ypsi’s obama office

Clementine and I headed over to the Obama office and looked around this morning. We introduced ourselves to Robert Johnson, the young attorney from Baltimore who will be running coordinating things locally, and got a quick tour of the place. It’s pretty barren right now, but all that should change shortly. From what Robert says, six computers should be coming tomorrow. The same goes for phone lines. And they’ve got a lead on desks and chairs. State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith, as I understand it, has offered all the stuff from her old campaign office. It’s just a matter of lining up trucks to bring it over. I asked about a copier and I’m told that they have one of those coming, but I suspect that another one might be of use. And I’m sure there will also be a need for coffee, snack food, copier paper, and other office and kitchen supplies, in case you feel like making a donation.

What they really need right now, however, are people to get out and register voters. As I mentioned a few days ago, no one in Michigan can register after October 6, so it’s imperative that we get out these next few weeks and get people signed up. We’ll need people at the bus stops, outside of churches on Sunday mornings, at the EMU dorms, going door to door in every neighborhood, at the Post Office, and everywhere else you can imagine.

So, if you haven’t already, stop in and introduce yourself to Robert. I know that community organizing aren’t supposed to be worth a damn, but he seems like a pretty good guy. (That’s him on the left in the picture above.)

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  1. mark
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    And, yeah, that used to be Rubber Soul records.

    If can’t drop by the Michigan Ave office (next to Puffer Reds), you can email Robert at: rjohnson@michiganforchange.com… I’m sure he’d love to hear from everyone willing to help out, but especially from folks with trucks who might be willing to help transport desks and chairs to the office.

  2. mark
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    And they’re out of yard signs. He only had 50 to start with, and they were handed out the first day.

  3. whatuthinkin
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    It is SO cute to see folks being involved locally in national politics.

    You realize that with electronic voting already rolled out in the critical states, this election will be rigged just like the last one?

    gosh-darn-polling-results which work EVERYWHERE else just happen to fail to predict results in critical counties/ states.

    And when McCain gets in, the n i g g er s in Michigan (they exist, and self-identify, I’ve heard them do that) will burn down their local businesses and homes again, and the 40-year negative spiral that is this state will just become steeper and more of a negative slope.

    That’s my election-year prediction.

    I would love to be wrong. And I’ll vote, hopeless as that is.

  4. Posted September 14, 2008 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I am looking into my crystal ball.. I see…. a moron…

  5. mark
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I generally delete the comments of those who find it necessary to use the N-word, or other racial epithets. I’m not going to erase yours, though, as I think, in spite of your racism, you raise an interesting point when you ask, why bother?

    We know the Republicans will use dirty tricks. We know that they’ll lie about our candidate. We know they’ll use push polls. We know they’ll make it difficult for people to vote it primarily low-income and non-white areas. And, as reported yesterday, we know that they’ll challenge people at polling places who have had their homes foreclosed on. And this is just the stuff that we know. As you point out, there’s also the very real threat of election rigging, given the fact that privately owned corporations are collecting and counting out votes. But yet, in spite of it all, we keep trying. Why?

    Why do people, even those that are absolutely certain that the last two elections were stolen, keep trying? I don’t know. Maybe we’ve seen too many movies where the good guys win in the end. Maybe we’re just optimists who think that surely the tide has to change. I don’t know. Speaking for myself, I keep trying because I think this country is worth salvaging. I know the bar is high. I know that a Democratic candidate for President has to win by a landslide in order to take the White House. I know that, if it’s close, the Republicans will take it. But, I’m convinced that we might be able to pull it off. I think that, if we get enough people out to vote, it can’t be stolen. And then, perhaps, change can happen… And, what’s the alternative? To give up? To riot? What are the chances that those would lead to real change?

  6. Carter
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Why is it whenever liberals lose elections, its NEVER because your ideas are out of touch with America, its always because the other side cheated. Sarah Palin and her gun-totin’ moose-huntin’ candidacy has more testicles than you community organizers will ever have.

