Life is a Mystery

29 February 2008 . Comments Off on A campaign like no other

A campaign like no other

I’m from a political family and I’ve never seen anything like this.

Notice the glimpse of the St. Patrick’s day logo. Detail, detail, detail. These folks are thinking all the time. It reminds me of Google. A few days ago my sister said this…

I have spent so many years arguing that candidates should invest more money in grassroots initiatives and great design and consistent, strong, motivational messages–this campaign demonstrates all of that and that is one of the reasons why I am proud to be supporting Obama in Ohio. I’ve always thought you can tell a lot about candidates by the kind of decisions they make on the campaign trail…I’ve just never seen a candidate run a campaign quite like this one.

It is a whole new style of campaigning. Calm, focused, aiming for an individual touch leveraged by technology and good design.

29 February 2008 . Comments Off on Who demonstrates more can-do?

Who demonstrates more can-do?

Clinton keeps saying that she will be ready to go “day one.” Check out this ad that tries to make that point through fear-mongering. And yet, at every turn her campaign has been out-hussled and out-organized by Obama. While Clinton whines about the rules in Texas and threatens a lawsuit to cast doubt on results that are not even in yet, Obama just keeps working away. Who shows more can-do spirit? Who do you want answering the red phone? I’d rather someone who shows they can get organized in a jiffy, stay smart under pressure, and bring people together toward common goals. That person is Barack Obama!

Update: It seems that the Obama campaign responded to the ringing telephone ad within a day. That’s responsiveness! A good sign for the general election if the Obama team is fending off Republican attacks. My question as a librarian: what about the reuse of the same images? Was the Clinton team using stock footage that the Obama team could also license? Or did the Obama team just lift the Clinton footage? It seams that this kind of reuse should be allowable, but I doubt any of these ads are release under Creative Commons licenses. This is an interesting YouTube-ification of the ad wars, it feels a lot like the kind of reuse the net generation is used to.

29 February 2008 . Comments Off on War Crimes

War Crimes

Let me go on the record as someone who supports not only the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, but also their trial on war crimes charges even after they leave office. America claimed that we could police our own war criminals when we refused to cede any authority to the World Court, we need to demonstrate that readiness or join the world in giving an outside organization the authority to do so. Bush and Cheney violated longstanding international treaty and law by invading a country under false pretenses, they should be punished for this act and for what it has cost both America and the rest of the world.

That said, I hardly expect us to be up to the task. As Naomi Wolf reports in the Huffington Post, our free society is the frog being slowly boiled. We don’t even hear half the news about our own policies. What are you prepared to do when your government arrests judges or declares an “emergency” and hands power over all branches of the federal government to the president? Not sure? I’m not sure either. And there is the danger of our present moment.

This presidential election cannot come a moment too soon. I pray every day for Obama’s safety. I pray that we will get to election day without an “emergency” interrupting our democratic process. The battle of our age is between fundamentalists and those with open minds, and the fundamentalists are in control. They won’t give up easily, I fear.

28 February 2008 . Comments Off on Palatschinken


The kids want palatschinken tonight. It was that or schnitzel, and I’m saving the schnitzel for Saturday. Palatschinken are super-thin Austrian pancakes with apricot jam inside and powdered sugar outside. Yum! This reminds me that while in Austria I found Bernhard’s Austrian Cooking site which pulls together (in English) recipes that are similar enough to Oma’s as to be trusted.


x eggs + (2/3 x) cups flour + (2/3 x) cups milk

28 February 2008 . Comments Off on Cracks in the Clinton record

Cracks in the Clinton record

I have been humbled for years by the work my sister and brother-in-law do with their law degrees. They are both blessed with wonderfully acute minds and the kind of careful seeing of the world that makes for a gifted lawyer. Yet instead of making the millions easily within their reach they spent years in New Orleans (moving to Cleveland just before Katrina hit) fighting for juvenile justice and those on death row. Ben is still working in Louisiana via a long commute, and he recently brought my attention to another aspect of Clinton’s record that I find disturbing, but unfortunately quite in-character.

The Clintons get elected under the promise of ending discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, and immediately passed the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy which was progressive only in comparison to the Salem witch trials, and mccarthyism.

When you add this, to Bill Clinton’s signing of the AEDPA (anti-terrorism, effective death penalty act) which effectively gutted the constitutional right to habeas corpus and the role of the federal courts in overseeing the implementation of the 14th amendment (designed to protect blacks in the south from over-racialized prosecutions), to his signature end of welfare, to his signing of the PLRA (prison litigation reform act) which effectively gutted the rights of individuals who are incarcerated from really challenging their conditions of confinement, the experience of Hillary’s tenure in the Whitehouse is a bit desultory for the poor, the downtrodden.

He pointed me to Doug Berman’s blog, where many more details can be found, especially about Sen. Clinton’s recent lonely (well, Bush and the R’s were on her side) opposition to retroactive reform of sentencing to eliminate the crack/cocaine disparity.

