that happen. We must believe and we must take action. Vote early or vote on November 4th.

Here's a little inspiration to get us through the final days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You Better Vote!

Do you this to be your fault?



Make sure YOU vote for Obama. Vote early or vote November 4th. But just vote.

Who Are the Undecided?

My friend Craig sent this to me last night. I think I should be insulted by this, but I may just be too stupid to know for sure.

From The Daily Show.

video

Monday, October 27, 2008

Barack Obama's Closing Argument: One Week

Take the time to fall in love with Barack Obama all over again by watching today's speech in Canton, Ohio. Officially, this is Barack's "closing argument."

We have one week. One week left to bring Hope back to the country. And it's up to us. We need to speak to our friends and family, especially the ones who are still undecided or voting for McCain. We need to vote early. If you can't vote early, get to your polling place first thing in the morning next Tuesday, November 4th. Whenever you vote, be prepared to stand in line and be patient. And take an elderly neighbor with you. Go to BarackObama.com and make phone calls to swing states.

As you watch this video, listen closely to the optimism and pay special attention to the last five minutes. Listen to Barack asking us to be better than we are. He believes in us. He believes in our country. Barack Obama is Country First.

Mahatma Gandhi said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Barack Obama embodies it. And he believes we embody it too.

If you're reading my blog and still undecided, I ask you to think about the kind of country you want to leave for your children and grandchildren. If you believe in equal pay for women, that health care is a right not a privilege, that women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies, that all people absolutely are created equal, that sometimes more gets accomplished by sitting down face to face than with the "either you're with us or against us" approach, that the politics of fear don't work, that every American deserves equal opportunity, and that government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves, then you owe it to yourself and future generations to vote for Obama.

We can do this. Yes we can.

Will you join me in choosing Hope over Fear?

Foreclosure Angel

This story will warm your heart. In the midst of all the horrible economic news in the world, one woman steps forward to save the home of a perfect stranger. The world needs more women like Marilyn Mock.

I dare you to try not to get a little misty.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

From CNN: Some voters 'purged' from voter rolls

The below article was just on CNN.com. This disturbs me beyond words, but I don't know what can be done to prevent this as people are already voting and November 4th is just 8 days away. How many more people will lose their right to vote because of systematic, illegal purging or "administrative errors?" I'm sure it's just a coincidence that this is happening primarily to voters who belong to groups that historically vote Democrat.

Some voters 'purged' from voter rolls
By Abbie Boudreau and Scott Bronstein

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- College senior Kyla Berry was looking forward to voting in her first presidential election, even carrying her voter registration card in her wallet.

"Vote suppression is real. It does sometimes happen," said Daniel P. Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University.

But about two weeks ago, Berry got disturbing news from local election officials.

"This office has received notification from the state of Georgia indicating that you are not a citizen of the United States and therefore, not eligible to vote," a letter from the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections said.

But Berry is a U.S. citizen, born in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a passport and a birth certificate to prove it. Watch some of the concerns of voting experts

The letter, which was dated October 2, gave her a week from the time it was dated to prove her citizenship. There was a problem, though -- the letter was postmarked October 9.

"It was the most bizarre thing. I immediately called my mother and asked her to send me my birth certificate, and then I was like, 'It's too late, apparently,' " Berry said.

Berry is one of more than 50,000 registered Georgia voters who have been "flagged" because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned and the burden is on them to prove eligibility to vote.

Experts say lists of people with mismatches are often systematically cut, or "purged," from voter rolls.

It's a scenario that's being repeated all across the country, with cases like Berry's raising fears of potential vote suppression in crucial swing states.

"What most people don't know is that every year, elections officials strike millions of names from the voter rolls using processes that are secret, prone to error and vulnerable to manipulation," said Wendy Weiser, an elections expert with New York University's Brennan Center for Justice.

"That means that lots and lots of eligible voters could get knocked off the voter rolls without any notice and, in many cases, without any opportunity to correct it before Election Day."

Weiser acknowledged that "purging done well and with proper accountability" is necessary to remove people who have died or moved out of state.

"But the problem is it's not necessary to do inaccurate purges that catch up thousands of eligible voters without any notice or any opportunity to fix it before Election Day and really without any public scrutiny at all," she said.

Such allegations have flared up across the United States during this election cycle, most notably in Ohio, where a recent lawsuit has already gone to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There, the state Republican Party sued Ohio's Democratic secretary of state in an effort to make her generate a list of people who had mismatched information. But Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said generating such a list would create numerous problems too close to the election and possibly disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.

The Supreme Court last week ruled against the GOP on appeal of a lower court order directing Brunner to prepare the list.

In Florida, election officials found that 75 percent of about 20,000 voter registration applications from a three-week period in September were mismatched due to typographical and administrative errors. Florida's Republican secretary of state ordered the computer match system implemented in early September.

In Wisconsin, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sued the state's election board after it voted against a proposal to implement a "no-match" policy. The board conducted an audit of its voter rolls and found a 22 percent match failure rate -- including for four of the six members of the board.

The Brennan Center has also documented cases across the country of possible illegal purging, impediments to college student voting and difficulties accessing voter registration.

A lawsuit has been filed over Georgia's mismatch system, and the state is also under fire for requesting Social Security records for verification checks on about 2 million voters -- more requests than any other state.

One of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit says Georgia is violating a federal law that prohibits widespread voter purges within 90 days of the election, arguing that the letters were sent out too close to the election date.

"They are systematically using these lists and matching them and using those matches to send these letters out to voters," said McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project in Georgia.

"It's not, you know, an individualized notion of people maybe not being citizens or not being residents. They're using a systematic purging procedure that's expressly prohibited by federal laws."

Asked if he believed that eligible voters were purged in Georgia, McDonald said, "If people who are properly eligible, are getting improperly challenged and purged, the answer would be 'Yes,' " he said.

Elise Shore, regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said letters like those sent to Berry appear to violate two federal laws against voter purging within 90 days of the election.

