President Obama Brings Goosebumps To Madison

To be honest, I almost did not attend President Obama’s rally at the UW-Madison Tuesday afternoon.  Somewhere over time my patience with standing for hours, and being confined with thousands of people I do not know has lost some of its luster.  In addition, I thought that perhaps too many political rallies were under my belt and I could not be moved to the point where I would get goosebumps on my arms like I did twenty years ago.   After all I had reasoned, would it not just be easier to watch it on television?

It was not until noon on Tuesday that I made the decision to attend the rally.  It had been sixty years since a sitting President visited UW-Madison, and  for all the love I have of reading history I should just kick it in gear and get in line with all the others.  While I had attended two other presidential rallies many years ago (Reagan and Bush 41) this would be the first one for a Democrat.  This was history in the making I told my partner James, and we needed to attend.

It was the best decision we have made in months.  Here are three reasons why.

First, the public response to this presidential visit was inspiring.

More often than not when I turn on my television, or open my newspaper, I am confronted with political rhetoric from Republicans and others about President Obama being  ‘ a Marxist’, ‘a muslim’,  ‘ a socialist’ , or other factually incorrect terms.  So it was nice to have positive statements and real enthusiasm from a wide array of people who seemed to have a good grasp of the difficulties for governing a nation.  I heard many times today from young and old that President Obama has a very tough set of issues to deal with.  There was also a sense of respect and admiration present that is often missing when I read the news.  

Afterwards at a packed Fresh Madison Market on University Avenue everyone understood that we all had witnessed something special.  It did not matter if people knew each other or not, or were even from the same generation.  It was as if we all were connected by some invisible force.    We are.  We are Americans.   And I think many felt the same in the store as I did.  That  was worth coming to the rally all by itself.

Second, the background to a presidential rally is intense.

It is one thing to have presidential candidates press the flesh in Madison and ask for votes.  It is something else entirely to have the leader of the free world, the President Of The United States, land at the local airport and be driven in a battle-ready limousine to a rally site on a massive college campus.  There was not an inch over a wide swath of campus that did not have some form of law enforcement making sure that nothing would interrupt the rally, or cause anyone harm.    The seriousness of keeping the president safe was as much a part of the ‘show’ as the rally itself.  There are many men and women who devote their lives to keeping the president safe.  They are never thanked to the degree they should be.   Seeing them in operation today only confirms that fact.

Third, I got goosebumps.

Considering we did not get to the event as early as some we still were able to get to see a powerful American moment.  (Twenty years ago I would have been even closer!)  When Tom Barrett, candidate for Wisconsin Governor, made the energetic introduction of President Obama, and the crowd went wild it happened……my arms tingled with goosebumps.  As I write this I wonder how it ever crossed my mind that perhaps this would not have been the result.  Though James and I did not get to shake Obama’s hand we were able to feel the enormity of the event, the power of the presidency, and the feeling that in spite of all the national rancor there is plenty of reason to have hope.


Did John Boehner Cheat On Wife With Powerful Lobbyist?

Could this be the October Surprise?

Insiders on Capitol Hill are buzzing about an upcoming New York Times exposé that will detail an alleged Boehner affair. Sources say the Times is looking for the right time to drop the story in October to sway the election, similar to how the Times reported during the 2008 presidential campaign on an alleged John McCain affair that supposedly had taken place many years before and that was flatly denied by the woman in question.

Teabagger Condones Violence Against Homosexuals

I think this is truly ugly.  Not one bit cute or funny, and anyone who things otherwise is just disgusting.  It is just ugly.  And I think all too real and all too prevalent among a certain segment of the electorate that rants and raves all over the nation these days.  I ran into this story about anti-gay violence at the end of another story dealing with Jason Priest….as if this story about violence against gay folks did not matter too much!   It was almost unnoticed meshed in with another news story. 

… the president of the Big Sky Tea Party Association, Tim Ravndal, was ousted by his board of directors over the weekend for appearing to condone violence against homosexuals.

On July 23, Ravndal posted a message saying “Marriage is between a man and a woman period! By giving rights to those otherwise would be a violation of the Constitution and my own rights.”

That post, according to an Associated Press report, prompted another Facebook user to respond: “I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions.”

Ravndal responded: “Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?”

They were apparently referring to the 1998 murder of a gay University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and tied to a fence post.

This is where the battered body of Matthew Shepard was discovered tied to a fence post in rural Wyoming after he was murdered for being gay.  

Matthew was left for dead in freezing temperatures and died in hospital later. His skull was so badly fractured that doctors said surgery was not an option.

Republican Apologizes For Calling John Maynard Keynes “Big Homo”

Montana might be known for its big open spaces, but all the open spaces are not just in the countryside.  One of them is inside the head of Jason Priest who is seeking election to the Montana Legislature.

A Red Lodge Republican candidate for state Legislature is apologizing for sexual remarks posted on Facebook.

Jason Priest submitted an open letter of apology to the Carbon County News for remarks he recently placed on an acquaintance’s private Facebook account.

