New Will.i.am Song: We Are the Ones

Will.i.am has released a new song entitled "We Are The Ones". Similar to the "Yes We Can" Song which I've blogged about previously ("Yes We Can! Music Video an internet hit!"), this new video features personal statements from a variety of people both famous and unknown. The heart-felt statements made throughout the video really hit home. Especially, the statement made by Kerry Washington:
"I think the thing that inspires me most about Obama is that he really is going to be the President of the United States. You know? He's not going to be the President of the top 10% or the President of the most powerful corporations or the President of the most powerful lobbyists. He's going to be our President. He's going to be for us because we put him there."

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghSJsEVf0pU

Here's a list of the people who appeared in the "We Are the Ones" music video:
jessica alba
ryan phillippe
george lopez
adrianne palicki
regina king
zoe kravitz
freddie rodriguez
john leguizamo
luis guzman
jay hernandez
kerry washington
ryan key
macy gray
omar benson miller
malcolm jamal warner
eric mabius
tichina arnold
nate parker
kate del castillo
jesse plemons
ben mckenzie
leonor varela
cucu diamantes
andres levin
noah segan
troy garity
simone bent
susanna hoffs
jackson roach
anna david
javier castillo
adriana castillo

traci preuitt
tiffany smith
mika lett
mabvuto carpenter
gorden campbell


Obama Ad: Voices

Having just finished a post detailing some of the corruption in our political system ("What are superdelegates really?"), I happened across a new Obama Ad, on The Hill Blog, which focuses on the very same point. In it Obama addresses the need to fight the corruption which is preventing our voices from being heard.

URL: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid353515028/bctid1432840918

What are superdelegates really?

Yesterday, I brought your attention to a humorous video lampooning the role and effects of superdelegates in the Democratic party ("A Day in the Life of a Superdelegate").

After watching the video, a friend - who has not been actively watching the 2008 Democratic primaries - asked me a question: "Well, that doesn't make any sense? So, what are superdelegates anyway?"

As if, hearing his question from afar, HowStuffWorks published a comprehensive explanation of who/what superdelegates are and why the Democratic party thinks they should exist. Here's the link to the article: http://people.howstuffworks.com/superdelegate.htm

The concept of a superdelegate - to me - seems very aristocratic and has the potentially cause citizen members of the Democratic party to lose faith in the party. Mainly, because it keeps the power of government in the hands of the elite, a kind of "those who have power, keep power" situation. In addition to the issue of allowing an aristocracy to fester within our political system, there is a greater issue of how candidates are allowed to court¹ superdelegates:
Some political observers are concerned over the rules covering the courting of superdelegates. There is little if any protocol that says delegates can't be given outright gifts or even money. By the time the 2008 primary season began, some already had received money in the form of campaign contributions [source: Boston Globe]. "A candidate can feel free to entice a superdelegate with allusion to past and future favors," added one reporter [source: NPR].

This is the kind of corruption which has crippled the citizen voice in our government for decades. Let's hope that there whoever wins the popular election will also win the candidate selection, I'd hate to have to watch a repeat of the events which took place in Florida in the 2000 election.

¹ I use the word "court" in order to point out the connotation of "special or devoted attention in order to win favor, affection, etc.: to pay court to the king" [Dictionary.com]


A Day in the Life of a Superdelegate

Here's a creative look at how undemocratic superdelegate math can be. The video features funny examples of superdelegate preferential treatment throughout the day.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSYOqXV-TeM

Clinton-Obama Ohio Debate

As I did with the Clinton-Obama Texas Debate, I'm going to point you - once again - to The Hill Blog's Highlights of last night's debate in Ohio. I'm very glad to see them focus on an issue and facts.

This is precisely what a political debate should be about: debating politics and letting the people see how you behave in a high-stress politically charged environment.

I love what Obama said in his answer to the final question:
"I can bring this country together in a unique way, across divisions of race, religion, region; and that is what is going to be required in order for us to deliver on the issue that Senator Clinton and I care so much about."

Here is the video clip contain both Clinton's and Obama's answers to the final question of the debate.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfG7l1IF7kg


Dodd endorses Obama

Last year Senator Chris Dodd gave us hope by doing everything he could to stop FISA, a bill intended to give TeleComs immunity for assisting the Bush administration with illegal wiretaps on American citizens. He then wrote an amendment which would have "exposed the companies to privacy lawsuits for helping the administration monitor the calls of suspected terrorists without warrants from a special court". Sadly, Dodd's amendment was later shelved.

