May 31, 2008

The good news is that it's positive. The bad news is that the rabbit died...

Knocked up
In the family way
Got a bun in the oven
In a delicate condition
With child
Eating for two

Due on December 23rd.

That's right--when Baby Hogan comes home from China (sometime in 2011, according to our agency) she will already have an older brother or sister. Kevin and I are proud to announce that I am all of the above.


  • Is this a surprise?

  • Yes

  • What this planned?

  • Yes

  • Are you having a boy or a girl?

  • We certainly hope so!

  • What about your heart?

  • My heart has made huge improvements and held steady in the last few years. We have a wonderful high-risk ob/gyn who specializes in heart conditions and maternal-fetal medicine, and she's located conveniently close by! For the OC folks, she's at UCI Medical Center in Orange.

  • Have you picked out a name?

  • Yes! Biff for a boy, Buffy for a girl. Any middle name suggestions?

  • How far along are you?

  • Well my due date is December 23rd and the average pregnancy is 40 weeks, but I won't make you do the math.

We are beyond overjoyed.

Posted by Shelby at 01:53 PM | Comments (13)

May 29, 2008

Use a cell phone, kill a baby

You may have heard of a study done recently showing a link between pregnant women using cell phones and behavior problems in their children--or as some articles put it, "Warning: Using a mobile phone while pregnant can seriously damage your baby" (thank you, BBC). This has spurred a great deal of controversy and discussion among the people I controvert and discuss with. I, for one, believe this 100%, and not because I'm an expert on radioactive ions, but because I work at Disneyland.

Article excerpts:
"A giant study, which surveyed more than 13,000 children, found that using the handsets just two or three times a day was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age...
...They found that mothers who did use the handsets were 54 per cent more likely to have children with behavioural problems and that the likelihood increased with the amount of potential exposure to the radiation. And when the children also later used the phones they were, overall, 80 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behaviour. They were 25 per cent more at risk from emotional problems, 34 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers, 35 per cent more likely to be hyperactive, and 49 per cent more prone to problems with conduct."


The article goes on to be completely noncommital about actual cause and effect, though they do bring in some radiation experts to assure us that cell phones are indeed safe. Well as I said, I believe that cell phones do play a big factor in children's behavior, but it has nothing to do with radiation exposure.

Mothers who are constantly on the phone are not paying attention to their children. I have seen these people. You have too. They're everywhere--holding up the register line, shouting loudly, sitting in the left-hand turn lane. People with cell phones seem to think that once they activate the phone and start talking into it, the rest of the world disappears. Nobody else is important, not even the sales associate (that would be me) trying to ring your damn purchase. Not even your own child.

I say that these children have behavior issues because 1) they're being ignored, 2) they're being taught that it's okay to be selfish and inconsiderate if you have a phone on your ear, and 3) there's no need to wait for an appropriate time to have a conversation or get what you want--you just do it right there while other people wait. I can't even tell you the number of mothers in my store whose children are running around wild and gee, it would be nice if Mom disciplined them, but she's busy chatting on the phone.

If a parent goes up to check out at the register (where I often find myself), rather than putting the phone down (or not initiating a call--yes, I have people who wait until they get to me to dial the phone) they ignore whatever I have to say and just chat to whomever is on the line. What is this teaching your children? It's teaching them that they don't need to be courteous to store employees. It's teaching them that it doesn't matter if you want to hold up the whole damn line because you are there and can take as much selfish time as you want. It's teaching them that no, they really don't need to wait 3 minutes to talk to someone, as it's perfectly acceptable to just do it now.

Looking again at the study results, none of us should be surprised. "They were 25 per cent more at risk from emotional problems," Yes, children whose parents can't be bothered to get off the damned phone and attend to their needs would tend to develop more emotional problems, I'd say. "... 34 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers," absolutely! They are being taught that proper face-to-face interaction involves ignoring any actual person in front of you and just talking on the phone. While speaking on the phone may help verbal development, it's kind of the antithesis of social development. "...35 per cent more likely to be hyperactive, and 49 per cent more prone to problems with conduct," as in they just can't wait to get what they want? They're too antsy and have no patience? They demand attention? Gee, I wonder where they're learning this?

The article does give this a hat tip:
"They add that there might be other possible explanations that they did not examine – such as that mothers who used the phones frequently might pay less attention to their children – and stress that the results "should be interpreted with caution" and checked by further studies. But they conclude that 'if they are real they would have major public health implications'."