  7. Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    With each passing day of this election, I am having a harder and harder time justifying remaining in this country. The large divisions in ideas and the football game mentality of both sides make a country that would rather hate each other than work to make a better country. It certainly use to be worse, but it was never this obvious nor this stupid.

  8. monica
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mark for the ‘view’ of the office, the support for getting volunteers and sharing info, and for having that audacity to keep, despite the stacked deck, a sense of hope that something good can happen. I needed that.

  9. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    I think Carter has a point. My problem is I think both sides have views that are out of touch with America but America is constantly forced to pick a side. My taste in politics mirrors my tastes in fried chicken: I want more sides.

    As an aside, the recurring theme that a guns gives someone testicles… Dang. I’ve always thought guns were what weak little pussies who didn’t know how to clench a fist hid behind … but I guess I’m getting a little off topic. Those dudes at Columbine must have totally had a pair!

  10. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I should add, the above comments aren’t directed at any particular gunlovers I know, I’m just a little tired of the idea that shooting a moose in the woods is somehow more ballsy than working in violent and dangerous neighborhoods to help others.

    Watching 13 year olds pull triggers and take the lives of fathers and mothers makes me a little ill at the thought that holding a gun is a sign of strength.

    I have no problem with hunting, but lets recognize it for what it is. It’s a hobby. Gets a little local meat to eat. Well and good. But a sign of courage? Does anyone, seriously, think bagging a buck is a sign of courage and character?

  11. notaregular
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    a little local meat to eat. Well and good. But a sign of courage? Does anyone, seriously, think bagging a buck is a sign of courage and character?

    Have you SEEN the mosquitos in AK? They will pick you up and carry you off. Some character is needed, yes. Or is this where the references to Palin and helicopter hunting come in?

  12. Erin
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I’m dismayed by the level of hatred and ignorance that are coming out during election time. An acquaintance of mine said recently that he “just can’t vote for someone who’s name is Obama.” I’m amazed that someone would make a decision about whom they support to lead our country with so little information. How in the world can Americans as a whole STILL be so uneducated, uninformed, and uninterested in participating in our democratic society? I apologize – I know this post is lacking focus, but I’m still reeling from whatuthinkin’s ridiculous comment.

    I vote because I have a right to – and by exercising my right, I participate in the governance of the country I live in. If so many people weren’t so lazy, and/or disillusioned with the political system, perhaps our society might be a better representation of our interests as a whole.

    Or maybe I’m too idealistic…

  13. Cherry Smith
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    This doesn’t have anything to do with the office, but, let’s see:

    No planning and responsed to Katrina, billions in an unnecessary war while our infrastrusture crumbles, Bin Laden still on the loose, housing crisis, etc. Anyone that thinks we should let the same leaders runs thing that have done it for the last eight years has tiny balls and lives in fear. Having hope takes far more courage.

    How does someone run something that they hate? Republicans hate more government. Can they also be in charge of something they hate?

    As far as “Drill baby drill” If someone has a drinking problem, do you open up a closet full of booze that was previously off limits? Or do you wean them to other options? Kick their ass take their gas has a better ring I guess.

    Found this comment today, think about it republican morons. Hide behind your blind patriotism and your ignorance….I’ve seen Alaskan mosquitos, and they ain’t shit, I’ve shot and gutted deer, and it more like whiping my nose with tissues, something I’ve done and don’t need to obsess about like I’m Ben Hur. Growing as a thinking human is far more challenging than not blinking.

