domingo, 30 de março de 2008

Philly Mayor Michael Nutter Would Quit Obama Church

Mayor Michael Nutter Tells ABC News He Would Have Quit Church if His Pastor Made Such Remarks

PHILADELPHIA, March 29, 2008

Sen. Hillary Clinton's most prominent African-American supporter in Pennsylvania says that had he been a member of Sen. Barack Obama's church, he would have left because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's fiery and controversial sermons.

"I think there's no room for hate, and I could not sit and tolerate that kind of language, and especially over a very long period of time," said Philadelphia's newly elected mayor, Michael Nutter, in an interview with ABC News' David Muir.

"If I were in my own church and heard my pastor saying some of those kinds of things," he added, "we'd have a conversation about what's going on here, what is this all about, and then I would have to make my own personal decision about whether or not to be associated or affiliated."

Asked by Muir if he would he have quit Obama's church, Nutter said, "Absolutely."

Wright preached that the U.S brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own "terrorism." He also said the government "wants us to sing 'God Bless America'" but that it should be "God damn America" for the way it has treated minorities.

Obama condemned the comments, but said he could not "disown" Wright. He suggested the incendiary remarks reflected longstanding anger over past injustices against blacks.

Nutter said, "I think there is a big difference between expressing the pain and anger that many African Americans and other people of color may feel versus language that I think now crosses the line and goes into hate."

Clinton needs a decisive victory in Pennsylvania to keep her White House hopes alive. And Nutter, who took office in January, could play a pivotal role if he is able to help Clinton make inroads with African-American voters, a pillar of Obama's political base.

The pressure on some of Clinton's prominent black supporters to abandon her has been intense. An icon of the civil rights movement, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., switched allegiances to Obama, partly because of anger in his home district over his choice for president.

Nutter has been called Philadelphia's Barack Obama. He is black, Ivy League-educated, popular and an agent of change -- just like Obama. But Nutter has remained steadfast in his support of Clinton -- to the surprise of many in this city.

The mayor acknowledges that some voters have approached him and asked, in his words, "Why not support a brother?"

"Somehow, someway, for some people there's an automatic assumption that a mayor who is African-American or some other elected official has to support another African-American," Nutter said.

"I thought that when Dr. King said that he wanted people to be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, I thought that's what he was talking about," Nutter added.

Nutter is sticking with Clinton, even though by doing so, he said he might be thwarting the election of America's first black president.

"Certainly the opportunity to demonstrate to my 13-year-old daughter that there is a bright future for her, that a woman could get elected president of the United States, is equally compelling," he said.

"I think that we are at this historical moment," Nutter said. "Either candidate will clearly make history. But you only get to vote for one. The most important thing is winning in November, putting a Democrat in the White House."

He added, "I'm a great fan of history. I don't know that when people are struggling to pay the bills, that they ultimately conclude that, 'Well, if we can just make history with this vote, then all of my problems will be solved.' It still, for me, always comes back to performance [and] track record."

Nutter met with both senators before deciding his endorsement. He brushes aside those who say he did not back Obama because Obama endorsed someone else for mayor.

"We're talking about president of the United States. They're not running for high school class president," he said.

"I think Sen. Clinton is the absolute best candidate for not only Philadelphia but for other cities like us, certainly for Pennsylvania [and] the United States of America, to restore our leadership role all around the world."

In a wide-ranging interview, Nutter voiced outrage [BLOGGER'S NOTE: the word "outrage" is a completely incorrect characterization of Nutter's comments -- he was quite calm while speaking.] that the Democratic Party is opposed to counting the Michigan and Florida primaries because both states scheduled the elections early in the primary season, against party rules. Clinton won those primaries -- though candidates were barred from campaigning in the states and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.

Counting the abridged votes from those states would help Clinton to narrow Obama's lead in delegates.

"Think about who we are in the Democratic Party and the country we are in," Nutter said. "That we would somehow leave out any of our citizens in this process, I think, would be an absolute disgrace. We need to be a bit smarter about it."

Political observers say Nutter's pick for president perhaps could cause him political problems down the road.

"The people who swept him to victory are exactly the same people who are over the moon for Barack Obama," said Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Chris Satullo.

The Rev. Ellis Washington, president of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, told The National Journal "there is some frustration" with Nutter's endorsement.

"I do speak to some who look at Nutter's name and kind of shake their head," he said.

A random sampling of voters here found others shaking their heads, too.

Philadelphian Victoria Walker said, "I would have thought that he would have endorsed Obama."

"I've struggled with this one a little bit, because from the perspective of Philadelphia, in many ways I see Nutter as a parallel to Obama," said long-time resident Fred Rosenfeld.