"People are being targeted, and people are being told they are non-citizens, including both naturalized citizens and U.S.-born citizens," said Shore, another plaintiff in the Georgia lawsuit.

"They're being told they're not eligible to vote, based on information in a database that hasn't been checked and approved by the Department of Justice, and that we know has flaws in it."

Georgia's Secretary of State Karen Handel, a Republican who began working on purging voter rolls since she was elected in 2006, said that won't happen. If there are errors, she said, there is still plenty of time to resolve the problems.

Handel says she is not worried the verification process will prevent eligible voters from casting a ballot.

"In this state and all states, there's a process to ensure that a voter who comes in -- even if there's a question about their status -- that they will vote either provisional or challenge ballot, which is a paper ballot," she said.

"So then the voter has ample opportunity to clarify any issues or address them," Handel added. "And I think that's a really important process."

Handel denied the efforts to verify the vote are suppression.

"This is about ensuring the integrity of our elections," she said. "It is imperative to have checks and balances on the front end, during the processes and on the back end. That's what the verification process is about."

So someone like Kyla Berry will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot when she votes, but it's up to county election officials whether those ballots would actually count.

Berry says she will try to vote, but she's not confident it will count.

"I know this happens, but I cannot believe it's happening to me," she said. "If I weren't allowed to vote, I would just feel like that would be ... like the worst thing ever -- a travesty."

Sarah Palin's Hometown Paper Endorses . . . . OBAMA!

The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska's largest paper, has endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Here's the entire endorsement. All emphasis is mine.

Obama for president
Palin's rise captivates us but nation needs a steady hand

Published: October 25th, 2008 07:37 PM
Last Modified: October 25th, 2008 08:10 PM

Alaska enters its 50th-anniversary year in the glow of an improbable and highly memorable event: the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. For the first time ever, an Alaskan is making a serious bid for national office, and in doing so she brings broad attention and recognition not only to herself, but also to the state she leads.

Alaska's founders were optimistic people, but even the most farsighted might have been stretched to imagine this scenario. No matter the outcome in November, this election will mark a signal moment in the history of the 49th state. Many Alaskans are proud to see their governor, and their state, so prominent on the national stage.

Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

Since his early acknowledgement that economic policy is not his strong suit, Sen. McCain has stumbled and fumbled badly in dealing with the accelerating crisis as it emerged. He declared that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" at 9 a.m. one day and by 11 a.m. was describing an economy in crisis. He is both a longtime advocate of less market regulation and a supporter of the huge taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout. His behavior in this crisis -- erratic is a kind description -- shows him to be ill-equipped to lead the essential effort of reining in a runaway financial system and setting an anxious nation on course to economic recovery.

Sen. Obama warned regulators and the nation 19 months ago that the subprime lending crisis was a disaster in the making. Sen. McCain backed tighter rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but didn't do much to advance that legislation. Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it. It is easy to look at Sen. Obama and see a return to the smart, bipartisan economic policies of the last Democratic administration in Washington, which left the country with the momentum of growth and a budget surplus that President George Bush has squandered.

On the most important issue of the day, Sen. Obama is a clear choice.

Sen. McCain describes himself as a maverick, by which he seems to mean that he spent 25 years trying unsuccessfully to persuade his own party to follow his bipartisan, centrist lead. Sadly, maverick John McCain didn't show up for the campaign. Instead we have candidate McCain, who embraces the extreme Republican orthodoxy he once resisted and cynically asks Americans to buy for another four years.

It is Sen. Obama who truly promises fundamental change in Washington. You need look no further than the guilt-by-association lies and sound-bite distortions of the degenerating McCain campaign to see how readily he embraces the divisive, fear-mongering tactics of Karl Rove. And while Sen. McCain points to the fragile success of the troop surge in stabilizing conditions in Iraq, it is also plain that he was fundamentally wrong about the more crucial early decisions. Contrary to his assurances, we were not greeted as liberators; it was not a short, easy war; and Americans -- not Iraqi oil -- have had to pay for it. It was Sen. Obama who more clearly saw the danger ahead.

The unqualified endorsement of Sen. Obama by a seasoned, respected soldier and diplomat like Gen. Colin Powell, a Republican icon, should reassure all Americans that the Democratic candidate will pass muster as commander in chief.

On a matter of parochial interest, Sen. Obama opposes the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but so does Sen. McCain. We think both are wrong, and hope a President Obama can be convinced to support environmentally responsible development of that resource.

Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she's a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.
------
Ouch! That's gotta hurt. Who knows you better than your hometown newspaper? And then it goes and calls you "too risky" and says the job would "stretch [you] beyond [your] range." Damn.

Saturday Night Live: Barack & Michelle Obama Address

Tina Fey didn't appear on SNL last night and Amy Poehler gave birth yesterday, so SNL wasn't nearly as funny as it could have been. But Maya Rudolph came back to appear as Michelle Obama. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wassup?!

Do you remember those obnoxious Wassup?! commercials from almost 10 years ago? Watch the new updated version below. I promise you'll enjoy it and the fun twist at the end.

H/T to FranIAm for posting this on her blog.

It's Hard for Me to Love Barack More Than I Already Do

But this new ad may just do it for me.

I love that he speaks to us in clear terms without trashing anyone. I love that he speaks to us like we're adults rather than children who need to be scolded or schooled. I love that his messages are uplifting, speak of better days to come, and convey that he clearly believes in ability of Americans to rise up to challenges.

Barack is my choice for President and I hope yours too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama's Grandmother Reminds Me of My Own

From today's Chicago Tribune. My thoughts are at the end.

Obama: Gramother 'gravely ill'
by Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, October 24, 2008

Barack Obama, in Hawaii to see his gravely ill grandmother, said he worried that she will not survive to see Election Day.

Obama left the campaign trail for a day and a half to visit Madelyn Dunham, 85, who helped raise him. His wife, Michelle, is campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee today. Obama plans to return to the trail in Nevada on Saturday.