    Obama/Biden are our only hope to take the economy reins away from short-sighted Republican chaos. After weeks of bank and investment company failures, we just this moment learn that Lehman will file bankruptcy tonight before the markets open, Bank of American will step in to buy Merrill Lynch for half of it worth just a few months ago, and AIG (one of the nation’s largest insurance companies) is seeking tens of billions of dollars in emergency federal aid to prevent its failure. This is a repeat of the Saving and Loans disaster, which Republicans (and particularly the Keating 5, including John McCain) help orchestrate through their irresponsible economic policies. Republicans love to create false economic wealth through inflated values and overextended credit and deficit spending. It’s all just fake money and they love it, but their inside buddies strip the value out before the rest of us get a clue. Big surprise that after 9/11 and the fallout in the financial markets, the Republicans did everything they could (in concert with the conserative judges and agency appointees who refused to enforce existing laws) to juice the housing market. They (particularly former HUD head, now senator Mel Martinez (R)) encouraged brokers’ kick-backs, fraudulent fees, loan churning, and other predatory lending practices to get those numbers up and keep driving the housing market. The fraud and excess has been so massive and has been the underpinning for all the other false economic “growth” under Bush that it is not surprising that the house of cards comes tumbling down. Be assured that the CEO’s got out early and with hundreds of millions in value cashed in before the rest of us had any hint of this. This is what happends when the corrupt (White House) lead the corrupt (conservative appointees and the Republican controlled senate and house for most of Bush’s 8 years. This is the Republican economic policy – take as much as you can as fast as you can while regulators and enforcers look the other way. This is the ultimate in corporate welfare as the taxpayers take the hit, whether the government bails them out directly or not. If you don’t want another 1929, you have one choice: Obama/Biden.

  14. Max Cady
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    McCain admits he “doesn’t know much about the economy.” But I’m sure Phil Graham “it’s all in our heads” “whiners” teamed up with runner up Miss Alaska with her rifle can solve it. Praise the lord and pass the ammo.

  15. Robert
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Carter even has the “balls” to come down and have a beer with us at the Corner Brewery.

    With regard to whatuthinkin, somewhere hidden in that bigoted nihilism of his, I think he has something remotely resembling a point. What he doesn’t consider is that, of those who are in position to manipulate our electoral process, not all are of them are on the same page. There are many different interests out there, believe it or not. Not all power is united in a single-minded goal of destroying the American democratic system. The true art of politics involves accommodating, and keeping at bay, as many of these interests as possible, while also avoiding entrapment into forced service to any one of them or otherwise narrow set of interests.

    What I’m saying is that there is a growing discontent and restlessness amongst all those interests which have not been benefitting over the last eight years from the hijacking of our executive branch by a relatively narrow set of interests. This discontent will increasingly be translated into sabotage of the current regime. We may see this in the way this year’s election turns out.

    That doesn’t in any way diminish the average citizen’s responsibility in assisting in the re-taking of our government from this narrow group of interests.

    Whatuthinkin, if you want to make claims about electoral processes being fixed, you might want to know at least a couple facts about how those things are actually done. In Michigan, for example, massive electronic manipulation of election results is next to impossible. More old fashioned methods have to be used, which are much more visible and difficult in coordinating. Mark mentions some examples of these methods in his comments here. Far more organization has to be in place to manipulate massive numbers of votes by these traditional methods. Therefore, much of it can be countered by overwhelming numbers and activity on the other side.

  16. Posted September 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Why do we need an attorney from Maryland to run our local office? Shame on us!

    whatuthinkin: racist motherfuckers like you need to SHUT THE FUCK UP! (p.s. I salute mark for NOT censorring speech here!)

  17. ytown
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t take balls to drink at the Corner, the place is full of narrow-shouldered libs who like crappy beer.

    Lets have a beer at Arthurs, that takes balls.

    Carter, well said!

  18. Robert
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    You may be right, ytown. Arthurs it is. I’ll update my statement: I wonder if Carter even has the “balls” to come down and have a beer with us at Arthurs.

  19. ytown
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Robert stop trying to be tough. It’s not you. Have you been in Arthurs?

  20. ytown
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    This is off topic, but Robert are you a lawyer?

  21. Max Cady
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Arthurs is where you get crack and hookers.

  22. Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Do you need one ytown?

    My favorite place to get a beer in Ypsi used to be the bdubs on Washington…still sad that they moved – if I wanted to go to a nice one I’d go to Ann Arbor or Canton – there was nothing like that one.

    As far as hunting goes, I am a hunter, and it hardly takes “balls”. It just takes an enormous amount of patience to sit in the woods all day. In fact, having “balls” should have nothing to do with hunting – I’d rather have “common sense”, and “carefulness” when I handle a gun (or bow). Take a hunter out of his blind and give the bucks special aggression drugs that causes them to charge humans with their antlers down and then I might call it “balls”.

