So… Coming Out Day

I’ve got mixed feelings about Coming Out Day. On the one hand, I understand it’s importance, the necessity for some to have this day. On the other, I almost feel like there’s a pressure to be out and proud or use the day as a springboard to come out if you’re not already.

What I don’t think a lot of people realize is that coming out, being out and staying out is a privilege. It’s brave, it’s costly but it’s a privilege. Being out is also dangerous for some of us. While it would be nice to come out of the closet, blowing the door off the hinges, having everything be awesome and nice… it’s often not the case.

Too many people, especially young people are told they are not worthy of human decency, love, affection because of their orientation. Too many are cast out from their homes, their lives torn apart for taking that step. For being true to themselves.

Too often our youth are driven to suicide, too often people don’t come out for fear of losing everything. Home, job, children, even their lives. It’s not easy to come out and have life just go on as it had been. Some people are forthright in their confusion, their disdain, anger, feelings of betrayal.

Others may slowly creep out of your life, unsure how to deal with you now that you’ve broken their nice little assumptions of you. Then there’s the hostility, the threats, the danger that the person you know isn’t who you thought they were. The way in which they avoid you, hurt you, make remarks that cut all the deeper because they know you have taken that leap to be open and honest with everyone in your life.

Coming out is a process that shifts with each time you do it. Each time you give that piece of yourself up to outer scrutiny. If you come out, it’ll be done many, many times for the rest of your life. There’s always new people, new situations, new reasons, ways to fling open that door again.

But there’s the flip side to all of this. For a lot of people, they just can’t come out. It will mean death, it will mean loss of all. There’s some people who don’t’ give a damn about being out. It’s their life, their business and no one needs to know.

I can respect that, and I can also respect those that have to come out. To be who you are in all ways to everyone around you. Neither way is wrong, or right or perfect, or deserving of ire.

Lastly, and this is something I want people to really remember. You don’t owe it to anyone to come out. You don’t owe the world, your family, your friends, anyone but you a reason to be out.

If you never tell a soul about your partner, never correct pronouns when someone asks about your husband or wife, it’s all good. 

We all have the right to live our lives as we see fit. It’s not a competition, no one gets a fucking prize for being out nor do we get black marks for keeping our lives to ourselves.

So if you are using today to come out, I salute you. I am proud of you and I honor your bravery in doing so.

If you are pondering your orientation, thinking about today and using it as a way to come to terms with who you are, again…my hat’s off to you and I wish you well on your journey to wherever you land.

If today is a day that makes you cringe and hate the world and it’s ideas, I understand and hope it passes quickly and quietly for you.

If someone takes the risk to come out to you today, be a good friend. Don’t talk over them, just listen, don’t offer condolences, say it’s a phase, turn them away or tell them to get right with DEITY. It doesn’t work that way.

Don’t take someone’s act of bravery and turn into a moment to earn brownie points, or show just how tolerant you are.

Shut up, listen and when they are done talking? Give them a hug and thank them for taking that risk. Thank them for their bravery and their trust in you.

Lastly some resources for you:

National Coming Out Day – Wikipedia Article

National Coming Out Day Facebook Page

On Respecting the Boundaries of your Bisexual Friends (from my ‘grown up blog’)

Human Rights Campaign Straight Ally “Coming Out Day Guide” 

HRC’s Coming Out Day resource page

We Got Your Back Project

On “Oh You Sexy Geek Girls & Self Objectification”

Ok, so I’ve read this article, really sat down and parsed it out, shared it on my Tumblr after a FB friend posted a link to it and I can’t get behind it.  This person doesn’t seem to be a member of the cosplaying community, is painting every woman who does cosplay with the same brush of wanting to garner straight male gaze with their attire, and couches it in academic sounding terms for the appearance of legitimacy.

It doesn’t consider those who do cosplay for the love of costuming, the challenge of getting a difficult concept right, showing off the fruits of your labor to those who can appreciate the work and craftsmanship that goes into cosplay.

It also assumes that all female “sexy” cosplayers are straight and angling for hetero male approval/attentions. Or that all these women are doing it to show off their bodies in some attempt to titillate or again garner straight male gaze/approval. 

As a gamer, and a geek I found it offensive on behalf of people who do cosplay. A friend of mine who is really into it took serious offense at the article because it assumes that she (as someone who has cosplayed Isabela from DA II and Trish from the Devil May Cry series) is putting on that costume strictly to garner male attention and approval. No she does it because she loves the costuming, the challenge of putting it together and because she wants to do it for her own pleasure, not to get some dude’s (unwanted) gaze

It also made me think of another friends post (on Tumblr) who dressed up for her self, because she was having a day of I wanna wear this for me. A coworker then turned it into C must have a date/is interested in someone in her class/has a crush. Because clearly you can’t just dress nicely for YOURSELF, instead you must be doing it to get some man’s attention. 

Yeah that article just doesn’t sit right with me.I will definitely reference it at my WisCon panel next weekend.

Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon

Throne of the Crescent Moon
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent showing for Saladin Ahmed’s fantasy. I got sucked into the characters and invested in them. Raseed bas Raseed especially won me over. Zamia, our Badawi tribeswoman, augh all the feels for her character. I think that The Good Doctor needs to settle down, relax and leave the adventuring to men like his Dervish assistant. I can’t wait for book 2 and hopefully more Ghul hunting with this cast of characters.

View all my reviews

Savage Reality (Repost from Neo Prodigy on Livejournal)

“Bisexual activists like to complain that they’re the most oppressed because (1) it’s a contest, and (2) it’s a good excuse. If they can argue—and unfortunately, they can—that lots of gay people are mean to them (some gay people don’t want to date them, some gay people doubt they exist) and straight people are mean to them (some straight people don’t want to date them, some straight people doubt they exist), then bisexual people aren’t to blame for the bisexual closet. Everyone else is.

“I’m sorry, bisexual activists, but you’re doing it all wrong. Instead of berating me for my alleged bi-phobia—and if I’m the enemy, you’re in real trouble—berate your closeted compatriots. If they all came out tomorrow, you could put an end to bi-phobia, take over the LGBT movement, and kick my ass out of it.”

Dan Savage,

In regards to your comments on bisexuals, I only have this to say: THANK YOU!

Yes, thank you for personifiying everything that is fucked up about the LGBTQ community with your nonstop racism, transphobia, biphobia and pure unadulterated bitchassness and making it easier for me to have a reference to point to. Thank you for being the guy who villifies rape survivors and still manages to get a pass for it. That way I can stop pretending like I would piss on you if you were burning in hell, kinda like how you can stop pretending that you care about black people.