"Without going through the details too much, she's gravely ill. We weren't sure and I'm still not sure whether she makes it to Election Day," Obama told ABC's Good Morning America for an interview broadcast this morning.

""We're all praying and we hope she does, but one of the things I want to make sure of is I had a chance to sit down with her and to talk to her,'' Obama said. "She's still alert and she's still got all her faculties. And I want to make sure that I don't miss that opportunity.''

Obama has said he missed a chance to visit his mother just before she died of ovarian cancer at 53 in 1995 -- and didn't want to repeat that mistake. Dunham, whose birthday is Sunday, was resting at her own apartment in Honolulu.

At a rally Thursday in Indianapolis, a minister asked the crowd to pray for Dunham as a "source of comfort, healing and courage." Obama said his grandmother has been inundated with phone calls, e-mails and flowers from strangers.

"And so maybe she is getting a sense of, of long-deserved recognition at -- towards the end of her life," Obama told ABC.

Obama was born in Hawaii. His Kansas-born mother and Kenyan father met as college students there, but Dunham and her husband, Stanley, raised Obama for extended periods when his mother lived overseas.

In his memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama described his grandfather as something of a dreamer. It was his grandmother who was practical enough to support the family by working her way up in the ranks at a local bank.

Obama has often mentioned "Toot" -- his version of the Hawaiian word "tutu," or grandparent -- as an example of a strong woman succeeding through intelligence and determination. Many of his speeches describe her working on a bomber assembly line during World War II.

"She's really been one of the cornerstones of my life,'' he said. "She's a remarkable woman.''

The Associated Press provided this report.


----------

Portions of the article exactly describe my own grandmother. From the stories I've heard, my grandfather, who died on my mom's 13th birthday, was a dreamer, while my grandmother was the rock of the family and worked her way up the ranks at a local bank and ultimately became a vice president. When my grandfather died in 1961, she became the sole financial support for their two children. My grandmother was intelligent and determined. She was strong and didn't put up with BS. I never heard her complain and she never once felt sorry for herself, although she certainly experienced gender-based discrimination during her 40-year career.

My prayer for Senator Obama is that his grandmother live through November 4th. This remarkable woman deserves to see her grandson win the presidency.

And I'm going to call my Nana tomorrow and tell her how much I love her. She probably won't know me (she rarely does), but that doesn't matter. She's still with us and any day could be her last. Like Senator Obama's Toot, my Nana has been one of the cornerstones of my life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Election is Between "The Hot Lady & The Tiger Woods Guy" (aka Sarah Palin & Barack Obama)

Will Ferrell is back as George W. Bush (almost 8 years later, I still can't call him "President") and Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on a special Thursday edition of Saturday Night Live!

Watch as Sarah meets W for the very first time!

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin: "I like to think I'm one part practiced folksy , one part sassy and a little dash of high school bitchy." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

It's Official . . . Summer is Over.

Summer is officially over.

A few days ago, before the first frost, I picked the last of the tomatoes in my garden that had any hope of ripening. Today, they were all perfectly ripe.

And tonight, they are an integral part of my dinner, Bistro-Style Chicken with Tomato and Tarragon.

I miss Summer and flip flops. But most of all, I will miss slicing a juicy tomato fresh from my garden.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Open Letter to Sarah Palin

Dear Sarah,

I woke up this morning to some very disturbing news. News that rocked me to my very core. News that was so disturbing I felt the immediate need to write you about it.

The news that has me so off my game today is that you spent $150,000 on clothes, accessories and make-up since the end of August for you and your family. Okay, maybe it was not actually "you", but the RNC trying to put lipstick on a pig. Oh, did I say that outloud?

You've been running all over the country first telling us all that you're just a regular "Hockey Mom." Then you morphed into "Joe Six Pack" to make us all feel you were just one of us. Now, you're "Joe the Plumber"' a hard-working, regular American with patriotic, family values.

On its face, there's nothing wrong with you wanting to be a regular American. Regular Americans work hard, love their kids, volunteer in the PTA, attend block parties with casseroles to share, bargain shop, vote, pray to their God (or not), support their favorite teams, dream for a better life and have opinions. There's one other thing that "regular Americans" do: these days they go to bed worrying if they can pay their bills tomorrow, scared that their job will be cut, worried they'll lose their home, fearful about how their retired elderly parents will survive, and terrified that their lifetime of savings will be lost in the current economic crisis.

But there's one thing "regular Americans" DO NOT do: we don't spend $150,000 on clothes and make-up in 8 weeks. Really. We don't. We don't have that kind of money. For many, $150,000 is their entire life savings. For others, it's more than their life savings. We don't spend $75,000+ at Neiman Marcus. Most of us don't make that much in a year, much less in a month.

And we're not fooled that someone who does. We know which candidate is the elitist and it's not the one who just recently paid off his student loans.

Quit telling me you're just like me. You're not. You have no idea what I (and all the other "real Americans") deal with on a daily basis. And when you try to tell me you're just like me, it's condescending.

Thankfully, in 14 days, you'll go back to Alaska and become nothing more than a footnote in history. And I won't have to think about you anymore.

Little Merry Sunshine

P.S. Don't forget to report that gift of $150K worth of clothes as taxable income. You don't want to end up like that guy from Survivor, do you?

Obama Gives Al the Shoe Salesman a Tax Cut!

Here's a new Obama ad for you!

Do you recognize this man? I have to admit it took me few seconds.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sarah Palin on the Job of the Vice President

One might think that in 3 months Sarah Palin would have figured out what she agreed to do as John McCain's Vice President. If that's what you thought, well, I'm sorry, you were wrong. Dead wrong.

Before we get into what Sarah believes to be the job of the Vice President, let's look at some recent history . . .

Back in July 2008, Sarah wasn't sure what the VP does.



