Obama office in Greencastle

Dateline: Fri 05 Sep 2008

Indiana Obama communications director Jonathan Swain sent the following glad tidings Wednesday:

"Barack Obama's Campaign for Change will open a local office in Greencastle, further expanding m outreach and organizing efforts on behalf of Obama and other Democratic candidates across the Hoosier State. The Greencastle office will be fully staffed and have regular office hours starting next week."

This is office No. 31 in the state, says Swain. I can testify to things being in high gear; I've gotten two phone calls to volunteer in the past week or so, one from the Putnam County organizers and another from Washington Township in Indy.

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College students to save newspapers?

Dateline: Thu 04 Sep 2008

A friend just sent this:

"College Students to Save the News?


"Ohio schools Miami University and Earlham College announced they will

partake in a joint venture with local media to establish a regional

news service for parts of Ohio and Indiana.

"Journalism school students will report, write and produce stories

that can then be used by media outlets in print or on their Web

sites. The University of Maryland's Interactive Journalism program is

funding the entire operation for $17,000.

"Now if we could only get Harvard University and the rest of the Ivies

to buy The New York Times."

I say: let the kids get Barack Obama elected first. Then they can turn their youthful energies to journalism.

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'A torpedo aimed directly at the ship'

Dateline: Wed 03 Sep 2008

of Barack and Michelle Obama. That's how Chris Matthews of MSNBC summed up Gov. Sarah Palin's terrific, fiery speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul tonight.

Those who doubted Palin's abilities need to take stock of her again. The woman is vibrant, charming, humorous and extremely pointed.

She zinged Obama repeatedly, comparing her experience as a former mayor of a small Alaska town to his as a community organizer. Being a mayor, she said, is "like being a community organizer, except you have actual responsibilities." She reminded ecstatic Republicans that of the two presidential candidates, only one actually ever fought for America -- "and that is John McCain."

She shared her pride in being a Washington outsider and made a joke about being a hockey mom. "The difference between hockey moms and a pit bull? Lipstick." Old joke, but it worked.

I quit taking notes after a while, simply because her speech was compelling enough that I just wanted to listen.

Her biggest hits, for me, were personal: when she spoke with pride of her son who will go to Iraq next week, when she introduced her husband as her high school sweetheart -- "He's still my guy" -- and when she praised the courage shown by John McCain as a prisoner of war and introduced a white-haired serviceman who also was imprisoned with McCain. As to her obvious patriotism, I thought of Frank Schaeffer, the Christian screenwriter and son of the late theologian by the same name. Frank Schaeffer's son joined the Marines after college, and his father always had a hard time explaining that choice to his East Coast friends. I have no doubt that Palin's experiences will play well with many who have military ties.

My favorite moment was after the fanfare, when her family joined her onstage. She held her baby Trig, who was wide awake. Earlier she had promised that all special-needs families would have an advocate in the White House, should she be elected. That was a vote-getting moment.

She was tough on the issues, painting Obama as a big-time spender who would expect government to pay for countless services while raising taxes. She mocked him for talking one way about voters in Scranton, Pa., and another way in San Francisco -- a reference to his "bitter, small-town America" remarks and an implication that he's a flip-flopper and two-faced at that.

Overall? McCain has not lost his marbles by choosing her, at least not based on her ability to spin a speech. She had the crowd loving every minute of her stage presence. And guess what? She didn't say anything off the wall, which is what some of us had been led to believe would happen. Based on everything I was hearing, I half-expected her to get down on her knees and pray for unborn children while Republicans wept, including the men. Never happened.

Finally, Chris Matthews noted in his post mortem that Palin is no Hillary Clinton; "I didn't once think of Hillary while she spoke," he said. His conclusion? Palin won't draw Hillary loyalists and Hillary women. That seems obvious to me, too. She's cut from a different cloth. One is a tough Dem woman; the other is a tough Republican woman. Case closed.

Unless there is something we don't yet know about Palin, she seems to fit the GOP bill. She's no disaster. And if she keeps up the energy level and rhetoric she laid out tonight, she and McCain could prove formidable. Scary, because many of us desperately want a real change.

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The Marine is landing

Dateline: Wed 03 Sep 2008

This just in from buddy Russ Eaglin of the Marine Corps League:

"I have been informed that Lt. General Carol Mutter (USMC Ret), resident of Brownsburg, IN, will be speaking at the Republican Convention Thursday evening -- It is believed to be during the 7-8 pm hour in CDT. She may also be on the Lehrer News Hour Thursday or Friday evening. Exact schedule is unknown.

"Lt. General Mutter is the highest ranking female Marine in the history of the Marine Corps.

Semper Fidelis,

Russ Eaglin


Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Central Indiana"

Far out. I also hope to catch her speech.

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Hoosiers for hot chicks????

Dateline: Wed 03 Sep 2008

I wish John McCain's people had called me before they chose Sarah Palin as his veep nominee.

I could have told them: hey, guys, I'm a tender-hearted mother of three, with my PTA/mom/bullshit card punched for life. I voted twice, yes twice, for George Bush because he was supposedly pro-life.

But that was yesterday. Today, after the anti-life war in Iraq has caused unimaginable human suffering and death, after Bush/Cheney have run up historic gazillion dollar t national debt while pissing off most of the world, and after abortion still remains legal -- as it should -- it's time for the Republicans' piper to play a new tune.

Sarah Palin ain't it. She is, instead, an incredibly transparent version of the same old song -- an effort (again) to pander to voters of the sort I used to be -- emotional, patriotic, God-fearing, church-bound, trying hard to do "the right thing."

Her lack of real-world experience is incredibly scary; I don't criticize her for being a devoted mom, or for her daughter's pregnancy, but for seeing the world thru a God filter. Her invocation to pray during an address to high school seniors in Alaska is scary stuff. Pray, she urged these kids, that "our leaders -- that our national leaders -- are sending [soldiers] out on a task that is from God."

She went on: "That's what we have to make sure that we are praying for: that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

A friend -- a very conservative friend politically, also a Catholic -- mentioned recently that her foundation is studying an ethicist named Paul Voss, who has come up with an interesting theory. Sir Thomas Moore and Nicolo Machiavelli each published seminal works in 1516. Moore wrote Utopia, about a better world; Machiavelli wrote The Prince, about politics and affairs of state.

"It seems as if every politician today uses Machiavelli as a guide," she noted. "The end justifies the means. Image is more important than substance."

That's what McCain is doing by choosing Palin. He is showing himself to be a shallow, image-oriented, beauty-queen type-of-guy politician. That his base gets it is demonstrated by the buttons Hoosier delegates are sporting at the GOP convention: Hoosiers for hot chicks. Oh dear. And I thought this was supposed to be the conservative party.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, dares to dream of a better world. Republicans obviously see that. But they appear unable to compete with his message.

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