Commentary: Fired up and ready to go!
by Black Kos Managing Editor, dopper0189

What a convention! Now it's time to mobilize and fight our way through to November. The other side has made it clear that no form of voter disenfranchisement is to low, no form of race bating is off limits, not even the health and well being of this country's economy is sacred enough to prevent them stooping down far enough to prevent our President reelection.

Now is the time for us to unite and fight! The stakes are too high, a return to the past is too low, and the "alternative" is a frightening mix of a dystopian randian plutocracy with a no compromise dose of Leviticus thrown in, that is no real alternative.

Every political campaign will tell you that every volunteer is worth 5-12 votes. Phone banking, GOTV (get out the vote), baking a pie any bringing it to feed your local volunteers, dropping off campaign leaflets, holding signs, their really is a job for everyone on a campaign. If you have never volunteered before make this your first. If you only have 1 hour a week to give, all campaigns will take it.

We've only started to take the first momentous steps toward a future where universal healthcare is a right not a privilege, where our energy needs don't destroy our planet, where our courts are once more filled with judges who respect a woman's personal medical choices, where marriages are based on love and commitment not how you were born, and where a nation built by immigrants has a modern system that honors that legacy.

We've heard the other side's plans. They are NOT looking to get to Washington and work together to find the best solutions for our nation. They forced someone who used to appear to be a  relatively moderate sane North Eastern Governor from Massachusetts to morph into a Goldwater, Pat Robertson, Ayn Rand water carrier, who will say anything to get elected. This is a party that wants one thing, the capitulation of all the progressive reforms of the 20th century. The New Deal, The Great Society, Roe v. Wade, victories many of us in our complacency thought were settled are only laws they are more than willing to tear up and burn in their hatred of a changing America.

Make no mistake when they hear the word "CHANGE" their response if fear and resentment. The only way to fight this is with hope.

We have many battles ahead, this is only the start of the last leg of the campaign. I don't know about you but I relish the chance to fight for what I believe in! There is too much at stake not too.


President Obama's Acceptance Speech, Democratic Convention 2012

Greg Sargent at The Washington Post:

On Tuesday, Michelle Obama talked about who Barack Obama is and where he came from. On Wednesday, Bill Clinton talked about where the country and the economy have been and how we struggled to get to where we are now. As Chuck Schumer put it earlier today, those two performances teed up Barack Obama to devote tonight’s speech to talking about the future.

In a bit of a surprise, Obama’s speech — which had little in the way of soaring rhetoric and stuck to a direct and sometimes pleading tone — spent little time defending his economic record. That task has already been handled ably by Clinton, and Obama wanted the focus to be on a far broader range of issues. The centerpiece of the speech was the idea of “citizenship” and shared responsibility — a gamble that voters will not cast their vote on the current economy alone but on which candidate is offering a more compelling moral vision of America's true identity and future.

Timothy Egan at The New York Times:

Obama delivered an acceptance speech full of punch, muscle and pop — the Democratic Party showing some rare brawn on their closing day  and no small amount of testosterone.  It was not a night for poetry. On foreign foes, dead and alive, on veterans, active and retired, on American economic nationalism – even down to the U.S.A chants – Obama’s Democrats occupied the old space once held by mainstream Republicans. It’s empty, after all: why not seize that ground?
Last week, Romney offered platitudes and mush. Many Obama fence-straddlers were afraid the president would do the same. He certainly didn’t offer enough specifics to satisfy all, nor enough to break the race open. But he laid down some markers, and they’re durable enough to carry him through to November. [...]

The haters will never budge. This speech was not for them. It is just a few thousand voters, in perhaps no more than a half-dozen states – the grumpy undecideds, tough nuts all, those lucky, much-stroked bastards  – who had to be moved one way or the other Thursday night. In choosing a meaty framing of the issues, rather than a soaring reach for tears and ahhs, Obama won enough begrudging approval from the select independents to live for another day and probably another term.

James Fallows at The Atlantic:

The most interesting "new"-ish approach in the speech was the theme that ran through the final one-third of it, about the importance and implications of "citizenship." [...]
The reason this is interesting: It is a way to deal with the GOP's out-of-context "you didn't build that"  meme not by (1) matching its out-of-context-ness, with an offsetting "like to fire people" theme (as some DNC speakers did); nor (2) directly making the case for the value of public/private interactions, as Bill Clinton effectively did last night, but (3) attempting to change the terrain, or the game, with a new definition of terms.

Stephen Henderson of The Detroit Free Press:

Seal the deal.

That's really all President Barack Obama had to do Thursday night after the fabulous speeches that preceded his closing address to the Democratic National Convention and perfectly framed the arguments for his re-election.

And on the stage in Charlotte, N.C., Obama delivered. Just as he had in accepting his party's nomination in Denver in 2008.

