Saturday, November 29, 2008


I just found a program that let's me blog from my phone. The spell correction is a little annoying though. Like let's it's always let us not the other let's and it doesn't want to listen to me.

Note: When I'm not writing in my bed at 6am I still like the phrasing of "Like let's it's always let us"

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Have a Film Screening Coming Up

So, I have a new film screening in Minneapolis on Dec. 12 & 13.

It's a collaboration with a very talented choreographer, Mandy Herrick. The film is called "Alongside Sympathetic Neurons," and it's screening with a few other short film collaborations between Minnesota based filmmakers and choreographers. The screenings will be accompanied by a live performance with music performed by To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie and is being put on by Cinema Revolution.

The Press Release and info on the screening is listed below.

The Dance Film Project - Press Release

Cinema Revolution Presents
"The Dance Film Project"
at Intermedia Arts
December 12 and 13, 2008

Cinema Revolution presents
an evening of choreography for the camera

• Mad King Thomas and Katinka Galanos
• Vanessa Voskuil and John Koch
• Justin Jones and Kevin Obsatz
• Mandy Herrick and Dustin Nelson
• Katie Richey and Garrett Tiedemann
• Erica Pinigis
• Megan Mayer and Kevin Obsatz

• Laurie Van Wieren
• Sally Rousse of James Sewell Ballet
• Anna Marie Shogren
• Charles Campbell of Skewed Visions
• Kristin Van Loon of Hijack
• Elliot Durko-Lynch
...among others.

AND also live performances by choreographer April Sellers and musical group To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie.

Friday and Saturday, December 12 and 13, 7 PM

Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
For map and directions click here

Tickets: $8 - $12 sliding scale (available at the door) General Admission
Show a Cinema Revolution store receipt at the door and get $2 off ticket price.
Dance Films Descriptions:

“Reverb” by director Katie Richey and filmmaker Garrett Tiedemann. Four women search the echoes of space and time. While compelled forward through programmed behaviors and a maintenance of group dynamics an underlying curiosity keeps them tracing peripheries of unknown origin.

“4-Frame Dance Project” by choreographer Justin Jones and filmmaker Kevin Obsatz. Obsatz runs four digital cameras simultaneously, each facing in toward the center of a square to capture a single choreography and displayed on the screen simultaneously in a four-square layout. The dance relates to the placement of the cameras, resulting in disorienting and surprising effects produced by this particular method of capturing and displaying choreography. The technique is repeated by 8 different dancers each giving their unique take on the perspective. Featuring performances by Justin Jones, Anna Shogren, Laurie Van Wieren, Mad King Thomas (Theresa Madaus, Tara King, Monica Thomas), Charles Campbell, Kristin Van Loon, Elliott Durko-Lynch and Megan Mayer.

“Coarse Confluence” by choreographer Megan Mayer and filmmaker Kevin Obsatz. Megan Mayer, a dance artist/choreographer and photographer based in Minneapolis, is the solo performer in this site-based dance film, which is the result of an interest in the intersection between movement and film. Megan performs in an array of natural landscapes, her dance interacting with and reflecting upon her surroundings.

“throne/thrown” conceptualized by choreographer/director Vanessa Voskuil and filmmaker John Koch. Taking its impetus from WB Yeat's poem "The Second Coming," “throne/thrown” explores the search for the position in one's life by which to conduct one's authority over it. Directed and conceived by Vanessa Voskuil (2006 Sage Award for Outstanding Design) and John Koch (Cinema Revolution store owner and filmmaker), “throne/thrown” strives to create a frenetic, visually compelling, and cinematically moving experience.

“Alongside Sympathetic Neurons” by choreographer Mandy Herrick and filmmaker Dustin Nelson. Herrick and Nelson explore site-based dance, investigating particular locations and how they can be perceived differently through changing the typical movement, behavior, time, and perspective of each site. The exploration and movement inspired by the body-site, within the context of a geographical-site, illustrates a parallel in both body and place.

“Cuddle” by choreographer/filmmaker Erica Pinigis. Stop-motion is used to show the dance of two lovers lying together, suspended in black space and bound by a single bed sheet, as their bodies intertwine, merging, coming apart and back again, exploring the movement and gesture of romantic love.

“I'll be on the dock in a minute” choreographed and conceived by Mad King Thomas and filmmaker Katinka Galanos. Sally Rousse, co-founder of James Sewell Ballet, stars in this semi-biographical dance, filled with both truths and fictions about her life. Sally tells a story about being run over by a truck when she was a small girl, featuring peculiar and fantastic interview footage mixed with live-action reenactments/re-interpretations of the events. The following themes are informing the work: the scale of human bodies (over time and between individuals), rewriting history, investigating the function of truth vs. fiction, and the dynamics of tangential conversations.

Performance Description:

April Sellers (Sage Award honoree for Outstanding Performance 2005) will restage her multi-media duet, "Women Bathing," which reveals the female form in 17-gallon metal washtubs. "Women Bathing," originally created with support by the Minnesota State Arts Board, will feature video by Kelly Radermacher, original music composition by Michael O'Brien, and performances by Kelly Radermacher and Pam Plagge.

About the Project:

In anticipation and celebration of Cinema Revolution's fifth anniversary, store owner and filmmaker John Koch hosted an open call last April for filmmakers and choreographers to come together and create original short works for the camera or for live performance and camera. Koch proposed that the participants explore the expressiveness of dance through a cinematic language placing themselves in site-specific contexts and focusing on the various structures of time.

