Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I am not quite sure what to say. I am in a state of disbelief, and what a good state it is. BHO knocked off HRC. I quietly hoped that he would pull it off, but I was not quite sure if it could be done. I'll be blunt: I feel so blessed to be an American living right now. BHO may lose in the general election, but the important fact is that he is in the dance. The ghosts of Jefferson, Jackson, FDR and Johnson (Lyndon) must be bemused by the spectre of BHO. I hope that they understand just how far the country they once led has come, particularly Jefferson. I am a happy man tonight. BHO, job well done!


kingfireant said...

i too am excited, i am also concerned. palmero has a great piece on huffingtonpost which succinctly outlines my euphoria and fears. the wall of scathing propoganda and twisted facts from the RNC and FOX, et. al. is going to be something to behold. hold on tight everyone!

Margot said...

Well done, old chap, well done indeed!

While there is no doubt that the conservative propaganda machine (led, of course, by Fox News) is going into high gear like never before, their boy John McCain is a fundamentally flawed candidate. First of all, he's signficantly more doddering and frail-seeming than he was eight years ago, the last time he got significant press. And even the Fox News blowhards had to admit that there was a severe gap between the "freshness", ideas and inspiration presented by BHO in his speech last night, and the meandering, near pathetic drivel doled out by JM. Several talking heads, while still on the attack based on BHO's ideas ("liberal boilerplate" is I believe how Morton Kondrake spun it) had to admit that his oratorical abilities and capability to inspire were not unlike that of the ultimate conservative hero, Ronald Reagan. They went on to say that JM (being compared by same talking heads to the famously dull Gerald Ford) is going to have to find a way to put SOMETHING of inspiration into his own rhetoric if he's going to make a real run for the money. Even diehard John McCain supporters have got to be hella disappointed to have to pull the lever for such a dry old player.

Didya catch that none other than Rupert Murdoch is coyly sidling up to our boy?

McCain also has a problem with the "Third Bush Term" tag, which I think is a bit of brilliant positioning on the part of the Democrats. It gives him very little wiggle room: publicly call out the Bushies and risk alienating the hard core party base; cozy up to them and lose the independents and people who are just plain sick of what many are coming to regard as the worst presidency on record.

BHO is dictating the agenda, and simply saying "I don't think this is a good change" without offering something genuinely substantial as a counter is not going to go very far.

PatSEE said...

All I can say is, "Thank ya, Jesus!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited that this is happening in my lifetime. I wish my father was still alive to see this historic event!!! I think he can win against McCain once HRC endorses him and her followers get over it!

Anonymous said...

Will voters support a candidate that embraces the symbols and values of Hip Hop culture? Is he showing America the black power fist?

The Fist Couple: Giving a Big Bump to Authenticity

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, June 5, 2008; C03

It was the fist bump heard 'round the world.

As Barack Obama walked onstage in St. Paul, Minn., to claim the Democratic nomination Tuesday night, he and wife Michelle hugged and then, gazing into each other's eyes with knowing smiles, gently knocked knuckles.

He also gave her a playful little pat on the butt, but it was the bump that got everyone talking. "That is the picture!" exulted one poster on the Jack and Jill Politics blog (which offers "a Black bourgeois perspective"). "When I saw them give each other dap, I was like 'Hell yeah!' "

Dap, fist pound, whatever you want to call it-- it's definitely something we're not used to seeing on the national political stage.

"It thrilled a lot of black folks," said author and commentator Ta-Nehisi Coates, who blogs at ta-nehisi.com. Why? Because it's the kind of gesture that, while commonplace in the African American community, was generally stifled by earlier generations of blacks working their way up into the corporate or political worlds for fears "about looking too black," he said. But Obama "is past that. . . . He wears his cultural blackness all over the place." (Remember his aping of Jay- Z's "dirt off your shoulder" move in a recent speech?) "It's liberating to be able to run for president as a black man. . . . Barack is like Black Folks 2.0."

Meanwhile, Karen Bradley, a visiting professor of dance at the University of Maryland, was struck by the "intimacy" of the moment. Bradley, who studies the body language of politicians, said the fist bump seemed more spontaneous and authentic than the hug, which "looked like they talked about it first." While Obama generally has contained gestures and his wife has broad ones, this was a moment "where they both shifted" and mirrored each other, fists close to their bodies. "He's looking right at her, she's looking right at him -- it's a partnership, it's 'We did it.' " (More so than the infamous Al- Tipper smooch at the 2000 Democratic convention: "She seemed more invested in it than he did.")

