Hurricane Katrina: After the Levees Broke

Hurricane Katrina: After the Levees Broke

By Sunday afternoon, a historic evacuation of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, the largest evacuation in state history, had been completed with 2 million people having joined together in an exodus that left New Orleans standing in near silence as a ghost town. Policemen and National Guardsmen were carrying guns while they stood watching over the city’s empty streets, as the nation anticipated a storm that could turn out to rival Hurricane Katrina in its destructive power.

The storm was set to crash ashore on midday Monday with frightful force. Weather forecasters are presently saying that Gustav is very likely to grow stronger as it marches toward the Gulf Coast with top sustained winds of around 115 mph. At 5 p.m. Sunday (EDT), the National Hurricane Center said Gustav was a Category 3 storm that was centered about 215 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving northwest at around 18 mph.

After the Levees Broke: Ghost Town

Read more about the Gulf Coast evacuation in The New York Times.

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Photos of the Day: The Enticingly Cocky and Sexy Muscley Dude

Photos of the Day: The Enticingly Cocky and Sexy Muscley Dude

The Cocky and Sexy Dude Struts His Muscley Stuff

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A Critical Moment: Barack Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

A Critical Moment: Barack Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

An Overview of the 2008 Democratic Convention’s Concluding Session

On Thursday, the 2008 Democratic National Convention moved into Denver’s Invesco Field so that more Americans could be a part of the fourth and final night of the Convention, where Barack Obama accepted the historic Democratic nomination for President. A crowd of almost 85,000 people attended the convention’s assembly at Invesco to hear Senator Obama’s acceptance speech.

Oscar-winning singer and Broadway actress Jennifer Hudson sang the National Anthem, and there were a number of other live live musical performances, including appearances by will.i.am (accompanied by John Legend, Agape choir, and band), the singer Sheryl Crowe and the legendary Stevie Wonder.

Before Senator Obama’s acceptance speech, Former Vice-President Al Gore spoke in support of Obama. Gore expressed heated criticisms about a number of public policy positions held by both Senator McCain and President Bush. His criticisms pointed to a number of specific issues in areas that included the environment, the economy and foreign affairs. Following Al Gore’s remarks, a biographic video of Obama was shown, which was directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning Director of An Inconvenient Truth.

Dave Stewart’s All-Star Music Video: My American Prayer

Replay: A Live Blogging of the Entire Acceptance Speech Event

A Biographic Tribute Video: The Search for Self

All Across the Nation, Something is Stirring

Barack Obama addressed a crowd of almost 85,000 supporters at the concluding session of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver Thursday evening, accepting the historic Democratic nomination for President of the United States. By Friday morning, a true avalanche of reviews had appeared, articles by so-called political-pundits representing both the mainstream media and new media bloggers. Many of the reviewers were enthralled by Senator Obama’s speech, but others were left with mixed feelings. Of the latter, some felt that his address failed to display the soaring, inspirational oratory that was characteristic of Obama’s earlier speeches, while others naively complained that his speech was just a repeat of his high-minded oratory that lacked any substance or specifics.

The pundits who were critical tended to churn out reviews that reflected a tenuous ability to grasp deeper or complex meanings, reviews that were highly superficial. These political-pundits are often the media’s more well-known public voices, but voices whose body of writings generally reflects a narcissistic conviction of entitlement. In fact, the dangerously alarming truth of the matter is that they view political events that are crucial to all Americans as their own personal sparkling merry-go-round, where their last political love affair is simply an entrée to their next encounter.

In sharply defined contrast, Barack Obama is a deeply thoughtful man, a characteristic once again revealed in his talk with supporters in the Invesco stadium on Thursday evening, many of whom during various parts of his address listened quietly in personal contemplative concentration. Not only was Obama addressing in detail the specifics of his positions during the acceptance speech, but far beyond that he was teaching and thus sharing with his supporters an understanding of the logic of his positions, as well as the logic supporting his reasons for repudiating Senator McCain’s political beliefs. In this context, Senator Obama clarified for all of America the fundamental motivation underlying the choice to embark upon his improbable and difficult run for the presidency: that neither Senator McCain, nor President Bush, nor the Republican administration will own up to their failures and to the devastating, often tragic results of those failures.

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With Profound Gratitude and Great Humility, I Accept

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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The 2008 Democratic Convention: Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

The Democratic Convention: Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

On Thursday, the 2008 Democratic National Convention moved to Denver’s Invesco Field so that more Americans could be a part of the fourth and final night of the Convention, where Barack Obama would accept the Democratic nomination for President. Invesco’s doors were opened at around 4:00 p.m. (local time-Denver, MST), and the event was scheduled to end at 10:00 p.m. (local time). A crowd that is now estimated to be almost 85,000 people attended the final convention assembly to hear Senator Obama’s acceptance speech.