Artist Information:

KATINKA GALANOS, filmmaker and artist.

MANDY HERRICK finds inspiration for dancemaking in public restrooms, inside her closet and on top of her skin. A freelance dancer and improviser, she has performed with the Black Earth Collaborative Arts Company, the Red Herrings, Jin-Wen Yu, Olive Bieringa, Sarah Jacobs, and currently dances with the Ready At Will (RAW) Dance Collective in Minneapolis. Mandy is a Certified Global Somatics Practitioner and works at the Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

JUSTIN JONES is a choreographer, sound designer and dancer. His choreography has been seen in MPLS at Bryant Lake Bowl, Patrick's Cabaret, Red Eye and the Southern Theater; in New York at CBGB’s, Galpagos Arts Space, The Gershwin Hotel, The Knitting Factory, The Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater @ Symphony Space, LaMama Etc., Sarah Lawrence University, The Theater at the Riverside Church and Ur; and in Seattle at Velocity Dance Center. Justin creates sound design for his own choreography and for other theater and dance makers including Ivy Baldwin, Genevieve Bennett, Chris Schlichting and Chris Yon. He has performed in the choreography of Tere O’Connor, Nick Leichter, Morgan Thorson, Kara Tatelbaum, Billy Siegenfeld, Chris Schlichting and Robin Lakes. Jones is a 2007 McKnight Foundation Choreography Fellow. He was also a 2003 NYFA Fellow for his work with long time collaborator Chris Yon holds and he holds BFA in Dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

JOHN KOCH is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and studied photography and film at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, graduating with a BFA in Photography in 1999, with also a post-bac semester at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy in 2000. After returning home to Minneapolis he opened Cinema Revolution, a DVD rental store which focuses solely on foreign, independent, documentary, classic and cult films. The store has since grown into a local institution for film lovers, winning four straight City Pages "Best of the Twin Cities" awards. Koch has made seven short films and finished his first feature film "Je Ne Sais Quoi" in early 2008, which screened at the Ritz Theater for a two week run in June 2008 and at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival in August 2008. He is currently in production on his next feature “The Seducer”, an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s “White Nights”.

MAD KING THOMAS is the collaboration of Tara King, Theresa Madaus and Monica Thomas. Formed in 2004 at Macalester College, the trio has performed at the 2006 Minnesota Fringe Festival, in Emily Johnson's Windfarm Series at the Rogue Buddha, at Macalester Colllege, in the 2005 American College Dance Festival, in 9x22 Dance Lab at the Bryant Lake Bowl, as guests in John Munger's Third Rabbit Show, in capture! the dance film series of Catalyst and Firetrunk Records, and in the 2007 Queertopia, a cabaret curated by Outward Spiral. They were recently awarded a 2008 Sage Award for Outstanding Performance for their work Premium White Morsels presented by Intermedia Arts' Naked Stages. Mad King Thomas creates dances that mix choreography, theater, prop handling, pop music, dress-up, and humor. Their ability to tackle culturally relevant material in entertaining, irreverent and surreal ways makes a singular brand of social commentary.

MEGAN MAYER is a performing artist, dancer, choreographer, director and photographer based in Minneapolis and directs an ongoing video project in which she dances in public bathrooms ( Her work has been commissioned by the Minnesota History Center and has premiered at Bryant-Lake Bowl, Walker Art Center, NYC's CATCH series and at The Soap Factory. Recent performances include Karen Sherman's “Tiny Town” at Theater Artaud in San Francisco and Laurie Van Wieren’s “like a movie I saw once” at The Ritz in Minneapolis. Megan will premiere a new work this July as part of Momentum: New Dance Works, commissioned by The Walker Art Center and The Southern Theater.

DUSTIN LUKE NELSON is the founding editor of InDigest Magazine, and is a contributing writer with Guernica, Tiny Mix Tapes, Favorite 10,Twin Cities Daily Planet, and other places. His films have appeared behind bands, at some festivals, in some small bars, and on home entertainment systems. He currently resides in Brooklyn.

KEVIN OBSATZ is a filmmaker and a time-based media artist. He is involved in all kinds of projects, including documentaries, installation work, hand-developing 16mm and super-8 film, and web video. His recent feature-length documentary, Journeyman, has screened all over the country, and has won "Best Documentary" awards at the Gloria Film Festival and the Landlocked Film Festival. He has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, Northern Lights and IFP, and has created work with numerous performing artists and nonprofit organizations, in Minnesota and nationwide. Examples of his work are available at

ERICA PINIGIS is originally from Madison, Wisconsin, where she began her dance career at the Kanopy School for Contemporary Dance and Choreography. She has performed with the Kanopy Dance Company, Peel and Core Dance Company, University Dance Theater at the University of Minnesota, Zenon Block E performance group, and Marylee Hardenbergh’s Global Site Performance. Erica has just received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Minnesota. Since graduating, she has produced and choreographed Ooh La Lounge: An Evening of Dance and Jazz at the Suburban World Theater and the Varsity Theater, and has co-choreographed and produced Lulladreams & Insomnimares at the Red Eye Theater. This August, she began an artist residence at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, where she will produce a show at the end of her tenure.