At the beginning of October, during the vice presidential debate with Joe Biden, both Sarah and Joe were asked about the responsibilities of the Vice President and how they would carry them out. According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, "[Sarah] said that the Constitution gave great "flexibility" to the vice president, and that she hoped to be given even more authority."

And then today, Sarah was asked by a third grader in Colorado what the vice president does. Let's take a look at her response.



Unfortunately, that's not quite what the Constitution says. We all know that the Constitution says that the vice president's main job is to hang out and wait for the president to die or otherwise be unable to perform his or her job. Other than that, the vice president is the President of the Senate, but doesn't have any say over anything unless he or she is needed to break a tie.

Isn't there a Schoolhouse Rock episode that could help Sarah with the daunting task of learning her actual job description? How I long for the days of a Vice President who spelled potato with an "e."

Product Review: Puffs Plus with Vicks

In case you don't know, which means you either have not spoken to me, IM'd with me, or seen my Facebook status over the last week, I've been sick. Nothing severe. Probably just a nasty autumn cold. I'm sure I'll live and that I'm on the upswing.

During the last 7 days, I have managed to finish off all the DayQuil, NyQuil, Robitussin, Cold-eeze, Vicks VapoRub, over 80 Halls Cough Drops (honey-lemon flavored), 2 huge boxes of tissues (NOTE: do not cheap out on the tissues, you want the good stuff when you're sick), and numerous rolls of toilet paper when I ran out of tissues, that I had in my house. It hasn't been pretty and neither have I.

Finally, today, I stopped at my local grocery store to pick up some necessities and restock all the OTC drugs I could get my hands on. While in the tissue aisle stocking up on high quality Puffs Plus with Lotion, I discovered a new product that has changed my life in 2 1/2 hours.

Puffs Plus with Vicks.

These tissues made in Heaven by Angels contain not only lotion to help reduce the redness and peeling skin on my nose, but also Vicks VapoRub. With every blow of my nose, I have inhaled the blissful scent of Vicks VapoRub and the congestion loosens. As of this moment, I can once again breathe through my nose. This is the first time in seven days I have been able to breath with my mouth closed.

Hallelujah!

It goes without saying that these are these are not the tissues to wipe the goop out of your eyes and I might not recommend licking your fingers after holding these tissues, but as long as you plan on doing these things, these are the perfect tissues.

As far as I can tell, the only downside to these Puffs Plus with Vicks is that they don't come in a gigantic jumbo-size box. But maybe they do at Costco.

Next time you're sick with tons of congestion, I highly recommend Puffs Plus with Vicks. Your nose will thank you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'd Like to Take A Moment

I'd like to take a moment to send good thoughts and prayers to the Obama family as they deal with the serious illness of Barack's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham.

As has been well documented, Barack's grandmother was one of the most stable and important influences on Barack's young life. This summer, while reading Dreams From My Father, I was moved the closeness of their relationship and the sacrifices she made to give her grandson opportunties he might not have otherwise had.

In case you're not yet aware, Barack is leaving the campaign trail for two days, with less than 14 days left in the campaign, to fly to Hawaii and be with her. I pray, for his sake, that she can hang on until November 5th so she see can her grandson win election as the first African-American President of the United States. I can't imagine losing my own grandmother during such an emotionally and physically exhausting time in my life.

On a Fox News website, unsurprisingly, commenters have already taken the opportunity to tear into Obama for taking time out to deal with a family crisis. That's shameful. Despite my strong distate for both John McCain and Sarah Palin, as a human being, I would feel some compassion if either of them had a family emergency such as this.

Barack should take this time to go to his grandmother's bedside and to me, this makes him a better candidate. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time.

Update 10/21/08 12:15pm: For more on Obama's grandmother, click here. Click here for a slideshow on Huffington Post of Madelyn Dunham.

And here's the Obama ad from April 2008 that featured the entire Obama family, including Barack's grandmother.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The REAL Sarah Palin on SNL (live blogging) (VIDEOS!)

Sarah Palin (the real one) is appearing on Saturday Night Live tonight. And I'm staying up to watch, because I'm hoping and praying it will be over the top hysterical.

10:36pm . . . The Opening Skit featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin giving a her first news conference, Sarah Palin (the real one), Mark Wahlberg, and Alec Baldwin just ended and I have to admit I was seriously disappointed. As soon as it's available, I'll post it and let you judge for yourself. Here's hoping Sarah appears later and it's funny.



10:39pm . . . SNL is hosted by Josh Brolin and there's Oliver Stone in the audience!

10:47pm . . . Can someone please explain to me how Kristen Wiig is funny? She seems exactly the same to me in every character. All of her voices are the same. And I simply do not find her funny.

10:56pm . . . Mark Wahlberg is back! Maybe Sarah Palin will reappear too. Fingers crossed.

11:15pm . . . Weekend Update . . . . Always funny. Lots of opportunity here to make fun of Sarah. Oh. My. God. Dan Quayle gave Sarah advice? Really?

11:24pm . . . WAHOO! She's BACK in the middle of Weekend Update! This will be GREAT! Wait, an about-to-pop pregnant Amy Poehler is doing the Sarah part rapping and dancing, while Sarah just bobs her head in her seat? WTF???



11:42pm . . . I gotta say, SNL is a huge disappointment tonight and I simply don't understand. They've had some great skits this year, mostly thanks to the election. Tina Fey's impersonations of Sarah Palin are spot-on. Fred Armisen could be a better Barack Obama, but the debate skits have been so good, it hasn't mattered much. Weekend Update has had the best material its had in years. And then there's tonight. What happened? It almost makes me wonder if the McCain/Palin campaign folks made SNL promise not to make fun of Sarah tonight. If her job was to show she could laugh at herself, I'd say Sarah Palin failed. A completely wasted opportunity.

My advice is to erase your TiVo without watching SNL. I watched so you don't have to.

