Friday, January 25, 2008

More Political Smoke and Mirrors: The Scheme to Help Us Spend Ourselves Out of the Recession

'Tax Rebate' my ass! This has nothing to do with taxes. The government is simply going to use the tax rolls to give people money ($300, or $600, or $1200 per couple) the government is going to have to borrow to give us all . In order to do that the deficit will be increased $150 billion, right?! That's borrowing. Quick: call the Chinese! (The concept of taxes only come in because the government is going to use the tax rolls to make up the national beneficiary list.)

Since the government is the people, the simple fact of the matter is: the government--our representatives--is facilitating everyone in America borrowing from themselves...a new spend now, pay later plan. As such, the 'tax rebate' is another financial shenanigan like the sub-prime mortgage fiasco which primarily got us into this mess!

Thanks, political leaders.

A better--and more honest--idea would have been to tell all Americans to increase our credit card debt by $2000 per person ($150 billion divided by 300 million people equals $2000). That way we could have saved all the bureaucratic salaries and the stamps required to mail ourselves our own money.

Of course, in that plan, the politicians couldn't have congratulated themselves on their 'bi-partisan' solution.

Vote for John Edwards.

Joke: A New Diet

"I tried a new diet: the gin and tonic diet. It's wonderful. I already lost three days."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From a Posting on My Acting Blog (...and visa versa)

"Kent Smith, a new friend, a member of the Euclid Ohio School Board, former candidate to the Ohio Assembly, and a colleague from our recent Iowa Caucus wars working for the John Edwards campaign, wrote the following on his blog of January 2nd from Iowa to his readers back home in Ohio. I repeat it modestly and proudly:

"Kent Smith: Day Six
Posted by Kent Smith January 02, 2008 11:41AM
Categories: Kent Smith in Iowa and visa verse

"Cliff Osmond is a 70-year-old character actor from Los Angeles. His first scene was a role on The Rifleman when he was 25.

"After a multiple-decade career that put him on countless television shows and movies (see for yourself at, he decided to open an acting school which later turned into several acting schools. Cliff has a smooth baritone voice, a fast wit, a charming demeanor and stand 6 foot 6 inches tall.

"Young Cliff Osmond was studying English at Dartmouth when he joined a campus theatre production in an effort to overcome his shyness. Sixteen plays later and with his Ivy League degree in hand, he hitch-hiked across the country to Los Angeles with $16 in his pocket.

"At the age of 40, in the midst of his acting career, Cliff was diagnosed with leukemia and told he only had six months to live. He beat the disease and the rest - as they say - is history.

"Cliff and I both arrived in Cedar Rapids on Christmas Day. Since our arrival, we have had dinner every night; New Years Eve included. Unlike myself, he had never been involved in a political campaign until one week ago. He became impressed with John Edwards' passionate stand against poverty and the fact that he has never taken a dime from Washington D.C. P.A.C.'s or lobbyists.

"Cliff called the Los Angels Edwards office to offer his help. But he longed to do more and soon contacted the Iowa operation and found himself on a plane headed for Cedar Rapids. Cliff had never gone door-to-door in the snow - he has now. Cliff had never made political phone calls - he has now. Cliff had never staffed a Presidential Campaign event - he has now, He had never heard John Edwards speak in public - he has now.

"When Cliff and I were assisting the Edwards event staff in Independence, Iowa (See the Blog from Day Three) two of the electronic media members covering the event quietly snuck over to me and asked if Cliff was an actor. I was happy to blow Cliff's cover and as a Hollywood Legend and Campaign Superhero. Cliff told them a few Tinseltown war stories and shared some Hollywood memories.

"After the event, the two guys came over to get their photo taken with actor Cliff Osmond; playing his most recent role - John Edwards Campaign Volunteer.

"This is why Cliff Osmond has consistently beaten me out for volunteer of the day. I only came close once, when I managed to sweet talk the building owner out of an additional restroom key."

The Attack Dog

Am I alone in finding the spectre of the ex-President of all these United States, Bill Clinton, now being reduced (or probably more truthfully, reducing himself) to the status of an attack dog for his wife's candidacy?

I know the Clintons are known for playing political 'hard ball', but his playing 'bad cop' during the campaign so his wife can play 'good cop'...I find the image overwhelmingly undignified.

Are his actions in the campaign in suppiort of her an unconscious attempt to eradicate guilt for what he pulled on her when he was President; a form of penance or payback?

I agree any guy should support his wife, but, come on...if ballplayers have an image-obligation to the kids of this country, shouldn't the ex-President of the US have even more.

Bill Clinton should watch how his supposed friend and fellow-ex-President George Herbert Walker Bush comported himself when his son ran for President. There was class.

Perhaps that's the real issue here...class.

Please, Mr. ex-President, show a little class...or we might think your wife only stayed with you all these years because she had no class...just ambition and political calculation.