Nutter endorsed Clinton back in December, when she was the clear front-runner. Now she is struggling. But Nutter is having no second thoughts.

When asked if he would endorse Clinton again, Nutter said, "Absolutely. Same endorsement. Never a hesitation."

Link to article:

Inspiration versus Substance by Joe Klein

TIME Magazine, February 7, 2008

"We are the ones we've been waiting for," Barack Obama said in yet another memorable election-night speech on Super-Confusing Tuesday. "We are the change that we seek." Waiting to hear what Obama has to say — win, lose or tie — has become the most anticipated event of any given primary night. The man's use of pronouns (never I), of inspirational language and of poetic meter — "WE are the CHANGE that we SEEK" — is unprecedented in recent memory. Yes, Ronald Reagan could give great set-piece speeches on grand occasions, and so could John F. Kennedy, but Obama's ability to toss one off, different each week, is simply breathtaking. His New Hampshire concession speech, with the refrain "Yes, We Can," was turned into a brilliant music video featuring an array of young, hip, talented and beautiful celebrities. The video, stark in black-and-white, raised an existential question for Democrats: How can you not be moved by this? How can you vote against the future?

And yet there was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism — "We are the ones we've been waiting for" — of the Super Tuesday speech and the recent turn of the Obama campaign. "This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It's different not because of me. It's different because of you." That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.

That is not unprecedented. It has echoes of Howard Dean's 2004 primary effort, although in Dean's case the propellant was substance, not rhetoric — the candidate's early courageous voice against the war. But Dean soon found that wasn't enough. In June 2003 he told me he needed to broaden his movement, reach out past the young and the academic and find a greater array of issues that could inspire working people. He never quite found that second act, and his campaign became about process, not substance: the hundreds of thousands of supporters signing up on the Internet, the millions of dollars raised. He lost track of the rest of the world; his campaign was about ... his campaign.

Obama would never be so tone-deaf, but he is facing a similar ceiling, a similar inability to speak to the working people of the Democratic Party (at least, those who are not African American) or find an issue, a specific issue, that distinguishes him from his opponent. And his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has proved herself tough, specific and reliable — qualities that become increasingly important as the economy teeters and as worries about the future gather in the land.

This has become an odd campaign for Democrats. There is good news ... and fear. The good news is that this time the people seem far more interested in their party than in the Republicans. On Super Tuesday, at least 15,417,521 voted Democratic, and 9,181,297 voted Republican. And more good news: both Obama and Clinton are very good candidates who hold similar positions on most issues, moderates who intend to reach out to Republicans after they are elected — although, given Clinton's undeserved reputation as a partisan operative, that may be a tougher sell for her than for Obama. But this is not a struggle for the ideological soul of the party. It may, however, be a struggle for the party's demographic soul — older voters vs. younger, information-age workers vs. industrial and service workers, wine vs. beer. There is also — and I will try to tread lightly here — the classic high school girl/boy differential: the note-taking, front-row girl grind vs. the charismatic, last-minute-cramming, preening male finesse artist. Both Clinton and Obama have difficulties reaching across those divides, and that is where the fear resides: neither candidate may prove strong or broad enough. As this campaign progresses, their weaknesses — the reasons for their inability to put away this nomination — are going to become more apparent than their strengths.

Clinton's strengths are most apparent in debates, which is why she is pressing to have one each week. She simply knows more than Obama does. In recent weeks, she has been far more likely to take questions from the press and public than Obama is. That appeals to voters more interested in results than in inspiration; it especially appeals to the middle-class women, juggling job and family, who are the demographic heart of the Democratic Party. Clinton's weaknesses are intractable. They are wrapped up in her husband, who nearly ruined her campaign in the two weeks after Iowa but seems to have been relegated to the back of the bus in recent days. And they are wrapped up in her age. She is a baby boomer, of a generation that has been notably obnoxious and unsuccessful in the public arena. Perhaps the most dreadful baby-boom political legacy has been the overconsulted, fanatically tactical, poll-driven campaign — and Clinton has suffered whenever she has emphasized tactics over substance. Her lame attempts to "go negative" on Obama have been almost entirely counterproductive. Her husband's attempts to paint Obama as a "race" candidate — his resort to the most toxic sort of old-fashioned politics — only reinforced the strangely desperate nature of their campaign. It was the very opposite of "Yes, We Can" politics.

Obama's strength is inspiration, and it's also his weakness. In the recent past, Democrats have favored candidates who offer meaty, detailed policy prescriptions — usually to the party's detriment — and that is not Obama's game. After his Iowa victory, his stump speech had become a soufflé untroubled by much substance of any sort. He has rectified that, to some extent. He now spends some time talking about the laments of average Americans he has met along the way; then he dives into a litany of solutions he has proposed to address the laments. But those are not nearly so convincing as Clinton's versions of the same; of course, Clinton has a tragic deficit when it comes to inspiration.

