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October 11, 2006

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More Picks of the Month ... This post covers my picks for January 2007: The inset photograph, of course, is of Barack Obama, the first choice of many U of C law profs for president in the upcoming election, reading... [Read More]

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LAK

Obama's greatest assets are his authenticity and decency. Both of which are typically in short supply amongst those who would hold public office. I feel blessed to have known him back in the day, (and to have supported him over Hynes) and he gives me a shread of hope in a otherwise hopeless political environment. Keep on rockin' in the free world professor Obama. Lord knows we need such rockin'.

michael benton

I would like to extend an invitation to you to join in on a collective blogging section of our upcoming winter issue of Reconstruction. The issue is the “Theories/Practices of Blogging.” In addition to the special section of posts on blogging there will be about a dozen essays on blogging.

The deadline is October 27th.

Our intent in this section of the issue will be to collect a wide range of bloggers and link up to their statements in regards to why they blog (something many of us are asked) and any statement they have on the theories/practices of blogging.

If you already have a post on this you can feel free to use it, or, if you are interested, you can submit a new one.

We will link to each statement from the issue at our site, with the intent of creating a hyperlinked list of statements on blogging that can serve as an introduction to blogging (or an expansion of knowledge for those already blogging).

If you are interested please contact me at mdbento @ gmail.com
-----------------------

On another note, thank you for your book "Cultivating Humanity" and your writings on social jusice issues. They guided me as a graduate student and I have sinced used them with students in my courses.

michael benton

Apologies Cass,

I was directed here with the understanding it was Martha's weblog and failed to look at the title before reading.

Ha, it will sound stupid now, but your recent writings on current threats to our democracy has also been a favorite tool in my rhetoric courses.

Anyways, the invite above is open to the collective bloggers here.

curtisstrong

So,

Could run for president, huh? Certainly seems like a decent choice; one who can look at the issues and make a fairly good decision.

Run Obama, Run!

LAK

I'd rather he stay where he and be a true progressive in the Senate ala Paul Wellstone rather than move toward the center to appeal to the masses and run for Pres.

none

Obama mania has commenced.

And everybody tells us how smart and introspective he is. After all, he was editor of Harvard's law review. And, high heavens, he taught at the U of C law school. (He even has developed some "Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." Or so says the title of his new book, "The Audacity of Hope.")

Either he's pulling a grand political charade, a brilliant ploy of populism and pandering (to giddy liberals, no less) or he is just ... really naive.

Consider the following quotes from amazon.com's interview with this intellectual lion:

"We give too much of our power away, to the professional politicians, to the lobbyists, to cynicism. And our democracy suffers as a result."

"When you focus on solving problems instead of scoring political points, and emphasize common sense over ideology, you'd be surprised what can be accomplished. It also helps if you're willing to give other people credit--something politicians have a hard time doing sometimes."

"We just need to understand that actually solving these problems won't be easy, and that whatever solutions we come up with will require consensus among groups with divergent interests. That means everybody has to listen, and everybody has to give a little."

Obviously, he's pretty much memorized the federalist papers.

My guess is that his book is full of similar platitudes. Consider the following press release headlines from his own website:

"VA Needs to Prepare for Care of Returning Veterans"

"Obama Again Calls for Independent Ethics Commission"

"Obama Bill Requiring Notification of Unplanned Release of Radioactive Substances Passes Senate Committee"

Boring.

What would impress me is a senator from a corn-producing state like Illinois asking some tough questions about ethanol policy. Such behavior might demonstrate some of the traits (courage, independence, etc.) that are so often attributed to Obama. But this is what we get instead:

"'Our energy future should lie in Illinois fields of corn, not in foreign oil fields,' said Obama."

Where's the nuance there? At best, ethanol is a dubious "solution." At worst, it will be an energy, economic, and environmental failure. (That quote also strikes me as ... isolationist? Where's the HOPE that we can get along with oil-producing states in the short run and find better solutions than ethanol for the long run?}

So I remain unconvinved that Obama is anything more special than any other popular politician. I'm certainly not ready to support him because of any of his supposed character traits. But maybe I should just go back to sleep and take take Oprah's word for it.

Fight for Justice

As far as Obama not toeing the party line, how do you explain his vote against John Roberts for Chief Justice? There were 78 senators who supported Roberts, and just 22 Democrats who refused.

overexposed

Obama is a letdown. Anyone who endorses Todd Stroger for Cook County Board President (and who failed to endorse Forest Claypool) is just a political hack trying to curry favor with the right people. Obama's just another pay to play politician. Disgraceful to endorse Stroger, Barack.

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2006/11/obama_endorses_.html

John

When an African-American Harvard educated civil rights lawyer preaches righteous sermons about respecting the doctrine of separation of church and state but then offers only a religious rationale for denying 'fundamental' civil rights the cognitive dissonance should assail the ears of anyone with even a mere thimble full of legal knowledge. Enough is enough. This sham and travesty have gone too far.

