Monday, January 28, 2008

I just watched the video of this speech on Youtube and it gave me chills. TEloquent and inspiring, here is the transcript from Barack Obama's victory speech in SOuth Carolina from Saturday night.

Thank you, South Carolina.

Thank you to the rock of my life, Michelle Obama.

Thank you to Malia and Sasha Obama, who haven't seen their daddy in a week.

Thank you to Pete Skidmore for his outstanding service to our country and being such a great supporter of this campaign. Video Watch a thankful Obama after his primary win »

Over two weeks ago, we saw the people of Iowa proclaim that our time for change has come. But there were those who doubted this country's desire for something new, who said Iowa was a fluke, not to be repeated again.
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* Obama wins big in South Carolina primary
* ElectionCenter 2008: South Carolina

Well, tonight, the cynics who believed that what began in the snows of Iowa was just an illusion were told a different story by the good people of South Carolina.

After four -- after four great contests, in every corner of this country, we have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of Americans that we've seen in a long, long time.

You can see it in the faces here tonight. There are young and old, rich and poor. They are black and white, Latino and Asian and Native American.

They are Democrats from Des Moines and independents from Concord and, yes, some Republicans from rural Nevada. And we've got young people all across this country who have never had a reason to participate until now.

And in nine days, in nine short days, nearly half the nation will have the chance to join us in saying that we are tired of business as usual in Washington. We are hungry for change and we are ready to believe again.

But if there's anything, though, that we have been reminded of since Iowa, it's that the kind of change we seek will not come easy, partly because we have fine candidates in this race, fierce competitors who are worthy of our respect and our admiration.

And as contentious as this campaign may get, we have to remember that this is a contest for the Democratic nomination. And that all of us share an abiding desire to end the disastrous policies of the current administration.

But there are real differences between the candidates. We are looking for more than just a change of party in the White House. We're looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington.

It's a status quo that extends beyond any particular party and right now that status quo is fighting back with everything it's got, with the same old tactics that divide and distract us from solving the problems people face, whether those problems are health care that folks can't afford or a mortgage they cannot pay.

So this will not be easy. Make no mistake about what we're up against. We're up against the belief that it's all right for lobbyists to dominate our government, that they are just part of the system in Washington.

But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem and this election is our chance to say that we are not going to let them stand in our way anymore.

We're up against the conventional thinking that says your ability to lead as president comes from longevity in Washington or proximity to the White House. But we know that real leadership is about candor and judgment and the ability to rally Americans from all walks of life around a common purpose, a higher purpose.

We're up against decades of bitter partisanship that cause politicians to demonize their opponents instead of coming together to make college affordable or energy cleaner. It's the kind of partisanship where you're not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea, even if it's one you never agreed with.

That's the kind of politics that is bad for our party, it is bad for our country, and this is our chance to end it once and for all.

We're up against the idea that it's acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election. But we know that this is exactly what's wrong with our politics. This is why people don't believe what their leaders say anymore. This is why they tune out. And this election is our chance to give the American people a reason to believe again.

But let me say this, South Carolina. What we've seen in these last weeks is that we're also up against forces that are not the fault of any one campaign, but feed the habits that prevent us from being who we want to be as a nation.

It's the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon, a politics that tells us that we have to think, act and even vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us, the assumption that young people are apathetic, the assumption that Republicans won't cross over, the assumption that the wealthy care nothing for the poor and that the poor don't vote, the assumption that African-Americans can't support the white candidate, whites can't support the African-American candidate, blacks and Latinos cannot come together.

We are here tonight to say that that is not the America we believe in.

I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina. I saw South Carolina.

I saw crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children alike. I saw shuttered mills and homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from all walks of life and men and women of every color and creed who serve together and fight together and bleed together under the same proud flag.

I saw what America is and I believe in what this country can be. That is the country I see. That is the country you see. But now it is up to us to help the entire nation embrace this vision.

Because in the end, we're not just against the ingrained and destructive habits of Washington, we're also struggling with our own doubts, our own fears, our own cynicism.

