Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Screwed By The Sunshine State...Again

Ah, Flor-ee-duh. Looks like we may have done it again. Florida is just crawling with self-absorbed, undereducated, attention seekers. Trust me. I live here. And, in a ridiculously stupid move, our state Democratic leaders attempted to grab more attention for Florida, by holding the primary sooner, on January 29th, thereby totally disregarding the National Democratic Party rules (the DNC rules stipulate that, without a special waiver, states must hold their primaries after the 5th of February).

So, what did we gain from moving our primary to January 29th? I'm thinking that we just gained another fucking Republican administration.

The DNC punished Florida by stripping the state of its delegates, for deliberately ignoring the process and rules regarding holding a primary election. And, as it turns out Hillary apparently would have received the Florida delegates, had they they been allowed. She did not, even though she had a very decisive victory in Florida tonight. Delegates, or not, Hillary did recieve a real psychological victory in Florida, that will have a big impact on the results of Super Tuesday.

So, why would I say that Florida's fuck-up just cost America another four years of Republican rule? Well, the Obama campaign has really been gaining momentum as of late. A lot of momentum. His name is beginning to seem familiar and warm to a lot of middle Americans, and his message of hope is being heard all over the board. Even Republicans are listening. After twenty years of Bush-Clinton, a lot of people are realizing that we need to start over - we do need a change.

Hillary Clinton, along with Bill, has been polarizing as ever. Now, before I go any further...I don't hate Hillary. But, I do think that there's no better example than her, and Bill, of what's wrong with the Democratic Party. The Clintons know how to play politics better than just about anyone - except Karl Rove. They know what to say, how to say it, and who to leak it to. They know how to work poll numbers and they excel at "opposition research" to a degree that impresses the even the slimiest of campaign managers.

As I said, I don't hate Hillary. I don't like her as a politician, but I don't hate her. But, there are a lot of folks across this great nation who live and breath their hatred of the Clintons. Most Republicans actively despise her, and even a lot of Democrats dislike her. Sure, she has a great plan for health-care. But, it'd never go anywhere, even if she were to become the next President, because there would be rabid, snarling opposition to anything that she would put forth. Her experience in Washington is her undoing.

Hillary just won the early-bird Florida primary. She didn't get any delegates - although in typical dirty politics fashion she is vowing, now that she's won Florida, to petition to have those would-be delegates counted. Her win in Florida gives her a lot of confidence going in to Super Tuesday...the same confidence that Obama would've taken to Super Tuesday had Florida not fucked it up. Had Florida followed the rules, the results of the Sunshine State primary would have no influence on the many other states that will be heading to the polls next Tuesday. Because of Florida's insatiable need for attention, Hillary just got a boost that may translate into a much stronger showing when it matters - and she very well may become the Democratic nominee.

Now, on the other side of the aisle, John McCain has been cleaning up. Giuliani is out. Thompson's out. Huckabee may as well be out. And Romney's looking more and more desperate every day.

And who hates John McCain? I disagree with just about everything that comes out of his war-lovin' mouth. But I don't hate him. He seems like a regular kinda old guy. And, like Obama, everybody at least kinda likes him.

So, put Obama against McCain and the Democrats have a fighting chance. They're both likable guys with a lot of appeal to Independent voters. Obama vs. McCain would most likely boil down to actual issues and ideas...and God knows Obama would debate McCain into the ground.

But, Clinton against McCain? McCain will trounce her. The Republican base and middle-of-the-road Independents will swarm the polls to stop her by any means necessary. Sure, deflated Obama Democrats will vote for her - but without an ounce of passion.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that a critical mass is reached - a critical mass of Democrats that understand that the time really has come to let go of the Bushes and the Clintons and try something new. I hope.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Redding Up The Lair

Tomorrow will be the 3 year anniversary of the Lair of the Okapi. Before I created the Lair, I thought blogs were just the very public personal diaries of the dramatic and self-important. Then, my little lamb started The 9th Circle, and I found myself coming back again and again - mainly just to keep up with her new life in New York. She's great at really getting her voice into her writing, and I could just hear her in every snarky "viewer mail" post and every scathing observation on public transportation. It somehow made her seem not so far away.

So, just out of curiosity, I started the Lair. I knew that I didn’t want to do a daily diary type blog, and I didn’t want to do a specifically themed thing. I thought it would be less obligating, and more my style, to think of my blog as more of an online scrapbook for ideas, pictures, stories and stuff. I started to read other blogs from The 9th Circle blogroll, and found myself “getting to know” a few bloggers – Jackie, Hof, Van, Vegas, Dan and Moo. Over time, each and every one of my original blog-friend circle closed up shop, and I miss reading them more than I probably should.

The Lair certainly hasn't been the most prolific, or beautifully written or the most influential blog out here...but apparently, it scores pretty high on longevity. I guess my attention span isn't quite as short as I thought.

At any rate, in honor of this illustrious occasion (and in reference to my recent post about Pittsburghese) I'm redding up the Lair. I'll be cleaning up, adding to, deleting and rearranging my links and blogroll. I'm on an active search for new blogs to lurk on, and new sites to investigate, so if you have any suggestions...I'll be here. Probably for quite a while.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

From Pixburgh to Meeyami

I am fascinated by language – in particular, how it evolves, and transforms, and adjusts to our need to express new ideas and new identities. Of course, living in Miami, it’s impossible not to think about language everyday. We have three official languages – Spanish, English and Haitian Kreyol. Spanish is the first language of nearly 67% of the population, while English is the first language of just over 25% of Miamians. Nearly 6% of the city speaks mainly Haitian Kreyol, and with a growing number of Brazilians, Portuguese is becoming more and more common. Miami really is the precise point where, geographically and culturally, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America meet, and the interaction of languages and dialects and accents here is just remarkable.