"If a civil rights lawyer walked into court and argued that fundamental civil rights should be denied solely for metaphysical reasons one could fairly wonder if he were a charlatan who found his law degree in a box of Cracker Jack. Legally, Obama's position on civil marriage is intellectual rubbish. Audacity indeed!"

To read the entire article see "Untangling Barack Obama's audacious mumbo jumbo," by John P. Mortimer, Bay Area Reporter 11/16/2006 at http://ebar.com/common/inc/article_print.php?sec=guest_op&article=73 . Also see and leave your comments at http://www.outrightusa.org/ and
http://outrightlibertarians.blogspot.com/2006/11/obama-doesnt-get-civil-liberty.html

Mark Madner

Obama has quickly risen to the leadership group of the Democratic party. However, his turn at the top of the ticket will be in 2012 or 2016 rather than 2008. I think he should be positioning himself for the VP nomination in 2008.

Michael N. Field

So Mr. Obama wants to solve America's and the world's problem by emphasizing "common sense over ideology" and developing "consensus among groups with divergent interests".

Show us some evidence that "common sense" to him is something other than his own ideology. Or that "consensus" means to him something other than substantial agreement with his established positions.

For those things, perhaps he is not different than any other politician, but maybe that is the point. Mr. Obama is not different or special, except that he is exceptionally personable.

Other than that, I doubt that he has, or, more the point, can have any answers to the basic problems of American society coming from the xenophobic, if not disordered perspective of an adult lifetime spent in the Hyde Park community (for any readers not familiar with lay of the land, Hyde Park being the community South Side of Chicago where the University of Chicago is located).

I would like to know what Mr. Obama has to say about such fundamental issues as the impact of the affirmative action system (more accurately, the disparate impact system, since you are a bunch of lawyers) on the operation of the employment and admissions systems, the implementation of universal higher education since the Lyndon Johnson era, the establishment of universal health care, and so on.

If anyone wants to discuss any of these issues, bring it on.


Erasmussimo

Mr. Field, I don't understand why you take so negative a view of Mr. Obama. I do not know him well (and you seem to be saying that you do not know him well, either), but what I do know seems pretty good. Skepticism is always healthy, but you seem ready to render judgement -- which I am not.

There is no question that the man is more intellectually gifted than most of our politicians. This by itself does not qualify him for political office, but it is one important asset made particularly appealing by the rampant intellectual weakness of the current President. As to his argument for common sense over ideology, I certainly approve of that. I believe that Americans have been overtaken by various ideologies, and are in great need of turning down the volume of their ideological warfare. Ideology is corrosive to democracy; compromise is essential to any democracy.

Seth

I like him too.

Independents for Obama

http://independents4obama.blogpsot.com

abcde fghijklmno

I have a funny sounding name too. Can I be special? Every freakin election the democrat party marches out a cast of characters with fanfare, pomp and splendor befitting the procession into Rome by a victorious emperor. Hey, that reminds me, where is Oblama's love slave? They make a big hollywood production over this stooge and that stooge portraying them as the second coming of Jesus Christ. It's such absolute media hype super BS. Remember when Kerry was the greatest saviour known to western man....until he revealed himself as a freakin effete east coast limousine liberal snob. Hillary was the "smartest woman in the world"...remember that propaganda? And still they roll out this circus every four years and still the media puppies follow them around urinating in submission to the big democrat dogs. The only thing more insane are the mindless followers of the left who swallow this pablum and beg for more....swooning over every move the chosen democrat makes. We had reporters stating aloud they would blow slick Willy (just for keeping abortion legal). How many will offer to wipe Oblama's butt and change his diaper for him? It is just all too hard for me to comprehend. I'll have to expend 100 rounds at the range this afternoon just to relieve the frustration. This country is headed for a world of hurt. Maybe the Islamo-terrorist have it right,.....we are so corrupt, immoral and decadent that we are infecting the rest of the planet and need to be erradicated. We are supposed to be electing the preeminent leader of the free world.....Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Mark Foley, Denny Hastert, John (the weasel) McCain, John Conyers, John Murtha, Barak Oblama, Hillary Clinton????? Heck, these clowns make John Edwards look almost normal. Why not elect James Brown, he's dead and can't make any decisions that will screw up my grand kids future forever? At least we would get real entertainment.

margot

barak obama made a critical mistake in attacking the baby boomer generation. he is trying to differentiate himself but unfortunately we want a leader who tries to unify, and not alienate a large and influential and knowledgeable generation of people. what was he thinking? and, it begs, why? and if he is so short sighted and age descriminatory, do we want him running our country. frankly, even if he had not blurted this little absurdity out, he does not have the experience to tackle running the most influential country in the world. and he is clearly not mature or contemplative enough or he would have not put his big foot in his even bigger mouth as illustrated above. my feeling is this guy needs to drop his over inflated ego and learn some diplomacy before we hand him the reins to anything beyond where he is right now. grow up obama then contact us when you have gained some wisdom and some class and some manners.