    Here’s what I think – that in a couple of weeks, when all this Palin nonsense has died down, then people will really examine the issues at stake – especially when the debates happen. All this is now is people on both sides jockeying for position.

    What matters is registering voters and letting the cream rise to the top in the eyes of the independents/undecideds. And the cream is Obama.

  23. heronblue
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Uh and Robert, i_love_Obama, Dude, Ole E Cross et alia… while everyone’s debating the fine point that atty from Baltimore who’s holding down the fort over at the office, making calls on our behalf — STILL NEEDS A TRUCK TO MOVE THE FURNITURE OVER THERE!!! So if any of u’s have one, how about it? (i don’t – if i did i would – had a hell of a time getting the few chairs that ARE there over there in my car…)

    So, hey, he came all of the way from Baltimore, with his family waiting there for him… could Ypsi PLEASE help him move the furniture?? hugs to all of you ; )

  24. Derek Foreal
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Where are the chairs/desks now?

  25. ytown
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Cousin Geoff, I don’t need a lawyer, I just think I know Robert.

    Arthurs is a dump. I won’t try to tell you I go there, but I like Sidetrack for the Edelheil. I liked the old BW3 also, however I like the new one better, more tVs, however less character. My usual hangout is Aubrees though.

    I agree that hunting doesn’t take balls. I don’t hunt, never will and I have a huge pair.

  26. Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I just saw a guy on the diag that had a sign claiming that Obama wants people to club babies that survive abortions like baby seals so I can’t lend you my truck.

  27. ytown
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Dude you try to hard. You are like the nerdy kid who tries to hard to be funny, but never is.

  28. ytown
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    whoops, too hard

  29. Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t making a joke. I really saw it.

  30. Cavin
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Do you have a photo, Dude?

    (Of the sign. Not of yourself.)

  31. Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, no.

  32. Steve Swan
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Having enormous balls, I can tell you that they do give one a decided advantage while hunting.

    You don’t have to carry a chair with you.

    There is a down side though. You will have to have your male scent glands removed before heading into the woods.

  33. applejack
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    here’s a fun Obama-related conversation i had with a co-worker the other day when he saw my Obama bumber sticker:
    him: oh you like obama?
    me: yeah
    him: are you black?
    me: uh no
    him: are you a terrorist?
    me: uh no
    him: then why would you support obama? he’s going to raise our taxes and just give it away to poor people
    me: yeah i dont think so
    him: if he wins all the black people will just sit at home watching tv all day collecting money from the government
    me: okay buddy. sure.

    this is almost word-for-word, and he was mostly serious. i don’t think my friend is actually a u.s. citizen, but it scares me to be reminded that there are people out there who believe this stuff.

    i know mark’s post is all about getting out the vote, but honestly i think in general we should discourage people from voting unless they really know the issues and the candidates. i know it’s not a popular idea, but i’d support some kind of poll test of current events or something. forget this ‘it’s my civic duty to vote’ stuff. it’s your civic duty to really learn what’s going on. then you can vote.

  34. whatuthinkin
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s also pretty cute that people assume racism based on use of “the N-word”.

    Have you VISITED and TALKED WITH the communities of peoples in Michigan? The “N-word” is only a racist term if you make assumptions about the speaker.

    There is a portion of society here that feels guilty over a past that frankly they are not responsible for.

    There are those who care and work hard, and there are those who give a free pass to the criminals and the portions of society who tear down rather than build up (want links to local news articles?). If the former were in the majority, the region would not be in the shape it is in.

    I am not racist and I will continue to use a word that I hear used frequently by portions of my community. It is time that “some” relinquish some of the guilt that has been assumed. I refuse to assume guilt based on use of a term that I hear daily used by the society I live in. To pretend it isn’t in use is to deny the reality that surrounds you. Head on down to the Kroger on Michigan and LISTEN to your community if you have doubts. I have and do.

    And dude, the same people who tried to shed light on the e- voting are the same ones who brought to light the faked data that led to our invasion of 2 other countries. And you have never read about either on FOX news.