Dan Savage Asks A Great Question

Dan Savage makes an excellent point in The Slog (the blog of The Stranger) and one that deserves an answer from NBC. For the record, if I can stay awake, I'm planning to watch SNL too.

Palin on SNL
posted by Dan Savage on October 18 at 13:31 PM

Why didn’t NBC insist on Palin sitting down for a real, substantive interview—or, better still, calling a full press conference—as a condition of Palin appearing on SNL tonight? Candidates don’t go on Letterman, Leno, SNL, The Daily Show, et al, to take a break from the campaign trail. Comedy programs are stops on the campaign trail. Palin is running from the press, refusing to answer any questions, lying her ass off on the stump, and attacking the people who could call her on those lies—reporters, news anchors, cable news networks—at her rallies. So why the fuck should NBC allow Palin to reap the political rewards of an appearance on SNL if Palin isn’t willing (or able) to answer questions from NBC news reporters?

NBC’s negotiations should with the McCain/Palin campaign should have gone like this:

MCCAIN CAMP: “We want Palin to go on SNL, and show Americans that she’s got a sense of humor about herself.”

NBC: “Of course you do, and we’d love to have her on the show—after she grants an open-ended, no-preconditions interview to Brian Williams.”

Yes, yes: the news and entertainment divisions at NBC are separate entities—blah blah blah—it would be an unprecedented development for the news and entertainment divisions to work together on this, to stand together, and use their combined power and influence to hold Palin accountable. But Palin’s refusal to answer questions or hold press conferences is also unprecedented. Extraordinary times, extraordinary measures.

Allowing Palin to appear on SNL while she stonewalls and attacks the media is a betrayal of NBC’s news division and of NBC’s viewers by NBC’s entertainment division—but, um, I’ll watch SNL tonight, of course.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Conversations I've Never Had With My Mother

As I was on my way home a few minutes ago, I stopped off to get gas. When I walked into the gas station, there was a girl standing at the counter who couldn't have been older than 18, flirting with the attendant and chatting on the phone with her mom, affording me the opportunity to overhear the following cell phone conversation:

Girl on the phone with her mom: Mom, you gotta let me borrow your car tonight to go see Becky.
Mom (I assume this is her response): No.
Girl: Aw, Mom, come on. What if I promise not to drive drunk?

At that point, I looked at the guy behind the counter who is just shaking his head. I have no idea how the conversation ended because by that time, I had my change, so I had no reason to stand around and eavesdrop.

I swear that's a conversation my mom and I have absolutely never had.

Chicago Tribune Endorses Its FIRST Democratic Presidential Candidate EVER!

I am so proud of my hometown paper today. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Barack Obama for President.

You may be thinking "Well, duh, of course they did! He's from Chicago and they're a Chicago paper." Not so fast there. The Chicago Tribune is from Chicago, but they are firmly a conservative paper and proud of it. In fact, since their first paper in 1847, the Chicago Tribune has never endorsed a Democrat for President. That's 161 years.

Here's the entire Tribune endorsement:

However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president.

In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven't experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It's a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn't forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust.

On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.

-----------------------

On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.

Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.

-----------------------

This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.

With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.

The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.

We see parallels today.

The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office -- and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.

We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.

It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country.

-----------------------

McCain calls Obama a typical liberal politician. Granted, it's disappointing that Obama's mix of tax cuts for most people and increases for the wealthy would create an estimated $2.9 trillion in federal debt. He has made more promises on spending than McCain has. We wish one of these candidates had given good, hard specific information on how he would bring the federal budget into line. Neither one has.

We do, though, think Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect.

We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform.He worked to expand the number of charter schools in Illinois--not popular with some Democratic constituencies.He took up ethics reform in the U.S. Senate--not popular with Washington politicians.His economic policy team is peppered with advisers who support free trade. He has been called a "University of Chicago Democrat"--a reference to the famed free-market Chicago school of economics, which puts faith in markets.

-----------------------

Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.

He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.

When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did.

It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.

Related links
Your comments: 'Is that chill coming from hell?'
Behind the scenes: 'Was there shouting?'
Major newspapers' presidential endorsements
February 16, 1860: Tribune's endorsement of Abraham Lincoln
November 4, 1872: Tribune's endorsement of Horace Greeley
1872: Tribune retrospective of presidential elections to date

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TiVo Alert! Sarah Palin WILL be on SNL!

Sarah Palin will appear on Saturday Night Live this Saturday, October 18th! (Link)

No word on whether Tina Fey will also appear, but my money is on Tina showing up.

Saturday Night Live airs on NBC at 11:30/10:30 E/C.

Let's Talk About Joe the Plumber

So we all watched John McCain carry on last night about his new role model Joe the Plumber.

But it seems that McCain and his esteemed campaign operatives forgot to do one little thing . . . to do a basic Google search on Joe.

What might some rudimentary 8th grade level research skills have shown? Glad you asked.

First, it seems that Joe the Plumber, real name Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, doesn't really need to worry about how he'd be affected by Barack Obama's tax plan. Joe doesn't pay taxes. According to Bloomberg News, Joe has a lien against him for almost $1200 for taxes owed to the State of Ohio. Really.

Next, we learn that Joe's not such a fan of Social Security. In fact, he calls it a "joke." That's not really so bad, I mean many of us in my generation don't really believe we'll see a penny of what we contribute to Social Security. But let's watch Joe tell us Social Security is a joke anyway.



Third, Joe may work as a plumber and may want to own a plumbing business, but according to the New York Times, "An official at Local 50 of the plumber’s union, based in Toledo, said Mr. Wurzelbacher does not hold a license. He also has never served an apprenticeship and does not belong to the union." It seems that Toledo and other cities require plumbers to be licensed. Oops. Jess Wundrun over at I Was Just Wondering gives a great explanation of how big of a deal this is. Go read it.

Of course, we all know the New York Times is a liberal rag, so I wonder what the conservatives say about Joe.