Oscar-winning singer and Broadway actress Jennifer Hudson (from Chicago) sang the National Anthem near the conclusion of the first segment of the event (4:00-6:00 p.m. local time). Between 6:00-7:00 p.m., there were live performances by will.i.am (accompanied by John Legend, Agape choir, and band) and Sheryl Crowe. Stevie Wonder appeared in a live performance toward the end of the 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. part of the evening. Jon Bon Jovi was reported to be flying in to perform two acoustic songs before Senator Obama gives his acceptance speech, and some preliminary accounts of the event speculated that after Obama’s speech, Bruce Springsteen would close out the night.

Former Vice-President Al Gore spoke in support of Obama at 8:00 p.m. (local time). Gore directed heated criticisms at the public policy positions of both Senator McCain and President Bush with regard to a number of issues, which included the environment, the economy and foreign affairs. U. S. Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois then presented a biographical video of Obama, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, and afterwards Durbin introduced Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee. Barack Obama gave his groundbreaking presidential nomination acceptance speech at 9:00 p.m. (local time).

Senator Obama’s acceptance speech was given on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. It was on August 28th, 1963, that King, the most revered civil rights leader in the nation’s history, proclaimed on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “

Dave Stewart’s All-Star Music Video: My Prayer

Live-Blogging: Obama Nomination Acceptance Speech Event

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With Profound Gratitude and Deep Humility, I Accept

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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Live-Blogging 2008 Democratic Convention: Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Barack Obama was officially named the Presidential Nominee of the Democratic Party, crowning his historic meteoric rise from a little-known Illinois state senator to becoming the first African-American ever to win a major-party’s presidential nomination.

Initially, there had been an element of dramatic suspense about just how the nomination process actually would unfold. However, before the roll call was taken Senator Clinton had released her delegates to vote for Mr. Obama and announced that she was voting for Obama and his running mate, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. The roll call proceeded alphabetically, and when New Mexico’s turn came, it yielded the floor to the state of Illinois, Obama’s home state; Illinois, in turn, ceded its position to New York.

At the urging of Senator Clinton, the New York delegation cast all of its votes for Senator Obama, and at 4:48 p.m. local time, Clinton made a motion to end the roll call and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation. Her motion was passed unanimously by the convention delegates; Nancy Pelosi, Permanent Chair of the Democratic National Convention, then named Barack Obama the official Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

On Thursday night, the National Democratic Convention is moving to Invesco Field so that more Americans can take part in of the fourth night of the Convention, where Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President. Invesco Field’s doors will open at around 5:00 p.m. (local time), and the event will end at 9:00 p.m. (local time). A crowd that is now estimated to be larger than 80,000 people is expected to attend the final convention assembly to hear Obama’s acceptance speech.

A number of acclaimed musicians are scheduled to perform during the event. Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will be performing. Jon Bon Jovi is flying in to perform two acoustic songs before Sen. Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech, and the Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (from Chicago) will sing the National Anthem near speech time. After Obama’s acceptance speech, Bruce Springsteen will perform to close out the evening.

Al Gore is scheduled to be the first speaker of the evening. Then at 8:00 p.m. (local time) Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois will present a biographical video of Obama, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth and afterwards Durbin will introduce Senator Obama.

Obama’s acceptance speech is being held on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. It was on August 28th, 1963, that King, the most revered civil rights leader in the nation’s history, proclaimed on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “

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Marking a Historic Day: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging: Obama Wins Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins the Democratic Presidential Nomination

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Comments On Michelle Obama’s Speech Last Night: So That’s What Brave Looks Like….

A reader wrote to Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Magazine:

“I am a 36 year old African American woman. I have two girls ages 10 and 8. The country does not get the full import of this moment. My daughters and I sat together along with my husband to watch Michelle Obama tonight. Mr. Sullivan, we were all in tears. This is a day that cannot be fully described. This country has systematically oppressed Black women for centuries. My ancestors were slaves and my great, great, great, grandmothers raped and treated as property. My daughters have very few Black women to look up to in popular culture as role models. They do not feel seen, they are not held up as the standards of American beauty. We shed tears tonight as a family because Michelle (with her elegance and grace) is holding all of us up with her. You don’t understand the burden that she bears.”

And Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Salon:

“I loved best about Michelle Obama’s speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn’t do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned “hope” and “change” for coughing up hairballs of outrage. Every Democrat in America seems to be of the view that optimism is so totally last February; that now’s the time to hunker down and panic real hard. Good for Michelle for reminding us that to “strive for the world as it should be” is still cool, and for being so passionate about that fact that she looked to be near tears. Good for her for speaking from the heart when everyone else seems to be speaking from the root cellar. And if that doesn’t persuade you the woman is a warrior, let me just add that true bravery is letting your 7-year-old turn the first night of the Democratic Convention into open-mic night with the big screen and the party frock. Think any man alive would have done that? Me neither.”