The change we seek has always required great struggle and great sacrifice. And so this is a battle in our own hearts and minds about what kind of country we want and how hard we're willing to work for it.

So let me remind you tonight that change will not be easy. Change will take time. There will be setbacks and false starts and sometimes we'll make mistakes.

But as hard as it may seem, we cannot lose hope, because there are people all across this great nation who are counting on us, who can't afford another four years without health care, that can't afford another four years without good schools, that can't afford another four years without decent wages because our leaders couldn't come together and get it done.

Theirs are the stories and voices we carry on from South Carolina. The mother who can't get Medicaid to cover all the needs of her sick child. She needs us to pass a health care plan that cuts costs and makes health care available and affordable for every single American. That's what she's looking for.

The teacher who works another shift at Dunkin' Donuts after school just to make ends meet, she needs us to reform our education system so that she gets better pay and more support and her students get the resources that they need to achieve their dreams.

The Maytag worker who's now competing with his own teenager for a $7 an hour job at the local Wal-Mart, because the factory he gave his life to shut its doors, he needs us to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship our jobs overseas and start putting them in the pockets of working Americans who deserve it and put them in the pockets of struggling homeowners who are having a tough time and looking after seniors who should retire with dignity and respect.

That woman who told me that she hasn't been able to breathe since the day her nephew left for Iraq or the soldier who doesn't know his child because he's on his third or fourth or even fifth tour of duty, they need us to come together and put an end to a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged.

So understand this, South Carolina. The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It's not about rich vs. poor, young vs. old. And it is not about black vs. white.

This election is about the past vs. the future. It's about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity.

There are those who will continue to tell us that we can't do this, that we can't have what we're looking for, that we can't have what we want, that we're peddling false hopes. But here is what I know. I know that when people say we can't overcome all the big money and influence in Washington, I think of that elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day, an envelope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside the envelope. So don't tell us change isn't possible. That woman knows change is possible.

When I hear the cynical talk that blacks and whites and Latinos can't join together and work together, I'm reminded of the Latino brothers and sisters I organized with and stood with and fought with side by side for jobs and justice on the streets of Chicago. So don't tell us change can't happen.

When I hear that we'll never overcome the racial divide in our politics, I think about that Republican woman who used to work for Strom Thurmond, who is now devoted to educating inner city-children and who went out into the streets of South Carolina and knocked on doors for this campaign. Don't tell me we can't change.

Yes, we can. Yes, we can change. Yes, we can.

Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future. And as we leave this great state with a new wind at our backs and we take this journey across this great country, a country we love, with the message we carry from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire, from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast, the same message we had when we were up and when we were down, that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we will hope.
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And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words -- yes, we can.

Thank you, South Carolina. I love you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Been a hell of a week so far, getting back into the swing of things. I've begun riding my bike to the train station and on to Cartoon Network when I get to Burbank. It's a great way to save money on gas, and I figure I might shed a few pounds in the process. I've been whipped the past three nights.

The kids are doing great and Jake is feeling so much better. That's a huge relief.

A new Popdose Basement Song goes up tomorrow. Trying to come up with two columns a week is going to be a challenge. It's not that I don't have ideas, I just want the writing to stand up to what I feel are my own standards.

That's it for tonight. I think I'm just run down.

Aloha

Monday, January 14, 2008

At one point Saturday night, while Jacob and I sat watching Spider Man 3 in the bedroom, there came a shriek so loud from the front of the house, you'd have thought the Beatles had arrived on Ed Sullivan. Maybe that's a little too old for the girls who were in our house. Shall I say you'd have thought Zac Effron was delivering the pizzas! Sophie had her first slumber party. 9 girls came for the part and 8 slept over. I have never seen her so wide eyed with excitement and happiness. I imagine this is just the first.

All of the girls had a great time and Julie was the ultimate Mom/host. She had plenty of activities and games. Plus there were pancakes and donuts for breakfast.

Unfortunately, Jacob was and still is fighting a nasty cough. He went to the doctor's on Friday to get placed on antibiotics. He has his energy back and seems to be doing much much better than he was on Sunday. Now, he just has a horrible sounding cough whenever he gets excited. He stayed home from school today. He will go back tomorrow. I am hoping it is not difficult. Julie has to work in the morning and I have to be at work for a very busy day.