Anyone remember Charles Keating of the Keating 5? You do? Well, guess who's an in-law of Charles Keating? Yep. Joe. According to conservative blogger Martin Eisenstadt, Joe is a close relation of Robert Wurzelbacher. Robert Wurzelbacher, of course, is "Charles Keating's son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan."

So that's John McCain's new BFF, Joe the Plumber. And I'm gonna guess that even though John McCain thinks Joe was the "real winner" last night, Joe is probably gonna be the big loser from last night.

Update 11:04pm: For more on Joe the Plumber, read AMERICAblog's latest.

Anti-Sarah Palin Rape Ad

This is powerful and pretty much sums it all up.



This ad evidently ran in some swing states immediately after the debate. For more information click here.

Hat tip to AMERICAblog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FREE Cell Phone Towers for Everyone!

Dear Sprint,

It has come to my attention that your competitors - AT&T & Verizon - have doled out possibly illegal campaign contributions to John "I'm a Maverick" & Cindy McCain in the form of FREE cell phone towers at their ranch somewhere in BFE California because they had a difficult time getting quality reception on their property.

I have the same problem at my house in Suburban Chicago. I would contact Verizon or AT&T about this, but they're not my cell phone provider. You are and I'm sure you don't want to be outdone by them. So I'm coming to you first. Of course, should I fail to achieve satisfaction with you, I'll happily change my service.

You may not be aware of this, but I have been your customer for 10 years and I was involved in student government in college. Now, while I'm not running for President of the USA, I'm not a beer heiress, and I was never a POW, I am currently the president of my own company, I drink beer, AND I write a blog that has upwards of 8 readers per day. Sure, I've never shot a moose or won runner-up in a beauty pagaent, but I do own a tiara (2 in fact), was a high school cheerleader, and killed a mouse once.

I think it's exciting that the cell phone industry is giving away FREE cell phone towers to customers to ease their reception challenges. For all the times I've sat on hold with your customer service department, this is truly a David-Golliath type victory.

Scheduling a time for installation of my new FREE cell phone tower will not be a problem. I'm available Monday between 10am and 12noon. I'll keep an eye out for you.

Thanks so much!

Little Merry Sunshine

President Sarah Palin

Just in case you need one more reason to go vote early or on November 4th for Barack Obama, click on the website below and once there, click around (make sure your volume is turned up).

You'll throw up a little bit in the back of your throat. I promise.

President Sarah Palin (I said it so you don't have to).

Picture from AMERICAblog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stop the Presses! 2008 Dad of the Year Named!

Kudos to Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein for alerting his blog buddies to this upstanding citizen.

Mark Ciptak of Elizabethtown, TN, you are Little Merry Sunshine's 2008 Dad of the Year!

Mr. Ciptak, in his vast paternal wisdom, went behind his wife's back and named their new daughter . . . wait for it . . . Sarah McCain Palin Ciptak.

Isn't that great? What a dad!

Although Mr. Ciptak and his (I assume, soon to be ex) wife, Layla, had picked out the beautiful name Ava Grace for their new baby, Mr. Ciptak put his foot down and showed his wife who's in charge by filing a different set of baby name papers with Social Security and the Tennessee Department of Health. Ahhhh, GOP Family Values at work.

After taking this courageous stand on behalf of all chauvinistic men, Mr. Ciptak said "I haven’t broken the news to her yet. As of right now, I’m just trying to get up enough nerve to tell her what I’ve done and hope for the best. I hope I’m still living to tell the tale tomorrow. She thought it was a done deal with Ava Grace." As fearful as Mr. Ciptak was of his wife, he clearly had no problem alerting the media. Good judgement AND solid priorities, too!

No word on exactly how he managed to get his wife's signature on the paperwork (both parents are required to sign) without her knowing what he'd done, but he's clearly a clever chap. And we're certain that whatever course of action he chose to obtain her signature was entirely on the up-and-up.

Mr. Ciptak is a man among men and Little Merry Sunshine is pleased to award him its coveted 2008 Dad of the Year Award. Congratulations Mr. Ciptak!

And thank you Dr. Monkey for nominating him.

Sarah Palin Interview!

Do you have questions you'd like to pose to Governor Palin? Of course you do!

Here's your chance to speak directly with Sarah. Ask her anything you want.

Want to know why she gave her kids such bizarre names? Just ask. Want to know the foundation for her crazy anti-choice beliefs? Just ask. Wondering what she REALLY thinks of her husband Todd? Ask! Ever question whether Sarah had sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky? Go for it! Curious about what she thinks about global warming. Feel free to query her on it.

Interview Sarah Palin!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Must See TV!

Set your TiVos, DVRs, or VCRs. You must see "The Choice 2008" from Frontline on PBS tomorrow night. Yes, I know you've already decided to vote for Obama, but watch it anyway.



From the Frontline Press Release

IN A HISTORIC ELECTION YEAR, FRONTLINE PRESENTS
THE STORY OF TWO UNLIKELY PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS AND WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT AMERICA

FRONTLINE Presents
The Choice 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS
Encore broadcasts: Sunday, October 26, and Monday, November 3, 2008
Download free from iTunes beginning October 15, through the end of November.

It has been called one of the most historic presidential elections in our nation’s history--Barack Obama versus John McCain. It is a race that pits the iconoclast against the newcomer, the heroic prisoner of war against the first African American nominated by a major party. FRONTLINE's critically acclaimed series The Choice returns this election season to examine the rich personal and political biographies of these two men in The Choice 2008, airing Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings).

The Choice 2008, part of "PBS Vote 2008" election coverage, draws on in-depth interviews with the advisers, friends and those closest to these unlikely candidates, as well as with seasoned observers of American politics, who together tell the definitive story of these men and their ascent to their party's nominations.

When FRONTLINE first aired a profile of presidential candidates during the 1988 election, The Choice redefined political journalism on television. Now, in an unprecedented election year, veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk (Bush's War, Cheney's Law) goes behind the headlines to tell a deeper political story about the candidates, the decisions they made, and why their nominations may indicate a historic change in American politics.