In the back and forth of a discussion about the federal stimulus spending and economist John Maynard Keynes, Priest referred to Keynes as a “big homo” and suggested that President Barack Obama was figuratively painfully sodomizing America with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“I offended people with an in-artful and hurtful remark and I apologize for it,” Priest said.

In a letter of apology to the Carbon County News, Priest wrote “recently I posted a comment online that was offensive to some of those who read it. My passion for controlling spending overcame my better judgment and my crude metaphor understandably detracted from the point of my comment. It was a poor choice of words and I apologize to anyone I have offended.”

When the image landed in Allison Smith Estelle’s email box nine days ago, the director of the community’s domestic violence and sexual assault program was disappointed. Priest is her neighbor, and their children are the same age. The candidate’s comments were the kind of remarks Smith-Estelle tells Red Lodge children aren’t appropriate.

“What I see is the issue of language that is derogatory and often hurtful and hateful speech that can also lead to other forms of violence,” Smith-Estelle said.

She contacted the candidate to see if the remarks were truly his. Priest acknowledged they were, and Smith-Estelle forwarded the post to others. A week later, people were forwarding Priest’s Facebook remarks to her.

Priest said he has heard from a few residents. Despite the e-mail churn, few people have openly criticized Priest’s remarks. The day the Carbon County News published Priest’s letter of apology, which didn’t mention the social network Facebook or the gist of what the candidate said, there was no other reference to the incident in the local paper.

Many residents are mad, said Betsy Scanlin, a former Red Lodge mayor who worked with Priest on the City Council. Scanlin called the comments pornographic and socially inappropriate. She said the remarks gave Priest’s opponents a glimpse of how he refers to them when he feels he can be candid.

“My feeling is that his passion is overriding his rationality and good taste,” Scanlin said. “These times beg for responsible and rational people. These times don’t call for inflammatory and disrespectful discourse.”

President Obama Speaks Out About FOX (FAUX) News


What do you think of Fox News? Do you think it’s a good institution for America and for democracy?
[Laughs] Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.

Former President Jimmy Carter Hospitalized


Former President Jimmy Carter was hospitalized in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday morning after becoming ill while flying there, CNN reported.

The former president was rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center on this morning immediately after a plane he was riding in touched down at Cleveland Hopkins airport.

Freeman reports that Carter was aboard a Delta Flight that landed at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, and according to airport spokesperson Jackie Mayo, Carter became ill aboard the flight.

Mayo did not know the nature of the President’s illness. Officials at MetroHealth Medical Center would not provide information on the President’s condition.


Jackie Mayo, the public information officer for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, said the 39th president was transferred to the hospital at approximately 11:30 a.m. ET after paramedics met Carter’s plane upon its arrival.

Carter was reportedly in Ohio to autograph copies of his new book, “White House Diary,” at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in the suburb of Lyndhurst.


“While on a flight to Cleveland, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter developed an upset stomach, and, upon arrival, was taken to Metro Health Hospital for observation,” according to a statement released by The Carter Center in Atlanta. “He is resting comfortably and is expected to resume his book tour this week.”

Muslim Superhero To Strike Fear In Conservatives

This will rile a segment of the nation….you just watch and see.

Comic book fans will soon be getting their first glimpse at an unlikely new superhero – a Muslim boy with superpowers who uses a wheelchair.

U.S. philanthropist and businessman Jay Snyder flew 12 disabled Americans to Damascus, Syria, to meet a group of disabled young Syrians, and one of their goals was to come up with story lines for the new superhero.

Liquid Comics is now turning the young people’s ideas into pictures and a story for the first comic.

The superhero’s appearance hasn’t been finalized, but he definitely will be a Muslim boy in a wheelchair. An early sketch shows a boy who lost his legs in a land-mine accident and later becomes the Silver Scorpion after discovering he has the power to control metal with his mind.

Sharad Devarajan, co-founder and CEO of Liquid Comics, said the goal is to release the first comic book – launching the disabled Muslim superhero – in early November in both Arabic and English.

Initially, 50,000 Arabic-language comics will be distributed throughout Syria, and subsequent issues will be distributed elsewhere in the Middle East, Snyder said.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Looks At Death, Plans Power Transfer

This was the news most expected.  I have been rather fascinated over the future of leadership in  North Korea, and am still wondering how the military will view the news.  As long as they are paid and fed…….?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il appointed his third son as a four-star general, North Korea’s official media reported early Tuesday, in the first time that Kim Jong Eun has been publicly named in the country and the biggest sign yet the family is attempting another father-to-son power transfer.

Kim Jong Il also appointed his sister, Kim Kyoung Hui, as a four-star general, in what is perhaps the first time a woman has held such a job in North Korea.

The elevation of Mr. Kim’s sister, who has played an active role in economic policies as head of the country’s light industries, is a sign that she may be thrust into leadership if Mr. Kim were to die before the younger son is ready to take over. Her husband, Jang Song-taek, for several years has been Mr. Kim’s closest associate and is seen in public far more than she is.