There is an odd, anachronistic formality to Obama's stump speech: it is always the same. It sets his audiences afire, but it does not reach very far beyond them. It is no accident that Obama is nearly invincible in caucus states, where the ability to mobilize a hard core of activists is key — but not so strong in primaries, where more diverse masses of people are involved. He should be very worried that this nomination is likely to be decided in the big working-class primary states of Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Then again, one of Obama's most effective lines is about the "craziness" of trying the same old thing in Washington "over and over and over again, and somehow expecting a different result." The first politician I ever heard use that line — weirdly attributed to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein — was Bill Clinton. It is a sad but inescapable fact of this election that Bill and Hillary Clinton have now become "the same old thing" they once railed against. In a country where freshness is fetishized — and where a staggering 70% of the public is upset with the way things are today — the "same old thing" is not the place to be. Unless, of course, the next new thing turns out to be a mirage.

Link to article:,8599,1710721,00.html

quarta-feira, 26 de março de 2008

Arnaldo Jabor -- O homem versus o mosquito

And this is once again the reason that sometimes Arnaldo Jabor is my hero:

O Rio é uma calamidade urgente que tem de ser assumida

Não interessa saber se a dengue é uma epidemia ou não. A dengue é apenas a forma microbiológica que expõe o caos geral da administração do Rio. Os vírus proliferam pelo mesmo fertilizante que estimula a corrupção, a violência, a vergonha burocrática. A verdadeira epidemia é a administração da cidade que já atinge um grau de gravidade talvez irreversível.

Vivemos no Rio (oh leitores de outros estados!...) a sensação permanente do Insolúvel. Já temos a dengue, a febre amarela; um dia chegaremos à perfeição da varíola. Mas muitos sintomas eclodem alem da dengue: depressão, miséria, violência, ignorância. A própria crise psicótica do Cesar Maia também é um sintoma. Ele, que pareceu um exemplo de pragmatismo para quebrar a cadeia do populismo, entrou em catatonia, em paralisia mental, e não fala mais. Diante do Insolúvel, ele emite ruídos de e-mail como um robô quebrado.

O Rio de hoje é o filho defeituoso que a ditadura militar criou, pela fusão com o Estado fluminense, a estratégia "geiseliana" de afastar o MDB de uma possível vitória na política nacional em 75.

A des-fusão dos dois estados e a volta da Guanabara é um tema que surgiu, fervilhou e esfriou de novo, como tudo aqui. Seria uma utopia? Na Prefeitura, na Câmara Municipal, assembléias, repartições, vemos a cenografia e figurinos de nossa desgraça.

Estamos salpicados de favelas, de onde descem hordas de assaltantes para pescar cidadãos como num parque temático, somos governados por populistas de direita há décadas. Nosso melhor governador ("prefeito" do Estado da Guanabara) foi o Carlos Lacerda. Homem inteligente e competente - o ódio máximo de minha juventude - ( podem me esculhambar, velhos comunas...), mas que nos trouxe luz, água, túneis, urbanização e o conceito de administração moderna contra a politicagem fisiológica. Lacerda, com todos seus defeitos, era um atalho no populismo que tirou o Rio do ciclo "de dia falta água, de noite falta luz..."

Hoje, há um caldo de cultura de onde germina nossa tragédia. Ou melhor, duas grandes poças de cultura que se somam.

A primeira grande poça trágica é a imensa ignorância da população pobre, presa da demagogia de oportunistas que usam a religião, o clientelismo, o cabresto, grana, tudo para conquistar votos.

A crassa ignorância dos despossuídos é o chão onde crescem os pseudo-políticos, como a água parada gesta ovos de mosquitos.

A segunda poça de germes é mais sutil. Não está no analfabetismo, nem na crendice, nem na ingenuidade. Está no carioca médio e em sua "cultura malandra". Depois de décadas de desgraça, ainda não sabemos como agir, como nos mobilizar, além de vagos protestos, cartas a leitores ou comentários (como eu mesmo faço), na facilidade da indignação impotente.

Atraso x modernização

Cariocas, somos considerados criativos e manemolentes, quando hoje estamos mal informados e sem inspiração. Somos malandros com o terno esfarrapado, a navalha sem aço e o chapéu panamá rasgado. O carioca tem uma "poética" irresponsabilidade política. Carioca gosta de falar de política mas não de agir politicamente; tudo se afoga no chope ou na praia e chegamos, no máximo, a movimentos abstratos, pedindo paz, abraçando a Lagoa, cantando, chorando. O carioca é ideológico, mas deixa a política para os canalhas. E nossa única saída para a tragédia que vivemos seria uma virada pragmática, uma mudança, uma diferença de métodos e de ética. O Rio está organizado para "não" funcionar.