Joshua Dominik

It will not happen.Stop wasting time and money.Spend that effort and money on something that will yield some kind of positive outcome.If you can possibly lose your blackness,you may appeal to all.Do not run as a black american.Run as an american.You will then find people more receptive.As long as you dont favor anyone in particular,all will hear you.Run for the people who are doing the right thing.Regardless of their ethnic background.Eliminate affirmative action.Have people really earn their OWN waY.

Joan A. Conway

The popular culture candidate is a smoke screen used for political purposes of which hasn't been described by anyone just yet. I believe Obama is a feel good politician to include excluded people from the political process, and nothing else. Many believe he is a fraud, not having any legislation in his home state that they can point to was his accomplishment.

Q. If one could only ask Oprah Winfrey why she and many in Hollywood have donated over one million dollars to his candidacy, what do you think their reply would be?

A.I was impressed by his message!

Q. And what was that message all about?
A. Hope!

Q. And how would he accomplish giving us hope, by inclusion of mostly ignore people in our political process?

A. Yes!

sy levine

Obama will make a great President that enhances the security and safety of our nation. He'll do this by appointing technically qualified, knowledgable and experienced people to manage the critical agencies. Unlike President Bush who only gave the illusion of security and safety but put managers that were inexperienced and lacked the basic knowledge of the discipline they were given to manage. The agencies under Bush, put the nation at risk. They were flooded with unqualified cronies that catered to special interest groups that brought to Bush's table hoards of PAC money. Since Bush has been president thousands of innocent people died needlessly in 911. Yet, neither the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) nor the Chairman of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have lost their job. Hijacking and Terrorist attacks have traditionally accounted for about 10% of fatal accidents world-wide. This known threat existed and was well tabulated/tracked prior to 911 in world fatal accident statistics and still President Bush’s appointed a political head of the FAA that had little security or aviation experience. Neither the DOT nor FAA took the required steps necessary to keep the public and the nation safe even though the threats were known and it was their job to assure the security and safety of our sky. They operated out of fear of losing the aviation industries support for maintaining their positions and thereby allowed the nation and the traveling public to suffer needlessly. The deaths that occurred on 911 won’t even show up on the FAA’s fatal accident statistics. This is done intentionally to minimize aviation related fatalities and to give the public a false sense of security. Thus 911, like Katrina, was the result of President Bush’s Republican political appointees that had little knowledge of their appointed critical tasks.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At first look it isn't obvious that the Payne Stewart(golfer)/ Helios(2005 - 100+fatality) decompression crashes and 911 are related but from a aviation safety and security system view they are:

When a plane substantially deviates from its approved flight plan it is presently possible to have a remote pilot located in a secure simulator fly the plane to a safe landing at a sparsely populated airfield. Over 70% of all fatal air crashes occurrences are readily preventable if handled correctly.

Unfortunately, the data needed to accomplish this is locked up in the flight recorder and is utilized predominately in an autopsy mode. If the data is so important that it is necessary to discover the cause of a fatal crash it is much more important to prevent a fatal crash. Yet because of the aviation industry's partnership with the FAA and NTSB none of the flight data coming out of the recorders is available in real-time to proactively prevent fatal crashes. The inability to use the flight data in real time has jeopardized the safety and security of the traveling public and the nation. The astronauts were guided back from the moon because the data was telemetered to the ground in real-time. Once it got to the ground it was analyzed, and then via a concerted effort by experts, using simulations the proper and safe way to handle life threatening situation was accomplished. Yet this proven technique isn't utilized by the industrial/government partnership to keep our nation and air-passengers safe and secure.

One year prior to 911, I was the guest speaker at the International Aviation Safety Association meeting in NY where I spoke on how terrorists and decompression fatal crashes are preventable via remote control of a deviating aircraft using ciphered technology developed for our ballistic missiles. This technology can prevent most aviation crashes (approximately 70%) even those from mechanical problems and errors of commission and omission. At present a pilot has displayed only a fraction of the information necessary to make the right decision to prevent a crash. The pilot in many instances is seeing a problem for the first time. The aircraft data and air traffic control data isn't shared extensively so experts on handling the aircraft's problem aren’t consulted nor can the problem be simulated to aid in crash prevention. This data vacuum is responsible for most fatal crashes. For example, the Swiss Air and Alaskan Air fatal crashes could have been prevented if handled correctly.