I'm not going to sit here and bitch about how stressful our lives are. There are people out there with worse problems. We shall somehow persevere.

Thanks for listening.

Aloha

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On a lighter note...

This week's Basement Song is posted over at Popdose. Be sure to check it out. It's a good story. And you even get a free cheesy love ballad. SCORE!

Now I have reason to dislike Sweeney Todd even more

From Monday's Variety...

"The achievement in makeup Oscar will go to one of seven films announced Monday by the Academy.

Big spectacles fill the list: "300," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." Two French-language pics were also mentioned: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "La Vie en rose." Eddie Murphy's many transformations in "Norbit" round out the contenders.

The Academy's makeup branch will screen samples of the films Jan. 19 and pare the list down to three in time for the complete nominations announcement Jan. 22."

You'll notice that "Hairspray" is not on that list and that is bullshit. "Sweeney Todd"? Really? For what, the flow of blood and the white makeup on the actors? Hell, might as well nominate "Saw" and "Hostel".

Each time I watch "Hairspray" I forget that it is John Travolta in a suit. And the fact that he dances his way through the movie is not only a tribute to him, but especially the makeup effects artists who created the suit and made it durable.

Damn.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"...let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me"
---Hillary Clinton, January 8, 2008

Is a 2% victory really the type of comeback America needs?

Or do we need a candidate that will draw in independents, moderate Republicans and the youth of America?

Just askin'.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire primary

I'm not sure how I feel about the results of tonight's primary. Certainly not as bad as I did last night after the OSU Buckeyes forgot to play football. I am beginning to lean toward Obama. I'll admit that during the debate last Saturday, it was Edwards that I found the most passionate and whom I felt spoke directly to me. I hate to say it, but I don't believe that John Edwards will get the nomination, not in today's political climate with instant text voting results and bloggers telling us all who is going to win. Thus, I am left with two candidates that I should be happy with. However, I have been very disappointed with some of the campaigning tactics the Clinton campaign has been pulling. Misquoting. Attacking the candidate personally. They speak of change, but are resorting to the same damn battle plans that have been used since the 80's. Shame on them.

Obama's eloquence in the face of defeat was inspiring. But was it really that much of a defeat? Clinton only won by 2 percentage points. TWO! I wouldn't call that a resounding comeback (and you knew she was going to throw "comeback" into her speech tonight). Obviously, the next month will determine who the democratic candidate will be. This is very exciting, but also somewhat tiring, too. It's only January. We have an entire year of this!

Until I am convinced otherwise, I am voting for Obama on February 5.

Aloha

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's the end of the first week of the year. Man, these past three work days have felt like 7 days combined. I'm wiped. It may have something to do with Sophie waking up at 2 a.m. the past couple of nights. Julie is sick as a dog. An upper resp infection and a sinus infection. This morning I thought she was going to keel over because she could barely catch her breathe. Talk about feeling helpless.

We have been in a mad scramble to locate a pink Nitendo DS to give to Sophie for her birthday. Now, we already have a white one to give to her, but the girl requested a pink one. I am quite sure she will be very happy with the white one. It's insane that so many kids have these game systems and I had barely heard of them before this Christmas. Am I so out of touch that I don't know what's hip with the kids anymore? Apparently so.

Right now, it is raining harder than I can recall in recent memory. Besides the downpour, the wind is whipping through the sky with incredible force. As I walked to the train station this evening, it did not matter that I had an umbrella. I was pelted in every direction by the rushing waters and found myself drenched in a matter of minutes. I should not complain. California needs the rain so desperately. When we first moved to Los Angeles, it would rain all winter. The past five or six years, we have not been getting the precipitation we need to replenish our dismal water supply. The only bummer is that tomorrow is Soph's birthday and we'll wind up spending most of the day inside. Still, I believe we'll find some ways to pass the time. I guess we could always give her the DS early.

