Archive for November 28th, 2007

If First Spouses matter to you…

Nov 28, 2007 in Barack Obama, Politics

…then Hillary is hardly the only candidate with a powerhouse partner. This Salon piece on Michelle Obama in Iowa damn near made me choke up as often as it made me laugh.

But judging by the reception she receives in northern and eastern Iowa, her approach is working. It shouldn’t be natural that Obama, with her advanced degrees, her height (she’s 5-foot-11), her grace, her killer Jimmy Choo boots and impeccably tailored bell-sleeved tunics, would connect to the comparatively pale, squat groups of people who crowd restaurants and theater lobbies to hear her speak. But she does. As Mary Blake, an 81-year-old from Dorchester, tells me, “I think she’s one of our own. Our different heritage probably doesn’t matter so much if her experience leads her to understand us.” Forty-two-year-old ultrasound technician Laura Hubka, who cries after embracing Michelle in Cresco, has never voted before, but is a precinct captain because of her belief in the Obamas. When I ask what she loves about Michelle, she says, “The strength that she has as a black woman married to a black man, running for president. The trust in the American people, that we can look past that, is such a courageous act. I would vote for her for president.”

Not to make a cheap comparison, but I think Michelle Obama has some very Oprah-like qualities with her ability to relate to white audiences at a level that instantly obliterates all notions of race.

-jb

What it really means to have Bush in office.

Nov 28, 2007 in Corporate shenanigans, Media, Politics

Dirty shenanigans against the people like this every day.

Earlier this month the FCC convened the final of six public hearings to air out concerns about this proposed rule change. I have watched, listened to or attended all of these hearings and one thing is clear. The public is single-mindedly opposed to more media consolidation.

Martin himself admitted recently that he remembers “only one” public witness calling for relaxation of media ownership rules at these hearings.

This public opposition is not just evident in the passion of the thousands of people who testified against consolidation at FCC hearings in Seattle, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tampa, Harrisburg and Chicago. It’s a fact reflected in the public record.

The last time the FCC tried to change the rules in 2003, millions of people contacted Congress and the FCC to oppose the changes, which were ultimately thrown out by the courts. My organization, Free Press, checked the public comments of those who have written the FCC since June 2006 and found that more than 99 percent opposed changing the rules.

Despite the massive outcry, Martin has not wavered in his rush to let loose a new wave of consolidation by the end of the year.

This is what’s really been going on for the past 7 years under Bush. Corporations rest assured that whatever the public thinks, Bush will have a lackey in place that will allow them to essentially rewrite the rules for themselves. This never stops under Bush, it just keeps chipping away every day at the years of hard work spent defending the public good and keeping voices alive. And it flies under the corporate media radar for all the obvious reasons. All the more reason why the voting booth becomes our only chance to reverse such trends, and even then corporate Democrats (like, say, for example, Hillary Clinton) take that choice away. Value it while it still lasts.

-jb