But seriously--anyone who deals with the public on a regular basis and sees parents interact with children shouldn't be in the least bit surprised by this finding, nor should they be the least bit concerned with radiation.

Posted by Shelby at 10:40 PM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2008

Damn fine coffee

Almost 20 years ago, my best friend and I devoted each Saturday during the television season to the cultural phenomenon known as Twin Peaks. Nell and I were beyond hooked. We talked about Twin Peaks constantly and kept a notebook with clues we hoped would lead us to Laura Palmer's killer. We baked Twin Peaks cherry pie from scratch (crust too!) and enjoyed our hot chocolate (neither of us were coffee drinkers). In short, I loved this show.

And now I love my husband, since he bought me the Twin Peaks DVD Gold Collection. Kevin missed Twin Peaks when it came out (though how that can be possible, I don't know) so it's been really fun watching it with someone seeing it for the first time. It's also an entirely different experience knowing who the killer is (as much as you can "know who the killer is" in any David Lynch production) and watching it again. I haven't seen the show since it originally aired and I'm amazed by all of the clues planted so early on. Still, one of the things that made Twin Peaks amazing was the fact that almost every single character was a red herring.

I had also forgotten how funny the show is. And how much more I understand almost 20 years later. Anyway, I highly recommend Twin Peaks to everyone! If you were a devoted fan, re-watch it and be amazed! If you missed it, you're in for the treat of a lifetime!!

Posted by Shelby at 07:46 PM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2008

Why wait for the pollsters?

No comment about Hillary now. Poor Kevin's head is about to explode every time she opens her big, fat, hypocritical mouth (oops, I said I wasn't going to make any comments). And anyway, she's irrelevant. And I'm also not going to mention the uneducated, rural white voters, whose votes are apparently so much more important than the rest of us that we can't disenfranchise them, even though they weren't enough to win a freakin' primary. Do their votes count 2 for 1 or am I missing something? I hate the assumption that we need them because "they're the only ones who vote"--because obviously all of those other people who voted--enough to win the primary--aren't going to show up in November when it really counts. Okay, I mentioned it, but I'm not going to go on at length about it.

I did want to comment again, as I have done several times, about how much I admire Obama's embracing of the internet, his grassroots campaign, and his understanding of the power, reach, and scope of the internet. This is something that I still see pooh-pooh'ed in the media despite the 1.5 million people who contributed to Obama's political campaign, most of which were on the internet. Nobody has ever had a fundraising reach like that before, and the longer the rest of politics takes to see how significant and important (and EASY!) that is, the more they will continue to lose.

The old ship has sailed, folks. Deal with it. What do you get when a core group of supporters who donate the maximum amount actually max out? A nice, big debt, that's what.

Anyway, I was prompted to write because I got an email, as I frequently do being a member of the email list, from the Obama campaign asking me for a donation to take a survey. Yes, an online survey. So I did, being the Survey Queen (I love taking surveys--don't ask me why) that I am. The survey asked me the questions I expected--my basic demographic information race, gender, etc. and then it asked what issues I was most interested in. Then it asked if I'd volunteered, how I'd volunteered, and how I would be willing to volunteer, which I strongly suspect was a main impetus of the survey itself (volunteer recruitment).

Most of the responses were check boxes. How brilliant. Within milliseconds my responses went to the server and was immediately sliced, diced, organized, and sent to the appropriate database. Shelby Hogan cares about the environment! Check. Shelby Hogan values foreign policy! Slot. And local branch offices and volunteer organizers all get a list of "People who are willing to phonebank" (I'm not) and "People who are willing to go door-to-door" (also not me, but those were two options).

Can you just imagine how valuable that information is? How else on earth can you generate a self-selected list of people willing to go door-to-door with almost zero human time and effort? How else can you pick up the phone and call a supporter who has already expressed an interest in phonebanking knowing they are likely to follow through? How much time do other campaigns spend talking to people individually saying, "will you phonebank? No? Well how about going door-to-door? No? Well how about..."? How many potential willing volunteers are never utilized because the campaign is waiting for those people to come to them? My guess is it's huge.

So easy, and so brilliant.

And then at the end they showed an inspirational video and asked for a donation. Heh.

Posted by Shelby at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2008

Holy new haircut, Batman!

I got a little snip snip today! Actually it was more of a snip snip snip snip snip...

Unfortunately I neglected to take a "before" picture. Suffice to say my hair was long--about 2 inches below my shoulders. Now it's...not.

I present to new 'do!



Do you love it? I do!