"Even when he gets into the wheelchair, he'll still turn me on." Ode to an Old Man

I was told the other day "You are an antidote to narcolepsy." What a sweet compliment.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Two Chests; Two pins

The caucus members were tallied, the results sent in via cellphones to the state party headquarters in Des Moines, people were leaving the auditorium: Cedar Rapids, Iowa Democratic Precinct 32. I was moving chairs and putting cookies back into the boxes. I had done my duty as volunteer caucus aid for the John Edwards for President campaign.

A mother moved from her seat in the Edwards caucus area toward the door, accompanied by her teen-age daughter. Both were forlorn. Obama had gotten the most delegates. Edwards had finished third in this precinct--although second throughout the state. I offered them some cookies.

The mother asked me if I had an extra Edwards lapel button for her with his picture and "Edwards in 2008" written on it. Her daughter thought he was such a wonderful man. I said 'no'...but...I took the pin on my chest off, gave it to her. The daughter hesitated, shy: "But it yours", she protested. ""Not anymore," I said. The mother pinned it on her daughter's sweater.

The mother and the girl left, beaming, as if the daughter had gotten a handkerchief from a rock star.

I had this flash of insight--perhaps only hope--that the teenager would now remember political life in Iowa forever; stayed politically engaged. Then the cynic in me said she would toss the pin aside within a week, never campaign--much less vote--again.

That night, seated in Ruby Tuesday's restaurant having a turkey burger and a glass of wine, I recalled the previous nine days. During those consecutive 12-hour days, I had participated in the door-to-door canvassing for Edwards in the snows of Iowa, made a thousand (literally) phone calls on his behalf, met briefly he and his wonderful wife Elizabeth, seen the grass-roots politics that was basic American town-meeting democracy in all these caucus events, driven through the snow to attend a John Edwards speech in the back of Phil's Barbecue House in Independence, Iowa, where 300 people showed up despite the snow.

How can I be cynical about the young girl and the pin? To be cynical is to be non-American. Memories of Iowa would not let me. They were indelably pinned to my chest.

Clinton, Edwards, Obama: Four faces of anger.

Edwards' campaign is one of righteous anger; Obama's campaign is an attempt to transcend anger with co-operation; Clinton's campaign face is dual-pronged and cynically political: to convince women that she is still angry (at men, what else?) while pretending to non-supporters (mostly men) she is the softer, gentler Clinton.

Four faces; three candidates.

Don't Get Too Specific

The success of Barak Obama and Mike Huckabee is their vagueness. They fulfill America's desire for change without being burdened with particulars. Their popularity continues America's long dislike for thought (and intellectuals): "I'm too busy with my everyday 'pursuit of happiness' to think. I dislike anyone who's fixated on it. Just give me vague promises, stay out of my way and let me get on with my practical life". (Thus explains the state of our present educational system.)

Monday, January 14, 2008


At the Dallas airport, on the way to Iowa, I met a soldier. His name was on a name plate on his chest. Hamoush. He was in his mid-twenties. He was going to Cedar Rapids; so was I. He had just completed a year's tour in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was going home to spend a Christmas night and another week or so with Mom and Dad. Although I was headed to Iowa to do politics, it seemed irrelevant. I thanked him for his service to the country. Embarrassed, he made a gesture that 'it was nothing'. He sat down next to me, talked about what Mon was cooking for Christmas dinner, and how eager he was to see some of his buddies back home. He said he couldn't wait to get back, though; to be with his soldier buddies. It would "kill him if something happened to them while I was away". After a few minutes, it was time to board the little commuter plane that was to take us to Iowa. We climbed the steps from the tarmac. I said: "Thanks again. And Merry Christmas." He nodded. He sat a few seats ahead of me, across the aisle. His presence filled the whole plane.

The Promise of Obama; the Reality of Edwards

The implicit promise of Obama is: If I can bring together black and white in my person, I can bring together Red and Blue (Republicans and Democrats) as one nation. Nice sentiment, perhaps true...but I believe the only way Red and Blue will be brought together by a (1) a forceful,committed personality, who (2) has a specific plan to create One America, and (3) is not tied to the corporate and lobbying interests that are now benefiting from Red-Blue tension. The only candidate who satisfies all these criteria is John Edwards.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beyond Race, Gender and Sexual Persuasion

Properly, gloriously and to a great degree successfully, this country has for forty years focused of correcting problems of race, gender and sexual persuasion.

However, isn't it time for everyone in this country to start focusing on other problems: like corporate monoliths and their greed, poverty, middle class erosion, international tensions?

While great social progress has been made in the USA, in other ways the country has gone 'to hell in a hand basket'.

Isn't it time for gays, women and blacks to think beyond their narrower social concerns and focus on the greater concern which unites us all: being Americans?

Vote this year for the best American, not just a black American, or a female American. Vote for this country.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Anger modulated by intellect creates passion.

I am back from Iowa. More...and more...and more...on my trip later.