More than Phelps, more than the Westboro Baptist Church, assholes like you are the reason why it doesn’t get better for queer people. Because as you have continuously proven, you’re more of a threat to us than they are. At least they don’t prop themselves up to be allies.

And biphobia will only end when everyone comes out of the closet? REALLY SAVAGE?!!!! REALLY?!!!!!! Because being a visible minority ALWAYS goes over so well in this society. I’ve been out and proud as a visible Negro. We see how well that’s worked for me and mine for the past 400+ years in this country alone. We’ve also seen how well that’s worked for those who are visibly out. Ask Emille Griffith, Lawrence King, Duanna Johnson and Matthew Shepard and all the other heroes and heroines what being visible gets you.

But you are right about one thing Savage, you do represent the LGBTQ community. In fact, you personify everything that is the LGBTQ community. Because one would be a fool to think you are the only one with this fucked up mindset. In fact, this is why I always state that while I’ll advocate for queer rights, I’ve got no use for the LGBTQ community. Because otherwise, the LGBTQ community would’ve marched and protested against you the way they attacked black folks during the Prop 8 fallout, even though white people were the reason for Prop 8 passing. But no, all we’ll get is excuses and hemming and hawwing and defenses about how speshul Savage’s ass is.

And to all of you white folks (and a few token sellouts) who still give him the time of day, FUCK YOU TOO. I mean what the hell else does this guy have to do to prove what a piece of shit he is? But of course he’s enabled because he knows he can get away with it. Trust, this is some white privilege through and through. Because let POC, specifically a black man, spew a portion of the bile Savage has spewed and they would’ve been lynched by white folks queer and straight alike.

And this is the asshole, we’re supposed to entrust with at-risk suicidal youth? REALLY? REALLY?

Yeah ask me again why it doesn’t get better.

Next up: we host Dennis Upkins for a spell on his Hollowstone book tour

I’m very happy to host the most excellent Dennis Upkins, author of the soon to be released Hollowstone. He breezed through the windy city during a stop on his book tour. Hollowstone is due out on 17 June 2011.

Q: Now, it’s great to see more POC authors and queer authors getting their work out and into the hands of readers who often feel left out of the literary mix. Hollowstone looks to address a lot of those needs. However, as a fan who is often left out of the mainstream media I wanted to know what else you might have planned to fill the gaps in for folks who aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the media they purchase?

A: I was talking to a good friend of mine about this, another professional writer, and we both discussed how we’re always looking for areas of opportunity to improve as far as being progressive and inclusive goes. While Hollowstone runs the gamut in tackling many facets of bigotry and institutional oppression, with Empyrea (the recently finished novel I’m currently editing), I come at representation of marginalized people from a completely different angle. Empyrea features a queer POC as the main protagonist, features multiple women of color in prominent roles.

It shows a loving interracial family in a matter of fact manner. Empyrea essentially illustrates what a world devoid of racism, misogyny, homophobia (as least as we know it) could look like. And while Empyrea is breaking a lot of ground, I’ve already got sequels planned and I’m looking for ways to step my game up. In the sequels, I know I will have a heroine who is a trans woman, lesbian characters and a disabled character. Each of them have important storylines, fleshed out roles, and treated with respect. The next novel I’ve got planned after Empyrea is a superhero story which features a teenage black girl and a gay man as the co-protagonists. Both characters have stories that are worth sharing. I’m constantly striving for ways to improve representation in my works because I believe everyone has a story worth telling.

Q: I know you’ve mentioned it on your blog, but I’m curious about who would be cast in a Hollowstone movie? Do you think the movie would suffer from white washing such as the reported casting options for a remake of Akira? Would you rather Hollowstone remain a book if your only option was to have a movie cast in the majorities image rather than how they are depicted in the book?

A: In regards to dreamcasting, I think this post sums it up: http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/954523.html Do I think the movie would suffer from white washing? That would always be a risk, a huge one in fact. It would really depend on the players involved, how much money would be riding on it and chance. For that matter, a publisher could’ve tried to whitewash the story, and we’ve seen this crap happen far too often. Luckily I was blessed to find a home with a good publisher (Parker Publishing) that was welcoming of Hollowstone as is. I give props to Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin who have both been outspoken in standing tall against allowing their characters to be whitewashed and I would like to think if presented with the choice, I would make the same decision. Because Hollowstone tackles too many important issues to allow such crap to happen.

Q: If you could make the literary world over in an image that would included fair and equal representation for everyone, how would you do that with your authorial powers?

A: I guess pretty much what I’m doing now. Writing stories that celebrate marginalized people. Supporting works with my money that celebrate equal and fair representation of everyone and promoting and working with other marginalized creators to see their work make it to the public.

Q: We already talked a bit about being marginalized and invisible in mainstream media. As a queer man and POC, did frustration with that marginalization and invisibility have anything to do with Hollowstone’s creation?

A: Not really. At least not consciously or directly. I didn’t intentionally set out to write a story that was in reaction to being marginalized or invisible in mainstream media. But as the story developed, took on a life of its own, and continued to evolve, it did exactly that. But it had more to do with the fact that much of Hollowstone is based on personal experiences and things I’ve witnessed first hand. The marginalized issues was something I struggled with. It felt like walking a tight rope. Do you tip your toe in the pool of social justice issues and risk making your characters cliches who only exist to whine about racism or homophobia or do you go all out, balls to the walls, and show it all unapologetically and let the story share its truth. And why does it always have to be about racism/homophobia with gay and black characters. I wrestled with these choices and then finally I just had to tell myself, frak it. Truth is truth, no matter how inconvenient it is, and as Noah states in the opening of the novel, there are some stories that just must be told.

Q: If you could fix one thing in fandom (Take your pick; comics, movies, books, all of the above) which one would you fix or is it too broken to fix?

A: I would say all of the above, if for no other reason than they all intersect. I’m not sure if fandom is too broken to fix but I definitely think something drastic is going to have to happen, a massive overhaul to fix things. At minimum, marginalized peeps are going to have to double their efforts in creating their own spaces, their own media, supporting one another and boycotting those that denigrate them. At most, the industry is going to have to fall and be rebuilt before things can improve. Or something else unexpected can occur. I think it’s a matter of staying vigilant about these issues and continue to press forward even if fandom is hellbent on backsliding in regards to progress.

Q: If any of your characters from Hollowstone could write a post for the We Got Your Back Project, who would submit their story and what would they say?

A: WOW! This has to be one of the most powerful questions I’ve received. You know the We Got Your Back Project is near and dear to my heart, and some of the characters would definitely have a lot to say.

Noah– He would definitely discuss his experiences with knowing Ryan, Neely, and another gay character who is revealed in the story. He would discuss his experiences in trying to be a straight ally and would urge other allies to be proactive in supporting their queer brothers and sisters based on the folks who impacted his life.