Posted by Shelby at 11:12 PM | Comments (2)

May 21, 2008

Digory, Digory, Digory

I think maybe Digory got jealous of Scout getting the lion's share of health crises because he got his revenge last night.

Stupid me left a bar of chocolate on my desk, within range of the nosy and starving hound. If you're sitting there saying, "Uh-oh, chocolate is toxic to dogs!" then you probably have an idea of what happened following this indulgence.

What made matters particularly bad, aside from it happening at 10:30 pm, was that this particular bar of chocolate was extra dark, with 85% cocoa. We immediately went online when we discovered what he'd done and found that for baking chocolate (a rough equivalent of cocoa percentage), a potentially fatal amount is about 1 oz. per 10 pounds of body weight. The bar was 3.5 oz and Digory weighs 33 pounds. There was a small amount leftover and I'd had some to eat myself, but he probably ate at least 3 oz.

Kevin rushed him to the emergency vet where they immediately induced vomiting, and then kept him overnight for observation and IV fluids. Kevin had to pick him up by 7:30 am (the emergency vet isn't open during the day) and they recommended he go straight to our regular vet for more IV fluids and observation. Poor Kevin had to endure perpretrating the most awful betrayal--picking up from one vet only to drop off at another.

Our vet did an EKG to check for chocolate-related heart damage or episodes and luckily he didn't find any. However, on a totally unrelated note, he did notice that the EKG showed some markers of an enlarged heart. This doesn't mean that he has an enlarged heart--just that he might. Or it could just be that he was anxious. The vet recommended we wait a few days or so and get a chest x-ray to check out the heart. That's scheduled for Tuesday. Oy.

He's home now and resting comfortably. We are not at all happy to witness this evening that this recent incident has done nothing to curb his counter/table surfing habits.

Posted by Shelby at 10:32 PM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2008

Mary's Wedding

Weeks and weeks ago we headed to Philadelphia for the wedding of my dear friend and former college roommate, Mary. We arrived on Thursday night, the 17th, and rented our car. We conveniently bought and brought a little portale GPS navigation system. This turned out to be invaluable throughout the trip, although not at first, because the hotel seemed to be located in this bizarre Bermuda Triangle of Willow Grove, PA and we had a great deal of difficulty finding it. Fortunately we did find it and checked in for the night.

Friday we headed to the local mall where there happened to be a Build-A-Bear. Yes, now that I work at BAB, that means that I am compelled to visit a BAB wherever we go. Our store has a mascot named Henry--a stuffed turtle who travels with different employees whenever they go on vacation. That was fun. We then headed over to Mary's where we worked on programs and some last-minute details. Mary was significantly more calm than I was at the equivalent point before my wedding. It may have helped that she was living in the same location where she got married. In retrospect, that's probably one thing I would have done differently about my own wedding. Long-distance planning was killer.

Saturday was the big event. The wedding was held at Cairnwood, a beautiful mansion. The weather was gorgeous--perfect for an outdoor ceremony. Mary spent the majority of the morning taking pictures while myself and the rest of the bridesmaids ran around decorating the tables and taking care of last-minute details. Earlier that morning all the girls had their hair and makeup done. Erica, the 12-year-old Jr. Bridesmaid (Mary's niece) was absolutely in shock about her princess hair updo. It was adorable.

The ceremony was perfect, albeit a bit windy. The cellist nearly lost her sheet music but caught it in time. Mary's veil blew around everywhere, but other than that, it was simply beautiful. Naturally, I cried.

We all moved inside the mansion for dinner. Tables were set up in different rooms and we were all seated in the Fun Room--a group of 3 tables filled with college and high school friends--essentially a large version of the Kid's Table. Two Albion alums were there--Fin and his wife Misty, and Mike Guffey and his wife Kathy. It was great to catch up with them. Guffey is now a doctor (I last saw him when he was in med school in Philly). I really wonder how it's possible for us to all be so old.

Dancing was a blast, as always, and the evening flew by. On the way home, I decided that Kevin really needed to learn how to play Euchre, a card game that's very popular in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Actually it's more of a religion than a card game. At Albion we'd spend hours playing Euchre every night. I easily spent more time playing Euchre than going to class--and not because I skipped that many classes. Finding a deck of cards proved to be a challenge. We first tried a 7-11 but they didn't have any, so we hit another convenience store. I know we looked like a sight--it was 11:00 at night and you had Fin in a nice jacket, Misty all gussied up, and me in a bridesmaids dress with white tennis shoes. We got a handful of snacks to go with our cards and headed back to the hotel. Kevin picked up the game quickly, and he and Misty beat Fin and me the first round.