However, today's post about Senator Dodd is not all bad news. The Connecticut Senator has again taken a stand for the American people by endorsing Barack Obama. Here's the blurb from the Associated Press:
Sen. Dodd Endorses Obama

CLEVELAND (AP) — Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut has endorsed Barack Obama, his former rival in the Democratic presidential race.

"He's ready to be president and I am ready to support him in this campaign" Dodd said at a joint news conference with Obama.

He said Obama "has been poked and prodded, analyzed and criticized, called too green, too trusting and for all of that has already won" more than half the states and millions of votes.

Dodd was an early dropout in the campaign, quitting after the lead-off Iowa caucuses.

Here's a YouTube Video of the endorsement speech.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DrXRIUlqaY


Obama's response to Clinton

I have found a sound bite of Barack Obama responding to Hillary Clinton's attacks (which I discussed earlier today in this post: Hillary Mocking Obama). The video below is of the crowd which gathered to see Barack Obama in Ohio.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYwKWEzMqjM

If you're starting to feel emotionally drained by how much negativity the Clinton campaign is throwing at Obama, you may want to revisit the "Yes, We Can" song. It always strengthens my resolve that we CAN overcome the infection which festers within our political system.

Hillary Mocking Obama

Here's a very disturbing video of Hillary Clinton mocking the hope of the American people.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBuuR62hVAs

This is where things stand on the campaign trail. As things have gotten rough for her numbers, Hillary Clinton has began to throw the mud. First, she tried attacking Barack Obama's politics. And FAILED, as he addressed her baseless accusations logically. Then she tried attacking him personally. And FAILED, as he kept his cool and focused on the facts. Now, she's attacking the hope that she and her campaign had tried to piggy-back on when they saw that that's what the American people wanted. Now, she's backed into a corner and lashing out with politics as usual.

Flip-flopping is the worst mistake you can make in politics, and she has done a 180 on a message of hope which is craved by the people of the United States of America. First, she echoed Obama's message of hope when it served her needs and now she's trying to stone it. Disgraceful, but not unexpected from someone who likes the way the game is currently played in Washington DC.

Also, this won't be the last time we see Clinton lashing out with tooth-and-nail in these coming weeks. She is beginning to feel backed into a corner and is clearly becoming afraid of what that could mean. Her fear is natural. The Fight/Flight response is instinct. However, it is overcoming that instinct which makes your more than an animal.

We should always strive to walk the long and narrow path, not only when it serves our selfish needs. The challenge is not getting 1st place, it is how you run the race (Am I the only one who's seen Disney's Cars?!). We need someone who walks tall through the sludge and stays true to their word. People need to be built up in a time of need, not broken down. We NEED hope. We NEED change.


Clinton-Obama Texas Debate

Rather than give you my own run down of the debate, I highly recommend that you visit The Hill Blog's Debate Highlights.

There are a series of clips embedded in their post which I think it would be best to watch and observe the demeanor of the two candidates. I'm a bit concerned that Hillary Clinton is becoming increasingly vicious and insulting in her attacks. It's pulling the focus away from that which matters most in a presidential race.


Comments from Michelle Obama

Today, Michelle Obama said these meaningful words:
What we've learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And for the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country. Not just because Barack has done well, but because people are hungry for change and I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction. And just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I have seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues; and it has made me proud.

I feel privileged to be a part of even witnessing this. Traveling around states all over this country and that there is more that unites us than divides us. That the struggles of a farmer in Iowa are no different than what's happening on the South side in Chicago. That people are feeling the same pain and wanting the same things for their families.

Here's a clip of that portion of her speech.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltiyatTYXKo


Mud-slinging should be a thing of the past

Hillary Clinton began airing some new ads in Wisconsin last week. In one of them she directly accused Obama of side-stepping a debate with her.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzGbj_ERlJ0

In response, Obama has released a new ad invalidating her accusations, but it does not fling mud back. Instead, it brings the focus back to the issues at hand.

URL: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid353515028/bctid1418509422


The Man with the Hat is Back.... again

Get ready to mark your calendars. On May 22nd, the Fedora wearing, whip-snapping, butt-kicking archaeologist after whom I am nicknamed is returning to theaters. That's right! Indiana Jones IV is coming soon.