    I wish I felt as optimistic about the future of OUR region as some here.

  35. Posted September 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Whoa, whoa, whoa whatuthinkin’…

    First off, I want to know what gives you the right to use that word.

    Your rational is that you hear African-Americans use the n-word around Ypsi so it’s OK for you to use it?

    Using that word or being offended by it has nothing to do with guilt. It has to do with the history of how that word was used, and the hatred and intolerance behind it.

    Let’s not get into the whole debate of how it’s used – but if you use it in a negative way like you did before (regardless of your race), then it is a racist, hateful slur that has no place anywhere. Period.

    It’s no wonder you don’t feel optimistic about our region. You seem like you have some emotional issues, and perhaps you should seek some counseling. Until then, please don’t spread your negativity or hatred in my town.

    You’re the one tearing down – you’re the problem, not the good people at Michigan Ave Krogers. I’ve grown to love that store, because people smile and talk to me, people stop to say hello to my daughter, the cashiers and baggers know us. It’s part of my community, and unfortunately people like you are too. So yes, I have LISTENED, and VISITED, and TALKED with people in my community – it’s all about your perception.

    Good luck. I hope Obama’s message inspires some change in YOU.

  36. Posted September 16, 2008 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    heronblue: wish i could help you out but i got no truck and i’m on disability

    whatuthinkin: it’s not the word that offends me — it’s your racist motherfucking attitude. got that you ypsitucky piece of shit?

  37. Matthew
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


  38. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    “I am not racist and I will continue to use a word that I hear used frequently by portions of my community.”

    Whether you are or not, you also have the opportunity to show simple respect to other human beings and you have flatly rejected it for no good reason. That is your mistake, not the word itself.

    The phrase “shut up” is fairly innocuous in and of itself. But say it to your kid enough times and it comes back out of their mouth. This phrase is hideous when it comes out of the mouth of a child. It’s disrespectful and just plain nasty. Would you want some teenager to say it to you at the mall? I’m guessing it would raise your blood pressure straight away. Isn’t “please be quiet” so much easier on the psyche (and the ears for that matter)? Wouldn’t YOU want to be treated with respect. Doesn’t it just feel good when someone is polite to you?

    There is absolutely no compelling reason to use the “n” word except that you like to throw your weight around and show everybody what a big man you are. Do you use it in the presence of African Americans or only with your white drinkin’ buddies? Would you use it if you were the only white person in a room of people of color? Have you ever even been the only white person in a room full of people of color? How about every day for the rest of your life? Ask some black folk if they’ve been in that situation? Bet they have. Bet it ain’t too comfortable. Bet it would be nice if all of those people went out of their way to show respect.

    Rather than defend your reactionary attitude, why not use this opportunity for growth? You might become a better person. Scary, no?

  39. Oliva
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Good people here who’ve taken time and mental energy to stand up to bullying in the name of human kindness and civic grace and goodwill, thank you. Ah, it’s how we (keep on trying to) make this a better place–this town, this world. So satisfying to see the evidence plainly, articulately, here–

  40. Robert
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Ytown, to answer your questions and respond to your comments:

    I’m not a lawyer.

    I didn’t know where Arthur’s is, but I probably wouldn’t mind checking it out…that is if they serve mixed drinks. I’m no expert on beer. I generally drink weak, chocolaty or fruity drinks.

    I wasn’t trying to be tough when I said I wondered if Carter had the “balls” to come out and drink with us, though I understand why it might have come across that way. I was actually just questioning whether Carter had the “balls” to say the stupid shit he says anywhere besides this blog, especially where someone might easily expose him as the fool I think he is. Mostly, I just want to bait folks into coming out to drink. I actually think guys like you and Carter might find the stories I have to tell pretty interesting.

  41. Oliva
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    The Obama-Biden campaign office at 115 W. Michigan Ave., next to Puffer Reds, is having a kick-off party, “Countdown to Change,” on Monday, 29 September from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Congressman John Dingell and Representative Alma Wheeler Smith will be there.

    And on Saturday, 4 October, from 11-6, there will be a BBQ at the campaign office.

    Everybody’s welcome.

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