Sunday we slept in and then headed over to Mary's for a leisurely BBQ. It was great to relax. Kevin coveted their basement (not theirs in particular--he covets every basement). We took it easy the whole day.

Early Monday morning Kevin and I hopped on the train and traveled up to New York City. In retrospect we probably should have stayed in Philadelphia and done Philly stuff, because up to that point we'd been in the suburbs and totally wedding-focused, but we'd bought the NYC train tickets in advance, so we'll just have to take another trip to Philly (aw, shucks, right?).

New York was wonderful, as always. We hit MoMA and I decided, once again, that modern art just really isn't my thing. I really think I've seen my lifetime allotment of Picasso. I was traumatized by the Picasso museum in Barcelona (skip it if you're there--the Miro museum is much better) and I'm just not a big Picasso fan anyway. The most horrifying moment was when we were standing there admiring what is arguably one of Picasso's most famous paintings, the Three Musicians, when a small child ran up and smacked the painting with his hand. The crowd let out a collective gasp and the parents stepped forward and chided him, but it was really appalling. The kid was probably 5 years old--old enough in my opinion to know not to touch anything (and if your child can't keep his hands off of stuff, an art museum should be his last destination). Even afterwards the parents didn't hold his hand or keep him close. Unfortunately the guard was kind of snoozing in the corner and missed the whole thing. In retrospect we probably should have gone over and notified him.

After the museum we walked around some more, hitting two of our favorite stores--The Strand Bookstore and Kate's Paperie. I got Kevin a cool fountain pen at Kate's for being so supportive and such a good sport at the wedding. He was definitely a patient chauffeur and gopher.

Tuesday morning we headed to downtown Philadelphia. Upon our arrival we found that tickets to Independence Hall were sold out for the day so that's one thing we'll have to go back and see. Instead we headed over to the Liberty Bell, then walked to Benjamin Franklin's house (or more accurately, the piece of land where Benjamin Franklin's house used to be, and its small museum), and then to Reading Terminal Market (highly recommend) for cheesesteaks. We were then off to the airport and back home.

Our flight was delayed but otherwise uneventful and we arrived home exhausted but happy. All in all it was a wonderful trip, and we left plenty of things undone so a return trip is definitely in order.

Congratulations Mary and Aaron!

Posted by Shelby at 10:18 PM | Comments (3)

May 09, 2008

For all you Name Nerds

Thank you everyone for your blogging suggestions!!! I will admit I've been putting off writing about Mary's wedding (which went fabulously!) because I feel like I should include pictures with it, and I've been too lazy to organize, resize, and post any of my 250+ pictures. But I promise to blog all about the wedding and trip with pictures soon. So if the 3 people who voted for "Mary's Wedding" as a blog suggestion want to offer up something else, I'm happy for those suggestions too :).

Today, however, I want to post about baby names. For Name Nerds, the Friday before Mother's Day is the most exciting day of the year--it's the day the Social Security Administration releases its yearly list of the most popular names of the previous year based on Social Security applications. Here is this year's list.

In addition to being fun, the SSA list is a wealth of information that tracks the top 1000 names of every year since 1879. Playing around on the site is a lot of fun. It also gives hard numbers of the actual numbers of babies with that names, which makes it easier to track variants.

What's even more fun is Name Nerd message boards where these lists are dissected and revealed in their full glory. One major problem with the SSA list is that it treats spelling variants as different names. If you are of the belief that a different spelling does not make a different name (as I am), then this can skew the results tremendously. For example, the name Aiden comes in at number 27 on the boy's list, which would lead one to believe that it's not all that popular. Likewise, Aidan comes in at number 54. However, if you count Aiden and Aidan as the same name, all of a sudden it shoots up to number 3. If you combine all 10 spelling variants that appear in the top 1000 (Aiden, Aidan, Aydan, Ayden, Adan, and so on--yep, there are 10), then Aiden far and away blows out every other boy's name on the list.

I personally count spelling variants as the same name because when a teacher stands in front of a class and says, "Aiden, Aidan, Ayden, Aidyn, Aydin" it comes out sounding like, "Aiden, Aiden, Aiden, Aiden, Aiden." And since most of our communication is done verbally, Aidyn is no less popular than Aiden. If you changed the spelling because you wanted a different spelling, then you succeeded, but if you changed the spelling because you wanted a less popular name, I'd consider that a fail.