The story begins at the Democratic Convention in 2004 when Barack Obama, a little-known candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, stepped forward to tell his personal story and to call for a move beyond partisan politics.

"All around were people with tears in their eyes," Obama's chief political adviser David Axelrod tells FRONTLINE. "And I realized at that moment that his life would never be the same."

Also that summer, the future Republican nominee John McCain, a self-described maverick and sometime adversary of the Bush administration, took the stage at his party's convention to defend the president's national security policy. In an effort to win the support of his party, the longtime senator from Arizona had decided to try to walk a fine line--a line he had had trouble walking all his life--between being an unconventional outsider and a team player.

"I think McCain's goal was to make himself more acceptable to the party base without completely surrendering his outsider independent persona, and that was a very complex balancing act," says Mark McKinnon, a member of McCain's inner circle and former media adviser to President Bush.

As McCain the maverick was trying to make peace with his party, Obama the newcomer was discovering the afterglow from his speech was leading party elders to suggest the freshman senator consider a future run for the White House. Within two years of his arrival in the Senate, a window of opportunity seemed open if he was willing to take the chance.

"I told him he should do it," former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle tells FRONTLINE. "The longer he's in Washington, the more history he has, and the more history he has, the more he's going to be explaining his votes and his actions and his statements and his positions that undermine his message"--a message that was all about breaking with the past.

FRONTLINE follows the two candidates from deep inside their campaigns as they run the gauntlet of the 2008 primary.

"This primary, more than any in recent memory, severely tested the candidates," says producer/director Kirk. "Watching how Obama and McCain won reveals much about the men, their ideas, the kind of organizations they have built, and the way they face adversity."

In the summer of 2007, only months after McCain had officially launched his campaign, he was declared a "dead man walking" by the media and party leaders.

"McCain was stuck in this political purgatory where the people that liked the maverick, the independent, didn't trust him anymore, and the establishment conservatives still wouldn't embrace him," says political observer Charlie Cook.

But McCain persevered, firing much of his staff, scaling back the campaign, and focusing almost entirely on New Hampshire. FRONTLINE tells the dramatic story of this turnaround, with insiders involved every step of the way, which friends say was reminiscent of his determination during his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

At the same time, an Obama candidacy was still seen as a curiosity by the Washington punditry. He was a newcomer to national politics and facing the formidable political team of Hillary and Bill Clinton, but Obama and his advisers sensed an opening.

"The Obama campaign felt that Clinton was vulnerable if they would make the race about something different than the old rules," journalist Mark Halperin tells FRONTLINE.

One key to that strategy, Obama told his advisers, was to avoid being pigeonholed as an "African American politician." But as the contest between Obama and Clinton heated up, comments by former President Clinton and the release of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright tapes brought the issue of race, always lurking, to the forefront of the primary campaign.

"In the long run," observes House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the highest ranking African American in Congress, "it allowed Barack Obama to confront the one thing he was trying to avoid, and that's the whole question of race, because sooner or later, he would have to confront it."

With the race narrowed to two men--one whose life was focused by his military service and his years as a POW in Hanoi, the other a black child raised by his white family who found identity in grassroots organizing and politics in the African American community of Chicago--America is truly at a crossroads: historic lows in the public's confidence in our country's future; a battered incumbent overseeing an unpopular war in Iraq; a faltering economy as gasoline prices soar.

"This is a moment where people are both terrified and also hopeful," says Kirk. "They have a choice between two extraordinary candidacies, two men who are trying to embody change in a time where many Americans seem to believe partisan dysfunction has curtailed the ability of our political parties to lead."

As journalist Matt Bai concludes, "Both of them in what they convey to voters--one in a long career spanning decades, the other in a lightning flash of a career spanning what seems like minutes--[is] a sense of breaking with the status quo, a sense of change, a sense that things need to be done differently than they've been done before. And the question I think a lot of voters will have to ask themselves is, who's actually going to deliver?"

The Choice 2008 is a FRONTLINE co-production with Kirk Documentary Group, Ltd. The writer, producer and director is Michael Kirk. The producer and reporter is Jim Gilmore. The co-producer and co-writer is Paul Stekler. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation. Additional funding for The Choice 2008 is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/PBS Program Challenge Fund. FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and described for people who are blind or visually impaired by the Media Access Group at WGBH. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.

PBS goes behind the headlines throughout the summer and fall with the "PBS Vote 2008" election lineup, offering Americans a unique opportunity to explore the presidential election. PBS' trusted news brands and personalities bring viewers in-depth information and insight into the issues and candidates. PBS' election coverage will be led by The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Washington Week with Gwen Ifill & National Journal, NOW on PBS, Bill Moyers Journal and Tavis Smiley, and enhanced by programming from other trusted PBS sources, including American Experience, FRONTLINE, Nightly Business Report and P.O.V. PBS.org's election hub page, pbs.org/vote2008, will provide further perspectives. The site will aggregate video from PBS, feature syndicatable content from across public media and highlight innovative Web-only projects from PBS producers and stations.

Free on iTunes and YouTube Beginning Oct. 15, Plus Elections '08 VOD

This election season, PBS's flagship documentary series FRONTLINE offers voters more options than ever to view its quadrennial award-winning election special The Choice 2008, premiering Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), with encore broadcasts Sunday, Oct. 26, and Monday, Nov. 3, 2008.

For the first time, viewers will also be able to watch the complete two-hour dual biography of John McCain and Barack Obama on YouTube ( youtube.com/pbs ) and download it free from iTunes beginning Oct. 15 through the month of November. The Choice 2008 will also stream in the high-quality News & Public Affairs Player at pbs.org/frontline and on many local PBS station Web sites, where visitors can select from a rich archive of more than 45 full-length FRONTLINE reports, as always with no commercials.