Neely– She would discuss her experiences being a bisexual teen, growing up in a conservative environment, and how it isn’t easy to be out and proud, in spite of what society would have you believe. She would also point out that if it wasn’t for her older brother—who loved, protected, and accepted her as God intended her to be—she probably wouldn’t be here today. She would probably say why support and love is vital, especially in light of all the hatred and bigotry LGBTQs endure on a day to day.

Ryan– Ryan’s story would be the most powerful. Because he goes through a lot in the story. And his story is a sobering reminder why it doesn’t always get better and that in fact, it rarely does. And if his story doesn’t move people to take an active role in fighting bigotry and hatred, nothing will.

Q: Do you think that Hollowstone and books like it will finally get POC authors out of the “African American Author” purgatory books by black authors are often dropped into regardless of the books subject matter?

A: Your guess is as good as mine. If authors like Octavia Butler and L.A. Banks haven’t clued society in that our work is universal just like white authors, I don’t know if society will ever learn. As POC authors, all we can do is do what we can and just hope and pray for the best.

Q: Lastly, will we get to see more of the Hollowstone cast in future novels? Will we get to follow them as they develop or will they remain in the world built in Hollowstone?

A: You know, the thought of doing a sequel, even a trilogy, crossed my mind more than once. It was an idea I toyed around with and even debated with myself. Then I realized that the characters in Hollowstone get so much closure, not to mention the fact that the novel ends in a very unique way, that to do a sequel would probably be a disservice to the characters and the story. If you can ever exit on a high note, that’s the way to do it. That being said…in the superhero story I’m outlining, one of the central characters will make an appearance and something about their fate that was all but promised in Hollowstone, gets confirmed in the superhero novel. So stay tuned.

Denny, thank you so much for stopping by during your book tour and we’ll be sure to give Hollowstone a review once its out! If all of that didn’t convince you to buy Hollowstone, here’s 12 reasons to order it! You can order Hollowstone directly from the publisher or from Amazon.com

ThinkGalacticon Early Registration and WisCon Book Swap!

Hey folks!

We’re less than two months from Think Galacticon 2011! Did you hear that our Notable Guest N.K. Jemisin is up for a Hugo *and* a Nebula this year? Amazing!

We are taking programming suggestions through May 31st! Write them up now and post them as comments on any of our social media sites or on our online submission form.

Early bird registration also ends May 31st. Only $45 for adults or $40 for 18+ students. These prices will go up to $50 June 1st! Don’t delay and register now!

Are you going to WisCon? We are! Find us in Room 634 on Saturday night. We change our activities every few years and this year we are changing it to a Book Swap! Bring your favorite books of any genre (but especially genre) and swap books with us and other WisCon members. Enjoy our tasty vegan treats, register for the con (you get one last chance at early bird pricing!), and give us some programming suggestions.

We’re sharing the room with Scribe Agency/Andrea Hairston (who has a new book out!!!). They will be serving homemade beers and do battle with us at midnight! What kind of battle? Find out at Room 634, Saturday night at midnight!

Event Planning
ThinkGalacticon3 ConCom

Signal Boosting for afro_dyte

Originally posted by at how to help my show without spending money

As you probably know by now (and are sick of me squeeing about), a full production of my play, Tulpa, or Anne&Me is premiering here in NYC this June as part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. What’s great about PCTF is that they’re an eco-friendly festival that’s also about raising awareness (and money) for various causes. I’m doing my show to raise awareness for The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a grassroots organization dedicated to undoing racism. Hopefully, at least one person per performance (4 people total) will attend one of the People’s Institute’s Undoing Racism workshops.

One of the results of finding this out in mid-April is that we have 6 weeks to do what people with some sense would take 6 months or so to do. People have to wear a few hats to get stuff done, but I’m good because I keep busy and feel creative and useful.

Among the many things on my To Do list is reaching out to people to spread the word about the show. So we had someone cook up a lovely little e-postcard you can pass around to your friends and co-workers, who can pass it along to their friends/co-workers, and so on. Isn’t she adorable?

I know that not everyone lives in the center of the world NYC, so getting friends to come see with the show with you is not an option. Nevertheless, there are still some things you can do. For example:

  • Follow the main character on Twitter (Afrodyke) and bring your followers along
  • Reach out to 3 blogs and/or LJ comms with readers in NYC (including yours!)
  • If you’re going to be in NYC, come see the show and bring a friend (or 10).

In the midst of extolling my artistic virtues (brilliant, creative, genius, blahblahblah), remember to tell them why it means a lot to you that this work is happening. Here’s our promo video (and a link to our IndieGoGo page) to help.

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Update: The date & venue for the video are incorrect, as you can tell by the updated e-postcard.

BTW, don’t forget to mention the People’s Institute.

Thanks for your help.

Clear proof of the Tea Party’s racism (via A little more conversation, please)

Yeah, I know this is news just like the shocking revelation that water is wet. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but I felt like this needed to be shared and outrage spent on it.

Clear proof of the Tea Party's racism In response to the NAACP calling the Tea Party racist, Tea Party leader Mark Williams published a letter online.  In the letter, he mocks African-Americans and he pretends to be a "colored" writing to Abe Lincoln. The letter makes me sick to my stomach.  It is horrible, racist, awful, disrespectful, ignorant and PROOF of the Tea Party's racism.  If they were not racist, they would not produce such an awful response. Please read Williams' letter h … Read More

via A little more conversation, please

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 8,100 times in 2010. That’s about 19 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 26 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 601 posts. There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 455kb.

The busiest day of the year was October 1st with 170 views. The most popular post that day was Introducing… The We Got Your Back Project.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were neo-prodigy.livejournal.com, theangryblackwoman.com, facebook.com, wiki.feministsf.net, and kindlypogmothoin.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for obama family, vg cats, kate harding, livejournal vs wordpress, and wordpress vs livejournal.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Introducing… The We Got Your Back Project September 2010
13 comments

2

Things I am sick of hearing about Senator Barack Hussein Obama July 2008
14 comments

3

I laughed so hard I cried… crack-fic re-write of the DH Epilogue. Spoilers of coures July 2007
4 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

I think I love Kate Harding for her post… April 2008
2 comments

5

VG Cats takes on Transformers July 2007

Ugh Skyline…

I saw Skyline today… now I had zero expectation for this flick. It was fully intended as a turn my brain off, see shit blow up kind of film. However, it failed to meet even my lower than low expectations for an early winter action movie.