That said, the Name Nerds are already out with their calculators counting the variants and doing the math for us, so all we have to do is sit back and wait to find out what the most popular names really are. Someone already worked through the top 50 on the girl's side and I'm sure the boy's will come soon.

In case you don't want to click over, here are the top 20 names for boys:

1. Jacob
2. Michael
3. Ethan
4. Joshua
5. Daniel
6. Christopher
7. Anthony
8. William
9. Matthew
10. Andrew
11. Alexander
12. David
13. Joseph
14. Noah
15. James
16. Ryan
17. Logan
18. Jayden*
19. John
20. Nicholas

*Like Aiden, Jayden also has 10 spelling variants that appear in the top 1000, which will move it up significantly when the adjusted counts are added up. Interestingly, as mentioned above, the #1 adjusted name, Aiden, doesn't even fall in the top 20.

Here are the top 20 girls:

1. Emily
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Ava
5. Madison
6. Sophia
7. Olivia
8. Abigail
9. Hannah
10. Elizabeth
11. Addison
12. Samantha
13. Ashley
14. Alyssa
15. Mia
16. Chloe
17. Natalie
18. Sarah
19. Alexis
20. Grace

And the top 20 adjusted for spelling variants:

1. Sophia
2. Emily
3. Isabella
4. Madison
5. Olivia
6. Emma
7. Ava
8. Hailey
9. Abigail
10. Kaitlyn
11. Brianna
12. Addison
13. Hannah
14. Jasmine
15. Sarah
16. Elizabeth
17. Ashley
18. Natalie
19. Alyssa
20. Madeline

Interesting, no?

Posted by Shelby at 09:45 PM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2008

Suggestions anyone?

I'm getting a lot of requests to update my blog, but I can't think of anything to write about. And frankly I'm a bit tired of talking about how irritating Hillary is. So my blog has lain fallow lo this many days.

So what do you want to hear about? Leave me a comment with some suggestions and I'll do my best to post more. No comments, no posts. Got it?

Posted by Shelby at 01:38 PM | Comments (6)

May 01, 2008

Move over Kevin--I have a new love

Allow me to take this moment to declare my newfound love for former DNC chairman Joe Andrew. You may have heard of Joe Andrew--he's the guy in Indiana who switched his superdelgate vote from Hillary to Obama and wrote a spectacular letter in the process. He served as chair of the DNC from 1999-2001 under Bill Clinton and epitomizes the I-support-Hillary-because-Bill-got-me-where-I-am-today camp. He was one of the first to endorse Hillary and now switches his endorsement. I present to you the text of his letter in which he brings up many excellent points, calls a spade a spade, and has some additional interesting things to say about Evan Bayh. Bold emphasis mine, blue bracketed comments mine, underlining in original:

On My Switch From Clinton to Obama
Joseph J. Andrew Thu May 1, 12:38 PM ET

I have been inspired.

Today I am announcing my support for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. I am changing my support from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama, and calling for my fellow Democrats across my home State of Indiana, and my fellow super delegates across the nation, to heal the rift in our Party and unite behind Barack Obama.

The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods or two rights. That is the decision Democrats face today. We have an embarrassment of riches, but as much as we may love our candidates and revel in the political process that has brought Presidential politics to places that have not seen it in a generation, we cannot let our family affair hurt America by helping John McCain.

Here is my message, explained in this lengthy letter that I hope is perceived as a thoughtful analysis of how to save America from four more years of the misguided polices of the past: you can be for someone without being against someone else. You can unite behind a candidate and a vision for America without rejecting another candidate and their vision, because in real life, opposed to party politics, we Democrats are on the same side. The battle should not be amongst ourselves[hear hear]. Rather, we should focus our efforts on those who are truly on the opposite side: those who want to continue the failed policies of the last eight years, rather than bring real change to Washington. Let us come together right now behind an inspiring leader who not only has the audacity to challenge the old divisive politics, but the audacity to make us all hope for a better America. [powerful wording there--this is a hard-core endorsement]

Unite the Party Now

I believe that Bill Clinton will be remembered as one of our nation's great Presidents, and Senator Clinton as one of our nation's great public servants. But as much as I respect and admire them both, it is clear that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process, and a vote to continue this process is a vote that assists John McCain. [Now that we have the niceties out of the way--here's getting straight to the point.]