KATIE RITCHEY is a local filmmaker, dancer, theater director and videographer. She works for Bellagala as lead videographer and owns her own videography and directing company, Behind the Scenes, with an emphasis on documentary style filmmaking. Katie performs Irish step dancing with the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band and recently collaborated and performed as lead vocalist on the Minnesota Centennial Showboat's production of 'A Mississippi Panorama.' Katie directs local events such as the annual Off the Page event where local real world writers and artists, such as Dan Barreiro and Gail Rosenblum, are interviewed by local high school students in an on stage community forum. She has also staged managed for local theaters including Theater Unbound. Katie studied acting theory under Kari Margolis and recently worked as a Studio Technician and Teaching Assistant for the CLA TV Studios. Katie graduated with high distinction from the University of Minnesota and is an alumni of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

APRIL SELLERS moved to Minneapolis in 1997 after graduating with a BFA in dance from Ohio State University. In addition to appearing as a dancer in original works of Liz Lerman, John Munger, Judith Howard, and Laurie Van Wieren, Sellers has established herself as an innovative choreographer and dance educator. She founded the April Sellers Dance collective in 1999. Ms. Sellers work has been seen at the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Fringe Festival, RedEye Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, and the Varsity Theater. She is currently on faculty at St. Cloud State University.

GARRETT TIEDEMANN is a filmmaker, writer, painter, musician, photographer and poet. Between 2003 and 2007 he directed 16 films both in the Twin Cities and Los Angeles community that range between documentaries and fiction of many genres like comedy, thriller and drama. Often focusing on the development of personal identification, experiences of time and the influence of space; his films draw heavily from the era of silent cinema and an understanding that the films did in fact have a sound - it was just different from what is typical of a film’s sound today. This understanding is applied heavily to his films’ construction often turning the sound into a character all its own. He is currently submitting his feature film “Trickery Mimicry” to festivals around the world and is in pre-production on two separate documentary projects he is directing in 2009. To learn more go to

VANESSA VOSKUIL is co-founder/artistic director of the ensemble-driven performance company Live Action Set and an independent choreographer. Her individual work is specifically characterized by its ongoing search for new kinds of cooperation between dance, theatre, visual art, architecture and new contexts for presentation. Voskuil is known for her unique physical style of emotional storytelling and freely takes leave of conceptual ideas surrounding dance and theater often utilizing dynamic and poetic stage designs. Through her own physical idiom, she abstracts simple movements from everyday life into rich expressions of dance-theater. Her work has been presented at theaters and universities throughout the twin-cites area. Vanessa is a recipient of a 2006 Sage Award for Outstanding Design for her production, THE WHITE SOLOS and has been funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Moore Family Fund for the Arts of the Minneapolis Foundation. Vanessa is a long standing company member with Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater and has previously worked with site-specific performance company Skewed Visions and Catalyst Dances. She holds a BFA in Dance and BA in Theater from the University of Minnesota.

About Cinema Revolution:
Cinema Revolution is a locally owned and independent DVD rental store in south Minneapolis that specializes in foreign, independent, classic and cult films. The store recently opened its doors on a new retail space on October 16th, which was made possible largely by the support of member donations and the local film community banding together with contributions. The store is widely acclaimed for its selection of hard to find films, having won four "Best of the Twin Cities" awards from City Pages, and has a loyal following among film connoisseurs in the Twin Cities. The store has always been a strong supporter of the local film community, sponsoring and hosting many community events and film festivals since its inception in 2003. Past event highlights include the monthly Cinema des Artistes screenings at the Varsity Theater, two previous Anniversary parties featuring local film and music, the originally commissioned Fortune Cookie Film Project, Wednesday Night Film School and the GLBT Film Discussion series.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Watch This Ad: This is Great

This is oddly effective.

Funny that we don't have commercials that are this complex in America. Our commercials tend to lay it out there for you. In America this commercial would end by saying "Wind energy is not as inconvenient as you might think. Even though this guy is a jerk someone found a way to love him. So, if you don't like wind turbines you should maybe give it a chance and then you might not think it's so bad, just like this guy and his friend. He hit the other guys paper, and that was probably annoying, but now they are friends. That could be you and wind energy. So, what do you think? Do you think you could give wind energy a chance, like the guy with the paper gave the weird annoying guy a chance? Hmmmm?....The Wind." And I don't think that would be as effective.

InDigest Issue 8

Issue 8 of InDigest is up and at it, right now.

What You'll Find In InDigest This Time:

New fiction from Jimmy Chen:

Each party was documented extensively using digital cameras. Everybody at the party took pictures of the party—either of other people, or more commonly, of themselves with other people, using a method in which one extends one's arms out at an upward angle, holding the camera at a backwards orientation towards themselves while taking a picture.

A gallery of animalia influenced paintings by Gina Germ

In Poetics both Eric Gudas and Nathan Hoks offer up some wonderful new work.

Charles Greene continues to purport that Ulysses is the greatest novel ever, in part II of The Ulysses Sage. Part II delves a little deeper into why exactly the novel is widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literary fiction ever created.

Jess Grover takes on the newest collection of poetry from his former professor Alex Lemon in this month's Is That Cowardly? Jess acknowledges his bias, calls Lemon out once or twice, and states:

Make no mistake: I love Alex Lemon...This is a review of his second volume, Hallelujah Blackout, and it will likely contain descriptions such as magnificent, fractured, ardent, spatially resistant to replication on this page and seductive like a heart drawn on a splintered windshield by lipstick held between the toes of a young person with some sort of prominent facial asymmetry. (Crooked tooth, cleft lip, small stone of gravel healed into the chin).

Bedside Stacks takes a closer look at Anthony Varallo's newest collection Out Loud. Varallo's intentionally tepid dissection of suburban life, the objects that give the life meaning and the fantasies encounter in this landscape are both the pleasure and the bane in this month's column.

That's all for this issue. But keep checking back. We are about to have our one year anniversary here in the InDigest offices and we are going to have a special issue and a big announcement to accompany that special day.

As always, thanks for reading.

Dustin Luke Nelson & David Luke Doody

Friday, November 21, 2008

Klosterman on Axl

Chuck Klosterman just reviewed the new Guns N' Roses Album, Chinese Democracy, for The AV Club, and this is classic Klosterman. It's laboriously funny, great stuff. The first paragraph reads:

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can't psychologically prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears cornrows.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hillary Clinton to be Barack Obama's Secretary of State

The Guardian is reporting that insiders are saying Clinton is going to accept Obama's offer of the Secretary of State in his administration. The process is on hold at the moment as his transition team vets Bill Clinton's charity that donates millions of dollars to Africa every year, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest, but it appears that the early reports that the position would go to Bill Richardson or John Kerry are no longer coming to fruition.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Judah Friedlander Sells Bad Art

Judah Friedlander is selling bad art for New York Cares at (le) Poisson Rouge next Thursday with Xiu Xiu. Awesome.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Devil's Music

I have just partaken in an argument extolling the virtues of Randy Newman's 1968 debut album, in which I took the position that Newman is quite easily one of the greatest American song-writers ever. After playing both "The Beehive State" and "Love Story (You and Me)" I played "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield" from his second album 12 songs. The argument devolved into my counterpoint digressing that you can't understand what he is saying, and I countered that she sounded as though she thought he was playing the devil's music. At which point we agreed that we wished there were an instrument that was objectively the Devil's. I would play it.

UPDATE: I just need to note a text message I received while at the Cloud Cult show last night that was directly related to this post. (where it says "Cloud Cult" will eventually be a photo gallery I did for that show, but I'm not putting it up this morning).

from Ah:
I don't know how to play any instrument but if an instrument truly came from the devil I would sell my soul to learn to play it.

It warms my heart.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One of the more interesting parts of this week has been observing the varied reactions to the news of Obama's victory. Fox News was somber, but congratulatory, and recognized how historic the event really is. The Republicans appear to have been completely divided in this election, much in the same way the Democrats were when Eugene McCarthy decided to challenge the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson (both were Democrats).

Part of the Republican party, dare I say the more centrist conservatives, are blaming Sarah Palin for their defeat. This charge is being led by the McCain staffers who are making claims such as that Mrs. Palin was not aware that Africa is not a country and that she could not name the countries involved in NAFTA (you know, those three that are in North America). Full disclosure: I think Palin is not very bright, and I fear a country that has her as a leader, but not knowing that Africa is a continent is a pretty heavy charge. Despite the fact that our public school systems are not in the best shape I think you'd have a tough time finding a high school student who is not aware of Africa's stance in the continent/country relationship.

The other half of the Republican party has rallied around Palin. In fact it seems that more than half of the party is rallying around Palin. A recent poll indicates that 64% of Republicans want Palin to run in 2012. This would be the religious right that didn't think McCain was conservative enough.

Nonetheless, the reactions have been favorable towards Obama (for the most part). It seems to me that the country realizes that he is the president for the next four years, no matter what, so it's time to make the best of it. Though, this certainly is not a unanimous reaction, there have been reports of hate crimes across the country in connection with the election, and there have certainly been some pundits who are ready to attack.

One in particular, the ever devisive Ann Coulter, published an article in Human Rights (oh, the irony) called "The Reign of Lame Falls Mainly on McCain." It shouldn't be shocking that she has published a largely offensive article deriding the opinion of most Americans (at least the voting Americans). But the article goes beyond what I expected in the first week following the election. Especially after Fox News didn't even get too mixed up in the hatefulness this early on (though I'm sure it's not far behind).

The article opens, "Last night was truly a historic occasion: For only the second time in her adult life, Michelle Obama was proud of her country!" 

She continues:
After Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election, Hillary Clinton immediately announced that, henceforth, she would be known as "Hillary Rodham Clinton." So maybe Obama can now become B. Hussein Obama, his rightful name.
Her rampant racism and bigotry never fails to produce a little gasp within me, how could anyone be so stuck in a 1930's mentality I wonder, but I will probably never have a satisfactory answer. She not only continues her hateful pursuit of a Crusades-esque reform in America, she begins calling people out on their racism, while saying some blatantly racist things:
This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. It turns out they're not racists -- they're retards. Question: What exactly would one have to say to alienate Pennsylvanians? That Joe Paterno should retire?

Apparently Florida voters didn't mind Obama's palling around with Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, either. There must be a whole bunch of retired Pennsylvania Jews down there.
I'll continue in a moment, I just have to throw this quote in for good measure:
Roll that phrase around a bit -- "liberated from Mr. Reagan's coattails." This is why it takes so long to read the Times -- you have to keep reading the same paragraph over again to see if you missed a word.
Is she trying to say don't read the paper because it's above you? I'm confused. Moving on.

She then throws out her hopes of a Palin presidency:
Indeed, the only good thing about McCain is that he gave us a genuine conservative, Sarah Palin. He's like one of those insects that lives just long enough to reproduce so that the species can survive. That's why a lot of us are referring to Sarah as "The One" these days.

Like Sarah Connor in "The Terminator," Sarah Palin is destined to give birth to a new movement. That's why the Democrats are trying to kill her. And Arnold Schwarzenegger is involved somehow, too.
And then she shows her disdain for the democratic process, when it doesn't follow her personal ideology:
After showing nearly superhuman restraint throughout this campaign, which was lost the night McCain won the California primary, I am now liberated to announce that all I care about is hunting down and punishing every Republican who voted for McCain in the primaries. I have a list and am prepared to produce the names of every person who told me he was voting for McCain to the proper authorities.

We'll start with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Then we shall march through the states of New Hampshire and South Carolina -- states that must never, ever be allowed to hold early Republican primaries again.
Sure she's joking around a bit, but really, take a look around Ms. Coulter, the Moral Majority's time ruling America is ending. And I, for one, am glad. I'm also glad that there are pundits like her to continue to support Palin, and that there is deep divide running through the Republican party, maybe the other side will have a chance now to correct the errors that the rights domination of politics over the last couple of decades have inflicted on the country. I'm not a fan of knowing that my younger brother has only known a country at war, and that the generation of young people who are currently in high school are completely desensitized to the concept of "war," it's all they have ever known. I also don't like living in a country where the continued plummeting of the stock market and the economy at large is leaving no one safe to feel "secure" in their employment, that our parents generation is losing their retirement funds, losing their hopes for social security, and without proper health care coverage will probably work their way into their graves. She mentions Obama's tax hikes on the "rich." That is not me just quoting her, she puts "rich" in quotes. There are no quotes needed. If you make over a quarter of a million dollars every year you are indeed rich. And it's time to recognize that. A tax hike on someone who makes, say 30 grand, is not helping the country. It's not providing a stable economy, it's not providing people the opportunity to prosper and put money back into the economy, in that simple cycle of monetary flow that is called capitalism. The quotes around "rich" are a perfect metaphor for what she does not understand, and what can potentially change throughout the next four years, and beyond.

But, please, continue your squabbling, it can only benefit President-elect Obama and the new Democrat controlled congress in four years. Your service to your country is appreciated, the left is no longer listening, so please, continue to be the clever that will ensure a Democratically controlled legislative and executive branch for the next eight years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Yes We Can" Speech Transcript

I had some trouble finding the transcript of Obama's acceptance speech last night, I'm sure it will be all over the internet by mid-day, but I wanted to post it to make it a little easier to find. This is an important speech. I was going to write a bit about how I'm glad he is acknowledging that there is no easy fix to the disrepair of our country, and that he is calling on everyone to make the changes he's outlined possible, but I think his own words say it better than mine:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Fox News on Election Night

There is a great article over at Salon about a columnist who decided to watch FOX News last night to record their reaction to the Obama victory. Not really what you would expect, much less hateful I anticipated.

This is a video from right after Obama was declared the winner:

4 States

I was proud last night when I saw that all four of my states (NY, PA, WI, MN) went Obama.

I wanted to vote in Minnesota this year, I've been immersed in Minnesota politics and know what's at stake there, unlike New York, where I know what's going on, but lack the passion for the candidates.

Just moments ago I checked in on the Minnesota voting last night. Obama, Yes to the environment, Keith Ellison. But I'm sadden to realize that Norm Coleman won by just 762 votes (with 99% of precincts reporting - need any further proof that every vote counts?). Also, I saw that The Crusader Michelle Bachmann has managed to keep her job, that's a bummer. Oh well, great steps were taken all over the nation. I wish I didn't have to hear Norm Coleman's Mayor Quimby voice ever again, but what do you do? You start by posting two videos to prove that Norm Coleman sounds just like Mayor Quimby, and hope that someone can make a good run at him in four years.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack Obama for President

So, I said I wouldn't do anything today besides the link post below (which I will continue to update), but I was just rereading Andrew Sullivan's piece "Barack Obama for President" from The Atlantic and had to take a note. This is a beautiful article that perfectly articulates what has gone wrong and what we stand to gain from an Obama presidency. I would like to quote the end of the article here because it's an eloquent summation of what today means.

The world will soon remember why it resents America as well as loves it. But until this unlikely fellow with the funny ears and strange name and exotic biography emerged on the scene, I had begun to wonder if it was possible at all. I had almost given up hope, and he helped restore it. That is what is stirring out there; and although you are welcome to mock me for it, I remain unashamed. As someone once said, in the unlikely story of America, there is never anything false about hope. Obama, moreover, seems to bring out the best in people, and the calmest, and the sanest. He seems to me to have a blend of Midwestern good sense, an intuitive understanding of the developing world that is as much our future now as theirs', an analyst's mind and a poet's tongue. He is human. He is flawed. He will make mistakes. His passivity and ambiguity are sometimes weaknesses as well as strengths.

But there is something about his rise that is also supremely American, a reminder of why so many of us love this country so passionately and are filled with such grief at what has been done to it and in its name. I endorse Barack Obama because I will not give up on America, because I believe in America, and in her constitution and decency and character and strength.

And the world needs that America now as much as it ever has. Can we start that healing, that rebirth, tomorrow?

Yes. We. Can.

It's Election Day

And instead of posting some stupid rant about how you should vote I have decided against this. My inbox was full of "Hey, you should vote today" reminders, and that's all well and good, but I'm going to, and you either are or you aren't. I have decided, instead, to provide updated links throughout the day of some good reading to help relieve your anxiety till we have a new president today.

CNN has a really great electoral vote tracker. You can follow the house, the senate and the presidential races as well as your local elections. Very nice.

Election Night Updates, Guides and Reflections:
Can Obama Get the Popular Vote and Lose the election? (Yahoo! News)
McCain sues State of Virginia for 10 Additional Days for Military Personnel
Wet Ballots Clogging Voting Machines in Virginia (CNN)
Republican Election Board Members are Illegally Removing Poll-Watchers in Philadelphia, Again
Translating the Polls into Electoral Votes (Guernica) - Sidenote: this article isn't entirely accurate any longer. Slate was reporting yesterday that in the final polls McCain has pulled ahead in Missouri, that Obama has pulled ahead in North Dakota, they are no longer considering Virginia "in play" for McCain, and they are now reporting that Georgia is a toss up. Awesome.
The Year of Living at the Edge of Our Seats (NY Times)
Barack Obama for President by Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic) - Thanks to Christopher Coake for the head's up on this one.
John Dickerson's Election Night Tip Sheet (an hour by hour update of what's really going on) (Slate)

Other Political scrawlings and Websites:
Stock Surge on Election Day (Bloomberg)
270 to Win
Minnesota 6th Graders Get Out the Vote (Huffington Post)
A Year of Smears (Blogs Are About Ego (Here))
The Ramones Estate Battles of McCain Endoresment (F10)
Jello Biafra Talks About the Election with John Doe (Sundance Channel Blog)
Jay-Z: "Obama's Running So That We All Can Fly" (Prefix Magazine)
Hip-Hop Stars Stump fr Obama in Florida (Billboard)
Women and Gays for McCain (Guernica)
A Thought For Election Day (Of It Maybe)
A Poem Before the Election (InDigest Blog)
One More Time for Good Measure (StreetArtObserverDaily)

Random Funny Stuff:
The People's Mario

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I've Been Writing

I’ve been writing again in some places, and those places are listed below. I also have a new film screening on December 12th and 13th in Minneapolis. I don’t really know where or when, but I’ll probably put something up about it when I know, I did the film with choreographer Mandy Herrick and her crew, she’s awesome, you should go see one of her performances sometime (they are in very odd locations and a lot of fun, again, maybe I’ll put something up about her next one when I know where it is…I should do more research before I start doing posts like this…)

Translating the Polls into Electoral Votes (Guernica Mag)
A Year of Smears or Barack Obama is a Muslim and Al Franken Laughs at the Disabled (BlogsAreAboutEgo)
Draw Fire Rocks Manhattan (TC Daily Planet)
W. Reviewed (Tiny Mix Tapes)
Review of Aidan Baker and Tim Hecker’s Fantasma Parastasie (Favorite 10)
Are You Being Sold the Warm Fuzzies? (Intentionally Urban)

David has been writing too, and these are good so I’m including them:
Minnesota 6th Graders Get Out the Vote (Huffington Post)
Michelle Bachmann “Represents” Minnesota on Hardball (This is How I Love You)

LPR had a lot of good stuff this week too:
JACK Quartet, then Corey Dargel CD Release party, and then a Crookers late party (New York Times)
Apes & Androids on Halloween (Gothamist)

4 reasons to miss Minneapolis

Translating the Polls into Electoral Votes

November has arrived, and you can literally count down the hours until the polls open for the 2008 presidential election. This is the time where the pollster really earns their keep, polling incessantly, in every variation they can think of, day and night. But most of these polls reflect the popular vote. So, what does this really mean? You’d have to take all of the national and state polls and place them into context within each state, tallying that states electoral votes against the chances of a candidate winning and figure out who can hit the magic number. 270. That’s the magic number of electoral votes that clinches the deal, 270.

Now, without delving into the problems inherit in the Electoral College system, I think this would be a good time, as I said you can count the hours, to take a look at the breakdown of how either candidate could potentially win this election. There are a lot of states that any pollster, New York Times reader, or political junkie could tell you are all but shored up for the candidates, except for that voting bit, but who wants to wait for that. There are also a handful of states that, at this point, are certainly too close to call. These swing states would include Colorado (9), Florida (27), Indiana (11), Missouri (11), Montana (3), Nevada (5), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3), Ohio (20), Pennsylvania (21), and Virginia (13). (The number in parenthesis are the number of electoral votes each state has, this will important later.)

Here is the breakdown of the states that polls* seem to have conclusively (as conclusively as is possible, while being entire prone to errors) determined a winner in, the non-swing states. McCain is the likely winner in: Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (10), Arkansas (6), Georgia (15), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Nebraska (5), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), West Virginia (5), and Wyoming (3). Obama is the likely winner in: California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Iowa (7), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (15), New Mexico (5), New York (31), Oregon (7), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington (11), and Wisconsin (10). These are certainly not guarantees for either candidate, but the polls and historical precedents seem to indicate that these states are in little danger of swinging. If these projections are correct than that leaves John McCain with 157 electoral votes and Barack Obama with 243 electoral votes before factoring in any swing states.

Though this is no guarantee of anything it appears that McCain needs to get out the vote in the swing states, in a big way, if he is going to win this election. There are certainly many X factors involved, but even in the expanded number of swing states this year Obama has the upper hand. In a combination of recent polling McCain only has the edge in North Dakota, Montana and Indiana. While Obama is polling stronger than McCain in Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. (Side note: Missouri currently has the longest record of voting for whoever wins the presidency*, and is the only swing state that has absolutely inconclusive polls at the moment. The polls vary from Obama by 2 points to McCain by 2 points*.) With both parties making calls and knocking on doors frantically in all these states with only minutes remaining it seems that anything could happen. But if the predicted states remain the same Obama only needs to pull out two of the bigger swing states to cross the 270 threshold. This should be of some consolation to Obama supporters who fear repeats of 2000 in Florida, where one swing state determined the fate of the nation. While this is still a possibility, it would take a serious turn around in almost all of the swing states for McCain and Palin to make a serious run. Polls across the nation still seem to be close, and McCain has gained some ground over the past week, but the electoral votes are still falling heavily in favor of Obama. In fact, if you tabulate the conglomerate of the polls in every state as though the polls represented actual votes (and give McCain Missouri, because this is a hypothetical and why not) Obama wins with 353 electoral votes to McCain’s 185. This, more likely than not, is not going to be the case on election day. But it’s interesting to extract exactly what these polls, which litter the papers daily, mean in terms of the electoral college, which is all that really matters in the end. *

* The polls used here are Reuters/Zogby, CNN/Time, LA Times/Bloomberg, AP/GfK Battleground, Civitas, Marist, American Research, Public Policy, Strategic Vision, Survey USA, Rasmussen, Quinnipiac, Selzer & Co., Research 2000, and Mason Dixon Research.
* Information taken from
* CNN/Time poll on 10/29 has McCain up by 2 points, American Research poll released on 10/31 have them even, and a Reuters/Zogby poll on 10/27 has Obama up by 2.
* The author wishes to note, that even if there is any truth in this article (which there may not be) that is not a reason for an uncast ballot.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Have A Button for Steve Reich

I stole this button from Jim

Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians"

A Valuable Lesson

Here is a lesson that we should all take to heart. Don't be in Death Cab for Cutie...

A Year of Smears or Barack Obama is a Muslim and Al Franken Laughs at the Disabled

This election year was, at one time and like so many others, filled with promises of a "clean" race from the candidates, both presidential and congressional. But it seems that the races across the nation have unraveled at an alarming rate. McCain's campaign has started to take their ads and appearances in the media as opportunities to instill fear in voters. The persistance of their attempts to make Obama look "Un-American" (see Michelle Bachmann for more on what it takes to be "Un-American"). Their continued push to convince voters that Obama is an Anti-Semite along with the enduring effort by the far right to make Obama a Muslim in the public's eyes (and make that a thing to be feared) are enough to make any critical thinking American, of any persuasion, wonder what the values of this campaign really are (excluded from the list of values would be religious freedom, honesty, and tolerance).

Of course, you can create an argument why any politician should not be trusted. But the premise of these attacks underscores what would be most frightening about a McCain presidency. These type of attacks are being seen throughout the Republican party, likely due to a certain degree of fear within the party about the potential they have to lose power at all levels in the upcoming election.

The major issue here shouldn't even be that they are outright lying to voters, or that they are trying to use fear tactics in the election, these, unfortunately, are pretty commonplace in elections across the globe. But this is especially frightening in a election year were issues of race have been at the forefront of the political discussion. It goes beyond most of the race issues that have typically been at hand this year. This dialogue is feeding a fear of Middle-Eastern men, which obviously has it's roots in the panic following 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq among other assorted incidents that have sought to promote this view. It also acts as though "Middle-Eastern men" are one race, and not an umbrella term for many different groups of people in one, very large, region of the globe. A fear that is truly unjustifiable, especially in a country, and an election, where the leaders constantly expound upon the importance of diversity, tolerance, and "American" values of freedom. Though this, of course, is out of one side of their collective mouth, while their actions only bolster a transient racism that is being revealed to be a crucial part of the political game.

My interest in the portrayal of Obama as a Muslim was piqued again this past weekend. I assumed that this story had been pretty much smothered as a transparent smear tactic (which shouldn't really be a smear, but that's not the reality of America at this point, nor is it the point of this article). But, over the weekend, two friends brought up stories that rekindled my interest in the topic. I was told of a child a friend saw on the train being told by her mother that Obama is a Muslim when he asked who they are going to vote for, as though the statement contained the answer. The second story came from another friend who had spoke with her mother over the weekend about a party the mother attended. The mother, who I will call Sally, walked out of a party with their neighbors when the neighbors began to berate Sally and her husband for their intentions to vote for a Muslim (this is a shortened version of the story). It even went a step further than that, as the neighbor's five-year-old child told Sally that Barack Obama wants to kill babies.