The characters were blander than a rice and water diet. I’ve seen Balsa wood with more character than these walking archetypes of horror/sci-fi/action films. The film, short as it is, should have ended with…

Spoiling the ending under the cut. Read it and save yourself some $$$ … Continue reading “Ugh Skyline…”

The internet isn’t written in Pencil, It’s written in Ink

So, I was able to see a preview of The Social Network, the story of the guys who created Facebook. Before I get into the movie review, I want to gripe about the ridiculous security they had in place for the film. Bags checked, had to turn in your phone, laptop or any electronics before entering. Now, if I had the balls to try and film a movie and sell it I wouldn’t try to do it at a premiere. The problem with the security, is that they put phones in unsealed bags, no one seemed to be out there watching them and it made getting in and out of the film a total cluster fuck. A movie slated to start at 7 actually didn’t get rolling until almost 8 and it was a much later night than planned. Total clusterfuck on Icon’s part because there were more than one movie sneak peek going on and yeah, not good line or crowd management at all.

Continue reading “The internet isn’t written in Pencil, It’s written in Ink”

As usual I heart John Scalzi, he cuts to the chase

He gives his $0.02 on the Far Right totally flipping their shit over President Obama having the nerve to tell children to stay in school and LEARN. Oh my GODS, that socialist bastard! He’s telling our kids to…to oh, wait. /snark

For the link phobic, here’s the relevant section of this Whatever Post:

“* Apparently many of the same people on the right who are losing their minds over health care are also currently losing their minds over the idea that Obama’s giving a speech aimed at school kids, because clearly the man is going to indoctrinate the children into his crazy socialist ways, and they’ll come home expecting the government to start providing communal services, and everyone knows that’s just the sort of thing we shouldn’t be teaching in our public schools.

Three things here. First, we’re definitely well past the point where anyone brandishing the word “socialist” for anything relating to Obama might as well have a blinking neon sign over their head that reads “tool.” Please, just stop. Second, anyone who thinks that school children would watch this upcoming speech with anything more than dutiful, glassy-eyed boredom has forgotten what it’s like to be a schoolkid being forced by adults to do things for incomprehensible reasons. I would be no more concerned about Obama indoctrinating kids with a televised speech aimed at them than I was when Bush did the same thing when he was in office; the kids will find it equally lame regardless of who is president.

Third, as it happens, I don’t want my kid watching the Obama speech in school either, not because our president will infect her with socialism, but because it’s going to be a bland, pointless time-waster and I’d rather have my kid spending time learning something.”

Help Verb Noire get to World Con!

We hate to say it but…

But Verb Noire needs to raise some cash to defray the expenses of WorldCon. We thought we could bridge the gap out of pocket, but money is tight and my kid’s face is expensive. So, we’re hoping book sales, merch sales, and anything else you guys want to suggest can make up the difference. We’re already putting together the second book (an anthology of short stories) and I was vaguely contemplating some sort of naming contest, but if that’s not what gets you excited then please suggest something. We really want to be there, but finding the money for attendance and such is putting a hurt on ye olde pocketbook.

See Karnythia’s post about it here and please chip in!

Roger Ebert is my new hero

Roger Ebert is my new hero

Roger Ebert discusses the danger of people like Bill O’Reilly and his influence over people and media.

I think its a good exercise in critical thinking and people should actually read what he’s written rather than reacting with histrionics about look, another liberal is picking on O’Reilly and Fox news.

*snagged from liberal_talk

Bill O’Reilly has been brought low by the same process that afflicted Jerry Springer. Once respected journalists, they sold their souls for higher ratings, and follow their siren song. Springer is honest about it: “I’m going to Hell for what I do, and I know it,” he’s likes to say. O’Reilly insists he is dealing only with the truth. When his guests disagree with him, he shouts at them, calls them liars, talks over them, and behaves like a schoolyard bully.

I am not interested in discussing O’Reilly’s politics here. That would open a hornet’s nest. I am more concerned about the danger he and others like him represent to a civil and peaceful society. He sets a harmful example of acceptable public behavior. He has been an influence on the most worrying trend in the field of news: The polarization of opinion, the elevation of emotional temperature, the predictability of two of the leading cable news channels. A majority of cable news viewers now get their news slanted one way or the other.

Much has been said recently about the possible influence of O’Reilly on the murder of Dr. George Tiller by Scott Roeder. Such a connection is impossible to prove. Yet studies of bullies and their victims suggest a general way such an influence might take place. Bullies like to force others to do their will, while they can stand back and protest their innocence: “I was nowhere near the gymnasium, Sister!” A recent study of school shootings found that two-thirds of all the shooters were victims of bullying, and perceived themselves as members of persecuted minorities.

What are TV shouters telling their viewers? They use such anger in expressing their opinions. Who are they trying to convince? They’re preaching to the choir. Their viewers already agree with them. No minds are going to be changed. Why are they so mad? In a sense they’re saying: You’re right, but you’re not right ENOUGH! I’m angrier about this than you are! Viewers may get the notion that there’s unfinished business to be done, and it’s up to them to do it.

How can one effect change? By sincere debate and friendly persuasion? O’Reilly sets the opposite example. He brings on guests who represent the “enemy,” doesn’t seriously engage their beliefs, and shouts: Be quiet! I’m right and you’re wrong! I stand for good and you stand for evil! I’m not exaggerating. Sometimes those are the very words he uses.

O’Reilly shouts at Barney Frank

O’Reilly represents a worrisome attention shift in the minds of Americans. More and more of us are not interested in substance. The nation has cut back on reading. Most eighth graders can’t read a newspaper. A sizable percentage of the population doesn’t watch television news at all. They want entertainment, or “news” that is entertainment. Many of us grew up in the world where most people read a daily paper and watched network and local newscasts. “All news” radio stations and TV channels were undreamed-of. News was a destination, not a generic commodity. Journalists, the good ones anyway, had ethical standards.

In those days, if you quoted The New York Times, you were bringing an authority to the table. Now O’Reilly–O’Reilly!–advises viewers to cancel their subscriptions to a paper most of them may not have ever seen. In those days, if the wire services reported something, it probably happened. Today the wire services remain indispensable, but waste resources in producing celebrity info-nuggets that belong in trash magazines. Advertisers now seek readers they once thought of as shoplifters. If nuclear war breaks out, the average citizen of a Western democracy will be better informed about Brittny Spears than the causes of their death.

O’Reilly shouts at Phil Donahue

I remember radio stations that provided variety during the day. News, music, variety shows, soap operas, nighttime comedy and drama, sports. All mixed up together. At night, a sleepy-voiced announcer presided over classical music, jazz, or torch songs. On Sunday mornings, WGN in Chicago had a guy who played pop tunes on a Mighty Wurlitzer. They weren’t concerned about a tune-out factor. Millions of Americans watching Ed Sullivan saw opera singers as well as Elvis and the Beatles. Orson Welles might come out and perform a little Shakespeare before the trained dogs and the acrobats. Ed introduced every act in the same tone of voice–his only tone of voice, possibly. He wasn’t trying to sell us on anything. He didn’t talk like it was supposed to be good for us.