I ask Hoosiers to come together and vote for Barack Obama to be our next President. In an accident of timing, Indiana has been given the opportunity to truly make a difference. Hoosiers should grab that power and do what in their heart they know is right. They should reject the old negative politics and vote for true change. Don't settle for the tried and true and the simplistic slogans, but listen to your heart and dare to be inspired. Only a cynic would be critical of Barack Obama inspiring millions [a cynic like Hillary, for example, and her supporters casting all Obama supporters as latte-sipping elitists swayed by pretty rhetoric]. Only the uninformed could forget that the candidate that wins in November is always the candidate that inspires millions [and let's face it--inspiring people is not what Hillary is known for].

I ask the leaders of our Party to come together after this Tuesday's primary to heal wounds and unite us around a single nominee. While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our Party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us. John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives.

We need to be talking about fixing the economy, not whose acquaintances once said what to whom. We need to be talking about stopping the attacks in Iraq, not stopping the attacks in Indiana. We need to be talking about policy, not politics.

Barack Obama is the Right Candidate for Right Now

While I am a longtime critic of our Party's rules that created so-called super delegates, we have the rules we have and we must live with them. I am humbled and honored to be a super delegate, and I understand the seriousness of the duty it entails. I recognize that this is a difficult decision for super delegates like me, who owe so much to President Bill Clinton. [if there's one thing Hillary has hoped to bank on (and has done so), it's calling in the chips from people who owe Bill something. This is a pretty scathing indictment, I'd say] It is right to be loyal, to be grateful and to be consistent. But it is also right to acknowledge the inevitability of change, right to dare to dream for a better world, and right to know what in your heart is the right thing for the future even if your friends and family disagree. Good things, just like good people, can disagree. But as Democrats, we must disagree with dignity, debate with admiration of each other, and in the end, go forward with mutual respect.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore gave me the opportunity to serve as the Chair of the Democratic Party. I pledged my loyalty to them, and I will never forget Al Gore putting ego aside, gently demurring, and simply asking me to put our country ahead of politics. It is a lesson I will remember forever, and it is what guides me now in this decision. What is best for our Party and our country is not blind loyalty [read: "Hey Superdelegates! Just because Bill did something for you, doesn't mean that you now owe your unchanging fealty to the Clintons, especially when it's not in the country's best interest"], but passionate support for the candidate who can best correct the misguided policies of the last eight years.

We need a candidate who will re-invigorate the economy and keep good jobs here in America. We need a candidate who will end the war in Iraq. We need a candidate who will provide health coverage for our 45 million uninsured neighbors. We need a candidate who will end our addiction to high-priced foreign oil by investing in renewable energy here at home.

That candidate is Barack Obama.

What was best for America sixteen years ago was electing Bill Clinton. What would have been best for America eight years ago was not only electing Al Gore, which we did, but allowing him to serve as President of the United States. Imagine how the world would be different if Al Gore and not George Bush, would have been President of the United States. Let's seize the opportunity and vote for someone who like Al Gore, was against the war from the beginning, and who brings a new energy, a new excitement, and a new politics to our country.

Let's put things right.

Time to Act

Many will ask, why now? Why, with several primaries still remaining, with Senator Clinton just winning Pennsylvania, with my friend Evan Bayh working hard to make sure Senator Clinton wins Indiana, why switch now? Why call for super delegates to come together now to constructively pick a president? [that's a helluva question!]

The simple answer is that while the timing is hard for me personally, it is best for America. We simply cannot wait any longer, nor can we let this race fall any lower and still hope to win in November. June or July may be too late. The time to act is now.

I write this letter from my mom's dining room table in Indianapolis, Indiana. Four generations of my family have argued and laughed around this table. But what I humbly believe today is that we, as Democrats and as Americans, face what Dr. King characterized and what Senator Obama reminds us is the fierce urgency of now. As a nation, we are at a critical moment and we need leaders with the character and vision to see us through the challenges at hand and those to come. I can't guess what will happen tomorrow, so I can't tell you what kind of experience our next President will need to have to deal with those challenges. But I can tell you what kind of character and vision they will need to have -- and that is what inspires me about Barack Obama.