The Popdose thing, so far, has been a good motivator for me. I am constantly working on these entries in my head and trying to better myself as a writer. And the cable modem has been a godsend. I am writing this entry at 10:20. I never would have done that before the cable modem. We have entered the new Millennium. And did I tell you we are using Vonage as our phone carrier? So far so good.

Well, I'm done for tonight. I hope whoever is reading this has a pleasant Saturday and stay dry.

Aloha

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I'm pleased to say that a bunch of folks have been checking out Popdose and today's Basement Song entry. Thank to all of you out there who took a look. Man, I'm wiped from a long day of work and just putting the thought into what the hell I'm going to write next week.

Sophie's 9th birthday is this Saturday. Nine years! I can't believe that this little girl has brought me so much joy and love for nine years. I often feel like time is flying by. In my mind, she was just born yesterday, you know? But then I look at her and I listen to her speak, and I have to come to terms that she is growing up very fast.

Aloha

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Popdose lives!

A couple of weeks ago I made the announcement that I would be contributing to a new pop culture website called POPDOSE. Well, the site has been up and running since January 1 and I urge you all to take a hop skip and jump over there to check out the outstanding writing and the music being offered. Popdose came to be after the demise of one of my favorite places on the Internet, "Jefitoblog". The guy that ran that site, Jeff Giles, is an outstanding writer and a talented web designer. I discovered his old site four years ago after Entertainment Weekly wrote up his "Idiot's Guide to Hall & Oates". After reading about the Philadelphia duo, I went and read most of his old postings. At one point, her wrote a guide to the work of Billy Joel and made a brilliant observation about Springsteen. I wrote him an email, sent him two of the best Springsteen bootlegs ever (which he posted on Jefitoblog) and a friendship was born.

Last year, Jeff was the mastermind behind "Bloggers for a Cure",which was a collection of some very talented writers raising money for the CF Foundation in the name of Jacob. He did this without my input and surprised the shit out of our family last Easter when they launched the campaign. Many of those same writers are working over at Popdose. Among them are Jason Hare and Py Korry, two wonderful guys I can now call my friends. They all did this not because I asked them but because they're good human beings.

I'm rambling on because I'm very excited about Popdose. In some way this is a dream come true. I'm going to be writing for a larger audience than I had here at thunderbolt and that is a little intimidating. But I'm up to the challenge.

What will I be writing, you ask? Well, the "Basement Songs" entries will be posted at Popdose every week. Jeff has been a long time supporter of these entries and I was more than happy to take them to a new home. Additionally, I will be writing a weekly column on television and film (mostly television). The Basement Songs will begin tomorrow, 1/3/07. And the television column (entitled "The Three Strike Rule) begins this Sunday.

I'm not promising greatness, but I will try to make all of you who come to thunderbolt on a regular basis proud. That doesn't mean that I'm going to be shutting down this site. In fact, I have some other news I plan to spring on the world in the next couple of weeks that will me thunderbolt very useful.

That's all I have for tonight. Please, please, please, check out Popdose (the link is to he right, of click http://popdose.com).

Aloha

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Little Chocolate Donuts

Julie looked at me, bemused. "When are you two going to learn?" The two she meant were me and my brother. The lesson we have yet to learn after over 30 years is to drink in moderation and not to mix alcohol (especially doing a shot of whiskey with a splash of egg nog just before you end the night). The hangover didn't hit me for a least an hour after I took my shower. Instead, my jaw was killing me. I have been known to grind my teeth at night and last night was a doosy. The throbbing in my head wasn't my hangover, it was like I needed a root canal.

After a queasy drive to the grocery store and three Advil, the ache in my jaw went away and my stomach began jumping rope. Bacon. Have you ever been hungover and someone begins frying greasy, salty bacon? I had to lay down. Couldn't even gather the strength the change the channel off of HGTV. Finally, around 11:00, I made it back into the kitchen. Sophie ad Jake were playing with heir cousins (who had spent the night) and the only food that sounded remotely appetizing was a little chocolate donut. So, I nibbled on a Hostess mini chocolate glazed and damn if I didn't start feeling better.

Are little chocolate the donuts the new cure all for hangovers? Hardly. But it's enough to get me through the rest of the day.

Happy New Year.