I've been following it's production for some time now, but I did not want to make the announcement until the official trailer was released. Well, here it is. And it just happens to be one of the best trailers I've seen in a long time!

URL: http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/indianajones.html

I am so excited to have a chance to put on my Fedora and finally see an Indiana Jones film on the big screen!


Dodd's amendment gets shelved

The Washington Post has brought my attention to the fact that today the "Senate Protects Telecom Immunity in Spy Bill".

Remember back in October of 2007 when I mentioned that "Senator Chris Dodd gives us hope" in the case against "TeleComs legal immunity for helping the Bush administration spy on US citizens".

Well, he and Russell Feingold later wrote an Amendment that would have "exposed the companies to privacy lawsuits for helping the administration monitor the calls of suspected terrorists without warrants from a special court". Well, today our lovely corrupt little system voted to preserve the TeleComs immunity and shelve Dodd and Feingold's amendment. So now, the investigations into the administration have hit quite a significant road block.

It should definitely be noted that Sen. Barack Obama voted in favor of the amendment (meaning, he voted against the shelving action)! Good job, Obama! Oh, where was Hillary Clinton at that point of critical decision to stand against the corruption in DC? Well, she decided not to vote either way. On the opposite side of the spectrum from Obama's vote, sat Republican candidate hopeful John McCain voting with the majority to shelve the amendment and let the administration continue unhindered.


2008 Primaries Current Standings

Looking at the statistics for the INDY Blog has shown me that MANY of my readers are interested in seeing how the numbers of the race are stacking up. Democratic Convention Watch is keeping a good watch on those numbers, but I recently found myself wanting something a bit more concrete. So, I jumped over to Google Docs and made myself a spreadsheet.

Google Docs has a great feature which allows you to publicly publish your documents. So, here it is... my overly detailed spreadsheets of all the democratic and - as of 2008-02-08@14:24 MST - republican party's numbers for the 2008 primary:

I've color-coded some of the cells, so that it's easily visible where some "problem spots" are. What I mean by "problem spots" are places where the people made one choice, but the current political system stacked up against them anyway.

For example, in New Hampshire Clinton won the popular election, but tied Obama for delegates. Another example is shamefully here in Colorado where Obama OWNED Clinton in both the popular vote and pledged delegates, yet hardly any superdelegates have stepped forward to reinforce our voice within this state.
(*ahem* To those superdelegates who are being contrary to their populace: Have you dimwits considered who put you into office in the first place?)

It's statistics like that which bother me. Elections are supposed to be decided by the voters, not the money-munching elite. Hence, why I put this sheet together, to better keep an eye on the game which is being played. So, take a look and enjoy! I plan on updating it quite frequently!

Comparing Clinton, Obama ads

The first ad is being aired in Washington by Hillary Clinton. The second is being aired in Louisiana by Barack Obama. Both put some focus on Health Care. Both talk about the future of our nation. However, only one has the same empty look and feel as every campaign we've seen for years.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3ESKsUzGbM

URL: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid353515028/bctid1404947060

The next stage of the race begins tomorrow. For me, this race is appearing to become a challenge of the status quo. The contenders seem to be backed by two opposing forces. Clinton by the usual political players and Obama by people hoping that our system isn't as screwed up as it seems.

I keep listening to the "Yes We Can" song (referenced in "Yes We Can! Music Video an internet hit!"), hoping that I'm hearing the words of our future President, but I can't help feeling worried that the dirty players are so entrenched in our system that we don't have a chance. At this point, all I can do is HOPE.

I WANT change.
It's been nearly 20 years since we've had someone NOT named Bush or Clinton as our President.


The Amazing Race

The results are still coming in and it's neck-and-neck for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Once the dust settles, I'll be putting together a chart of the votes and where they've come from all around the nation. For right now, I wanted to talk about the experience I had last night during the Colorado caucus.

An unprecedented number of people came to our caucus location. LK and I had shown up early in order to scope things out and get our bearings. LK decided earlier that evening that I should play the role of Precinct Captain, since I was more excited about public speaking and helping to organize everyone. I had a blast! I found myself making quite an impression on voters and officials. I have to admit, though, I felt a little guilty seeing what a handful Evie was being for LK. She just hung in there though, with Evie using her as a climbing post!