Anonymous said...


Threat of world Aids pandemic among heterosexuals is over, report admits
A 25-year health campaign was misplaced outside the continent of Africa. But the disease still kills more than all wars and conflicts

By Jeremy Laurance
Sunday, 8 June 2008

A quarter of a century after the outbreak of Aids, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared.

In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO's department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa.

Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.

Dr De Cock said: "It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries. Ten years ago a lot of people were saying there would be a generalised epidemic in Asia – China was the big worry with its huge population. That doesn't look likely. But we have to be careful. As an epidemiologist it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas."

In 2006, the Global Fund for HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis, which provides 20 per cent of all funding for Aids, warned that Russia was on the cusp of a catastrophe. An estimated 1 per cent of the population was infected, mainly through injecting drug use, the same level of infection as in South Africa in 1991 where the prevalence of the infection has since risen to 25 per cent.

Dr De Cock said: "I think it is unlikely there will be extensive heterosexual spread in Russia. But clearly there will be some spread."

Aids still kills more adults than all wars and conflicts combined, and is vastly bigger than current efforts to address it. A joint WHO/UN Aids report published this month showed that nearly three million people are now receiving anti-retroviral drugs in the developing world, but this is less than a third of the estimated 9.7 million people who need them. In all there were 33 million people living with HIV in 2007, 2.5 million people became newly infected and 2.1 million died of Aids.

Aids organisations, including the WHO, UN Aids and the Global Fund, have come under attack for inflating estimates of the number of people infected, diverting funds from other health needs such as malaria, spending it on the wrong measures such as abstinence programmes rather than condoms, and failing to build up health systems.

Dr De Cock labelled these the "four malignant arguments" undermining support for the global campaign against Aids, which still faced formidable challenges, despite the receding threat of a generalised epidemic beyond Africa.

Any revision of the threat was liable to be seized on by those who rejected HIV as the cause of the disease, or who used the disease as a weapon to stigmatise high risk groups, he said.

"Aids still remains the leading infectious disease challenge in public health. It is an acute infection but a chronic disease. It is for the very, very long haul. People are backing off, saying it is taking care of itself. It is not."

Critics of the global Aids strategy complain that vast sums are being spent educating people about the disease who are not at risk, when a far bigger impact could be achieved by targeting high-risk groups and focusing on interventions known to work, such as circumcision, which cuts the risk of infection by 60 per cent, and reducing the number of sexual partners.

There were "elements of truth" in the criticism, Dr De Cock said. "You will not do much about Aids in London by spending the funds in schools. You need to go where transmission is occurring. It is true that countries have not always been good at that."

But he rejected an argument put in The New York Times that only $30m (£15m) had been spent on safe water projects, far less than on Aids, despite knowledge of the risks that contaminated water pose.

"It sounds a good argument. But where is the scandal? That less than a third of Aids patients are being treated – or that we have never resolved the safe water scandal?"

One of the danger areas for the Aids strategy was among men who had sex with men. He said: " We face a bit of a crisis [in this area]. In the industrialised world transmission of HIV among men who have sex with men is not declining and in some places has increased.

"In the developing world, it has been neglected. We have only recently started looking for it and when we look, we find it. And when we examine HIV rates we find they are high.

"It is astonishing how badly we have done with men who have sex with men. It is something that is going to have to be discussed much more rigorously."

The biggest puzzle was what had caused heterosexual spread of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa – with infection rates exceeding 40 per cent of adults in Swaziland, the worst-affected country – but nowhere else.

"It is the question we are asked most often – why is the situation so bad in sub-Saharan Africa? It is a combination of factors – more commercial sex workers, more ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases, a young population and concurrent sexual partnerships."

"Sexual behaviour is obviously important but it doesn't seem to explain [all] the differences between populations. Even if the total number of sexual partners [in sub-Saharan Africa] is no greater than in the UK, there seems to be a higher frequency of overlapping sexual partnerships creating sexual networks that, from an epidemiological point of view, are more efficient at spreading infection."

Low rates of circumcision, which is protective, and high rates of genital herpes, which causes ulcers on the genitals through which the virus can enter the body, also contributed to Africa's heterosexual epidemic.

But the factors driving HIV were still not fully understood, he said.

"The impact of HIV is so heterogeneous. In the US , the rate of infection among men in Washington DC is well over 100 times higher than in North Dakota, the region with the lowest rate. That is in one country. How do you explain such differences?"