Now it’s “more music and less talk.” Or no music and all talk. Or all news and nothing else. Or all sports talk People aren’t in the habit of searching the dial. Talk radio used to feature talkers who discussed things in general. Now most of them are political. Howard Stern is one of the few smart enough to win listeners who are actually interested in whatever he happens to say. It is hard to conceive of the 38 years during which millions of people “from coast to coast” woke up and tuned in NBC for Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club, “coming to you live from the Tip-Top Tap in the Allerton Hotel, high above Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.” They went to sleep listening to, “From the Cinegrill Lounge of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on beautiful Hollywood Boulevard, swing and sway with Sammy Kaye!” When I got to those cities, I made it my business to visit the Tip-Top Tap and the Cinegrill Lounge. Don McNeil was still in business, still issuing his “last call for breakfast.”

O’Reilly shouts at Geraldo Rivera

Gone. All gone and almost forgotten. And the audiences gone too, those who sought companionship rather than goading. There is little comfort to be had from today’s polarized shouters. They are discontented, and they think you should be, too. They inspire fear and suspicion. There is a conspiracy, and you are the target. Dark forces are at work. There was a time when ordinary Americans would have been deeply offended by the way O’Reilly speaks about their President–any President.

Sometimes O’Reilly is compared with Father Coughlin, a popular far-right radio commentator in the 1930s who fanned the flames against Roosevelt and warned about immigration and “foreigners,” by which it was understood he meant primarily Jews. O’Reilly objects to such a comparison, and certainly there is no reason to consider him anti-Semitic.

But a team of media researchers at Indiana University studied every editorial broadcast by O’Reilly during a six-month period and found a similar nativist cast. Among the findings of their paper published in the Journal Journalism Studies was this one:

According to O’Reilly, victims are those who were unfairly judged (40.5 percent), hurt physically (25.3 percent), undermined when they should be supported (20.3 percent) and hurt by moral violations of others (10.1 percent). Americans, the U.S. military and the Bush administration were the top victims in the data set, accounting for 68.3 percent of all victims.

In their analysis, the researchers concluded:

The same techniques were used during the late 1930s to study another prominent voice in a war-era, Father Charles Coughlin. His sermons evolved into a darker message of anti-Semitism and fascism, and he became a defender of Hitler and Mussolini. In this study, O’Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin.

What were those “same techniques?” The Indiana team quoted an earlier study:

The seven propaganda devices include:
* Name calling — giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence;
* Glittering generalities — the opposite of name calling;
* Card stacking — the selective use of facts and half-truths;
* Bandwagon — appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;
* Plain folks — an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are “of the people”;
* Transfer — carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and
* Testimonials — involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.

These techniques, first listed in the 1930s, paint an uncanny portrait of what you can see and hear any night on the O’Reilly Factor.

Using analysis techniques first developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, [professors] Conway, Grabe and Grieves found that O’Reilly employed six of the seven propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute in his editorials. His editorials also are presented on his Web site and in his newspaper columns.

I wonder which one of the seven he didn’t use.

A Serial Bully is defined as one who takes behavior first employed in childhood and carries it forward into adult life, at home, in the workplace, or both. Here is what the British website bullyonline has to say:

The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behaviour and seems to be oblivious to the crassness and inappropriateness thereof; however, it is more likely that bullies know what they are doing but elect to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people are bound. If bullies knows what they are doing, they are responsible for their behaviour and thus liable for its consequences to other people. If bullies don’t know what they are doing, they should be suspended from duty on the grounds of diminished responsibility and the provisions of the Mental Health Act should apply

O’Reilly shouts at the TelePrompter

The first technique cited on the Indiana list above is Name Calling. In using this practice Bill O’Reilly reminds me of columns Sydney J. Harris of the the Chicago Daily News liked to write, containing lists of terms headed “You say” and “I say.” Here are some of mine:

I say Liberal. You say Far Left.
I say Far Right. You say Conservative.
I say Biased. You say Fair and Balanced.
I say Democratic party. You say Lunatic Lefties.
I say Right-Wing Wingnuts. You say Republicans.
I say Creationism. You say Intelligent Design.
I say Environmentalists. You say Tree-Huggers.

And on and on and on. If generally neutral terms were used (Conservative, Liberal, Democrat, Republican) every discussion wouldn’t be determined by the terms used to open it. That would lose viewers. Good. It would be healthier for the body politic if they just watched mainstream television.

The Indiana Study

A valuable site about bullies

Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club. A kinescope of a live radio broadcast. Close your eyes. Don never shouted.

So sick of the scary black man lie being used as a cover up by stupid white women

… with the imaginary black man kidnapped me tale that’s been used lately. This time? Stupid bitch was $250 short on her drug deal but sent text messages to her family saying she’d been raped, kidnapped, beaten, forcibly shot up with the dopes.

The next time someone tries to sell me the line that we live in a post-racial society? I’m cramming this and every other story about the invisible black man who rapes/kills/kidnaps hapless white women right down their goddamned throats.

What is Guerilla Gardening?

Lush is promoting Guerrilla Gardening with Seed Bombs

What is Guerilla Gardening?

The concept of Guerilla Gardening was formed on the mission to transform abandoned lots and neglected pieces of land in the middle of concrete jungles, into something of beauty. Guerilla Gardeners perform random acts of gardening. They target vacant lots, railway land, under used public squares and back alleys – any piece of land that could use a LUSHer environment.

Guerilla Gardeners around the globe are reclaiming the streets one concrete slab and neglected piece of land at a time.

Ready, Set, Grow!

Seed bombs are a great way to reach areas that may not be easily accessible. We encourage you to find these locations in your city and toss a Seed Bomb, watch it grow and make it greener and more beautiful. Unexpected flowers in unexpected places make everyone’s day!

How to make a Seed Bomb:
Seed Bombs are the ultimate tool for any Guerilla Gardener. All you need is clay, soil, seeds, water and a bit of love!

Ingredients:
5 parts* clay
3 parts* compost soil
1 part* seeds (its best to use seeds native to your land)
1-2 parts* water
Large bowl
*Parts refer to any form of measurement size you want, cup, mug, black LUSH pot.

Directions
Step 1: Combine all ingredients, except the water, into a large bowl and mix well until ingredients are combined.
Step 2: Slowly add 1-2 cups water and mix until thick (similar consistently to cookie dough).
Step 3: Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and let sit for 2-3 days until completely hard
Step 4: Toss onto an empty piece of land and watch it grow!

Girl starved, beaten for being too fat?!