"Now more than ever, new media plays an important role in how Americans learn and share information about the election," says FRONTLINE executive producer David Fanning. "It's important that we continue to fulfill the mission of public broadcasting by extending free viewership of The Choice 2008 to as wide an audience as possible and by reaching out to voters across these digital platforms."

Digital Cable television viewers will also be able to access The Choice 2008 via Elections '08 On Demand, a voter-education VOD channel that is being offered across the country on America's leading cable operators, including Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable among many others. The Choice 2008 also will be offered On Demand through additional local cable operators in select markets. Please check with your cable provider to find The Choice 2008 and Elections '08 On Demand. Finally, repeat broadcasts of The Choice 2008 are scheduled on the digital channel PBS WORLD on Oct. 15 at 7 P.M.; Oct. 16 at 12 A.M., 8 A.M. and 2 P.M.; and Oct. 19 at 12 P.M. ET.

Here are two more videos to tide you over til tomorrow night.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm Moving Back to DC!

Yes, you read that correctly.

I'm moving back to DC!

Really.

In fact, I've already picked out my new home and am looking forward to my first housewarming party. I think there are probably enough bedrooms for all of my friends, so we'll have a huge pajama party just as soon as reasonably feasible.

My new home very historic and is located in the heart of Georgetown, with gorgeous views of the city and monuments.

Now I know this comes as a shock to many of you and you may think I've made this decision in haste. But when you look at the pictures of my new house below, I think you'll agree that a home like this doesn't come around often and when it does, you just have to move quickly or someone else will buy it out from under you.

Oh, and yes, I getting it for the bargain price of $49 million.

Click here, here, here, and here for more information and pictures!

The Morning After Pill & Sarah Palin

Tip of the hat to FranIAm for alerting me to this very funny post over at Psychology, Dogs, Politics, and Wine.

Enjoy!

Palinex - Because You Shouldn't Have to Suffer for the Biggest Mistake of Your Political Career

Hockey Mom Gets Booed at Hockey Game

Ouch. This must suck.

Sarah Palin LOVES to talk about how she's a "hockey mom" to make herself likeable. How's that workin' for ya, Sarah?



Clearly they tried to drown out the boos with the music, but it didn't quite work. My favorite part on this video is the folks immediately behind her giving her the thumbs down and holding up Obama signs.

Here are two more videos that make it very clear just how much Philadelphia fans disapproved of her . . . .



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton Joint Appearance!

Okay, so SNL was a repeat tonight (side note: We're not even a month into the season and they're already out of fresh material? Really?) and we weren't blessed with any new Sarah Palin/Tina Fey sketches.

Luckily, this Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton Joint Appearance never gets old.

Enjoy!



Note the "this one" reference weeks before John McCain said it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Onion: "Worst Autumn Ever"

It's Friday. The economy is in shambles. The presidential campaign has sunk to new lows. The Cubs are no longer in the playoffs. And for those who care, neither are the White Sox.

It's time for something good to make us laugh.

State of the Union

As I've discussed quite a few times, I am a huge fan of Freecycle. I give things away and get cool stuff I can use too. In fact, I'm going to pick up my mom's Christmas present in a few minutes from a Freecycler!

Yesterday, while out and about, I received two coupons that I just won't use. Normally I don't put coupons on Freecycle, but these were $5 coupons and that's real money.

As I started to throw them out last night, I thought I'd stick them on Freecycle and see if anyone wanted them.

Within 5 minutes (and this was at 11:00pm), I had multiple requests for each coupon.

What does it say about the economy that so many people are searching the net at 11pm for coupons?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The American Promise

We've only got less than 4 weeks left, 26 days, in this presidential campaign. John McCain has gone 100% negative. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is staying positive. We need to do the same.

We must remember our purpose. This isn't about any one of us individually. It's about all of us collectively. And that's what Barack Obama believes. It's not about him. It's about all of us.

This isn't about race. It's not about being a POW. It's not about Bill Ayers. And it's most certainly not about being a Maverick (TM).

It's about who is best suited to lead our country through the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression while at the same time fighting two wars. It's about the kind of America we want to leave for our kids, grandkids, and generations of Americans not even yet imagined.

Do not let their dirty tricks dissuade you or anyone you know from voting. This election is too important.

This Day in History: October 9, 2007

One year ago TODAY, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit closed at its all-time high - 14,164.53.

Today, the Dow Jones closed at 8,579.19.

For you math whizzes out there, that's 39.4% LESS THAN it's all time high, which again was exactly 1 year ago today.

I'd like to thank you, George Bush! I'd offer a toast to you, but I can't afford champagne.



Just for fun, here are the lyrics.

Note to Self: Do Not Have Sex in the Police Station Parking Lot

Given the state of the world economy and the nastiness of this presidential election, I felt that this morning needed some levity.

This is from the Chicago Tribune and before that, the Allentown Morning Call.

Bad timing for tryst in ultimate wrong place
Amorous Pa. couple finds itself in police station parking lot

By Pamela Lehman Of The Morning Call
10:05 PM CDT, October 8, 2008

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- A couple caught by police having sex in their car early Sunday morning admitted they were unaware where they had parked.

When an officer knocked on the window, they quickly learned their trysting spot may have been a little hastily chosen.

The couple were busted in the Hellertown police station parking lot, with the engine still running, in a handicapped spot.

The driver, Dennis Conor Cullen, 23, is charged with drunken driving. Police did not charge Cullen, of Potomac, Md., nor his unnamed female companion, with anything related to having sex in the car. Cullen is free after posting $1,500 bail.

Cullen and the woman told police they had been drinking at a Lehigh University function earlier in the evening.

Police found the couple after responding to a call shortly before 3 a.m. of a suspicious vehicle parked in a handicapped space in front of the station at 685 Main St.

When an officer asked why they were parked at the station, Cullen and the woman said they were unaware and did not see that they had parked near several marked police cars, according to a news release.

Police said Cullen refused to submit to a blood sample. Cullen could not be reached for comment Wednesday.