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Celebrity Music Video: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Hillary Clinton: To Damn Obama with Faint Praise

The Clintons are masters in the dramatic art of pointing at themselves and saying “attention must be paid to us!” Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton put on a good show of supporting Obama, but it was expressed as having been left with little recourse but to convey support for him, or else having to deal with something even worse, McCain and the Republicans. Watching her gave me the freaky chills, made feel glad that I’m still free enough from any obsession with the Clintons to still be able to peek under their rocks and see what kind of bugs are creeping around underneath.

In Hillary’s speech at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night, she gave the appearance of momentarily overcoming the narcissistic conviction of personal and political entitlement that has been a long-time congenital characteristic of both Clintons. Feigning to say the right things, Clinton made an “intellectual” case for supporting Obama. Strategically aware that her own short-term political future is inextricably bound to his, she explained in somewhat clinical terms why she supports him, and indicated to her diehard supporters that they should also do so (for the time being).

But Clinton obviously still wants to be president. Hillary’s speech hardly concealed the clear subtext that it is really she who should be giving the major convention speech on Thursday night. Clinton’s performance on the podium Tuesday evening was a calculated theatrical work that directed America to look at what has been lost by her not being the Democratic nominee.

Further, it continues to be clear that Hillary obviously doesn’t like Barack Obama, and that she’s plainly not eager about the prospect of him being elected president. After all the time that she spent during her speech tracing the course of women’s suffrage and talking about what a world-historical figure she was, she failed to make any mention about Obama being a similarly important figure of history.

As a plausible, but much less noteworthy approach, she might have attempted to say something, just anything, about a specifically admirable individual characteristic that Obama might display. Even here, Clinton’s reservations were obvious. While she had open personal praise for Joe Biden and John McCain, she could not bring herself to say anything positive about Obama as a person.

The reasons that Hillary gave for supporting Obama were all ways of saying that Obama is a Democrat. She managed to say some nice “words” about Obama in her speech (she was proud to support him), but subsequently she immediately launched into a litany of the many important issues for which she’d fought and sang out with a paean to all the people who had placed their faith in her.

In the end, it came down to being all about her.

Hillary Clinton: Well, It’s Mostly About Me

Music Audio: Josh Groban/You Lift Me Up


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The 2008 Denver National Democratic Convention: Live Blogging


Dave Stewart: American Prayer

The Democratic National Convention: Live Blogging

Michelle Obama Addresses the Democratic National Convention

Michelle Obama presented the first major address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver on Monday evening. Speaking to the delegates, Michelle described herself as a daughter, sister, wife and mother, no different from many other women. She told an exuberant crowd in the convention center that she and her husband feel an obligation to “fight for the world as it should be” to assure the promise of a better life both for their own daughters and for all children.

Michelle Obama talked about tucking her daughters Malia and Sasha into bed at night. “I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And one day, they, and your own sons and daughters, will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming,” she said.

Michelle Obama: We Listen to Our Hopes and Dreams

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: Hope Rises Again, the Dream Lives On

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, struggling with brain cancer, arrived at the Democratic National Convention on Monday night in a triumphant appearance that evoked 50 years of party history. No was sure until the very last moment whether Senator Kennedy actually would be able to make a personal appearance at the convention, given the severity of his illness. Kennedy arrived at the convention site shortly before darkness fell, accompanied by a large group of family members. He walked a few halting steps to a waiting golf cart, which drove him into the arena.

After a speech was given by his niece Caroline Kennedy and a video tribute to him was shown, Senator Kennedy walked slowly to the lectern, limping slightly, with his wife, Victoria, who kissed him and left him there. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and many people were seen wiping tears from their eyes; they cheered for almost two minutes until he settled them down.

My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here,” said Senator Kennedy, his voice booming across the hall. “And nothing–nothing–is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.” A stool that had been slipped behind him went unused during his 10-minute speech. And while Kennedy spoke slowly and at times haltingly, his voice was firm and he was in command of this moment, gesturing and sounding very much like the man who enraptured the party’s convention 28 years ago.

There is a new wave of change all around us,” he said, “and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination–not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation. And this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. So with Barack Obama, and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause.”

Invoking his parting remarks to the 1980 Democratic National Convention as he ceded the presidential nomination to Jimmy Carter, he promised that “the dream will never die. The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on.”

Sen. Edward Kennedy: Hope Rises Again, the Dream Lives On

Music Audio: We Are The World


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