OMG What the fucking fuck is wrong with people? Never mind, he’s a sick controlling abusive fucktard. Seen via wondersheep’s LJ and Kate Harding’s take on it for Shapely Prose

The article on his arrest can be read here. What the fuck… he beat her for getting peas and corn!?!! Not candy, not chocolate, not soda… but peas and corn.

I’m so over humanity right now it’s not funny.

Full story after the jump: Continue reading “Girl starved, beaten for being too fat?!”

Democracy server patch update notes… v44.0

US Democracy Server: Patch Day

Version 44.0

President

  • Leadership: Will now scale properly to national crises. Intelligence was not being properly applied.
  • A bug has been fixed that allowed the President to ignore the effects of debuffs applied by the Legislative classes.
  • Drain Treasury: There appears to be a bug that allowed loot to be transferred from the treasury to anyone on the President’s friends list, or in the President’s party. We are investigating.
  • Messages to and from the President will now be correctly saved to the chat log.
  • Messages originating from the President were being misclassified as originating from The American People.
  • A rendering error that frequently caused the President to appear wrapped in the American Flag texture has been addressed.

Vice President

  • The Vice President has been correctly reclassified as a pet.
  • No longer immune to damage from the Legislative and Judicial classes.
  • The Vice President will no longer aggro on friendly targets. This bug was identified with Ranged Attacks and the Head Shot ability.
  • Reveal Identity: this debuff will no longer be able to target Covert Operatives.
  • Messages to and from the Vice President will now be correctly saved to the chat log.
  • A rendering bug was affecting the Vice President’s visibility, making him virtually invisible to the rest of the server. This has been addressed.

Cabinet

  • There was a bug in the last release that prevented the Cabinet from disagreeing with the President, which was the cause of a number of serious balance issues. This bug has been addressed, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

Judiciary

  • Many concerns have been raised regarding balance issues in the Supreme Court. This system is maintained on a different patch schedule, and will require longer to address.
  • A large number of NPCs in the Judiciary were incorrectly flagged “ideological.” We are trying to identify these cases and rectify this situation.

Homeland Security

  • Homeland Security Advisory System: We have identified a bug in this system that prevents the threat level from dropping below Elevated (Yellow). The code for Guarded (Blue) and Low (Green) has been commented out. We are testing the fix and hope to have it in by the next patch.
  • Torture: This debuff is being removed after a record number of complaints.
  • Item: Large Bottle of Water is incorrectly generating threat with TSA Agents when held in inventory. We are looking into the issue.
  • Asking questions about Homeland Security was incorrectly triggering the Chain-Jingoism debuff.

Economy

  • Serious on-going issues with server economy are still being addressed. We expect further roll-backs, and appreciate your help identifying and fixing bugs. We can’t make these fixes without your help.

PVP

  • Reputation with various factions are being rebalanced. The gradated reputation scale was erroneously being overwritten by the binary For Us/ Against Us flag.

Quests

  • The” Desert Storm” quest chain was displaying an erroneous “Mission Accomplished” message near the beginning of the chain.
  • The quest chain that begins with “There’s no Cake like Yellow Cake” and terminates  with “W-M-Denied” has been identified as uncompletable, and has been removed.

Reagents

  • Many recipes that currently call for Crude Oil can now be made with Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Ethanol reagents. We hope to roll out even more sweeping changes in the next patch.

Events

  • The “Axis of Evil” event is drawing to a close. Look forward to the “Rebuilding Bridges” event starting in January.

Now that he’s President Barack HUSSEIN Obama…

I’m so proud right now. So damn proud of our country, it’s people and of our new President. Yes, it was so good to hear Do you, Barack HUSSEIN Obama … and not have them skirt the issue of his middle name. It was good to hear him swear his oath to this country and it’s people. Hell, I’m not going to lie, I’m ecstatic that we are seeing the beginning of a new era today and ending 8 years of oppression based on lies, fear mongering and hate.

Now, the party will go on for a couple of days and we’ll all revel in a new era. However, the real work needs to be started. It needs to begin and continue with the people who mobilized to put President Obama in the Oval Office. This work does not rest solely on his shoulders or Vice President Bidens’ but on every single person in this country.

Whether you voted for him or not, President Obama is now our leader. I would hope that those of you that spent so much time hating, disbelieving and being obstinate in your views of this man, his ideals and the ideals of the party he is with can put aside that hatred to achieve the greater good. Which is restoring this country to the great nation it once was. I’m not saying the US is down for the count now, but we’re going to need some crutches for a while.

I ask those of you who are on the “other side of the aisle” to put down your animosity, your vitriol and join with your brothers and sisters in rejoicing today, and every day that we are starting with a new administration. One that says here, this is what I did today… that says I need you, the people to help me get to the mountain top.

If you cannot do that, it’s your loss and I honestly feel sorry for you. This nation was not built on the ideals that party loyalty means lack of patriotism or less love for this country because we don’t share the same ideals or values. We are all American’s and we all must work to redeem this country in the eyes of each and every person who has suffered, each person lost to war, hate, lack of money, education, poverty … the list goes on.

I do not come to admonish those who do not join me in cheering our new leadership, I come to offer the olive branch of our common humanity and ask you to join me in working together for a better day, month and years to come.

I’m off to celebrate more watch the parade and I hope you can do so with joy in your heart and hope for our future.

Please help the people of Emmonak. You, yes you can help these poor folks.

LJ’er Karnythia hipped me to this sad tale, and I have no words for the fury rising over the fact that these people may starve to death or freeze to death while their Governor sits on her ass and reviews their plea.

Letter tells personal side of Emmonak fuel crisis
ENERGY CRUNCH: REsident had villagers describe their plight as they make do, or do without.

By KYLE HOPKINS
khopkins@adn.com

(01/14/09 22:12:32)

Don’t read the comments, but read the story about people in this country who are starving and cold and alone.

    With a phone and a computer keyboard, Nicholas Tucker has turned a spotlight on his neighbors in the western Alaska village of Emmonak by telling stories of people trapped in a food and fuel crisis.

    Earlier this month, Tucker asked fellow villagers to describe what Alaska’s rural energy crunch meant to them. He says he talked to a 70 year-old husband who cries when he’s alone because he can’t feed his family, and a young wife who can’t sleep because she doesn’t know where she’ll get her next gallon of heating fuel.

    In a long letter, he spelled out the heart-rending plights of 25 households, identified only by initials. He sent it to politicians, a food bank, a Native corporation and rural newspapers. Alaska Newspapers Inc. published the letter on its Web site earlier this week, and statewide public radio followed with an interview. By Wednesday, the story of Emmonak’s plight was spreading across the blogosphere, and state officials and others were scrambling to figure out what was going on.