As Democrats, however, we risk letting this moment slip through our fingers. We risk ceding the field to the Republicans and allowing the morally bankrupt Bush Agenda to continue unabated if we do not unite behind a single candidate. Should this race continue after Indiana and North Carolina, it will inevitably become more negative. [this is because Hillary's campaign strategy--in fact, the only campaign strategy she has left--is to convince the superdelegates that she's more electable against McCain, and the only way to do that is to tear down Obama and attack him until he's in a position that he can't win in November, leaving her to be the best option. Unfortunately, in doing so, she destroys the Democratic party in the process] The polls already show the supporters for both candidates becoming more strident in their positions and more locked into their support. Continuing on this path would be a catastrophe, as we would inadvertently end up doing Republicans work for them. Already, instead of the audacity of hope, we suffer the audacity of one Democrat comparing John McCain favorably to another Democrat. [as much as Hillary wants to backtrack, the fact is that in her effort to tear down Obama by saying, "I think that I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002." she harmed the Democratic party more than she harmed Obama. What she did was rank Obama, her fellow Democrat, 3rd underneath the Republican competitor. If she thinks that's not going to come up in the general election, she's an idiot. This quote, or mistake or slip of the tongue (as she argues--don'tcha hate it when that happens?) is a classic example of her strategy of trying to make Obama unelectable even at the expense of a Democratic White House.] When that happens, you know it is time for all of us to stop, take a deep breath and unite to change America.

We must act and we must act now.

The Problems of the Process: 2000 and 2008

When Al Gore got a half million more votes than George Bush in 2000, yet the Electoral College elected George Bush President, we saw the absurdity of any system that does not elect the person who gets the most votes. That is why the Democratic Party's nomination process is flawed. I will continue to fight for a 2012 process where there are only primaries, and which ever Democrat gets the most votes becomes our nominee. Delegates should decide the party platform -- voters should decide who our nominee is.

But we are struck with this absurd system for 2008, and, flawed though it may be, we must work within it without betraying the voice of the people. No amount of spin or sleight of hand can deny the fact that where there has been competition, Senator Obama has won more votes, more States and more delegates than any other candidate. Only the super delegates can award the nomination to Senator Clinton, but to do so risks doing to our Party in 2008 what Republicans did to our country in 2000. [sorry Hillary--he's right. Do the math. It's refreshing to see a major Democratic leader pointing out the realities of that pesky little math problem Hillary has.] Let us be intellectually consistent and unite behind Barack Obama.

A New Era of Politics

My endorsement of Senator Obama will not be welcome news to my friends and family at the Clinton campaign. If the campaign's surrogates called Governor Bill Richardson, a respected former member of President Clinton's cabinet, a "Judas" for endorsing Senator Obama, we can all imagine how they will treat somebody like me. They are the best practitioners of the old politics, so they will no doubt call me a traitor, an opportunist and a hypocrite. I will be branded as disloyal, power-hungry, but most importantly, they will use the exact words that Republicans used to attack me when I was defending President Clinton. [oh, snap! What a brilliant way to not only head off the attacks, but tie them right into Republican tactics. Nicely done, Mr. Andrew!]

When they use the same attacks made on me when I was defending them, they prove the callow hypocrisy of the old politics first perfected by Republicans. [Hillary supporters as callow hypocrites--OUCH!] I am an expert on this because these were the exact tools that I mastered as a campaign volunteer, a campaign manager, a State Party Chair and the National Chair of our Party. I learned the lessons of the tough, right-wing Republicans all too well. I can speak with authority on how to spar with everyone from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove. I understand that, while wrong and pernicious, shallow victory can be achieved through division by semantics and obfuscation. [Again, this is Hillary's only campaign strategy--semantics and obfuscation about her own results and Obama's suitability amount to little more than a shallow victory] Like many, I succumbed to the addiction of old politics because they are so easy.

Innuendo is easy. The truth is hard.

Sound bites are easy. Solutions are hard.

Spin is simple and easy. Struggling with facts is complicated and hard.

I have learned the hard way that you can love the candidate and hate the campaign. My stomach churns when I think how my old friends in the Clinton campaign will just pick up the old silly Republican play book and call in the same old artificial attacks and bombardments we have all heard before. [again, another brilliant statement here. Now nobody in the Clinton campaign can say these things because he's already anticipated and stated his reaction. There's a huge difference between a conversation like, "I support Obama." "You're a traitor!" "That's what the Republicans say!" and "I support Obama and if you call me a traitor, you're just like the Republicans." It's an attack and defense all in one statement. Nice.]

Yet, despite the simple and overwhelming pressure to do anything and everything to win [as Hillary is], Barack Obama has risen above it all and demanded a new brand of politics. People flock to Senator Obama because they are rejecting the hyperbole of the old politics [read: Hillary = old politics. Ouch.]. The past eight years of George Bush have witnessed a retreat from substance, science, and reason in favor spin, cronyism and ideology. Barack Obama has dared not only to criticize it, as all Democrats do, but to actually reject playing the same old game. And in doing so, he has shown us a new path to victory.