Spanish in Miami could be of the Cuban, Argentinean or Honduran variety – all of which are very different from each other. And, even English here has a lot of local distinction, depending on the origin of the speaker – Brooklyn, London, Kingston, Memphis, the Bahamas, Boston or Detroit. A guy I work with, from Boston, pahks his cah in the laht. My friend John, from Queens, had a great idear to go to the pizzer parlor, and Jason who’s from Amish-y Lancaster refers to roads made of macadam.

Tony shares my interest, and we both love to discover new regional language quirks and to love to tease and imitate each other’s regionalisms. Tony’s from Syracuse, New York, and his accent often causes people to think that he’s from Michigan or the Chicago area. The cute way he says seehlad dressing and kitty ceeht makes my heart smile. I think it’s so interesting that his accent is expressed all around the Great Lakes, with no real relationship to state borders.

And then, there’s my hometown, Pittsburgh, which not only has its own very distinct accent, but it’s own regionally specific vocabulary. It’s so distinct that there are even Pittsburghese dictionaries. Where someone from the South might ask, “Are y’all goin’ downtown today?” a Pittsburgher would ask “Are yinz gon’ dahntahn t’day?” Pittsburghers aren’t nosy. They’re nebby. Pittsburghers eat jumbo sammiches, pierogies, hoagies and kolbassa, and real Pittsburghers don’t bother with “th” sounds, unless it’s necessary to begin the sentence. Instead of asking “how is this?” a yinzer would ask “hah’s iss?” And Pittsburghers don’t clean their homes, they redd them up.

For whatever reason, I never had a really strong Pittsburgh accent…but most of my family and friends sure did. And, when I moved away, I covered my accent as much as possible, and I made sure to never let a “yinz” slip. But with age comes a different perspective, and now, I think the Pittsburgh accent that I left behind is really cool in its uniqueness.

Like any regional speak, the Pittsburgh accent and vocabulary is the product of a unique history with roots in an old Scots-Irish dialect and a lot of German and Eastern European influence - reflecting the city's immigrant past.

So, what accent do you have, and what regionalisms do you use? What words and/or phrases have you heard that immediately indicated that the speaker was from a particular place?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Everybody Can Just Suck It!

I'm going to see Kathy Griffin tonight! And everybody can just suck it! Allegedly.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fwd: Be Careful. Be Very Careful.

A few days ago, a concerned co-worker forwarded a critically important e-mail regarding the election. Then, this morning, Tony received the same e-mail, from a friend, who obviously wanted to clue us in, so that we wouldn’t contribute to the destruction of America. Just so that you’re in the know too, here’s the scoop….

Subject: Who is Barack Obama?

Probable Democrat presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita, Kansas.

Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, 'He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.'

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta.

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking Major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!!

ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office - he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran (Their equevelancy to our Bible, but very different beliefs) Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country?...... NOT ME!!!

I’m yet again stunned at how tightly some people cling to fear and ignorance. Seriously. How the fuck can so many of us, in this land of opportunity, be so gullible? When did we become a nation of fearful little sheep? And, why don’t these people know how to use Google, for gods’ sake? At this point, I’m totally convinced that the 30% who still support Bush, look to Fox News for fair and balanced “reporting” and forward completely unsubstantiated e-mails like this, are the same foolish folks who send their bank account numbers to Nigerian princes who need help moving money out of the country.

Just for the sake of clarity, let’s take a look at radical Muslim Obama.

It is true that Senator Obama was born in Honolulu, to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas. But, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was a non-practicing Muslim and his mother was a non-practicing Christian.

It’s true that the Senator’s parents divorced when he was two years old, and that his father returned to Kenya, leaving him to his mother’s care. Senator Obama’s mother did then marry Lolo Soetoro from Indonesia. But there is absolutely no evidence that the Senator’s step-father was a radical Muslim – or a radical anything for that matter.

The allegation that he was indoctrinated into the teachings of radical Wahabism is a complete and total lie. While Senator Obama did spend four years of his childhood in Indonesia (a predominantly Muslim country) he never studied at any Jihadist schools. As a matter of fact, he was a student at the Basuki School (a non-religious public school) as well as a Catholic school as a child in Indonesia.

While the e-mail implies that Senator Obama has recently tried to cover his Muslim-ness by joining the United Church of Christ, the truth is that his spiritual home has been with the UCC since the 1980s. I find it hard to believe that he’s been disguising his practice of Jihadist Islam for more than twenty years in the pews of the United Church of Christ.

Then, the e-mail gets to the real point…Barack Obama is an undercover terrorist, who was planted decades ago, by THEM, to work his way up to the very top of the United States government. Because, you know, a half-African, half white American from Hawai’i, partly raised in Indonesia by agnostic parents, would be such an amazingly obvious choice to groom for the presidency.

And, for the record, Senator Obama did, in fact, place his right hand on a Bible when being sworn in. And, also for the record, the beliefs of Islam and the beliefs of Christianity are not all that different. And neither is their shared ability to be twisted by their followers.

Honestly, I don’t give a fuck whether Senator Obama’s parents were Muslim, Presbyterian, Mormon, Hindu or Flying Spaghetti Monster worshippers. What I care about is his ability to take on the huge mountain of disasters that the Bush administration is leaving behind. I care about the fact that the United States is now dead last in healthcare among industrialized nations, and 42nd in life expectancy. I care that the gap between our country’s elite and underprivileged has grown into a canyon. I care that while our economy teeters on, what very likely will be the second Great Depression, my government is working hard to instigate yet another Halliburton war.

And I care that we have a chance to bring ourselves back to hope and reason and strong character, and we have the opportunity to leave behind those who live in tragic ignorance with fear in their hearts.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Audacity Of Hope, Indeed.

I could not be happier!