    Division of Community and Regional Affairs Director Tara Jollie said the state has been working with the community, and that she had talked with city officials there this week.

    “I’m not getting the same sense of crisis in the tone of voice, but I am hearing from all parties that it’s a real tough time,” she said.

    It’s unclear whether things are worse in Emmonak than other villages in the hard-hit Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, or whether a single eloquent voice struck an Internet nerve.

    In any case, by Wednesday Tucker’s phone rang non-stop as churches offered to fly food to the village and strangers from the Lower 48 asked how they could help. The local Native store gave him a calling card Wednesday that Tucker planned to use to call the state.

    “Have you heard anything about Emmonak? Is there anyone that can help us,” he wants to ask..

    Three factors have hammered the Yup’ik village — home to about 800 people at the mouth of the Yukon River — over the past year.

    Local commercial fishermen didn’t make any money from king salmon — a staple of the economy — Tucker said, and an early freeze-up forced the village to miss its winter fuel barge.

    Then the cold snap hit.

    Tucker says he suspects other nearby villages are hurting in the same way.

    Heating oil $11 a gallon?

    Jollie, the head of the Community and Regional Affairs Division, said she got copies of Tucker’s letter from the Emmonak city clerk and Angoon Sen. Albert Kookesh.

    “We’re working as fast as we can to be thoughtful and responsive. There’s fact-finding that has to happen in any situation,” she said.

    A rural subcabinet appointed by Gov. Sarah Palin will review the Division’s findings at a special meeting planned for Friday, Jollie said.

    Palin’s rural advisor resigned in October. Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said possible replacements have been interviewed, but as far as he knows, no one’s been selected to fill the job.

    Emmonak leaders hoped the state would declare a fuel emergency in the village when an early freeze the kept the barge carrying heating fuel and gasoline from arriving in October. But state officials said such declarations are reserved for natural disasters, such as a storm destroying village fuel tanks.

    Heating oil currently costs $7.68 a gallon, according to the Emmonak village corporation that sells the fuel.

    But that price could soon rise, because the corporation had to start flying in extra heating fuel last week to make up for the missed barge.

    Former Emmonak City Manager Martin Moore estimated in December that flying in the oil could raise the price as high as $11 a gallon.

    ‘not messing around’

    The same day heating oil began to arrive by plane, Tucker put out a call over VHF radio asking people to tell him their stories. More than 20 people replied.

    In the close-knit village where some people are embarrassed to have their private lives laid bare, Tucker identified the families by their initials.

    He described a single father with five children living off moose meat alone: “Right now, we can’t eat during the day, only at supper time. And, it is still not enough. If there had been no school lunch, our kids would be starving.”

    Another passage described a family of six: “(The husband’s) family has been out of food for quite some time now. Their one-year-old child is out of milk, can’t get it and he has no idea when he will be able to get the next can. He has been borrowing milk from anyone he can.”

    The next day, Tucker gave his letter to local officials who gathered for a meeting on fuel prices.

    It calls for someone, anyone, to fly food into the village over the next several months. “I’m not messing around. If we can get a massive air lift, do it,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday.

    “I don’t care how it’s done,” he said.

    food or fuel

    The Food Bank of Alaska sends food from Anchorage to Emmonak to be distributed through the Emmonak women’s shelter, said executive director Susannah Morgan.

    Families can pick up a box of food per month, with the amount depending on how many people live in the household.

    Morgan said the shelter currently has food to distribute and that she recently talked to shelter officials. Both sides agreed, she said, that not enough locals knew about the resource.

    “It’s not unusual for people who haven’t been used to fighting hunger not to know where the hunger resources are,” she said.

    Tucker plans to ask the shelter to increase its orders.

    Meantime, Alaska Newspapers Inc. — a subsidiary of the regional Calista Corp. — is launching a food drive for the village.

    As Tucker notes in his letter, other villages may be struggling in the same way as Emmonak, said Managing Editor Tony Hall. “I really have to believe this is going on in a lot of other villages too, but we just haven’t heard.”

    Tucker said churches in Fairbanks are also planning to send food and money by air, while people from the Lower 48 are calling him to ask how they can help.

    A local Catholic church plans to hold a miniature potlatch this weekend — an event where people can bring a few bags of ramen or boxes of pilot bread for their neighbors, Tucker said.

    Many of the people he talked to told him they’re choosing between food and fuel.

    Tucker describes himself as a longtime advocate for fisheries and social issues in the region.

    Asked what started Tucker on his mission, his wife Dorothy described a conversation she had one night with the couple’s 8-year-old son.

    The boy told her he was hungry.

    “I said, ‘I’m sorry we got nothing. We got no cereal we got nothing, so he went to bed hungry,” Dorothy said.

    Later, she talked to her husband.

    “I told him I was really sad, and I was thinking of other people too. Some just have one meal a day, save the rest for the next day.”

    Daily News reporter Tom Kizzia contributed to this story.

Would someone put a muzzle on Bobby Rush already!

I am so goddamned sick and tired of hearing clips of Bobby “Everyone’s a racist” Rush flapping his gums about how the vacant (I’m considering it vacant until the DNC allows someone to take it) seat left by our President-Elect has to go to a black politician.

Now Burris is going to DC anyway and will be turned away, further embarrassing himself and the people of Illinois. I’m infuriated that he had the utter fucking gall to claim Manifest Destiny (Lord’s will) in his song and dance at a church yesterday. He’s not the Junior Senator from IL. No one wants you Burris, you were appointed by the dirty, scratch that… filthy Blagojevich and no one wants to allow this to happen. Granted there may be no legal way to block it, but he can’t think anyone will take him seriously or that he can ever have a hand in politics again after Blago gave him the political equivalent of the clap?

I… I’ve got no words for the anger this is invoking in me. I’m so sick of these assholes in our local and state government making the Land of Lincoln a laughing stock around the world I could scream.

Call in Gay to protest prop 8? I don’t think so

Now some brilliant idiot thought up the idea of “calling in gay” to protest Prop 8’s passage.

Seen in LJ Bisexual Community

My personal opinion is its a really stupid fucking idea and will do nothing to help repeal Prop 8. Where was all this energy before the damn thing passed? Where did all of this outrage go when there was a chance to truly campaign against Prop 8?

So sick of this bullshit now.

Seriously… cut this Black Friday shit out right fucking now.

You know why I say that? Because no one should die for a goddamn sale on crap that’s probably left over from last year.
All of you fucking nutcases that trampled this poor guy to DEATH so you could save a few dollars? Get a goddamned grip on yourselves and go home. You all ought to be ashamed, motherfucking ashamed of yourselves.

I’m done with humanity for the day.