As the evening progressed a county official made it known that there was an opportunity for someone to speak on-behalf of the candidates to the caucus. Each would have 2 minutes. I had already developed somewhat of a repute with the county officials, so I offered myself as spokesperson for Obama. A woman came to the front to read a letter from Hillary Clinton. She did her best, but I felt a bit sad for her as it was very difficult to hear her and she appeared very nervous reading her letter from Hillary.

When it came time for an Obama spokesperson, I weaved my way to the front. An elderly lady near the front did not think that anyone was stepping forward, so she grabbed a Barack Obama flyer and approached the make-shift stage. I indicated to her that I was coming up as well, we shared a brief discussion in which she kindly yielded the stage to me as I had a speech prepared and was comfortable with public-speaking. I stood in front of the people present and gave myself one booster thought before I spoke, "Indy, you are here to speak for Obama. A man of great resolve and charisma. Deliver this speech as he would, if he were here."

I have never felt so honored in my life. There I was telling hundreds of people why I had chosen Barack Obama as my candidate. Telling them why he would stand for us and empower us. At one point during the speech, the crowd erupted with applause. I honestly cannot remember what I had said at that point, but I do remember holding out my hand and saying, "Thank you, but hold on. I only have so much time and so much more to say." I continued, emphasizing points that were key to swaying anyone with doubts. When I finished speaking I looked up to a cheering crowd and, in the back, my wife was grinning and my daughter was clapping.

Apparently, I had changed the minds of quite a few people. When I had first arrived at my precinct table, the general consensus seemed to be for Hillary, but after returning to my table and commencing with the candidate selection the numbers stood at 49 for Obama and 9 for Clinton. 10 was our threshold for viability. With that in mind, I nearly stepped over to the Clinton side simply so that their voice would have representation in our precinct. Many people might find it strange that I would change my vote when I feel so strongly about a candidate, simply to give the minority a voice, but I believe Obama would have done the same thing -- he believes ALL people deserve to have a voice. However, before I could step over to the Clinton group, another individual had stepped over with the same intent, thus making the final count: 48 Obama, 10 Clinton.

As we looked around the room, similar results appeared in other precincts. Upon returning home, we found that Obama had taken Larimer county with huge numbers. Later it appeared that he had won Colorado as well.

LK and I have worked very hard to voice our support for Barack Obama. Last night, we watched as our voices were shared by our precinct, our county, and even our state. I can only hope now that our voice will be shared by the nation. And that WE, the people of the United States of America, will be heard and will not be drowned out by "politics as usual".


Evie endorses Obama

My daughter Evie has endorsed Obama. :-)

URL: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6810735511031674937&hl=en

Metric is better

If you have any doubts about how absolutely inefficient the US measurement system is, take a look at this....

URL: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Omh8Ito-05M

Now, if they had used the Metric system, they would have been done in about 15 seconds.

Questions, anyone?


Groundhog Day 2008

Another Groundhog Day is drawing to a close. As is tradition, I have again watched the "Groundhog Day" film to remind myself to value and consider the impact I might have on the lives of others.

The fact is that Groundhog Day is celebrated on the Celtic holiday Imbolic. Feburary 2nd, in fact, is one of the cross-quarter days. Meaning, this is when a season actually begin. You see, solstices and equinoxes (quarter days) are actually the mid-points of the seasons. (Hence the reason days begin to get longer after the winter solstice and shorter after the summer solstice.)

What's interesting is that cross-quarter days and quarter days are still recognized - though somewhat obscurely - here in the United States of America. See if you can think of the well-know holidays that happen to fall on or around these dates....

2-7 February
25 March
4-10 May
24 June
3-10 August
29 September
5-10 November
25 December

Pretty cool, huh? Well, no matter what your reason is for celebrating during those times, remember to cherish the people around you.

As I know I have mentioned before, Groundhog Day holds a special place in my heart. Thought of very little at the beginning of February, it reminds me that Life can be treated like a time-bomb counting down toward the inevitable detonation of death, or it can be thought of as an exciting journey of shared and exchanged with the world around us. For Time is not our enemy, it is the essential part of Life that gives thrill to each and every moment.

Good night!

Yes We Can! Music Video an internet hit!

All over the internet people are talking about a new independent video featuring many well-know individuals in the entertainment industry (e.g. will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Jesse Dylan, John Legend, Scarlett Johansson).

The video? A combined effort to support Barack Obama. Take a look....

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHEO_fG3mm4

Also, here's an interview with the song makers. (Careful, the audio balance is a bit off, so it may be a bit loud.)