The difference now, of course, is that the nation has had four years of his presidency to provide context for his words. And if any challenge still stood before him Thursday night, it was convincing America that the last four years have represented progress, even if it was measured, and that the next four years would be even better.

He certainly gave it his best shot.

Alex Fitzpatrick at Mashable:

Barack Obama delivered a passionate defense of his record in office, and emphasized the differences between his platform and that of challenger Mitt Romney during his nomination acceptance speech delivered Thursday evening.
The speech was wildly popular on Twitter, peaking at 52,757 tweets per minute — a new politics-related record for the platform.

That pushed overall tweets about the Democratic National Convention past the 9 million mark, more than double the number sent about last week’s Republican Convention.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times:

The next four years are likely to be much better than the last four years — unless misguided policies create another mess. [...] The policies we actually got were far from adequate. Debt relief, in particular, has been a bust — and you can argue that this was, in large part, because the Obama administration never took it seriously.
But, that said, Mr. Obama did push through policies — the auto bailout and the Recovery Act — that made the slump a lot less awful than it might have been. And despite Mitt Romney’s attempt to rewrite history on the bailout, the fact is that Republicans bitterly opposed both measures, as well as everything else the president has proposed.

So Bill Clinton basically had it right: For all the pain America has suffered on his watch, Mr. Obama can fairly claim to have helped the country get through a very bad patch, from which it is starting to emerge.

The Washington Post Editorial Board:

Addressing his party’s convention in Charlotte, Mr. Obama acknowledged problems that Republican nominee Mitt Romney ignored or dismissed in his own acceptance speech, such as the impact of global warming. He offered more specific goals than did Mr. Romney, many of which he had previously set: doubling U.S. exports, training 2 million workers at community colleges, recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers. Those, and a few new goals — creating 1 million manufacturing jobs over four years, cutting oil imports in half by 2020, cutting in half the growth in college tuition — are laudable. But Mr. Obama did not explain how he would achieve them or prepare the country for the difficult choices they would demand.

An acceptance speech is not a State of the Union laundry list of specific proposals. Its role is to set out a vision of the country’s future path. Mr. Obama was correct that he and Mr. Romney have dramatically different visions of government’s role, and that the Republican prescription of tax cuts to address any woe has left the country in terrible shape. Mr. Romney has been inexcusably vague in outlining his program, fiscal and otherwise, and he did nothing to mend this deficiency in his acceptance speech. But Mr. Obama’s speech also fell short — of his own proclaimed standards.

                  News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor


Michelle Obama rocks! Washington Post: Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech: transcript and leadership analysis.
A week ago, pundits admired Ann Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention. Faced with the task of humanizing her husband, she tried to show Mitt Romney’s other side. But Tuesday night, rather than attempting to change how Americans thought of President Obama, Michelle Obama doubled down on both the president’s personal strengths and his policies, in a superb speech that sets a very high bar for the rest of the Democratic National Convention.

Like Ann Romney’s speech, Michelle Obama’s was heavy on biography. But where Ann Romney only cited “long, long rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once” to illustrate her personal difficulties, Michelle Obama drew on her father’s struggles with multiple sclerosis, his determination to pay her college tuition, Barack’s childhood being raised by a poor single mother and a grandmother who “hit a glass ceiling,” and the couple’s struggles with student debt. Of course, Michelle Obama had more material to draw on than Ann Romney did, but without mentioning the latter or her husband by name, Michelle Obama thoroughly bested Ann Romney’s attempts to connect with voters.

But the First Lady wasn’t content merely to rely on personal stories; she also connected those stories to Obama’s policies. Alongside more dependable applause lines such as lowering taxes on the middle class, the first lady explicitly included more divisive issues such as the Affordable Care Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, gay marriage, contraception, and even a defense of the president’s economic record. And she connected the personal tales to a succinct, eloquent summary of the Democratic Party’s central idea in this election:

Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it . . . and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity . . . you do not slam it shut behind you . . . you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

To keep things in perspective, Michelle Obama’s speech probably won’t have much, if any, effect on undecided voters. But what a first lady’s speech can do is build momentum for the rest of the convention and fire up the party’s base, while not coming across as very partisan. Michelle Obama accomplished all of those tasks.

Michelle Obama took the stage in Charlotte on Sept. 4. (Justin Sullivan - Getty Images)

This is a great analysis of First Lady Michelle Obama from the New Republic. New Republic: Michelle Obama’s Most Important Title Really Is Mom-in-Chief.
First of all, even though I suspect she didn’t volunteer for the role, the first lady has spent much of the past decade focused on her kids and on her husband’s political career. With Barack first commuting between Chicago and Springfield, then Chicago and Washington, and then jetting around the country, somebody needed to raise their girls. Grandma Robinson is always in the wings, and has helped bring up Sasha and Malia. But Barack spent the better part of his childhood with his grandparents and has talked about how he resented his mother for ceding parenthood to them.