Neil Gaiman weighs in on the Christopher Handley Manga case…

Neil Gaiman talks about the Christopher Handley trial where a comic reader is being attacked for owning what some perceive as “child porn”. O_o?!

It’s bad enough people want to regulate what can and can’t be sold but now they are going after his private collection of manga? Context on how the case got started is:

Mr. Handley’s case began in May 2006 when he received an express mail package from Japan that contained seven Japanese comic books. That package was intercepted by the Postal Inspector, who applied for a search warrant after determining that the package contained cartoon images of objectionable content. Unaware that his materials were searched, Handley drove away from the post office and was followed by various law enforcement officers, who pulled him over and followed him to his home. Once there, agents from the Postal Inspector’s office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, Special Agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and officers from the Glenwood Police Department seized Handley’s collection of over 1,200 manga books or publications; and hundreds of DVDs, VHS tapes, laser disks; seven computers, and other documents. Though Handley’s collection was comprised of hundreds of comics covering a wide spectrum of manga, the government is prosecuting images appearing in a small handful.

What I want to know is what prompted that postal inspector to assume he was getting obscene materials? Had he opened packages before? Did he assume any and all things coming in from Japan had to be that cartoon porn? I’m wondering why no one is looking into the motivation of the Postal Inspector to get a search warrant for a package sent to a private consumer?

I hope the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund and Mr.Handley win their case, and I hope this sends a message that adult comics aren’t obscene.

VOTE DAMMIT

Since I’m up… I’ll get my VOTE Dammit post out of the way…

Even though Washington Post gives Obama a clear advantage, people cannot be complacent

The National Election for our next President is TODAY. Go fucking vote… I don’t care who you are voting for or against, just go vote dammit.

Every election cycle I get so sick of hearing people bitch and whine about the current administration and what its doing/not doing for the people. The majority of these whiners DID NOT VOTE because they felt that their one vote didn’t matter, or that no matter who won they were going to be overlooked and fucked over yet again.

Well, that’s BS to me. The whole idea of voting of the democratic process was to allow the people’s voice to be heard and felt. I know its easy to be cynical after the last two presidential elections and how they were “stolen” (I’m not going to argue for or against that with you all so don’t even start) but that should make you want to vote even more.

Make your voice heard today. Get your ass out of that chair and get to wherever it is that you are supposed to vote. Don’t let lines deter you, don’t say I’ll go after work/school and then blow it off. It’s for your future as a citizen and your responsibility to vote.

Remember, blood was shed so women and blacks could vote. It hasn’t always been a right to be able to vote, and its a hard won privilege that you can vote.

So just go do it… and if you don’t vote then just STFU about what we end up with in office for the next four years. No VOTE = No VOICE

/vote or else diatribe

For IL Voters

Employees are allowed up to two hours paid time off to vote. An employee must apply for leave prior to election day. The employer must permit a two-hour absence from work if the employee’s working hours begin less than two hours after polls open and less than two hours before polls close. (10 Ill. Comp. Stat. Sections 5/7-42 and 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/17-15)

ILLINOIS POLLING PLACE HOURS ARE 6am-7pm.

VOTE!! NO EXCUSES!!

8 Reason’s Obama will win

08 reasons Barack Obama will win next Tuesday

On Tuesday I offered 08 reasons why John McCain might still pull off an upset in next week’s `08 presidential election.

Today I offer 08 reasons why Barack Obama will nevertheless win handily:

1. Obama’s supporters are more energized.
Obama draws enormous crowds wherever he goes and has energized young and first-time voters in a way that will surprise pollsters relying on traditional turn-out models. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found 74 percent of Obama voters saying they are more enthusiastic about voting this time than in previous elections. Only 48 percent of McCain voters said the same.

These jazzed Obama supporters don’t see their vote as the weary, defensive choice of the lesser of two evils, but as an exciting chance to create a brighter future.

2. Obama has a superior ground game.

In part because Sen. Hillary Clinton challenged him deep into the primary season, Obama is better organized at the neighborhood level than any Democratic presidential candidate in history. His campaign is also making landmark use of technology –– using e-mail, text messages and social networking sites to keep in touch with supporters and urge them to the polls.

3. Obama has a superior air game.

Obama is so flush with cash he’s able to saturate TV and radio in key markets at the end of the campaign with ads that counter McCain’s criticisms of him and launch attacks on McCain. It’s not just the money – which he was able to raise oodles of after opting out of the public financing system— but the determination to respond rapidly and vehemently inside the space of a single news cycle.

4. McCain has lost his brand

Yes, he’s a volatile man running in sensitive times under the banner of troubled party. But he started off with the image of a bi-partisan straight-shooter with a clear, selfless sense of proportion.

Yet he’s campaigned like a crank.

His scattershot, over-the-top assaults on Obama’s character (or, rather, the character of Obama’s associates) have seemed like an effort to change the subject from important issues. And now that McCain’s finally settled on conservative tax policy as his theme down the stretch, his campaign is so desperate for traction that it’s going schoolyard – channeling Joe McCarthy and calling Obama a socialist, a Marxist and even a communist.

5. Sarah Palin is turning out to be the disasta’ from Alaska.

I’m confident historians will rank McCain’s decision to choose a rookie governor from a low-population state to be his running mate as his biggest miscalculation.

Palin’s youth, spunkiness and conservative bona fides fired up the Republican base, sure.

But her ignorance, on display in early TV interviews, mortified the rest of us, and polls now show her as a distinct drag on the ticket.

McCain’s appalling judgment in selecting Palin has been cited by Colin Powell, several high-profile conservative intellectuals and scores of newspaper editorial boards as a reason to support Obama. (Obama leads 231-102 in the endorsement derby)

6. Obama hasn’t lost his cool.

Historians will also note the textbook discipline of the Obama campaign, which stuck to a set of fairly simple “change” messages while the McCain campaign kept trying out new themes.

This steadiness has been mirrored by Obama’s own equanimity, particularly during the debates in which he looked and sounded far more presidential than the twitchy, simpering McCain.

The more people saw of Obama, the less he seemed like the frightening, radical, terrorist sympathizer in McCain’s cartoonish rhetoric.

7. McCain hasn’t been able to fight the Bush headwinds.

No matter how many times McCain said “maverick,” he still couldn’t create enough distance from the deeply unpopular president to make the sale to voters hungering for new leadership.

8. Obama’s been lucky

Things have been relatively quiet all year on the terror and national security fronts – McCain’s strengths. And the major crisis of the campaign season – the economic meltdown – not only played into one of Obama’s perceived strong suits, it also caused McCain to appear impulsive and indecisive in the face of a sudden challenge.

This is not a taunt or a guarantee, but I expect that luck to hold at least through Tuesday night.