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBn7FEtn0E8&feature=related

Calif. Dem. Rep. Barbara Lee endorses Obama

Barbara Lee is a California Representative. She has taken the candidate endorsement process very seriously. (As I hope that you have been taking the candidate selection process seriously.) She looked closely at the candidates' statements and campaigns and came to a decision on who she should endorse.

I am convinced that Senator Obama is the candidate who is a real agent of change; a man who can lead our nation in this young century in a new, progressive and positive direction. This century cries for social, environmental, diplomatic, global, and neighborhood solutions to the misery that confronts far too many people in our own country and around the globe. Senator Obama promises leadership to meet these challenges – leadership we have been sorely lacking.

If you'd like to read more about her endorsement and why she made the decision she did, the full text of her endorsement can be found on The Hill Blog: "Obama is the Leader for Our Time (Rep. Barbara Lee)".


Clinton-Obama California Debate

As many of you may already know, the final debate before Super Tuesday took place yesterday in California. California is quite a significant state when it comes to delegates (with 370 pledged delegates).

Yesterday's debate was very refreshing. Both Barack and Hillary were very cordial and supportive of each other. I think we're looking at two very strong individuals in the Democratic party. Now it just comes down to who you think will up-hold the politics you want to see. For that, I would suggest you do your research.

Here are some good places to start:

Barack Obama:
- Political positions of Barack Obama [wikipedia]
- The Blueprint for Change [PDF] - more info about this document in my entry Barack Obama's Plan for America: "The Blueprint for Change"
- Barack Obama on the Issues
- Meet Barack
CAUTION should always be exercised when reading wikipedia articles, as they are subject to vandalism.

Hillary Clinton:
- Political positions of Hillary Rodham Clinton [wikipedia]
- Hillary Clinton on the Issues
- About Hillary
CAUTION should always be exercised when reading wikipedia articles, as they are subject to vandalism.

Be wary of the media as well, there's a heavy tendency to grab/invent the most shocking stories. Remember, the media is in business to make money off viewers. They don't sell stories based on how true they are. Which means that you need to do your best to FOCUS ON THE FACTS!

Obama: The future is what we decide

I was unable to attend Barack Obama's visit to the University of Denver's campus, but I was able to find a YouTube video of his speech and read through the full text of his speech.

I'd definitely recommend reading the speech or watching the video yourself, but if it's a summary you want....

Obama was welcomed to the city and the stage by notable individuals such as Rod Smith and Caroline Kennedy. His message - as always - was one of hope: "The future is what we decide it is going to be. That's what America's all about."

He sprinkled his speech in places with comical commentary such as: "Whatever else happens, the name 'George W. Bush' will not be on the ballot." A line to which the crowd cheered long and hard. However, he quickly pointed out that "It's easy to be against something. The choice before you is about what comes next. Because we need to do more than just turn the page on the failed Bush-Cheney policies, we need to turn the page on the politics which made those policies possible."

His speech continued, addressing many of the ailments which currently plague our nation. Eventually he came to the turmoil within the Democratic party during this primary season and came straight the point about what it means to select him as the Democratic presidential candidate.
We can be a party that tries to beat the other side by practicing the same do-anything say-anything divisive politics that have stood in the way of progress; or we can be a party that puts an end to it.

I am running for president because I believe that we don't just need small change, we need fundamental change in America. Not just a change of party in the White House, but change in Washington the American people can believe in. Unity instead of division, hope instead of fear, a politics that leaves behind the fights of the past so we can finally take hold of our future.

Barack also drew a parallel between what has been said to him throughout the race and what was said to then-candidate-for-President John F. Kennedy.
There was also a time when Caroline Kennedy's father was counseled by a former President to "be patient," and to step aside for "someone with greater experience." But John F. Kennedy responded to Harry Truman by saying, "The world is changing. The old ways will not do...It is time for a new generation of leadership. It is time for a new generation of leadership, because the old politics just won't do. I am running for President - right now - because I have met Americans all across this country who cannot afford to wait another day for change.

As he concluded his speech, Obama energized the crowd with these words of encouragement:
This is our moment. This is our message - the same message we had when we were up, and when we were down. The same message that we will carry all the way to the convention. And in seven months time - right here in Denver - we can realize this promise; we can claim this legacy; we can choose new leadership for America. Because there is nothing we cannot do if the American people decide it is time.