In addition it is not only terrorists that sabotage aircraft. Commercial and Military pilots have also done it. When a pilot deviates substantially from the approved flight plan the aircraft should be safely remote piloted to a landing at a sparsely populated airport. Several years ago a rogue military pilot substantially deviated from his approved Continental United States (CONUS) flight plan and flew an A-10 aircraft loaded with bombs clandestinely across multiple states. It took two weeks to find the plane which had crashed into a Colorado mountain. The plane was eventually found but the bombs are still missing. Exhaustive searches were made but no one has a clew as to what happened to the bombs. Must we wait for a bigger disaster than 911 before any action takes place?

Everyone knowledgeable about the holes in our aviation system, brought about by the industrial government partnership, knew that a 911 could occur and the government allowed it to occur. Even though we knew about Payne Stewart nothing was done and so we got Helios' 100 + deaths. Presently we are just as vulnerable to a 911 disaster, decompression disaster, ... etc. as we were in 2001. The public needs to know the system is fixable for the good of our nation. Even though 3000 people died needlessly on 911 the system doesn't fix the data vacuum mode of operation. It works around the system with attempted patches that are costly and ineffective fixes simply to protect the industry from liability suits. The necessary data is only available in the tombstone/autopsy mode. With all of the deaths that were preventable not a single FAA or NTSB person was even laid-off. Thus, the industry won out and the public and nation suffered. It is quite possible that we went into an unnecessary and horrible war just because we protected the special interest of the aviation industry. The cost of those disasters alone would have been a small fraction of the cost necessary to fix the system and we would now have a safer and securer nation. Instead, things are the same and we are vulnerable.

If you should need more info on this please don't hesitate to contact me (you can see some of my work by going to Google and doing a search on "aviation security, safety and sy levine" or go to my web site www.safelander.com. My work was also featured on the BBC show called "The Black Box". There is simply no reason, technical, cost or data privacy wise" for not using the Black Box Data in real-time, in addition to its autopsy mode, to make our nation safer and securer. The fear of liability, via law suits, should not stand in the way of the airline passenger safety, the safety of people on the ground, or our national security. It is imperative that the traveling public write to the President, their Congressional Representatives, the DOT, FAA and NTSB and demand that the Black Box data be available and utilized in real-time for the security of our nation and to substantially reduce fatal crashes.

Sincerely,
Sy Levine
sylevine1@sbcglobal.net

Douglas John Bobb

I believe that President Barack Obama will be one of the best Presidents the United States of America has ever had. He will also appoint the best Secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton, giving new life and vigor to the US economy and the integrity of the US dollar in the daily global turnover in the foreign currency exchange rate system, starting a process of repatriating US dollars.

Renee

I was checking out this site Daily Cents and there is an amazing speech by Obama. Check out the site Obama's Victory Speech After Iowa Caucus

Angela

I love how Charlie Rose interviews his guests. Here is one with Obama in 2004, and to add to the discussion:

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2004/11/23/1/an-hour-with-illinois-senator-barack-obama

Angela

One other thing, an earlier post talks about Obama on gay rights. Here's a relevant and possibly supporting scorecard: http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbianactivism/p/BarackObama.htm. As you can see, I'm using this blog as a dialog about who to elect. I appreciate candidates with backbones, but isn't gay marriage political suicide, and is a sure way for gays to get zero rights? What legal argument against gay marriage does one propose a candidate give the public?

Janet Riehl

Supporters of Obama may find Alan Brody's suggestion of a "1789 donation campaign" (in honor of Constitution's adoption date) of interest on www.riehlife.com

The entire headline reads:
Clinton-Obama Spat provokes “1789 contribution campaign,” Alan Brody makes call to action after Clintons ignite a political brawl, reflecting on damage to Party and Country, and worrying over how another Clinton presidency might use extraordinary powers Bush has gathered in the White House. Brody calls for 1 million $17.89 donations to Obama (in honor of Constitution’s adoption date) to send a message to political attack dogs Republican and Democratic alike: “We want a new politics, and a President who will return to our Government civility, the rule the of law, and the integrity of our Constitution.”

I hope your readers might join Alan Brody and myself in this campaign.

Kind regards,
Janet Riehl
www.riehlife.com

Joan A. Conway

Under America's answer to Monarchy Politicans, and the Replacement Candidate, I don't think he has a chance!

bingoron13

If Barak Hussein Obama is not Muslim like he is quoted as saying, then why hasn't he changed his name to a Christian name? Muslims change their Christian names to Muslim names so why doesn't Obama do a similar act, and change his? I think that if he is Christian, like he claims, then he should prove it! Why can't he back his faith with some proof? Why isn't his name something like Jesse Jackson? Or Michael Jackson? Please can someone tell me why? I hope this message somehow gets to Obama and he can make a comment on it. He wants to bad mouth people who he claims don't know his past...well, give up proof. Take an American name. You want to be an American President don't you? Prove that too.

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