Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Color Purple

At the Republican Governors' Conference today in Miami, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who was considered as Senator John McCain's running mate, said the following about the future of the G.O.P. (these quotes were pulled from this New York Times story):
One perspective is, the Republicans lost their way. There will be calls, and voices across the country for Republicans to return to traditional conservative approaches in almost all respects.

A second viewpoint will be the country’s changing a lot. The country is changing culturally, demographically, technologically, economically, and the like. And the Republican Party isn’t changing in a way that reflects those major, or macro changes across the country.
I think this latter statement is reflected in the following map from this website, which adjusts the traditional red-blue state map by population size and also factors in, using the color purple, gradations in Democratic and Republican voting:

It looks like a thin spiderweb of red stretched across a blue and purple country, refuting the assertion that this is a center-right nation. As Pawlenty said, the demographics of these United States are changing, and I think that's a good thing—not just for the Democratic party, but for America as a whole.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes, I'm Writing about The Onion Again

The Onion, as usual, really nailed it with this one:

Kobe Bryant Scores 25 In Holy Shit We Elected A Black President

It's brilliantly written, how it bleeds back and forth between reportage of the game and awestruck commentary about Obama's win. And it accurately conveys a real sort of national mindset of, well, "holy shit"—Just like they (The Onion) did after 9/11. Several of the pieces they wrote in response to that day had an undercurrent of sadness, fear, and disbelief. One was about a woman baking an American flag cake because she didn't know what else to do—and the tone was perfect: They were mocking her somewhat, because what use is making a flag cake?—But they were also sympathizing, expressing a helpless fellow-feeling and throwing-up-of-the-hands. Read it here.

And finally, just a clip from the Kobe Bryant Obama article:
The 2008 league MVP was solid on the defensive end of the court as well, holding Clippers guard Baron Davis to just 12 points and when they called Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida for Obama, basically ensuring victory, that was a moment in which all Americans, regardless of race, creed, color, or party affiliation had to stand back and say, "Holy shit, this is actually going to happen. Holy shit.... Holy shit. Holy shit! Holy shit!"
Then at the end it just totally breaks down, and The Onion writer is writing directly to us about his or her personal experience on election night. It's really beautiful.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

NYC-area newspapers today

Click here for a round-up of the front pages of NYC-area newspapers today, including the (I predict) soon-to-be-iconic New York Times front page.

And click here for an inspiring short item about New Yorkers lining up outside the New York Times' building to wait for copies of the paper. It contains this fantastic quote from the design director:
People working on that floor hadn’t noticed yet that the line was forming, and when they realized its purpose, a feeling of delight swept over the newsroom like the friendliest wildfire I’d ever seen. Reporters, editors, photographers, everyone started clapping, hooting and hollering that people still find the newspaper valuable enough to wait dozens of people deep in line for their chance to buy a copy.


I won’t add too much to the mountains of words that are even now being written about what happened yesterday. But it was amazing, inspiring, and hopeful.

Last night, after Obama delivered his victory speech, the music swelled and the families joined the candidates onstage. One of my friends (I’d had people over for chili—Obama’s recipe—and apple pie) said, “I’m waiting to see the credits roll!”

Later on, someone else not at my house echoed the same sentiment, with almost exactly the same phrasing. I felt it, too: Watching Barack speak in Grant Park, echoing the words of Lincoln and Dr. King, it felt like an amazing movie where America rises to the occasion and is actually as good as we hope to believe it is.

But this isn’t a movie. It really happened. Barack Obama—Think about it: A mixed-race man named Barack Hussein Obama!—will be the 44th president of the United States. We and the world should be proud of ourselves.

I’ll end with this. Last night, toward the end of his speech, Obama spoke about a woman named Ann Nixon Cooper. Now, usually I hate these little homilies that candidates seem hidebound to work into their speeches. (“Recently I spoke with so-and-so from Nowheresville, and she can’t afford her medicine.”) So I was skeptical when Barack started to go down this rhetorical road.

But then it shifted and widened like a river delta, as Ann Nixon Cooper’s story was expanded and magnified to encompass the whole of the 20th century, now put to sleep. Obama asked what, if our children are lucky enough to live into the 22nd century, will we have changed for them?

This is how he closed his speech. Feel the sweep of history and the hope for the future. Yes we did, yes we can, and yes we will:
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I voted this morning. It felt great to fill in that X next to Obama and Biden's names.

I don't have much more to say about this election, except that if Barack loses tonight, I am going to loot my own apartment. I am going to run screaming into my living room, grab my roommate's TV, put it in my room and shut the door. End of looting.

We are about to elect the coolest president ever. As Alex Balk wrote, "Holy crap, it’s like we’re voting for president of The Matrix":

And then there is this, from an MTV news interview. This quote is funny, sure, but it also speaks to something very important and essential about the man—namely, his eminent reasonableness.

Barack said (and thanks to Jen for turning me on to this), in reference to a question about laws against "sagging" pants:
I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq, and anybody, any public official, that is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there. Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants.
True that. Fingers crossed, everybody. I don't want to have to loot your apartment, too.