Monday, November 3, 2008

The Last Les MisBarack Video

Here's the final Les MisBarack video. If you don't have tears at the end, you are not human!

I Tremble For My Country

The American author and naturalist Terry Tempest Williams once wrote, "The eyes of the future are watching us and they are praying that we learn to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with clasped hands that we might act with restraint, leaving room for the life that is destined to come."

Described as a "visionary" by the Utne Reader, Williams’ prayerful hope sums up how I feel this morning, the day before what will be the most-critical election of our time. Maybe any time since Lincoln was elected in 1860. Yet I also tremble for my country as it stands on the eve of electing its 44th president.

I tremble because we stare numbly at a world in crisis due largely to America’s catastrophic wars of choice and “in your face” foreign policy.

I tremble because we live terrified in an economy melting faster than a snow cone in August thanks to the unbridled greed and “grab all you can before someone else gets any” philosophy nurtured by a president who has no moral compass.

I tremble because as we shiver in the cold, early days of winter, a cold, shivering chill runs down our spines when we hear John McCain and Sarah Palin throw smears and platitudes like red meat to starving animals instead of discussing real issues like 11% of the country not working when unemployment claims are added to the number of people who’ve become discouraged and stopped looking for a job, or that 18% of American children go hungry every day, or one-sixth of the country is praying and hoping they and their kids don’t get sick or injured because they have no insurance.

I tremble because we’ve endured eight years of seeing America’s honor in the world torn to shreds, the Constitutional rights that protected us for 225 years from government abuse of power and authority systematically stripped and pillaged, the virgin American ideal of equal justice and equal rights and equal opportunity and equal protection raped repeatedly by an ideologically-driven Supreme Court where one Republican-appointed justice is angry he was born black, a second is a mental midget and a third accepts the far right notion that those who have it are worth more under the law than anyone who doesn’t.

I tremble because if We the People of the United States of America have another election stolen out from under us there will be hell to pay at home and around the world. One of the most laconic women I know told me last night that if somehow McCain confounds the reams of polls and wins, there will be rioting in the streets and “I’ll be out there throwing bricks myself.” Ironically, a deposition is being taken today in Ohio of the man who may have been responsible for the illegal, computerized vote switching and disappearing votes in the Buckeye State in the infamous Ken Blackwell 2004 Presidential Election Vote Switcheroo.

I tremble for my country because there is not enough Loraizapam™ in the world to calm me down if Obama loses. I should be celebrating my birthday today but instead I sit worried, fearful, frightened and trembling.

538 And Rasmussen: Obama Still Has Healthy Lead

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll once again shows Barack Obama with 51% of the vote while John McCain is five points back at 46%. This is the 38th straight day that Obama's support has stayed between 50% and 52%.

In the Electoral College projections, Rasmussen shows Obama leading 260 to 160. When states that are leaning in one way or the other are included, Obama leads 313 to 160. A total of 270 Electoral College votes are needed for victory.

At Nate Silver’s five, Obama's position became somewhat stronger since its Sunday afternoon update. Silver has him with a 5.8 point lead in the national popular vote, and winning the election 96.3 percent of the time. Earlier, those figures were 5.4 and 93.7, respectively.

Obama's win percentage ticked upward for a couple of reasons, Silver maintains.

Firstly, he's gotten some relatively good numbers out of Pennsylvania with PPP and Zogby giving him leads of 8 and 14 points, respectively, and Rasmussen showing his lead expanding to 6 points after having been at 4 before.

Second, Silver reports, McCain's clock has run out. While there is arguable evidence of a small tightening, there is no evidence of a dramatic tightening of the sort he would need to make Tuesday night interesting.

Moreover, there are very few true undecideds left.

After accounting for a third-party vote which looks as though it will come in at an aggregate of 2%, Silver shows only about 2.7% of voters left to allocate between the two major-party candidates. He predicts that even if John McCain were to win 70% of the remaining undecideds, it would only be worth a net of about a point for him. Frankly, McCain's winning scenarios mainly involve the polls having been wrong in the first place – because of a Bradley Effect or something else. It is unlikely that the polls will "tighten" substantially further – especially when Obama already has over 50% of the vote.

A couple of quick notes from Silver on yesterday’s individual state and national polling:

• He says people shouldn't worry too much about the SurveyUSA result in Minnesota which shows Obama just 3 points ahead. SurveyUSA's polling in Minnesota has been “very weird” all year; they've never shown Obama with larger than a 6 point lead in their likely voter model and had McCain ahead in the state as recently as October 1st. SurveyUSA does not have a Republican lean in general but, in Minnesota, it has consistently had a huge one.

• A couple of the national polls have started to predict how undecided voters will behave and allocate them between the two major-party candidates. Silver uses versions of these surveys before any such allocations are made as he doesn’t believe a pollster's job is to be in the prediction business.

I Couldn’t Wait

– Guest post by Dick Price of

I didn’t really mean to do it. I usually have more self-control. Something just came over me. I couldn’t restrain myself. Please forgive me.

I voted Friday.

I don’t have an excuse. I’ll be in town on Election Day and had planned to vote then like I always do. I’ve even taken off work Monday and Tuesday, making myself available to pitch in where needed, which would give me plenty of time to vote Tuesday, no matter how long the lines.