28 February 2008 . Comments Off on LGBT Obama

LGBT Obama

How proud can I be of this moment in US history? Mary and I joke sometimes about our track records, we’ve supported mostly losers for the presidency and it is hard to believe that someone so right for the office might actually win. But for this moment I need to bask in the possibility, let the dream sink in, let it maybe motivate me to make some phone calls into my home state of Ohio.

My sister passed along this wonderful letter Obama wrote to the GLBT community.

I thought I’d share this email I got from my friend Patrick Shepherd, founder of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats. I have to say, I’ve gotten nothing short of AMAZING online campaigning from Obama–down to the interpretations of his logo as you’ll note on this ad or in the Million Doors campaign that launches tomorrow and the ad that tags me when I play Scrabulous.

It came along with this ad. Another bit of beautiful design by the Obama campaign.

Who is their designer anyway? I’d love to know. Clearly somebody is paying attention to the small details that weave a seamless tapestry. I wonder who that is and I thank Barack and this campaign for clearly giving them the authority to make beauty a priority.

I did notice the LGBT version of the Obama logo has evolved a bit. I like the older version too, so here they both are, old and new, for the record.

BT18061-2T.jpg       lgbt-logo2.png

28 February 2008 . Comments Off on Ted supports Obama

Ted supports Obama

I was proud to see my uncle Ted Celeste’s name on a list of Ohio state legislators supporting Obama. Ohio is a wonderful state with something for everyone on the political spectrum. I’m sure that supporting Obama is not without risk for a friend of Ohio’s newly elected Democratic Governor Strickland, who is a Clinton supporter. Bravo, Ted!

28 February 2008 . Comments Off on It’s the little things

It’s the little things

I’ve been so impressed by the Obama campaign, at every level. From the beautiful website that hardly lets you pass go until you’ve signed up for the team, to the typeface they use, to the logo and the other artists who join forces even if they are not part of the paid staff.

But most impressive has been the way Obama uses language to draw each of us into the movement that is rising around him. In his articulation of the campaign it is rarely about him, it is about us. He talks of “this campaign” and what “we” can do.

Today Bob Harris caught another example of this attention to the little things that make such a big difference in the Obama campaign.

… the ad begins with “[i]f you are ready for change” — so that everything that follows is conditional: it’s you, not Obama, who is ultimately responsible for the future. If you don’t vote for Obama, the continuing mess is your own fault. But if you do — “[t]heir days of setting the agenda are over.”

I know the campaign will stumble and this won’t be easy, but right now these folks sure make it look simple and full of grace.

27 February 2008 . Comments Off on Obama has not lost

Obama has not lost

I remember before Super Tuesday saying to Mary, “You know, Obama has not lost yet.” I noted that the delegate count had either favored Obama or been tied in every contest to that date. I mused that the press liked to say Clinton won NH and Nevada, but in the way that counted (delegates), Obama tied one and won the other.

So it was interesting to find this on the front page of DailyKos today.

1/3 (IA) 16 – 15
1/8 (NH) 9 – 9
1/15 (MI) 0 – 0
1/19 (NV) 13 – 12
1/26 (SC) 25 – 12
1/29 (FL) 0 – 0
2/5 (SuperTuesday) 842 – 828 (11 still to be decided)
2/9 (LA, NE, WA, VI) 105 – 56
2/10 (ME) 15 – 9
2/12 (DA, DC, MD, VA) 111 – 57.5 (6.5 to be decided)
2/19 (HI,WI) 56 – 38

It comes from a comment on MyDD and documents that to date, Obama has won or tied every election day in this primary. If Clinton wins on 3/4, it will be her first delegate win of the race!

26 February 2008 . Comments Off on Do words make reality?

Do words make reality?

Arianna Huffington writes about the magic of words in the Huffington Post.

So let’s look at how Obama uses words. Contrary to Clinton’s charges, Obama never claims his words will somehow magically create change. Instead, he uses his words to ask the American people to demand change. … Which is why Obama’s constant invocation is “Yes we can” — not “Yes I can.” Obama uses words to persuade, to mobilize and to get people to imagine that reality can be changed. And based on how his campaign has been run, on the ground, in state after state, it’s clear that he knows changing reality is not done through magic — it’s done through hard work.

She spends a lot of time dissecting Clinton’s Bushy way of asserting an alternate reality through words, but I don’t care to go there. What I think is most interesting his her recognition that Obama uses words to build a movement, to empower the people around him, to dare to raise expectations.

We spend so much time lowering expectations so we can plus them later without jumping through as high a bar. I’m guilty of that all the time! Isn’t it remarkable that Obama calls out for the best in us and hits a resonant note, one that vibrates in our hearts and makes us want to be the force for that best vision? This is a pretty risky thing to do as a politician. He will have to govern down the middle somewhere, we will feel betrayed, but he is asking us to hold not only today’s Washington accountable, but tomorrow’s. He is asking us to be tomorrow’s Washington.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /