SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2008
• Oh, you just know this is going to be fun: Code Pink and its allies are going up against the United States Marines, from the halls of Berkeley's council to the shores of the local pool.
If you want to get a seat at Tuesday night's Berkeley City Council meeting, you better start lining up now. And you might want to bring earplugs. And a flak jacket.
Hundreds of protesters from across the country and the political spectrum are expected to descend on City Hall with bullhorns, drums, banners and plenty of vitriol in anticipation of the City Council's debate over the Marines' recruiting station in town.
The ruckus started last week when the council voted to send a letter to the Marines, calling them "unwanted intruders" for opening the recruiting center on Shattuck Avenue last year. At the same time, the council granted Code Pink a parking space and a sound permit to make it easier for the peace group to conduct protests outside the center.
On Monday, Councilwomen Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli introduced an item for this week's meeting, asking the city to retract its statements about the Marines and clarify that the city is against the war, not against the armed forces.
It is rumored that six Code Pink ladies will carry things to the max by demanding that the Marines apologize for any damage they did to Iwo Jima in World War II. A suggested letter has been drawn up.
Well, as we used to say, it keeps them off the streets.
• As expected, Barack Obama swept the Saturday caucuses. As we reported earlier, he'll have a very good couple of weeks because the political map favors him. But the big date still remains March 4th, when Ohio and Texas vote in real primaries, the kind where people go into voting booths and secretly cast ballots. That's three and a half weeks away, a lifetime in politics.
The key for Obama - maintain the psychological momentum, become inevitable.
The key for Clinton - present yourself as the pro, the big-state champ who wins where it really counts.
Of course, if Hillary doesn't win where it really counts, she's toast, and that counts for nothing.
• The Obama voter mentality, which I think is rather frightening, is on display in this piece in the Seattle Times. Read it, and see if the whole thing doesn't remind you of either teenagers before a rock concert, or an election for student government. Some quotes:
In White Center, south of Seattle, Felicia Uhden voted for Obama after her first choice, John Edwards, dropped out of the race.
"Every time I hear Barack Obama speak, I'm so moved," she said at the caucus at White Center Heights Elementary.
In a hallway at the school, Sanford Pitler, 61, an attorney, made his plea for Obama.
"We should be leading the world," he said. "We could be a beacon of light. I love our country -- the country we can be. Obama articulates all that. He'll show us how to become that country again. That's why we need him to be our president."
Why wouldn't I trust that attorney to handle anything involving detail? Or logic?
But at least one voter saw through the haze:
In White Center, 78-year-old Charlotte McFail attended her first caucus. She backed Clinton and even had some nice things to say about Obama.
"He's perfectly charming and delightful to look at, which certainly doesn't hurt," McFail said. "I just wish he could peel off some of that charm and answer some questions."
And don't talk to McFail about Obama's big youth following. "The young are just like they're on a kite ride," McFail said. "I have a son who thinks [Obama] is a water walker."
Will someone please explain why anyone would think Obama is a water walker? What are these kids taught in school? Anything?
• There are other bizarre thoughts floating around. London's Telegraph gives a perfectly reasonable report of the tumultuous Democratic race, but goes a bit over the top in claiming that Hillary's advisers are in a panic. I've seen concern, but no panic.
However, later in the piece, the Telegraph risks coronary events among its readers. Consider:
But the Clinton camp fears that a failure to engineer a deal could lead to bitter battles at the Democrat convention in Denver in late August, which could even end with Al Gore, the former vice president, emerging as a compromise candidate.
"There's a five per cent chance of that happening, but that's five percent too high," the Clinton source said.
Did I read that right? Al Thermometer Gore? Mr. Fahrenheit? Defender of the glaciers and of all things chilly?
Gore against McCain? Oh, I would just love it. Can't you just imagine Gore demanding that Norway be allowed to vote?
The Telegraph piece also tells us:
The one thing the Clinton and Obama camps can agree on is that John McCain, who is popular with independents and moderate Democrats, is their "worst nightmare".
Will someone tell Mike Huckabee? Take him away from his mirror, interrupt his rendition of "My Way," and just tell him. Fast.
• Speaking of the British press, it continues to roar about the Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion that aspects of Sharia law be permitted in England. Isn't it great when the Brits get excited about anything? Now, the language is getting tough:
So what possessed this troublesome priest to stir up this predictable fury with his divisive and unnecessary suggestions? Why did he choose to speak not just in a quiet academic meeting but also in the public glare of The World at One? And cui bono? It has most certainly not been good for ordinary British Muslims, as they well understand. It has, however, given comfort to Muslim extremists, who will see this as the thin end of their Islamist wedge.
Williams’s behaviour looks like vainglorious attention-seeking, but it is also something much worse. To seek to undermine our legal system and the values on which it rests, in a spirit of unnecessary appeasement to an alien set of values, is a kind of treason. It is a betrayal of all those who struggled and died here, over the centuries, for freedom and equality under the rule of law and of their courage in the face of injustice and unreason. Theirs is the good that we should hold fast and so of all people should the Archbishop of Canterbury. Otherwise, what is he for?
That says it. Send a copy to the Berkeley city council.
I'm going out right now to picket the local Anglican church.
Be back later.
Posted on February 10, 2008.