Daily Archives: October 30, 2010

Everyone should hear Jon Stewart’s final speech from today’s Rally:

That about sums it up. “We live in hard times, not End Times.”
It was great to listen to Jon.

Oh yeah… go out and vote.

I couldn’t get to DC today, so my dogs and I are watching the Rally in my Living Room…

It’s on Comedy Central and it’s on C-SPAN and my big flatscreen TV is almost like being there (and I can get at the refrigerator.) So I’m watching the musical performers, the giving out of Medals of Reasonableness and the fooling around of Colbert and Stewart.

There are, as I understand, about 150,000 people there  – the NY Times says over 200,000 – (the camera view stretches from the Capitol end of the Mall (the stage is between the the Contemporary Art and the Smithsonian American Indian Museums) down to the Washington Monument end. Judging from other events there, I can believe the numbers.

I watched Father Guido Sarducci do the “Benediction” (could have done without it… or he could have been funnier), and listened to Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens) sing off against Ozzie Osborne… only for both to be trumped by the OJS singing “Love Train.”

It’s fun. They are handing out medals for fear and for being reasonable… some receivers not there (like Mark Zuckerberg … as Stephen says he couldn’t be here because he was more concerned with his privacy than yours), some who come on and make a speech.

By the way, Sam Waterston, reading a poem “supposedly” by Stephen (but I would guess by their terrific writers), was splendid. Kid Rock came out to sing “the serious song” today, which he considered “ironic.”

And I had a nice lunch while I watched of some fresh vegan biscuits that I had just whipped up.


Small update comment:

Jon’s Speech at the end, commenting against “the exhausting energy it takes to hate,” was brilliant and unexpected and his views were more non-political than I thought they’d be – and targeted the current national situation, with parties that don’t work together…intentionally…by not solving problems. I don’t know what the press will say about it tomorrow, but they ought to restate his points over and over.

“Danno” dies at 72…

Not in the new incarnation of Hawaii Five-O, but back in the 70s, I became impressed by James MacArthur, the actor who played Steve McGarrett‘s number 2 man, Danny Williams. “Book ’em, Danno” became the episode conclusion line that stuck with the show for close to a dozen years.

James MacArthur and Helen Hayes in 1975

MacArthur was adopted at 7 months old by Helen Hayes, one of the greatest and longest enduring actresses, and Charles MacArthur, journalist and playwright best known for writing “The Front Page” with Ben Hecht.

From the NY Times obit:

Before “Hawaii Five-O,” Mr. MacArthur acted in several Disney adventures, including “Kidnapped” and “Swiss Family Robinson.” He had a small but significant role in the taut 1965 cold war thriller “The Bedford Incident.” In the rambunctious 1967 film “The Love-Ins,” Mr. MacArthur’s character hung out in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco and smoked banana peels.

Besides “Hawaii Five-O,” Mr. MacArthur acted in many TV shows, including “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “The Love Boat” and “The Untouchables.” But it was his appearance in the 1968 movie “Hang ’Em High,” a low-budget spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood, that prompted Leonard Freeman, the creator of “Hawaii Five-O,” to cast him.

So, farewell Danno.

Check Out BlueGal on the Contract with America…The REAL One:

I read this today and you should, too:

I got yer Contract with America right here.

Let me know what you think afterward…I think she hit the nail on the head (as she usually does.)

Cartoon(s) of the Week – We are now in the Crazy Week

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

So who is the King of the Crazies?

– and –

Jeff Danziger in the L.A. Times:

…tactics are crazy, too…

– and –

Jeff Stahler in The Columbus Dispatch:

Scared of Obama? The Republicans are the Real Takers…

– and –

Stuart Carlson at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

… or they want you to think that they can THINK (Don’t think Jefferson would agree.)

The Unions Are Coming Out To Make A Final Push…

From John Case’s Morning mailing:

90,000 union members hit the street in final election push

by John Wojcik on 10/28/10

Breaking all records for labor participation in mid-term election efforts, 90,000 union members will campaign during the final four days before Election Day, Nov. 2, out of 1,200 staging areas across the nation.

Beginning Friday, Oct. 29 and ending Tuesday, just before polls close, they will make 5.6 million phone calls, knock on 4.1 million doors and pass out 1.9 million flyers.

The AFL-CIO says that the massive push will, in effect, build a “firewall” that will hold the line on expected Republican gains and allow Democrats to retain control of both houses of Congress.

“One-on-one grassroots contact will be the key for this election,” declared AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman. “Union families trust and rely on the information their union provides and it cuts through the noise of unprecedented corporate cash being spent on false ads.”

If the labor movement achieves its goal this weekend, a wrench will have been thrown into wheels already set in motion by people like GOP Rep. Davis Camp, who would, if Republicans take over Congress, become chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Corporate lobbyists have already been camping out in his office with instructions on how he should rewrite tax laws.

The “final four” push by the labor movement builds on what has already been the largest mid-term election effort ever by the country’s unions. The immense Labor 2010 grassroots persuasion program involved 200,000 union volunteers who reached 17 million union voters in 26 states. They made 23.6 million phone calls, handed out 17.5 million flyers at workplaces, knocked on over 1.3 million doors and sent 18.6 million pieces of mail.

“This resulted,” said Ackerman, “in an increase in the generic congressional ballot among union members from plus 8 points to plus 25 points for the Democrats and doubling the lead for the Democratic Senate candidates among union members.”

Labor’s efforts fit into a broader campaign effort. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reports ground operations in over 65 congressional districts and Organizing for America, the successor organization to the Obama campaign, is integrated into state party operations around the country. They also have been knocking on doors, calling voters and sending out mailings.

There has been a strong focus on African American voters, with more of them having been contacted in September than during the entire 2006 midterm elections.

The Republican get-out-the-vote effort, by most reports, is not as strong. GOP congressional staffers are being required to go out into the districts to try to match Democratic Party and union ground troops.

While there are a big number of House Democrats fighting off strong GOP challenges, many who were extremely vulnerable before the boots were put on the ground are now running very close races. CBS reported in the final weeks that even Democrats in conservative districts that the GOP
should win are doing pretty well. Patrick Murphy in Pennsylvania and Dina Titus in Nevada, both of whom should, by conventional wisdom be far behind, are now deadlocked with their GOP opponents. What the CBS report did not say is that unions have been active in both those races.

The fact that the Democratic Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Illinois are closing strong is also attributed, in large part, to labor’s ground game.

“This election is as important as anything we did two years ago,” President Obama told thousands of union activists on a teleconference call Oct. 26. “The labor program you guys have put into place is the backbone of the program.”

It’s not just the members of the country’s unions who are mobilizing the last four days of the campaign. The AFL-CIO’s top officials are fanning out for a series of get-out-the-vote events, concentrating on Midwestern states where there are hotly contested Senate and gubernatorial races.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will spend Oct. 29 in Chicago, leafleting work sites and phone banking, and Oct. 30 through Election Day in Pennsylvania with Rep. Joe Sestak.

AFL-CIO Secretary Liz Shuler will phone bank Oct. 29 in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 30 in Colorado and will spend Nov. 1 and 2 in Illinois.

Arlene Holt-Baker, the federation’s Executive Vice President, will spend the last four days of the campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Connecticut.