But more importantly, Michelle Obama shouldn’t be judged by whether she’s failing to set a good precedent for other political spouses or whether she’s a positive role model for young women. She should be judged by the unique challenge she faces, which is to keep her husband in the White House. To do that, her most important title really is “mom-in-chief.”

As much as any other factor, Michelle Obama made it possible for her husband to become the first black president, and not in a clichéd “behind every successful man is a strong woman” kind of way. We dance around the point when we complain about how unfair it is that she needs to water down her professional accomplishments or pretend that she’s more interested in gardening and hula-hooping than health policy and constitutional law. The blunt truth is that Michelle Obama has to be mom-in-chief because there are voters who cannot abide the idea of a strong black woman in the White House.

Remember 2008, when critics on the both the left and the right went after Michelle Obama for saying, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country”? When the New Yorker ran a cover illustration of a Michelle with an afro and a machine gun slung across her back? When Rush Limbaugh frothed over the possibility that Michelle had used the word “whitey”?

There’s still plenty of irrational Michelle hatred out there. Last week, NPR’s Ari Shapiro interviewed a Virginia retiree at a Romney rally who freely offered these opinions about the Obamas:

I don’t like him. Can’t stand to look at him. I don’t like his wife. She’s far from the first lady. It’s about time we get a first lady in there that acts like a first lady and looks like a first lady.
You can think it’s ridiculous that people can’t handle the idea of a first lady with her own career or a black woman who is intimidatingly smart and accomplished while still recognizing that it would have been much tougher for Barack Obama to win the presidency if his wife hadn’t morphed into mom-in-chief. If you like President Obama, then you have to like Michelle Obama playing the role of proud mom to the entire U.S. Olympic basketball team. You have to like her dancing on iCarly. Because those warm fuzzy activities give her cover to go out on the stump as Obama’s most effective campaign surrogate.


The newest "blood diamonds" is ivory. New York Times: Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits.
In 30 years of fighting poachers, Paul Onyango had never seen anything like this. Twenty-two dead elephants, including several very young ones, clumped together on the open savanna, many killed by a single bullet to the top of the head.

There were no tracks leading away, no sign that the poachers had stalked their prey from the ground. The tusks had been hacked away, but none of the meat — and subsistence poachers almost always carve themselves a little meat for the long walk home.

Several days later, in early April, the Garamba National Park guards spotted a Ugandan military helicopter flying very low over the park, on an unauthorized flight, but they said it abruptly turned around after being detected. Park officials, scientists and the Congolese authorities now believe that the Ugandan military — one of the Pentagon’s closest partners in Africa — killed the 22 elephants from a helicopter and spirited away more than a million dollars’ worth of ivory.

“They were good shots, very good shots,” said Mr. Onyango, Garamba’s chief ranger. “They even shot the babies. Why? It was like they came here to destroy everything.”

Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized.

Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa, dragged out of remote battle zones, easily converted into cash and now fueling conflicts across the continent.

Some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Shabab and Darfur’s janjaweed, are hunting down elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons and sustain their mayhem. Organized crime syndicates are linking up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa to China, law enforcement officials say.


Pioneering novelist Harriet E. Wilson became the first African American novelist of either gender to publish a book in North America on September 5th, 1859. NewsOne: Harriet E. Wilson became the first African American to publish a novel on September 5th, 1859.
Pioneering novelist Harriet E. Wilson became the first African American novelist of either gender to publish a book in North America on this date in 1859. Although Ms. Wilson’s book, “Our Nig: Sketches From The Life Of A Free Black,” was initially released anonymously and did not catch on with readers, the book would finally get national attention for its historic feat 123 years later.

“Our Nig” was an autobiographical novel, focused on Wilson’s assessment that indentured servants in the north still dealt with the specter of racism and slavery. Born a free person, Wilson was orphaned and became an indentured servant until she was 18 years of age. The novel’s protagonist, Frado, was determined by scholars of the text to be patterned after Wilson. Frado was of mixed parentage – Irish and Black just like Wilson – and was an indentured servant from the age of 6 and 18.

At the time of the book’s release, abolitionists in the north were critical of the book because it cast a view of indentured servitude as being nothing more than a kind way to explain slavery. The book was also considered only for a Black audience and White readers never flocked to the novel. Falling out of print and nearly outside the annals of history, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discovered “Our Nig” and later confirmed that it was the first novel to be published in the United States by an African-American.

Wilson’s life did not end on the best of terms, marrying twice and losing her only son due to an illness when he was just 7 years old. She would marry again, becoming a lecturer in the Spiritualist movement. Wilson was noted for speaking candidly about her life and struggles, sometimes with humorous results. Largely estranged from her husband, Wilson would pass away in June of 1900 after an active life,hari and there was no evidence that she wrote again after the publishing of the book.

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Originally posted to Black Kos on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, DKOMA, and I Vote for Democrats.

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