Uniting for Victory

The simple fact is that Democrats need to be united in November to win, and Clinton supporters, in particular, will be vital to victory. We will not convince Clinton supporters to join the Obama campaign, however, by personally criticizing them. We must welcome everyone and avoid doing Republican work for them. It is therefore incumbent on all of us who once supported Senator Clinton to welcome the thousands who should now switch their support to Senator Obama. Similarly, a necessary part of the healing process for our Party is for those who supported Senator Obama early to have the grace and good sense to broaden the tent and welcome newcomers into the fold.

The old players of the old political game will claim that I am betraying my old friend Senator Evan Bayh by switching my support to Senator Obama. I believe that Evan Bayh would be a great President, and therefore a great Vice President. I will continue to argue that he would be a great choice to be on the ticket with Barack Obama. Evan Bayh is uniquely positioned as a successful governor with executive experience who is now a U.S. Senator with foreign policy experience and who is young enough to not undercut the message of vitality and hard work that Barack Obama represents. Part of healing the Party may be to have a Clinton supporter on the ticket, let alone someone who would help with Indiana, Ohio and the moderate Midwest in the general election. [And here's where things get interesting. On the one hand you have a simple, "Now that I have your attention, let me plug my choice for VP," but on the other hand, you have Andrew offering a solution to Obama's experience problem. Not only is he saying that Obama is a better candidate, he's saying that Hillary's perceived advantage could easily be overcome by choosing Bayh as a running mate. This means that Hillary's "experience"--her one argument in her superiority over Obama--is moot. That's gotta hurt.]

Being for Evan Bayh, however, does not mean that you have to be for Hillary Clinton. The important message to Hoosiers, and to super delegates, is that being for someone does not mean that you agree 100 percent of the time.
[well I just don't think you get any more straightforward than that. You can love Evan AND vote for Obama! In fact, if you were considering voting for Hillary primarily because you believe the speculation that Bayh is a very likely running mate, guess what? Obama can pick Bayh too!] Regardless of whether Evan Bayh and I support different candidates, I will support Evan Bayh.

We must reject the notion that we have to beat the Republicans at their own game -- or even that the game has to be played at all. It is so easy for all of us involved -- candidates, campaigns and the media -- to focus on the process and the horse race that we forget why we got into it in the first place. Barack Obama has had the courage to talk about real issues, real problems and real people. Let's pause for a second in the midst of the cacophony of the campaign circus and listen.

In 1992, I was inspired by Bill Clinton because he promised, and delivered, a framework for addressing America's problems. President Clinton ended a long-running left-right debate in our Party, and inspired millions. He drew giant crowds and spoke passionately for a generation of Americans who often disenfranchised and rarely participated in governing. Today, Barack Obama does the same thing. Winners redefine the game. Winners connect with the American people and not only feel their pain, but inspire them to take action to heal the underlying cause. Barack Obama is that kind of candidate and that kind of leader, which is why he will win in November.

Welcoming Everyone into the Party

We face significant challenges as a nation and as a Party, but time and again, Americans have shown the resilience and determination necessary to overcome even the highest obstacle. We have a difficult road ahead, but I have complete confidence that Barack Obama is the candidate who can lead our Party to victory and the President who can guide us to even greater heights.

Many Democrats know me for one short speech I gave over and over again in the 2000 Presidential campaign. That speech was about welcoming people into our Party and welcoming undecided voters to our campaign to elect Al Gore. Today, we need to welcome Clinton supporters, undecided voters, and all Americans to join Barack Obama's cause to fight for a better America. My speech ended with these words, which are even more relevant today:

The difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is that you are always welcome in the Democratic Party.

Because Democrats don't care if you are black or white or brown or a nice shade of green, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care if you pray in a church or a synagogue or a temple or a mosque, or just before math tests, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care if you are young or old, or just don't want to tell your age, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care what gender you are, or what gender you want to hold hands with; as long as you want to hold hands, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care about the size of your bank account, just the size of your heart; and we don't care where you are today, just where you dream you want to be tomorrow.

That is your Democratic Party.

That is Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

That is the Party that will win in November.
["Having said all that, let's all gather together, join hands, and sing: Come one people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now. S'mores and Kumbaya to follow."]


Joe Andrew

Posted by Shelby at 05:21 PM | Comments (4)