Tornou-se impossível governar sem uma macro-mudança administrativa. Precisamos de cinturões industriais na periferias, precisamos criar algum objetivo econômico para a região, seja a criação de uma "hong kong" carioca, uma base financeira e cultural. A idéia de que há uma "solução" para o Rio é uma falácia. Precisamos de atalhos, de imaginação. Não dá para retornar a uma "normalidade" ideal, apenas por uma corriqueira substituição de poder. O Rio tem de planejar seu futuro em cima de um luto, da aceitação de uma grave encrenca em estado adiantado.

Com a aproximação das eleições para a Prefeitura, dois cenários se apresentam na paisagem política: o atraso e a possibilidade de uma modernização. Marcelo Crivella é o uso da política como instrumento de outro poder. A prefeitura não como um instrumento para o bem da cidade. A cidade não como fim, mas como meio. Seus eleitores já foram escolhidos e apontados em sua primeira declaração contra Fernando Gabeira: "Ele é a favor de homem com homem, aborto e maconha". É nítido que ele vai usar a superstição, o moralismo tacanho, a ignorância e a obediência religiosa para se eleger, depois de ter sabiamente desviado Wagner Montes do caminho, ele o mais forte candidato no mundo da ignorância pública.

Para esta vertente político-religiosa, quanto mais paralisada a máquina da cidade, melhor. Quanto mais indefesos forem os aparelhos do estado, melhor. Depois do populismo chaguista no estado, depois da honestidade incompetente de Saturnino Braga, depois do brizolismo, da piração de Cesar Maia, involuímos para o populismo da fé.

Por outro lado, a possibilidade de eleição de Fernando Gabeira pode ser uma oportuna retomada de um pragmatismo que não se vê desde o boom do Estado da Guanabara. Não falo por salvacionismo, nem Gabeira seria um bonaparte. Falo porque ele pode criar uma nova vertente política, cortando caminhos pela imaginação, pela criatividade e pelo nível intelectual e contemporâneo que ele representa. Mudança de rumos, mudança: quase um Obama carioca.

Quem pode atrapalhar Gabeira? Homens e mulheres de bem, como Chico Alencar, Jandira, Eduardo Paes, que pensam ainda em termos legítimos (sem dúvida) mas também sem possibilidade alguma de vitória.

Eles teriam de entender e se coligar com o único que tem uma chance de vencer o populismo psicótico (sou um romântico). Entender que o Rio não é uma cidade a mais à espera de uma eleição. Somos uma calamidade urgente que tem de ser assumida, como o desmatamento da Amazônia ou a seca no Nordeste.

Alexander Calder!

Alexander Calder, Romulus and Remus, 1928. Wire and wood, 30 1/2 x 124 1/2 x 26 inches. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 65.1738. © 2007 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

quarta-feira, 5 de março de 2008

Star Trek -- Enterprise theme song: "Faith of the Heart"

OK, so now you know I'm a Trekkie.

One-minute version above.

If anyone knows where I can find the high-def 4-minute version (old copy taken down at youtube), please send me a message or make a comment here with the link -- I really miss it!  Thanks!

"Faith of the Heart"

It's been a long road,
To get from there to here.
It's been a long time,
but my time is finally here.

And I can feel a change
in the wind right now.
Nothing's in my way.
And they're not gonna
hold me down no more.
No they're not gonna hold me down.

'Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart
will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul.
And no one's going to bend
or break me.
I can reach any star.
I've got faith,
I've got faith,
Faith of the heart.

It's been a long night,
Trying to find my way.
Been thru the darkness,
Now I finally have my day.

And I will see my dream
come alive at last.
I will touch the sky.
And they're not gonna hold
me down no more.
No they're not gonna change
my mind.

'Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart
will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul.
And no one's going to bend
or break me.
I can reach any star.
I've got faith,
Faith of the heart.

I know the wind's so cold,
I've seen the darkest days.
But now the winds I feel,
Are only winds of change.
I've been thru the fire,
And I've been thru the rain,
But I'll be fine.

'Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart
will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul.
And no one's going to bend
or break me.
I can reach any star.
'Cause I've got faith,
'Cause I've got faith,
Faith of the heart...

Faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart
will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
And no one's going to bend
or break me.
I can reach any star.
'Cause I've got faith,
'Cause I've got faith,
Faith of the heart...