Now, this is frightening in more than one respect. The initial outrage is that a man's religion is being used as a reason you should not vote for someone, and we are talking religion, it's not a cult like Heaven's Gate here, nor is it a terrorist organization, it is a religion (think what you will of organized religion this is a differentiation to be drawn). But in both instances the parents were instilling fear in their children, teaching them that you can't trust a Muslim, that it's a religion to be feared, that it's a word to be feared, that a Muslim man who wants to kill babies could potentially run your country. They are lying to a child, teaching them to fear, when they can't even take part in the political process, much less begin to comprehend the ramifications of this stance.

Since hearing about this (which clearly reveals I live a certain type of life and am out of touch with people of a certain disposition, yes, that I concede) I began consulting stories from the early summer trying to understand how I had assumed that everyone had accepted this as a shallow, transparent lie that was being used to instill fear in the electorate. It is at this point that I realized the issue was still as prevalent as it was when I had first heard mention of it. This message is still condoned and widely believed. A poll, released Wednesday, found that 23% of Texans believe that Obama is a Muslim. In terms of the electoral college, this is irrelevant, Texas will always swing Republican, but that is not what is important in this study (which was actually a part of an election poll). The 2007 census estimate of Texas' population was 23,904,380. That means that approximately 5,498,007 people, in Texas alone, have bought the lie. Which, in itself, reveals the reason a party, or individual, would want to spread a lie that is even as transparent as this. You can instill millions of people with fear through a couple of words, whether they are true or not, whether "facts" and statements are later retracted or not. The article where the findings are released, from The Houston Chronicle, claims that in the most recent national polls 5-10% of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim. If these statistics are to be trusted, even at the most conservative estimate, an excess of 17 million people in America believe this to be true.

This same premise is seen in Michael Goldfarb's (the McCain Campaign’s National Spokesman) smug remarks on his recent appearance on CNN. Goldfarb asserts that he believes Obama to be Un-American and, more particularly, that he surrounds himself with Anti-Semites and terrorists. Yet, when probed for names of the Anti-Semites Obama pals around with he refused to provide names. It is not necessary to use facts to make facts. Even with an accredited journalist like Rick Sanchez doing his job (asking questions) next to him, Goldfarb knew that he just needed to continue saying that Obama is an Anti-Semite, even if he doesn't have real proof, because if it is heard, people will believe it.

This is the premise that seems to be behind many of the Republican ads this year (though the Democrats are not completely innocent either). There is an ad that was released this past week that was particularly demonstrative of this plan of attack. Norm Coleman's newest ad attacking Al Franken does not back up any of it's claims, and offers no stance on Mr. Coleman or his platform. It follows the idea that if something is said it can be influential and make unjustified claims facts. By making the attack a quote (every attack in the ad is presented as a quote), from any source, it starts to feel authentic, even if the quotes are used out of context. The ad makes some umbrella statements that dig into Franken in a nearly pornographic fashion. The end of the ad in particular is very aggressive. It states:

Al Franken Humiliates Minorities, demeans women, writes pornography, makes child abuse a joke, laughs at the disabled.

No lie. That is the ad.

This kind of ad is not only abrasive for it's lack of integrity, it's lack of factual information, and it's presupposition that all voters are dumb and will believe this if they hear it. It also is abrasive because when I first saw this ad I was watching a hockey game. I see Norm Coleman on the news, or on his own time, when he has the stage, and he talks about values and religion, but in another situation, where he doesn’t implicitly have my attention, when a viewer is not trying to get their daily dose of politics, then he is creating a hateful message, trying to manipulate voters by an aggressive ad that will attempt to snap the viewer from their current focus. By contrast, the Franken ads during the some block of time focused on Franken's platform. The one attack in the Franken ads (I'm only looking at the ads displayed during this two hour block of time) was that Coleman voted with Bush 86% of the time. Which isn't necessarily about issues, but it's a fact and it's specific, opposed to "Al Franken...laughs at the disabled."

Now, I’m aware that this is not a new development in American politics, or politics around the world, but it is continually frightening to see these ads which are often thought of as transparent and invoke the kind of reaction I am having right now. But the continued prevalence of this type of advertising and campaigning is a testament to its ability to work on many voters, and I’m just not sure what that says about the electorate. American voters are often considered dumb, and are pandered to in an election that often amounts to little more than a popularity contest. But I find myself in a minority thinking that the American voter is much more intelligent that they are given credit for. Voters often see the transparency of such tactics, and many who don’t vote see through this too, and it is likely the cause of their disinterest. I believe it is a misconception that people who don’t vote don’t pay attention. They may be paying more attention that a good quantity of the voting public. The vast majority of voters know what issues matter, and pay attention, and have their minds made up just days after the conventions, if not before that. I believe that it is tactics such as these that create disinterest in the electoral process and create voters that allow the election to become a popularity contest, where baby kissing or what kind of pet someone owns truly makes a difference in who the nation decides should rule an entire branch of the government for the next four years. It is this kind of campaigning that has made words like elitist a dirty word, the climate in which being elite (elite: a person or group of people who are considered to be the best in a particular category or group) doesn’t pander to the more traditional values of American politics which includes racism, fear, gossip, and appearing as though you came straight out of a American folk tale. I won't claim to have the answers, but isn't it time that voters prove to the government that we aren't as dumb as they suppose, and that we won't continue to tolerate hate and lies as acceptable methods of campaigning. If there is any truth in the Houston Chronicle's poll, maybe we aren't ready to say that as a nation, but I am, and I don't think I'm alone.