And, ordinarily, I like voting at our local polling place here in Mount Washington; I like bumping into our neighbors and silently congratulating each other in this bluer-than-blue neighborhood for striking our blow for what we hope will be freedom and justice. Oftentimes, I take my 14-year-old daughter along, making it a family affair that I hope will rub off on her.

But after a long, antsy day at the office in Los Alamitos, I found myself behind the wheel Friday afternoon, headed back through the Orange Curtain, to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office in Norwalk. It’s probably no more than 10 miles as the crow flies, but I was confined to surface streets, which were crowded with moms driving their kids to Halloween parties. As usual, I took a couple wrong turns to make the trip more of an adventure than necessary, then had to circle to the large parking lot several times to find an open spot.

Once I processed in at the Registrars, I spent the better part of an hour in a huge, makeshift tent with hundreds of my fellow Angelenos—some who had spent hours there already—until my number was finally called and I could mark my ballot for Barack Obama and Joe Biden—and for our new friends Cynthia Loo and Lori-Ann Jones for LA Superior Court, for Xavier Becerra for Congress and Kevin de Leon for the Assembly, and against Prop 8.

And I’ve got to tell you, damn, did it feel good! Damn, damn, damn!

An Essential Sea Change

Since you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you how important this election is.

Aren’t we all heartsick at the way the Bush-Cheney Administration has combined wrong-headed incompetence with wrong-hearted bellicosity to bring our country to its knees on so many fronts? Now, doesn’t the prospect of another Republican administration, led by an ill-tempered John McCain and an ill-informed Sarah Palin, leave a pit in all our stomachs?

America would survive a McCain-Palin Administration—Americans are resilient folk—but it would be another four years of grinding through an administration that simply doesn’t represent policies that reflect my views or those of most people I know.

On the other hand, Barack Obama’s performance through this endless campaign, the measured way he has addressed the economic and military crises that have arisen, the galvanizing way he has inspired millions of Americans as no one has for decades, the growing sense that this man and his Vice President, Joe Biden, would put together an administration that would get something done that we all want done—well, it vindicates every hope Sharon and I expressed before the California primary.

And, obviously, we’re not alone.

Even in states that have seemed to have gone over entirely to the Dark Side, the Obama-Biden ticket has a shot just three days out:

• The New York Times reports that in Colorado “close to 1.5 million votes, or about 46 percent of the registered total, are already in the can, cast and waiting to be counted.”
• In Georgia, the Washington Post reports that a “record-breaking 2 million people cast early ballots in the U.S. state of Georgia, an indication of high enthusiasm over Tuesday’s presidential election that could help Democratic candidate Barack Obama.”
• And in North Carolina, where I lived for a couple years as kid, The Nation reports that Obama has a chance: “Obama’s North Carolina campaign, undergirded by 1,700 volunteers, 40 offices and close to 400 paid staffers (McCain has 30 offices but only 30 paid staff), has outregistered Republicans five to one in the state this year and drawn even in the polls heading into the campaign’s last weeks. In the first week of early voting, in mid-October, almost three times as many Democrats as Republicans were casting ballots in a record turnout; while African-Americans are only 22 percent of the state’s population, almost 40 percent of early voters were black.”

Long lines are reported in virtually every state that has established early voting. Not all the absentee and early voters will go for Obama and Biden, of course, but early returns are looking good for the Democratic ticket, darned good. These early returns, the long lines, the masses of Obama volunteers, and the mountains of small donations his campaign has amassed month after month tell us that something is clearly afoot.

America is on the move.

Bringing More of Us In The Tent

The crowd in the tent at Norwalk looked a lot like Los Angeles: African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Whites in roughly equal measure. Working class folk and young professionals. Young and old, but a lot of the young. More than a few who struggled with English.

I don’t suppose everyone there cast a vote for Obama. There was no electioneering, in the tent or outside. No one wore an inappropriate button or shirt — my Obama-Biden button was in my pocket and my “No on 8” T-shirt under my regular shirt. Still, there were enough winks and nods and high-signs to say that the Democratic ticket was having a good day up and down the line.

I ran into our young friend Francisco Cendejas, who needed to vote early because he had decided to help get out the vote for Manuel Perez’s California Assembly race in Indio and Palm Springs and also pick up a ballot for his girlfriend Ana Mascarenas, who had returned to her home state of New Mexico to help with a Congressional race there. It was nice to see a friendly face in what was a friendly crowd despite the long waits, close quarters, and a bullhorn that rattled your teeth.

This election isn’t about race anymore than it’s about income redistribution. But an Obama Administration is going to make a big difference in race and class relations in this country. As our friend, Anthony Asadullah Samad wrote recently, America is finally letting one of the disenfranchised “drive the car.” ust the fact that a black man will be our President and a black woman our First Lady, two people who grew up in the straightened circumstances many Black Americans know, will send the clear signal to all the disenfranchised across America that they’re more fully inside the tent with the rest of us.

And that will be a good thing.

So let’s all make sure that good thing comes to pass so we can spend the next four years a dream, not a nightmare.

Along with his wife Sharon, Dick Price edits a daily e-news and opinion magazine at