Archive: August, 2008

Day Three at the Dem Convention: Bill Clinton Gets It Right. Maybe.

In the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” Billy Crystal called it “the white man’s overbite,” the habit of male Aryan rock-and-rollers biting their lower lips when dancing. My grandmother, the one who actually lived in a log cabin after raising nine kids in the North Georgia piney woods, always said that when you saw a man biting his lower lip it was a tipoff he was telling a really big fib. It’s hard to see how Bill Clinton got through two terms as President of the United States because he was a serial lip-biter, chewing his way through GenniferGate, Whitewater, TravelGate and MonicaGate (sometimes, I think, because he was fibbing, other times because he was merely dancing). So I came to the Wells Fargo Theater at the Denver Convention Center last night to watch Clinton plight his troth to Obama, pad and pen in hand to record the many, many times he would reflexively bite his lip whilst boosting Barack. (More)

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Day Two at the Dem Convention: Michele Earns a Knuckle Crunch (or at least a high five)

I’m sitting here trying to concentrate on the economic experts bantering back and forth at the AFL-CIO/American Prospect economic forum, but my mind keeps flashing back to the incredible speech given by Michelle Obama last night. Her delivery was impeccable and her message from a mother and a wife was heartfelt and moving, but for me it was the style she used. There was no mention, not even an allusion to race. The speech could have been given word for word by any of us, male or female, black or white (less effectively, to be sure) . She used none of the lofty, inspiring rhetoric of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that we all love or the street patios, humor and alliteration of Rev. Jesse Jackson that speech writers like me try so hard (without much success) to emulate. The speech was gender-neutral, non-idealogical and color-blind. It made my spirits soar. (More)

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Day One at the Dem Convention: the Meeting the Major Media Muffed

You couldn’t tell it from reading the New York Times or the Washington Post this morning, but organized labor got its act together in Denver yesterday, and that’s bad news for John McCain, whose been counting on America’s unions to go into the election end game fractured and fussy. Speaking to a rousing rally of 1,000 Democratic Convention labor delegates and a couple of thousand of their friends, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney captured the significance of the moment when he declared: “It’s important to note that we are united in our determination to turn around America. And by united, I mean all of us, all of labor — the AFL-CIO, the NEA, Change to Win, 17 million members, 28 million potential voters from union households — all of us together.” (More)

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August 19, 2008

Pete and Max Take a Walk in Central Park

My friend Pete is a retired labor lawyer who lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Since his wife, Madelyn, is much younger and still holds down a full-time job, Pete has gotten in the habit of turning to his dog, Max, for conversation. Last Sunday morning they were walking up towards the ball fields in Central Park (where dogs are allowed to mix and mingle off-leash until 9 a.m.) when they came across several dozen raggedy homeless people still asleep in front of the Delecort Theater (and subsequently learned what Sen. Larry Craig, John Edwards, John McCain and Bill Clinton have in common). (More)

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August 11, 2008

McGovern and Edwards: Heroes No More

Two men departed my hall of personal heroes last week: John Edwards with his admission of an affair with a campaign groupie in 2006, and George McGovern for his Wall Street Journal article last Friday urging Democrats in Congress to vote against restoring the freedom of workers to form and join unions. It’s not so much that they turned out to have feet of clay, but minds of mush. (More)

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August 5, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act gets support from Dem Senate candidates, Obama

Just how far labor has come was documented last night when Bruce Lunsford, a Democrat opposing Republican union-basher Mitch McConnell for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, broadcast his support for the Employee Free Choice Act by telling AFL-CIO leaders meeting in Chicago, “America’s workers are entitled to a choice.” His comments came while a fakey “employee freedom” group was cranking up a nasty anti-employee free choice television campaign against him back home in Lexington. And what makes Lunsford’s stand on workers’ rights even more remarkable is that he’s no organizer turned politician — he’s an entrepreneur, a businessman who made millions in health care. (More)

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