Politics

Democracy Gone Awry

November 2, 2008

Sometimes I look at things too simply. Take, for example, U.S.-style elections. Because we live in a democracy, the people decide who gets elected to make the big decisions that affect our lives. Therefore conducting free and fair elections should be the most efficient and effective thing we do as a nation. Oh silly me. […]

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Obama in the Window

October 31, 2008

My artist friend Benjamin Alexander Clark churned out twenty paintings of Barack Obama in three days this week. An amazing feat by any standard, though I’m not surprised given Benjamin’s talents and energy. As of this afternoon, four had sold — the fourth to me. The Obama paintings are prominently displayed at Cannibals on NW […]

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Democracy Under Seige

October 29, 2008

Four years ago on Election Day, I saw the face of voter intimidation. It belonged to a tall thick-chested man standing outside the elections office in Portland. He glowered at the people waiting in line, looking them over head to toe. He was among Republicans dispatched to “protect” us against voter fraud. Of course there […]

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News judgment is a fickle subjective beast. I spent most of my adult years exercising it, for better or worse. Now I spend free moments judging others’ judgment, a cynical hobby for someone obsessed with national politics the last several years. During this time I’ve become an avid blog reader, while increasing my news consumption […]

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What Is Up?

October 26, 2008

A new video making the rounds on YouTube updates the famously funny “Wassup” commercial, using the same actors but in scenes of grim poignancy. Instead of hawking beer, they show the travails afflicted upon the citizenry during the last eight years. What once made us laugh has turned tragic. The video reminded me of a […]

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Voting Like the Bear

October 23, 2008

No presidential election has consumed my life like this one. And it will soon be over, creating an emotional and intellectual gap that I’m not sure how I’ll fill. What will I read about incessantly? What will I talk about with family and friends? All signs point to Barack Obama winning. Unless something momentous happens […]

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One Angry Dude

October 15, 2008

I’m glad the presidential debates have ended. Too much anxiety watching them, though they served their purpose in educating people about both candidates. After the second debate, I read that eighty-six percent of Fox News viewers believed John McCain had won. That statistic may have been the second-most revealing element of the entire campaign. Objectively […]

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Something’s in the Air

October 11, 2008

At the Portland Farmers Market, roasting chilies perfume every cool breath. Autumn has thinned the crowds but not the produce. Along with poblanos, I buy what may be the year’s last peaches, several varieties of apples, shiitake mushrooms, and more. The once-ubiquitous volunteers registering people to vote are nowhere to be seen beneath the canopy […]

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‘Hiding in Plain Sight’

October 5, 2008

After closely following the mainstream media’s superficial coverage of the presidential campaign, I’m not surprised that much in Rolling Stone’s damning new portrayal of John McCain’s life and career isn’t widely known. The piece feels like a hatchet job but only because the sheer volume of negative information is so shocking. I’ve read some of it […]

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Political tie that binds

September 26, 2008

My friend Charlie and I came out of the closet last week. No, not to confess a hidden sexual orientation, but to reveal to each other our strong support for Barack Obama. We hadn’t seen each other for a decade, but when he made a comment that the upcoming election is the most important of […]

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Tonight south of Portland I saw a young guy wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “Kill All the Terrorists” in big letters. In smaller letters was the kicker: “And let Allah sort it out.”

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False facade of words

September 5, 2008

Reading for me is breathing. A good story, fiction or non-fiction, is among life’s wonders. I like fiction because it opens another world and allows me to inhabit it. I like non-fiction because if well done, it illuminates truths otherwise beyond my reach. All this brings me to Sarah Palin. The story she told at […]

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Votes lost in the ether

August 22, 2008

After reading this account of programming errors plaguing touchscreen voting machines in Ohio, can anyone have any confidence in a free and fair election? Too bad the story doesn’t detail if there’s any pattern to the dropped votes. For example, how do they correlate to the party registration of voters whose ballots aren’t counted? And […]

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