Observations on the world today.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

I Can See the Presidency From Here 

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry spoke before a crowd of approximately 3,500 people Saturday at Old Fort Steuben in Steubenville. During his speech, Kerry reiterated his support for workers and was critical of the Medicare reform bill.
Now, I could be wrong, but I think that orange blurry blob is my daughter on my shoulders waving her sign.

It’s not a very good likeness.



Rally In My Valley 

Last evening, I took my two oldest kids to the Kerry rally. I wanted to take all three, but circumstances prevented me from taking my youngest daughter.

It was hot. We arrived at three o’clock and were ordered to stand in a line based on the color of ticket we held. Apparently, white ticket holders were considered fringe. I had gotten my tickets on the Internet, so my ticket was a white ticket. Others had gotten theirs directly from Jefferson County democratic headquarters or from the business owned by the chairman of the county democratic party.

As a consequence. We ended up waiting with the Kerry protesters who had come from Franciscan University with their "You Can’t Be Catholic and Pro-Abortion" signs. At one point, the Franciscan kids handed out apples to curry favor with the hungry masses of Kerry supporters. This led me to quip to those around me not to eat the forbidden fruit. I think the biblical allusion escaped the Charismatics. - Well, probably it didn’t, but they generously let it slide.

At about four-thirty or so the rain started. It was annoying at first, but when it passed, it actually served to make the day much more agreeable temperature-wise. Anyway, it was pouring buckets when we made it through the security perimeter and into the rally site. Once inside, we were once again marginalized by the color of our tickets. We were instructed to move to the left, which led us to the holding pen which they had designated for the not-so-silent minority. At first, since I had become so accustomed to seeing their faces, I didn’t make the connection, but then I noticed a gentleman on the other side of the barrier (a railing) who was trying to coerce the unreceptive assembled to purchase his "Asses of Evil" pins. It was then that I realized where we were.

I turned to my daughter and said, "Whoops, we don’t want to be here," and we started out. At that point, a gentleman noticed me and in a conspiratorial tone whispered, "Kerry supporter?" I said yes, and he slipped me three blue tickets.


We shimmied out of the holding pen and made our way into the daylight. Literally as well as figuratively, as it was at that point that the rain had begun to subside. At this point, I should also note that the holding pen was also the only location at the rally with actual seats. If we democrats were going to treat them as pariah, at least we were going to make them comfortable pariah.

As we entered the pro-Kerry world for the first time that afternoon, I was told that I would have to surrender my sign. I had a simple cardboard Kerry/Edwards placard which I had bought for $5 and which I had hoped to take home and place in my front lawn. But it was a small price to pay for the chance to get closer - not for my sake; but for the kids. However, soon after we arrived inside. My son noticed a young girl holding a handmade sign on blue cardboard. He pointed it out to me wondering why she was allowed to have a sign. I looked and noticed that she was holding it close to the vest - actually close to her lap. And I then noticed that her sign was doubled over to keep anyone from reading it, but I clearly saw letters from the word "ABORTION" flick in an unguarded moment as she readjusted for comfort.

I excused myself and found a volunteer. "Excuse me," I said. "When I came in they told me that I was not allowed to bring in an outside sign." I was told that it was true, and proceeded to tell him about the agitators. He followed me to them, and I had them ejected.

My son was disgusted. Not by them, but by me. "All’s fair in love and war and politics," I explained, but he was having none of it.

"They should be allowed to be heard," he said.

"Not here. Not today," I explained. But to be honest, he had a point. Which is all moot anyway, because cooler heads prevailed, and within minutes they had returned - signs in hand. And it turns out the rule was bogus anyway; because a few minutes later, union members and Kerry volunteers were handing out free signs to anyone who wanted one. We were given one that said "Believe in America." I think possibly, the real reason for the rule was to keep the sea of signs uniform. It probably is less distracting for the cameras that way. Unfortunately, it is also less personal.

Soon - after one false alarm - Kerry had arrived. His bus pulled in to the blaring sounds of John Mellencamp. I forget which song. I know for sure it wasn’t Authority Song. Mr. Kerry was accompanied by John Glen and Dennis Kucinich as well as Ted Strickland. Edwards was absent. Strickland and Glen both spoke. For some reason, Kucinich was no where near the microphone.

At about twenty after six, John Kerry began to speak. He began by running off some things he’d been told about Steubenville "the city of murals." "Home of the Big Red," he said. "One of the winningest football teams in all of Ohio." He then noted that it was also the home of Dean Martin and home of Naples (a local Italian restaurant). "I hear they make the best meatball sub around," Kerry said. To which I loudly quipped, "Capri’s not bad." Capri is another local Italian sandwich shop. A few people in ear shot of me laughed.

There was one other moment where I tried to make a sort-of-joke, but it fell like a rock. Kerry was talking about how Bush had been against steel tariffs, but had then been for them and then against them again. He was clearly speaking the part of the speech tailored for this valley. So during a dramatic pause, I began waving my arm and shouting "flip!" (arm waved to one side) "flop!" (arm waved to the other side.) It was an effort to use the divisive gesture invented by Bush supporters and employed during Cheney’s vitriolic speech against them. But the crowd either didn’t catch on -or they hadn’t seen the GOP convention. At any rate, it didn’t work and only embarrassed my daughter.

For much of the speech, I held my daughter on one shoulder so she could better see the celebrities and better wave our placard. But she is eleven and is just heavy enough that I was about to suffer an aneurysm from having her thighs cutting off the flow of blood to my brain, so I had to set her down.

Anyway, those are all my rally stories. It was a lot of fun. My daughter actually enjoyed it, and even helped in the chanting of "Ker-ry! Ker-ry!" My son - not so much.



Saturday, September 04, 2004

Can I Get an Amen 

This afternoon, I will be taking my three children (ages 6, 11, and 17) to a John Kerry rally in Steubenville, Ohio. I cannot believe the flack I am getting from my wife and son about it. My son wants to go, but he doesn't think i should be draggingthe girls along. My wife doesn't mind that I am taking the two older ones, but wonders why I am insisting on taking the youngest. Finaly, I came up with the perfect answer.

"People take their kids to church all the time," I said. "Even when they don't want to go. Well, that's what I'm doing. I'm taking the kids to church."

Hey, it could be worse. I could be taking them to a Pentacostal tent revival and forcing them to handle snakes.



Thursday, September 02, 2004

Stay Away From the Ballot Box! 

So the other day, I'm on the Internet and my Callwave rings and I get this telephone message from George W. Bush:
Hello, this is President George W. Bush. I'm calling to ask you to fill out your absentee ballot request form.
Here's what I think happened here. Four years ago, I registered as a republican. Now, hold on, before you demand my head on a platter. Let me explain.

Here in Ohio, when you vote in a primary, you can change your party affiliation just by asking for a particular party's ballot. In that primary, I preferred everybody to George W. Bush. Certainly I preferred every democrat, but I even preferred John McCain. So I took the GOP ballot so that I could do my part to undermine the candidacy of George W. Bush.

As a result, I have been getting Republican mailers ever since. Even though at the very next avaiable opportunity, I again switched my registration info back to the D column.

But the big question is - why the hell are they trying to get their base to vote absentee? Gosh, I wonder...




Bush, Kerry Tied in Race for U.S. Presidency, New Poll Shows
U.S. President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger John Kerry are in a statistical tie, according to the first poll of likely voters taken during the Republican National Convention.

Bush and Kerry each got 47 percent in an American Research Group Inc. poll of likely voters taken during the first three days of the Republican National Convention. Independent candidate Ralph Nader got 3 percent. The poll's margin of error is 3.5 percentage points. Five percent of likely voters said they were undecided, the poll said.

The Manchester, New Hampshire-based polling firm conducted 1,014 telephone interviews of registered voters Aug. 30-Sept. 1., the first three days of the convention.
Remember when the right-wingers were all over the mini-bounce Kerry got from his convention. Well, going into the campaign, Bush was ahead in most polls:

Well, it's a little early, but this seems to represent an actual net loss. In other words, an anti-bounce. Why? Because Kerry is rubber (or as in the Disney movie - Flubber) and Bush is glue? Well, I suppose there could be something to that. But I think the real reason is that Bush is a flubber - and not in a good way. The GOP convention is a train-wreck.



Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Where Are the Rifle Platoon Veterans For Truth? 

Bring it on, John - Ollie North
Like you, I have a Silver Star and a Bronze Star. I only have two Purple Hearts, though. I turned down the others so that I could stay with the Marines in my rifle platoon.
I challenge Oliver North to prove this assertion. There was no rule - so far as I know - which said that if you had three purple hearts you were REQUIRED to leave combat. In fact, the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush criticized Kerry for taking advantage of the loophole, when - according to them - he didn't have to. And if there were such a rule, turning down the medal would not allow you to stay if they wanted to remove you for having been injured three times. After all, you would still have the injuries.

Oliver North is lying about his record.



Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Nixing Nader 

Ohio Democrats challenge Nader’s place on the ballot
Ohio Democrats filed an official challenge to Ralph Nader’s independent presidential candidacy yesterday, alleging irregularities and possible fraud.

To get Nader’s name on Ohio’s Nov. 2 ballot, supporters filed 14,473 names on a petition with Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell; 5,000 valid signatures are needed.

Democratic spokesman Dan Trevas said the challenge involves many of Ohio’s 88 counties.

In Butler County, the board of elections threw out 96 percent of the 633 Nader signatures, mainly because circulators were not registered to vote or were not registered at addresses they listed.

Nader supporters accuse Democrats of mounting the challenge solely to boost John Kerry’s presidential bid.
Gee, ya think?

Look, clearly we democrats don't want Nader to be given the chance to play spoiler again, but the rules is the rules. In fact, there is a name for violating the rules. It's called voter fraud.



Monday, August 30, 2004

Protesting the GOP 

Yesterday a friend of mine and I went to Wheeling to see the movie Farhenheit 9/11 at the Towngate Theatre. We arrived just before 4:00 just as the Bush rally at the Wesbanco Arena was letting out. We were completely surrounded by Bush supporters on the streets in cars and on foot. They were carrying their giant Ms (or were they Ws?) and glumly holding their Bush/Cheney '04 posters as we wormed our way through the traffic jam they had caused. I swear, they all looked like Republicans. They were mostly fat and had no joy on their faces. The older ones had over-hairsprayed hair, and the younger ones had their lips pulled smugly into their faces.

Then we arrived at the theater and a different world. People were smiling and friendly. I saw pony tails on men and tee-shirts on women. And eeryone seemed to be there to have fun.

Anyway, it all reminded me of the last time I had had a run in with Bush. It was in Pittsburgh. Both this time and last, I just happened to be there on the same day as him. I didn't plan it that way either time. The last time, I also ran into some anti-Bush people engaged in protest. One of those people was Nina Trimbath, who saw my post and we began an exchange.

On May 11, I received a reply from Ms trimbath to my last note to her. I held off on replying to her until it was relevent again. Well, thanks to the GOP convention, it is finally a relevent topic once more. Following is her reply and my response:

Click to continue reading Protesting the GOP



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